Independent schools and independent syllabus

Discussion in 'Western Martial Arts - General' started by marques, Dec 5, 2016.

  1. marques

    marques Master Black Belt

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    I have found many independent schools recently. (And tried 2 of them.) They teach what they want (or think is better) from other disciplines and they grade black belt in... (unspecified) martial arts.

    How is the quality controlled? Is it just 'no injuries, no problem'? Do you trust them?

    I know they can be good or not so good. The instructor may be skilled or not. But, generally speaking, it seems they want to attract everyone and to offer everything that sells (fitness, self-defence, MMA, all together and more). At the end, there is no identity (quality?, objective?, speciality?) and they seem to me just more one cardio option. :)

    What do you think?
     
  2. JP3

    JP3 Master Black Belt

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    There is a reason why we have the saying, "Jack of all trades, and master of none."


    Personally, trying to teach the entire spectrum of MA in one school is trying to do too much, so you would end up probably doing nothing well. True, you may have some naturally-gifted people who can pick things up quick, but in the end they'll stall out as well, as there ends up being no true progression. It's hard to dig into nuances of a single technique when you're trying to drink from a firehose as it were.

    As you said, just another cardio option might be a good description.
     
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  3. KangTsai

    KangTsai 2nd Black Belt

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    Generally these types of places either divide into a fitness group club for middle aged women, or a general MA training facility that happens to have organised sessions a few times a week or so.
     
  4. Tez3

    Tez3 Sr. Grandmaster

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    Independent places are no different from those that come under the umbrella of 'organisations'. You take your chances in all of them, the gradings and black belts are only valid in the place they are awarded anyway. I know of many independent martial arts clubs and schools, just like those that are franchised out some are very good, some are just good and a few aren't good. Not all teach a mixture , many teach one style but don't want to be part of a big organisation. Being independent doesn't mean they lack quality, just like all martial arts places you have to find the one that suits you.
     
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  5. Buka

    Buka Grandmaster

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    I plead guilty to all of the above. (Dang me, dang me, they oughta' take a rope and hang me!)

    I taught what I wanted.
    I taught what I thought was better. (years later - knew what was better, come to find out)
    I graded black belt the way I wanted.
    But -
    I didn't want to attract anyone. I wasn't selling anything. You either wanted to train really hard and fight a whole bunch - or you didn't. Our door opened from either side.
    As for selling - we had school t-shirts. But you had to earn the right to buy one.
    As for cardio options - oh, we had plenty of those puppies.
     
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  6. Paul_D

    Paul_D Master Black Belt

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    Could the same not have been said at any point in in the last 100 years when any style when the founder created it?
     
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  7. Tez3

    Tez3 Sr. Grandmaster

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    Many of the schools under the umbrella of big organisations aren't policed by them, they just take the money and let the owners get on with it. The organisations are businesses whose aim is to make money so as long as the school owners pay in they are happy.
     
  8. Bill Mattocks

    Bill Mattocks Sr. Grandmaster

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    I think that there is no way to either approve of or condemn a school based on some random post complaining about vague things.

    The world is full of martial arts schools of various types. Traditional, non-traditional, chains and independents. Schools that are part of larger organizations and schools which belong to no organization at all. Instructors who are well-versed in the art they teach and instructors who are not.

    There are good students, bad students, average students.

    It is very difficult to know everything about a school based on anecdotal evidence.
     
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  9. JR 137

    JR 137 Senior Master

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    Weren't the original Shotokan, Goju Ryu, Kyokushin, et al. dojo all independent when first started?

    Not that all independent schools today are at the level of quality of those schools, but how do we honestly know they were great schools? Because a bunch of people joined up and they expanded? I'm quite sure there were a few better dojos that no one heard of because the teacher refused to expand beyond teaching a handful of students in his back yard. Maybe not.
     
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  10. Andrew Green

    Andrew Green Grandmaster

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    It's just like restaurants, there are big chains and independents. The chains are more predictable and you have a pretty good idea what to expect. The independents can be anything from amazing to explosive diarrhea inducing.
     
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  11. gpseymour

    gpseymour Sr. Grandmaster

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    Some of that is just marketing. I've seen schools that clearly taught a single style, who advertised all the components that went into it. That would be like me advertising, "Aikido, Jujutsu, Judo, & Karate." Those are the key components (one just a category of the art) for NGA.

    In other cases, it's just someone teaching their compiled style. Maybe they've built a solid base in something (let's say they started with a few years of Shotokan Karate, maybe even graded in it), then went and studied here and there and incorporated principles and techniques until they had something that became a cohesive, functional whole. Then, they just want to teach that thing they now use. It's not Shotokan now, really (as others would see it, anyway). It's an amalgam of those other things, too. It's not really MMA, because that's a competition style. So they just teach it. They give out ranks, because that's how their training worked, and it's familiar and useful.

    How good is it? Depends how good it is. How valid is the rank? It depends how good it is, and how well the instructor tests those ranks. Mind you, the same can be said of someone within an association. I'm pretty sure, that (except for those like BJJ where inter-school competition apparently is an almost necessary component in the culture of the art) there are really crappy schools and some wearing ranks who can't perform at that level within most organizations.
     
  12. marques

    marques Master Black Belt

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    I trained 10 years in one of these no-name-styles (focused on 1thing, self-defence). :) And it is hard to find as good (in my opinion). BUT it was largely criticised by the traditionalist 20 years ago. And now it seems quite normal in the UK. And a bit everywhere with the MMA thing...

    Anyway, I think these 'new' styles lack of identity (should I say marketing power?). And should exist a minimum of quality, avoiding worst health than doing nothing, worst behaviour in conflict than without 'training'. Everything as flaws, martial arts or not, I now... Perhaps I am too idealist. :)

    My tone was just to stimulate reactions. ;) I like freedom and diversity. Just sometimes it goes wrong in my opinion...
     
  13. Paul_D

    Paul_D Master Black Belt

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    Even if a style does start off on solid foundations, over years as it changes hands (in terms of leadership) it can morph from something practical into something utterly unfit for purpose. Didn't Funakoshi disown Shotokan eventually as it because so far removed from what he originally envisioned?
     
  14. JR 137

    JR 137 Senior Master

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    I don't think he disowned Shotokan. I'm pretty sure I read that he didn't like the increasing emphasis on competition toward the end of his life.

    Reading some stuff from his senior-most students about training under him, it seems like Shotokan today is nothing like it was when he and his first generation of students turned Shotokan teachers taught. Seemed like it was a lot more brutal regarding contact and having to prove yourself worthy.

    As a historian or two said - the only constant in history is change. Change usually has its good and bad points simultaneously.
     
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  15. Langenschwert

    Langenschwert Master Black Belt

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    There are entire organizations with nest to no quality control and whose martial arts are more or less bogus. A large organization is no guarantee of quality. True, you're likely to get good instruction in Judo or Kendo or similarly large competitive arts, but there's apparently a lot of bad Krav out there for example.

    Our school is completely independent. There is no one overseeing how I and my co instructor teach. We do, however, go to tournaments and fight full-contact with steel, and bring back medals. At our last tournament we took every medal out of a possible seven. That's our QAQC.

    What's this thread doing in the WMA forum anyway? It's a good thread, but it seems more like a general discussion thing.
     

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