current EPAK instructors

Discussion in 'Kenpo - (EPAK) Ed Parker's American Kenpo Karate S' started by teej, Jun 10, 2004.

  1. teej

    teej Blue Belt

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    This questions is to currently active EPAK instructors concerning "rotating curriculum".

    Are any of you teaching using a "rotating curriculum"? Ex. for your begining class of wh, yel, & org belt class. You teach the same techniques regardless of rank. The student is tested not on yellow belt techniques, but on the techniques they learned in the past 2 months. Then, again for example, by the time they do test for purple, they will have all of the yellow, orange, and purple requirements?

    This way, one instructor alone can teach the entire class the same techniques and basics without having to split into seperate color rank groups.
    They would only have to break into groups for forms.

    Apparently this is the current trend in the MA industry to make it easier to instruct classes and present material. However, as technical as our EPAK material is, I am interested if any of you are teaching this way or exploring ways to do it? If any of you are, I would be interested in how you have or are going to approach this.

    Thank you, Yours in Kenpo,
    Teej
     
  2. Michael Billings

    Michael Billings Senior Master

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    I came out of a school that shifted to that as I was leaving. It was primarily due to the HUGE class size and the large number of instructors. I kid you not!! It ensures consistancy in teaching, with little room for tayloring when you are teaching a class of 30 white and yellow belts, of course, you may not need to taylor a lot at that level.

    I do not do it personally, but my old instructor has been doing it this way for a decade.

    -Michael
     
  3. rmcrobertson

    rmcrobertson Guest

    Sorry, but that's a terrible idea.

    In the first place, it would mean throwing out all sorts of trivial stuff like the web of knowledge, the requirements for different belt levels, etc. That "trivial," stuff is integral to the system. I could never have learned that way, because an orderly and logical progression was fundamental.

    Second, I am sorry, but I take this as simply further evidence of the ongoing commercialization of kenpo--which was always somewhat commercial enough, anyway.

    Third--well, once again, I dislike the notion that as an instructor who got to be an instructor by having been taught rigorously and formally, I should just throw all that out for my students. Beyond the fact that the description given doesn't give any reasons other than convenience and cost to teach this, "cyclic," way, it looks to me like yet another case of somebody making sure that their students never get a chance to learn as much as they did.

    I apologize in advance, but yuck.
     
  4. Bill Lear

    Bill Lear Brown Belt

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    NOT GOOD.

    1. As you go up through the ranks the techniques progress into more and more advanced material. Teaching someone how to defend against a knife attack without first addressing the possibility of a punch or a grab seems a little irresponsible to me.

    2. The lower ranked techniques are designed for the most common attacks. The higher ranked techniques are built for less likely attacks. I'd rather have my students prepared for what may most likely be thrown at them than be prepared for something that may not ever happen to them.

    The web of knowlege and belt requirement system both have a purpose... loosing sight of those purposes is a bad thing.

    :asian:
     
  5. Michael Billings

    Michael Billings Senior Master

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    But he did not throw out the trivial. It is all still there and referred to in the teaching paradigm. Brian Duffy is the ex-instructor I was referring to. He makes it work and does not short change the student. I just like a less structured environment where I can teach several yellow belts (or whatever), different things.

    I agree with that, it is more systematic or assembly-line like to me. But the product taught is still good.

    Interesting, and possibly accurate, I do not know as the 14 years I spent with him were prior to the systematized method he uses now (and it was over a decade ago that I moved on to Tommy Burks as my instructor.

    -Michael
     
  6. Bill Smith

    Bill Smith Green Belt

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    Through out my training, it has always been broken up according to rank. It's better that way. You don't have a white or yellow belt performing advance material and them not understanding the meaning of the technique. It was okay once in a while to do an upper belt technique to give them a goal to continue in Kenpo.

    Just my two cents,
    Bill Smith
     
  7. rmcrobertson

    rmcrobertson Guest

    I apologize, Michael, but I completely disagree. Everything you're saying says that this has everything to do with the instructor's convenience and efficiency, and absolutely nothing to do with the best way to teach students.

    Among other things, if they're bored with basic material, it does not exactly suggest that they're being taught to respect what they're doing, or that their teachers really want them to learn.

    And aren't these folks doing private lessons? Or practicing on their own/with others at their level?

    Sorry again, but I've seen this. It bespeaks the instructor's boredom with beginners, not the best way to teach them.
     
  8. bdparsons

    bdparsons Black Belt

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    Hi Y'all,

    I tend to agree with Robert on this one. I can't help but foresee severe gaps occuring in an individual's knowledge base when using the method described. To me it would be like teaching a math class where the students knowledge base range from basic math to calculus. How do the beginners keep up? If there's an effective way to do this I'd sure like to know, but I remain skeptical.

    Respects,
    Bill Parsons
    Triangle Kenpo Institute
     
  9. Touch Of Death

    Touch Of Death Sr. Grandmaster

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    I don't know these techs are family related anyway. I would teach the base tech and introduce other possibilities as food for thought. That way you don't have some Bozo throwing out the whole art because they didn't understand that you were mearly introducing them to a very encompasing art with a situation specific tech.
    Sean
     
  10. As a beginner in the art i am extremely intrigued to learn all i can about what is right and wrong and what is done and what is not. I have been taught techniques that have been shown to the class and it is very handy to no. But on the other hand i do not take them as serously as the sylabis am currently learning whether thats a good or a bad thing i do not no.
     
  11. Touch Of Death

    Touch Of Death Sr. Grandmaster

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    Well for one thing there is no right and wrong, Just poor and better. :asian:
    Sean
     
  12. teej

    teej Blue Belt

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    First let me appologize to all of you for not responding sooner. This morning is the first time I received notification that my post was responded to sense Mr. Billings first response June 10th and I haven't check back.

    What if the material was broken up into three levels, beginning, intermediate, and advanced? [Begininning-wht, yel, org, Intermediate-purp, blue, grn
    Advanced-brn, blk.]

    The student would not advance into the intermediate class until they had all of the wh, yel, org, purp material. So no, a beginning student would not be trying to learn advanced techniques. To graduate to purple belt and advance to the intermediate level classes, the student would have to know and pass their test of all yellow, orange, and purple belt basics, forms, and techniques.

    Mr. Robertson is correct that this is a product of commercialism, but wether or not you want to admit it or not, SGM Parker addressed commercialism in this system when he started tayloring his art. [this issue was addressed by Doc in another thread] Commercialism has been effecting kenpo for a while. So ya, I am guilty of it, but I am just exploring for a better way of teaching a class composed of 20 wh, yel & org students. Can I make it easier for me to teach as well as better for my students to learn if I am teaching by myself? That is what I am exploring. As an instructor, it is also my responsiblity to my students to seek out bette ways of teaching them. {i am just exploring this]

    If I was teaching only 5 students in my garage, there would not be any problem teaching the old way. So again, what I am exploring would not have students learning stuff they are not ready for. The forms I would still teach at the required levels.

    As I am looking at the material now as I previously stated, the student will have ALL the yel, org, & purp material before advacning to the intermediate level classes, then they will learn ALL the blue and green material before passing into the advanced class, and have all the brwn & blk material before becoming a black belt.

    Teej
     
  13. sumdumguy

    sumdumguy Green Belt

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    I think that the problem with this is that you run into some of students being bored doing a tech (again) they already have, while your teaching it to a few new people in the particular class level. I have run a school with 80+ students by my self and I know that it's not easy. Just something that I did. I would break the class up into groups (by belt level) and work with each group individually. Yellow belts, orange belts, Purple belts. It reduces some of the repedativeness for some of the students.
    The problem comes when you have a brand new white belt come in and you are teaching the group (let say) captured twigs and he doesn't even have delayed sword yet. He/she will get the tech, but the progress in logic and princple is lost. It's a catch 22 either way... It really boils down to you doing and teaching it the way you see is going to work for you and the students. It doesn't really matter what anyone else thinks....
    Just my 2 cents....
    :asian:
     
  14. Im sorry sean but in the Kenpo creed does it not say and i quote. "should it be a matter of life and death, of "right or wrong"" so really there is. But nah i no what you mean Sean thank you for the pic up on that one.
     
  15. Mark Weiser

    Mark Weiser Guest

    Gentlemen and Ladies:

    There is a way to solve the madness and also enhance your students training and it is a win win situation.

    You break up your students by rank and do the following

    white/yellow/orange belts = should be taught by a green belt with Senior instructor in the area for assist if needed.

    purple/blue = should be taught by Brown belts with Senior Instructor in the area.

    Green/brown/black = should be taught by senior blackbelt and at times given over to blackbelt students.

    Sincerely,
    Mark E. Weiser
     
  16. c2kenpo

    c2kenpo Guest

    I teach and train at a school that has gone to the rotating curriuculum sytem. So i have some first hand opinion and expereince.
    Nothing is right or wrong only what works best for you and your students.

    1) Does the Rotating Curriculum cut back on Kenpo principles and Ideas?

    NO. This actually will allow beggining students to grab the concepts much faster and also allow them the ability to delve into the "What if" scenarios that every student asks about. Imagine teaching 20 different variations of Delayed Sword using the Web Of Knowledge. How much better will that one skil be and how much easier will they grab the concept of Sword of Destruction?

    2) Is the Rotating Curriculum (RC) a commercial instituted idea?

    YES. But unfortunatly the Martial Arts is at one of the largest growth rates in history. More people are getting involved in the MA and in order for some good Kenpo(and other schools) to survive and compete effectively, you have to maximize your finacial output. IS this the answer for everyone??? NO. But will it keep students more interested and give them new stuff to work on YES.

    3) Are there disadvantages to the RC?

    YES. Your higer belt rank students may balk at the change. Learing one way and then being told that they will learn another after 1-3 yrs of training may not like it and people generally dislike change even if it is to improve things. You may loose some studetns and you may anger some people but if you are running a MA school you have to look at the school as a whole.
    Higer belt ranks Purple -Brown may feel as tho they were just kept back a grade so to speak. Unfortunatly the RC is designed from Bottom to top in consideration oof skills and teaching. The old method was TOP to bottom.

    4) What are the advantages to the RC?

    Larger class sizes working on the same principle and techniques and forms.
    You can teach a Black Belt technique or form to a white belt, the only difference is how they will look when performing such. So you can teach one technique to W-O and 1 form without having to stop class to explain who gets what. It also allows the instructor to keep students more activly engaged as a whole instead of the sole yellow belt working on Long Form 1.
    Students also get to learn more of the motion and the principles behind the technique or form. RC also allows for greater time managment when scheduling class times.

    5) Is the RC for me???
    As a student, if you r just beggining my humble opinion is that you can only benefit from this if you are in a larger school setting. Most of the students at our school look much better then I did at Yellow and Orange.
    If you are an older student that has not trained that way you may not like it as it will rereview the sam material and cover concepts that you have already been taught. My opinion there is, Whne is the last time you really practiced your Yellow Belt material?? Covering 3 stages of action , power, what if, 3 points of focus, etc etc. Review is not a bad thing we all know that.
    As a school owner I can't speak. But If you run a small school and have the ability to focus on your students without much trouble then I dont think you would be inmpressed. Larger schools may love this idea, I am sure your senior instructors would love to have an extra hour in the evening.

    Just my opinion of the RC. Like it or not. It will be a part of the future of MA for years to come.

    David Gunzburg
     
  17. teej

    teej Blue Belt

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  18. Dark Kenpo Lord

    Dark Kenpo Lord Brown Belt

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  19. Dominic Jones

    Dominic Jones Orange Belt

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    To all students and Instructors
    I teach American Kenpo Karate (24 techniques per level) to a small club based in Japan. I have about 12 students at the moment who train once or twice a week. There are no private lessons outside of the class.

    The joy and curse of kenpo is the amount of techniques to teach (24 per belt level) and learn AND the multi grade/level class situation.

    Currently at Sendai Kenpo I teach techniques according to grade level. For example if there are White, Yellow, Orange, Blue and Green belts in the class (one of each mind you ) That means that I teach 5 different techniques to 5 different people. Therefore each grade has to work on the techniques individually). This results in the students working alone with limited contact time with the Instructor.

    Sendai Kenpo is also a social club, so my students prefer to work together as a group or at least with a partner. So I’m wondering if I can teach the class together?

    One way of doing this would be to teach the whole class the same technique (as seems to happen in the rotating curriculum) However with 154-ish!! base techniques in the system which ones would you teach and how many per night?

    As already mentioned, another way is to combine the grade levels into three groups (W,Y, / O,P,B / G,Br,B) thus having 34,72,72 techniques to choose from.
    Now if you choose this method for the Beginners (White and Yellow) using the 24 technique syllabus.
    • Do you start at Delayed Sword and teach 2 techniques a lesson until you reach Crashing Wings?
    • Or do you see who has turned up and choose 2 techniques to best fit the students.
    • Students grade when they have completed their own syllabus or a set number of techniques. Or all the techniques within the Beginner Block?.
    • Do you wait for every student to complete the first syllabus and then move up to the second syllabus?.
    • Do you have a closed class until each student completes the level.
    • What about brand new students-do you accept them at any time or special beginner nights?
    • Do you teach each technique perfect from the get go – or do you allow mistakes (which you can review and correct later).

    Do you teach the basics for each technique seperately first and then combine them into the technique by the numbers.

    Do you start from the first move of the technique of the last(and work backwards)?

    Now Forms and Sets could also be taught the same way or split into grade levels??

    So basically I’m looking for ideas on how you teach classes; how other Instructors teach classes and any ideas about how you could teach classes. In the end as the Instructor of Sendai Kenpo it’s up to me to decide what way to teach.. But I’m always looking for different ways to teach. Also I’m hoping to benefit from past/present Instructors who have taught in similar situations.

    Cheers Dominic :asian:
     
  20. Mark Weiser

    Mark Weiser Guest

    Here is what you should do if I may interject. First do you have any green or blue belts in your club. Those whom already know the material up to purple? I would suggest allowing them to teach the yellow and orange and purple belt level students of course you are in the area to assist. Then you can help with the Blue Belts on up and assisting them in gaining further insights of Kenpo.

    This allows your students teaching experience that will enable them when they get to blackbelt to decide if they wish to teach. The only other way and I know that I may get raked over the coals for this. But you can do the following.

    1. Find a Video Course that teaches your system of Kenpo.
    2. Use these Videos as a tool to allow students to train at home while not in club.
    3. Set up a standard system that they must train at least one hour a day and tell them which Movements you will be practicing on in class. This shows you trust them and also helps them gain knowledge faster.
    Just some ideas.

    Sincerely,
    Mark E. Weiser
     

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