Rank based on progress vs. merit, and/or when to switch

Discussion in 'General Martial Arts Talk' started by skribs, Sep 12, 2020.

  1. dvcochran

    dvcochran Grandmaster

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2017
    Messages:
    5,349
    Likes Received:
    1,546
    Trophy Points:
    263
    Location:
    Southeast U.S.
    Nope. Just pointing out your contradiction, and the fact that you are being completely circular and adding nothing to the OP.
     
    • Funny Funny x 1
  2. skribs

    skribs Grandmaster

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2013
    Messages:
    5,458
    Likes Received:
    1,300
    Trophy Points:
    263
    There's also a difference between one on one help, and teaching a class.
     
  3. Steve

    Steve Mostly Harmless

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2008
    Messages:
    17,294
    Likes Received:
    3,377
    Trophy Points:
    308
    Location:
    Covington, WA
    LOL. Okay. I encourage you to reread what you quoted. I assure you, you missed the point completely.

    Here's a hint. My post was about not needing to make exceptions. Try reading it again with that in mind, and see if it makes more sense. And let me know if you need me to explain it to you in simple terms. I'm happy to do so.
     
  4. wab25

    wab25 2nd Black Belt

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2017
    Messages:
    790
    Likes Received:
    606
    Trophy Points:
    273
    One does not need to first memorize the entire unabridged english dictionary before writing a book or essay. While every detail in the dictionary is indeed, important.... there have been many people who have written very successful pieces literature, without having learned the entire dictionary first. In fact, I would say some still have not yet memorized the entire dictionary.

    In my opinion, it better to teach people a subset of the words in the dictionary, along with the principles of how to use the words together to form different ideas. If you can teach the student the principles of grammar, and sentence structure.... at some point, you don't have to have them memorizing long lists of words, in order to expand their vocabulary. They will be able to add new words to their vocabulary as they encounter other people using them in context. In fact, if the students learn the principles correctly, they can search out the words from the dictionary that they want to add to their vocabulary. Some can even do this without the english master directing them to do so or without him providing the list to look up.

    In my opinion, there are schools and people out there that put way to much emphasis on memorizing more words, just because they are in the dictionary and not nearly enough time on learning what to do with words once you can spell them.
     
    • Like Like x 2
  5. gpseymour

    gpseymour MT Moderator Staff Member

    • Supporting Member
    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2012
    Messages:
    24,609
    Likes Received:
    7,228
    Trophy Points:
    448
    Location:
    Hendersonville, NC
    Sometimes the way the standards are spelled out is very specific, but should be used as a guideline. One of the kicks in NGA that is required for green belt (mid-colored ranks) has a standard of the leg getting parallel to the floor. For anyone who is physcally capable of that, that's what should be required. I had a training partner whose hips simply woudn't move that far, so an exception was made, and he eventually ranked to black belt. This is far more likely to be an issue with technical requirements than functional ones. It's part of the "classical" approach (my term) found in many Japanese-derived arts to have these technical specifications.
     
  6. Tony Dismukes

    Tony Dismukes MT Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2005
    Messages:
    5,702
    Likes Received:
    4,206
    Trophy Points:
    448
    Location:
    Lexington, KY
    But do they have to be?

    You're asking these questions with an eye towards how you will teach once you become a head instructor, right? When you get to that point, there's nothing stopping you from teaching the way I described. Show the details, but also show how they are just manifestations of a small number of underlying concepts. Once your students understand those concepts it will be much easier for them to naturally get the details right without it being just a huge memorization test.
     
    • Like Like x 1
    • Agree Agree x 1
    • Useful Useful x 1
  7. skribs

    skribs Grandmaster

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2013
    Messages:
    5,458
    Likes Received:
    1,300
    Trophy Points:
    263
    This is an issue I seek to address in my curriculum. I feel my Master puts too much emphasis on memorization. With that said, there will always be memorization if there are forms, and always some minimum standard of how to do the techniques if there are belts. So the question remains.

    But that person can get most of the other mechanics of the kick correct, I assume? They also know the requirement and how to help others meet it?

    The TKD forms don't really lend themselves to any other type of training. I find the majority of the techniques in the higher forms are not practical, they're mainly for coordination and anesthetics. To lose out on the details loses out on both of these benefits, as well as not meeting the KKW standards for the forms. These are pretty much the only requirement from KKW, so they need to be done right.

    If I were to take the forms to less detail, that would lessen the quality of my instruction and my students. At that point, I should stop teaching TKD and drop the forms entirely.

    I may be able to open that up as a Hapkido class, but I have much less rank in Hapkido. Maybe I could call it my own art. But either of those have significantly less market appeal.
     
  8. Tony Dismukes

    Tony Dismukes MT Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2005
    Messages:
    5,702
    Likes Received:
    4,206
    Trophy Points:
    448
    Location:
    Lexington, KY
    I may not have been clear about how I teach. I am a detail-oriented teacher and I spend lots of time correcting small nuances in my students' movement. What I don't do is expect them to memorize thousands upon thousands of individual details. As I correct a given detail, I show and explain how that detail is just another expression of the same underlying concept as another detail I was showing them in the previous technique and so on. Eventually they do get the details right, but more because they understand the reasons behind them rather than because they've memorized them.

    I don't see why that approach wouldn't work for forms in TKD or any other art. Obviously the student still has to memorize the basic choreography of each form, but that's relatively trivial. Getting the actual execution of the stances, steps, strikes, etc within that choreography sufficiently polished and correct doesn't have to be a matter of rote memorization.
     
    • Agree Agree x 3
    • Disagree Disagree x 1
  9. skribs

    skribs Grandmaster

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2013
    Messages:
    5,458
    Likes Received:
    1,300
    Trophy Points:
    263
    Would you like me to start telling you how BJJ training should work and how your understanding of BJJ is all wrong, based on how we do things in TKD?

    Normally I agree with most of what you say, but you're way out of your element on this one.
     
  10. Tony Dismukes

    Tony Dismukes MT Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2005
    Messages:
    5,702
    Likes Received:
    4,206
    Trophy Points:
    448
    Location:
    Lexington, KY
    I'm just saying that when you are the head instructor, you have choices about how you teach.

    This isn't just how I teach BJJ. It's how I teach any art - Muay Thai, stick fighting, whatever. It's also how I've been taught in a number of other arts.

    I'll freely admit that my TKD training is minimal (less than 6 months). I suppose there could be something intrinsic to the nature of TKD which makes it necessary to approach details as a matter of strict memorization rather than understanding principles. However I notice that @dvcochran (an experienced TKD instructor) seems to think that my approach might be reasonable for TKD, so maybe it's not impossible that there's something to it?
     
    • Like Like x 1
  11. Flying Crane

    Flying Crane Sr. Grandmaster

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2005
    Messages:
    12,973
    Likes Received:
    2,543
    Trophy Points:
    263
    Location:
    San Francisco
    To be fair, @Tony Dismukes is offering you a different perspective based on his 40+(?) years of training, because you brought up the topic. You brought it up in a way that makes it seem to us (me, at least) that you are finding it problematic. So Tony is offering a different perspective, a different approach that might work.

    Your response to his suggestion seems a little strong, in my opinion.
     
    • Agree Agree x 2
  12. Tony Dismukes

    Tony Dismukes MT Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2005
    Messages:
    5,702
    Likes Received:
    4,206
    Trophy Points:
    448
    Location:
    Lexington, KY
    Let's not exaggerate. It's only 39 & 1/2 years of training so far.

    As a side question, how do you think my proposed approach could work for CMA in your experience?
     
    • Like Like x 1
  13. Flying Crane

    Flying Crane Sr. Grandmaster

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2005
    Messages:
    12,973
    Likes Received:
    2,543
    Trophy Points:
    263
    Location:
    San Francisco
    I think it's dead on the bullseye. the CMA experience that I have had, the stuff that makes the most sense to me, is heavily based on understanding principles. One of our foundational principles is knowns as "waist turning" which is a particular engagement that we use to create a full-body engagement to give power to our techniques. We also have a saying, "if you know waist turning, then you can do a thousand things". this simply means, if you understand and are good with your waist turning, if you have skill with creating that full-body engagement, then you can do anything you want with it. It can be applied to anything and everything, and makes all of it powerful. Everything we do is built on top of that.

    There is certainly detail in the approach. There is a lot that can get wrong or the timing is missing or whatever. So the details matter. We are always getting corrected. But it is kind of intuitive because the purpose of the corrections, in adjusting those details, is clear and obvious. It improves your structure and ultimately your performance. And we have never, to my knowledge, made a list of every detail of every technique. Doing that would have never occurred to me.

    I've done some teaching over the years. Not a whole lot, but enough to feel like I have a knack for it, and enough to feel comfortable looking to begin a small training group in my area. And my Sifu has given me the go-ahead. But when I teach I always put it in the context of why we are doing what we are doing. It isn't just details to be memorized. And I don't pile on the details in the beginning. It takes time for a student to get smooth and comfortable with a technique, so I give the gross movements and then give them time to build some comfort with it. Gradually, as I feel they are able to be receptive to it, I begin to help them fine-tune what they are doing. But again, it is in the context of understanding how these adjustments make it better, and never just to memorize details. The context always matters and always needs to be part of the discussion.

    Example: when we do our waist turning, the feet need to stay parallel and rotate back and forth from 45 degree angle to the other side, 45 degree angle. (this won't make any visual sense to anyone who isn't familiar with our specific methods, but I'm just using at a discussion example). often I find that students will not quite keep the feet parallel, and one foot will either over-rotate or under-rotate and not hit that 45. The rear foot often under-rotates, and I point that out all the time: check your feet, make sure they are parallel and on 45, look at your rear foot, it needs to rotate a bit more BECAUSE if it lags behind then you are unable to effectively turn your body as far as it needs to turn, for strong technique. I always give they WHY of it, that context, and help them to feel the difference, so that they aren't just memorizing 45 degrees without a clear notion of why and what difference it makes.

    Hope that helps.
     
  14. skribs

    skribs Grandmaster

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2013
    Messages:
    5,458
    Likes Received:
    1,300
    Trophy Points:
    263
    For one, even though I may be the head instructor of my own school (in the future) I am still subject to a higher organization and competition committee. If I don't teach the forms to their standards, my students won't fair well in competition, nor would their performances be considered correct by the governing body. If I'm not going to teach the forms correctly, then why bother teaching them?

    As to DV, he and I have widely different interpretations of the forms. I find his thoughts on the forms to be romanticized, even fantastical. It's something we've argued with at length in the past. If he says your ideas can work for TKD forms, that's all the more reason I think they wouldn't.
     
    • Dislike Dislike x 1
    • Funny Funny x 1
  15. Flying Crane

    Flying Crane Sr. Grandmaster

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2005
    Messages:
    12,973
    Likes Received:
    2,543
    Trophy Points:
    263
    Location:
    San Francisco
    would it be possible to approach your teaching style in a way similar to what Tony is suggesting, but ultimately your students would get to the point where they are accurate on all the details? I don't think Tony is advocating just throwing away the details, as long as the details have a reason. I mean give the students the time to develop it, give the context and meaning in the details so that they make sense and aren't just arbitrary details, and don't try to do them all at once. I don't think it's reasonable to expect a student to be exactly perfect on anything they do, including forms, for a long time anyways. It's always a work in progress anyways. So just give them bites that they can handle and make sure the context is included. Eventually they will get there.
     
    • Like Like x 3
  16. wab25

    wab25 2nd Black Belt

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2017
    Messages:
    790
    Likes Received:
    606
    Trophy Points:
    273
    I know you didn't ask me... and I don't have much CMA experience... But, the Shotokan school I train at teaches the way you proposed, as do many of the schools we cross train with. I have trained with many folks, from many different arts, including TKD, that have been taught that way, and do teach that way. I strive to teach Danzan Ryu that way.
     
  17. wab25

    wab25 2nd Black Belt

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2017
    Messages:
    790
    Likes Received:
    606
    Trophy Points:
    273
    For one, let me reiterate, no one here has said anything about not teaching the forms to the standards. In fact, what they have proposed is a way to teach to the standard, in such a way that the students understand what they are doing and what they are studying. Their form can then be more than just a memorized pattern of angles and hand positions.

    I would ask: Can someone teach the forms correctly, if they don't understand the underlying principles being taught by the form? If they can't identify the core principles and express those same principles in another context, I don't believe they have yet gone past rote memorization of angles and hand positions. "Because it looks good" is not one of the underlying principles. "Random coordination" is not one of the underlying principles. If it is teaching coordination, what is being coordinated? How is it being coordinated? Why is it being coordinated?
     
    • Like Like x 1
    • Agree Agree x 1
  18. Dirty Dog

    Dirty Dog MT Senior Moderator Staff Member

    • LifeTime Supporting Member
    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2009
    Messages:
    16,899
    Likes Received:
    4,057
    Trophy Points:
    308
    Location:
    Pueblo West, CO
    It does. That's pretty much how I teach, and not just forms. Learn the gross movement, then start refining the details and looking at variants.
     
    • Like Like x 2
    • Agree Agree x 1
  19. skribs

    skribs Grandmaster

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2013
    Messages:
    5,458
    Likes Received:
    1,300
    Trophy Points:
    263
    I don't have issue woth teaching both. I have issue with only teaching the concepts, and not the details. The details ARE the form, at least as far as the governing organizations are concerned. If the details are wrong, then the form is wrong. It will score less in competition, and it will not reflect well on the school.

    It would be like if a book had good themes and characterization, but the author misspelled a bunch of words. That book would not be accepted by a publisher without being edited, because of those details (even though the concepts were good).

    I spent 5 years trying to find these answers, and came to the conclusion they weren't there. I've argued at length with plenty of people, including you. I've searched for deeper meaning for the techniques, and have been unable to find anything other than aesthetics and coordination. Unless you stop doing the forms correctly in order to adjust the movements, at which point you are doing them incorrect by KKW standards. Many explanations for the techniques that do exist have no realistic purpose in a real-world fight. I've had people tell me they've used all of the techniques, but when I ask specifically how, they're strangely silent and accuse me of not asking good questions. The only conclusion I can draw is that these techniques were either never meant to be practical, or if they were, then the person who thought they were practical had no idea how to actually fight.

    I believe I came to the same conclusion with you as I did with Dismukes. You're an outsider. Who are you to tell me how Taekwondo forms work? You're a Karate guy. Different art, different teaching style, different forms, different culture.
     
  20. skribs

    skribs Grandmaster

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2013
    Messages:
    5,458
    Likes Received:
    1,300
    Trophy Points:
    263
    That's how I teach techniques that aren't forms. I skip the variants part of the forms.123
     

Share This Page