Another ATA 5 year old black belt

Discussion in 'Tae-Kwon-Do' started by RonMarlow, Sep 26, 2011.

  1. Cyriacus

    Cyriacus Senior Master

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    I feel that it works both ways - Take a good Athlete, like, a really good willing serious Martial Artists and dump them in a bad Dojang, and theyll eventually develop. Dump them in a good Dojang, and they will develop further and faster.
     
  2. Twin Fist

    Twin Fist Grandmaster

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    i agree, but the thing is, even a star in an environment that doesnt demand and promote excellence usually wont produce excellence.
     
  3. Kframe

    Kframe Black Belt

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    So there forms are arranged so that they move in a star pattern, as opposed to a simulated multi attacker fight, and there techniques apparently art strung together well.. Now im starting to get a clearer picture of this group.. Gonna have to watch a few youtubes of them...
     
  4. puunui

    puunui Senior Master

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    It is not so much seeing a quotation, but rather seeing the effects of his actions, especially after WWII when all martial arts were banned. Only "sports" were allowed back, kendo, judo, and karatedo.

    In his Taekwondo Times interview, GM LEE Won Kuk mentioned pressure points being attacked. I later asked him about that and he said in Japan, only Otshuka Sensei focused part of his curriculum on that, because of his prior jujitsu background. I later touched on Mabuni Sensei and he considered him a martial arts genius. GM Lee said that Mabuni Sensei was better than FUNAKOSHI Gichin Sensei, who I believe learned the Pinan kata from Mabuni Sensei. According to GM Lee, Gichin Sensei later sent some of his students to learn additional kata from Mabuni Sensei, increasing the number of kata from 15 to its present number, twenty something. GM Lee said that the Shito Ryu curriculum was loaded with kata, sparring, and weapons, lots of kata, and something had to give, so it was the pressure point and jujitsu stuff. He said that students who came to learn karate wanted to learn to kick and punch, not press points or throw, that if they wanted that they would go to a judo or jujitsu school, not a karate school.

    And given that Mabuni Sensei was a professional martial art instructor, he had to give his students what they wanted, which was kicking and punching. That is why Mabuni Sensei was so interested in sparring, because his students were interested in that, just like the students at the Shotokan. If Gichin Sensei had his way, everyone would be punching the makiwara and doing only kata, but even he was flexible enough to see that wasn't the way.

    You especially see it in what his students do, who have tended to be heavily into competition and not so much, if at all, into joint locks, throws or what have you. Even Mabuni Sensei's korean student, Dr. YON Kwai Byeong, was a big promoter of tournaments and competition, so much so that he was the one who set up those early exchange matches with Japan, and in doing so, brought back the first hogu from Japan, similar to the ones Mabuni Sensei is wearing in that photo.

    Picking out a comment from 15 years prior to his death is to me, misleading in what he had evolved to towards the end of his life. If you wish to see the man's teachings, take a look at his students, not his words. The biggest karate school here is a Shito Ryu school, and it is 100% competition, and has been since I could remember. They have world champions coming out of that club, and if Karate makes it to the Olympics, I have no doubt that there will be US Team members from that school in 2020 and beyond.
     
  5. Kong Soo Do

    Kong Soo Do IKSDA Director

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    You're talking in circles Glenn. Let's take a look at his statement again;

    As you put it yourself, he was considered a martial 'genius' and perhaps better than FUNAKOSHI Gichin Sensei, both of which (amoung others) stated that Karate included throws and locks. So that is a factual statement from someone closer to the source of Okinawan Karate than anyone on the board. It traces back to Itous Sensei who also used locks in real world altercations. So the bottom line is that Karate contains much more than kicks and punches and it is simply a lack of understanding to consider it otherwise. Regardless of whether or not he (and others) later included 'sport' applications later in life in no way, shape or form takes away from his quote.
     
  6. puunui

    puunui Senior Master

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    No, I'm answering dancingalone's question.

    It does if he words do not match his actions, or the actions of his students. I remember dancingalone and I had a discussion about Funakoshi Gichin Sensei's attitudes towards competition. It was dancingalone's position that Gichin Sensei was against competition, that there was a quote early on which stated that. However, the direction of shotokan has been towards competition, in the tradition of other do arts like kendo and judo. Then, in his autobiography, written just before his death, there is a quote in there that states sparring or competition is ok.

    People change. Change signals growth. If you are thinking the exact same thoughts as you were fifteen years ago, then there really has been no growth. Read mastercole's or my stuff or look what the WTF was doing fifteen years ago and you would see a great deemphasis on poomsae. Not anymore.

    I can see you taking that quote and adding it in somehow to your lineage history, even though your lineage through the Han Moo Kwan has no connection to Mabuni Sensei. Dr. YON Kwai Byeong had some brief early training with Mabuni Sensei, and because of that Dr. Yon led exchange trips to Japan for sparring, which resulted in the hogu being brought back. We in taekwondo can thank Mabuni Sensei for that innovation, brought to us through his student Dr. Yon. Problem for your lineage is that Han Moo Kwan founder GM LEE Kyo Yun, who you claim a connection to, never studied under Dr. Yon.

    I suggest you ask mastercole about this, because I know that you have already included information from him on your webpage. Perhaps he can further clarify some things for you.
     
  7. Kong Soo Do

    Kong Soo Do IKSDA Director

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    Hmm, once again, I'd agree with you, but then we'd both be wrong.
     
  8. puunui

    puunui Senior Master

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    What do you disagree with, the fact that you changed your webpage after your email discussions with mastercole?
     
  9. Kong Soo Do

    Kong Soo Do IKSDA Director

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    Not at all. I disagree with much of what you've written in regards to Manbuni sensei stating that Karate contains far more than strikes and kicks. I think others have disagreed with you as well.

    Peace.
     
  10. dancingalone

    dancingalone Grandmaster

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    That is interesting what GM Lee said (all of it). However, I would be somewhat surprised if Mabuni Sensei really had been the one to teach Funakoshi Sensei the Pinan forms. Seems like he would have had the direct hookup from Itosu Sensei himself.

    It is true that Shotokan owes some of their kata through the Shito-ryu connection. This is corroborated with other interviews/writings outside of GM Lee.

    He was also a policeman before he became a professional instructor and reportedly used the full expression of karate to subdue criminals in Okinawa. I tend to believe that experience would have heightened Mabuni Sensei's concern that karate should be taught with all the same material he himself learned as a student of both Itosu Sensei AND Higashionna Sensei, the later who decidedly did not have the same perspective the former did on teaching sanitized information.

    Many Shito-ryu schools indeed have turned to the sport path. You probably know a lot of them on Hawaii, including the Kotaka-ha one that produced Elisa Au if that is the one you are referring to. Whether that phenomenon is due to the restrictions placed on Japanese martial arts after WWII or not, I don't know but I acknowledge the state of affairs. Look at those WKF tournaments. Shito-ryu karate-ka are represented in abundance in them.

    However, not Shito-ryu schools have such an extreme focus. It's still one of the stronger karate styles for practicing bunkai, and my friends in Canada and elsewhere would be peturbed at the notion that they do not study the old tuite methods and other close-range, grappling techniques. These are guys who have very short lines back to Mabuni Sensei, as close as my own (to toot my horn) back to Miyagi Sensei. I've also had the fortune of interacting with Fumio Demura Sensei in the last decade and despite his past involvement in the movie industry, I can attest his knowledge of fighting applications are deep. He likewise is a Shito-ryu man.

    In any case, I don't want to make this an argument about sparring efficiacy if that is the misimpression some may have received from reading our conversation. I AM a believer in sparring in TKD, in karate whatever flavor one practices. But I do support the study as well of locking/joint manipulation and throwing within TKD and karate, and I believe Mabuni Sensei's opinion would have been the same from 1938 to his death in 1952. I'm inclined to think the development of the karate tournament circuit occurred well after he had passed away.
     
  11. puunui

    puunui Senior Master

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    Using that logic, you would think that all of the taekwondo world and olympic gold medalists from korea who immigrated to the united states would be fully interested in pursuing competition as the number one priority at their schools. But the fact of the matter is that those world champions do not go that route and instead teach your typical non sparring curriculum that is common in commercial schools. People change, their focus changes when their circumstances change. Look at your own situation which has changed recently. Who knows what you will be doing and thinking fifteen years from now.


    Yes, Kotaka Sensei's IKF was always the dominant tournament dojo, even when I was a little kid. It was almost inevitable that you would face an IKF member in the finals if you got that far.

    Funny since his karate was extremely competition focused in his early days. Even he changed over the years.


    Actually, the karate competition phenomenon started in the 1930s in Japan, with the standardized uniform, belt ranks, and sparring were developed. I think Mabuni Sensei was sort of a renaisance man, equally comfortable going backwards toward "old knowledge" as well as being extremely forward looking. Taekwondo owes a debt of gratitude for his sparring equipment innovations, which allowed for full contact in taekwondo tournaments.

    Personally, I have nothing against finding bunkai from forms or even saying that there are such movements in forms. There are joint locking and other applications in the kukkiwon poomsae for example. I do think that it is probably more efficient to simply study jujutsu and hapkido if you wish to learn those. I can tell you that when I watch karate kata or taekwondo poomsae, they jump out at me if that is what I focus on, mainly because I have a hapkido background. I don't need to rely on other people's books or writings to help me find those. But if you are so inclined, knock yourself out. I am sure you see some too from your aikido background.

    But your comments do want me to go find a Mabuni Sensei quote to show his later thinking. I have books authored by Mabuni Sensei, but they are in the Japanese language. Let me get back to you on this. Over christmas, I counted my martial arts books. I have over 3500 total, about 1000 on korean martial arts. I also added about 200 last year, including some really expensive ones. Some years I buy more, other years less, depending on my mood, and also what opportunity brings to me.
     
  12. dancingalone

    dancingalone Grandmaster

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    Maybe they are tired of traveling. Or they recognize that the bulk of their students and customers are interested in something else. You see the same thing with the wushu athletes. They compete until physically they no longer are able to and then they move into teaching, frequently the so-called 'traditional' material like the 48 posture tai chi set which is arguably more enduring and popular.

    Absolutely, change is a part of life. Small changes though. Not complete shifts in polarity. Leopards don't lose their spots easily and neither do people change totally over time though. If we strongly believe in something that has substance behind it in the first place, we don't easily shed it for the polar opposite.

    Demura Sensei's karate has always had flair to it. This was still the case 8 or so years ago, even though he is getting on in years. I've never questioned the core roots behind it however. He was kind enough to show me a tip on using my big toes within Seiunchin kata, something I have taken to heart and now teach others myself.

    It depends on what we mean by tournament circuit. Certainly there were intra-university competitions during the 1930s. The JKA wasn't established however until 1949. And still later, the first incarnations of the WKF which brought together multiple styles and practitioners from different countries didn't come together until the 1960s.

    He certainly was a supporter of jiyu kumite unlike some of his contemporaries.

    But then you'd be practicing jujutsu or hapkido, not karate (which is what I refer to when mentioning bunkai above - I'm not really getting into the issue of adding to TKD, at least in this thread). This can be important to those of us who DO practice applications out of our kata taught to us by our teachers using the principles and techniques recognizably a hallmark of our style and our system. I understand there's a lot of people interested in form applications in general and they aren't necessarily concerned about about style specificity. If it works, it's sufficient for them to copy and blend into their current practice. And that's fine and all, but I wonder if they wouldn't be served better by picking from a source closest to what they actually practice as the training methods SHOULD align better towards the end application.

    Certainly my aikido makes me a better martial artist paired with my Goju karate. But does it make me a better Goju-ryu stylist? It's something I often ponder when I have free time.

    You are a fortunate man. I have a stack of Japanese karate magazines, none really all that old, but I treasure them as a gift from a dear friend of mine. I'm trying to teach myself to be able to read them, but the process is a slow one.
     
  13. puunui

    puunui Senior Master

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    Those olympic and world champions did the switch, which is a 180 degree change. Mabuni Sensei may have faced similar sentiments, that while he was interested in the joint locking and throws, his students were not. They came to karate wanting to learn kicking and punching, not locking or throwing, which they all grew up with with judo. Weapons too. GM Lee said that most people during his time did not want to learn okinawan weapons. He said that to the japanese mind, nothing could compare to learning a sword, and learning okinawan weapons was like learning to use a frying pan or a garden trowel as a weapon. But they were interested in punching and kicking, especially since the japanese knew about western boxing. western culture was of strong interest to the japanese.

    I do think however that those world and olympic champions must miss the competition aspects, and with the right encouragement would like to start producing at least some athletes.


    It's always good to learn from senior teachers. I saw a cd from that masters magazine, and he seems like a very calm, down to earth type of person.


    I can understand your perspective and I think that is admirable, trying to maintain that sense of purity, so that things are not lost. You are especially lucky because you did learn your karate from a senior, someone closer to the source, so that probably helps to explain your outlook and your fortune. However, not everyone has that same perspective and they end up throwing everything in and calling it some sort of hidden application. For those people, I think they would be better served to learn jujitsu or hapkido.


    Let us know what you come up with.


    What I do when I go to a japanese bookstore is to try to find the martial arts section by myself first, by looking at the signs. Sometimes I can find them and other times the section is so small that I need the assistance of a worker there. I usually end up buying a majority of the available books, which costs a small fortune. Japanese books are expensive, and the unfavorable exchange rate doesn't help. But what can you do. I want the books so I have to pay the price. It's life, wanting something and figuring out if you are willing and able to pay the price, in terms of money, time, dedication, whatever. When i was in NYC last summer I spent over $1000 on books, $200 or $300 on one okinawan karate encyclopedia alone. Alot of money when you consider I walked out with a single bag of books.
     
  14. miguksaram

    miguksaram Master of Arts

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    We hosted him for a seminar a couple of times and I had the honor to be his chauffeur to and from the event and the dinners. His seminars are excellent and he is a fascinating martial artist. Our school adopted his beginners bo form to place in our curriculum. He is an extremely humble and down to earth person. When I drove him around he shared stories of not only martial arts but just everyday life. I asked him how he would preferred to be addressed (Master, Renshi, Sensei, etc). He said Sensei. He told me once he figures out he mastered something then he will use that term. He joked and said he was close to mastering a technique, but then woke up the next day and old age made him forget. ha.ha.ha

    The best story was his explaining how back in the day there was really no animosity amongst styles that people would think. He would train with other styles and they would all learn from each other. He would ask a TKD master, I really like your kicks, show how you do that. Or he would have TKD person come to him. I like your bo techniques, show me how you do that. And they would just train. I highly recommend anyone, regardless of your rank and age, to attend a seminar if you can. I am hoping to bring him back to the school again.
     
  15. dancingalone

    dancingalone Grandmaster

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    That is a nice story. Thanks for sharing it!
     
  16. miguksaram

    miguksaram Master of Arts

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    One of the funnier ones that he told me was when he went to Chuck Norris's birthday party. People were driving up in Mercedes and Jaguars and he pulls in with this old Toyota Camry. Everyone was telling him that he should get a nice car and he just asked why. He said the car gets from here to there and back. Besides he traveled all the time so all a Mercedes will do is look good in his garage. :)
     
  17. Twin Fist

    Twin Fist Grandmaster

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    agreed. My experiences with Tak Kabuta were pretty much the same. Humble, down to earth, and funny.
     
  18. miguksaram

    miguksaram Master of Arts

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    I have heard he is a killer on the mat with the students though. :)
     
  19. puunui

    puunui Senior Master

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    I thought it was like that now. At least it is for me in my small little world.
     
  20. Twin Fist

    Twin Fist Grandmaster

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    i uke'd for him once at an ATAMA seminar.

    he is a firm believer in contact123
     

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