A school with no stated style and no rank belts: would you train there?

Discussion in 'General Martial Arts Talk' started by Daniel Sullivan, Jan 15, 2010.

  1. khand50

    khand50 Orange Belt

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    by 1981 i had trained for 11 years in various martial arts. i had five years of hapkido with a friend who was ranked brown belt but was easily a black belt level. i trained four years in judo and wrestling. three to four years in tae kwon do (with different instructors). about five months in judo and shorei ryu karate. through those years i collected, read and studied extensively from over 300 books and over 300 magazines. i taught my friends and anyone who wanted to learn from eight grade through my senior year (probably about 50 people). i had one close friend who i taught for three years in high school.
    by the mid eighties i had designed the basis for an open teaching system using all three to four ranges of fighting, which i called "creative martial arts". there was no one system used as a base. rather, i felt the need to be able to practice the arts as an individual and teach others according to their own needs, not mine. yes, i based many of my ideals on jkd but had never taken a class with any jkd instructors up to that point yet.
    my classes resembled jkd classes as i understood them in the eighties. i spent more time on developing basic foundations of the tools and their application under fighting conditions. we worked on kicking, blocking, striking, throwing, sweeps, takedowns, chokes, strangling, footwork, punching, and miscellaneous controlling and maiming techniques, such as eye gouging, biting, hair pulling, etc. we also spent time working on self defense scenarios (what to do if someone attacks you) and we sparred quite a bit. we also used the basics of the filipino arts to develop attributes for weapons training.
    since i cross trained in so many arts it would be difficult to call what i did by one specific art. but i didnt just throw a bunch of stuff together to teach. i studied what other arts offered, found a base structure that was similiar in any art, created a list of tools (techniques) that would work well together and fit in various ranges, and worked from there. i used mainly english terminology except when there was no english equivalent. we used the kung fu salute rather than bowing. at first i didnt have any uniforms or rank but when my students finished each ten week session that the club i was teaching at held, they didnt come back. a friend suggested that i implement a rank structure and uniforms which i did, and i ended up with about 30 students. so i started without rank and uniform and ended up with it, simply because people tend to be goal oriented and need something to identify with such as uniform of some kind.
    so i guess my answer would be yes, if the person showed that they had knowledge that i didnt have and i could learn from them.
     
  2. ralphmcpherson

    ralphmcpherson Senior Master

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    As I said in the hapkido section , I do think having belts can have some advantages. In big clubs/classes its easier to identify who your seniors are and thus who you can go to for advice. At my club we are actively encouraged to ask for advice off anyone who is a higher rank , by having ranks this becomes easier particularly at club training camps , club championships etc where there may be heaps of unfamiliar faces. Also , when I was a lower belt I really liked the fact that we lined up in order of rank because it meant that there was always a higher rank in front of me that I could watch as we did line work etc
     
  3. Haze

    Haze Blue Belt

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    To me this sounds like the way things use to be before the "modernization" of MA schools.

    Would I train there? YES!
     
  4. Hudson69

    Hudson69 Brown Belt

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    I would at least check it out and let the training/trainer stand up for itself. If it is a good system (at least to me) then I will keep training until it isn't (to me anyway).

    On another note I think that there are Budo Taijutsu schools that you are green belt until you get your black; but they might put black tape on the ends of the belts which is kind of the same thing as a visible rank.

    My .02 only
     
  5. sgtmac_46

    sgtmac_46 Senior Master

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    If they have space and equipment, I certainly would.
     
  6. sgtmac_46

    sgtmac_46 Senior Master

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    Why not. What they do is either useful to me or it isn't.
     
  7. matrixman

    matrixman Yellow Belt

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    A name is a label, good for identity, but I always feel the most important thing is whether the instructor knows his stuff. But as an oldster I've been around and can tell, doesn't help a newbie. Funny thing, my first system used to have two belts, white and black, then it went to white brown and black, then green was added, ended up with an eight level system. But the ranks weren't for the students, they were so the instructor could tell who was where in the curriculum, and pair up people according to ability.
     
  8. Drac

    Drac Sr. Grandmaster

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    Yes, I would train there....Sometimes people are MORE concerned with the color of their belt than the quality of training..
     
  9. Carol

    Carol Crazy like a...

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    I'm already accustomed to not having a formal belt rank, so that wouldn't be an issue.

    As far as not having a particular style, that wouldn't necessary turn me off either. I can respect the folks that have a more generalized/blended/mixed form of teaching, its a nice change from all the "10ths" in my area.

    I have great respect for folks that set my expectations properly. I'd much rather train at "Sifu Sam's School of Sticks" and have Sifu Sam tell me he teaches some Modern Arnis and some Chinese stickfighting, rather than telling me what I am learning is "Modern Arnis" but not telling me that the curriculum is a big departure from what Professor Remy Presas designed.

    In addition, chain-of-custody is also important to me. I'm concerned with what the instructor knows, how he trained, and who taught him/her. If my fictitious "Sifu Sam" had a good amount of training but decided to go his own way in terms of teaching, then I'd have no issue with that. But if his no-name approach hides that his only training awas bouncing around from school to school every three months, then that would be a problem.

    Now if he had a 1am workout for LE, EMS workers, pizza shop owners, and eveyone else :eek: that works 2nd shift, I'd be all over that :D
     
  10. Telfer

    Telfer Green Belt

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    Thats a bit like MMA, but anytime the instructor thinks theres only one way to do something...its a style.

    It might not have a name yet...but it will eventually.

    And all styles are wrong according to all other styles.

    If the best boxer in the world walked into a Karate class he would be told that everything he does is wrong....and vice versa.

    With no 'right' way to do things how would anyone attain black belt status?
     
  11. Carol

    Carol Crazy like a...

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    That's a fair question to ask.

    An instructor can still build a curriculum and have a standard even if they don't claim allegiance to any particular system or style. Note Daniel's comment where he says the instructor would have a structured curriculum in which they are qualified to teach.

    In addition, even if there are no belts at all (incl. no black belts), there would be a point where the instructor would tell a student that they are qualified to teach on their own. (This is how many Filipino styles operate, btw).

    This still offers a correct way of doing things, and standards to be met.
     
  12. geezer

    geezer Grandmaster

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    That's exactly how my current Eskrima instructor runs things. We have two ranks, student and instructor. If you stick with him for a year or two, you are a student. If you stay with him long enough, you are told that you are ready to teach. He's just named what he teaches using his last name, but since we all have different strengths and abilities, those of us teaching for him just use our own names to describe what we teach. I'm not a full instructor under him yet, but I have been asked to teach my own group. So basically I call what I teach "Geezer Eskrima" (OK, I actually use my real name). But I still give credit to my instructors for what they've taught me. And I still train under them. So that's pretty close to having no specifically named style, and definitely no belts. And I like it that way.

    On the other hand I also practice a traditional Chinese martial art which has a highly formalized ranking system and method of instruction. I like that too.
     
  13. Blade96

    Blade96 Senior Master

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    I dont think I would. But its just me. Personally, I like instructors who are clear and identify themselves with a specific art or arts. more so in my case when i was actively seeking out traditional pure shotokan. and I found it. I like clear instructors. clear about what they are what they offer and what they do.

    I also love a belt system. Being in one myself I like the idea. Why? Because I like the idea of getting some small reward for completing each level of training. When I took figure skating for a while, whenever you completed each level of training, you didnt get anything, you just moved on. Kids got badges but adults didnt get anything. So I like the idea of getting something. You complete each level, you get a pretty colored belt. I love it. =] In addition it also shows a definite rank and help ensures discipline and order. You show respect and bow and all that. I think it would more ensure this more so than if a rank wasnt as clearly defined. Also, you can know who your seniors are and go to for help. But, that's just me. :)
     
  14. Daniel Sullivan

    Daniel Sullivan Grandmaster

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    In this case, it may just be "Joe's foot-fist fighting style, but if it sticks around long enough, you are indeed correct.

    He would? I disagree with the statement that all styles are wrong according to all other styles. There is some of that out there, but generally, it seems that the attitude is that each style teaches things in a way that is suited to that style's philosophy and outlook. Karate is not wrong from the perspective of a hapkidoin, but the approach and style of movement is different. Likewise, the boxer who walks into a karate studio is not likely to be told that he punches wrong, but that he is not punching in the idiom of that style of karate.

    Well, in this scenario, the owner has selected a skill set and teaches it a specific way. So there is a correct-within-the-context-of-the-curriculum. Kind of how if I go into a French class and answer with perfect Spanish, my Spanish may be correct, but not in the context of a French class.

    Daniel
     
  15. Nolerama

    Nolerama Master Black Belt

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    I think body mechanics are universal for all applied, functional MAs when technique is involved.

    The "style" or "art" is a delivery system that suggests a certain strategy.
     
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  16. pmosiun1

    pmosiun1 Orange Belt

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    As long as they sweat and spar, if you can't even punch, wrestling or kick a moving resisting opponent, do you think a belt colour matters?
     
  17. Blade96

    Blade96 Senior Master

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    LOL no kidding. In my dojo i accidentally used a kenpo kick since i'd trained in kenpo for 2 months. Sensei looked at me like he was confused and says, 'what was that' when i said sorry, I had done 2 months of kenpo he gave me this look like he was absolutely disgusted and said 'This is better' but i suppose for a 6th dan who dedicated his life to shotokan his reaction isnt too surprising. Still. I would not have put down anybody else's art. But.....thats just me. Whatever floats your boat. If kenpo suits you better, run with it. :)
     
  18. Telfer

    Telfer Green Belt

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    I think the overwhelming majority of high level Karate teachers believe that the Karate style of striking is the best...the one true way.

    Thats why I got into MMA after several years of Judo. In MMA the final authority on style is competition. If you win by doing something weird its a new exciting possibility...not an act of treason.
     
  19. Guardian

    Guardian Black Belt

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    Oh, I would have to check it out at least and see what it was all about. Our classes were not about belts since we were doing it for duty related purpose. There was a belt system, but we weren't there for that. Different attitude back them.
     
  20. LawDog

    LawDog Master Black Belt

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    Only if there was some sort of standardized quality control.123
     

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