Friday, October 18, 2013

Counterfeit Achievements

  It appears that it has become passe to (actually) “study”, much less “research” the technical aspects of a martial art. Of course anyone who has been (really) paying attention, will of already realized this. It has come down to who-ever has the money, is going to have the “rank”.
  Most student's of the martial arts are (already) aware of this fact, but for any “new” students, it should be a “wake-up” call. Once you've gotten your first Yudansha ranking (by sweat, or by check), the rest are only a matter of how much cash you have (or are willing to shell-out).
  I know everyone wants to wail about how “their” rank is legitimate (whatever that's supposed to mean?), but it really boils down to who has the money to spend for whatever rank they want to claim to possess.
  What used to be (limited?) reserved to the “Mcdojo” category of martial art “schools”, is (very much so) now, openly being marketed on the web.
  Even among the (at one time) “legitimate” systems/schools, the pursuit of (ever) higher rank, has turned into the latest marketing ploy to retain students (and make "cash").
  Ability?, Skill?, Knowledge?, these mean nothing (to the general public), the only thing that attracts students, would seem to be higher ranking (for "picking" an instructor).
  The fact that you've been actually studying (what? Only “1” style!  For how many years?) over the course of your training, apparently only goes to prove how “out of touch” you are (with the rest of the martial arts world).
  I've written previously about how ridiculous I find the moon's that claim 4 or 5 different Yudansha ranks (of which most seem to be 5th dan and higher, in each, LOL) to be, but apparently that's the new “standard”.
  I have yet to of met one that (really) “knew” anything (of value), but they're out there (none the less) doing “seminar's”on numerous mundane topics.
  The only “kudo's” that I will bestow upon them, is that they're doing something. What I find more repugnant, are the scumbags that receive “titles” and “awards” from outfits like the following (of which there are multiple offender's).
  These outfit's offer an “award's banquet”. These “banquets” are to present various “awards, certificates” to individual's. The only requirement, is that you pay for attending, (after you submit yourself for the award(s) or rank!).
  The only thing I couldn't determine (for certain), was if you had to “pay” (individually) for each “award”?, or if you could just lump them all together (I feel it was probably required to pay for each).
  The “attendance” fee, was $395.00 (per “award” being recieved?), of course you did have to fill out the paper work for what “qualified” you (uh,..That, and supplying the check, LOL).
The listed Sample “Counterfeit” Categories that are (readily) available, included (but were not limited to)
Outstanding Instructional Leadership
Outstanding Business Leadership
Outstanding Educational Leadership
Outstanding Leadership in Christian Martial Arts
Outstanding Promotion of the Martial Arts
Outstanding Tournament Promotion
Outstanding After School Promotion
Outstanding Contribution in Video Instruction
Outstanding Contribution to Woman’s Safety
Outstanding Research and Development
Outstanding Community Service
Outstanding Development in Management
Outstanding Development in Defensive Tactics
Outstanding Promotion of children's Safety
Outstanding Cultural Contribution
Outstanding Contribution to Health and Fitness

  If one notes, all of the listed “categories”, are speculative (in nature, and content). Each, sounds substantive, but all are (in truth) rather vague.
  Of course these were not awarded by any merit, other than the supplied documents being filled in (by you). Just as with (the all to common and usual) “rank” testing, you pay your money, and you get your “award” (rank, what-ever).
  With only a little bit of searching the internet, I found 4 places that provide this service. And through those sites, I found dozens of schools, who's instructor's are listing all of these great “awards” and achievement's that have been provided through these outfits.
  I'd put it at 90% of the schools that the instructor claims to have 3+ Yudansha gradings (of different systems) also, lists (at least) one of these outfits as being a “provider” (source) for their “awards”.
  I suppose that in the long run, it's cheaper (?) to just “buy” your rank. It's cheaper than starting your own system (just to be able to promote yourself in rank, LOL), and sounds more legitimate.
  What I'm rather sick of, is hearing about how unethical it all is.  Well no shit. I have no doubt that the “martial arts” industry must be one of the highest perpetrator's of scam artist profession's available today (I know of nobody, who isn't familiar with at least “2” martial art schools/instructor's who fall into the “scam” category).
  Anyone, can “claim” (damn near) anything, or title that they so choose to claim. Most students only last for 3-8 months (at best), so establishing “legitimacy” is hardly an issue. The “new” student rarely knows what's right/wrong/good/bad anyway, so if the “instructor” can keep them entertained for long enough (to make some cash off of them), they will provide (enough) legitimacy for the next student that comes along.
  Outfits like the one's I've described above, only provide (fake) documentation for (equally “fake”) legitimacy.
  I haven't been able to figure out why somebody feels the need to have more than one Yudansha ranking. For every additional one that you (supposedly) have, that means your (that much) less adept at your original system.
  Having been there, and done that, I get how you (might) believe it to be “necessary”. But, I also know that until I abandoned all the “extra” B.S. and began to actually study/research (my chosen) one art, my knowledge and ability had stagnated (despite the exposure to numerous systems).
  The concept of “focus” is (often) thrown around in the martial art's world. It is that impatiences, that I believe the concept to be addressing.
  All of that “extra” involvement, reminds me of something my dad told me when I was little, No matter how great tasting the frosting might seem to be, if you try to make a cake out of Pig Shit, it will always taste like Pig Shit.

(Which is about how all of these “new” martial art system's appear to me)

Friday, October 11, 2013

Achieving the Correct Reaction

  The majority of the forms of (Okinawan) karate that I observe today, instruct some manner of joint-manipulation (Torite/Tuite) and seem to be of the belief that it is not (allowed?) supposed to change (nor therefor improve). I understand the need to establish the groundwork (basics) for beginning students to learn general motions. But what I don't understand, is why the higher level students (mudansha) aren't expanding their (own) understanding of what's already been shown (the "basics").
  The “Typical” Torite/Tuite seminar being offered will present 20 new or different ways to do something, like some “new” technique. That would be fine, except the majority of students (regardless of rank) regularly perform the elementary forms of the techniques incorrectly.
  It seems that every time I hear someone tell me that they (already) know a technique, they (only) know how to perform the “practice” manner of it's performance. They have rarely applied it in every possible manner of it's use/application.
  It has become commonplace for practitioner's to believe that there is only one way to perform some (any) technique that they've previously been shown (and I use the word “shown” on purpose, because I don't feel that they've actually “learned” the application).
  There is an immense vacuum of knowledge where the fundamental techniques are concerned. Most practitioner's are aware of those motions, but rarely are they adept at their utilization.
  This is a sad (enough) statement to be made regarding “Yudansha” students/instructors, but what's more sad, is the denial of it's occurrence.
  Commonly, any technique will have several (different) manners of situations that it could be utilized within. Most techniques are demonstrated using only “1”. This is usually the one in which they were taught the technique, and will (only) utilize it in.
  I detest the description/term, but in the (supposedly) “live” practice method, a technique is attempted in several different circumstances (with the uke resisting). This manner of practice is essential for learning and understanding the 6 Basic Tuite Principles.
  Those principles allow the student to (individually) dissect all of the techniques that have been taught to them. Every technique, regardless of how simplistic one may consider that technique to be, should be scrutinized to the level of ad nauseam.
  We are repeatedly encountering individual's who (want to) claim that such and such technique won't work on “them”. And just as often, we discover that “whomever”, has been attempting to perform the technique incorrectly upon them (meaning we have always achieved a correct reaction).
  Just as often we observe what (other systems) members are calling “tuite”, being performed incorrectly and/or resulting in incorrect responses from their techniques application.
  When queried, those same individual's will (often) “brag” about how they (only) practice those tuite techniques hard and fast.  Although seeming to be “realistic”, the objective of practice is to learn, and study. Simulating realism, can only go so far. More will be gained from the examination and understanding acquired from the focused study of the technique.
  The majority of techniques will create some manner of reaction regardless of how sloppily that technique is performed. Unfortunately many practitioner's consider “any” reaction to be acceptable. This is only accurate if that reaction is sufficient to accomplish the desired goal (at that time).
  What is most commonly seen, is a simplistic forward bend (at the waist of the uke). This is often resisted through simple strength, and/or having a high pain threshold. Correct technique reaction should consist of a knee “buckle” accompanied by a rotation away from the tori (which will prevent the ability to strike the tori with the uke's free hand).
  The tori should additionally be capable of placing the uke in any location and/or position that is required (be that at the immediate location, or relocated to a preferred one, via one of the instructed escort applications).
  The preferred goal, should be to create the desired reaction that is required at the time, and being successful, regardless of any attempt that is being made to counter it. All of that, requires extensive practice and research of the basic motions and techniques.


Wednesday, October 9, 2013

The “Truth” of the Matter

  A few month's back, I read another person's blog discussing the use of the (Japanese) word, “jitsu” (and making the same point I make here). In the majority of instances, people are writing the kanji for “jutsu”, yet stating (in Romanji) “jitsu”. Though having been aware of it, I've (pretty much) just left everyone alone in regards to it. 
 The definition of Jutsu, is "art,technique,skill;means;artifice, trick,stratagem;resources;magic,conjure"
 The definition of Jitsu, is "truth,reality:sincerity,fidelity;kindness; faith:substance,essence"
 There do exist "other" kanji that share these pronunciations, but (after viewing them) it quickly becomes obvious that these are the two being (regularly) interchanged.
 After having seen yet another blog attempt to justify their mispronunciation (of the kanji), and by using incorrect information at that, I felt I should voice my own opinion as well. 
  It isn't as if I'm just pulling this out of my ass, just to complain about something. I am a licensed instructor for the instruction of Japanese Calligraphy. I own around 8 Japanese to English dictionaries. Of those, 6 are “kanji” dictionaries (showing the Chinese/Japanese kanji that represent the words/sounds). I also have 6 (only) Japanese dictionaries that I use for translations. I translate Japanese documents (almost) every day (meaning only, that I am very familiar with translating Japanese kanji).
  If it were only Americans (that do this), I could easily understand it (knowing the low educational level of this, “my”, country, LOL in regards to foreign languages). But we are not alone in this (miss) practice. I see it regularly upon websites from all over the world.
  I've also heard it claimed that the “jitsu” pronunciation been heard from Japanese/Okinawan's as well. The problem with that, is when you ask them, they (those that can) will write it (in English) as “jutsu”. Eastern pronunciation of vowel sounds is different than Western (ie. In English). The Western “ear” is not always accurate in it's perception of Japanese words.
  It's been argued that this is the result of poor translation, or poor pronunciation skills (both of which may be true). But it doesn't excuse the fact that “Dictionary's” are plentiful, and with minimal research it could quickly be ascertained what the correct pronunciation is (I'm afraid that the “Internet” is not always a valid/accurate source for translations).
  There are some Japanese words that will vary in their pronunciation (depending on their use, or when combined with other words). “Jutsu” isn't one of them, at least in regards to “Jitsu”. The word/kanji for Jutsu, is never pronounced (or spelled as) “Jitsu”.
  The words (and kanji) have two different translations and meanings. They don't have any correlation to one another, and can't be confused (for their use). The kanji for each don't resemble one another (regardless of the “style” they are written in), so they can't be confused (accidentally).
  Regardless of the “facts” numerous systems advertize the “art” that they are teaching as being “Jitsu”, yet use the kanji for “Jutsu” (as well as pronouncing it as such). Other than advertising their own ignorance, they aren't (really) hurting anything, or anyone by doing so. People (and organizations) can broadcast their own illiteracy as much as they so choose (“Free World” and all that), but know that by doing so, they are making everyone else look like they are as ignorant as they are. 

(If you can't Read/Speak/Write Japanese Correctly, then Don't use it)