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Old 07-08-2006, 07:00 AM   #113
Dojo: Finger Lakes Aikido
Location: Cortland, NY
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 975
Re: Brawling with a friend

Miles Calunod wrote:
One of the main points of conflict is that there seems to be no leeway for those "pro tradition". To adjust and change the methods of teaching seem to equate to rewriting the art in its entirety.

You don't have to abandon the old to improve upon it.
Well, if the teaching methods are part of the art, then yes, I would agree changing them is changing the art. The techniques are only part of the package, IMO. You can't strip out the language, the culture, change the methods, and say it's the same thing. There's a point beyond which it's just not Aikido anymore.

The same is true of Jun Fan/JKD. Sifu Andy Astle received his instrucorship in Jun Fan from Sifu Kevin Seaman, who was also his (and mine) Kali instructor; Sifu Kevin is under Sifu Dan Inosanto. Now, Sifu Andy and his contemporaries, that is the other peopel who trained with him under Sifu Kevin, all teach Jun Fan differently from Sifu Kevin and from each other; everyone has their own flavor -- BUT! --- there are certain things you have to do to honestly say you are doing Jun Fan, certain lines you don't cross. I know this because I talked with him about it last night and he agreed with me. And if Sifu Andy is trying to teach you soemthing and you mouth off about how you don't like that, you're questioning it .... watch out! His bullshit meter is set at "zero." "When you have a black sash, then you can form and opinion and do your own thing," he told me, "but until then your job is to keep your mouth shut and learn from me." Did I mention that's in JKD? The "non-traditional" people? Picking up on a theme?

So I think when you want to make adjustments, you have to be careful: you should incorporate something if it is appropriate to the art. What is the art trying to teach me? Will something like the I-method be appropriate, or would it get in the way?

For instance, LaCoste Inosanto Kali takes a topical approach. Last night, for instance, we looked at the kickboxing techniques and combinations from Panantukan. Of course, the point of Panantukan is not just to box with somebody but to get through their defenses so you can apply chokes or submissions or locks as found in the Dumog system. An encounter is broken into peices, those peices studied separately. However, in Pentjak Silat Serak, you have the sambuts (techniqes) and buangs (throws), and you see things as a unit: Your partner feeds a jab, say, and you do everything from beginning to (his!) end. Yes, you can analyze some things separately. You can -- and do -- practice things from the Tendjekan kickboxing system at the beginning of class. But Tendjekan is meant to facilitate entry to do a sambut or a buang.

Ok. Which approach is appropriate to Aikido? The Doshu writes how the emphasis should be on the "smooth motion of the entire body," so maybe a "unit" approach (which Aikido does already) makes more sense. But you also have to remember Kali is a HUGE system. You have to take a topical approach because there's so much ground to cover. Aikido has much less ground to cover; tryint to break it into peices would be flatly ridiculous. I mean, could you spend twenty mintues just studying how to raise and lower your tegatana? You do that anyway in the techniques, so why not go right to it?

Yes, change is good, but you shoudn't change for change's sake, you should have a reason for it. And even then, you should ask, is this appropriate to the art? Will it be disrespectful? Martial arts about more than just learning and teaching cool moves, so much more. That's why the "pro tradition" people seem so "inflexible." If you lose more than you gain, what's the point? Don Magee ridiculed my "do not question the Master" answers; he seems to be saying "always question the master; take nothing he says for granted." Well, if you're going to do that, why did you go to that person in the first place? And if getting you to do anything is an uphill battle, then why should that person even try to teach you anything?

Did I mention my thinking was influenced by a JKD guy?

Just my $0.02.
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