First Generation Fascination

Joined: October 30th, 2009, 3:39 pm

February 1st, 2011, 2:01 am #1

Whats up with all the "First Generation" talk on different peoples websites? Do these chosen ones posses secret knowledge that no one else has?
What if your instructor is farther down the chain? What if your a black belt under a "Josh Ryer" or a "Dave Brock"? Are you missing something because they never had private instruction in Mr. Parkers backyard.
It seems many of these guys don't want to be in the "Larry Tatum" or "Huk Planas" etc etc... family tree. They want to be Parker tree only.
I would be honored to say I got my black from Tatum, Planas, White, Dimmick, Sullivan, Kelly, etc... I guess their not.
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Joined: January 19th, 2004, 2:11 am

February 1st, 2011, 2:10 am #2

I'm a Tatum Black Belt. Am I happy about that? You betcha. The Black Belts under my lineage are happy to claim me as their instructor in the Tatum line, but with Clydeisms LOL, but all have trained with Larry at some point. I had an oppurtunity to train with Mr. Parker, but never in a private lesson.

Larry gave me an incredible insight into the art, and I hope I continue to refine the knowledge he gave me to pass onto others.

Have a great gun carryin' Kenpo day

Clyde

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Joined: September 18th, 2009, 4:26 pm

February 1st, 2011, 4:38 am #3

Whats up with all the "First Generation" talk on different peoples websites? Do these chosen ones posses secret knowledge that no one else has?
What if your instructor is farther down the chain? What if your a black belt under a "Josh Ryer" or a "Dave Brock"? Are you missing something because they never had private instruction in Mr. Parkers backyard.
It seems many of these guys don't want to be in the "Larry Tatum" or "Huk Planas" etc etc... family tree. They want to be Parker tree only.
I would be honored to say I got my black from Tatum, Planas, White, Dimmick, Sullivan, Kelly, etc... I guess their not.
So who's website are you talking about? If you care enough to ask on kenponet, do you care enough to ask the person directly? Most websites have contact info.
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Joined: August 23rd, 2010, 6:36 pm

February 1st, 2011, 7:54 am #4

Whats up with all the "First Generation" talk on different peoples websites? Do these chosen ones posses secret knowledge that no one else has?
What if your instructor is farther down the chain? What if your a black belt under a "Josh Ryer" or a "Dave Brock"? Are you missing something because they never had private instruction in Mr. Parkers backyard.
It seems many of these guys don't want to be in the "Larry Tatum" or "Huk Planas" etc etc... family tree. They want to be Parker tree only.
I would be honored to say I got my black from Tatum, Planas, White, Dimmick, Sullivan, Kelly, etc... I guess their not.
interesting span of space and time you got there.

Clark
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Joined: May 7th, 2004, 11:02 am

February 1st, 2011, 4:01 pm #5

Whats up with all the "First Generation" talk on different peoples websites? Do these chosen ones posses secret knowledge that no one else has?
What if your instructor is farther down the chain? What if your a black belt under a "Josh Ryer" or a "Dave Brock"? Are you missing something because they never had private instruction in Mr. Parkers backyard.
It seems many of these guys don't want to be in the "Larry Tatum" or "Huk Planas" etc etc... family tree. They want to be Parker tree only.
I would be honored to say I got my black from Tatum, Planas, White, Dimmick, Sullivan, Kelly, etc... I guess their not.
Got my black from my instructor, Hans Hesselmann, here in the Netherlands. Started my training on february 11th, 1991 (Yes, exactly 20 years ago a week after next friday), so after Mr. Parker passed away. Needless to say I was never taught by him.

Saying that a first degree black belt is by definition better then any higher degree, would mean that the system will be watered down soon now, and probably be gone in another 50 years...

For historic reasons I like to participate in seminars with people who have trained extensively under Mr. Parker, because of the things they can tell me about the way things were in the old days.

Purely for technical training, I just as much like to be taught by any 2nd, 3rd or 4th generation student (with or without a black belt) as long as the person can teach me something I didn't know yet.

So: can a first generation offer me anything a 2nd can't? YES
Can a higer generation be technically just as good or even better then a first generation? YES TOO

Just my opinion,
Marcel

***************************************
Marcel de Jong, 4th Black from the Netherlands

http://www.katsudokenpo.nl
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Joined: June 13th, 2005, 7:25 pm

February 1st, 2011, 7:02 pm #6

Whats up with all the "First Generation" talk on different peoples websites? Do these chosen ones posses secret knowledge that no one else has?
What if your instructor is farther down the chain? What if your a black belt under a "Josh Ryer" or a "Dave Brock"? Are you missing something because they never had private instruction in Mr. Parkers backyard.
It seems many of these guys don't want to be in the "Larry Tatum" or "Huk Planas" etc etc... family tree. They want to be Parker tree only.
I would be honored to say I got my black from Tatum, Planas, White, Dimmick, Sullivan, Kelly, etc... I guess their not.
Getting information from the source is always a good idea ... however everyone who is NOT Mr. Parker (which is everyone obviously) will filter that information in their own unique way. Sometimes this is good, sometimes not.

Iv'e been fortunate since my divorce in '06 to train with allot of 1st gens, 2nd gens and students of both and most of the time I come away with at least something positive from the experience ... even if its not to do a technique that way.

Peace,
Martin
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Joined: January 16th, 2004, 5:32 pm

February 2nd, 2011, 3:10 am #7

Whats up with all the "First Generation" talk on different peoples websites? Do these chosen ones posses secret knowledge that no one else has?
What if your instructor is farther down the chain? What if your a black belt under a "Josh Ryer" or a "Dave Brock"? Are you missing something because they never had private instruction in Mr. Parkers backyard.
It seems many of these guys don't want to be in the "Larry Tatum" or "Huk Planas" etc etc... family tree. They want to be Parker tree only.
I would be honored to say I got my black from Tatum, Planas, White, Dimmick, Sullivan, Kelly, etc... I guess their not.
It would be wonderful to have learned directly from Ed Parker directly. It would be wonderful to have learned from a 1st generation Parker BB.

But, if every other teacher is less capable than the first generation teachers, that means that the art is declining. It means that after the 1st generation teachers stop teaching, then the 2nd generation teachers are teaching a weaker art. Taking this futher, the art gets weaker with every subsequent generation. If you believe this, then you believe that Kenpo is declining and will suffer a long slow death.

While it could be great to learn the original way, wouldn't it be better if the 2nd and 3rd and subsequent generation of teachers were actually doing things better than the originators? Wouldn't that be the sign of a healthy and living art?


Regards,

Alan Wortman aka Old Fat Kenpoka
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Joined: September 18th, 2009, 4:26 pm

February 2nd, 2011, 5:51 pm #8

A simple answer: quality, ability, drive, dedication, perception, correction, and insight are rare. Even rarer that you get someone with those qualities that will make it to black belt, I've always heard 1 in 1000. Even more rare, that you get someone who will take the art apart over and over until the depth of their understanding and skill level is "superhuman" - I say superhuman because the average person doesn't go to that level. That's why there is an average, above average, etc.

Now look at all the other places a person might go instead. mma, basketball, football, other martial arts, martial sports, arts & crafts, video games, children, music, also physical, mental, spiritual persuits, doctors, therapists, spiritual leaders, etc.


Now look at any innovator, any real artist in their field. We'll take the speed bag for example. There is a guy named Alan Kahn in Texas who did for the speed bag (basically) what Mr. Parker did for Kenpo. Organized the movements, the system, and taught others. He learned from old school speed bag guys, but before him there was no speed bag manual. Still to this day you only see guys hitting in basic triplet rhythm from the front side of the bag, unless they've found Alan Kahn. There are people who have learned from his videos and book, and even less that have learned from him directly in person. Even less that have really mastered the speed bag in depth. Of course Alan isn't the only guy out there hitting the bag, there are other masters around, but none that have done what he has. And this is just a speed bag. There are folks out there that do more and some that do less than what Alan does on a speed bag.

Now we look at Kenpo, the whole human package.

Without quality control around, then quality can slip. There are still those who strive to raise the bar, but now you've got more places for flaws to make it off the line. Call me an optimist, but I believe that generally most people feel what they do is right. But good intentions can have great costs.

I've seen it in my old art. I had doubts, and my instructor couldn't remove my doubt. The guy that brought the art here from Jimmy Woo had great skill, and when he retired from teaching he left the school to a guy who wasn't interested in the whole system, and he took the parts he liked and passed those on, until one of his students took over from him, the guy I learned from. He wanted to make sure he had students, so he softened things, he didn't teach basics because he said adults weren't interested and wouldn't stick around. Luckily, one of my good friends was a black belt from back in the day under the first guy that brought San Soo here after learning from Jimmy Woo. He was also a 3rd brown in American Kenpo (his first art). He would show me things, he would work with me, he would teach others if they approached him, showed interest, dedication, desire and respect. He also has a bit of attitude and isn't the most approachable lol. Generally most people passed over him. There were still some never made it bangers who would come to the school for a couple months then dissappear again. Even a guy that came from California and taught for awhile on Mondays, and this guy learned from the heart of San Soo in Cali and his skill was pretty awesome. I've heard it said the further you move from California the worse the Kenpo, generally. Seems it worked that way for San Soo too.

Before I started going on Mondays, only one guy went to class that night, and he didn't go to any other class because he had been around long enough to see that the current owner of the school was teaching crap basically, he was a green belt. The school owner even talked about the green belt curse, about people quitting once they hit green. I quit once I hit green, because by that time I had learned everything this guy had to teach.

Back to the beginning, I went to all classes, I was new and wanted to learn as much as I could. I would go to the other classes excited about all the stuff we did on Monday, finally 3 folks came to a Monday class, once, and they saw how hard we worked. They never came again to a Monday class. I think it's rare to find those who want to work hard, those who want to push themselves, push their art to the highest levels they can achieve. Break through a limitation, you see there was no limitation, and you break through the next and the next. Of course not everyone wants to go that far for something, and not everyone wants to be the Jimi Hendrix of guitar, maybe they want to be good enough to look impressive to the average guy. Just better than average.

Anyway, I'm using analogy and hopefully haven't wandered too far off. Kudos if you're still reading.

You get somebody who doesn't demand the most from themselves, and doesn't demand the most from their students, and the art slips. You see a 4th degree black belt who doesn't lift his leg to position 1 when he kicks, and none of his students do either in his school's promo video. If you don't know better you wouldn't see it. If the guys teacher never learned that, how can he pass on what he doesn't know? Then you get a bunch of youtube comments telling this guy "wow you've got the best Kenpo on youtube!" And now nobody can tell him ****.

But remember, the loudest most attention seeking dog. doesn't represent all the dogs in the house, he's just the one everybody sees.

The only reason I'm in Kenpo is because my teacher is in Kenpo. I went to about 13 different schools until I found what I was looking for. Every place I went too didn't live up to my expectation. Some places didn't really teach the details, or if they did it was a class of 25 and no one on one attention, or they would say "how long have you been doing martial arts you move really well!"

My teacher was the only guy I went to that said ok, that's pretty good but fix this, fix this, the action is like this. And he removed my doubt, he knew the why's, he didn't ******** me. He CARED enough to make sure things were done right, and continues to. None of his black belts kick without 3 leg positions, because they never would have made it past yellow belt if they didn't.
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Joined: March 5th, 2005, 2:18 pm

February 4th, 2011, 12:36 pm #9

Whats up with all the "First Generation" talk on different peoples websites? Do these chosen ones posses secret knowledge that no one else has?
What if your instructor is farther down the chain? What if your a black belt under a "Josh Ryer" or a "Dave Brock"? Are you missing something because they never had private instruction in Mr. Parkers backyard.
It seems many of these guys don't want to be in the "Larry Tatum" or "Huk Planas" etc etc... family tree. They want to be Parker tree only.
I would be honored to say I got my black from Tatum, Planas, White, Dimmick, Sullivan, Kelly, etc... I guess their not.
I think it matters a lot. Each generation removed from Mr. Parker will add, subtract or bend the art a little. It might be insubstantial but it will be different. We enter the art with preconceived ideas, take what our instructor teaches us and pass it on and it's simply never going to be the same as what we took in. I'm not saying it will be better or that it will be worse, simply different. Guys who seek out first generation instructors obviously place a value on getting things from as close to the original source as possible. Nothing wrong with that.

Personally, I appreciate Mr. Tatum's technique and Mr. Planas' form videos because they have captured a standard for the art. I appreciate Mr. Wedlake's seminars because he always shares some of the history, how a technique evolved.

I have learned much from many instructors, each bringing with it their own flavor. Their differences make the art richer.

Take it out on the heavy bag,

Chuck Peterson
peterson_charlie@hotmail.com

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Joined: April 12th, 2006, 10:58 pm

February 6th, 2011, 8:17 pm #10

Whats up with all the "First Generation" talk on different peoples websites? Do these chosen ones posses secret knowledge that no one else has?
What if your instructor is farther down the chain? What if your a black belt under a "Josh Ryer" or a "Dave Brock"? Are you missing something because they never had private instruction in Mr. Parkers backyard.
It seems many of these guys don't want to be in the "Larry Tatum" or "Huk Planas" etc etc... family tree. They want to be Parker tree only.
I would be honored to say I got my black from Tatum, Planas, White, Dimmick, Sullivan, Kelly, etc... I guess their not.
Here is mine:

Mr. Parker was a one of a kind charismatic brilliant man. When we sat at the table to eat, it was like sitting in the room with The Godfather. Not just for me, a second gen, but yes for those first gens, too. When he taught, his command of martial arts terms and concepts was so far beyond anyone else, it was like sending a 6th grader to Yale. His first generation students were corrected by a genius. That is invaluable.
Certainly his first generation students translate his teachings through their own filters, as do their students and so on down the line. Certainly a 5th generation can be brilliant and have something valid to teach. I wouldn't say they water down the art; it is meant to be tailored to the individual.
However, the first gens have been around for so much longer, they have a wealth of knowledge gained over time that higher rank newer students may not have. They may have dealt with so many more students and teachers that they have the ability to teach and entertain us in ways younger teachers can't. They are also rare in that they were around during a pivotal point in American martial arts history, and their stories and insights are entertaining and invaluable.
I have met and taken classes from Mr. P and many first generation student; I believe about half of my Journey book is signed. Let me tell you; you may feel awe for some really talented practitioners, but there is a kind of experience you get when you are in the presence of or taking a class from a first gen that you will not get from a newer teacher. Their skills are so ingrained that though they may be badly injured and not so spry anymore, you may learn a whole concept from the shrug of their shoulder.
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