Joined: April 10th, 2005, 11:41 pm

January 5th, 2011, 3:47 am #11

BODE: >>I believe that the structure of the Motion Kenpo curriculum is not ideal given what we know about science today. That may be a controversial statement, but simply put, the techniques are too complex at the early stages. They don't allow for repetition of the simplistic basics and students tend to get lost in this see of motion. Too many options. Too much to know. And if you don't start teaching the "fun stuff" quickly, then you lose the students. It's a double edged sword.

Can you please elaborate further on what you mean by the above statement? In particular I would like to know more about the too many options part





I do feel like taking a small movement in isolation from a technique and developing it further can lead to some interesting advancements but I have always found it so difficult to explain both the process and the results without direct transmission.


Take for example the strike to the neck in the technique Delayed Sword. From POO to POC I feel like the body can learn to transfer more energy into the target if the body is moved in a particular sequence, it gets to the point that the strike is very powerful but also effortlessly so

It gets to the point that you can tap the target and due to the preceding sequential set-up combined with your hyper-efficient body mechanics your generating enough energy to do the job because your energy is more focused and thus able to penetrate deeper into the target.

This is versus a person who has not isolated the movement and refined it, who ends up expending tremendous energy to CHOP the target but ends up absorbing or in other ways preventing a full depth penetration of the force through the target. The unrefined movement often has the muscles of the upper body (in the case of this strike) working while the center and lower parts of the body play catch up.

The pressure of contact is often maintained to long on the target which has the effect of turning a strike into more of a push and really dulling the amount of internal damage. However, it does have the effect of moving the opponent and so may appear to have a greater effect. Effect yes but damage not so much.

Anyway I bet this will be another failed attempt at explaining this process and the results that can come from it.

It is so much easier to say OK how does this feel? OK now how does this feel? Big difference right?
The Motion Kenpo (Red Book) curriculum was setup by Mr. Parker a long time ago. I think that if he were still alive he would have drastically simplified the earlier curriculum to deal with basics more AND keep the students engaged.

The white belt techniques deal with straight punches, roundhouses, grabs, kicks, and a bear hug. The mechanics to deal with each of these is VASTLY different so the student is forced to learn a large range of completely new physical movements. Their brains and bodies are already overwhelmed with this new information, yet we toss on more. Moving up in belts, it only gets worse. This complexity even in white belt makes it difficult for the instructor to concentrate on what matters, the basics. If he/she tries to correct a basic, then something else gets thrown out the window because there is simply too much to learn.

Who cares about having one response to a bear hug if you haven't dealt with all the most common attacks yet? (Left and right straight punchs, left and right roundhouse). White Belt doesn't come close to dealing with these most common attacks. A student should leave white belt having learned some basic movement to deal with these attacks, not be dealing with the rare bear hug from the rear (In comparison to how common a punch is). Repetition on these attacks is also key. I suspect, if we do the math, the typical student doesn't see all of these common attacks until a few belts in. Even then, how many times have they been attacked this way in a controlled environment? Not many, because time is spent on bare hugs, grabs, etc...

Simplifying what the student learns early on goes a long way to freeing up the instructor to concentrate on the basics. If the student only has to worry about the four major attacks (as stated above) then their brain is free to make adjustments and learn in layers. They get the gross movement then we, as instructors, refine it over time. Each technique is different, but incorporates these same foundational basics. In SL4 we don't teach the white belt (What you would call white belt) techniques until brown belt. Everything up to brown deals with the most common attacks in a very simple form. Here is an example of what you must know to move from yellow to orange.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nkBAZKs3tlU

Simple. Deals with two punches. Allows us to focus on the students stances, blocks, and how they integrate. These pattern continues up to brown and beyond. We layer in new movements at each level and deal with different ranges at each level. Each belt level has a theme as well. Obtaining distance through footwork, obtaining distance through contact, kicks as a response, double punchs, elbows, low high, high low, etc... very simple.
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Joined: October 21st, 2010, 5:15 pm

January 5th, 2011, 7:13 am #12

And so what are the most common attacks? I call bull on that line of thinking as being very one sided to promote anothers line of thinking. I have had white belts after one month of training effectively use a technique from there material to defend themselves. So to say that is ludicrous IMHO. Now if you want to exploit and promote the basics as being the most important thing a person will learn, hey I am all for it and couldn't agree more. But there can and have been so many "drills" developed from beginner level techniques that is crazy. Look at the bigger picture and realize that techniques themselves are really just drills to hone and practice basics in different scenarios. Not any different than what Doc has you guys doing in your videos.... with the exception of the use of "pams" and "bams" and so on. But I digress... It's all good, you just have to pick the parts that work best for you and exploit them to your own limit of understanding or ability. we should never go through life thinking that we are the only ones that know or do...

Good Journey,
Todd Durgan
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Joined: May 7th, 2009, 2:29 am

January 6th, 2011, 2:46 am #13

Just look at a black belt trained in a Tracy School or an American Karate School in the 70's or by Parker in the early days and look at what you have today and that is where your answer lies....

And obviously my analysis should be prefaced by "For the most part"
Looking back all I can find is some rare footage, pictures and some stories hard to say if they were really good or just thought they were.
Frankly, I think it was the same: a few greats in a sea of suck...
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Joined: August 9th, 2003, 1:19 pm

January 6th, 2011, 1:53 pm #14

Often I hear it said that having correct basics is the key to a thousand martial arts related buzzwords and I do agree that having the ability to execute basics correctly is very important. The stories passed down over the years about great martial artists training in the glorious past are filled with tales of students who had to endure the drilling of this or that basic stance, punch, kick or whatever for countless months until at last that single basic was polished to the instructors standard of perfection. With so many old masters shaking their heads in disgust at the half-baked applications of various martial arts I thought I would go ahead and start a thread about the various approaches to BASICS.


It seems to me that many martial arts that are famous for having students that have highly polished basics tend to emphasize the learning of only a handful of basics to begin with. For example western boxing teaches a handful of basics compared to some other arts; the result is that they can use those basics very well. In Wing Chun again we see the focus on only a handful of basics and many creative means to ingrain them. Those martial arts are very popular even though they are basics focused, proving that you dont necessarily lose students or popularity just because you drill basics as long as you have a variety of ways in which to train them, speed bag, heavy bag, shadow boxing, focus mitts, with resistance, without resistance, partner drills, light contact, full contact, blindfolded etc It only gets boring if you run the exact same move over and over without variation. It gets more than boring; it becomes a hindrance to adaptability.

One approach of an Instructor I visited somewhere in Western Asia was to have his students stand in the Horse Stance in front of the wooden post and execute alternating corkscrew punches for the entire length of his class, just shy of an hour and always to the same spot roughly equivalent to their solar plexus level. Each class he picked a different basic and they repeated the same process. Frankly, I was surprised he managed to keep any students at all but he was one of only 3 instructors in that area and his students felt that this type of training would be sufficient to protect them in an actual self-defense situation. Who was I to judge?


Another instructor I visited used to have his students train basics in a method similar to Yoga, where they placed pressure on a part of the basic and maintained it for as long as they could, he had many students and all of them seemed very strong even the little kids. His school was full of all kinds of contraptions that his students used to train the handful of basics he instructed them in.

Over the years I have witnessed some cool approaches to basics but so few approaches produced students that had both good basics and also a vast versatility. In other words I would spar with the practitioners and often felt like I was sparring with robots. They did not have much continuity between one basic and the next. It was like whoever programmed this robot only gave him a handful of functions and while those functions would have been devastating had they landed the robot could not improvise well.

The complexity of basics is a fascinating subject of study. I feel like a popular misconception exists with regards to what a good basic IS A good basic is not an IS but rather it DOES, by that I mean that it is not about looking good with a particular movement but in understanding all the ways that move can influence your target and yourself. The training of a single basic should not be about doing a side kick with perfect form over and over (while good form is a part of basic training) rather it should be about how many ways you can use it, how many ways you can set it up, how many ways you can counter it, what can follow it, what can follow if its countered, how it feels internally, what speeds and angles of travel, how many targets, how can it be faked, feinted and so on.

It is OK if you disagree with me. I could be wrong but in terms of practicality what good is the perfect answer if I have to wait for the perfect question?
Your post shows dept, but ends with a lack of insight. Why must you explain BASICS on a physical level??? Could it be BASICS are used and are necessary for mental conditioning as well. Our ancestors used Basics as an initiation process. A Zulu warrior was put through many tests, few had to do with weather one could punch or Kick, as they had been doing that since childhood. Basics were used to measure ones heart, desire & humbleness. That way the Teacher could test the Initiate without giving away the secrets of the Mystery System. It is not always about the physical.

www.kkfkenpo.110mb.com
www.africansportkarate.110mb.com
kkfkenpo@yahoo.com
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Joined: October 14th, 2005, 5:16 am

January 7th, 2011, 5:22 pm #15

The basic courage of man is not as a rule shown in most of your dojo clinics...

Choki Motobu and Gichin Funakoshi come to mind about that topic, each has been set down in history, they both had their strengths and weakness, but both had basics in what they did regarding the movement...Practice made them prevail...Neither had the kind of attendance EPS had in his day and age...

The school of thought and continued participation would be Shotokan and its off shoots... So the basics of that MA are more in line with what you mention Amen...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shotokan
*****
PhilosophyGichin Funakoshi laid out the Twenty Precepts of Karate,[6] (or Niju kun[7]) which form the foundations of the art, before some of his students established the JKA. Within these twenty principles, based heavily on Bushido and Zen, lies the philosophy of Shotokan. The principles allude to notions of humility, respect, compassion, patience, and both an inward and outward calmness. It was Funakoshi's belief that through karate practice and observation of these 20 principles, the karateka would improve their person.[5]

The Dojo kun lists five philosophical rules for training in the dojo; seek perfection of character, be faithful, endeavor to excel, respect others, refrain from violent behavior. The Dojo kun is usually posted on a wall in the dojo, and some shotokan clubs recite the Dojo kun at the beginning and/or end of each class to provide motivation and a context for further training.

Funakoshi also wrote: "The ultimate aim of Karate lies not in victory or defeat, but in the perfection of the character of the participant."[5
****

Gary

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Joined: August 9th, 2003, 1:19 pm

January 8th, 2011, 6:51 am #16

Yes Gary, I believe this with all my heart. When I introduced Kenpo in Kenya, it built up on the beautiful moves and techniques. However over the years as I have gotten older, I see the limits of teaching in the self defense way. The vast majority of the public show little interest in being physical, and the intelligent people dismiss Martial Arts (as it is presented to them) as a game for the lower class of society. We have lost the connection between the REAL search for perfection, and the Martial Arts. We all strive to be like God. Someone in the past had a way to connect that need to Martial Arts. Gary the TV series "Kung Fu" really touched on this. Did you know 90% of that show was about life, and only 10% was about fighting. Reading these posts of everyone talking about Basics on the physical level, shows me we are behind in our understanding. What do you think?

www.kkfkenpo.110mb.com
www.africansportkarate.110mb.com
kkfkenpo@yahoo.com
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Joined: October 14th, 2005, 5:16 am

January 8th, 2011, 7:08 pm #17

That was all parents wanted the teachers, (school forced on them by the Government) to teach their children...The parent felt that the rest was taught at home or on the day of Sunday school... Very simplistic...

Society and the situation with children, is complicated... Our schools today are under a lot of pressure, I am surpised if it has not spilled over to the Business of MA...

For most schools (MA)they probably just want to teach the basics of the art and let others (more experienced and schooled) teach what it takes to be good citizens...

The dojo has its rules and when there, follow them or else find another location to learn the art of self defense... It is a business and in America the thing to remember is "buyer beware"...

Your assessment of the series Kung Fu is right on...

Gary


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Joined: August 9th, 2003, 1:19 pm

January 9th, 2011, 5:43 am #18

Yes, I agree, I was recently contracted to teach a group of kids using the Sudbury method. They have incorporated my M.A. teaching methods into the student's learning. I find myself feeling so much like the Masters in the Kung Fu series that I have uploaded all the Tao of Kung Fu from Youtube for study. Lol!

www.kkfkenpo.110mb.com
www.africansportkarate.110mb.com
kkfkenpo@yahoo.com
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Joined: October 14th, 2005, 5:16 am

January 9th, 2011, 4:59 pm #19

Worse things out there to study, that show was one of my favorites, still is something I go out of my way to watch...



Gary
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Joined: April 10th, 2005, 11:41 pm

January 10th, 2011, 7:22 am #20

And so what are the most common attacks? I call bull on that line of thinking as being very one sided to promote anothers line of thinking. I have had white belts after one month of training effectively use a technique from there material to defend themselves. So to say that is ludicrous IMHO. Now if you want to exploit and promote the basics as being the most important thing a person will learn, hey I am all for it and couldn't agree more. But there can and have been so many "drills" developed from beginner level techniques that is crazy. Look at the bigger picture and realize that techniques themselves are really just drills to hone and practice basics in different scenarios. Not any different than what Doc has you guys doing in your videos.... with the exception of the use of "pams" and "bams" and so on. But I digress... It's all good, you just have to pick the parts that work best for you and exploit them to your own limit of understanding or ability. we should never go through life thinking that we are the only ones that know or do...

Good Journey,
Todd Durgan
What are the most common attacks? Punches - left and right straights, left and right elliptical/round. Possibly starting with a push. Most often very committed. Possibly followed by a grab/bear hug.

This is not to say that the other attacks don't happen, but I'd certainly rather spend most of my time, in the lower belts, training for the most likely scenario (The new student will thank me for it later). The more reps you have dealing with punches the more likely you are to survive a fight. Your white belt, who after one month of training, utilized the technique is the exception to the rule. There always will be.

The techniques really are not just drills. You can't repeat a technique as fast as you can a drill. Drills are for "Drilling" in a specific pattern of movement using very repetitive movements. Techniques are much more complicated and usually involve very different mechanics from one technique to the next.

True, you do have to pick out what works best for you. If you're happy, I'm happy.
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