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Eighties
White Belt
White Belt

Joined: 30 Dec 2019
Posts: 3
Location: Myrtle Beach
Styles: Isshun-Ryu, Gojo-Ryu

PostPosted: Tue Dec 31, 2019 1:26 pm    Post subject: Want to train again but...... Reply with quote

Hey all!

My name is Chris. I studied karate twice in the past but unfortunately life circumstances kept me from staying with my training. Now my son is taking an MMA style and a recent career change will allow me to possibly take it with him. In short if I'm going to train again, my only chance is to take the classes with my son as that is the only time I have available to dedicate. I very much like this Sensei but do have some serious concerns with the dojo's curriculum and a couple of other things. Let’s just say it is VERY different than when I was a kid. Aspects of martial arts that I found to be very important are glossed over and aspects that I find to be irrelevant are strictly held to with little or no justification.
When I studied in my youth, karate was not about learning to fight. Personally, it was the last thing on my priority list. It was a physical activity that I enjoyed so was therefore not a chore. It gave me BOTH physical and mental balance, flexibility and focus. I enjoyed and preferred kata over kumite. I could spar and did well in tournaments, but only really attended them when required. I much preferred training sessions with visiting masters than competing in tournaments. Classes were usually two hours long, consisted of opening ceremonies, 30 or so minutes of calisthenics and stretching followed by another 30 minutes of upper and lower body basics and then moved on to focused training in kata, kumite, breaking, etc. then closing ceremonies.

The dojo my son attends (which my wife enrolled him in without bothering to get my input) has done away with kata entirely, focuses extensively on kumite and self-defense, doesn't explore the mental and meditative aspects of the art, etc. They don't even wear full gis, some karateka don't even wear partial gis but, and this is the part I can't understand, if you want to wear a full gi, they restrict specific colors. (I always wanted to train in a black gi but my Dad wouldn't spend the extra money on one for me.) These classes are only about 45 minutes long and like I said, no kata (or the accompanying bunkai), no breaking to teach focus on applied techniques, no meditation and very little warm up and stretching.

Please don't think I'm against my son training there or that they aren't a good dojo. I'm simply trying to illustrate the differences from what I was accustomed to. Like I said I very much like the Sensei and overall atmosphere. In fact they don't even stress tournaments or competition which I very much appreciate. I feel it has had a positive impact on my son. I’m only really on the fence for myself. I guess my question is, should I hold off and see if the time and opportunity to train in one of the styles that I used to becomes available OR should I just sign up and train even if I don't know that I'll get what I want out of it? Plus getting skunked again on training in that black gi that I’ve wanted for about 33 years now, LOL!!!


Seriously though, I welcome input and advice from Sensei and karateka of all styles, ranks, backgrounds, etc. Is it better to train now or should I hold out for a dojo that is more like what I was accustomed to?
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sensei8
KF Sensei
KF Sensei

Joined: 23 Feb 2008
Posts: 14807
Location: Houston, TX
Styles: Shindokan Saitou-ryu [Shuri-te/Okinawa-te based]

PostPosted: Wed Jan 01, 2020 12:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Welcome to KF, Eighties; glad that you're here!!

MMA schools, as well as many other MA styles, for that fact, just don't believe in Kata/Bunkai for their own reason(s); it's just not their sought after methodology and/or ideology.

Having trained in old school traditional Okinawa Karate dojo for over 5 decades, I'm a firm proponent of the 3 K's....Kihon, Kata, and Kumite, and for me to not have that in my life would be akin to having no air to breath.

I can understand the MMA approaches where Kata/Bunkai is concerned because they want to cut out the middleman and get right into the brass tacks of what the street will be like in a reality fashion, not muss and no fuss. Whereas, we being believers of Kata/Bunkai approach preferred by many through its Oyo and the like....to each his own, I suppose. I do believe that whether it be traditional or MMA, they do reach their desired goals in their very effectiveness, even though both don't see eye to eye across the board.

If you want Kata/Bunkai or MMA, with what each can offer, then as an old idiom states...

"When in Rome, Do as the Romans do" or as I've heard before, "If you want tomatoes, then you'll have to go to the tomatoes vendor". So, if you want to train with your son for your given reasons, and no matter how alien to you it might be, you'll have to move with the cheese and train in MMA with your son.

Albeit, if your heart is crying out to you to return to the way of traditional Karate training, then go where you heart lays and yearns with your ever fiber. However, change is inevitable one way or another. To me, whichever MA journey you decide upon, there's no wrong answer. Perhaps the more you're on a MMA floor, the more it'll be much more welcoming across the board. After all, the floor doesn't care which floor you train on, just as long as you are training in an effective MA seriously and consistently.

I got your back on which way you decide, Chris!!



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JR 137
KF Sempai
KF Sempai

Joined: 10 May 2015
Posts: 2408
Location: In the dojo
Styles: Seido Juku

PostPosted: Wed Jan 01, 2020 1:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Welcome aboard, Chris.

There are so many different approaches to training MA. There’s no right or wrong, IMO; only right or wrong for the individual practitioner. There have always been very formal schools, very laidback schools, and everything in between. Some view that as old-school, traditional, etc. I think the term formal fits better, but I guess that’s a different discussion.

You say you want to train with your son, and the sensei is a good person. Honestly, I say give it a shot. What do you have to lose? Work out there for a little while with an open mind. If it’s the right place for you, you’ll know it. If not, you can move on. I wouldn’t get into any long term contracts until you’re sure though.

Another thing on my mind is no where is going to be exactly like the place you “grew up in.” Even if your old teacher is still teaching, it won’t be the same. Not necessarily a better nor worse thing, but it is what it is. We tend to romanticize “the good old days” a bit as we get older. When I restarted training after a 15 year hiatus, I started out looking for what I left. Not intentionally, but subconsciously. I quickly realized the past is the past, and I kept an open mind and visited a lot of places that I wouldn’t have. Some were great, some not so much. In the end I found a place that feels like home. Sure, it’s pretty close in curriculum to what I trained previously, but that’s not what drew me in. It was the people. The chief instructor and his wife (co-owners), the senior black belts, and everyone else. It’s a great atmosphere. That’s what got me to try it out and what keeps me there.

Valuing styles and training approaches are great and all, but IMO makes the difference between being someone who trains for a period then leaves and being a long term student is if the atmosphere and people there are people that you want to be around.

Best of luck whichever way you choose.
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sensei8
KF Sensei
KF Sensei

Joined: 23 Feb 2008
Posts: 14807
Location: Houston, TX
Styles: Shindokan Saitou-ryu [Shuri-te/Okinawa-te based]

PostPosted: Wed Jan 01, 2020 10:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

JR 137 wrote:
Welcome aboard, Chris.

There are so many different approaches to training MA. There’s no right or wrong, IMO; only right or wrong for the individual practitioner. There have always been very formal schools, very laidback schools, and everything in between. Some view that as old-school, traditional, etc. I think the term formal fits better, but I guess that’s a different discussion.

You say you want to train with your son, and the sensei is a good person. Honestly, I say give it a shot. What do you have to lose? Work out there for a little while with an open mind. If it’s the right place for you, you’ll know it. If not, you can move on. I wouldn’t get into any long term contracts until you’re sure though.

Another thing on my mind is no where is going to be exactly like the place you “grew up in.” Even if your old teacher is still teaching, it won’t be the same. Not necessarily a better nor worse thing, but it is what it is. We tend to romanticize “the good old days” a bit as we get older. When I restarted training after a 15 year hiatus, I started out looking for what I left. Not intentionally, but subconsciously. I quickly realized the past is the past, and I kept an open mind and visited a lot of places that I wouldn’t have. Some were great, some not so much. In the end I found a place that feels like home. Sure, it’s pretty close in curriculum to what I trained previously, but that’s not what drew me in. It was the people. The chief instructor and his wife (co-owners), the senior black belts, and everyone else. It’s a great atmosphere. That’s what got me to try it out and what keeps me there.

Valuing styles and training approaches are great and all, but IMO makes the difference between being someone who trains for a period then leaves and being a long term student is if the atmosphere and people there are people that you want to be around.

Best of luck whichever way you choose.

Solid post!!



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Eighties
White Belt
White Belt

Joined: 30 Dec 2019
Posts: 3
Location: Myrtle Beach
Styles: Isshun-Ryu, Gojo-Ryu

PostPosted: Thu Jan 02, 2020 7:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sensei8 and JR137 - Thank you for those excellent responses. You have definitely given me some perspective.

I've been giving this quite a bit of thought. A few additional things that perhaps made my decision harder is that until approximately a year ago, their curriculum was a bit more formal.

-They did kata (but I think I was told they didn't teach bunkai at the beginner levels, only intermediate and above).
-They also had weapons katas which is something that wasn't taught below Shodan in both of the styles I studied prior. I always admired the weapons katas and was excited to add those to my training.
-When they did kumite, it was more tournament like in that the class sat around the two sparring observing as they waited their turn. I found this beneficial to see how techniques were applied (well executed or poorly) and countered so I could adjust my own techniques. Because this school doesn't stress tournaments, they switched to just setting a timer and everyone rotates fighting each other.

I'm not saying this is wrong, it's Sensei's curriculum to set in the way he feels is best for the dojo. It's just when I first considered joining all of the above was taking place (and I was told I could wear a black gi, lol) but they have since gone in a very different direction and the above aspects I was quite looking forward to (as well as the black gi) are off the table.

That being said, you both make some excellent points. In a reputable dojo there is no right or wrong, just different means to an end. I'm probably trying to desperately hold on to the place I "grew up in" with out even realizing it. The floor doesn't care which floor you train on, just as long as you're training. Lastly the main thing still remains, if I'm going to train again, this is really the only time available in the week for me to do it. When I take my son, better that I get on the floor than just sit with the other parents. I mean heck, I'm already there. Worst case scenario is I can regain some mobility and flexibility while dropping some weight.

I think I'm going to give it a shot.

Thanks again!!! [/list]
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Wastelander
KF Sensei
KF Sensei

Joined: 18 Oct 2010
Posts: 2466
Location: Phoenix, AZ
Styles: Shorin-Ryu, Shuri-Ryu, Judo, KishimotoDi

PostPosted: Thu Jan 02, 2020 9:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Welcome to the forum! Looks like you've already been given some solid advice, too
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Kishimoto-Di | 2014-Present | Sensei: Ulf Karlsson
Shorin-Ryu | 2010-Present: Nidan | Sensei: Richard Poage (RIP), Jeff Allred (RIP)
Shuri-Ryu | 2006-2010: Sankyu | Sensei: Joey Johnston, Joe Walker
Judo | 2007-2010: Gokyu | Sensei: Joe Walker, Adrian Rivera
Karate Obsession | Arizona Practical Karate
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Nevinyrral
Blue Belt
Blue Belt

Joined: 16 Jul 2010
Posts: 267
Location: Poland
Styles: Karate

PostPosted: Wed Jan 08, 2020 6:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

From what you are saying it looks like this school simply went with what is trendy now. Lots of traditional schools started transitioning into more mma focused after it became popular.
I think you can benefit from this training. It might show you different way martial arts can be trained.
Also if you want more kata you can always ask sensei about it. He might have simply stopped teaching it because there was no demand for it.
You can also train kata at home or attend some seminars.
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bushido_man96
KF Sensei
KF Sensei

Joined: 31 Mar 2006
Posts: 28074
Location: Hays, KS
Styles: Taekwondo, Combat Hapkido, Aikido, GRACIE

PostPosted: Wed Jan 08, 2020 8:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

First off, welcome to KF!

You've been given some great responses so far. I'd say that if you want to train, and its the most convenient way to do so right now, then at least you'll be doing some training. I think it's definitely good to train rather than not, and groups tend to be more motivating than training alone.

What I've seen happen with students who have to move away from their old school for some reason or other, and then try to keep on training, is they want the new place to be like their old place, and when it isn't (because no place is), they just stop training all together. This seems rather close-minded to me, and I hate to see good students go by the wayside because of some changes.

Please keep us posted as to how this plays out!
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Eighties
White Belt
White Belt

Joined: 30 Dec 2019
Posts: 3
Location: Myrtle Beach
Styles: Isshun-Ryu, Gojo-Ryu

PostPosted: Wed Jan 08, 2020 10:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, I have got a.lot of great advice and have put it to good use. I signed up and my first class was last night. It was a good workout session and boy have I lost a lot of ground over the years while gaining a lot of weight LOL. I'm so sore I can barely move. This is going to be new and very different but I'm really excited and glad I decided to give this one more shot.

Thanks again for all the encouragement!! It's very much appreciated.

Chris
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bushido_man96
KF Sensei
KF Sensei

Joined: 31 Mar 2006
Posts: 28074
Location: Hays, KS
Styles: Taekwondo, Combat Hapkido, Aikido, GRACIE

PostPosted: Tue Jan 14, 2020 6:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Eighties wrote:
Yes, I have got a.lot of great advice and have put it to good use. I signed up and my first class was last night. It was a good workout session and boy have I lost a lot of ground over the years while gaining a lot of weight LOL. I'm so sore I can barely move. This is going to be new and very different but I'm really excited and glad I decided to give this one more shot.

Thanks again for all the encouragement!! It's very much appreciated.

Chris
This is great news! Keep us posted on your progress!
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