Master Al Case' Matrix Martial Arts

Discussion in 'General Self Defense' started by TaiChiTJ, Dec 18, 2010.

  1. jks9199

    jks9199 Administrator Staff Member

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    Ranks don't always equate with experience, especially when you compare across styles. Which class was so "traditional" that nobody spoke during the class? I know a fair number of people in some very traditional styles, and they do speak. I know a few cases where there's little speaking because the instructor doesn't speak English... and a few others where there's not much speaking because nobody's got the breath left to speak.

    I'll ask you what I'm pretty sure I asked Mr. Case: What is "matrixing?" How does it help learn?
     
  2. Edward F

    Edward F White Belt

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    It is a pleasure to talk to you, Supra Vijai. My teacher, if I got it right, had studied some time in the Hombu Dojo, under various teachers, and took with him the use of not speaking a word during class. Instead, when a student had doubts, he showed the same technique any number of times. This approach has been documented to be used by O Sensei himself and also in the transmission of numerous Chinese martial arts, again, regarding it as a mean for the student to find himself in the art and not get some already schewed interpretation.

    jks9199, I agree with your opinion conerning ranks. For my former teacher, you see, they didn't mean almost anything, as it seemed was with O Sensei, and that is the reason why exams were sparcely held. Everyone knew more or less their rank, independently of this. Matrixing is, from my point of view, an intent to give some order to the huge number of techniques and applications an art sees incorporated to it along the years, many of which are not well linked to its initial core concepts; techniques that accumulate to such extent that a newbie is overwhelmed when confronted with the task of learning all of them, apparently not following any order, because, as I said, transmission has gotten corrupted and many people doesn't know which movements are add-ons. In practical terms, I reduced Aikido (to start eating the pie, so to speak) to 12 core techniques, and I could see which ones were added from Judo, which ones were variations, which ones were continuations, etc. This was my personal and individual way of making my way through Aikido.


    Though, it is not my intention to start an argument here.

    These posts, I repeat, I made them out of two reasons. The first is respect to a man who has taught me and therefore deserves my deepest gratitude. The second one, as I already told, was to leave a footprint behind me to those who may come here looking for help, as I did time ago, so they could find more than I did back then.

    So, I will summarize my contribution answering two questions which anyone interested in this subject might ask :

    1-Is Matrixing a tool which can be used to martial development? Yes.

    2-Is it for me? You'll have to answer that one by yourself. Hear your instinct, don't rely blindly in other's opinions, which may be clouded for some reason. If you don’t want to invest some bucks in having a look at a course, read Case's free stuff (there's plenty). See for yourself if you can find gold hidden in there and that will tell you if this approach will be useful for you or not.

    I was surprised when I first read this thread and found out that, among all the opinions here exposed, only one person had actually purchased one course, and the rest of the opinions seemed based mostly in bizarre speculations supported for no less bizarre evidences. That is why I feel the need to mention that I have ALL Mr Case's courses, except the latest one or two, having acquired them over time and once I was convinced of their worth as well as Mr Case's, who on the other hand, proved to me that his interests were not purely monetary, something that shouldn't be easily passed by without noticing. I guess that qualifies me to express a judgment out of my direct and wide personal experience in this subject, and therefore want my take to be viewed as that of someone who has delved deep into the matter to find the truth: Mr Case is, to me, a man who dedicated considerable time to the study of the martial arts, and developed ways of enhancing their practice to those who would come after him. We all have bills to pay in this world, so no one should be surprised if he tries to make a living out of his research.

    So, these is my grain of sand for the benefit of those who are, as I was, a bit lost, among the many arguments natural to learned beings of new formation. I still shiver when I think what would have happened if I had listened without questioning the opinions expressed here, so always have present that you, the one who is reading this in the hope of finding an answer, you are the only one who can say the last word concerning what is valuable to you and what is not, in spite of what we all may say, so I encourage you to form your own opinion and your own answers, and who knows, maybe you'll prove all us wrong.

    I would like to make a final thought, without any trace of animosity. There are a lot of charlatans out there and I have no doubt that the treatment Mr Case received here was born out of the most sincere and noble desire of protecting our fellows from falling into the claws of some snakeoil seller (and in my personal opinion Mr Case is not one). But, as a finishing point, I would like to state how beneficial would be, from martial arts to medicine, that half the time is spent hunting down supposed witches and crucifying anyone who speaks apart from the crowd, was invested by those engaged in such activities in finding ways to help others. In other words, spending more time creating useful resources for the development and benefit of humans in general rather than destroying those already existing resources which, for any reason, look suspicious to one, or may be still incomplete but are, no doubt, the intent of someone to help instead of sitting with the arms crossed while vilifying that of which he/she only has a partial understanding.

    Also, a request. Mr Chris Parker, I have came to the conclusion, from watching your intense activity in this forum and your assertions in general, that you are a serious guy concerning MA, so I would really thank you if you could direct me to some contribution you have made to the martial arts world, be it a book, blog or else (available via internet, sadly, I have no current way of going to Australia) so I could learn more from you.

    I wish you all a nice day,

    Edward
     
  3. Supra Vijai

    Supra Vijai Black Belt

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    Not quite sure I count as a contribution just yet :p
     
  4. Supra Vijai

    Supra Vijai Black Belt

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    (Very) slightly more seriously however, I thought this was more of a "Koryu" approach than anything. That said, the important thing to remember is that what is done in Japan is for the Japanese. They have the cultural background, the social hierarchy and the attitudes necessary to make this style of learning practical. When teaching to a Western audience, the same approach just doesn't do anyone any favors. For one thing, students from a Western background or way of thinking are far more likely to question things or try to jump ahead because the overall attitude towards learning just isn't the same. Not to say it's a bad thing mind you, just different.
     
  5. Chris Parker

    Chris Parker Grandmaster

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    Hi Edward,

    I've known of a number of schools who have a more silent approach, but it's honestly not that common. With someone like O'Sensei, and the Chinese systems you seem to be referencing (as well as schools from other countries and cultures... it's not exclusive to the ones you mention), it's not so much a silent room when training, but more to do with demonstration over explanation as a teaching method. That's the way Ueshiba taught primarily from all accounts, simply demonstrating rather than explaining. Honestly the more "silent" dojo are trying to be something that really doesn't exist... an overly "serious, traditional" approach that is far from the reality of actual traditional schools.

    Ueshiba had changing opinions on rank. Initially he used the Menkyo system as he was ranked with Daito Ryu Aikijutsu, issuing licences to his students (the first Menkyo Kaiden he issued was to Tomiki Kenji). In 1940 he decided, as his art had moved completely away from Daito Ryu, and was established as a modern art (Gendai Budo), Ueshiba decided to adopt the Kyu/Dan ranking system that was being used in other modern arts, such as Judo and Karate. At this point, the Menkyo Kaiden licences were changed to Hachidan (8th Dan) rankings. So he obviously put some thought into the ranks of his students that represented his art (which was to represent Ueshiba himself, really).

    I hear things like "rank doesn't mean anything" a lot, and frankly, if that was true, there'd be no point having it. So you need to understand what rank is really about. Really, in old systems, licencing is a way of conferring authority within the system. With the Kyu/Dan ranking, it's really about a hierarchy within a particular school. The higher your rank, the further up the ladder you are (there are exceptions, but I'm not getting into that here...). If a school is small, then a lack of emphasis on rank is fine, but once it becomes a part of a larger group (or organisation), it really does have meaning. It's just that that meaning isn't necessarily related to skill as much as some think it should be. Ideally there's a correlation, but that's another issue.

    The problem is that every single art I can think of is structured, and the way you're describing things here (as well as the way Al Case describes what he sees as an issue in martial arts) is simply not the way martial arts are in reality. In fact, I think I've already said that... here we go:

    I'd also add that Aikido doesn't have anything "added" from Judo in it.... and there really are about a dozen core "techniques" of Aikido. But that doesn't make just having those actions what you're doing Aikido, it means you have a bunch of techniques that are found in Aikido. What makes it Aikido is the way they are done within a larger context.

    Cool. Not a problem with your reasons. I might query your conclusions, though. Most of all the first one here. From Al's description, from the few answers he gave (that had any real answer in them, which was very little), from his blog, from all the clips of his material, and from your description, I'd be hard pressed to agree. It seems that it can come across as a simple explanation of something that really doesn't have a simple explanation, and in that way gives the appearance of aiding martial development, but in very real ways is missing major key aspects, particularly the context of the art and an accurate transmission of what it's really about. Distilling things down like this means that the real art itself is removed.

    Yeah, I looked over pretty much everything he had, and frankly, everything I saw was flawed, sometimes in smaller ways, often in larger ones. There were mistakes in history, mistakes in understanding of a large number of martial arts (including the ones he sells packages on), essential mistakes in understanding martial arts in general, major gaps in his approaches, and far more. No gold.

    Actually, two people bought them. One (TaiChiTJ) gave a summary of the "40 Monkeys" program, which showed (again) a lot of gaps and fundamental flaws in Al Case's approach. In fact, that was just before your first post, so you might have seen it. In terms of Al's not having purely monetary interests in selling his programs, well, he pretty much said that that was his interest here, stating that he "basically trawls for those interested".

    Now, that said, I have no problem with people making a living from martial arts. I'd like to be able to do that myself. However I do have issues with the product he's selling as it is desperately flawed from the outset, and his research is deeply lacking, both in martial arts and his take on what he's offering. In fact, the main thing he seems to have seriously researched is online marketing (I recognize quite a number of his tactics and strategies, as I'm pretty familiar with such methods myself. Again, not a problem I have with him, I know the type of success that can be gained that way, but I'm just saying that that's where Al's research really is).

    You got something out of the programs, which is great. But that still doesn't mean anyone here is going to recommend them with the huge number of issues we have seen (which Al was asked to clarify, and either couldn't, or wouldn't).

    Finding ways to help others? Find a school. If it's a bad school, find another one. We really don't need to be looking for good "short-cut" approaches, as, in our estimation, there just isn't one. Honestly, as I tell my students, there are two secrets to martial arts; start training, then keep training. That's it.

    With Al's programs, a member had a question, we looked, and answered. There wasn't any hunting.

    Well, thanks... no, I don't have a blog, or a book, or anything else, really. I am here, and on a few other forums, other than that I work with my students and train myself. But if you have any questions, I'd recommend asking... who knows, there might be others here who can help as well.

    Uh, way off base there.... so you know.
     
  6. Supra Vijai

    Supra Vijai Black Belt

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    As in, not limited to being a Koryu approach or the take on the mentality?
     
  7. Chris Parker

    Chris Parker Grandmaster

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    As in that's not really typical of Koryu teaching methods. It can be found, but that's about as close as you'd get. The description given by Edward also doesn't match Japanese teaching, by and large. There's less explanation, sure, but it's not a silent class by any means. But in terms of Koryu, laughter can be common, detailed explanation can be common, swearing and bad jokes can be common... it's really not the "stuffy" environment people might think. The training is serious, sure, and very focused, but that's a far cry from what was described.
     
  8. Supra Vijai

    Supra Vijai Black Belt

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    Ahh my mistake, I've clearly misinterpreted things somewhere along the line. Thanks for the clarification!
     
  9. Edward F

    Edward F White Belt

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    It is acknowledged that, among the many arts O Sensei studied, Judo was one of them, taking "formal" lessons in Kodokan Judo with Kiyioichi Takagi in 1911. As different aspects of the various arts he studied were later manifested to some degree in Aikido (along its diverse phases of development), we can assume some of Judo will be there aswell to some extent. Not to forget that Aikido bases its techniques in joint work, and for its purposes hips (our own and our opponent's) can be considered also a "joint". Judo is an art which studies thoroughly the use of hips, taking into account on the other hand, that practical hip movements in this context are not to be found in large numbers (mainly four, in fact), so I'd dare say O Sensei looked back to his Judo background when he was developing the subtleties of hip techniques, which are found in Aikido in Koshi Nage and all the Sumi Otoshi branch of techniques, which, depending of the school, are overlooked or not. I think it was even mentioned somewhere in The Dynamic Sphere, a really recommendable book.

    The evolution from the early steps of Aikibudo to Aikido as well as the additions of later masters of the art who wished to contribute with their knowledge are the main causes for the large number of techniques, or variations of the same technique, I spoke about. Of course an art is more than its technical side, but giving a newbie the core concepts can lay a good ground to work, centering his/her attention in the very core of the system instead of digressing it into the many variations. Extrapolating an example, if I may, it would be as if a musician was instructed to play random passages of a certain piece. It is a known fact by most musicians that each piece has various "central points", as we will call them for now, the number of them present in the piece depending mainly on its style and type. Those aforementioned "central points" act like gravity centers, and all the rest of the composition orbits around them, and is caused for and to them, mainly in the form of what might be called a "variation on the same idea", which serves to anticipate the main idea (a center) and to reinforce it. Also, they use to be the most difficult parts of the piece technically, interpretatively, or both. Asking a student to start practicing the "variations" instead of the "main idea" is a bad idea so much as the sense of the "little" idea can be sensed from the main one, but not vice versa, breaking thus the flow, disrupting the student's associative processes and causing considerable technical struggle. Hence, the practice should start with the careful study and understanding of this "gravity centers" and then, radiate outwards to the "variations" which sprout from them, a practice that can speed up considerably the task of learning a new piece. That is the main reason why a musician generally analyzes a given piece first of all and studies in the first place what he/she identifies as those "centers", until they are completely mastered, because he/she knows them to be the foundation of the piece, a resource to tap in when everything else fails (a good musician who controls the central points of a piece could improvise something in tone with the overall piece in case he happened to forget some part during a recital). If you take all this as if we were talking MA you'll have a clear picture of what I am talking about, or in the words of the wise, but unorthodox, Mulah Nassr Eddin: "Any number of acrobatics has not half the value of a good kick in the groin". Though, I will repeat once more, is not that the arts have no structure at all, and I am pretty sure they were well structured in the beginning, the point here is that, the longer the time passes, the further an art distances from its original source. Misunderstandings or well meaning attempts to help can cause the complete mix of the order of an art, and though its ideal learning sequence could be, and surely was, well established, once the Founder dissappears the following masters start to change things, according to their personal point of view. Summarizing: though structure in the arts is doable and desirable, nowadays is far from being the norm in many schools.

    I see that what I called silent classes has been misinterpreted. What I really meant is "exposition above explanation", and in no way I'm putting down my old school, nor would I enjoy hearing anyone doing so, which in no sense pretended to be something which was not.

    Concerning the fact of rankings, it is sad to see how it has degenerated away from its former purpose, with the advent of McDojos and such, and, in the best scenario, can only be indicative among students of the same teacher or some branches of the same art (Tomiki Aikido is geared towards competition so in fact, being the ranks a supposed measure of nononly technical aspects, we cannot hope its rank to equal those of, i.e. Manseikan Aikido, which emphasizes heavily the spiritual aspect and therefore, expects a different kind of development), and in no way, as some do, intercrossed from one art to another, or even among different styles of the same art. Probably O Sensei, being a wise man, saw this in advance and that's why he never gave this matter much importance, not to forget he learnt a lot of relatively little known systems by himself, so mostly sure he understood what being an autodidact feels like and that whenever someone has the itching for learning, rank is not the main theme in his/her head, but training. Anyway, we can see that he relied, understandably, more in his own criteria than in any system, providing the strikingly fast ascent of some students, such as Koichi Tohei. I would like to make a last point on this subject: in Spain, due to the arrange of the minimum time required to pass from one exam to another, one can be Shodan in five years at best. In Japan, given they use also "waiting periods" between exams, it comes as a surprise to find out that one can be Shodan in one year if it is so deserved. Japanese, obviously, do not mistake "quality" for "quantity", an error to which our society seems prone. A final thought on this: when the first man was developing the first art, who could measure his prowess but him? That is why I insist, everyone knows or should know, in an inner way, his/her true "rank". The ranking system, as all intents to standardize something, has ended up by unintentionally killing the individual or even the exceptional. It would be curious to see the Founder caged in a system which by law, required a definite and standard amount of time to pass from exam to another, from the teaching of basics to a more advanced one, without taking into account the particularities of each student (please note here that O Sensei acquired First Grade Mastery of Daito Ryu after -just- 30 days of intense training after he first met Sokaku Takeda).

    Concerning the "gold hidden" thing, I cannot but further repeat myself: it would be hard, with the means we presently have, to measure objectively the intrinsic value of Mr Case's writings, so again, ours are just opinions, and the last word for anyone is his/her own after checking it for themselves, and seeing if it is a valid catalyst for them. Mr Case also showed me the doors to some wise writings and teachings in which, to the extent I know, he has no financial correlation whatsoever, so again I reiterate my opinions expressed above, and state that he helped to have a look at different points of view, which otherwise would have surely remained unknown to me. And the "witch hunting" thing, I never said that was the present case, rather I was, as I'm sure I stated, making a general remark, or just "thinking aloud".

    Concerning the "finding ways to help others", this can be accomplished by many means, and cannot be attempted before aiding your own self, which could be by finding a school or not. Nobody is talking of short cuts here. But neither about long-cuts. In my case, I taught how to perform the unbendable arm in seconds to anyone who would ask me out of real interest, which helped many people to understand by their personal experience the relaxation and other concepts which that technique was designed to exemplify. This was not much, but my own skills weren't that great at the moment, so I contributed with the very little I had gained out of my own research.

    To Mr. Parker: Concerning training, of course it is of the utmost importance, but unfortunately, it is a too general advice to give -such as when doctors say "eat healthy" or "do exercise"- which can be, in the hands of a inexperienced student, a serious danger to health. Just how much and what kind of? That is why I would like to know your training routines, providing there is no single template valid for everyone, and your general approach to this matter, within your art and as purely physical conditioning. I am willing to hear from your experience, and think this deserves a thread itself.

    To Supra Vijai: I find your general interventions in the forum those of a polite, open minded person, so it will be a pleasure to follow your activities from now on, whenever I am able to. Out of curiosity, what does Supra Vijai means? Are they name, surname? Are they regular words? You see, in my country most names have no meaning. I'm wondering, should I call you Mr. Supra or Mr. Vijai.

    I think none of us here can contribute now to further advance this thread's topic more than has already been done, so I would suggest jumping into a new one and leaving this in the hope that anyone coming here after us finds some answers, which I'm sure are already there. By the way, though two people here bought Mr Case's courses I never actually found the second review. Also, if anyone is interested in my findings in Aikido or else just mail me and I'll try to be of help.

    Edward
     
  10. Supra Vijai

    Supra Vijai Black Belt

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    Hey Edward,

    Yeah when it came time to pick a username for the forum, I got extremely creative - Supra is my first name and Vijai is my surname :p Calling me Supra will be fine, I really don't expect anyone to use the title "Mr." as I find it quite formal and I am neither at that age nor rank which demands it :)
     
  11. Edward F

    Edward F White Belt

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    Mr Chris Parker, I feel the need to call your attention over some point I have observed re-reading our conversations which worries me to great extent, I apologize because I do it before you have had time to answer my previous post, but you will see it is a very delicate matter. I presume this was made by you without any conscious intention, but the fact is that, by expressing yourself in such categorical ways (this is black, that is white) you are, I repeat I assume unconsciously, further than calling into doubt my opinion, implying it is not really of any worth. Categorically implying, indeed, that you are right and therefore, I am wrong.


    This surprises me in a strong way, mostly because I had great care in laying out my interventions devoid of such categorical affirmations, except those belonging to my direct personal experience and always stating clearly so (i.e. I didn’t say “there’s gold in Mr Case’s writings”, but more or less “I found something of value there, so I would recommend those interested tocheck it and form their personal opinion”). And I did this because I am well aware that one can be convinced of something and then proved wrong, negatively influencing those around in the meanwhile, so I always tried to leave room for someone who disagreed with my opinion, and even encouraged anyone to find their own one, using mine only as a reference; while I disturbingly found you, definitely not pretending to do it, situating your opinion above that of some white belt by giving it the form of a categorical affirmation.


    So instead of stone written “there’s no gold in Case’s writings” (not literally transcribed), I would have find “I didn’t find any gold in there and I don’t really think there is any, but, well, this dude Edward found it, so there may be some nonetheless, because I do not think he speaks out of ignorance or is directly an utter fool” more adequate, though longer, to the tone of the exchange we were having and to the tone of forums in general, whose purpose, we should not forget, is allow people to exchange opinions in their journey not having to submit to any particular self assured authority’s inner convictions. Your speech was written in a way that automatically disqualified my opinions as valid (approx.: this guy says this is that, but actually it is not – instead of “actually I think it is not”. The difference is subtle but existing).


    I will repeat that I have purchased most of Mr Case’s courses and based my analysis in those courses themselves. From what you say, you have based your whole analysis in his blog/tube material and evaluations concerning his person (not the actual courses), and therefore we could objectively say that I have had access to more data than you. This, given together with the fact that, I suppose, you don’t think I am an ignorant wishing to master the “martial arts’ secrets” in one weekend, should stop you from throwing away my conclusions so quickly. I value the voice of experience, and I have no doubt you are more experienced than me in this, but you’ll understand I cannot dismiss my own findings made by my own researching efforts just because someone says so; after all, I have a brain and I sometimes even use it. I positively know that Mr Case helped me, that means he can help others also, and why on earth should anybody deny them that right? Would you have denied it to me?


    Also, we were not talking whether the system is X% perfect or X% flawed. Almost no tool has no handicap. What we were talking was if it could be useful to some people. My opinion was to let anyone make the choice, and I just gave my experience as a guide which may, or may not, be useful. But categorically denying my opinion since my very first post would mean dismissing the accuracy of my own research, and in turn would constitute an insult to my intelligence. I am sure that is not your intention, Mr Parker.


    If you look closer to my takes, you will surely find that I spoke at all times out of the awareness that I could be wrong, an awareness I, unfortunately, didn’t find in your own interventions on this matter, even though being wrong is an ever existing possibility independent of how much convinced we are of the contrary. We all know how sadly forums, in which I have not participated so much, yet read a lot, use to be plagued by some certain kind of individuals who go running to Wikipedia, spitting acid all the way, just to demonstrate some poor dude that “Karate X Style” was started in, let’s say, “beginning February, 1998”, instead of “ending January, 1998”, taking pleasure in proving others wrong anyhow. I’m sure you all know what I am talking about. And the thing that disturbed me most is that, by such non-conscious categorical interventions, a serious fellow who has things to say and who deserves to be listened could be labeled by mistake as some of those certain individuals by a newcomer who hadn’t taken a look at his general activity! I would be deeply annoyed if that was to happen with Mr Chris Parker, who as I said before, seems a serious guy concerning martial arts and, I believe, has still countless contributions to make out of his experience for the benefit of us all and the clarification of many questions. Someone overlooking Mr Parker’s opinions because of the aforementioned mistaking would be indeed a sad thing.


    There is no way of establishing a productive dialogue when the interlocutor is already convinced that he is right and the other is wrong no matter what, in other words, in order to make a beneficial forum talking we all should be ear-opened and entertain the notion that, no matter how impossible it seems to us now, we could be in an error, or at least, not formulating our opinions as if they were the ultimate truth. That is why I beg you to understand, Mr Parker, and I’m sure you will, that I had to put into words the concern, without any bad feeling attached to it, which had arisen in me about such issue, which I am convinced was not intentional. It is my sincere hope to exchange many more opinions with you, if circumstances allow, but from now on without an atmosphere spoiled by, even unintentional, categorical affirmation and categorical thinking.


    Furthermore, I would like to make clear that I am not stating “Mr Case’s courses are this or that”, but rather encouraging those interested to find an answer by themselves. I found mine, and I share it here. That doesn’t mean it is the only one. I re-state, however, that Mr Case’s opus can be used as a tool for development by some people, as is my case, and as we cannot measure its effectiveness for any given individual but in general terms, is the individual who has to make the choice, and we cannot and shouldn’t deny anyone that right to choose by defending our convictions categorically. For example, if I had not decided to find out an answer to this matter by myself I would have missed some ways which have served me to grow in various areas of my life.


    To put it simply, I saw this door had been categorically closed and reopened it only to the middle, minding that someone coming here, as I myself did, could miss some important points if some things were left unsaid.


    I have spent two workouts’ worth time throwing some light into this thread (I produced really lengthy posts now that I see them, a sure pain to be read), so I will be gone for a while, catching myself up.


    PS: To the “marketing approach” thing, well, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that someone trying to live of a business studies/applies marketing tactics. Those seem pretty much market rules nowadays, independntly of the quality of your product.


    Wishes you all a good day,
    Edward
     
  12. oaktree

    oaktree Master of Arts

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    Hi Edward,
    I have watched the videos alot of them are on Youtube or at least a show of Mr.Chase's skill.
    To someone who never trained in Martial art or has little exposure to them they might think he is very skilled.

    I watched him perform the Baguazhang in the "true martial art define" video on Youtube, It looks like he tried to use Ko Bu or inner step to trip the person but I think his application just looks a little off to me. To me, it looks like someone on a novice level applying it which in itself isn't bad just I would expect higher standards for someone who created his own Baguazhang system.

    If you enjoy the training then great. By the way you spoke about Aikido coming from Judo. It is doubtful that this is true even if Ueshiba did do some Judo training he also trained in other Koryu jujutsu and kenjutsu styles the one that had the greatest impact on his Aikido is Daito Ryu Aikijutsu in fact he was teaching his version of Aikijujutsu which with his belief in the Omoto sect slowly formed Aikido. I believe someone online broke down all of Aikido's techniques and showed how they come from Daito ryu.
     
  13. Chris Parker

    Chris Parker Grandmaster

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    Uh, this'll be a long one....

    Let's clear a couple of things up here. Yes, Ueshiba did study Judo in 1911. It was for less than a year, and, in his words, he only came to study seriously from the following year. Next, there is no such thing as "Koshi Nage" in Judo... there are koshi waza (hip techniques), which include a range of what would be called koshi nage, such as Hane Goshi Nage, Harai Goshi Nage, O Goshi Nage, and so on. Finally, the Koshi Nage of Aikido shares no real traits of any of the koshi waza of Judo, other than the fact that they are throws and centre on the hips... but even the usage of the hips is very different.

    Let's do a comparison:


    Judo, featuring a range of koshi waza


    Aikido Koshi Nage

    When it comes to Sumi Otoshi, again there are almost no connections between them.


    Judo's Sumi Otoshi


    And Aikido's Sumi Otoshi.

    To see where Ueshiba got his forms of Koshi Nage and Sumi Otoshi from (as well as the majority of everything else), look to Daito Ryu Aikijujutsu.



    I see no reason to believe that there is anything "taken from Judo" at all in Aikido

    The evolution from Daito Ryu Aikijujutsu to Aikido was from a range of influences, with the influence of the Otomo sect of Buddhism being one of the major ones. For the record, there are Daito Ryu groups that use the term "Aikibudo", but others don't. The important thing here is the idea of giving a newbie core concepts... that's fine, but that's not what Al's programs are being sold as. He talks about "mastering Aikido in 80 minutes... by MATRIXING!" And that's our big issue, as his claims fly in the face of reality and understanding of martial arts.

    Well, I am a musician (guitar, drums, some bass, a few other things...), and I have to say that this isn't quite accurate. Individual pieces will have central themes, hooks, or something similar (depending on the genre), but there's a big difference between a musical variation on a theme (which can be as much a part of the piece as the original theme itself) and the studying of the piece. I really don't know any learning of a musical piece that includes learning variations, unless they're a part of it already. When it comes to martial arts, though, variations become a natural part of the learning process, moving on from established base techniques, in some cases to further the understanding of those basics.

    Hmm. Honestly I don't see there as much of a connection between your story and that quote. Are you trying to say that variation for variation sake isn't particularly helpful? If so, agreed, but that misses the point of the variation in the first place.

    Actually, that's backwards. Daito Ryu (in it's current form) was largely structured by Takeda Tokimune, Aikido was structured by Kisshomaru... when Ueshiba taught Aikido, he didn't name any techniques, or differentiate what he was doing, it was all just "aikido". The structure came later.

    With regards to your last comment, structure in martial arts is the norm. Honestly, there is no escaping this. Arts are taught in a structured form, starting from point one and going from there. If a particular instructor doesn't understand it, or utilise it, that's a problem, but each and every art I have ever come across is structured, specific, and makes sense (within their context). That's one of the big mistakes that Al keeps making.

    Okay.

    What do you think the "former purpose" of ranking was? The fact that some groups (such as the maligned "McDojo") have lax standards doesn't mean that there is any real difference between ranking used in the past, and currently. To be blunt, I'd suggest that you're not that familiar with ranking systems, how they're used, and so on.

    Hmm. Nope. Ueshiba's usage of ranking adapted as he aged, and as the art he was teaching matured along with it's practitioners. This is no different to the ranking of any organisation, really.

    Hmm, not sure where to start with this... The idea of five years to Shodan, in most Aikido organisations, is not unusual. The "shodan in a year" in Japan is offered really only in certain specific circumstances, such as Uchi Deshi programs, or an intensive program associated with the Tokyo Police department.

    The idea of "the first man, developing the first art" is really nothing to do with anything regarding ranking, as it didn't exist (particularly the way it's applied now). And the ranking approach has really not had anything to do with standardizing the arts, it's actually the other way around, nor do they stop or prohibit the idea of the exceptional individual. The rest of this comment has some problems as well, honestly...

    Agreed that it's up to everyone to make up their own minds, but that doesn't mean that we're going to recommend anything that shows as many glaring problems as Al's products and knowledge do. As far as Al showing the the way other reading material, was that online material, out of interest....? There's a reason I ask....

    Look, I'm going to be blunt. The "unbendable arm" exercise is essentially achievable by anyone in seconds, and exists in a range of methods (Tai Chi, Aikido, stage performance and magic shows, and a lot more), and really doesn't mean anything here. When it comes to "finding ways to help others", agreed that the first step is to help yourself, but in martial arts, if you don't find a school, you're going to be very very limited in how far you can go. And everything that Al has shown has been about short cuts.

    No, it's not too general a form of advice, the specifics will be determined by the school being attended. My training routines really only work when taking into account the arts I train in, my schedule, the desired aims, and so on. I could talk about how much Kihon Suburi I do, or my work on grips, or anything else, but it's really not going to mean anything to anyone not training with me in the arts I train in.

    There was only one review posted (by TaiChiTJ), the other person who bought it didn't give a review.

    Now, onto the more personal message.

    This might not be what you're expecting, but yeah, it was deliberate and conscious. However, that method of posting is used when I am dealing with facts and observation, not opinion.

    I said (a few times) that I'm glad you found things of worth in the programs you purchased from Al, however the huge number of errors he consistently makes, the lack of understanding he demonstrates repeatedly, and the flaws in the basic approach the programs represent mean that I am not going to recommend them, or support the purchase of them. That's my opinion, and I backed it up by pointing out the problems. So far, your opinion is based on "I have the programs, and I got something out of them". Okay, great. I'm not arguing that. If you can answer the issues in Al's work, then do so. I'm not expecting that you can, though, as Al couldn't (or wouldn't) do so himself.

    Well, let's look at what was actually said. You said you found some "gold" in his efforts, I reviewed what I found, and what I had examined. I concluded the list of my findings with the phrase "No gold". In other words, I said that, in everything Al had presented, I had found no gold. I could be a little colder, and say that I found a lot of iron pyrite (fool's gold), which is largely accurate as well, but I didn't.

    For the record, though, I wouldn't have said what you suggest, as frankly, I don't agree with the statement. Honestly, I would put down your finding of "gold" there to a degree of ignorance, when it comes down to it (although, based on your eloquence and grace, I would certainly not class you as even close to a fool). That is due to your own statements of very minimal experience, and the experience you had being far from optimal in the first place.

    I would have stringently recommended against it. I would also still recommend getting to a good school... but would warn you to be prepared to hear that what you think you know of the arts as taught by Al Case to be rather flawed. But, for the record, my analysis is based on a lot more, for example my last two and a half decades training and three decades researching and reading (yeah, I started young...). That means I was able to look from a deeper perspective than yourself, to be frank.

    Actually, I've been dealing with whether or not the programs are what they claim to be, in which they are desperately lacking, and that is backed up by your review of them, honestly. I haven't denied your opinion, I have, however, questioned your experience outside of Al's programs in order to make a real assessment of what they claim to offer.

    I do have a reputation as being rather definite in my approaches, mainly as I don't tend to talk on issues I'm less than sure of. Every experienced martial artist on this thread, aside from Al himself (and his experience is rather questionable, frankly, such as his claim that he learnt karate from a book, which shows up in some highly questionable takes on karate, and videos of his) has agreed with my assessment, or come up with the same independently. That should be a clue as to why I am so confident in my statements.

    There has been nothing to demonstrate that my take on things is incorrect in the slightest, though. If you had something to convince me, I am more than open to hearing it, as I was when I was questioning Al, however there has been nothing to do so.

    And there hasn't been any question of you liking what you've gotten.

    Which has given us the opportunity to ask more specific questions about the program, but honestly, it's just given us the same impression we already had.

    Okay.

    And, as I said, I have no problem with someone making a living, but the question is about what exactly he is offering in exchange for the living he's making. And frankly, there are enough questions about the quality to warrant concern.

    And you.
     
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  14. Tony Dismukes

    Tony Dismukes MT Moderator Staff Member

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    I finally got around to reading this thread and looking through some of Mr. Case's articles and videos. My first reaction is that Chris is being a lot more tactful than I would be.

    Other thoughts:

    Mr. Case says that Matrix Martial Arts is a "science". He keeps using that word. I do not think it means what he thinks it means. (Hint - pretentious jargon does not make something scientific.)

    Certain claims are on their surface so absurd that it's not even worth taking the time to debunk them. I remember an advertisement a while back that basically promised "the easily-learned secret techniques that will allow an unarmed 90 pound weakling to effortlessly cripple any opponent - Navy Seals, professional boxers, biker gangs - without breaking a sweat." Strangely enough, I wasn't worried that I was missing out by not sending that person my money. I feel the same way when Mr. Case promises that we can "master" Aikido in a few months.

    For someone who claims to offer quick mastery of all these different arts, his own technique as displayed on video doesn't appear all that masterful. (I have seen worse, but I've definitely seen much better.)

    I have yet to see an actual explanation of what exactly his "Matrixing" method entails.

    For Edward F - you seem sincere, but a little vague on
    a) what exactly were the improvements to your skills that you have experienced as a result of studying Mr. Case's materials? and
    b) given that you have only a short time of formal training and are not currently receiving instruction in the martial arts, how exactly do you measure those improvements that you feel you have made?
     
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  15. 72ronin

    72ronin Purple Belt

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    As the origional video is no longer available, i looked around youtube for some vids.
    Found a karate video named pinan 5, which was lacklustre to say the least.

    Thats not an empty statement either, as Mr Case seems to not even want to put in 100% effort, additionaly, he chambers incorrectly which is a sign of copying movements from books and never actualy training karate! Distance/footwork, all wrong and yes, even his punching is wrong!
    I cannot understand presenting a video like this?

    Anyway, what is most odd is a statement Mr Case makes in answer to a question to this particular video presentation.

    He is asked "What style is this"
    He answers "It was called Kang Duk Won, it came from a classmate of Funakoshi's, and thus didn't have the Japanese influence."

    I'll google kangdukwon to see what pops up, but im thinking theres a lot of
    :BSmeter:
     
  16. Chris Parker

    Chris Parker Grandmaster

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    In his blog, Al mentions that he did, indeed, "learn karate from a book"... and "a classmate of Funakoshi's, and thus didn't have a Japanese flavour"?!? To a Japanese art (karate)? With a Korean(ish) name to the art he's claiming? What the hell is this?

    Sorry, Edward, it's these types of completely ridiculous, basic mistakes that show up when we see Al's material. I really do think that if you go into a real school, the first thing you'd be asked is where you got such bad information from....
     
  17. Gentle Fist

    Gentle Fist Master Black Belt

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    I searched his site up and down, where is Mr. Case's resume?
     
  18. Chris Parker

    Chris Parker Grandmaster

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    Good question.

    His resume is on the "Instructors" page of his Matrix Martial Arts website (http://alcase.wordpress.com/martial-arts-instructors/), and it really doesn't fill me with any confidence at all... he lists primarily Chinese and Korean systems that I haven't heard of, as well as Aikido, "weapons", and "etcetera" as "systems studied". There's supposed to be an image of his original black belt certificate, but I get no image there, so who knows what it was in... I can state that he, in one of the blog entries, states categorically that his training in Karate was from a book.

    The next couple of instructors listed on the page don't make things any better... there are constant vague credentials (such as listing individual weapons, not systems), and constant mistakes in spelling and terminology, which would be something that really should be picked up on.

    In short, there are no credentials, other than a claim of having "studied" (but no indication of what depth) a range of arts, some of which are questionable to say the least. This actually struck me as I was watching his clip on "Aikido in 80 minutes", and basically thought "That is not Aikido". His karate also doesn't fit karate, on a number of levels, and so on. Seriously questionable.
     
  19. 72ronin

    72ronin Purple Belt

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    And ofcourse, Al makes the seemingly standard claim of pakua chang. I think (certain) people gravitate towards claiming expertise in Bagua because they think its quite obscure, which it really isnt.
    Just that claim itself speaks volumes..

    And whats with half his (apparent) instructors being blackbelts in "outlaw karate"? I can remember 15 to 20 or so years ago in maybe blackbelt magazine there being adds for "outlaw karate", it was a book(let) or something a worthless piece of crap! Instant blackbelt type of thing and even a school badge the works, remember those crap adds in those days lol.

    Im suprised there's even a market for this crap anymore!
     
  20. Supra Vijai

    Supra Vijai Black Belt

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    Fantasy sells? I had a strange thought the other day that when it comes to MA, fantasy = sex. Everywhere else, sex sells. With being a totally cool, uber awesome warrior assassin, you can't beat fantasy!123
     

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