Effectiveness & Authenticity

Discussion in 'American Ninjutsu' started by Shizen Shigoku, Nov 24, 2004.

  1. Shizen Shigoku

    Shizen Shigoku Purple Belt

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    At the request of a moderator, (see: http://www.martialtalk.com/forum/showthread.php?t=18873 posts #'s 138, 141, 145, 149, 154, 155, 166, 167, 168, and finally, 170), I have started a new thread to discuss this issue specifically.

    I don't expect many replies, because this seems like an open-and-shut case, but then I may just be surprised.

    Anyhoo, here was my question from post #166 of the above-mentioned thread:

    "Would anyone else like to agree or disagree with the following: 'effectiveness and authenticity of lineage . . . are two completely separate issues.' ?"

    I fully recommend reading the above cited posts in the What is "American Ninjutsu" thread to get the proper background for discussion.
     
  2. Shizen Shigoku

    Shizen Shigoku Purple Belt

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    From http://www.martialtalk.com/forum/showthread.php?p=312632#post312632

    Getgoin: "Liniege and certification mean nothing. All that show is who trained before you. Whats important is how you train today. I know black belt that come from "ligit" systems that couldn't fight off a child for milk money. I looked at tew's webpage and I read a handfull of passages that contained the word ninjutsu, he drops no ones name or any rank he may or may not have trained with."

    I don't understand where the confusion comes from. I really don't. Maybe I'm just over-blessed with logical thinking.

    Lineage and authenticity and certificates, etc. are important for lineage and authenticity's sake. To say that authenticity is important, or that lineage and credentials matter, is not (*_NOT_*) saying that a particular art is more effective at self-defense.

    If someone is a skilled martial artist or fighter, and has no credentials, no ranks, no lineage, no history, maybe someone taught the skills / maybe they were self-taught, etc. that does not take away from their abilities as a martial artist or fighter.

    The two issues are related, but not dependant on one another.

    "Liniege and certification mean nothing."

    They mean nothing as far as actual effectiveness is concerned, yes.

    "All that show is who trained before you."

    And that is important, and does mean something.

    I couldn't get into college just on my SAT scores alone (my abilities and effectiveness), I also had to have a high school dimploma (my certification, my lineage).

    In the long run, does it really matter if I have a college degree or not, as long as I do my job well? No.

    But what if I wanted to teach someone the skills that I had? What if they asked me where I learned them?

    The thing is, it is more likely that someone with skills is truly knowledgable if they learned them from a reputable source. If they didn't and are still quite talented, that's fine. But, if someone is claiming ability to teach a particular artform, and is unable or unwilling to share how they learned such abilities, then it is a problem with that person's honesty and character, not their martial abilities.

    This brings us to the third related aspect that you brought up.

    "I don't get kicked in the head, slammed on the mat or choked to learn how to be a better person. Being a better person is why I read the bible and go to church for. This stuff about discipline and respect are a great selling tools but you get the same result from any form of hard study whether it be educational, physical or military."

    If you remove the part in the middle, "Being a better person is why I read the bible and go to church for. This stuff about discipline and respect are a great selling tools..." you are left with something interesting, "I don't get kicked in the head, slammed on the mat or choked to learn how to be a better person. . . you get the same result from any form of hard study whether it be educational, physical or military."

    Exactly, you don't have to intend to learn discipline and good character traits from martial arts, but they are a bonus side-effect.

    Part of being a better person (however you learn to be one), is being honest. If one is teaching a particular skill set with no prior training and no credentials to back up what they are teaching that is fine as long as they are up front about that fact.

    In the case of people claiming to teach ninjutsu, it is highly unlikely that anyone self-teaches themselves ninjutsu. Ninjutsu as it is known today came about from centuries of evolution as various knowledge were brought together and practiced and refined. Without someone thoroughly versed in the tradition to guide you, it is nearly imposible to attempt to learn such an art.

    If someone is claiming to teach an art such as ninjutsu, but is unable or unwilling to tell how they learned it, then there is a problem. If they are unable, it most likely means they did not learn it, or they did not learn it from a reputable source. If they are unwilling, then that means they are being dishonest.

    Either way, those two outcomes - not having authenticity, or not having a decent character - do not necessarily mean that the person doesn't have skills that they are qualified to teach, but it definitely makes it less likely that they do.

    Serious martial arts are a life and death matter, would you trust your life in the hands of someone of questionable background or character?
     
  3. getgoin

    getgoin Guest

    We can talk about this all you want just leave the ego at the door. I'm not here to get a shot in on with sarcasm.
    They are obviously more important to you than me. I feel it is the person and there ability, not who taught them.

    I can't see how. No matter how hard someone in the past trained or good they became, that doesn't translate to the student. The student has to train hard and work to be as good or better then anybody that came before him. That certificate and lineage doesn't make him a better martial artist.

    In that situation your dealing with people who deal in certificates, they go around telling people who can do what and who can't. They have set the rules for thier enviroment and thats thier choice. In the end they are no better than you or me. I was a casino Pit manager in Las Vegas I have been the boss of people with master degrees, I only have GED and some college. The piece of paper they had with thier name on it meant nothing when it came down to real life.

    The statement I presented in my last post was in direct responce to a statement you made - "No, you're right that that is "the most important part of martial training," but that is not the only thing that matters". Removing the middle of it takes it out on context. I do not do martial arts for any other reason than to fight.
     
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  4. Shizen Shigoku

    Shizen Shigoku Purple Belt

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    Sorry, I didn't leave my ego behind this time either. I may have been blessed with logical thinking, but I must be lacking in clear communication, because you have obviously missed every point I made.

    I can't at the moment make it any clearer.
     
  5. Touch Of Death

    Touch Of Death Sr. Grandmaster

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    Ok my take on the argument so far is that in any given life and death encounter lineage and ranks are less important than the performance of the art at that moment, and as far as propogation of these arts go, it is only those whom hold the rank and that can produce the lineage that will ulimately pass on these arts to the future individuals that may find themselves testing their lineage and rank against their life. Unforunanlty the charletons of today are not weeded out in battle; so, the individual will have to simply train hard stay conditioned and keep that edge. Lineage is the future, however.
    Sean
     
  6. getgoin

    getgoin Guest

    I guess you must think more of yourself than I think of you.
     
  7. getgoin

    getgoin Guest

    You see both sides of the debate, wise beyond years.:jedi1:
     
  8. Bob Hubbard

    Bob Hubbard Retired

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    Gents, friendly request....leave the pot-shots outta the discussion. Much good info here, if we can leave the digs out of it so the guys with the badgers, err, badges don't need to come in an put everything in padlocks....
     
  9. RRouuselot

    RRouuselot Master of Arts

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    Referring to certificates and school………..

    Let’s say you have 2 people.



    One guys goes to Harvard, the other goes to Thornwood (it’s a bogus online school that is a diploma mill….MA for $800)



    After graduation our Harvard guy was “exposed” to a good education whether he got one or not is unknown, however, since entry into Harvard is difficult in it’s self he has a pretty good shot at making a good living based on where he went to school…..if he doesn’t screw it up somehow.





    Our Thornwood guy would probably arouse suspicion based on his school alone and since he was dumb enough to try and pass off his degree as the real deal he most likely won’t be getting anywhere based on his lack of education.



    This is pretty true of dojo and MA as well.



    If you have someone that went to a reputable dojo that has trained many qualified people and this guy trained hard his chances of knowing something and having skill are pretty good. It offers the person the chance to be a good MA….not guarantee it. I have seen plenty of guys that come from reputable schools that suck……



    If you have a guy that went to “Billy Bob’s School of Boodo” that claims they hey have revamped the way MA are done and made them more effective, has not produce any “recognized” (outside of them saying so) people, refuses to list anyone they have trained with or rank(s) in arts they have trained in….basically refuses to list any supporting qualifications you gotta wonder just how “viable” that art really is going to be.





    Sure you could argue and say “just step on the mat with the guy and find out” ……and what would that prove if the beginner lost other than reinforce the fact that he doesn’t know how to fight which is why he was seeking instruction in the first place. So that doesn’t prove much……….
    And if the beginner beat the "sensei"???
     
  10. getgoin

    getgoin Guest

    My whole position on this is that just because someone studies under instructor x doesn't make him worth learning from, no matter what a piece of paper says. I proudly hang my certifications on my wall, I respect and admire my instructors. I will do my best to make them and the systems that I have learned proud. It's not the piece of paper that makes me a good martial artist. Just as a piece of paper won't make a person smarter because they went to a good college or any dumber because they went to a bad one. Yes there is a chance the person can be a good martial artist, but it still comes down to personal commitment. No matter how good the teacher is, if the student is not commited he will never be as good as the teacher. No matter what the rank.

    For me, I comes down to the person, not the paper. Here is a example of what I mean, A friend of mine has studied Muay Thai for years. I asked him the name of his instructor one day. Some days later I was surfing and began to look up his instructor for something to do, no listings anywhere. I couldn't find a lick of info, nobody ever heard of the guy and my buddy doesn't have his certificates anymore. He lost them moving from his home state and doesn't care about replacing them. Does that mean what he does isn't Muay Thai. He has come to some of my Muay Thai classes with me and has worked with my coach. My coach say he has great Muay thai technique, plus he's one tough S.O.B.. Does that mean I shouldn't learn what I can from him? No. I means I have to take him at his word and trust him. On the other hand I knew a BB in Kenpo, who couldn't fight, not a bit. He said it was because of a metal plate he had put in his head back in "Nam". He was 14 when Vietnam started, he just couldn't fight. But GM Ed Parker promoted him to 3rd degree before he passed away. With that certification and liniege people would jump at a chance to learn from him, right? Well they did, and all of his students sucked. They looked real pretty doing thier techniques and forms, gi's popping when they punched or kicked, nice to watch. But as soon as any contact started they fell apart, completely useless.

    I'm not saying to trust every yahoo out there, not by any means. But just because someone doesn't have a certificate or unprovable liniege doesn't mean you can't learn something from them. It's good to have certification and liniege, it gives people a base, a scense of belonging. I know it does for me. I just don't want to be judged or judge other people by a piece of paper.
     
  11. getgoin

    getgoin Guest

    There used to be a school in Henderson NV called "Billy Bob's school of Boodo", no joke.
     
  12. Bob Hubbard

    Bob Hubbard Retired

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    There are a ton of legit tough guys out there who have little to no "paper".
    There are also a ton of legit 'useless' people out there with all the 'right' paper.

    Paper doesn't make the man, the man makes the paper.

    That said, the right paper can validate the actions of some.

    The Harvard guy will be taken more seriously at job interviews, and by the money guys at the lending institution than the 'diploma mill' guy.

    The guy with rank from reconized leaders is taken more seriously than the guy with the mysterious past, or the certifications from nobodies.

    If you buy a car, you want to know what it's past is, to avoid future problems.
    If you go to an educational institution, you want to know that the person instructing you knows the material cold. I do alot of technological training...we have certs, diplomas, etc. too. The certification tests cost $100-$3,000. The training can be as cheap as buying a 'dummies' book, to intense 'boot camps' costing upwards of $10,000. Before I drop a dime, I want to know who I am going to be learning from. I don't want to pay $10k to some guy who got his cert a week before after only reading the dummies book. I want to train off a guy who has doinn this stuff forever, and is considered a god amongst geeks. :)

    Same thing in the martial arts. Everyone thinks they are 'good'. I don't want to train with the guy who got his black belt, and teaching licence by mail order...hell, I wonder if I even want to train under they guy issuing the wallpaper. I want to know that my instructor, who I am trusting my mind and body and wallet with, is the 'real deal', and not just someone who couldn't handle the intro classes in a real school.

    Paper doesn't prove anything, but, the right paper can indicate the qualifications.
     
  13. Touch Of Death

    Touch Of Death Sr. Grandmaster

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    ...at his word and trust him. On the other hand I knew a BB in Kenpo, who couldn't fight, not a bit. He said it was because of a metal plate he had put in his head back in "Nam". He was 14 when Vietnam started,



    Just so you know lots of Vietnam vets were fourteen when Nam started.
    Sean
     
  14. Shizen Shigoku

    Shizen Shigoku Purple Belt

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    getgoin: "We can talk about this all you want just leave the ego at the door. I'm not here to get a shot in on with sarcasm."

    If my patting myself on the back offends you, maybe you need to check your own ego. If you think I'm trying to imply anything about you, believe me I don't have to. Your lack of understanding is evident in your reply.

    "They are obviously more important to you than me."

    Not necessarily, and irrelevant besides.

    "I feel it is the person and there ability, not who taught them."

    I'll assume, by "it" you mean the most important aspect of martial arts training. I whole-heartedly agree with you, but this discussion isn't about which is more important. If you reread my intro post and the background info I cited, you will see that my whole thesis is that authenticity and effectiveness do not depend on eachother - which by your expressions of opinion, you agree with.

    "'All that show is who trained before you.'

    'And that is important, and does mean something.'

    I can't see how. No matter how hard someone in the past trained or good they became, that doesn't translate to the student. . ."

    That's pretty much what I'm saying as well. However, how good someone was in the past does translate to the student in a certain capacity because they have a high amount of ability and knowledge and (hopefully) teaching ability. For a beginner student, until they train with someone for a long time, they won't know if they are good or not, that's what makes certification and recommendations from reputable people / organizations so convenient.

    "The student has to train hard and work to be as good or better then anybody that came before him. That certificate and lineage doesn't make him a better martial artist."

    I agree.

    " 'I couldn't get into college just on my SAT scores alone (my abilities and effectiveness), I also had to have a high school dimploma (my certification, my lineage).'

    In that situation your dealing with people who deal in certificates, they go around telling people who can do what and who can't."

    And there's a reason why they do. In many cases lineage and certification verifies effectiveness / ability, it doesn't guarantee it.

    "The piece of paper they had with thier name on it meant nothing when it came down to real life."

    Very true, but in the teaching / training process it is quite usefull.

    Re: Touch'O'Death: "Ok my take on the argument so far ..."

    "You see both sides of the debate, wise beyond years."

    I agree, Touch'O'Death (is that an Irish name? :p) appears to understand the issue quite well.

    The example of your Muay Thai friend, getgoin, is good. In that case, however, your coach, who I'll assume is knowledgable enough in Muay Thai to make an accurate assessment of your friend's skills, authenticated your friend's training. If someone wanted to learn Muay Thai from your friend, he has another source to point to to verify that what he does is actually Muay Thai. Remember, to keep these points separate - that does not verify that he is a good fighter. Like you said, that is up to the individual and their dedication to training and their pursuit of the goal of good fighting ability.

    For many people, the primary goal is to learn how to fight (or to learn self-defense, or to compete, or whatever), but they also choose an art because they want to learn *that* art. If I wanted to learn Muay Thai, and I went to a guy that claims to teach Muay Thai, but doesn't have any credentials to back up that claim, I might still try learning from him, if he seemed a knowledgable enough teacher. He might be the best fighter in the world, he might be able to train me to be an even better fighter, but if he taught me Taekwondo, and not Muay Thai, then when I became knowledgable enough myself to know the difference, I would be upset.

    Remember that I'm not interested in what aspect is more important. I'm sure there's some people out there that don't care about fighting ability, they just want to help preserve an art and become part of an authentic lineage. That's fine, that's their own business.

    The trouble comes down to those that claim to be able to teach a particular art form, and when asked how they are qualified to teach such, say something like "lineage is unimportant, I can teach you how to fight." The person may be qualified, they may not be. If they're not, there may be no way to find out until it's too late.

    People hiding behind tradition may be hiding the fact that they aren't effective and can't teach effective skills. People hiding behind effectiveness may be hiding the fact that they learned from a fraud, or didn't really train under any kind of qualified teacher. That doesn't necessarily take away from their fighting ability, but it definitely makes it less likely that they are qualified to teach a particular authentic art form.
     
  15. getgoin

    getgoin Guest

    He never went.
     
  16. getgoin

    getgoin Guest

    "I don't understand where the confusion comes from. I really don't. Maybe I'm just over-blessed with logical thinking."
    Implies that I that I am unable to think logically.

    "And that is important, and does mean something"
    Reread your posts, you said that not me.

    "Very true, but in the teaching / training process it is quite usefull."
    It could be.

    "People hiding behind effectiveness"
    :rolleyes:
     
  17. I think a point being missed here is that of course, there are going to be naturally more aggresive/tough/faster individuals out there, but that is NOT the point of martial arts. The point is to implement a new system or approach to conflict, and in relation to this, authenticity is very important. An individual can train with intense dedication, for years on end, with the best of intentions, and if the system is faulty to begin with, then the skills ingrained are useless. Which is to say, it is certainly not only "how you train". That applies only once you have a legitimate foundation to begin with, and then, it is very true. The most effective and well tested system out there (whichever it may be) will not create a skilled combatant without dedication to proper training, but neither will a fraudulent system create a skilled fighter, even with the best of training habits. I'm sure it has been said many times already, but the reason that many of these extended lineages exist today is because of their ability to overcome and adapt to centuries of warfare, whereas new/undocumented/fraudulent systems all share one aspect: their techniques/concepts/skills have been exposed to a proportionately extremely low number of conflicts/situations... even if Sensei X has won competitions, or been in x amount of fights, and is really impressive on the mat, they have only experienced a minute cross-section of the possible permutations of a conflict, and their skillsets can only reflect that. I'm out of typing time at the moment, so I will close with this for now - a thoroughly tested tradition will not magically make you an effective fighter, nor will good training habits alone... you must have both. A little redundant, but thats the point...
     
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  18. RRouuselot

    RRouuselot Master of Arts

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    1) MA were invented to defend against an opponent of any caliber….not just weak ones.
    2) Do we really need a “new system”? I mean how do people fight differently than they did 50, 100, or even 150 years ago? Answer: They don’t. The only difference is more people have guns than maybe they did before….so if you want to fight someone bared against their gun go ahead.
    3) You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink…..
    4) Actually most have been “preserved” because they are usually effective. Some weaker systems have slipped through the cracks and are still around or have become weak because they have not been transmitted properly. New/undocumented/fraudulent systems are just that…new/undocumented/fraudulent……..I have yet to see any of these “new improved” systems show me anything I haven’t seen before…..not one. These people that teach these new/undocumented/fraudulent systems are not doing it for altruistic reasons……they do it for their ego, money, or both.
    5) With a thoroughly tested tradition you get exposed to just that- a thoroughly tested tradition…..therefore you have the opportunity to get some skill…..whether you get any or not is up to you
     
  19. BlackCatBonz

    BlackCatBonz Master Black Belt

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    a well rounded, seasoned martial "artist" can plainly see when training with someone if they have the "stuff" that are the makings of a good martial artist. people with new and improved arts with no background or minimal training might look flashy and fun...... its kind of like those honda civic's with the big tailpipe and the racing wing.....all show and no go, pulling up beside a '66 malibu with a big block......the malibu might look like a big square box on 4 wheels but it has the "stuff".
    there is science behind martial arts.....tradition is passing that science on the way it should be done.
    going out and buying a $20 chemistry set does not make you a chemist.

    shawn
     
  20. 1) That was my point... its a matter of strategic advantage, not just aggression.

    2) When I said "new system" I was referring to replacing an individuals ideas/habits with a given set of concepts. The system is "new" to the individual, not the world.

    3) pretty sure we agree on this.

    4) S/A

    5) Again, that is pretty much the idea I was trying to get across.
     

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