Not worth your time...

Discussion in 'Tang Soo Do' started by astrobiologist, Jan 29, 2009.

  1. Makalakumu

    Makalakumu Gonzo Karate Apocalypse

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    In a nutshell, I think what people are saying is that there is more too it then what is shown in the books. A lot more.

    What you learned (and what I initially learned) was certainly good enough to pull me through some sticky situations, but there is more. Karate has the potential to teach you how to protect yourself in almost all empty handed self defense situations. It has the potential to be the only empty handed art you need to know.

    KUL may be a skilled tangsoodoin, but from the outside looking in, and from the perspective of having intensively cross trained in other styles and in other styles of karate, there are many misconceptions that were passed down through the lineage and passed off as tradition. Some of these misconceptions are down right dangerous when it comes to self defense. I am positive that there are things that you do in class that you would NEVER attempt in a real fight. I can look at that TSD book or any TSD book for that matter and find the same things ubiquitously spread among the texts.

    This is where the bogus history comes in. If you really understand where TSD comes from, who learned what from who, and for how long, you'll understand why it looks the way it does today. These answers are completely obfuscated by the "2000 year old fantasy" and provide one of the largest roadblocks to change in this art.

    Most KMA dojangs I know operate piecemeal willy nilly when it comes to curriculum. There is no organizing structure and most teachers pull in from other sources to create a package that they think will meet their objectives. They know that the organization's material just doesn't cut it in all cases and are sensitive to the need to supplement.

    TSD doesn't have to operate this way. TSD's roots lie in a complete self defense system that people trusted to protect themselves in all situations. The first step lies in tossing away the 2000 year old and really understanding the Founder's and/or grandmaster's CV for the first time.
     
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  2. Gi1

    Gi1 Yellow Belt

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    I think most people now would understand that TSD does share a lot of technique with Karate (there are differences though), as has Karate borrowed from TSD and TKD in modern times. When I first started to get interested in Japanese Karate many years ago there where not the vararity of kicks that you have today. My TSD instructor used to teach Karate instructors how to kick, they used to go to him privately and pay through the nose for the privilage. Some of the forms found in TSD can be found elsewhere not just Karate. I can speak only for Tang Soo Do Moo Duk Kwan (Soo Bahk Do) as I know some people are doing things differently.
     
  3. Tez3

    Tez3 Sr. Grandmaster

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    Surely it's the other way around? Much of TSD has come from karate. There's less kicks in the TSD I do than in the Wado Ryu karate I did and they've been there since Wado was created by Otsuka Sensei. The forms are taken from the karate kata, the names are even similiar.
     
  4. exile

    exile To him unconquered.

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    It's true that Japanese karateka have been borrowing KMA kicks for the past decade or so... but for reasons unconnected to combat. They have been introducing the kicks that tournament versions of the KMAs were pioneering several decades ago into Shotokan and other Japanese styles for the simple reason that, increasingly, the JKA karate format has come to be based on the same martial sport ethic as KKW/WTF TKD (and some of the TSD orgs too, I'm love to bet!) High flashy complex kicks wow spectators, increase audience viewership, and promote the 'popularity' of karate; hence they're rewarded with greater points than more workmanlike techs are... it's an increasingly tired old story.

    But so far as combat effectiveness is concerned, the original kicking techs of Okinawan and early-era Japanese karate are plenty effective, especially because of the way they're linked to upper-body strikes at close quarters. The effective use of knee strikes, distorted in TKD versions of karate katas, are increasingly being distorted the same way in karate versions of karate katas, by being turned into mid-to-high kicks for athletic/gymnastic appeal, and to hell with the appropriateness of such kicks in the context of the preceding and following moves. This has been a curse and plague in TKD too, of course—big time—but one might have hoped that TSD would stay closer to the combatively effective karate that was its source. If that's to happen, then I think writers and senior practitioners in the art need to make their publications reflect that traditional combat emphasis. One of my complaints about the book we're talking about is that it's no better in this respect than any number of tournament-oriented TKD sources....
     
  5. Makalakumu

    Makalakumu Gonzo Karate Apocalypse

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    It's more then this. What I'm talking about is the fundamental ethos of karate and how that should influence its pathos.

    When you begin to look at this, you can notice in one class, from practicing basics, how well these two connect. The basics are the fundamental expression of an arts ethos. They are its physical representation, its pathos. When we talk about this technique or that technique what we are really talking about is the greater picture regarding the purpose of the art.

    There is no greater measure of purpose in a martial art then its basics.

    So, what does this book show? The book displays a martial art that can be used for self defense and for self improvement and it displays techniques, forms, and concepts. If you take a step back and analyze it critically, you can see the disconnection of its ethos and pathos. You can feel it every time you try certain techniques in a live sparring situation.

    This disconnect is based off of a series of misconceptions, obfuscations, and cultural changes that were passed off as tradition and then covered up by a 2000 year fantasy. When we talk about this art doing this or that art doing that and we all practice roughly the same forms, we are not talking about this disconnect, because chances art, these other arts share that too.

    In my experience, karate, all along its syncretic lineage, suffers from this disconnect to a varying degree. Even in some Okinawan styles that I've had the recent opportunity to experience, this is present (I believe in a copy cat form of Japanese karate). Ultimately, the result of this is that the art becomes not worth your time. If you go into an art looking for a particular ethos and its pathos is designed for something different, then you've got a fundamental irreconcilable problem when it comes to learning.

    You are NOT going to learn what you think you are learning. You WILL learn the ethos that shaped the pathos whether you like it or not. So, this book, while I wouldn't say its "not worth your time" I would say that it may not be valuable depending on what you are looking for.
     
  6. Gi1

    Gi1 Yellow Belt

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    The book is a reference book. I think you're looking for too much. live, train, get out more.
     
  7. Makalakumu

    Makalakumu Gonzo Karate Apocalypse

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    No. All I've done is point out what is really there and point out what people weren't taught and what people don't know. We can know these things through diligent study and experience. We can know these things if we wish too. It's not looking for too much. It's about adding real depth to the art.

    The main criticism that people are leveling are that without the things that people are talking about, the book has no depth.
     
  8. astrobiologist

    astrobiologist Brown Belt

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    I can see where some people are coming from in this thread. Maybe this book would be worth your time if what you're interested in is seeing how TSD was taught at a certain period in time in a certain place or if you were a student of K.U. Lee and wanted to see his past work.

    As far as being a 'reference', the history presented in this book is known to be false and the presentation of technique lacks any depth. I can't figure out why so many KMA practitioners still want to uphold that 2000 year history chant. When I began really learning the history of TSD and learning the approach other arts take in SD applications, it opened my eyes to the real effectiveness of TSD. TSD has so much more to offer than what I was taught in my first school; so much more than what is shown in this book.
     
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  9. EMST930

    EMST930 White Belt

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    astrobiologist: I agree with your interpretation of the cover. The knife hand position in a (semi) backstance is not one I would use to defend against a front kick. While I agree with clfsean that the right hand position is similar to "bridging" Lee, Kang Uk's stance is not in a desirable position to move or counter with the opposite hand. I also practice traditional TSD and we heavily practice lateral movement fighting drills in which the front arm slightly deflects a kick as insurance--the real defensive technique is the lateral movement ~45 degrees and toward the opponent. The arm deflects primarily as insurance against a double pump roundhouse, for instance. We do these drills in a shortened bent leg front stance for mobility. The block/counter drills start at beginner level and the lateral movement drills start at intermediate level. The lateral movement drills are necessary to later teach the trapping/sweeping component.

    It is always interesting to me to look at the various books on TSD. I agree that they are often a reference guide and tool meant mostly for the students of that particular school or organization. However, as more are published and improved layouts, photography, and increased content is offered, the quality of the books will improve in the same way competitors benefit from tournaments. Publishing a book is a long, tedious process--and in the end, you are always left with a mind racing full of things that could be improved and added.

    On the topic of application in these texts, I agree with Mbuzzy that you should keep in mind the intended audience. When it comes to forms, beginners can be very overwhelmed by multiple applications and scenarios. It is more important that they begin to condition themselves to the training, learn the basic angles of defense and distance control, and how to adjust to the teaching methodology. The application can be shown as their understanding and ability grows. If a students asks the application, we always present a few. But to use the knife hand example from earlier, we could have spent PAGES going over all the various offensive and defensive applications and scenarios of grabbing, striking, and blocking that exist. These applications can be over the beginner's head and are much better shown in class (or on video)-- and as a living Art, "new applications may be developed and old ones rediscovered." There is also a certain amount of responsibility when it comes to covering application--the conditioning necessary to actually use the techniques! In the end, we decided to address application more heavily in the advanced text and the companion DVD where we could also address the finer points of conditioning.

    I'm new to the forum, so I don't want to break any rules with a blatant plug. I was browsing through the discussions and couldn't resist replying. If you are interested in the text or have any questions, let me know.

    Tang Soo!
     
  10. MBuzzy

    MBuzzy Grandmaster

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    EMST - first off, welcome to MT! Be sure to stop by the Meet and Greet forum to introduce yourself. I'm always thrilled to have another TSD member around here. Especially because newer members bump old threads and spur new conversation!

    I do think that the market is almost ready for a TSD application book, but you're right, there is a lot to pack in there and it always changes. It would have to be a separate, stand alone book from any kind of basics and technique book.
     
  11. astrobiologist

    astrobiologist Brown Belt

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    I agree to a point. It is definitely time for a good applications book (or several) for TSD. However, I think teaching applications should begin from the get-go. Little bits at a time as the student progresses. Once their muscle memory and knowledge builds they will be able to take on more. I personally don't like the idea of teaching a technique without teaching what that technique can mean. If I teach someone a form, I then would like to teach them some possible applciations for the sets of movements in that form. But we are all free to have a different approach to our teaching styles and how we look at the martial arts.123
     

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