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KyungYet
Yellow Belt
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Joined: 26 Sep 2013
Posts: 50

Styles: 100% powered by Tang Soo Do for nearly 30 years.

PostPosted: Sun Sep 29, 2013 10:31 pm    Post subject: Re: Tangsoodo What do you focus on Reply with quote

tsd1592 wrote:
I was just wondering how many of you out there actively take tang soo do from who and wear. Also do you guys focus more on sport or self defince. Light or hard contact sparring or a mix of bouth


I'm going to go crazy here and answer your question directly and literally:

I've been taking TSD since I was 11. I started at a Chuck Norris school in the San Fernando Valley (CA) and learned/taught there until I was 16. Then it closed down when Norris moved to Texas to become "Walker," har har. One of my old instructors, Bob Baumann, opened up his own TSD studio (also in the SF Valley) and I trained there for a few years until it became quite clear that the man was straight-up, bat-crap insane (a whole post on him later, promise). Other instructors in my early years included Howard Jackson, Rick Prieto, Darryl Combs, Dean Minnerly, and Jerry Trimble (actually a TKD lightweight kickboxing champ, not a TSD guy). I taught for Howard's "Flash Karate" studio for the brief few years it was open.

In my early 20s, I taught for Roger Lacombe, who worked closely with Pat Johnson; I also taught for Fariborz Azhakh for a while. I teach TSD now at my University but train when I can with Master Lacombe - I feel very comfortable with his teaching and ethics.

We try to split our focus so we don't spend all our time on any one thing; when we spar, we generally use light contact but a lot of the black belts like to go harder and no one stops them as long as both parties are amenable and nothing/no one gets too badly damaged.

That's my entire martial arts life story in a few paragraphs - I guess I'm an open book here! And I would LOVE to hear from any other Chuck Norris black belts from my era! =)

S
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Aodhan
Black Belt
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Joined: 29 Apr 2005
Posts: 1508

Styles: ATA TKD, WTF, Shotokan

PostPosted: Mon Sep 30, 2013 8:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

chiliphil1 wrote:

My problem with the art, comes from 2 things, 1 being that tsd, like tkd has been transformed into a sport instead of an art,


Why is this a bad thing? If you have people that want to pursue martial arts primarily for the sport aspect, they are at the very least going to learn basic self defense along the way. Promoting it as a sport gets more people participating.

I participated in Shotokan competitions, no pads, hardwood floors, etc. Now I participate in TKD point sparring, with all the pads and restrictions that go with it. I still enjoy the competition. I don't need to limp for a week to feel satisfied, and I think that there are a lot of people that feel the same way.

I am reminded of a line from the movie Rounders - "You don't think!" - "No, I don't think like you!" If a person is training, enjoying what they do, and improving their body, why tear down the art that they do because they don't train the way you do?

I proudly train in the ATA, which gets labeled as one of the biggest McDojo offenders out there. Yes, there are some schools that fit that description, but that is true in any art. One of the reasons that we get that label, is that we consider where a person started as well as where they are currently. Eternal GrandMaster often said "Today not possible, tomorrow possible."

If we get a 45 y/o man that is 200 lbs overweight, never exercised in his life and can't pick up his foot more than 6" without falling over, and in 3 years he's lost 150 lbs, can balance and perform all the required forms, breaks his boards at testings, spars, but can't manage a kick above mid thigh yet, I would proudly award that man a black belt. If I get an autistic kid that when he came in for his first class stayed curled in a ball in the corner all class, but after a few years of training he is able to interact in the class and participate, but still has to be led through parts of his forms at testings, I'd also proudly award that child a black belt.

Maybe that means someone labels me a McDojo teacher because all they see is a black belt that can't kick high, or a child that has to be led through parts of his forms, but I see a man that has sweated, bled, suffered and trained hard and earned the privilege. I see a child that now interacts with the world rather than retreating from it. Never discount someone else's journey just because it differs from yours.

John
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KyungYet
Yellow Belt
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Joined: 26 Sep 2013
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Styles: 100% powered by Tang Soo Do for nearly 30 years.

PostPosted: Mon Sep 30, 2013 9:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Aodhan wrote:

I don't need to limp for a week to feel satisfied.


Haha, that's a quotable quote if I ever saw one. I agree. There's definitely a machisimo associated with the martial arts (snarling, bloody faces grimly punching their way through opponents... all of us have watched too many martial arts movies and UFC matches) but I don't think it's a special badge of courage to get battered every time one fights. I think everyone needs to know that they can take a serious hit and keep swinging, but the advent of safety equipment is definitely a boon and allows those who don't want to leave the school with their nose smeared across their cheekbones (children, certainly; women, perhaps; plenty of guys, too) the opportunity to learn speed, technique, strategy, etc, etc. And, like you said - it's enjoyable, which shouldn't be underrated.


Aodhan wrote:

If we get a 45 y/o man that is 200 lbs overweight, never exercised in his life and can't pick up his foot more than 6" without falling over, and in 3 years he's lost 150 lbs, can balance and perform all the required forms, breaks his boards at testings, spars, but can't manage a kick above mid thigh yet, I would proudly award that man a black belt. If I get an autistic kid that when he came in for his first class stayed curled in a ball in the corner all class, but after a few years of training he is able to interact in the class and participate, but still has to be led through parts of his forms at testings, I'd also proudly award that child a black belt.


Now here's where it gets really interesting to me. I've argued this one out in my head a bunch of times.

This really depends on what you think the symbol of "black belt" means. I understand your POV and part of me agrees with it. But... part of me also feels like "black belt" should be a standardized benchmark with enough meaning behind it that when we say someone is a "black belt," anyone who hears it knows roughly what that means. Hence, if a person cannot perform to the standard for what a black belt ought to be able to do, they cannot have a black belt.

So wait: some people just never get to earn their black belt? After years of training and effort?

Philosophically, at least, I sort of think... yeah. Some somewhat comparable examples for the fun of letting you pick them apart:

1) I couldn't quite pass the tests necessary to be a police officer. But I was really shy and overweight before applying! My improvement ought to be enough to get me accepted!

2) I don't really sing well enough to deserve a record contract. But I used to sing REALLY poorly and now I can carry a tune! Plus, I'm blind!! That's a huge disadvantage. So you should put me on the radio!

3) I didn't have good enough grades or a high enough MCAT to get into medical school. But I really really want to be a doctor super-badly, and I've studied very hard and taken my MCAT multiple times! Isn't it time you recognized my effort and improvement and just let me in?

Haha, that was fun. LOL. I know those were over the top, but that's the crap I come up with in my head when I think about whether or not "black belt" ought to mean something static or something dynamic. If people can't meet a particular standard, and as a result, we simply lower our standard to meet them, we've weakened our entire framework. Not to mention that no one knows what it means when you say you have a "black belt" because it might range anywhere from "I am Bruce Lee" to "I try really hard and my instructor wants to reward me for my effort!" I've definitely seen THAT ability gap out in the real world.

Of course, this all depends on how you decide what the necessary qualities of a black belt are, and I believe your argument is that there's more to it, character-wise, than just kicking higher than a proscribed level and beating people up sufficiently. Without padding.

Well, so I just wanted to philosophize. I don't think I'm wrong. But I don't think I'm right, either. This is always my internal struggle. Philosophize back at me.
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bushido_man96
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Joined: 31 Mar 2006
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Styles: Taekwondo, Combat Hapkido, Aikido, GRACIE

PostPosted: Tue Oct 01, 2013 12:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You both bring out very solid points.

Its a hard one for me. I started out in the ATA, was a 2nd degree black belt, certified instuctor of a full-time school. I know that I had some great ATA instructors, and I also know the rap that the ATA gets from the rest of the MA community.

I think that, from KyungYet's perspective, I understand the point of how it appears that the rank of black belt can become diluted. But, I also see the point Aodhan makes in rewarding the hard work of those that don't have the same abilities as others.

There are so many ways to look into this. I like the idea of black belts having a good standard, being able to teach the finer points of a system to colored belt ranks, and being a good example of what the technique should look like, how it should be done, and how to apply things. Now, one doesn't have to be a super athlete to be able to do these things, heaven knows I'm not one. I also think there should be some reward system for those that show the indomitable spirit to overcome something like being overweight or autistic and becoming better within. It just might not be a black belt reward.
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Aodhan
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Joined: 29 Apr 2005
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Styles: ATA TKD, WTF, Shotokan

PostPosted: Tue Oct 01, 2013 1:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

KyungYet wrote:

So wait: some people just never get to earn their black belt? After years of training and effort?

Philosophically, at least, I sort of think... yeah. Some somewhat comparable examples for the fun of letting you pick them apart:

1) I couldn't quite pass the tests necessary to be a police officer. But I was really shy and overweight before applying! My improvement ought to be enough to get me accepted!

2) I don't really sing well enough to deserve a record contract. But I used to sing REALLY poorly and now I can carry a tune! Plus, I'm blind!! That's a huge disadvantage. So you should put me on the radio!

3) I didn't have good enough grades or a high enough MCAT to get into medical school. But I really really want to be a doctor super-badly, and I've studied very hard and taken my MCAT multiple times! Isn't it time you recognized my effort and improvement and just let me in?


For all of those - If you ARE a police officer, and a good one, does it diminish you if they hire an unqualified rookie? If you are Placido Domingo, does it make you less of a singer to watch the tryouts for X-factor/Voice/Whatever singing show you watch? If you are a world renowned surgeon, does it make you less of a doctor if someone weaseled into school on a technicality?

There are many many people that once they hit the minimum, they actually regress and become worse. Rogue/bad cops, malpractice suits, incompetent doctors that don't keep up with education, singers that turn to autotune, black belts that get Shodan and quit, etc.

Often I find that the ones that struggle the most and are what you would probably deem "substandard" are the ones that are working the hardest to get it right.

So, if I promote someone that you would deem substandard because of where they started originally, does that make your black belt any less of an achievement? Isn't the value of a black belt in what it means to you personally, and not the public opinion of it?

When you look at your belt, I assume you see the same things I do. Blood, sweat, sacrifice, pain, perseverance, dedication. When I look at the students that I mentioned before, I see the same things. They have put in the time, sweat, sacrifice and pain to get where they are. Just because another student might be able to kick higher and faster, or outperform them, does that make their effort worth less, or worth less notice?

John
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KyungYet
Yellow Belt
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Joined: 26 Sep 2013
Posts: 50

Styles: 100% powered by Tang Soo Do for nearly 30 years.

PostPosted: Tue Oct 01, 2013 5:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Aodhan wrote:
If you ARE a police officer, and a good one, does it diminish you if they hire an unqualified rookie? If you are Placido Domingo, does it make you less of a singer to watch the tryouts for X-factor/Voice/Whatever singing show you watch? If you are a world renowned surgeon, does it make you less of a doctor if someone weaseled into school on a technicality?


Good points, John, and I do understand the value of recognizing effort and improvement. It's like I said: being a black belt is more than kicking high and hitting hard, there's character development and I respect that. I also very much agree that those who have to work harder generally value their achievement more, and those for whom it comes easy may misuse it or drop out since it didn't require much effort to attain. That's the part of me that agrees with you and always has.

But my objections have nothing to do with the devaluing of my black belt. I hope I don't come off as that self-centered! It actually doesn't matter to me at all what other martial artists do (in terms of my own rank). When I was a kid, and I would slack off and do sloppy pushups just to get them done, my instructor would ask me: "do you know what happens to me if you don't do all your pushups?" And I'd guess, "I dunno, you get in trouble? You get fired?" And he'd say, "nope! Nothing happens to me. I can do 100 pushups. What happens to YOU is that you end up weak." I fervently believe that today.

What I meant was that a doctor who isn't really a doctor is dangerous. And a singer who gets put on the radio because they're blind instead of talented gets a false sense of their own capabilities. Someone who thinks they're a black belt but really doesn't deserve to be, performance-wise, may have the same problems. And even though we like to reward effort, in the end, its ability we generally test and value (e.g., my college students all probably wish I'd grade them on how worthy they feel or how hard they studied, but what I actually grade them on - at least mostly - is performance, plain and simple).

So back to my philosophical dilemma: are we awarding black belts based upon performance? Or upon effort? Or upon character? Is a black belt like a starting spot on a football team (e.g., if you can't perform well, even if you "try" real hard, there's no way the coach is going to start you) or is a black belt like getting chosen for the team in the first place (even if you sit on the bench and never play, because the coach wanted you to feel like you were part of something and you tried hard)?

I dunno. Like I said, I see both sides and struggle with this. But I'm really enjoying this discussion!
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KyungYet
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 01, 2013 5:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

bushido_man96 wrote:
One doesn't have to be a super athlete to be able to do these things, heaven knows I'm not one. I also think there should be some reward system for those that show the indomitable spirit to overcome something like being overweight or autistic and becoming better within. It just might not be a black belt reward.


Amen, brother. I hear ya. Although I like to imagine that I'm a super athlete in my head as I'm falling asleep.

I wonder what it might look like if martial arts studios had a special achievement rank parallel to but not exactly a black belt. I think this whole argument centers around our society's rejection of the idea that there might be things that some people can't have - we're a very "anybody can do anything!" kind of society (which I mostly admire). But not everybody can get a PhD. Some people just flunk out. And not everyone can be a doctor or a policeman, or an NFL player. And despite what we tell our children, not everyone can really be president of the United States (probably). So how come we all accept that, but we don't accept that not everyone can be a black belt? I guess because it's a leisure activity, not a necessity/public service? Or because there's no direct and tangible negative consequence for giving out black belts (as opposed to having your roofer decide he's your surgeon!)?

All I have are more questions, no answers.
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Aodhan
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Styles: ATA TKD, WTF, Shotokan

PostPosted: Tue Oct 01, 2013 9:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

KyungYet wrote:
bushido_man96 wrote:
One doesn't have to be a super athlete to be able to do these things, heaven knows I'm not one. I also think there should be some reward system for those that show the indomitable spirit to overcome something like being overweight or autistic and becoming better within. It just might not be a black belt reward.


Amen, brother. I hear ya. Although I like to imagine that I'm a super athlete in my head as I'm falling asleep.

I wonder what it might look like if martial arts studios had a special achievement rank parallel to but not exactly a black belt. I think this whole argument centers around our society's rejection of the idea that there might be things that some people can't have - we're a very "anybody can do anything!" kind of society (which I mostly admire). But not everybody can get a PhD. Some people just flunk out. And not everyone can be a doctor or a policeman, or an NFL player. And despite what we tell our children, not everyone can really be president of the United States (probably). So how come we all accept that, but we don't accept that not everyone can be a black belt? I guess because it's a leisure activity, not a necessity/public service? Or because there's no direct and tangible negative consequence for giving out black belts (as opposed to having your roofer decide he's your surgeon!)?

All I have are more questions, no answers.


And they are good questions. Why isn't there a parallel ranking system? The local ice rink runs adult hockey leagues, and they are rated from D (Can stand on their skates without hurting themselves or anyone else) up through AA (Has some former pros), everyone has fun and as their skills improve they get to move up.

I guess it's all in the standards that you set. If you say X number of classes, being able to do all your forms, break boards in a certain manner, weapons and sparring are the standards for a certain rank, and someone meets those standards, should they not be promoted?

I can see both sides of the argument, and both sides have very valid points. One last consideration, is that we often tell our students that black belt is the first step on truly starting to learn. If they don't get to that rank, then they stagnate and quit. It's superhuman people that can consistently do something with no hope of reward/advancement. If they stagnate and quit, does that protect or diminish the art?

John
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bushido_man96
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Styles: Taekwondo, Combat Hapkido, Aikido, GRACIE

PostPosted: Wed Oct 02, 2013 10:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Aodhan wrote:
For all of those - If you ARE a police officer, and a good one, does it diminish you if they hire an unqualified rookie?


In a way, it can, in the eye of the public. One bad police officer/deputy can put a black eye on an entire department. I do a good job, but I have to take the slack for an officer with no integrity.

Aodhan wrote:
So, if I promote someone that you would deem substandard because of where they started originally, does that make your black belt any less of an achievement? Isn't the value of a black belt in what it means to you personally, and not the public opinion of it?


I think there needs to be a happy medium struck here. The public are the ones that come to buy your service, so I think consistent standards are important. As for the question of "How does one person's rank affect your own?" comes down to a statement I've made before in regards to the argument of whether or not children should be allowed to attain black belt ranks: "Rank doesn't matter, until it does."
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MasutaDeKaba
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 12, 2013 3:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I used to practice Tangsudo, I, personally focused on the Hyungs, as they were the best part of TSD. But, I focused on everything, and got to purple belt.
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