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Thread: Getting it Right....

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    Default Getting it Right....

    Our organizations first newsletter of 2006 came out today with an article that I wrote on the principle of tailoring. Since this subject, or something related to it, comes up quite often I thought I'd post a copy of my article and open the floor for discussion. I hope you enjoy it and welcome your comments! =)

    Getting It Right - Principle of Tailoring

    By Instructor Rob Ray, 2nd Degree Black Belt

    Often times we can get too focused on how we execute our techniques. We become obsessed with executing techniques word-for-word per our syllabus and then become frustrated when certain moves do not seem to come naturally to us and we can then become discouraged. Even instructors can succumb to this pitfall when teaching other students. I know I am guilty on both counts; being demanding both of myself and our students. It is easy to fall into this "trap" because, as a general rule, most Kenpoist want to do their best so they concentrate on the way a technique is taught. What we are forgetting is the principle of tailoring and the very nature of Kenpo being a flexible and adaptive system of combat that is applicable to any individual regardless of size, age, or gender.

    Below is an excerpt from SGM Ed Parkers "Infinite Insights into Kenpo - Book 1, Mental Stimulation."

    The art should definitely be taught to suit the individual and not the individual the Art. We are all physiologically and anatomically different and therefore should select our movements so that we can achieve our highest potential. The underlying principle of a movement is often forgotten. Although the timing and execution of a move may vary (at least it should) from person to person in obtaining maximum effectiveness, the underlying principle upon which it is based usually remains unchanged. When an individual is forced to execute a move one way and is told that all other methods are incorrect, he is being misled. A move can be taught a particular way at first (when using it as a point of reference), but it should then be modified to harmonize with the physical make-up of the individual concerned.

    SGM Parker points out that it is not the technique itself that is as important as the principle behind it. There are numerous ways one can defend against a right punch. Unknown environmental variables aside, a right punch is simply a right punch. Within our syllabus at different belt levels you will find at least one defense against a right punch. You could chose from "Delayed Sword", "Waterfall", "Five Swords", "Leaping Crane", "Thundering Hammers", "Dance of Death," and so on. They simply give you different options to choose from depending on factors such as desired follow ups to your initial defense. They also each utilize various other principles besides tailoring. This is what SGM Parker is referring to when he talks about the importance of teaching the principles behind the techniques. It is important to stress the use of concepts such as gravitational marriage, back up mass, momentum, etc when teaching a student a technique. It is not enough to ask a student to simply memorize a principle and its definition; the student must understand the application of that principle and its affects. To quote the famous Bruce Lee, "Knowledge is not enough; you must be able to apply."

    I am positive we all have certain techniques we prefer over others. Why is that? In part it is based on our own physiological and anatomical differences as SGM Parker explains. Some examples would be personal experience, skill level, age, physical strength, gender, your height as well as the height of an opponent are all considerations that would affect personal preference in choosing a method to defend an attack. This applies to instructors as well as students; it applies to everyone. That is why you will see differences in teaching among different schools. Of course the instructor will initially teach a technique based on the syllabus and based on their own personal preference, but it is extremely important to remember that nothing is 'set in stone.' The underlying philosophy behind Tailoring is to use what works. Where self defense is concerned the concepts of effectiveness and efficiency are paramount. If a defense does not work for you, you may end up badly injured or worse… dead!

    So, are you practicing your techniques correctly? To answer this question, you need not necessarily look to your syllabus per se, but instead focus on whether or not the technique works for YOU. That is what the dojo is for. To practice and analyze the movements of a technique as it applies to YOU, observe the results, and determine their effectiveness but it is equally important to address all the principles being applied within a technique to foster complete understanding.
    "It is sobering to reflect that one of the best ways to get yourself a reputation as a dangerous citizen these days is to go about repeating the very phrases which our founding fathers used in the struggle for independence." – Charles A. Beard

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    Default Re: Getting it Right....

    Nice article.

    We teach by principles from the beginning. For new students you have to give an example of the principle with a specific technique. For middle and advanced students we will correct the principle or remind them they are not following it and let them get back to the technique and they should be able to make it work then.

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    Default Re: Getting it Right....

    On the other hand, exploring why a technique doesn't work for you is a journey in and of itself,
    Sean

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    Default Re: Getting it Right....

    Quote Originally Posted by KenpoChanger
    On the other hand, exploring why a technique doesn't work for you is a journey in and of itself,
    Sean
    1

    Sometimes we get tired of 'Spoon Feeding' as my friend says and let their brain hurt for a while.

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    Default Re: Getting it Right....

    Exactly..

    "Knowledge is not enough, you must be able to apply."
    "It is sobering to reflect that one of the best ways to get yourself a reputation as a dangerous citizen these days is to go about repeating the very phrases which our founding fathers used in the struggle for independence." – Charles A. Beard

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    Default Re: Getting it Right....

    That is a good article.
    Quality outweighs quantity every time.

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    Default Re: Getting it Right....

    Thank you.
    "It is sobering to reflect that one of the best ways to get yourself a reputation as a dangerous citizen these days is to go about repeating the very phrases which our founding fathers used in the struggle for independence." – Charles A. Beard

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