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Thread: And now for something completely different...

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    Alan J. is offline
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    Default And now for something completely different...

    This is a short excerpt from an article I wrote a while ago. Just wanted to see what those of you have to say about it and most specifically, think much about and/or act upon it and how do you do so if you do? I have alot more on the subject written but I thoought I would get another angle going on this forum.
    Alan


    "Empty Your Cup." This is what Mr. Mills told me when I requested to be a student of his some time ago. He then shared with me what Mr. Parker said to him when Mr. Mills called and requested the same as I. Mr. Parker told him that if he was going to learn from him, he had to empty his cup. If he wanted to learn his way of motion, his way of thinking, his way of formulating, it would take a mind that had no preconceived notions. No one dimensional thinking. He needed to take what he had already learned and be prepared physically, mentally, and spiritually to grow beyond that. To see that there might be a better way or at least another way of doing things.

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    Default Re: And now for something completely different...

    I think it is a good way to approach things at times. Although the past is plenty valuable at times and should not be completely disregarded. I have mixed thoughts on this. I know at times that a lot of people come into something carrying a lot of baggage and they have an issue seeing the forrest for the tress because of this baggage. In this case emptying the cup would be an excellant idea.
    I know that my opinion of growth is that most of it for me comes from remembering past mistakes and cataloging those lessons to help for success in the future. So is that considered in my cup? I do not know, but they are part of the sum in the equation that is me
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    Alan J. is offline
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    Default Re: And now for something completely different...

    I hope that some of you that read this thread realize those who mock at this mock at any level of "humility and self restraint" as Mr. Parker said would be the "dominating factor" for those who would engage in American Kenpo. Most of the nay sayers do not understand this. Those people who are truly great do. Why do you think Mr. Parker talked about it so much? Confidence is much different. Here's some more...



    Mr. Mills needed from me a commitment to stay humble, easy to be entreated, and not to fixated on my old ways of doing things. For him, I needed to believe in the evolution of the mind, improvement, and growth. I was asked to study, observe and assimilate. Then to ponder that which I would be exposed to.
    As time went on and after many private lessons, seminars, and hours on the phone, it became clear to me that there was so much to learn and so little time to learn it in. I am constantly appalled by my lack of knowledge and my one regret of that I cannot train more with him.

    I believe now more than ever after teaching many students that we must not rest and be content in our personal developments. This takes emptying your cup. The act of emptying your cup does not suggest that you throw away all which you have learned. It implies that just because you may think your cup is full, is that all there is to have and what is your perception of full? Another suggestion is to think that just because you have one thing in your cup, could you not put something of another kind in there?

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    Default Re: And now for something completely different...

    Interesting concept, and it is one that is often scoffed at, I believe, by those afraid to discover that what they think they know, or what they believe is not all, or “complete” or the most correct understanding.

    As Mr. Jacob explained, emptying your cup in no way means “forget or discard everything you’ve learned, ignore your past experiences.” It means being able to learn more, to add to what you have already learned, and when necessary, discard what you may realize is incorrect, of less value, or a hindrance to your progression. This progression may be as a person in general or while involved in a particular discipline (painting, writing, physics, martial arts etc…)

    I began martial arts at the age of eight. My family moved a lot. I have the equivalent of an orange belt in at least 4 styles and a higher rank in several others. Eventually I discovered EPAK (I had done some Tracey’s). When I met Mr. Jacob, I had been around martial arts for a long time, and had tried my hand at their “real street” application, with some success, (and of course, the occasional painful failure!).

    When I started to train with Mr. Jacob, I was never told to forget what I had learned, just to give what he was involved in a chance and make my own judgments. I think the willingness to accept the fact that I didn’t know everything, or that I could be taught or even that what I had learned wasn’t the best information I could obtain that equated to an empty cup. Not the need to just discards it all.

    Obviously I am still learning from Mr. Jacob, as that willingness allowed me to find something much better than I had in the past, but the concept applies elsewhere. Many times I have learned from people with less education or experience. I think the willingness to do that is an empty cup. Often times I know I make to quick a judgment, and miss an opportunity to learn from someone.

    I think sometimes that can be on e of the biggest problems with rank, education or academia, you begin to close your mind, and your cup.

    Just my thoughts.

    Jason

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    Default Re: And now for something completely different...

    The way I've always understood the saying "Empty your cup" is that we should never let past learning inhibit our receptiveness to what we have yet to learn... or stated another way: we shouldn't let that which we think we 'know' get in the way of gaining real understanding.

    Good thread Mr. Jacob.

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    Alan J. is offline
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    Default Re: And now for something completely different...

    A little more...

    There are more than a few ways of interpreting the analogy. The one thing is constant, you can find more meaning just as you can put more in your cup. To be an "empty cup" implies that someone is teachable. They are willing to learn something new. They have room for more, and they are willing to put aside momentarily what they may already have to store that with additional knowledge that could invariably improve the person. They are willing to shift their paradigm after realizing their current paradigm may not be appropriate.
    None of this is to suggest that what you have gained or filled you cup with to date is no good and should be tossed out. The analogy focuses on the act of "emptying" rather that throwing away. The act of "emptying" could mean that you just pour it into another container.

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    Default Re: And now for something completely different...

    What I understand by emptying my cup is that, like Mr. Jacob said is one who is teachable. Another meaning that I understand is, if you go and train with someone, like Mr. Mills or Mr. Jacob you have to accept what they teach. If all you do is argue with them by saying I think this is better than that.... ect. then your wasting there time as an instructor. I'm not saying you can’t have an opinion. All I’m saying is that if your not willing to learn all they have to teach, and all you do is argue or disagree ect. Then your wasting there time. After you learn from them then you can decide which is best for you, but in order to learn and learn well from an instructor, at least in Kenpo. You need to realize that it's easier to learn with a clean slate.

    Clean Slate to me is that if you know other styles you don’t let those other styles interfere with learning Kenpo. You’re in the class to learn Kenpo not Jujitsu, not Kung Fu, and not Wing Chung. In other words you don’t have to completely forget what you know but you have to learn all the basics of Kenpo just like a new student. You have to start as a white belt because even, lets say your a black belt Jujitsu your still a white belt in Kenpo. Again, in my opinion, in order to learn something well you have to start with a Clean Slate and Open mind.

    My Teacher told me something when I first started Kenpo, that if you really want to be good at something you need to just focus on that. For example if you want to be good at Kenpo then you only take Kenpo, you don’t go take Wing Chung, Kung Fu, or Ninjustu. When I first started Kenpo I was also going to learn Ninjustu because I thought it would be cool to learn stealth techniques, But was told that if I did that if Ninjustu taught be wrong body mechanics and Kenpo taught me the right way I wouldn't be good at either because they interfered with one another. To me empting ones cup is going in with a clean slate, open mind, a willingness to learn, Knowledge that your instructor (if you have a good one, which I do!) knows more about the Kenpo than you do. Mr. Jacob has forgotten more than I know, and Mr. Mills has forgotten more than I might ever know! But I will go to every seminar, every class, and every Kenpo get together or meeting with an empty cup.
    "If you choose not to decide you still have made a choice" Rush, Perminent waves

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    Default Re: And now for something completely different...

    Corban,

    I studied Ninjitsu (from the Koga region, as apposed to the Iga clan associated with Stephen Hayes and the term Ninjutsu) for several years, off and on. A neat style, and more effective than most out there today, we did a lot of the stealthy stuff, and sometimes had seminars on how to fight in trees and under the water (Useful if I became a Navy Seal!?!). However, after starting with the A.K.K.I I realized that after the ninja sprung from his hiding place, jumped out of the tree, rolled and rushed, I'd break his neck with Kenpo!!!
    They would pose a problem for me in the forest of Japan, but I will take Kenpo to the streets of America!

    For a look at the cool stealth/ acrobatic stuff they do, check out this site. He was a student of the gentleman I use to study with (who, incidentally has a remarkable natural talent and ability, and I still respect him very much. But as my cup is empty, and I have taken a different path, my focus is on the AKKI material.)

    http://ninjitsu.com/

    Click on "action videos"

    Enjoy.

    Jason L.

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    Corban R.'s Avatar
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    Default Re: And now for something completely different...

    Thanks jason! well i meant to say i was looking into it but decided against it because my instructor told me to rifle in onto one thing and not shot gun out to other styles! But your right! if a nija jumped out at me! i have faith that if i get good enought at kenpo i could snap his neck!
    "If you choose not to decide you still have made a choice" Rush, Perminent waves

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    Alan J. is offline
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    Default Re: And now for something completely different...

    It's important to note of that conversation Corban that I told you to study whichever you wanted to. No problem to me but do one or the other or you will never be good at either at the same time. Just wanted to make that clear to the readers as it sounded like from what you wrote I was trying to get you to study Kenpo. Not it at all. All I wanted you to do was understand the importance of being good at something. This goes for any of my students I talk with or have talked with about their training in other styles. I have not persuaded them one way or the other. Just to consider being good at something takes so much time and focus to have it frustrated with incompatibility.
    It would be like me wanting to learn to be a good fixed wing pilot and helicopter pilot at the same time. Both fly but are very different from each other in every sense of how they fly and operate. Smae goes with martial arts to those who have had little exposure to them. They are all so very different.
    Look at all the great masters. Most of them had exposure to one system and then they developed or found their home in the style that they worked at for the rest of their lives. Most of them did not have black belts in 5 -10 different styles.

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    Default Re: And now for something completely different...

    Well thats what i meant to write. I chose to take kenpo, im choosing to take kenpo. And im wasting your time if i take other syles because they you have to reteach things to me. I'm sorry if it came across to the readers of this forum that Mr. Jacob persuaded me to take kenpo. He didnt i choose to take kenpo, and only want to take kenpo because that is my choice. I took Mr. Jacobs advice and decided to rifle in on something that i think is the best out there.
    "If you choose not to decide you still have made a choice" Rush, Perminent waves

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    Jason L is offline
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    Default Re: And now for something completely different...

    Corban,

    I understood what you meant, and know you have chosen to focus on the AKKI material, (and, as my own choice indicates, I think you made a good one!) Just knew you would enjoy some of the stuff in that clip.

    With regards to Mr. Jacob's post,

    to quote myself;

    "When I started to train with Mr. Jacob, I was never told to forget what I had learned, just to give what he was involved in a chance and make my own judgments. "

    And I thank you for that, and am, as you know, more than excited (and rifled in) on the AKKI material.

    Thanks,

    And I’ll see you in class, with and empty cup!

    Jason

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    Default Re: And now for something completely different...

    Great post, Mr. Jacob. I had never seen this thread before as I'd joined K.T. almost a year later.
    It reminds me of SGM Parker telling Mr. Mills that if he really wanted to learn Kenpo, "he'd have to be along for the ride".
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    Default Re: And now for something completely different...

    When I changed instructors for the first time (because I moved), my instructor told me the same thing.

    I came back to him after having gone to the new class and I was whining that things were so different and so hard and he told me to empty my cup.

    He told me that it didn't mean to forget what I had learned in the past, but instead to make room for new things.

    To empty my cup into the general pool of my knowledge and make room for new, present-time information. I'm paraphrasing, of course, but that was the gist. I took it to heart and did just that.

    Since then, I've used that philosophy a lot when I try something new.

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    Thumbs up Re: And now for something completely different...

    Mr. Jacob,

    This is a great thread and a very very good subject.

    I recall that you had mentioned it during your visit to my humble little Gojo. And it made me recall the same conversation regarding Empty my Cup that Mr. Mills had with me when agreed to take me on. I thought then that I understood and had done so. But I realize today that the process actually took me four years.

    I can assure you that it is plenty empty now ... hahahaha.

    Thank you again for all you do and the great thread.

    Your bro in Kenpo,
    Greg

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    Default Re: And now for something completely different...

    Anyone think about getting a larger cup?

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    Default Re: And now for something completely different...

    Quote Originally Posted by Alan J. View Post
    This is a short excerpt from an article I wrote a while ago. Just wanted to see what those of you have to say about it and most specifically, think much about and/or act upon it and how do you do so if you do? I have alot more on the subject written but I thoought I would get another angle going on this forum.
    Alan


    "Empty Your Cup." This is what Mr. Mills told me when I requested to be a student of his some time ago. He then shared with me what Mr. Parker said to him when Mr. Mills called and requested the same as I. Mr. Parker told him that if he was going to learn from him, he had to empty his cup. If he wanted to learn his way of motion, his way of thinking, his way of formulating, it would take a mind that had no preconceived notions. No one dimensional thinking. He needed to take what he had already learned and be prepared physically, mentally, and spiritually to grow beyond that. To see that there might be a better way or at least another way of doing things.
    All kidding aside.
    You have a great topic for discussion.
    I understand the concept. But think of this if you will:

    If I empty my cup, then everything I have learned is gone, the teachings of Mr. Parker, the teachings of Mr. Planas, the teachings of Mr. Valez, the teachings of Mr. Jim Thompson, the teachings of Mr Williams, Mrs. Cogliandro, and so on. I think loyalty to ones instructor and system is honorable. However to disgard the knowledge that was shared with me is an insult to their time and to their experience. Each person has something to add to the pie. No one knows if that pie will be apple or cherry untill all the ingrediants have been put in place. So I want a larger cup!

    One more thing, Mr. Mills is a great teacher, My 1st Black Belt cert is from him. Just incase you were wondering.

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    Default Re: And now for something completely different...

    Quote Originally Posted by MARSHALLS KENPO View Post
    All kidding aside.
    You have a great topic for discussion.
    I understand the concept. But think of this if you will:

    If I empty my cup, then everything I have learned is gone, the teachings of Mr. Parker, the teachings of Mr. Planas, the teachings of Mr. Valez, the teachings of Mr. Jim Thompson, the teachings of Mr Williams, Mrs. Cogliandro, and so on. I think loyalty to ones instructor and system is honorable. However to disgard the knowledge that was shared with me is an insult to their time and to their experience. Each person has something to add to the pie. No one knows if that pie will be apple or cherry untill all the ingrediants have been put in place. So I want a larger cup!

    One more thing, Mr. Mills is a great teacher, My 1st Black Belt cert is from him. Just incase you were wondering.
    Hey, your cup may be empty-but who says it isn't stained???
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    Default Re: And now for something completely different...

    to be fully teachable, to be that ideal student that one would hope to acquire, I think emptying the cup means to be completely humble but completely open.
    playing mostly on those two areas we have to be completely humble first.
    You will never see someone with a superior knowledge asking someone with a lesser knowledge of how they can improve or what the person with a lesser knowledge can teach, but you will see someone with a lesser knowledge ask someone with a higher knowledge what would you be willing to teach me, what do you see that I can improve on, what can I add on to my limited knowledge right now. If that is the case of the student they can be taught they understand the person they are learning from knows far more then they can imagine and they need to do what they are told to do, that the very reason that they came to the instructor they chose is because they recognize the knowledge that person holds.
    Secondly when you have an empty cup it doesn't mean it has never held liquids inside of it before it doesn't say that the only liquid you add will be of one thing, or that getting a particuliar liquid will be easy or will be what you think is best. It doesn't even say what type of glass your are or how much or how little you can hold.
    But when you start out you slowly start pouring in to the glass you can't possibly see and understand completely all the ingredients that go into making the substance they are adding. Lets say its Dr. Pepper as much as they could say these are our 23 ingredients in this quatity, as much as we would like to remember all of it they keep adding slowly a little at a time and building upon what we already have and have retained inside. We don't understand the mechanics, the functions of an item but it isn't like we are already full of other ideas inside we are completely open when we start adn completely ready to be subject to the teacher. we could eventually be completely full with what the instructor can teach like 45 years later but it doesn't mean we don't still have other people that could have that same drink or taste but maybe a littel variation on the mix like adding ice to the mixture.

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    Default Re: And now for something completely different...

    I was once told to empty my cup. However, I refused to empty my cup to replace it with pi$$. Why should I accept inferior training methods from an instructor who can't explain any why's or even demonstrate the effectiveness of "his" way?

    This is in contrast to another instructor who said, "That technique is good, now let me show you how to make it better." If you're a capable teacher, you should be able to handle the prior experienced individuals.

    I work with a judo black belt. I'd be crazy to tell him to "empty his cup". Instead we got him a bigger cup...well more like a jug. I did the same. I'm learning how to apply judo to my kenpo base, and he learns how to apply kenpo to his judo base.
    "Many years of training is wasted by one night of drinking"-oldslowguy

    "Pain may be a cruel master..........but it breeds diligent pupils."

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