Friday, September 20, 2013
What Was, and What Is
At one time, I was of the opinion that all systems that are commonly being taught (with the intent of instructing “self-defense”) were all similar with only minor differences in application. Or (at least) I did hold that opinion until the past couple of years (when I've been more closely involved with exploring those differences).
Having originally learned and taught “Shito-ryu”, I was familiar with what was “at that time” being considered and taught to be “traditional” (karate). Once having began training with Taika, I discovered that information to be (at best) inaccurate.
What I've discovered (through both my own experience and research), is that most of what's been shown over the past 30 years, is very different than what I've been taught over that time period (in regards to martial arts in general).
The most important thing that's been impressed upon my own understanding of Te (in general), has been that what has been commonly taught is mostly “competitive” (sport/competition) based instruction. For the majority of students, this is exactly what they're looking for.
Being that I've mainly dealt with law enforcement, security and self-defense instruction, Oyata's methodology has always proven to be directly applicable to that purpose (unlike the majority of the other system's that claim to teach similar material).
Over the years, What (and how) he taught his methodology was constantly evolving. When he first arrived in the U.S., he “conformed” to the commonly performed “seminar” content. Within those gatherings, he demonstrated numerous examples of his ability, though he only “taught” the most basic of his methodology.
Those “seminars” where (at best) recruitment meetings. Though numerous people (apparently) love to claim that they have “trained” with Oyata (at those seminars), at best they were only exposed to his methodology. It was necessary (and expected) that they would continue (from that exposure) to participate in actual training, after joining his system. Very few ever did, and most of those that did, wound-up quitting when they didn't learn any “big Secret” techniques (after a couple of weeks/months, LOL).
Unfortunately this amounted to creating a slew of wanna-”been” students (of Oyata). These individual's were not with Oyata long enough to of (actually) learned anything of value beyond having been exposed to the basics of his methodology. The majority of those individual's have since attempted to capitalize on that (brief) exposure, and are now making numerous claims of themselves teaching the same knowledge/techniques (as Oyata).
Oyata was continually improving his methodology through the years. What he instructed in those earlier years (basically, throughout the “80's”) and into the early “90's” (when he ceased doing “open” seminars) was changed (mostly in conjunction with his emphasis on teaching his methodology).
With that change, he abandoned much of the previously taught material and methods that he believed to be (both) detrimental and pointless (in regards to life-protection). Numerous schools (including some in his association) continue with those practices, but it is being done for the sake of “paying the bills”. An owner obviously must be able to keep the doors open, and the lights and heat on (if they wish to continue a store-front business).
Unfortunately, because of that (continued) practice, patrons have (mistakenly) concluded that the practice of “sparring” (including that of “bogu”) is a necessary part of Life-Protection training. All one needed to of done, was research how often/much “bogu” was ever covered at “headquarters” (by the weekly regular students of Taika).
Bogu, has became the western makiwara. Though providing some (minor) training benefit, it's primary purpose was to allow “hot-blooded” youth, to burn off testosterone.
Less than 10% of the taught and practiced (classroom) techniques could even be utilized within that manor of (bogu) practice. Additionally, what is learned and ingrained (through that practice) is in direct conflict with the instructed defensive methodology of Oyata.
There are methods of utilizing that equipment and providing relevant training, but those methods are not “competitive” based (and are thus, not “popular”). One of the major drawbacks to owning/operating a store-front school, is that (unless you are independently wealthy) you have to pay the bills to remain “open”. Oyata's methodology is not conducive to the “typical” martial arts school curriculum.
Following the mid-90's, Taika rarely had anything to do with “bogu” (kumite). His focus was instructing his (actual) Life-Protection method. Though not as “flashy” as the commonly taught systems, it is an efficient, applicable system that can be utilized by anyone regardless of age, sex or physical prowess.
Taika's Life-Protection system is not a “simplistic” system (to learn). That doesn't mean that it's (necessarily) “difficult” to learn, only that it isn't as simplistic as most student's tend to believe that it should be. Most often they are comparing it to other systems that they may have had prior experience with, and/or they have succumbed to the generally publicized rhetoric that's being propagated as being “fact” (when it isn't, much like the TCM nonsense).
The latest (of many) “fad's” is the reality/liveness(?)/MMA craze(es). All of them are based upon the “macho” (and male) physical premiss of/for “self-defense”. As long as one is young, strong, physically active and (most importantly) male, these systems can meet their requirements.
For the remainder of the (normal/average) students (that are actually seeking and need a “defensive” methodology), Oyata's system will fulfill their requirements.