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bushido_man96
KF Sensei
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Joined: 31 Mar 2006
Posts: 28080
Location: Hays, KS
Styles: Taekwondo, Combat Hapkido, Aikido, GRACIE

PostPosted: Wed Feb 21, 2007 9:45 am    Post subject: Martial Arts "Monogamy" Reply with quote

The media coverage that the martial arts receive currently is higher than it has ever been in the past, due to the vast coverage of martial arts sporting events such as the Ultimate Fighting Championships, Pride Fighting Championships and the K-1 events. With the advent of the “mixed martial arts” of our time, many people in the public eye have seen the martial arts as a conglomeration of striking, kicking and ground fighting.

Even with the advent of these fighting venues, I have come across a problem that I have with my martial arts training. I study a “traditional” style, under a “traditional” instructor and he is not very open-minded to the idea of cross training in other martial arts outside of his school.

In the martial arts, one of the most popular tenets stated is “loyalty for one’s instructor.” This tenet implies that once you have an instructor, then you should be loyal to him inasmuch that you will not stray from his path of teaching and have confidence in what he can teach you. In an ever changing world, when people are constantly moving, changing instructors and even styles tends to happen. If a student does not move, instructors expect loyalty from their students.

In my experiences, my instructors would not look favorably on me looking into other schools and definitely not in joining them. The result of this action could mean expulsion. This results in what I refer to as martial arts “monogamy,” in which a student essentially ends up marrying his martial art and to an extent, his instructor. This isn’t a bad thing, as long as the instructor has all of the knowledge in the world to impart on his students. As far as I know, that guy does not exist.

Here is my scenario. I have been training in Taekwondo for thirteen years and have been teaching for over 6 years. However, I lack ground fighting and joint manipulation skills. My instructor decided to incorporate some Hapkido curriculum into the school. This curriculum was supplemental to our Taekwondo classes. He would not offer Hapkido during a normal class block (say, from 6:00 to 7:00 pm), but instead offered it for 30 to 45 minutes after our traditional classes. This worked out well for a while and I even tested up to my blue belt, I believe. After a while, attendance to the later classes dropped and soon thereafter, so was the class. Now, the only joint manipulation training that I receive is every two months or so when we do Ho sin sul at the end of class instead of sparring.

Why do instructors do this? Why do they want to restrict their students?

First of all, I feel that they may be a bit egotistical about their levels of skill or knowledge. They are also territorial about their students. It’s kind of like when parents try to give other parents advice on how to raise their kids. Instructors have an “it was good enough for me, it’s good enough for my students” attitude.

Secondly, I think that an instructor feels threatened about losing a student to a school or instructor that their student will like better. No one likes to lose out on business. After all, most instructors are businessmen. They may point out that attending other schools is a conflict of interest. I have also heard instructors say that they don’t want their students going to other schools and sharing information that they have learned from them with other students or instructors. Some instructors would view this as disloyal behavior.

Last of all, an instructor does not want to concede that they have a “weakness” in their abilities. How many Taekwondo instructors offer their students the address of a good Jui-Jitsu school and then tell them to spend two days a week shoring up their ground fighting skills. Indeed, not very many instructors will encourage enrollment in another school to supplement the training that they provide.

Through actions such as these, our various masters and instructors, in an attempt to preserve the tenet of “loyalty to one’s instructor,” fail to demonstrate humility or humbleness on their own part. The simple fact of the matter is that they do not like to address their own inadequacies.

A lesson can be learned by all from perhaps the greatest martial artist ever, Bruce Lee. He learned things from grapplers and strikers alike. In order to be his best, he knew he had to ask questions and seek answers. In so doing, he became one of the most respected people in the history of the martial arts. Many present day masters and instructors could learn from his example, that martial arts “monogamy” restricts their abilities and this action does not benefit any martial artist.

Postscript: I have noticed that there are many on these forums that train or have trained in multiple styles. It this is something that has only happened to me, it is not my intention to make it appear that the entire martial arts community is this way.
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Patrick
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Location: Los Angeles, California

PostPosted: Wed Feb 21, 2007 9:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you for the submission.
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Ace2021
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Joined: 15 Jun 2006
Posts: 292

Styles: Daido Juku Karatedo

PostPosted: Thu Feb 22, 2007 7:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree with you a lot. My Kyokushin instructor doesn't like me cross-training in Jujitsu, he thinks his art is the best and no other is needed. Same with my jujitsu instructor. Perhaps when this generation or someone from it becomes a sensei they can fix all of this..
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cross
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Joined: 22 Jan 2003
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 22, 2007 10:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Excillent article bushido_man96.

Quote:
Why do instructors do this? Why do they want to restrict their students?


Has you mentioned, many standup styles neglect groundfighting techniques. If its not a part of their system to start with, then they must find someway to justify why they dont need to worry about doing it. Including new training within their system means they must first admit something is missing within their style. Instead of admiting this they often downplay the importance of the kind of training that they neglect so they dont have to focus on it.

This obiviously is no benifit to a student whos aim is to be well rounded.

Why they do it? Probably because admiting your wrong, or dont have all the answers, or the training you spent 20 years doing isnt all there is.. can be quiet hard for some. So hard that many will try and convince you that groundfighting has been within their style from the start, even though it has never been mentioned or practiced until someone asks why they dont do it.
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bushido_man96
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Joined: 31 Mar 2006
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Location: Hays, KS
Styles: Taekwondo, Combat Hapkido, Aikido, GRACIE

PostPosted: Thu Feb 22, 2007 11:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

cross wrote:
Why they do it? Probably because admiting your wrong, or dont have all the answers, or the training you spent 20 years doing isnt all there is.. can be quiet hard for some. So hard that many will try and convince you that groundfighting has been within their style from the start, even though it has never been mentioned or practiced until someone asks why they dont do it.


Good points, cross. I really enjoyed the fact that the Hapkido was added to the school, and equally disappointed that it was taken away. Now, however, me and a small group of friends have begun to practice our Combat Hapkido again. I am also currently developing a curriculum for the Combat Hapkido, to make it more inclusive.

My school is a good Taekwondo school when it comes to knowing the requirements for testings. We do lots of basics, then forms, then one-steps, and maybe some sparring. When testing time comes, we know the forms, etc., really well. However, I think we need more, especially when it comes to self-defense.
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cross
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Joined: 22 Jan 2003
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 22, 2007 11:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
My school is a good Taekwondo school when it comes to knowing the requirements for testings. We do lots of basics, then forms, then one-steps, and maybe some sparring. When testing time comes, we know the forms, etc., really well. However, I think we need more, especially when it comes to self-defense.


Thats common among alot of schools(including the karate school i used to attend). They teach you to be good at whatever art it is, and throw self defence onto the list of things they offer, even if the focus is art and any self defence you learn is by coincidence, not intended training from the instructor.
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bushido_man96
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Joined: 31 Mar 2006
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Location: Hays, KS
Styles: Taekwondo, Combat Hapkido, Aikido, GRACIE

PostPosted: Mon Feb 26, 2007 12:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This thread, posted by Shotokan-kez, adds some other thoughts and points that seem to coincide with the views expressed in my article: http://www.karateforums.com/do-we-need-to-ask-permission-vt29499.html
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gheinisch
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Joined: 09 Jan 2003
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Location: Newnan, Georgia
Styles: Hon-Shin-Do - Shodan

PostPosted: Wed Feb 28, 2007 8:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I guess we are lucky in my school. Our Hanshi is very open to other styles and welcomes thought and input from others who have studied other styles. Maybe this is because in his more than forty years of experience he himself has taken other styles and incorporates his knowledge of those into our style. One example of this is we have this gentleman who is a Shodan in another style come to our class wishing to work out with us. Our Hanshi is always careful about other people wanting to come to class just to workout, there are those who go from school to school and try and steal students away to thier own school by telling them whats wrong with the system they're taking. Well this guy was legit and was very respectful to our Hanshi. This gentleman also has a history in Jujitsu which our Hanshi isn't a big fan of just because in his past jobs he had many years ago as a bouncer and bodyguard you didn't want to find yourself locked up with someone on the ground, especially in a club where a guy is bound to have some buddies with him to help. But he tells us that this doesn't mean that he doesn't want us to learn it and know it just because he's not a fan. Don't get me wrong, he loves Jujitsu and thinks its a great art. It just didn't work for him. He'll be the first to tell you that there is no bad art, just bad instructors. This other black belt offered to teach us what he knows about Jujitsu and our Hanshi was very accepting of it. And he now is learning our style and katas to incorporate into his own. I believe learning other styles can only make you a better Martial Artist in the long run. Sure, have a base style but don't be told that it's the way and only way. Very nice article.
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stejitsu
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Joined: 18 Jan 2007
Posts: 85
Location: Brookvale community centre, runcorn, cheshire
Styles: ng gar tien, wing chun, kung fu

PostPosted: Wed Feb 28, 2007 10:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Im lucky in so much as our instructor trained for a long time in karate, and further still in wing chun. Also he train's/trained in BJJ , kali/jkd to a good standard.

He actively encourages us to progress further in martial arts by cross training us. He shows us things not from our base art but believes all should know these things as it makes for a more rounded martial artist.

Why hold back on something that could one day, save you or loved ones.
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bushido_man96
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Joined: 31 Mar 2006
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Location: Hays, KS
Styles: Taekwondo, Combat Hapkido, Aikido, GRACIE

PostPosted: Thu Mar 01, 2007 3:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It does sound like you two (gheinisch, stejitsu) have very respectable conditions at your respective schools.

A fellow trainee of mine read the article, and he stated that he felt very much the same way that I do. He has even stated that he thinks the reasoning behind some of the students not returning is because of the attitude that our instructor has towards studying other styles.

I guess at this point, it really isn't much of a concern, because there aren't many other schools around me to choose from. If I ever relocate, though, these will be serious thoughts for me to consider.
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