Are all instructor's techniques written in stone?

Padawon

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Hi all im some what new to learning martial arts, and i havent got passed white belt in Tai Qon Do since when i was about 10 years old. (at the time i wasnt very interested) Now im 21 and im motivated and interested in learning something for self-defense. Any ways to the point my question is do all specifc martial arts instructors teach the same exact techniques (like are the techniques written in stone?) For example do all differnt Krav Maga instructors (even if some instructors teaching methods are better than others), do they still teach the same principles and skill sets? I want to learn either Krav Maga or Ninjutsu, but dont know if i get the "not the best of instructors", then will everything they teach be useless? Or can I still pick up useful concepts,moves and principals that would be the same across varying skilled instructors?
 

Touch Of Death

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Nothing is written in stone. I have always believed a low level student can teach a basic, but if they suck, it is your base.
 
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Padawon

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Thank you for replying, but so are the techniques of Krav Maga the same or are there different styles it? And if there's not different Krav Maga styles do maybe some teachers have different sequence of moves (like order of attacks) that may or maybe not be better then other teachers sequences? If that makes sense I apologize if not.
 

pgsmith

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It is not the techniques or movements that you need to be examining, it is the instructor teaching them. Krav Maga is very effective, if you have a good instructor that can pass it along to you. It will be totally ineffective if you can't learn it well because you have a poor instructor.
It behooves anyone that is considering beginning martial arts to do plenty of research into the instructors that are available to them, then go and visit all of the dojo that you've narrowed the list to. Asking for thoughts and opinions from the experienced martial artists here about individual dojo and instructors could probably benefit you.
 

Touch Of Death

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Thank you for replying, but so are the techniques of Krav Maga the same or are there different styles it? And if there's not different Krav Maga styles do maybe some teachers have different sequence of moves (like order of attacks) that may or maybe not be better then other teachers sequences? If that makes sense I apologize if not.
A very large percentage of Krav guys came from different styles. If you learn Krav from us, you will get a Kenpo feel, and so on...
 
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Padawon

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Cool ok thanks I understand what you're saying about ineffective instructors, but I think maybe it can still be effective, (atleast I hope) if I understand what their trying to teach and apply it smartly, kinda like self-teaching I guess.. I'll keep in mind instructors background styles then and Kenpo sounds awesome too so I'll look into it. Now I know where to start I think thanks again your insight helped alot!!
 

jezr74

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I'd encourage you to spend the time and train at the places your interested in for a few weeks each, you will then get a feel for the martial art, the club culture and the instruction.

Base your decision on what you have experienced.
 
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Padawon

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Thanks, yeah as long as I feel like I'm learning something useful I'll most likely stay in that particular dojo if not I'll look for another..
 

Monkey Turned Wolf

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Cool ok thanks I understand what you're saying about ineffective instructors, but I think maybe it can still be effective, (atleast I hope) if I understand what their trying to teach and apply it smartly, kinda like self-teaching I guess.. I'll keep in mind instructors background styles then and Kenpo sounds awesome too so I'll look into it. Now I know where to start I think thanks again your insight helped alot!!

It can be effective to a degree, however it would be much more effective to find an instructor to teach it to you and show you how to apply it properly.

Think of it this way:
Imagine you are learning calculus in a class where the professor is not the best teacher, so you end up trying to figure it out on your own based on your textbooks (which contain the exact same material).
Now imagine you are learning calculus from a teacher who is a great teacher, clear, can answer questions well and knows how to explain the lesson in multiple ways. You manage to learn it without ever needing to consult the textbook, although it's there if you wish. Which situation would you prefer?
 
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Padawon

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I understand obviously I would pick the great teacher, I just wanted to make sure I won't get taught some style that's made up or not yet proven.. Another question I have is does the Kenpo styles tiger,crane,snake,dragon all part of the Kenpo style as a whole? Or do people try to specialize in one of those styles? I really like how Kenpo is adaptable and I wish to learn tiger and crane style.. Anyways thanks for the help again guys!
 

Monkey Turned Wolf

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I understand obviously I would pick the great teacher, I just wanted to make sure I won't get taught some style that's made up or not yet proven.
Nah, barring some really unlikely circumstances, if you're instructor claims to be teach Krav, he's teaching krav. If he claims to be teaching a form of kenpo, he's teaching that form of kenpo. The question is how well he himself understands the art and how good of a teacher he is.
Another question I have is does the Kenpo styles tiger,crane,snake,dragon all part of the Kenpo style as a whole? Or do people try to specialize in one of those styles? I really like how Kenpo is adaptable and I wish to learn tiger and crane style.. Anyways thanks for the help again guys!

So first, not all kenpo styles have animals. AFAIK it's only the ones with chinese influence, like SKK (shaolin kempo karate) that do...in SKK I learned them, in japanese kenpo I did not. If anything, the five animals are more of a chinese thing than a kenpo thing.
Second: Similarly to how different teachers may teach a subject differently, different MA instructors will teach the material differently.

From my own experience, we did not focus on the animals at all for a very long time. I knew that they existed, and various combinations and kempos were related to differing animals, but that was all that I was taught. My instructors placed a much larger focus on getting the technique right than on the philosophy of the animals. Shortly after I reached black belt, and I don't know if this was due to my rank or a change in the head instructor, the advanced classes changed focus. Rather than focusing on technique, my sensei had us think about the various animals, went over in more detail how each one behaved, and had us figure out for ourselves which ones we generally use (for instance, I'm primarily a mixture of leopard and snake, since I tend to focus on being fast, overly aggressive, and precise). After a couple weeks of slowly incorporating them, he started stating that we are working on x animal today, and have us work on techniques, combinations, and kempos that derive or make use of that animal. We'd spend most of the class working on those techniques, along with discussing the animal, and how they could be useful if we have a style that does not include that animal (I can still use crane based techniques, even though I in no way incorporate the crane in my own fighting style).

That is how I learned the five animals. I thought it was a great way, and if I ever teach with the intent of teaching to that level, I would go about it the same way. That said, I am sure that other sensei's teach the same curriculum differently, and probably incorporate the philosophy aspect a lot earlier on, so it depends.
Also, if you're interest in kenpo is purely based on the animals, I would actually suggest trying to find a southern kung fu teacher, unless SKK is readily available near you.

For those curious, here are the five animals and their attributes in SKK
Shaolin Kempo Karate 5 Animals-Martial Arts-Shepherdsville, Ky
 
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Padawon

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Ohh ok cool that makes sense, but do then like for example the Japanese Kenpo, does it have the animal techniques, but just don't advertise as such? Cause I actually do like the thought of the animal method, as its easier for me to categorize the moves and such. I'll look into SKK aswell and southern Kung fu thanks for the tip. I want to learn something that's the best for self defense with real world applications, such disarming opponents,taking on multiple opponents (anti-grappel etc..) and techniques that could be used with firearms and knives.. So far Krav Maga seems to suit this style so Krav with kendo sounds great actually. Ninjutsu also I'm considering but idk, I'll look more into that, but I read it's mainly for unexpected first strike type stuff... But also has alot of deadly pressure points moves or something, and also it just seems cool to be a ninja.
 

Monkey Turned Wolf

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Both Japanese and American Kenpo don't have animal techniques, although IMO all Kenpo is great for self defense.
Where do you live? It's possible that someone is near by and knows somewhere that you could try.
 
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Padawon

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I'm in California, but I haven't done a whole lot of research about dojos in my area yet. I could have a variety of options, but maybe not since I plan to join the military soon and will have to be relocated.. But i'm sure there's some kenpo dojos nearby as it seems pretty popular. Just wherever I may end up I hope it's a kenpo style I like, and with a good teacher. I may even consider traveling to other countries for the top dojos but that depends.. I'll probably keep an eye out for the Chinese Kenpo dojos then though. But I'll do my research and compare, and Bruce Lee's Jeet Kwon doh (sry if I misspelled that) sounds like it would be awesome aswell.. Thanks again!
 

Buka

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It's all good, bro, just go and have yourself some fun. You're going to love it.

And welcome to Martial Talk.
 

Tony Dismukes

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There are some arts/organizations where the curriculum and the details of specific techniques are handed down from a central authority of some sort. Even in those organizations you can probably find some variation in how individual teachers instruct.

There are other arts where there is no standardized curriculum or set way of doing specific techniques. Even in those arts you will find some commonalities in how different teachers instruct.

There are other arts where organizations and lineages splinter off from each other and then bicker about the exact details of how to do specific techniques.

The best thing to do is find the local school that suits you best and train the way your teacher wants you to. If you move, find the local school that suits you best in your new location and train however your new teacher wants you to, without worrying about whether it agrees with your previous instruction. As you mature as a martial artist, you'll eventually develop your own way of doing things which may or may not precisely match how any of your instructors have done things.
 
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Padawon

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Good advice thanks man that's good to know, I'm really excited to learn Kenpo as I think even by itself it can be effective. I feel motivated and with a sense purpose.. Thanks you all been a great help for me making my decision!
 

jks9199

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Thank you for replying, but so are the techniques of Krav Maga the same or are there different styles it? And if there's not different Krav Maga styles do maybe some teachers have different sequence of moves (like order of attacks) that may or maybe not be better then other teachers sequences? If that makes sense I apologize if not.
The answer is yes and no.

Looking at Krav Maga alone, there are a couple of major organizations, and they've implemented their programs in different ways. Some may be very consistent and structured in what's taught at what level, and in the manner techniques are taught. So, if you go from Club A to Club B in that program, the material will be very similar. A lot of Tae Kwon Do is pretty consistent, as well, IF you look within the same organization (ATA, ITF, etc.) But others may be more relaxed about how things are taught... and that's without even getting into someone who collected a "instructor certificate" in a quick program so they could tack the current trending name up on their window...
 

WaterGal

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I'm in California, but I haven't done a whole lot of research about dojos in my area yet. I could have a variety of options, but maybe not since I plan to join the military soon and will have to be relocated..

Ah, I think that explains your question. If you think you'll be getting relocated every couple years, studying a style that has a pretty standardized program with schools all over the world will allow you to continue your training without too much interruption or backtracking.

Out of the choices of Krav and ninjutsu, I'd go with Krav. It's very popular and I think you'll find it in a lot of places. There are a number of different Krav organizations. If you do decide to do ninjutsu, I think Bujinkan is the only ninjutsu organization with much presence outside the US. The original ninjas and the things they studied - mostly methods of assassination, terrorism and disguise, not kicking and grappling - died out centuries ago, so the ninjutsu practiced now was basically reinvented in the 70s from old books (which may or may not be accurate) and more modern martial arts, and as I understand it that process mostly happened in the US.
 
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