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Thread: Prioritizing Qualities

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    Default Prioritizing Qualities

    Recently in a different thread Robert R. stated that:
    I quite agree that there's a difference on questions of speed in technique especially, and that some of this isn't logical on anybody's side. Certainly, the way I was taught, "speed," is the last thing you think about--form, power, timing, etc., come first--but that's just the sort of thing that can be subject to bias.
    I find this subject very interesting. Not essentially just 'speed', but the whole idea of what qualities come in what order. I've got my own ideas on this from the way I've been trained and my own observations, but I was wondering how people place the importance of certain things w/in their (or their student's) execution of Kenpo (be it techniques, sets, forms, drills....etc.).

    Please share your ideas.

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    Default Re: Prioritizing Qualities

    Prioritizing Qualities is what makes kenpo unique to each individual practitioner. If kenpoist A is tall, lean, and long in the limb, his reach is going to be an advantage for him. He will by necessity or by choice use his advantage to punish an opponent. Same goes for short, fast guys, or flexible, etc... you get the point. THese individual traits are already there, working them in training to hone them is important, but to stress training on those areas that do not come natural to each person is more important. I am large, heavy, and strong. I have no problem with generating power. It is a natural occurance to me, but, speed is my light suit. SO, I focus on speed when training. I do specific drills to help my speed, I have a double end bag, a speed bag, and a sled I pull when I run sprints. All of these things have helped my speed, all the while, maintaining my strength and power. Also, and this next thing is for everyone, breathing properly through the execution of a technique is SOOOOO important. I missed out on that my first year or so, and when I learned how to breath properly through a technique, it helped with my total execution so much I cant stress it enough.

    Gary C.

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    Default Re: Prioritizing Qualities

    Here's something more along the lines of what I was thinking about:

    The 'qualities' are things like good form, speed, power, control, balance, accuracy, fluidity, understanding of principles, spontenaity....etc. etc.

    In my way of thinking there is an order in which such qualities needs to fall:
    Form:
    I think that this one needs to come first. Form is the basic "how" of Kenpo. If you have good 'form' throughout your motion then you have balance and a good foundation from which to propel your 'speed' and deliver power. If you have good form then being accurate is much more likely. Form is first. These other things are very secondary compared to, and dependant upon good form. W/out the good form these other things (almost all other things) falls apart quickly.

    Along with learning form (the How) we should gain an understanding of the function, the reasoning behind why the pattern of motion holds to that form... the principles (the why). For the beginning student this doesn't need to be "deep" really, in fact...it probably shouldn't be. Just enough to understand why it is we are doing something. This knowledge can grow over time, but at first there simply needs to be a general understanding of why we "do it this way"; a basic knowledge of "why".

    I think that after form and function comes fluidity. Fluidity comes from first having good form, being able to reproduce that form/pattern well over and over consistantly... but without excess antagonistic muscle drag (tension). Fluidity requires relaxation, it is the first element of fluidity. The second element can be understood best through the principle of "Continuity of Motion"... that we take out the "and".....move from doing the robotic "1 and 2 and 3 and 4" and just move to a more fluid: "1 2 3 4" without a break in the motion. Without this kind of fluidity speed would remain out of reach, the initiation of speed is one thing, but if there's muscle drag...it'd be like trying to take off in a drag car that's pulling a camper; it just won't "Take off". If there's no continuity of motion then you are breaking your speed into start and stop motion. That'd be like the drag car slamming on the breaks every ten feet and restarting.

    This brings me to what I think is the fourth consideration; speed. Speed is the rate at which we take care of business (hows that for technical jargon?). Speed is how quickly we can accelerate and deliver our momentum at, on and through a target. Speed is also the rate at which we can transition between one motion and another, or from one direction to another. This is not talking about perceptual or mental speed....though those are very important and cannot be minimized. Power or 'force' IS a product of speed, as force=Mass X acceleration. Acceleration (the rate at which speed can change) is speed, it is a multiplier of force. So if we remain in good form so that we can support the delivery of force, move fluidly so we are not dragging our speed down....then we can deliver force.

    So....even though I'm currently leaving this list incomplete so as to facilitate a discussion....here's a synopsis of my thoughts on this:
    1. Form.
    2. Function. (it could be said that 1 & 2 over-lap a Great deal, I only separate them so that each can be fully considered in turn)
    3. Fluidity.
    4. Speed.
    5. (?) .....you guessed it, power. Which is a result of combining good form, fluidity and speed into ONE action.

    Many things fall under these headings. For instance balance: a by-product (an important one) of good form. As "form" is first on the list, then all of the things that fall under it's heading are more primary concerns to the things further down in the list. For instance without good balance you fluidity will falter as you need to tense up and disrupt your action to keep from falling over, your speed will then be broken and your power futile as it can find nothing to support it.

    Just some things to think about.

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    Default Re: Prioritizing Qualities

    Quote Originally Posted by Brother John
    ...snip...
    So....even though I'm currently leaving this list incomplete so as to facilitate a discussion....here's a synopsis of my thoughts on this:
    1. Form.
    2. Function. (it could be said that 1 & 2 over-lap a Great deal, I only separate them so that each can be fully considered in turn)
    3. Fluidity.
    4. Speed.
    5. (?) .....you guessed it, power. Which is a result of combining good form, fluidity and speed into ONE action.

    ...snip...

    Just some things to think about.

    Your Brother
    John

    This is a great list, and an excellent topic. I most certainly agree that form should be first and foremost. One thing I think that should be added is not necessarily a physical characteristic; it is more of a mental one. Spontaneity is very important. With the understanding of form, comes an understanding of how and why. The ability to be able to be spontaneous is critical (in my opinion) when concerned with self defense.

    The self defense techniques offer a scenario to examine form (the how and why) but I have noticed that some become locked into that particular scenario and when you deviate out of that particular case they freeze up. I noticed this when working a technique line, we were working on Five Swords, after a few runs through the line, I decided to throw a right left combination, and the person executing Five Swords froze and got a close look at my left cross (I didn't actually hit the person but the impression was roughly the same). I wouldn't expect beginners to have the understanding of form to be able to react in an effective spontaneous manner, but as you advance I think it should be developed.

    I am guilty of this myself, and work hard to over come this. I've had the wind knocked out of me on more than one occasion as people I've worked with decided to test my ability to respond spontaneously.



    Just my opinion and I could be wrong.





    -Josh
    Holding onto anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned. - Buddha

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    Default Re: Prioritizing Qualities

    Quote Originally Posted by dubljay
    This is a great list, and an excellent topic. I most certainly agree that form should be first and foremost. One thing I think that should be added is not necessarily a physical characteristic; it is more of a mental one. Spontaneity is very important. With the understanding of form, comes an understanding of how and why. The ability to be able to be spontaneous is critical (in my opinion) when concerned with self defense.

    The self defense techniques offer a scenario to examine form (the how and why) but I have noticed that some become locked into that particular scenario and when you deviate out of that particular case they freeze up. I noticed this when working a technique line, we were working on Five Swords, after a few runs through the line, I decided to throw a right left combination, and the person executing Five Swords froze and got a close look at my left cross (I didn't actually hit the person but the impression was roughly the same). I wouldn't expect beginners to have the understanding of form to be able to react in an effective spontaneous manner, but as you advance I think it should be developed.

    I am guilty of this myself, and work hard to over come this. I've had the wind knocked out of me on more than one occasion as people I've worked with decided to test my ability to respond spontaneously.

    Just my opinion and I could be wrong.

    -Josh
    Seems to me you're just being a pri*ck when you do that to them on 5 Swords if you never told them that could happen BUT, if you can get that left off, they haven't even got the technique down effectively anyway. Either way, the student hasn't learned much. I would suggest you try that little trick with someone who knows what they're doing, I think it might surpise you.

    Have a great Kenpo day

    Clyde

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    Thumbs down Re: Prioritizing Qualities

    Quote Originally Posted by kenpoprofessor
    Seems to me you're just being a pri*ck when you do that to them on 5 Swords if you never told them that could happen BUT, if you can get that left off, they haven't even got the technique down effectively anyway. Either way, the student hasn't learned much. I would suggest you try that little trick with someone who knows what they're doing, I think it might surpise you.

    Have a great Kenpo day

    Clyde

    Whoa... there is no cause for that kind of name calling. I do not appreciate it. You have no clue as to the atmosphere of where I trained. When I did this there was no malice, or intent to show my 'superiority'. I did it to break up the routine, the person had a good feel for the technique, and I and my instructor thought it would be a good time to introduce something new. I was good friends with all the students and instructors at that school, and remain so.

    Just so you know I have tried this with my instructor, and other black belts. It was a fairly common occurrence in a technique line, when those participating had plenty of experience with the technique.



    Respectfully,

    -Josh
    Holding onto anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned. - Buddha

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    Default Re: Prioritizing Qualities

    we were working on Five Swords, after a few runs through the line, I decided to throw a right left combination, and the person executing Five Swords froze and got a close look at my left cross
    I think this is a great drill to do as long as it has been prefaced in prior conversations, not necessarily the same night, but just in general. It keeps students from being target fixated, teaches spontanaeity, and increases awareness. We actually do this as well, but now it's almost expected to the point where you kind of get disappointed if it is just a roundhouse. Good job keeping it real.

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    Default Re: Prioritizing Qualities

    All's I know is, I was never, never, never taught anything just for speed's sake, and my hands and feet are plenty fast enough. Not that this helps. If you must train speed, don't train hand or foot speed--train foot maneuver speed.

    Form first; especially stances and alignments; from that comes power. After that, I'd say work on awareness.

    Speed isn't the issue. Timing is the issue. Decision is the issue. Range is the issue. Self-confidence, poise, reading an opponent--they're the issue.

    By itself, speed is probably the least useful aspect of kenpo. It should be a byproduct, not a goal, of training.

    (Yes, I know. F=MA....getting there first is half the battle.)

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    Default Re: Prioritizing Qualities

    Quote Originally Posted by rmcr
    All's I know is, I was never, never, never taught anything just for speed's sake, and my hands and feet are plenty fast enough. Not that this helps. If you must train speed, don't train hand or foot speed--train foot maneuver speed.
    By itself, speed is probably the least useful aspect of kenpo. It should be a byproduct, not a goal, of training.
    (Yes, I know. F=MA....getting there first is half the battle.)
    I couldn't agree more.
    Never do something just for speed's sake. I can't imagine doing that. Why, if a person skipped over good form in an effort to reach for speed...then they'd LOSE speed outright. Proper form facilitates moving from point of origin, it entails economy of motion and sets us up for strike after devastating strike most efficiently. They'd loose the how and the why of every technique. They'd loose the fluidity. They'd therefore Loose the speed too.

    If they have poor form then they WILL have very poor fluidity. Without fluidity, there can't be speed or quickness. Without fluidity the MOST one could hope for would be start and stop, robotic motion. No speed there, and very little power.

    So all I can say is YES Robert: absolutely, if anyone tries to sell you on the idea of doing anything "Just for speed's sake"... slap them. Trust me, your hit will land....they won't be "quick" enough for it not too.

    I also agree with you Robert that no one should train for hand speed or foot speed. That sure would be silly. Could you imagine a person who's feet were fast, but hands slow? Or vice versa? Rediculous. But I must disagree with you on training for "foot maneuver speed".
    REASON?? Here's a very important point about my thinking on these 'qualities' and how they relate to your thougts on "Hand speed, foot speed" or "foot maneuver speed"...and that is that our motion in Kenpo is in a whole body context. You can't compartmentalize these things to just certain types of motion or just certain parts of your body. That'd be rediculous. Could you imagine a person who had good form in their stance work yet very poor form with their upper-body? Would you say that that person "had good form"? No, of course not....they had bad form... maybe encourage them that they are on the right track toward good form by having good stance work...but they must integrate their ENTIRE body into the work. The motion of Kenpo isn't a 'hand' motion, a 'foot' motion...or even a 'foot maneuver' motion... it's a whole body motion. I can't imagine someone being fluid with their hands, but stacato/mumbly with their feet and call them "Fluid" at all. Either their entire body is in good form, or it's not. Either their entire body is fluid, or it's not. Either their entire body is "fast".....you guessed it......or it's not.
    SO...to counter your advice I'd merely say that if the person is going to try to improve their technical execution of Kenpo (be it their form, their fluidity or their speed)... then they should do so with their entire body.....because when we fight, it's a "whole body thing".

    As to your thoughts that
    speed is probably the least useful aspect of kenpo
    I really have to disagree. I'd think that getting things done immediately, promptly and overwhelming the attacker with powerful, accurate, fluid and FAST hits...that hit him in such a barrage that he can't possibly detect let alone adust to them.... I'd think that taking care of business quickly, is a very important issue and that speeds is very useful. As you already agreed, it is a major component in the delivery of force. F=MA....and all that, right?

    Nobody is saying that Speed should be some master key end-goal of training by any means. That's one of the points of this whole thread....that there are higher priorities than speed....that if you meet those other priorities first, then greater speed will be facilitated. Like you said, it's sort of a byproduct of having taken care of the other more important things on the list. Likewise, if you fail to meet these other qualities first and try for speed without taking care of these greater priorities first....you will fail at every level of your action, especially at delivering the speed you thought you wanted in the first place. BUT: I do feel that speed is important and we'd do well to learn how to harness it and use it for all it's worth...when kept in the right perspective.

    Something else to think about:
    You said that in your opinion 'speed isn't the issue' but that
    Timing is the issue
    That's interesting. I see timing as a sub-catagory of speed. Timing is, among other things, the speed with which you can innitiate an action, the ability to match speed in relation to a target in order to come to that target at the optimal distance. Timing is also the rate, pace or cadence with wich you execute a motion w/in the entire context of the rest of your actions or those of the attacker. (Rate and pace having to do with speed) Timing is a tool OF speed, as I see it. With Good timing, speed is maximized... because it's not a matter of moving your hands "as fast as you can"...but as fast as you need, and being able to control that rate, that cadence......that speed, in order to time your actions against those of the attacker......so as to keep the upper-hand and, to borrow from Mr. Parker's billiards analogy "run the table" before the attacker can take their own shot. (Before. Thats a word that's indicating 'relative time', which has to do with speed)

    These things are good to think about. Thanks for the discussion so far, it's good.

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    Default Re: Prioritizing Qualities

    I think I'd go with foundation, power, and accuracy.
    Couple things from the post above; I agree with rmcr that speed is the least useful aspect. If your strikes are powerful and accurate speed is not necessary. To be clear, yes to generate power you need "speed" (as in F=MA), but I think that the "speed" needed to make a strike powerful is different than the "speed" required to throw several strikes in a small amount of time. I think of the latter when dicussing speed.
    Also, I disagree that timing is how fast you do something. I believe timing to be when you move, not how fast you move.
    Just a couple of opinions....
    Last edited by dsp; 08-09-2005 at 11:13 AM.

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    Default Re: Prioritizing Qualities

    Quote Originally Posted by dsp
    I think I'd go with foundation, power, and accuracy.
    That's interesting. Those are very important qualities. Would you agree that the term "Foundation" could be put under the catagory of "Form"? That accuracy is gained through proper form and that power is derived from proper form (alignment & accuracy) combined with speed?
    Just wondering. If so, seems that we are pretty much saying the same things.
    Are you putting these in a specific order of importance? If so, IS accuracy less important than power?
    Just wanting a good discussion.

    thanks

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    Default Re: Prioritizing Qualities

    Quote Originally Posted by Brother John
    That's interesting. Those are very important qualities. Would you agree that the term "Foundation" could be put under the catagory of "Form"? That accuracy is gained through proper form and that power is derived from proper form (alignment & accuracy) combined with speed?
    Just wondering. If so, seems that we are pretty much saying the same things.
    Are you putting these in a specific order of importance? If so, IS accuracy less important than power?
    Just wanting a good discussion.

    thanks

    Your Brother
    John
    Good questions, I hate it when I have to think before lunch...
    The way I'm thinking, foundation would include a strong, stable stance and good balance when transitioning from stance to stance. "Form" would be combining foundation, power and accuracy. I think good form would have to include all the qualities and isn't really a separate quality. I don't think I would ever say something like, "He has good form, but no foundation" or "no power", etc.

    I did put them in order. But it isn't really that simple. I would rather strike with a lot of power and be a little off target than hit exactly where I want but have nothing on it. That is the order in which I think they should be focused on and trained. First you need to develope a good foundation, nothing happens without that, then concentrate on delivering powerful strikes, and then put them where you want them. That said, you need foundation, power and accuracy to be really effective. Hopefully, some of that makes a little sense. It sounds good in my head, might lose a little when I type it...

    I do think we are basically in agreement. I don't think you are referring to speed in the pure sense of just throwing many strikes in a small amount of time. I don't see the use of that. You really need to deliver a strike, judge the reaction and determine the opening you created and flow into the next strike. If you just go at it with the idea of throwing as many strikes as quickly as you can you will most likely sacrifice your foundation, power and/or accuracy. That's not good. I am not suggesting a start-stop, choppy motion, I think you can flow without blazing speed.

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    Lightbulb Re: Prioritizing Qualities

    Hmmm....I remember Mr. Planas saying in a seminar a couple of years ago that the Kenpo Motto was "Power and Accuracy, with enough speed to make it work." Thoughts, comments?
    The truly educated never graduate.
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    Talking Re: Prioritizing Qualities

    I remember Mr. Parker stating with a smile after he just ripped through a technique on someone that left the room silent with mouths open, “I not fast I just know how to cheat time.”

    Power = (force x distance) ÷ time taken

    And I thought he was kidding.

    Yours in Kenpo,

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    Default Re: Prioritizing Qualities

    Power and Accuracy, with enough speed to make it work." Thoughts, comments?
    How do you determine what is ENOUGH speed to make something work? This requires you to make some pretty far-reaching assumptions based on little to no information of your opponent. Proper form is important. It is through the proper and efficient execution of movement that you can generate power without needing to increase distance travelled. If two people do the same technique, but person 1 hits the opponent 4 times in one second and person two hits their opponent 4 times in 2 seconds, does that mean that person one was moving faster? Not necessarily, it might mean that person 1's movement was more efficient and didn't require as much travel/time to accomplish the same goal. Doesn't necessarily have anything to do with speed.

    Another thing to point out is that there are many types of speed. Two big ones are perceptual speed and physical speed. One of the drills mentioned earlier on will help develop that perceptual speed, where plyometrics and training will help develop physical speed. Both are necessary. As far as the whole which order question goes (power, accuracy, speed). I think the answer is power AND accuracy WITH speed. I'll use the old quickdraw analogy. In order to be good you have to develop and hone all of the qualities. If you can draw your gun in a tenth of a second, but can't hit the broad side of a barn, then you aren't going to do very well. Likewise if your accuracy is dead on but you have to take a lengthy period of time to draw grab the gun with both hands acquire the sights, line up with the target, and then fire.... well you still aren't going to do that well. You may get lucky and be shooting against someone like in my first example, but you train and hone all qualities not just one, then another.

    You should be able to transition from one strike to another, and one stance to another, with power, precision, speed, and authority. Otherwise something's missing.
    Random thoughts from someone who needs more carbs.

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    Thumbs up Re: Prioritizing Qualities

    Quote Originally Posted by Kenpo Yahoo
    I think the answer is power AND accuracy WITH speed.

    You should be able to transition from one strike to another, and one stance to another, with power, precision, speed, and authority. Otherwise something's missing. Random thoughts from someone who needs more carbs.
    Very well put, Kenpo Yahoo; you sound just fine to me despite your "carbs" situation. I think Mr. Planas said the same thing but qualified the speed aspect by saying 'enough to make it work' so that people wouldn't emphasize speed over the other two qualities [as you stated in your "quickdraw" analogy].

    Sincerely,
    Gin-Gin

    P.S. - I do not claim to speak for Mr. Planas, just guessing that's what he meant based on my experiences at his seminars.
    Last edited by Gin-Gin2; 08-11-2005 at 05:13 PM. Reason: forgot something
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    Default Re: Prioritizing Qualities

    Flow first, power later.
    Just because you do something one way, does not mean that everyone else does it that way, or that it is even the correct way.

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    Default Re: Prioritizing Qualities

    “speed is probably the least useful aspect of kenpo”



    Kinetic Energy = ½ x mass x velocity²

    Looks like speed is more than half the equation to me.

    Speed as well as mass is part of the equation. You can’t just eliminate part of the equation because you don’t like it. LOL

    Yes, you can develop power without speed. I have seen and felt Mr. Mills hitting in what I call scary slow mode. It is slow but scary how bad that strike feels. It goes right through you but is traveling incredibly show. It is a strike that employs principles to devolve power but little speed. Of course this is for demonstration purpose. I’m sure Mr. Mills would incorporate speed if he was using that strike for real.



    The other problem with a statement like this is it dismisses that fact that in the real world the faster your hand connects to the opponents head the harder it is for them to counter you. The most powerful as well as the fastest strike in the world does little good if it never connects.

    By employing, accuracy, proper body mechanics, good alignment, back up mass, and speed, one can maximize the effectiveness of their strike.

    With quick powerful strikes in continuous succession we keep the pressure on,

    employing progressive directional harmony, enhancing

    the chance you will keep the opponent in a check interval state.




    Strike First, Strike Hard, SHOW NO MERCY!



    Yours in Kenpo,

    Mike G

    AKKI Westminster MD

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    Default Re: Prioritizing Qualities

    Quote Originally Posted by Seig
    Flow first, power later.
    Cool Seig!!
    That was the exact quote that began my thinking on this list of priorities over three years ago.

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    Default Re: Prioritizing Qualities

    First off, please don't take the remark I made about F=MA out of context like that. I thought that I rather clearly used it as a mark of the misuse of concepts from physics.Of which there is a lot in kenpo.

    Second--strictly speaking, "acceleration," (that, "A"), "velocity," and, "speed," are different things. And "speed," in kenpo, breaks down into further different things, as was already mentioned.

    Third--I agree, I guess, about "flow--" except I think there's a further breakdown to make, separating how one trains (and at different levels!) from the effects of that training. Basically, I got form-and-stance, form-and-stance, form-and-stance first--and out of that came flow, power, etc. (Well, what I've got of them, anyway.) But speed was actually never mentioned, which is a chunk of the reason I say striving for speed's a dead end.

    But I'd add that pushing for ANY of the desired effects--speed, power, flow, what have you--in and of themselves is, in my opinion, a dead end. They're byproducts, not goals, of early (and by early I mean first two-to-ten years) of training. Some of this is temperament, I expect--I'm just not going to lift all day, or speed bag a lot, as some folks claim they do.

    I'd also note that there's a lot of interest, these days, in pulling out this or that quality of kenpo and honing, honing, honing it. Nothing wrong with that, I guess. But it's my impression that a lot of kenpo folks would do well to worry more about their general fitness and cardiovascular strength, than about speed, or power, or any of the rest of it.

    And another plug: those despised, "unnecessary," forms and sets, in my experience, do wonders over time for all the desired attributes. It's never made sense to me, taking something out of a system, then complaining that what it teaches isn't in the system so we got to put this other thing in.

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