- Jan 4, 2012
- Reaction score
- New York
Just saw this, and noticed a couple of red flags that I've run into before. Generally not stuff that I realize until after a few weeks, but I'm reading it here. Keep in mind, these are red flags for me, not everyone has the same goal or personality, so they may not be relevant. I also don't want to dissuade you if you really like the class (like your next post suggests), so if you feel I'm off base, feel free to ignore the below.So I checked out the class the other night, wow, much to tell!
It was exactly an hours drive, which was easy enough to find and it flew by. Walked in and the instructor chatted with me for quite some time! And I felt bad as he kept talking to me for almost an HOUR into their class! The members just were doing their own thing and getting assistance from the other higher grades, but I was blown away with that. Oh and they train for about 2 hours as well, never seen that before round these parts!
Told me all about the history of their style, and it's a very specific lineage of Goju ryu. I found it all incredibly fascinating... and we seemed to be on the same page regarding the intertwining of karate and spiritual matters, Zen etc... basically that karate is about so much more than fighting. He also feels it's rare to really find true Goju ryu, and feels the way they teach it is better. Still had respect for others, but of course clubs will say the way they do it is best .
Anyway they started the class, he told me this wasn't really a typical class as they've only just started training in the dojo recently due to everything opening up, so they worked solely on kata for the whole time.
He had a few views on certain styles (Kyokushin, Shotokan etc) which made sense, and they're very conscious about karate being for longevity.
One thing I was a bit unsure about was that he said they don't really do sparring, people got injured too much etc. I really feel free sparring has an important place, but then again, my last style was very sparring heavy, so perhaps this could be a segway into another aspect of karate?
I'd still love to work on sparring, so if I stayed with this club I would find a way... maybe search out a club or fellow martial artists to do some sparring... or I even thought of doing the fight nights that my old club do 4 times a year (25x rounds of dojo sparring in a row)... we'll see.
I found the class utterly fascinating... he was very very technical in approach. He was watching a student closely do kata and almost after every single movement he would correct him and get him to do it again. MANY times haha. He even told me that he's had a few black belts from other styles come train and they left because it was too hard. Not physically he said, but mentally.
So this at least tells me that he has a very high standard and really wants the student to understand it. I could see that the corrections he made were of importance, and not just to be arbitrarily anal about it. So I would have to be prepared not to take it personally if I'm corrected an excessive amount, but treat it as part of training, good feedback, shoshin (beginner's mind), and hey, I'm there to learn!
He really, really emphasised relaxation which I appreciate a great deal. There was a depth of body mechanics, vibration and whiplike movement that was emphasised, and seeing the way the instructor moved (he's 77 years old by the way!), it was incredible the power and whip he generated. He definitely has a deep understanding of this stuff, you can see it and feel it in his energy for sure.
Also spoke of your particular facial expression within kata and how it informs your technique and even structure.
It's something I really wanted to explore, learning those deep body mechanics, relaxation and flow that seemingly isn't really taught from the places I've looked.
Asked if I could join them tomorrow night, so will see how we go
1. Talking to you for an hour of a 2 hour class. Does he do this with every newcomer? I can see that very easily becoming bothersome, when I show up for a class, and the instructor isn't doing anything for half of it. Especially when he could have easily set up a separate time to meet with you (even if you were a surprise guest) if he wanted to go that in depth.
2. I find the zen stuff really cool, and makes sense with no sparring (along with the longevity), but sometimes it's not 'legit' spiritual. You can probably tell that better being there.
3. Clubs often feel their way is better. But anytime someone says that theirs is the only "real" X-art, it screams of arrogance, and whispers of cultish to me.
4. Why were people getting injured too much in sparring? Was this something that actually happened (and if so are they not teaching control there), or is this just a preconception of his that sparring=injury=no longevity?
5. How long had that one guy who was doing a kata been training for? And how long since he learned that kata? If the answer to those is a short time, ignore this one. If it's been a while, that sounds either like his training isn't effective if the students still need correction every movement, or the instructor likes to feel important and is correcting things that really don't matter/aren't technically 'wrong'.
6. How does he know black belts from other styles left because it was mentally too hard? I highly doubt they told him that. The next few sentences are my own assumption, based on other instructors that I've met. This sounds like another arrogance thing-black belts come, stay for a few classes, don't continue, he assumes it's because his training is too mentally tough (or they told him something that he translates as that). In reality, there could be a number of reasons that they left, from it being too mentally draining, not liking the no sparring, his technical advice goes against their own training/beliefs, he just annoys them, it's not a good fit, anything. But I know instructors, who whenever someone leaves, it's that they couldn't 'handle' the training.