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

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

  1. wab25

    wab25 2nd Black Belt

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    No one here has even suggested teaching the concepts and not the details. They have suggested that by teaching the concepts, it becomes easier to get the details right.

    I find it odd that everyone else has found those answers. Could it be that literally every other martial artist on the planet has it wrong? Just because I am not a TKD student, does not mean I that I have not trained with very accomplished TKD students, it does not mean I have not had long conversations with them about martial arts and it does not mean that I have not learned anything from them. I have learned quite a bit from TKD folks. Including the fact that there are underlying principles for the things done in the forms. But, after 5 years, you assert that they are all wrong, along with the many experienced TKD guys on this forum? I find that interesting.

    No, I am a Danzan Ryu Jujitsu guy. But I am actively cross training in Karate.

    And all those people you have argued with here, when looking for those answers... they have all been honestly trying to help you find those answers. They take the time to read and consider your questions and post up thoughtful responses. Even though we repeatedly get the "dislike" or "disagree" from you and told how wrong we are for daring to try to answer your questions and give you our perspective. No one here has bashed you, your art or your master. They have tried to learn from you and share what they have learned with you... and at times gotten frustrated at the cold response they have received.
     
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  2. gpseymour

    gpseymour MT Moderator Staff Member

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    Exactly. That's one good way to recognize the need for an exception.
     
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  3. gpseymour

    gpseymour MT Moderator Staff Member

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    He's not telling you how TKD should be taught - he's suggesting an approach. It's much the same approach I use with NGA, even with forms. I'm certain it wouldn't translate directly to TKD, but the concept seems to hold across styles.
     
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  4. dvcochran

    dvcochran Grandmaster

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    I think I get what you are saying but that is rather irrational thinking to what pretty much everyone has been saying on this thread. No one is saying ignore or never learn the details, much the opposite. What most are saying is that there is more than one way to get there. The various different ways work better for some than others. It sounds like all you have ever learned is rote memorization but sense there is more, or other ways. That is a good thing. So why are you rebuking what people are saying regarding this?

    Again, you are asking and seeking, but you are not hearing and learning. If you think that is cheesy, so be it.
    I do have a romance with TKD, closer would be a love affair. It has been a big part of my life and my income.
    There is SO much more to poomsae (even KKW poomsae) than you want to acknowledge. I truly hope you get there someday.
    It is a bit offensive when you make wholistic comments regarding TKD. There are several different variants of TKD and you have no base or authority to make such inclusive comments. None of us do. You are making statements based on your experience with one dojang. You ask for information, and you are given the information. But you apparently do not understand the information.
     
  5. Tony Dismukes

    Tony Dismukes MT Moderator Staff Member

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    Ah, this seems to be the confusion. I never suggested not teaching the details. As I mentioned before, I'm a detail-oriented instructor and I spend a lot of time correcting details in my students movement.

    What I'm talking about is how you teach the details. Do you present them as just an endless list of arbitrary tidbits to be memorized by rote or do you present them as the logical result of a relatively small number of fundamental concepts? In my experience the latter approach produces better results.

    I think that applies whether you're talking about developing fighting skills, performance art skills (as I think you regard TKD forms), or even academic subjects like chemistry or computer programming.
     
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  6. skribs

    skribs Grandmaster

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    Not everyone else. I've spoken to plenty of others who share my views. Not so many on this site, but more on r/Taekwondo (the Taekwondo reddit site) and a lot in person. In my experience, most people who have "found the answers" are either drinking the koolaid, or else they're putting the koolaid out because they've staked their reputation on those forms being practical.
     
  7. skribs

    skribs Grandmaster

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    Some yes, some no. More would be yes if I could teach the forms my way (knowledge first) instead of my Master's way (focus on repetitions). I explain the reason for the stance width is for balance, the reason for your foot/hip/shoulder alignment is to be aggressive or defensive, etc. Also how some details go together, i.e. in certain techniques, your arms should make a square (i.e. grab the head, pull into an elbow strike), instead of a parallelogram or rhombus.

    Many details are also the same for many techniques, such as the chamber position of your other hand when doing most techniques. Learning the couple of details that go along with that can help for most of the techniques. However, it doesn't get applied correctly all of the time. For example, they may have a proper fist in their off-hand after a punch, but they will have a loose hand after a chop. It's easier to teach the proper off-hand position for a chop if it's the same as a punch, but even though it's the same, they still need to be taught/reminded.

    There are a few things that are either arbitrary, or were just chosen for aesthetics. These things may be chosen for one reason or another, and they just kind of have to be memorized.
     
  8. dvcochran

    dvcochran Grandmaster

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    Yea; I get on reddit regularly. I would have given you more credit than to glean information from a bunch of tweeners and MMA biased folks. You are looking to create confirmation bias. When you did not find it on this forum you moved on. Not the smartest thing you have ever done.
    So, if we are "drinking the koolaid", why did you even ask? I have no real sense of what you are looking for, or even asking at this point. Can you clear that up?

    Ok, I know this will blow your top but I am going to say it. There are literally centuries of knowledge on this forum and these sources have given their time to try and answer your questions. You mentioned your Master and have done so often in the past. As I understand it, that is your only source of applicable information. Maybe that is where the problem lies? It certainly seems that way when you ask, get multiple answers, then fully ignore them based on your 'experience'. I have also said this before and you will not like it; 5 years in the grand scheme it not much at all. No, your childhood experience does not count for much. BUT, with the proper teachings, most people will have at least the idea there is more to ferret out.
    The best thing you can do for yourself and the questions you have it to cross train OUTSIDE you current school. And no, your rank should NOT be the first thing you mention at another gym.

    I apologize. I know this offends but it seems to be the only way you will hear what is said. I hope this helps somehow.
     
  9. skribs

    skribs Grandmaster

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    R/martialarts is MMA biased. R/Taekwondo is mostly TKD folk.

    I moved on because I did not find the answers I was looking for. It offends you that I didn't just blindly accept what you had to say. This was always a sticking point for you, that I didn't drink your koolaid. Apparently it still is. Get over yourself.
     
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  10. skribs

    skribs Grandmaster

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    To be very clear, I am not looking for confirmation bias. I am looking for answers. When we spoke about them on this forum, I did not receive satisfactory answers. For example, I asked you specifically if you had used specific techniques from the forms in sparring. You told me you had. When I asked for specific examples of how the motion in the form was used in sparring, you never even replied. You provided no evidence to back your claim. I'm not asking for videos and detailed statistics. But just a specific example of how that motion was used, and you were unable to come up with that. Instead you'd start ranting and raving about how I don't listen or how I ask bad questions. I was listening, but you had nothing to say to back up what you were saying.

    I'm still open to changing my opinion. However, I still have the same standards:
    1. The technique must be done as in the form (otherwise the form would need to teach the variants to be practical)
    2. The application must make sense (otherwise the form is a detriment if used as a fighting blueprint)
    Since I never received answers that met that very simple guideline, I concluded that aesthetics and coordination are the primary purposes of the forms. Because if they're meant to teach application, it isn't there. Some of the ones I've asked about before include:
    • Double Knife-Hand Block (Taegeuk 4)
    • Low Block to one side, Outside Block to another (Taegeuk 8)
    • Crane Stance, Low Block + High Block (Keumgang)
    • Double Mountain Block (Keumgang)
    • Scissor Block (Taegeuk 7)
    I asked before if you've used the motions, as they are in the forms, and you said yes to everything. Maybe there was one you said you hadn't. But then you never provided examples of how you used those techniques. If you want to go back and tell me how these have been used in real sparring, real competitions, or real fights, then that's great. I'll adjust my opinions. But if you can't, then I'm inclined to continue to believe you're just selling Koolaid.

    One last thing, regarding confirmation bias: you could argue that you do the same thing by posting here instead of on r/martialarts. If I don't find people that agree with me, then "nobody thinks that way." If I do find people that agree with me, then "I'm looking for confirmation bias." I'm merely showing I'm not the only one that thinks that way.
     
  11. skribs

    skribs Grandmaster

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    One last thing. I actually wanted the answers. I wanted there to be a practical application when I started searching. I believed the hype that those applications existed. If anything, my search shows the opposite of confirmation bias. I went in with the hypothesis that applications existed. The data I was able to find proved otherwise, and I had a different conclusion than my original hypothesis.
     
  12. Steve

    Steve Mostly Harmless

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    There's a progression that people make, and the most effective way to teach them should respect their current skill level. Beginners need enough structure to get them going, but should be taken to application as quickly as possible. If that's learning a form, they need to be doing the form. Where they will actually learn the details is through the coaching that should be occurring while they are applying the skill.

    The faster you get to application, the faster they will build enough skill to be able to understand and remember the details.

    "Knowledge first" is about the worst way to teach anyone to do anything. Details without context are meaningless and almost never retained. It's wasted energy on your part. And this isn't just my opinion. This is both the professional consensus of the instructional design community and also intuitively understood by coaches in just about every sport and physical profession ever. Sorry, man, but in this area, if your goal is to teach your students to do something well, you need to listen to your instructor. Sounds like you have some things left to learn.
     
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  13. Steve

    Steve Mostly Harmless

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    I have a question. Is your technique perfect? Do you meet your own standards? (okay, two questions)
     
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  14. skribs

    skribs Grandmaster

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    Fair questions. I don't think I'm perfect. I am working towards that. In those points where I am not perfect, a lot of the times I know what I need to do to get there, it's just going to take practice.

    However, I am miles above some of my peers in my class. I think a lot of that is the way we teach at my school, where it's more about reps going through the form to build muscle memory than anything else. I've been doing a lot of my own research, which I feel is why I am so far ahead. Then my Master puts me on a pedestal because I'm the one who knows all of this well enough to teach it. (This is a big part of why I don't have time to crosstrain).

    This is a big reason why I want to change the approach when I open my school. I believe that with the proper guidance, many of my fellow students could be up to my level of understanding. I just don't think my Master transitions well from the lower ranks to the higher ranks to cultivate future leaders. It's mostly just the same training style with a higher degree of difficulty.
     
  15. Jaeimseu

    Jaeimseu 2nd Black Belt

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    For what it’s worth, I agree with Tony that Taekwondo can (and should) be taught in the manner he suggested. I suppose some of us might be talking around each other, but not sure about that.

    What I am sure of is that too much detail too soon (or at one time) will ensure that a student doesn’t “get it.” There are a lot of variables that determine how much detail is needed: individual performance, stage of development, age, time in training, etc. Teaching concepts or principles goes a long way toward ironing out details without needing to lecture endlessly about details.

    The whole “minimum standard” thing is another animal. Who decides the minimum standard for each level? Is it an objective standard? Is it subjective based on a student’s personal development? For me, the standard is very subjective at the beginner level and gradually becomes somewhat more objective the longer a student trains. But even so, I’m never expecting “perfect” technique, whatever that means. Even my own technique is in a constant state of development, progression, and regression. And I’m certainly not setting myself as the minimum standard.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
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  16. skribs

    skribs Grandmaster

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    Let me explain what I mean in a couple of examples.

    First, the front stance. My first school taught it as a stance with your feet shoulder width apart for balance, and twice as long. Your front knee should be bent directly over your foot. Your feet, hips, and shoulders should point straight. It's an aggressive stance that puts your weight toward the enemy.

    My current school teaches that your front knee is bent, back leg is straight, and to make a long stance. It's less detail to worry about, but so many students have poor balance (because their stance is too narrow), or they have their body turned to the side instead of facing front. These errors are common even into blue and red belt. And I mean common.

    Or, let's look at forms. My Master does every form all the way through 99% of the time. Most schools, I believe, break the forms into parts at least 75% of the time until those parts are learned. That way, instead of trying to learn the whole form at once, they get 4x the reps on the first quarter of the form. They get the knowledge of the first quarter of the form, instead of the movement of the entire form.

    Last, let's use self-defense techniques. My old school would teach you the targets you should aim for. Most of my students have no idea what a solar plexus is, or where their punches and kicks are supposed to aim. Just general high, middle, and low.

    I think the details are easier to learn if you understand why you're doing them, or what it is you're supposed to do. I think longer forms are easier to remember piece by piece. My Master wants us to get used to the motion and then understand it. But I find myself and others have an easier time doing the motion if we know what it is we are doing.

    This is actually why I wanted there to be a practical application for the forms. Itbwould make it easier to do. Failing to find that, I decided to find the best way to train them: for the physical benefits and the aesthetics. That realization made it easier for me to train the forms, instead of wondering what it is I'm supposed to be doing.
     
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  17. wab25

    wab25 2nd Black Belt

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    If you still want to find the answers... they are still there to be found. If you are still open to finding something in the forms, besides aesthetics... there are some ways to go about finding those answers. If you don't want to find the answers any more... you could skip the rest of this post....

    If you always do the same thing, you will always get the same result. You have been asking the same questions, in the same framework and you keep finding the same answers. The first step, would be to change your framework... think outside your box. Lets start here:
    (not sure why it changed your numbers to bullets...)
    The first change is the idea that forms are to be "used as a fighting blueprint." They are not to be used as a fighting blueprint. They are a form of training. Boxers train by jumping rope. Jumping rope is not a blueprint for fighting. The technique for jumping rope is never seen in a fight done exactly as it is done when training. BJJ guys lay on their back and shrimp across the mat... they go left side, right side left side moving linearly down the mat. You will never see this done in a BJJ match or MMA fight. It is also not a blueprint for fighting. While the shrimping technique will be seen in fights, it is rarely if ever done exactly as it is done at the beginning of class. All these things are training tools. They teach skills, and principles and ideas that can be used in fighting. The better you understand the principles, the more ways you can use the principles and skills in a fight.

    Lets look at some form stuff. In the forms, we find lots of times where you step forward into front stance while punching. The back leg is straight with the heel down. Exactly how people fighting, hardly ever do. Picking the heel up, bending the knee and driving through the punch is very effective at creating power. However, there is more than one way to develop power. When stepping forward, you are moving your center forward. This creates a bunch of momentum. Done right, if you can harness that momentum and put that into a punch, you can get a pretty powerful punch, without a lot of muscle energy. As you drop down into the front stance, you are lowering your body... again another way to generate power, if you can harness it. Another thing going on is the rotation of the body, generating power. To deliver this power, there must be a root on one side (that rear leg with the heel down). In doing that form version of the punch, you are learning to generate and harvest the power of your momentum, your weight dropping and the rotation. In application, pick the heel up and drive with the back leg... adding in the weight drop, the body momentum and the rotation together.

    Looking further at the forms... when we step forward into front stance, we do a number of different things. Lunge punch, reverse punch, down block, up block, mid block inside out and outside in. We also have "composure" moves where you are slowly pressing forward. This allows us to practice generating power quickly and explosively (punches and blocks) and slowly over time ("composure" moves). The punches can go low, middle high. The power can be delivered straight, up to down, down to up, with either hand, and inside out or outside in. Now, there are slight differences in how you harness and transmit that power for each of these... which is why they are included. This then becomes a study of how to generate, harness and transmit the energy. Most of the work is internal. Your legs and pelvis make a very good solid structure. Your shoulders and rib cage make a very solid structure. The two are not very well connected. The spine is the only bone connecting them and it moves in every direction. We also have soft squishy stuff and muscle. Learning to use which muscles, when and how, to connect the upper structure to the lower structure all happens inside. The better you can do that, the better you can generate, harness and deliver power. The is actually a lot going on in these simple and easy to do techniques.

    Then you can look at the order and find things in the order. Our first kata starts out: 90 degree left turn, stepping forward into down block, step forward into front stance with lunge punch, 180 degree right turn, step forward into front stance, down block, step forward into front stance with lunge punch, 90 degree left turn, stepping forward with down block, the 3 lunge punches each stepping into front stance. Why that particular order? What can be learned from that pattern of moves? Close distance after you block. (note how I am even using a block as a block here) The best time to close distance, is after they have thrown an attack and before they have recovered. We are drilling in the idea that you close distance quickly (with the lunge punch) but you don't do it blindly, you close behind a technique that keeps the other guy occupied. Blocking their attack and moving behind is a pretty good one to start with. It gets better if that block, can be an attack or take their balance. Many people have to really over come some things, in order to move towards their attacker. Then there is the idea that you set a pattern (down block, punch... down block, punch) and then break the pattern (down block, punch-punch-punch). These are all ideas that can be studied here, while also working on the power issues from above. These ideas and concepts can then show up in any number of places. Just like the power generated can be used in a bunch of different ways.

    If you look at the forms, and get rid of the idea that it is for aesthetics... You can look and see what things you can learn. Look closely at the details... but not just those details but the effect of those details. Could those details be over emphasizing and effect elsewhere in your body? Can that effect be used in fighting? Can you learn to take the effect produced by the details in the form, and use that effect?

    Look, if you want to just memorize details and conclude that forms are not a blueprint for fighting... thats fine. It won't effect my training at all. But, if you want to appreciate what is in the forms and see what it could do... you are going to have to take a different approach than the one you have been taking... or you will continue to get the same results.
     
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  18. skribs

    skribs Grandmaster

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    What you are describing is my understanding of how the forms work. Those are the physical benefits, but not a direct application.
     
  19. skribs

    skribs Grandmaster

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    Let me put it this way. Skipping rope. To you and me, it's mainly for cardio, maybe a bit of toning for the calves.

    But what if I were to tell you it's actually a technique for fighting 3 opponents? Where you are performing circular wrist locks on two opponents on the sides, while rapidly stomping on a 3rd, downed opponent.

    Most people would say "no, it's for cardio. What you're talking about is a fantasy. "

    I get the benefits of the forms. The details help you get the most out of those benefits. If your back foot is sideways in a front stance, then you're not driving forward with that foot as effectively as you could.

    Skipping rope has no direct martial application. If someone does nothing but skip rope, they may have insane cardio, but won't have a clue how to fight. That doesn't mean skipping rope is bad or useless. It's just not teaching martial skill. That's how I use the forms now. Useful, but not directly applicable.
     
  20. wab25

    wab25 2nd Black Belt

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    To be honest I am a little confused here...

    First, you say there is no direct application:
    Then you explain a direct application:
    I have found that there is plenty of direct application to driving forward in a fight. I may be driving my opponent back into the cage wall, driving myself away from the cage wall or trying to drive the intruder out the door of my house. Having my feet set to drive forward is a direct application, being used in combat.

    You talked about hitting targets... in my experience, hitting a target is good, hitting a target harder is better. Often in combat, the target you want to hit is moving and the path to reach the target changes. Getting more efficient at generating more power, very quickly, taking a number of different paths to the target, is a direct application applying momentum, rooting, structure, rotation and weight drop to use for striking a target.

    Closing distance, behind the other guys attack is a direct application. I guess whats hanging you up, is that the application, in combat is not textbook form technique, in the exact combination found in your form. The thing is, you are the only one with that specific requirement. You might as well strike pad work, heavy bag work and drills off your list as well... because no one uses those techniques, copied exactly down the degree of angle on each joint, when in combat either. They take the concepts and ideas and skills, and apply them in real time to the situation... which means some part of it has been changed.123
     

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