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Thread: Am I unreasonable?

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    cameypsaromatis's Avatar
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    Default Am I unreasonable?

    Okay... I have a slight frustration with something and would like honest feedback if I'm being mental about this.

    I have learned what I believe is the text book execution of EPAK techniques and forms based on the consistency which I've seen in most schools and in written curriculums and also here on the forum. Maybe I'm deluding myself here.. I hope not.

    My frustration:

    When I pop into a school that is supposedly teaching EPAK, but they have changed the techniques to the point that they are no longer employing the principles and vocab of motion that they were originally designed to teach.... I just get frustrated. I'm not talking about expanding and altering and rearranging after a technique is learned, but rather changing it as though the original never existed.

    Sometimes I feel unreasonable in my "closet" frustration with this, but then again, when I explain and demonstrate to the student the proper execution of the technique, it suddenly becomes VERY clear to them what the correct execution is supposed to be and why and it just clicks with them. That has nothing to do with me of course, only EPAK.

    I have no desire to be an elitist and I do believe in the evolution of the art, but I believe in building upon what we are given and not changing it so that the original material is no longer our foundation.

    Am I being an unreasonable closet ( well not anymore ) nitpicker about this?

    Comical example: Um... If there isn't a name for the stance you are doing in your technique... well.. there's definitely something "interesting" about the execution.
    -Camey

    "You mean, you'll put down your rock and I'll put down my sword, and we'll try and kill each other like civilized people? "

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    Default Re: Am I unreasonable?

    I know somewhat of what you mean.


    We had a green belt come to our school from another EPAK school and I didn't recognize anything he was doing. There wasn't necessarily anything wrong with it (and I"m talking base moves, not even extensions), but it just wasn't what he was calling it.

    It seemed like a whole different style. He didn't stay long.

    I went to another supposedly EPAK school and when I got there, I was asked to wear a white belt (I was brown at the time) because I'd been off for 6 years and new to their school. I complied, figuring I'd move back up pretty fast.

    I came early to practice and warm up and started doing long form 3. A brown belt there was watching me and he said, "I can see you've done martial arts before. What style is that?"

    Uh, American Kenpo. Duh. Supposedly what they were teaching. I didn't stay more than a few classes with them. They didn't do Kenpo katas and they didn't do set techniques, yet persisted in calling themselves American Kenpo.

    Crazy.

    --Amy
    The New Kenpo Continuum Book is now accepting submissions for volume 2. Our fabulous, ever-changing website is Sacramento Kenpo Karate.
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    Default Re: Am I unreasonable?

    Quote Originally Posted by cameypsaromatis
    ...they have changed the techniques to the point that they are no longer employing the principles and vocab of motion that they were originally designed to teach....
    I'd say you are right to be bothered. The real question is, what should you do about it? The real answer is- I don't know. If it is a school in your lineage you might have some recourse. If not, you may be stuck with just not recomending them if you ever get the chance.

    It is really crazy how some things get into a school. Sometimes it is just ego ("Look what I created!"). Others-- well, I once went to visit a school where I saw everyone jumping up then droping to do a downward elbow on a bent opponent. The reason, as near as I could get, is the instructor was extremely short. Not a good excuse even for the instructor, but to see a large man jump up to strike a small opponent was ludicrous. What can you do... ?

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    hongkongfooey is offline
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    Default Re: Am I unreasonable?

    No, you are not being unreasonable. There are a lot of so called Kenpo schools out there that teach something other than Kenpo.

    HKF

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    Default Re: Am I unreasonable?

    Been there, seen it many times. Usually I chew the inside of my cheek, until I taste iron.

    The big problem is someone found what worked for them after they learned the base, and then though that it is better and would work for everyone else. And then in happened again and again down the line until the technique resembles nothing like th eoriginal technique.
    Quality outweighs quantity every time.

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    Default Re: Am I unreasonable?

    It's even happened in our offshoot of kenpo. There are schools that aren't affiliated with us, teaching our system. It's not even close to what it should be and many of the schools have taken on McDojo status. There's not a lot you can do.

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    Default Re: Am I unreasonable?

    Quote Originally Posted by cameypsaromatis
    Okay... I have a slight frustration with something and would like honest feedback if I'm being mental about this.

    I have learned what I believe is the text book execution of EPAK techniques and forms based on the consistency which I've seen in most schools and in written curriculums and also here on the forum. Maybe I'm deluding myself here.. I hope not.

    My frustration:

    When I pop into a school that is supposedly teaching EPAK, but they have changed the techniques to the point that they are no longer employing the principles and vocab of motion that they were originally designed to teach.... I just get frustrated. I'm not talking about expanding and altering and rearranging after a technique is learned, but rather changing it as though the original never existed.

    Sometimes I feel unreasonable in my "closet" frustration with this, but then again, when I explain and demonstrate to the student the proper execution of the technique, it suddenly becomes VERY clear to them what the correct execution is supposed to be and why and it just clicks with them. That has nothing to do with me of course, only EPAK.

    I have no desire to be an elitist and I do believe in the evolution of the art, but I believe in building upon what we are given and not changing it so that the original material is no longer our foundation.

    Am I being an unreasonable closet ( well not anymore ) nitpicker about this?

    Comical example: Um... If there isn't a name for the stance you are doing in your technique... well.. there's definitely something "interesting" about the execution.
    Hit us with some of the variations you came across.
    Sean

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    Bode is offline
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    Default Re: Am I unreasonable?

    One thing to keep in mind is that Ed Parker taught all across the world. He was very accepting of each instructors own interpretation of a technique. One minute saying it was done one way, the next another. Some students were taught what others weren't. I have the entire motion based kenpo system on video. Mr Parker, if I am not mistaken (Calling Doc, you would know), can be heard in the background making corrections. I guarantee you that many of the techniques are not exactly the same as Tatum, Planas, etc... would teach them.
    Does that mean they are incorrect? no. It just means the students interpretation and what Mr Parker found acceptable was different from another day. There will never be a one way and only one way to do the techniques in most kenpo schools. The business model it was built upon didn't allow it.

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    Default Re: Am I unreasonable?

    But there is a reason for the writtne manuals of the EPAK techniques.

    What I believe Camey is talking about is where you will go to a school and when they do Sword and Hammer it resembles nothing like the original technique. Instead of it being against a shoulder grab it become a 2 hand choke fromthe front. Instead of a knifehand and hammer fist in the defense it becomes some long dragged out technique that has neither a knife hand or a hammer fist.
    Quality outweighs quantity every time.

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    Default Re: Am I unreasonable?

    I don't think you're being completely unreasonable. I think in order to call yourself "American Kenpo" you should at least have something of an actual American Kenpo curriculum as your base.

    But, what can you do about it? The reality of MA in the U.S. is that there is no regulation so, as the saying goes, the buyer better beware.

    I've met crackpots claiming to be masters of their own styles (one guy called his Kim-Chi and never knew why we kept laughing at him... fyi, that's basically the Korean word for cabbage. LOL) and I've gone to "Kenpo" schools that had become so commercialized that the material was drastically watered down from what we teach in our schools.

    This topic hasn't really come up yet (that I know of) but I'm a supporter of state/fed legislation supporting the licensing and registration of Martial Art schools. I have several reasons for this, but perhaps this subject should be the topic of another thread.
    "It is sobering to reflect that one of the best ways to get yourself a reputation as a dangerous citizen these days is to go about repeating the very phrases which our founding fathers used in the struggle for independence." Charles A. Beard

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    Default Re: Am I unreasonable?

    Quote Originally Posted by cameypsaromatis
    I believe in building upon what we are given and not changing it so that the original material is no longer our foundation.
    I agree 100% but a quick search of the web will tell you that many schools have changed the material so much that it doesn't look anything like EPAK.

    It takes a lot of discipline and determination to learn EPAK as designed, but many become impatient and just go create their own style of Kenpo because of what they believe are deficiencies in American Kenpo.
    I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me.
    (Phillipians 4:13)


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    Default Re: Am I unreasonable?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rob Broad
    What I believe Camey is talking about is where you will go to a school and when they do Sword and Hammer it resembles nothing like the original technique. Instead of it being against a shoulder grab it become a 2 hand choke fromthe front. Instead of a knifehand and hammer fist in the defense it becomes some long dragged out technique that has neither a knife hand or a hammer fist.
    Ah, Rob, was that a "made-up" example or one you encountered in London, Ontario, LOL?
    I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me.
    (Phillipians 4:13)


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    Default Re: Am I unreasonable?

    I went to one school that started with 12 techniques, then went to six, then by the time I left, there were only 4 techniques.

    4 kenpo techniques per belt at a supposed kenpo school.

    And the techniqus were nothing to get excited about. They weren't dramatically different, but they had no inserts, rounded corners, marriage of gravity or anything else like that.

    PLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL!

    --Amy
    The New Kenpo Continuum Book is now accepting submissions for volume 2. Our fabulous, ever-changing website is Sacramento Kenpo Karate.
    I'm a member of the Universal Life Church and the ULC Seminary. I'm also a Sacramento Wedding Minister and Disc Jockey
    New Cool (free) kenpo tool bar: http://KenpoKarate.OurToolbar.com/


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    Default Re: Am I unreasonable?

    Quote Originally Posted by Seabrook
    Ah, Rob, was that a "made-up" example or one you encountered in London, Ontario, LOL?
    Just think of the song "Money" by the O.J.'s in the background as you visualize this technique and you will know exactly what I am talking about. And if that reference was too vague, just saythe word "Mullet" and it will all come together.
    Quality outweighs quantity every time.

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    hammer is offline
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    Default Re: Am I unreasonable?

    Quote Originally Posted by amylong
    I went to one school that started with 12 techniques, then went to six, then by the time I left, there were only 4 techniques.

    4 kenpo techniques per belt at a supposed kenpo school.

    And the techniqus were nothing to get excited about. They weren't dramatically different, but they had no inserts, rounded corners, marriage of gravity or anything else like that.

    PLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL!

    --Amy
    So true,
    I have to ask, Once the system had the introduction of the 16 self defense technique requirements (now consided to be the norm,) was this the precedents that has allowed individual schools or associations to change their syllabus ?

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    Default Re: Am I unreasonable?

    That's a good question. I don't know. I have gone to a bunch of different schools and they're all different.

    I had one where we did the 24, then one with 12, then one with about 8 per belt.

    I figure that as long as you learn them all, then that's good.

    It's a little misleading though when you see a black belt from a system that only has 12 per belt. They might have a black belt, but their material only goes up to about blue. Same material, just a lot less of it.

    --Amy
    The New Kenpo Continuum Book is now accepting submissions for volume 2. Our fabulous, ever-changing website is Sacramento Kenpo Karate.
    I'm a member of the Universal Life Church and the ULC Seminary. I'm also a Sacramento Wedding Minister and Disc Jockey
    New Cool (free) kenpo tool bar: http://KenpoKarate.OurToolbar.com/


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    Default Re: Am I unreasonable?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rob Broad
    And if that reference was too vague, just saythe word "Mullet" and it will all come together.
    I can't get the image of Rex of "Rex-Kwon-Do" fame out of my head now. You know, from the movie Napolean Dynomite. Thanks for that.
    "It is sobering to reflect that one of the best ways to get yourself a reputation as a dangerous citizen these days is to go about repeating the very phrases which our founding fathers used in the struggle for independence." Charles A. Beard

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    Default Re: Am I unreasonable?

    Quote Originally Posted by Celtic_Crippler
    I can't get the image of Rex of "Rex-Kwon-Do" fame out of my head now. You know, from the movie Napolean Dynomite. Thanks for that.
    I am talking about a real life, money motivated mullet.
    Quality outweighs quantity every time.

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    cameypsaromatis's Avatar
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    Default Re: Am I unreasonable?

    Some instances may fall into Bode's comments and I try to look at it from that perspective when I think it applies, but others... ugh.

    A few techniques that I can remember being "different":
    Reversing Mace, Hugging Pendulum, Circle of Doom

    Reversing Mace, they started out similar to Sheild and Sword and then it was 'somewhat' similar after that, meaning there was a back-knuckle and a roundhouse kick to the leg at some point

    Hugging Pendulum, there was no hugging at all. Started out more like Dance of Darkness or Retreating Pendulum somewhat. There was a heel palm claw in there at some point.

    Circle of Doom, there is no circle. More of an inside downward block, side kick to the groin... not sure what was after that. I think it looked a little more like Intellectual Departure in 'a' way.

    There were other instances where the attack had changed, like Rob mentioned. But I can see a technique working for a push and a choke the same provided that the choke hasn't been applied.

    I'm just of the mindset that our techniques are sophistication of basics and that we learn them for a reason: to understand principles and increase our vocabulary of motion (being able to defend ourselves is the unspoken master reason). It doesn't make what they are doing wrong and I never take that attitude with anyone, I just personally think they are losing something of value in the process.

    Man, I am insufferable closet nitpicker aren't I. Fortunately, I don't tell anyone about it but my best friends.. oh ... and you guys.


    Quote Originally Posted by Rob Broad
    But there is a reason for the writtne manuals of the EPAK techniques.

    What I believe Camey is talking about is where you will go to a school and when they do Sword and Hammer it resembles nothing like the original technique. Instead of it being against a shoulder grab it become a 2 hand choke fromthe front. Instead of a knifehand and hammer fist in the defense it becomes some long dragged out technique that has neither a knife hand or a hammer fist.
    -Camey

    "You mean, you'll put down your rock and I'll put down my sword, and we'll try and kill each other like civilized people? "

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    cameypsaromatis's Avatar
    cameypsaromatis is offline
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    Default Re: Am I unreasonable?

    Yes, yes. I've seen this too.. though not down to 4.

    Quote Originally Posted by amylong
    I went to one school that started with 12 techniques, then went to six, then by the time I left, there were only 4 techniques.

    4 kenpo techniques per belt at a supposed kenpo school.

    And the techniqus were nothing to get excited about. They weren't dramatically different, but they had no inserts, rounded corners, marriage of gravity or anything else like that.

    PLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL!

    --Amy
    -Camey

    "You mean, you'll put down your rock and I'll put down my sword, and we'll try and kill each other like civilized people? "

    SUPPORT KENPOTALK:http://www.kenpotalk.com/forum/payments.php

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