Discussion in 'Kenpo - (EPAK) Ed Parker's American Kenpo Karate S' started by GouRonin, Mar 11, 2002.
He is a student of the Renegade!
Respect is on the downside in many studios I feel. It is an important thread as far as I am concerned. The Pledges are an important part of your training and guidance. Students need the philosophical side as well as the physical.
Hi I thought I would address an issue with the pledges that I have. Is it just me or are some of these pledges more of an imposition and enforced loyalty. What if it turns out your instructor is a creep? what if your organization ceases to exist? What if some of what ED Parker taught was proven to be less effective than something Jet lee comes up with(hypotheticly)? What is wrong with personal bennefit again?
What is your opinion Sean.
I think loyalty is earned, and should be reciprical. I give loyalty conditionally at first, as a sign of respect for the rank or organization, if you prove yourself not worthy of respect, then you have to live with those consequences.
It is pretty simple to me, but you can make it very complicated, especially in times of fragmenting Associations or in Mr. Parker's case, when very senior students were leaving him and hanging out their own shingle and making money off his name and the Art he created. I understand and agree with the pledges, especially now days when it seems like the almighty buck can buy you a Black Belt or equivalent training, without necessarily including the moral values inherent in some of the more traditional arts.
What do you think of it? "Stupid Pledges" ... I have heard said, of course this was said by stupid people who did not want to commit to the spirit of those pledges (which is more important to me than the actual words).
I too think its conditional. I've said this before but as a kid I didn't really care about the IKKA. I only knew that my instructor was a member and by default, so was I. When He was no longer a member neither was I. I don't think any student should feel betrayed because there instructor ceases to belong to an organization; hence, this is my problem with the blue belt pledge. For the most part the pledges are sound advice to anyone in your personal dealings with your fellow man, and I have never heard the term "Stupid Pledges" until just this moment. The pledges seem to advise against cross training though, and with that I have a problem. And committing to pledges without caring about the "actual words" seems a little blind, maybe its just me. All in all I like about 90% of what we are asked to pledge, but with the death of the IKKA's leader I think it interesting to examine what we are pledging. :asian:
My school requires all of the pledges white through black. They are to be recited from memory at each belt testing. Failure to do so will result in a re-test at a later date. These pledges are important to have and learn, for some people that are learning a leathal art form and have not real guidance these are a must.
I concur, and do the same. I understand newer student's doubts, and I don't think "shame on them" for not seeing the importance, rather I attribute the failure of the student to see the importance and spirit of the pledges to the instructor they train under.
One of my favorite questions on tests is "OK, so what does that pledge mean, to you, to your students (if you are at an instructor level), and how do you try to live up to it or use it in your life?"
Very well put! I must include (in addition to my other post) the I have modified the Blue belt pledge and others for personal reasons to exclude the bit about associations. This to me, is a rediculous notion since the associations of today ( not all) can't even live by, or follow their own standards and rules predicated by Presidents and founders. Associations to me, are political arena's devised to escalate the prominance and rank, stature of a few individuals within said association. I realize that not all are like this, there are some that are and in my opinion serve no REAL greater purpose!
I understand the distinction in associations, and unfortunatley have to agree with you. We are starting to see the dissolution of some of the ones that started up in the early-mid 90's. It's a lot of work to "do it right" and a major commitment.
The belt pledges are never required for our belt exams, however, my instructor expects that we know they exist and at various times we will discuss them during a class... usually in a deep horse stance.
We require knowledge of the pledges in our school. As Mr. C said, I think they are very important. It really helps define the attitude one would want to develop in Kenpo, and for that matter in any Art.
Gotta love those conversations.
So very true, to me, each pledge sounds like some one screwed up and the pledge was written as an example to prevent others from making the same mistake. For example:
[font=Arial,Helvetica][size=-1]Purple Belt Pledge: I hold the art of Kenpo sacred and freely take upon myself the obligation and responsibility that I shall never misuse my skill to hurt or make afraid. I shall fight only if forced to defend myself and shall be slow to anger, loath to take offense, quick to forgive, and to forget personal affront.
[/size][/font][font=Arial,Helvetica][size=-1](shamefully stolen off of Mr. Billings website)
To me it really sounds like this pledge was written as a direct result of some one misusing their skills.
This is just my interpertation and has no factual standing what so ever.:idunno:
Um...ah...why in the world should adults recite pledges? As though they were some substitute for what's really in the heart?
At first glance, I thought they were cool, too. Somebody smarter talked me out of it. And this stuff about, "unswerving loyalty to my instructor?" Sorry, but this is a kenpo thread, right? Do we really want to recite a line like that, given some of our history--Mr. Mitose's downfall comes immediately to mind, but there have been others.
It seems to me that heads of schools, instructors, and senior students should be setting real examples, not teaching pledges. For example, anybody else ever get the feeling that some of the people screaming, "Kill 'em!" at little kids sparring, or behaving arrogantly in sparring themselves, or cranking out sloppy and spiritless forms, or teaching students to just wail away and screw the technique, are some of the people who insist on the pledges most?
I agree that even in my short time in kenpo, there's some weird sort of slippage in how people behave--and at times, I suspect that kenpo has contributed to that slippage. But scotch-taping over that, with recited words...I'm doubtin' it.
Personally, I think that all new students should have to watch the pilot of, "Kung Fu." At least they'd have seen some of the major myths, and have some clue about what they're getting into.
Wow... I agree and disagree. The unswerving loyalty thing bothers me but as far as pledges go in general. I believe memorizing and repeating an oath does effect behavior. The pledge of alegiance to the US is in my opinion part of what makes people feel an alegiance, which is why I am concerned about the unswerving loyalty to the association thing. Repetition of mysoginistic Rap lyrics over and over is what scares the hell out of parents, not the lyric in and of its self. With repetition comes internalization good or bad. (I can quote you any number of NWA lyrics by the way)
I agree with you about internalization, Sean. It's part of what bothers me...especially given the history (and some of the present) of kenpo, I really doubt that we want adults internalizing loyalty oaths of any kind.
After all, we're supposed to be free, right? And thoughtful?
Further, the whole spirit of kenpo--which insists on criticizing the tradition, with its dead recitation of frozen kata, rituals, and all the rest (not saying I wholly agree, just that that's the basic premise of kenpo)--should be against such recitations.
It just seems to me that we want something better than pledges, something less solid but more real. Or are we just assuming that, "kids today," can't handle that?
And look at some of our religious traditions--aren't they also about going beyond set rules, and growing up into true morality? Well...
To be honest I don't know if the school where I train requires the pledges for each belt level.(I'm a new student at a new school) If we do its at test time. Day to day we spend time talking about respect, integity ect. we are more interested in the fact that they can give defenitions and relate their usefullness in day to day life. However they must be able to recite THE PLEDGE," I come to you with Karate, my empty hand..."
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