This is an article written by my instructor as copied (with permission) from Facebook! I would like to talk about the "Sacred Cow" syndrome that is rampant in martial arts! "Sacred Cow, according to Wikipedia (for what that's worth): A figurative sacred cow is something else that is considered immune from question or criticism, especially unreasonably so. Years back I wrote a blog about the Fallacy of the Mass Attack, mostly to piss off a few people who were not going to read it anyways, it garnered few comments, I think because there are so many Sacred Cows in martial arts. From Dictionary Online; fal·la·cy [fal-uh-see] noun, plural fal·la·cies. 1. a deceptive, misleading, or false notion, belief, etc.: That the world is flat was at one time a popular fallacy. 2. a misleading or unsound argument. 3. deceptive, misleading, or false nature; erroneous. 4. Logic . any of various types of erroneous reasoning that render arguments logically unsound. 5. Obsolete . deception. Number 1) deceptive, misleading, false notion, belief deceptive advertising that features prominent fallacious conceptualizations having to do with the perfection of Self. Signs in windows that tell prospective students and parents how wonderful their lives will be if they just work on the self aspects of their life. misleading students in to believing that they are learning the deadliest forms of MA and that there training is best because the instructor has rank in no less than 5 or six of 'the most deadly forms of fighting'. false notions that are reinforced by rules and etiquette that water down the effectiveness of not just the defenses but the attacks as well. belief, I think I'll leave that one alone for now. Number 2) a misleading or unsound argument misleading students in to believing (whoops) that curriculum should be pared back to allow for quick advancement through ranks but with a high cost for the student should they have to use their skills. so called instructors who are great at getting in to the picture with a prominent black belt but mimic the worst possible models of training. There may be lots of photos on the wall, but the foundations of what they teach are ridiculously inadequate. Number 3) ...false nature, erroneous the false nature of the attack, lacking NOW and When/Then leads the instructor to find fault in what they teach. At at this point there must be some other system that fills the knowledge gap, OR, the system has to be tailored (changed at the whim of) by the instructor to make it 'functional'. If the attack sucks, well, your technique sucks also. erroneous rituals that increase the likelihood that the instructor will wind up a Cult of Personality, and, the development of the sycophantic behavior of some of his/her students. Number 4) Logic . any of various types of erroneous reasoning that render arguments logically unsound. (this is the biggest and most common fallacy outhere) Logic - remember, martial arts is whatever the instructor says it is, so how is a new student going to know what they are learning, especially when the kool-aid being served is sweet enough to dazzle the senses? reasoning the defies reason, make stuff up about what you didn't understand when you learned it and once you've told the lie enough you begin to believe it yourself. Number 5) Obsolete That same year that I blogged the Fallacy of the Mass Attack I also blogged about training methods I observed as being, Old Model, Present Model and New Model. Old Model training is the static horse and how the structure and methods of instruction are handed down to students who are incapable of performing at the higher levels of their instructors. 15 minutes of sweating, 10 minutes of stretching, 15 minutes of basics (almost always in a static horse) and one or two self defense techniques, sets or form. Maybe it is better to spend less perpetuating bad calisthenics and potentially damaging stretching for a more concentrated approach to the basics through practicing sets in a relaxed and sedate pace. The Fallacy of the Mass Attack is easy to find on you tube, at tournaments and in movies. Is the gang of baddies going to come at you one at a time and let you do your choreographed nasties while maintaining the needed distance and timing needed do what is basically showing off? Why does this Sacred Cow still exist? Inertia. Why does the Sacred Cow exist at all? Neutral Bow, You Must have a perfect neutral bow.Your toes HAVE TO BE PARALLEL or you will be cast out of the club and excoriated because you didn't have you freakin toes parallel. The neutral bow may be uniqueish to Kenpo but it's just one of many stances, and besides, if you waste time trying to get to an unimpeachable neutral bow whist someone is trying to rearrange your face, I cringe at your chances to do anything to stop the attack. Blocking from 3 to 9 and from 9 to 3. WHY? WTF? Chapter and verse can be cited for the sophisticated motion called the THRUSTING INWARD BLOCK! THE CONCEPTUAL BOX! MARGIN FOR ERROR! DEPTH OF ACTION! OUTER RIM! OUTER PERIMETER! CANCELLING ZONES! There is more, but suffice to say, if you still treat a punch like it is a grab, and you are not waiting for THE GRAB to touch you and BE A GRAB, then you or your instructors missed the point of the attack. Twist Stances. Oh boy, here we go. Look closely at Stance Set 1. There are TWO types of twist stances in StaS1. Rotating Twist and In-place Rotating Twist. Cat Stances. Or, maybe you should be turning your hips first instead of sliding your front foot almost all the way back to your back foot before you kick with the front foot. Here's a question for you, is it possible for your lead leg kick to be a thrust kick and not just a snapping kick? Can you increase the level of penetration in to the target with your front leg? Absofeakinlootly! It's called a 30/70 cat stance and HIPS CONTROL FEET! Finding Balance and a pivot point (before making contact with the target) and still throwing what you assume is a a power kick (mostly roundhouse). Wait, some of you think that you should never pivot on the heels of your feet when fighting or doing anything Kenpo. NEVER ever ever. Bite me. Try doing Thrusting Salute while pivoting on the ball of your left foot as you line up the kick. Talk about constipated and mumbled motion! Find balance IN THE TARGET. Back kicks. The lazy instructor allows students to believe that the back kick is any hip position and foot posture that executes a kick behind them. It appears that where their hips are is irrelevant to the structure of the kick and whatever comes out of that cluster f' is called a back kick. HIPS CONTROL FEET, KNEES AIM FEET. It's not rocket science, but is easy to screw up. Call it a back heel kick, and don't chamber that knee in front of you to kick behind you. That is just stupid. Sacred Cows infect training to such a degree (pun intended) that it's almost as if the old saying is true, "Don't wash the dirt off the car, it's the only thing holding the car together," Let's assume that your instructor is in the Mechanic of Motion phase. He or she is able to mimic what they learned well enough to show it to you, but, it's a copy of a copy of a copy and holds no relevance to what the original version taught. Or, your instructor is in their Technician of Motion Phase and is tinkering with, altering significantly and in general screwing around with what he/she was taught. Oh goody, not only was the model screwed up to begin with but now it's TAILORED! Everything is fine now, he/she fixed all of those little details that didn't make sense in the first place! Alright! let's move on, there's nothing to be learned that can't be messed with in the future... My favorite, the Salesman of Motion. CLUELESS. His answer when you ask him about what he just showed you is to stammer, guffaw and point out that he's a black belt and is not to be questioned. On second thought, you attacked him wrong. Wait, that seems to be the industry standard in Kenpo, that pesky attack thing. Sing with me, Doe a deer a female deer... and that brings us back to DOH!!!!!!!!! Share with us your observations of the Sacred Cow in the Kenpo you see. It always helps to acknowledge that there is a problem before it can get better. But please, no names, it gets messy if you point fingers at someone else because there are three fingers pointing at you too. Keep it light, complain about yourself if you want to, just don't let on that you are talking about yourself. Sacred Cow, ..and that brings us back to DOH! (the only thing Homer has ever said that I liked)"