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Thread: Anyone care to answer some of this?

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    Alan J. is offline
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    Default Anyone care to answer some of this?

    A statment posted earlier that I thought would lead to some good fodder for discussion since being in the AKKI, we deal with this relentlessly. It really doesn't do much good to argue with them so I thought we could deal with amongst ourselves without outside intrusion. His response to this is below the former -


    1. I meant that I get tired of these pseudo-arguments built around the notion that it's all a simple matter of, "evolution," vs. "tradition," when a) that isn't even remotely the issue; b) the ideas of 'evolution,' and 'tradition,' forlks are trying to get me to buy are far too simplistic to be useful.

    1. It's a fake argument because, a) it gets thrown at guys like me every time we disagree with certain shibboleths; b) it's a fake argument because the, "evolution," folks never really seem to be doing anything that's actually evolutionary; c) it's a fake argument because the, "tradition," guys actually evolve things all the time if they're any good; d) it's a fake argument because it represents a fundamental misapprehension of the radical nature of kenpo; e) it's a fake argument because guys like me don't have any quarrel with the notion of genuine development of any martial arts system.

    2. Better approaches: a) what's the relationship between "personal," evolution and the alteration of the kenpo system; b) was there ever really a solid system in the first place?; c) is kenpo actually a radical martial art, or simply one more articulation of martial art principles?; d) what is the relation between the importation of, "outside," materials (i.e. arnis, grappling, judo, etc.); e) does kenpo HAVE an, "outside," from which we borrow needed advances; f) what is the real status of the struggle "sublevels," vs. "advances," in kenpo; g) why do practitioners tend to fetishize either the system, or their, "radical," alterations of the system; h) what are the specific histories of those teachers associated with either the development of the, "hidden," material in kenpo or the development of an, "evolutionary," kenpo; i) what parts of the specific relations between," the kenpo system," (assuming that there is one) and the progress of particular students can we identify; j) to what extent is the whole discussion a simple cover-up for power trips? k) why is our focus on development of the system rather than development of the individuals practicing it? l) how does one establish that changed techniques and drills represent some, "evolutionary," development? m) how do we separate useful developments from changes that are made for change's sake or for ego gratification, n) how do we separate retaining necessary basics, sets, forms, techniques and theory from hanging onto tradition for tradition's sake, or for ego gratification?
    Retort to #1 b. and c. - Is it me or does it seem like a contradiction? If the evolutionists aren't evolving but the traditionalist are, then my dog Biff is his own brother without being his uncle either and yet his sister is....?

    e. - if he doesn't have a problem with development, then why the fuss?

    I'll wait for others to respond some.

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    Alan J. is offline
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    Default Re: Anyone care to answer some of this?

    Since so many of you are jumping at once, I'll respond to a few of them.

    As far as 2. a. - The definitions of evolution are not as varied as the opinions of some who profess to know what it really is and what it isn't. Thank heavens we do not have to follow their myopic thinking patterns. Here are a couple from Webster - "a process of continuous change from a lower, simpler, or worse to a higher, more complex, or better state : the process of working out or developing:" What the relationship, he asks is quite subjective. We belive that we have taken American Kenpo with Parker principles at it's base, to a better level. Again - subjective. Our word against his.

    Some would argue asking for definitive proof that we have developed something new, be it principle, concept, what have you. The AKKI has added numorous drills and sets that are taken again from the Parker base of principles and improve your motion based on the principles orbital facilitation, orbital compression. These two are not to be found in the Parker system. If so, then we would see more people moving like AKKI practitioners. We move different based on these principles alone and the understanding of them - Orbital Summation.

    Another example or "proof" are our internalization patterns. Mr. Mills began to make connections between the motion that tied quickdraw and kenpo skill sets together and in doing so uncovered the internalization patterns. These patterns are critical to facilitating proper muscle memory (PNF and PNR and D1 and D2 flexion and extension patterns) that leads to economy of motion. Using these ideas as the central theme, everything in AKKI kenpo was completely revamped and designed around them; starting from yellow belt on up. Every part of the sytem utilizes these simple yet highly practical patterns of motion. The internalization patterns not only accelerate your learning but also quicken your reflexes and more than double your hand speed. This streamlines the process such that skills that used to take years to master now can be internalized in half the time.

    Many traditionalists believe it takes several years of EPAK for a student to become efficient on the street. That is because they don't use these patterns to hardwire their students nerveous system. It then becomes easy to be a pattern addict as it's not fluid to move from one to another. Sure some will disagree but I would too if I only studied EPAK out of the journals and not with Mills. I wouldn't know any different.

    There are relationships within the EPAK system but being able to graft fluidly is a struggle for many as I have seen and myself included. Some would say I just didn't understand it well enough. That just it. How long should it take one to get this? Evolution is what we call it that has made it easier for new students to get really moving, quicker inacting more principles. Again it's subjective.
    That's a short answer to 2.a. ha

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    Default Re: Anyone care to answer some of this?

    Coming from an EPAK instructor I can see the difference in what I did before. I think that feeling is believing here. Stuff that did not pop before pops now, grafting I believe starts at an earlier level then it did with the old system. I think a new AKKI student has a lot more in thier kenpo toolbox a lot faster then with the old system. The "patterns" of motion are engrained a lot sooner then in the old system and methods of power and execution are a lot more "evolved". Should we be working toward understanding the "pattern" of motion and angles sooner or memorizing unrelated techniques for filler space? Should we have 5000 sets and forms that repeat similar themes or have a few forms that reinforce good tools and drills that teach aliveness? The problem is that you have people making assesments of systems or methods they have not even bothered to try for an extended amount of time, or dilligently study the difference in methods.

    Mr. Parker said he did not want Kenpo traditionalized, it is too bad the system "traditionalist" have done so. If it was not published in a book or set as gospel by Mr. Parker then many believe it is wrong....they in turn are wrong for traditionalizing an old system. If I were a science teacher I would not teach a science class with a 1984 edition of a science book and refuse to check out any new books by different or similarly trained authors. It is very "traditional" that many kenpoist have this same approach to thier art.
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    Default Re: Anyone care to answer some of this?

    Mr. Jacob...
    Sorry I didn't see this sooner. I haven't come here for a few days.
    Glad you brought this here, a very good idea.

    Quote Originally Posted by Alan J.
    e. - if he doesn't have a problem with development, then why the fus
    I think his fuss comes in where he throws in the qualifier of "Genuine" development.
    e) it's a fake argument because guys like me don't have any quarrel with the notion of genuine development of any martial arts system.
    See...if he doesn't agree with it, then he thinks it's not "genuine development". Which is just his own subjective paradigm that he's applying....by using the word "Genuine", a subjective evaluation/qualification.

    Robertson's issue here has several holes in it as I see things. Holes you could do form four through!!
    For starters, this statement:
    b) it's a fake argument because the, "evolution," folks never really seem to be doing anything that's actually evolutionary
    Seeing as how We are the predominant "Evolution folks" that I know of, I've got to assume he feels this applies to us.

    Please let me know if I'm way off here, but has Mr. Robertson ever shown up at any AKKI affiliated school, being open to gaining an appreciation for those things that make us and our curriculum "Innovative"...or evolved/distinctive??? I had no idea he had FIRST HAND knowledge of what our innovations are.
    Anyone???
    If he doesn't have this knowledge, then he's doing nothing more than guessing and assuming. Not good. Also: as you pointed out Mr. Jacob, it's his OWN point of view and his own paradigm of what "Evolutionary" is that he's relying on. As he's beginning from a very heavily biased perspective, then I think his subjective evaluation is also just as heavily slanted. ((ie; incorrect))

    NOW: Here's an interesting point he makes:
    c) it's a fake argument because the, "tradition," guys actually evolve things all the time if they're any good
    First off: I have NO idea why he thinks this invalidates the argument for an 'evolved' system. See, he's got a point. Any Kenpoist can and should evolve their own understanding, insights, knowledge and ability to execute Kenpo, including being innovative in the performance of a technique in a way that deviates from the standard "By the book" execution. That's always been there. BUT: It's personal, it's not coming from the system!! That's there in EPAK and there in AKKI work. (or it should be) BUT: If the innovation is coming from the very foundation of our work, the curriuculum, then we have a higher platform to evolve from. Evolving the system is a "Macro-" point of change, evolving the personal understanding and ability is the "Micro-" point of change. Both, I think, are important. What I call a "Kenpo traditionalist" doesn't change the Macro, only the Micro-elements of their own ability. Which is GOOD. Don't get me wrong. But: for us, the LESSON it's self is changed, not the principle behind it!!!!! The principles are still VERY MUCH intact!! The way they are delievered and engendered in the student is what's very different in the "Evolved Kenpo" that we do. Like Brian said: the grafting that is done in EPAK IS there in AKKI material....but sooner. WHY?? I claim that it's because the understanding develops sooner, that there's more cohesion w/in the body of the material itself.

    I'll participate in this more later. I'm at work right now on my break that's about to be over....
    I'll try to get on before or after class tonight.
    Take it easy guys.
    TELL your AKKI friends and classmates about this discussion. Like Mr. Jacob said: I think it'll be a GREAT place to hash out our thoughts on this and compare notes. There's lots to discuss in what he said.

    Your Brother
    John
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    Arrow Re: Anyone care to answer some of this?

    I know this particular post has received some fanfare elsewhere, but I personally don't see the proclaimed profundity. (Tongue-twister unintended...sorry) A lot of these questions seem to be "pontificating from ignorance," which is what Brother John suggested, I believe. Here are my brief answers:

    1.a) Simply because it gets thrown at you "every time" doesn't negate its value. Rather, it may get thrown at you every time precisely because it has gone un-answered.
    b) "actually evolutionary" = Evolutionary in HIS opinion...or anyone's opinion for that matter. If his opinion is valid, so is anyone and everyone else's. Obviously, it seems quite evolutionary to us lowly AKKI folk.
    c) Great. Then he agrees with us.
    d) "fundamental misapprehension of the radical nature of kenpo" = Apparently we're misunderstanding just how evolutionary EPAK already is. But, as plenty of people have shown, they have quite a bit of experience with EPAK as it's taught. For those of us without "traditional" EPAK experience, it doesn't appear to matter. We can appreciate the differences in how movement is executed. The validation for me personally comes when I attempt to execute EPAK techniques the original way. I find that it seems "dumbed-down." (No offense intended...just an explanation of how I feel personally.) There appear to be gaps, both in terms of wasted time and missed opportunities as well as considerations of realism with regard to attacks and appropriate initial responses.
    e) See my response to c) above.

    2.a) I think Brother John answered this quite well. ANY martial artist interested in realistic self-defense ought to constantly evolve his skill set. You'd be hard pressed to try to argue against it. Likewise, any group of instructors also ought to re-evaluate what and how they teach. I think it takes quite a lot of humility to put aside investments of both time and ego to do so. It's obvious from the constant renewal of AKKI material that we are lucky enough to have such humble leaders.
    b) Good question. From all reports (from the "seniors" who were there), NO. It seems quite clear that SGM Parker was intent on evolving the system as he saw fit.
    c) Both. It's radical in the way the principles of combat and self-defense were laid out explicitly. Gone are the old mysticism and "secret teachings." Students know exactly what they're learning. Radical indeed.
    d) Incomplete question here.
    e) Sure. This appears to refer to the supposed "completeness" of the system. I personally believe this to be fantasy, at least as concerns realistic self-defense. NO "martial art" system teaches complete self-defense. I myself have been a student of several different styles and teachers. Not one of them introduced firearms training to me. Does that mean they're just blowhards? No, just that they are lacking that particular facet of self-defense training. Any and all information ought to be considered for its utility, regardless of its origin.
    f) Personally, I don't know. I have no personal experience in that regard. In any case, this seems like a dig at the SL-4 folks.
    g) As I said earlier, this seems to be a reflection of the amount of time and ego invested into a particular art. When you've spent decades learning one style, you don't like to hear that perhaps it isn't all it's cracked up to be. This is even more true when you choose to identify yourself as a Kenpo-teacher, JKD-teacher, etc. Unfortunately, reality cares not one bit for your ego or your time.
    h) I don't see how this is relevant in any way.
    i) I suppose this depends on what "specific relations" you're referring to, as well as which "particular students." I'd imagine that every student has a different relationship with his art/system than everyone else.
    j) Probably a significant part of this discussion, at least in my opinion. I don't believe that I've ever seen any AKKI member claim that our curriculum is superior to any particular competitor. Then again, I've not been around that long. I have seen people defend what they personally do, and try to discuss differences. This is, once again, the reflection of our ego and time investments. I don't think this can be completely avoided, nor should it.
    k) By developing a superior curriculum, you ensure that larger groups of individuals develop superior skills. I think we see this easily in the AKKI, as we directly see the progress of our students and classmates (and hopefully, ourselves).
    l) Well, while it's inherent that a changed technique or drill is evolutionary in one sense (that of change, I think this is asking, "why is it better?" Unfortunately, there is no good way to scientifically test the principles of combat. At least not without lots of emergency room visits and funerals. The best way is to see and do for yourself. Ultimately, you can only decipher if it works better for you.
    m) Good question. This, again, requires extensive testing. Because many of us have seen the video clips of Mr. Mills and his victims, we have some evidence of the testing process. In addition, by doing the new material ourselves, each one of us is another link in the chain of "quality control." Ideally, we should let our instructors know if we see a problem. (Of course, this is usually done by the higher ranks, as they already understand what's going on...most of us are too busy drooling over the new material... )
    n) As stated earlier, this means constant testing, re-testing, and evaluation of all the material. Some basic rules ought to be: ensure that the drills teach fundamental principles, weed out redundant material (except for where absolutely necessary), and allow for the discovery and creation of new material (assuming that they have been tested as well). That's just a starting point.

    Well, I guess there are worse ways to kill time.

    MH
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    Talking Re: Anyone care to answer some of this?

    Hey guys this is a little off the subject, but i wasn't too sure where to post this question on the hugging drill or the new sword of destruction. On the third hit do you slightly rotate your hips the opposite direction too make a whipping action with the handsword or hammerfist to the stomach?? thanks again i have no instructor in the area so any input would be nice.. thanks
    Greg

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    Alan J. is offline
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    Default Re: Anyone care to answer some of this?

    Greg,

    Go ahead and start a new thread. Also, can you be more specific? I'm not quite sure what you mean.
    Alan

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    Default Re: Anyone care to answer some of this?

    a) what's the relationship between "personal," evolution and the alteration of the kenpo system
    This is like I said before: There's macro-evolution and micro-evolution.
    Macro-evolution would be changing the system that every student learns as their foundation, the base curriculum.
    Micro-evolution would the the "personal" evolution that Robert is talking about.

    Macro-evolution was there when Mr. Parker was alive., he was changing the base system that everyone learned. Then when he died many didn't want to keep changing and growing/evolving. Some (THANK GOD) did, like Mr. Mills. I think it may have been a very good thing that he wasn't embroiled in West L.A. school politics...that he could rise above the mediocre status-quo, learn from divergent experiences (bouncing, fast-draw, Mr. Parker's input and feedback on insights from each of these....etc.) and see the need for the evolution.

    Micro-evolution was always there, and if an instructor is good....will always be there. That's one of the things that in my eyes makes Kenpo "KENPO"... we don't do something for the sake of tradition and not rocking the boat. Far as I see it, Mr. Parker kind of enjoyed rocking the boat.
    Sorry...I'm rambling now. Back to Robert's question: What is the relationship between personal and systemic evolution.

    Think of Mr. Parker's analogy that he used to explain the usefulness of the Principle of "Launching"....the "Air Craft Carrier" analogy. BUT: instead of talking about how our footwork and a punch can work in harmony to generate greater power (Just as a carrier and a jet taking off move together to creat a greater relative speed).... look at the carrier as the system, the platform from which the student "Takes off" from. If the carrier sits still, the jet can still "Take off" (personally evolve)...but the work will be totally up to him, he'll have to work with only his own engines and not benefit from the forward projection of the carrier.
    Now: If the carrier is moving forward (Toward greater understanding, greater ability and refined movement) AND the Jet is too.... then

    ZOOOOOOM!!!!!!!!!
    Well, the AKKI is a swift carrier, being improved and refined as we go... each of us (the jets) work to better ourselves and those that work with us (students/classmates....others in the association that we are connected with) so that we personally evolve. How many times does Mr. Mills tell us that the drills/techniques....etc are There to serve us, not to serve them...that they are a base, and once you have that base down pat...move on past it and don't get stuck in a rut with it??? Though I've not been around him to hear it I know from others that he has. I think that that's him urging us to TAKE OFF from the carrier.

    Ok....on with Robert's questions:
    b) was there ever really a solid system in the first place?;
    Marshal answered this VERY VERY well. ((Hats off too ya Marshal!! Some have way with words, others....not.)) There wasn't a "SOLID" system, there was a concept and a methodical search for a better way, it kept changing. Usually when you see someone who insists that American Kenpo Karate MUST BE "THIS" WAY.... that "Way" is indicative of the exact point in time that they ceased learning from Mr. Parker. Mr. Parker never quit changing, others just quit learning from him.

    is kenpo actually a radical martial art, or simply one more articulation of martial art principles?;
    Huh??
    Of course it's "Radical".... so what. Who didn't know that?? Wether "Traditionalized" or "Evolved" it is radical.
    So?? I'd say that it's "radicalness" ((That's my word, you can't have it)) would dictate a state of perpetual refinement, not just 'micro', but 'macro' as well. I think the question defeats the intended point Robert was trying to make and actually sets up the argument FOR evolution & innovation!!

    what is the relation between the importation of, "outside," materials (i.e. arnis, grappling, judo, etc.);does kenpo HAVE an, "outside," from which we borrow needed advances;
    Huh?? Of course there is an "outside". If it doesn't come from w/in Kenpo... it's from "outside" Kenpo.
    I really don't think this point applies to us. Maybe to others that are trying to "Supplement".
    ?

    what is the real status of the struggle "sublevels," vs. "advances," in kenpo
    Again: Not directed toward us. Seems to be more specific toward Mr. Chapel. To me, the Sublevel is where I park downtown during tornado season. ((Hey.....I'm a Kansan......it happens))

    why do practitioners tend to fetishize either the system, or their, "radical," alterations of the system
    Again my brother Marshal retroactively plagerized my thoughts on this one, by taking my great idea on it and typing it out a good half day before I even thunk it up....
    thanks a lot MH !
    How is "Traditionalizing" something NOT "fetishizing" it?? Saying that it really can't or shouldn't change??? How isn't that fetishizing??
    It is.

    what are the specific histories of those teachers associated with either the development of the, "hidden," material in kenpo or the development of an, "evolutionary," kenpo
    Go HERE If you want to learn some of the history of Mr. Mills and the AKKI.
    OR get "The Journey"...it has some history of Mr. Mills in it too. OR: Better yet... go to the phone number Mr. Mills provides on the AKKI Website (www.akki.com) and give him a ring. Make sure you've got time though, he's got the gift of gab!! (something I really appreciate when I've got a question or an issue) Mr. Mills is not a mystery.

    Well all.....I'm SLEEPY. Had a good class tonight, Brian and I smacked each other around (in an 'evolved' way....of course)....now I need to hit the hay.
    Maybe I'll write more later, maybe.

    Night......

    Your Brother
    John
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    Question Original thought?

    As far as I can tell, this entire discussion boils down to one idea: only SGM Parker is allowed to have original thought.

    From all I've heard and read of Edmund K. Parker, he was quite the non-conformist in addition to being a near-genius intellect. I suppose one would have to be in order to turn traditional martial arts thinking on its head the way he did. Obviously, he did an amazing thing by refashioning an entire system of combat for modern times. Then too, he avoided the CIA-like secrecy inherent in the martial arts community. By being honest and plain-spoken, he opened the doors to mastery for a much larger group of people. For all this, he deserves a great deal of credit.

    However, I think the greatest example of "fetishism" is when people speak of Mr. Parker and his work. Don't get me wrong, I've always respected all my instructors and will continue to do so. But, I see no good in elevating any man or woman to demi-god status. That road leads to cult-like thinking and closed-mindedness. I think we can readily see this any day on any one of these forums.

    MH

    PS: John, sorry to have preempted you . I guess our brain waves must have been in sync. On a serious note, though, I've seen this thread on MartialTalk and Kenponet and refrained from answering precisely because of the "cult of personality" behavior that exists. Why do these discussions always boil down to "my daddy can beat up your daddy?"

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    Default Re: Anyone care to answer some of this?

    Mr. Jacob,



    Great post.



    When the traditionalist call us ďevolution folkĒ do they realize that Parker would fall into that grouping as well?



    Your right these journal memorizers donít know and worst yet they canít even open their minds to explore the possibilities. If they read and thought instead of memorizing then maybe they could open their minds like Parker wrote to do.



    I like many in the AKKI, have studied both the IKKA system and the current system which Mr. Mills has refined. I know that the students that Iím producing now as compared to those I taught when I did the old IKKA system are better.

    By better I mean faster moving, harder hitting, and more explosive. They can graft and formulate seamlessly. They have a deeper understanding of the principles and more importantly can demonstrate those principles in the execution of their techniques. Best of all they can do much sooner in their development.

    And for me that is what is important

    Yours in Kenpo,
    Mike Guercio

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    Alan J. is offline
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    Default Re: Anyone care to answer some of this?

    Here is some more answers that of course, are from my point of view. This view comes from many years hanging around Mr. Mills with him re-telling his experiences/conversations with Parker and seeing many Parker Seniors at IKCs for years as well as many conversations with Larry Kongiaka, Mr. Parker's son-in-law.

    b) was there ever really a solid system in the first place?;
    Sure there was. He must not understand the evolution of Mr. Parker's kenpo. It changed 3 major times that I am aware of. This is why many left the system and Mr. Parker quit changing it as he didn't want so many to leave as they could not accept his changes or changing in the first place as comfortablility is part of the human condition in many aspects. We see tht evident in the stubborn attitudes of many who alter some things here and there but don't really take much of a leap far from the tree. Everything else can evolve or change, but not kenpo. I guess it really comes down to if they think it's ok to change and they approve of the changes, then it's acceptable. From what I understand, this was the case with Mr. Parker. He had a solid system but it was one of change so it's more liquid than solid, right?

    c) is kenpo actually a radical martial art, or simply one more articulation of martial art principles?;
    In it's inception, it was a radical departure from the martial art norm. It is the only system that boasts having principles guide it's motion of it's practitioners. I don't know of anything out that does this. Maybe there is now but Parker was the first and it was because of breaking from tradition. There are martial art trems, sure but again I am not aware of any set up like Mr. Parker did it. If so, correct me please.

    d) what is the relation between the importation of, "outside," materials (i.e. arnis, grappling, judo, etc.);
    All know that Mr. Parker brough in outside influences but only motion that was acceptable and conforming to the growing list of motion principles or truths in motion no matter the system. I really don't think he looked at motion from the stand point of "I like that move, lets use that", rather "that adheres to this principle..." and so forth. Mr. Mills does the same thing. Remember Mr. Parker said that what he HAS learned about kenpo is nothing compared to what there is yet TO learn.

    e) does kenpo HAVE an, "outside," from which we borrow needed advances;
    I would say no to this. Based on what I wrote above, only principles guide our knowledge. Social changes also dictate our advances. Fighting has changed over the years so things must evolve(change) to meet the needs of the students, systems. Look at what Mixed Martial arts has done for the ground and stand up game - moved many things to a new level. Changes in our society have had more impact on advances in kenpo than anything I can put a finger on.
    More later
    Alan

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    Default Re: Anyone care to answer some of this?

    f) what is the real status of the struggle "sublevels," vs. "advances," in kenpo; - This applies mainly to Ron Chapel. He teaches sublevel 4 and calls his system "Advanced Kenpo".

    g) why do practitioners tend to fetishize either the system, or their, "radical," alterations of the system; - He really uses the "fetish" term in the wrong context. I think he's trying to be 'smart'. They (his organization) is just as guilty trying to enforce their dogma down everyones throat as being the only way to do the Mr. Parker's journals from the last printing. Their stand is that there is no new way of doing anything as it's already in it and it's only a alteration of what is already there. If that is the case, why then aren't they moving the material like Parker? Mills? Mills' students? Their idea or interpretation of timing is far different than what we think of it as. I remember working one on one with Clyde at one of our camps a few years ago when he popped in. We chatted about many things and of course the statment came up that we are doing nothing but rearranging the motion ie. rearrangement concept. I said absolutely not because we execute our motion so much different than you guys do. You are not ballistic, you are not explosive from my point of view. You don't have the internalization patterns that we do. "sure we do" was the response. "Ok , then show me," I said. He attempted to do it a basic 3 count but there was no rebounding, elastic recoil, or orbital facilitation that would make it look like a 6th degree had a handle on this for many years let alone move in and out of the patterns ripping out any resemblance of techniques. My response was, "if we are not doing anything new, then you should be able to do this or move like this without effort," and then I tore into something. Simply put, they cannot deal with what we do as they have no idea how we do what we do so they minimize it and poo poo it away as just "rearranging". Human nature is to fear the unknown and fight against it. That is why change is so difficult for many on different levels. Why do we embrace it as consumers when it comes to technology? Cars? etc...?

    h) what are the specific histories of those teachers associated with either the development of the, "hidden," material in kenpo or the development of an, "evolutionary," kenpo; - Here again I think the burden of proof is on Chap'el but I know Mills not being on the Parker tree has still been a hang up for many. Most of the seniors don't question Mills as Mills' name was used many times by Mr. Parker as his student and they know it. They also saw him when he was there working with Mr. Parker. Tatum was kicked out and they just try and spin that and that's something that won't go away but they try and make sure it's forgotten which anyone can understand why. It's pretty negative and it also recants anything positive Mr. Parker said about them(him). As far as hidden, they are some of the biggest proponents of all the hidden elements in EPAK as they just don't understand it, they need to find it. To me, that infers that something is hidden in need of being found.

    i) what parts of the specific relations between," the kenpo system," (assuming that there is one) and the progress of particular students can we identify; - I have no idea what he means by this. His academia is really kicking in here from my view. What does get me is he says kenpo system - assuming there is one. Sheesh. They are the biggest ones saying no one is following it....right anyway. If he really assumes the possibility that there may not be one, then his argument against our evolution or what have you, is moot. His questions are not questions for information, they are questions to challenge.

    j) to what extent is the whole discussion a simple cover-up for power trips? - I would say that this question he really hits it but he unfortunately is the one who enjoys the power of his academia and continually trying to belittle others with a ostentatious display of verbose nonsense. Blind to his own problems. Clearly unable to see from the inside out.

    More later...

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    Default Re: Anyone care to answer some of this?

    k) why is our focus on development of the system rather than development of the individuals practicing it? - again this just lets me know how little he knows American kenpo and the basic idea Mr. Parker started with. A system that has at it's base true and correct principles of motion to guide the student to move better no matter the technique. The principles applied could pertain to anything with motion be it empty hands or weapons. Many of the principles have dual meaning. That is to say many apply to self improvement as well as motion. Of course this individual would argue truth being relative. In some cases it is so but when it comes to motion on earth, there are absolutes. That being said he would then argue with Mr. Parker as he believed strongly in these truths.
    Mr. Mills' vision is to make such a system so developed from an already strong foundation that it ultimately improves the student far beyond what they could reach but not without understanding the system that guides them. There are many things to be learned from this: humility in learning, cooperative learning, self discipline, diligence, determination, cognitive learning skills, logical thinking, critical thinking, analytical thinking, loyalty, honesty, to name but a few.
    If the focus is in the betterment of the system, then the student ultimately gains. This is providing the system is looking out for the student and then it all comes down to trusting those responsible. Taking a critical eye and really looking at it from as many angles as you can to assess that what is being taught will actually work. This also depends on how much actual experience one has for real as many techniques I have seen others do in various systems leads me to think they may not have encountered many situations which would then alter perceptions (and techniques)greatly. The system is trying to teach and educate those who have never been in a physical conflict, how to handle, approach and coordinate their efforts with the most ease and safety to themselves or others invovled be they man, woman, or child.



    l) how does one establish that changed techniques and drills represent some, "evolutionary," development? - Easy. Is the student and student body as a whole getting better at executing the motion? Is the student able to fluidly move better from one to another? If The changed mechanics within a specified technique changes and makes one student apply it more effectively than the other without the changes, it stands to reason there is something with the mechanics. If that is so, then the mechanics guide the system development. Improved mechanics have always been at the forefront of anything evolutionary. It's an inside out approach. Of course one has to empty their cup to see this or even begin to accept this.


    m) how do we separate useful developments from changes that are made for change's sake or for ego gratification, - This is probably the best question he posed. It comes down to really emptying one's cup, critically and logically thinking through it and analyzing the mechanics. Many who have no martial arts experience will grasp and accept whatever is put in front of them. Only after time can one learn to analyze more critically by way of their sophistication in their education and motion. Even those who have fought some, can only learn from better ways. Rare is the individual who understands motion so well can take something to a higher level. Parker was one of these. So was Lee and in my opinion, Mills. There are others I'm sure. here's my question back at him - How does one get over their ego long enough to embrace the possibility that the way they have been doing things may not be the best way they could? (This applies to everything)

    n) how do we separate retaining necessary basics, sets, forms, techniques and theory from hanging onto tradition for tradition's sake, or for ego gratification? - A redundant question in my mind. I think I already answered this.

    Well, I answered them all from my point of view. There is of course much more to say on each one but it's long enough as it is. I would love to answer each one of them in person without an audience and a minimum amount of personal barriers.

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    Thumbs up Re: Anyone care to answer some of this?

    Holy crap that is a lot to read......Thank you for posting it though! It cleared up a few questions I had been asked as well
    www.hunterskarate.com

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    Default Re: Anyone care to answer some of this?

    I happened to be poking around on the Internet, and saw that some of what I wrote has been getting pretty seriously misunderstood--so, for what good it'll do, I thought I'd make a few notes here of my own.

    First off, I very specifically avoided dragging personalities and/or instructors into it. You may of course, if you wish, insist upon taking some general remarks I made as personal attacks--it's still not how they were meant, nor what the actual writing shows. More importantly, among the points I was trying to make was this: when we (WE, not you) personalize, when we insist upon dragging our various daddys into it, a lot of things--especially understanding--suffer. So by all means drag the well-known issue of Mr. Tatum's split with Mr. Parker into it--all it'll mean is that you'll miss the point. For example, there's no evidence available that I tried to paper over a darn thing; it simply didn't seem relevant. Or more precisely, it just belongs to the same old same old: I don't agree with (insert name here), so They Must Be Evil. Or, "trying to be smart." Or, "using his academia," or whatever the fantasy is. Sorry, not evil. Not a phony, either, as convenient as that claim is when trying to avoid just looking at the concepts and principles and figuring out whether they make sense or not.

    Now along with this, I have no personal idea whether you folks represent something revolutionary or not. I doubt it--but then, I think that a lot of what WE think (including myself) is revolutionary, is just a rediscovery of something they had in the 18th century, or a matter of our finding something that we personally didn't know about before. Moreover, I wasn't there for Mr. Jacob's workout with Clyde, so I dunno. But I DO know that it has consistently been my experience, on and off the mat, that a lot of these claims about stuff like, "internalization patters," "orbital facilitation," and the like are hooey--and I do know that more than twice, when I simply asked what the terms meant, I was met with the sort of wave of hostility and jargon that I'm familiar with from academic as an infallible sign of BS. Maybe I'm wrong; maybe I misread, or had a stupid day--I dunno. But I do know that I read an awful lot of hooey in place of simple, clear explanations. Down below this there's a claim that the D1/D2 patterns, etc., are simple and easy to understand and radically transformative: OK, fine, I dunno. So what's wrong with offering a simple, clear explanation and a couple of exercises?

    I also see that in a couple of areas, I must be too dumb to understand minor issues like what a system is, or what evolution is, or the relation between the nature of a system and its expression in specific individuals. Really. OK, fine: some folks know exactly what the kenpo system is, and exactly how it evolved. Really. Well, then, a few questions: a) what precisely is kenpo's history over the last century? b) did Mitose, or Chow, "found," kenpo? c) which one of those guys was the teacher? d) what EXACTLY did Mr. Parker learn, and from whom? e)...well, you see my point, I imagine. If the system's so definite, how come we can't answer fundamental questions about it? I can certainly tell you, pretty easily and clearly, exactly where the lit crit and philosphical systems I studied in grad school came from, their history, their evolution--so what's the problem? Oh, and incidentally--the word, "radical," literally means, "returning to the roots of." The word's related to words like, "radish," because it comes from a Latin root that has to do with roots. Mr. Parker seems to've thought that kenpo was in fact the, "truth," of martial arts, that he'd gone back and figured out the roots of what was going on in all the different systems and styles. And that's why I asked about kenpo's radicalness--I was asking if it was really there or not.

    Briefly, I'm simply picking up on a central point from Jacques Derrida's writings--it doesn't even come from anything esoteric, but from probably his most famous (and most readable, because a lot of his stuff, I couldn't tell you WHAT the hell is going on; haven't the philosophical background, for one thing) thing, "Structure, Sign and Play in the Discourse of the Human Sciences." There, he makes a useful (for kenpo people, anyway) point about centers and structural systems and the way these develop. That's what I had in mind. And that's ALL I had in mind--not attacks on Mr. Mills, or the AKKI, or whatever. If you want to hang on to that fantasy rather than just go read the essay and see if I know what I'm talking about, well, why not?

    Oh, by the way, one point I was trying to make and apparently didn't get across well was that when WE (not YOU; WE) insist upon these frozen descriptions of systems, and their history, we fall into a kind of error that has to do with good old Oedipus--it's always, "Who's my daddy?" isn't it? That's one of the significant ways we (WE, not YOU), we go blind. One of the ways this shows up is in pompous language about emptying one's cup--and yes, with that sentence I do have a specific writer in mind, Mr. Jacob. Which is why I used, "fetish," precisely correctly. It is quite possible to fetishize systems, though perhaps a better term would be, 'reify.' It's what Schreber did (see Freud's "Analysis of a Case of paranoia;" see Schreber's own, "Memoirs of My Nervous Illness") So what; big deal. I'm simply saying that I see this sort of fetishization of thought as a problem we all ("we ALL," not you guys) have to deal with when we argue about kenpo. Especially when we make everything a matter of Our Instructor and Our Band of Brothers vs. Your Tacky Instructor and Your Band of Wimps. And no, I don't always agree with Clyde's approch to discussion. And yes, I tell him that.


    As for the stuff about motion, well, Mr. Chap'el might have a lot to say on that score. I tend to agree that you have to work through outward motion to get at what's inward--but I've been doing some reading, and I hope some thinking, about different approaches in some of the Chinese, "internal," arts like ba gua that make me wonder. I pretty much agree with what you folks wrote, with one difference--I think that in the end, all the important evolutions are, "internal," even if I also think that (going back to the basic Derrida stuff) it's a good idea to deconstruct the binary opposition separating, "inside" and "outside," in ways that make it hard to understand what's really going on. (Sorry, I guess--but that's the ways I think about this stuff, and while it isn't necessarily more valid than other approaches that some of you readers might have, it isn't LESS valid either...it's just different.) But I also think that fetishizing "internal," patterns isn't the way to go, either--especially when they're immediately linked to the idea of better consumer goods, as they are in one of Mr. Jacob's posts. I take that for the kind of commodification that's a real prob at every level of the martial arts, these days--and I have some real problems with dealing with that stuff in my own practice. In fact, there are times I wonder if Mr. Chap'el isn't dead right about commercial, "motion," kenpo--a group in which I take it I too belong.

    Well, I see that I've been long-winded, even for me. Just thought I should say something, since my name's getting taken in vain a bit (some of the stuff is more than fair), and I also thought that there are some basic misunderstandings of what I wrote and why I wrote it. But I stand behind the statements about so-called evolutionism and so-called traditionalism, and my analysis of why it's a problem--it doesn't reflect the reality of kenpo's history or present state, and it pumps up the fantasy that We and only We (a last time--WE, not YOU) aare the real True Deal, crusading agaist the Evil Other.

    There are a lot of Real True Deals out there in the martial arts world. You folks think you're into one of them; well, so do I. So what; big deal. It's just a frickin' martial art.

    By the way, I won't be responding to responses, partly because I figure this post will start more yelling and I've 'bout had it with OUR (OUR, not your) nonsense in that direction. So have at it, freely.
    Last edited by rmcr; 06-22-2005 at 02:27 PM.

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    Alan J. is offline
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    Default Re: Anyone care to answer some of this?

    RM,
    By all means don'trun off. I'llchat with you with no name calling. Thislittle forum is in a nicetuckedaway place where some of the AKKI folks can post questions concerning AKKI stuff and the like free and unfettered by the rash of "personalities"on other forums including our own. I honestly had no intentions of you reading what I wrote nor do I care that you did because we are both ok with agreeing to disagree, right? That's really all it comes down to. Using your logic, the computer has always been here now whether it's a discovery or revolutionary,invention or evolution from the abacus, it's your perception vs.mine. - hence the argumentation over this or that. I'm on a real crappy keyboard so ifyour game - and just you now, I will attempt to explain where others may have fallen short by your view later tonight. Since it was your post originally, then it's you I was addressing. If youwould rather not forum, let me know and i will email you. Fair?

  18. #17
    Alan J. is offline
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    Default Re: Anyone care to answer some of this?

    To attempt to answer:
    "If the system's so definite, how come we can't answer fundamental questions about it?" The system was supposed to be guided by principles and truths of motion no matter who taught who. Parker realized the traditionalism without reason or logic. Following truth in motion always is logical and can be applied to every technique and so forth. As Mr. Parker said in one of his books, he didn't want it to be traditionalized. They way I see it is that when you sacrifice principles for the sake of a technique for techniques's sake, then you have traditionalism and you have missed the point that Mr. Parker was trying to teach. The system was foundational on the principles nto the techniques. If you have seen the old films of Mr. Parker doing techniques like Thnudering Hammers but it was called tech. # so and so, then later i seen Mr. Parker doing Thundering Hammers on Frank Trejo and it still has the recognizable shell but holy smoke Mr. Parker sure did not execute it the same way. In the latter, he moved like a mad man, faster, more powerful and more focused. Did he just get better of did he understand the motion better or what? I say he evolved in his understanding of motion, made the corrective adjustments to his structure and wham, now you have an entirely nnew funtion.

    "But I DO know that it has consistently been my experience, on and off the mat, that a lot of these claims about stuff like, "internalization patterns," "orbital facilitation," and the like are hooey..."
    Not sure who you have worked with or talked to but I don't think they have been show sufficiently to you. I won't go out and just give out our material for free. You doubt anyway so it would do no good to try and write them out. I would have to show you and by that I do not mean a challenge or any other 14 year old false bravado puffery but say you and I meet at some Wendy's in Vegas, eat, chat and I would share with you what I mean without ego or hidden agenda (or others to cloud perceptions) and you vice versa.Sharing on an honest level.
    I taught in Ireland a few years ago and had an open seminar. I did not intend to show them AKKI stuff but rather clear the air as to what we are doing that is so different. I took Twin Kimono and was able to execute it so differently from most there that questions naturally followed as to what it was. I said it was Mr. Mills' understanding of motion, Mr. Parkers motion, and flatly stating that internalization patterns and other principles D1D2 proximal medial and distal relationship and how they are facilitated and compressed generally make this happen. It really didn't make much sense to anyone there what I said as they could only SEE and FEEL there was a difference. Ask Jimmy Polan who was extremely interested in how in all his years, he had never seen anyone move the same techniques he had been doing for some 20 years +, do the same thing but in such a different level of execution?

    "There are a lot of Real True Deals out there in the martial arts world. You folks think you're into one of them; well, so do I. So what; big deal. It's just a frickin' martial art."
    Your just so wrong here RM. I wish that people would acknowledge their basic need to be a part of something, to belong and be accepted. This goes on in any aspect of life. If it's just a frickin martial art, why do so many get wrapped around the axle with it's definitions and how's and how not to's? How come you spend a good deal of your time on the computer going over this stuff on other forums as well as training in it? Don't minimize it because it changes people lives and people are passionate about it - like Clyde. I really don't believe he looks at it from that flipant of an attitude. Also, from your time and attention, you do either.

    My bottom line is that I don't care what you guys do system wise. What I do care about and have issue with is the bombast style you (and others and not just in the LTKKA)tend to give off about having so much knowledge or idea of what we do or don't do. I know what EPAK is about as I did it for many years. Mr. Mills as long as I have been alive almost. I know he was doing the curriculum right out of the journals like everyone else in EPAK. He just executed so differently that it made him stand out and therefore a target of ridicule or praise, take your pick. The vehement arguments for or against traditionalism, evolution, or rediscovery of EPAK do get old, but I don't care for the arrogance some have displayed in the fray. This also includes some of our own, admittedly. Like I said earlier, it isn't just frickin' martial arts.

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    Default Re: Anyone care to answer some of this?

    1. Thank you for a temperate reply. because of it, I'm willing to reply after all--but, I am afraid that I believe a public forum should handle things publicly. And quite frankly, the personal attacks I've gotten in the past from assorted members of the AKKI leave me unwilling to give out any personal addresses.

    2. I think you folks are confusing personal development and evolution, if you will, with a system. Perhaps the AKKI material helps organize those developments; I don't know. But one objection that might be made is that in completely systematizing development and evolution, you make even development and evolution subject to the complete control of whoever's designing the system. I think students need some room--it's a different approach. Better? worse? I dunno.

    3. I'm glad that you taught folks things that really changed their kenpo, and their ideas about it. But so have I--and so, on a more sophisticated level, have the folks who run the LTKKA. So we can swap testimonials till the cows get disgusted and go home; doesn't prove a thing. Again, it looks to me like what you're doing is learning well and teaching well; that's always revolutionary. There is a disparity here: I haven't really heard anybody I work with claim to be revolutionary--just to be learning and teaching real kenpo, well-taught, and developing their own art. I guess that's always revolutionary, considering some of what's out there. But I prefer to think of it as, "radical," at the root, for reasons I've already explained. Again--different philosophy.

    4. Down below this there is a thread discussing one of the AKKI's techniques, Whipping Crane, and a practice for it. I saw nothing at all revolutionary in that discussion; in fact, I saw stuff I've learned and taught for a number of years now. And, I'm afraid, your recursion to the old, "you're just too dogmatic and unenlightened for me even to try and explain D1/D2," just won't git it. It looks exactly as though you cannot explain at all, and are throwing out excuses for that fact. Or it looks as though--and your remark that while in Ireland you weren't going to show anybody any AKKI material also suggests this--you're into the same old Big Martial Arts Secrets That Only We Have routine. Differently, I think that knowledge should be free to anybody who will work for it.

    5. Sorry you read what I write as, "bombast." You are incorrect; I write in an academic style that's natural to me at this point, subject of course to my errors and mistakes.

    6. I agree with you about the extent to which it's not just a frickin' martial art. But on another level, yes it is--and we'd all exhibit a little more generosity if we kept that fact in mind.

    Thank you, again, for your reply.

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    Alan J. is offline
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    Default Re: Anyone care to answer some of this?

    No problem RM, I understand about the email thing. I would respect it if offered nontheless.

    About the D1D2 - they are core patterns of motion upper extremity and lower extremity that any phys therapist would tell you that that is the way in which we should move in in order maximize any physical activity. When a stroke victim can't remember how to move again, they retrain them in those patterns to rewire because it's core to motion. The action of throwing a frisbee is one pattern (start palm down on your left hip and rotate to through to palm upoutside of right shoulder) but just take it from one diagonal to the other.

    There are other patterns and they all intersect and so it behooves one to understand what they are and move within them. All the block, parries, strikes, kicks, what have you, move or should move on them for maximimum action potential. I know it may seem like, ok, big deal, I can see that. It's taking those, compressing and intersecting them without ever violating them and your motion will automatically become faster, more effecient(economy of motion) and you will hit harder because everthing it truly in alignment from inside out. We have a phys therapist with us and he has been with Mr. Mills for many years. He knew these patterns well but until getting with Mr. Mills, he had no idea how to make them work like he witnessed. What I mean is just knowing the patterns isn't going to do much. It's what you do with them. Parker could do it and moved on them but I don't think he ever taught them or the understanding of them to my knowledge.
    If you think knowledge should be free to anyone who wants to work for it, then how would you get paid being a professor? I don't believe knowledge should be free. Be it money, time, sacrifice, loyalty, dedication, those things aren't free. College isn't free because education costs no matter what value you place on it. Mr. Parker didn't teach for free. And I know that those who didn't really want to learn from him or learn what he had to teach them got cool responses or a pat on the back saying , sure sure that looks good, keep doing it that way or he would really wouldn't teach them much more until attitude changed.
    Here's what I think. I need to change the way I percieve your language. That's the way you talk, and I can deal with that. I can't change you but i can change the way I look at it. No matter what though, rude is rude and we are all guilty of that from time to time. Language is about appropriateness - what's right or correct for the situation/context.
    Hope that helps some,
    Alan

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    Default Re: Anyone care to answer some of this?

    rm as far as i can tell you get really defensive about things really fast. Mr. jacob wasnt bashing you he was just trying to have a decent conversation.. im sure if you met with him or gave him your email you would learn quite a bit. im not saying that your to defensive all im saying is that you misinterpreted what Mr. Jacob was saying thats all... and of course thats my opinon reading what he wrote and what you wrote... you both have good things to say so sharing knowledge is a good thing? right?

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