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Thread: Discipline In Training: Is It Important?

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    Default Discipline In Training: Is It Important?

    This is a pretty simple question. I come from a background of traditional training and it is the way I still prefer to train.
    When I mention the word discipline, some people might get the meaning of punishment in their head. I'm talking about learning self discipline and the role of sensei to instill in each of his students that just doing it or working up a good sweat isn't good enough.

    dis·ci·pline [ díssəplin ]
    noun (plural dis·ci·plines)Definition:
    1. training to ensure proper behavior: the practice or methods of teaching and enforcing acceptable patterns of behavior

    2. order and control: a controlled orderly state, especially in a class of schoolchildren

    3. calm controlled behavior: the ability to behave in a controlled and calm way even in a difficult or stressful situation

    4. conscious control over lifestyle: mental self-control used in directing or changing behavior, learning something, or training for something

    People study martial arts for various personal reasons, most of the time their first, or perhaps only exposure is through a commercial school at the local strip mall, or something like a local fitness club or YMCA.
    Most often, it is the goal of such schools to focus on sign-ups and retention. In my experience, I've found the students at these commercial schools lack the qualities of good discipline....why?

    When I speak of more traditional training, some people get a glazed look in their eyes or become incredulous that such training even takes place these days.
    Definition #3 describes almost every single class I attended under my first teacher. His belief was that we were there learning war and you should leave the class feeling like you've just fought one.
    He had plenty of students that only attended 3-4 classes before calling it quits.....but he didn't mind because he knew that the ones that could handle it were the guys that came back week after week. We also had martial artists visit from different schools that heard about us come over for a class or 2 and they always left knowing their strengths and weaknesses. There are a lot of practitioners out there with a false sense of their abilities due to a lack of training intensity.

    Most people will never get a chance to train like that and see or feel the difference.
    Is it important?
    Or is martial arts simply the new "sweatin to the oldies"?

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    Default Re: Discipline In Training: Is It Important?

    Three things must be trained to be a complete martial artist IMO. If you don't focus on a balance between these three you will never achieve the highest level possible for you.

    Mind: Focus of the mind and mental discipline, this includes things like the dojo kun and or tenants of the system. Don't just say the words follow and believe them.

    Body: Development of your physical, conditioning, technique, quickness etc. All physical training.

    Spirit: A sense of spirituality and moral code are also important. I am not speaking of Religion. Usually Religion separates people while spirituality brings them together. Don't fear the man, fear what you can do to the man.

    All three aspects should be developed equally to be complete. The physical we focus so much on is really only 1/3 of being a martial artist. In Asia the other two are also trained from day one. I have been to classes where we didn't throw one physical technique the whole class was on Mind and Spirit. Yes, that is also discipline IMO.

    Salute,
    PARKER - HERMAN - SECK

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    Default Re: Discipline In Training: Is It Important?

    Yes, it is very important. If someone wants aerobics they can just come to the kickboxing class. We often tell people who don't want to train to go down the street to the basket weaving class. A little humor but it gets the point across.

    Per #2, it is also important for safety within the class. Especially during a weapons class.
    More Shugyo!

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    Default Re: Discipline In Training: Is It Important?

    I've had some schools that were very strict and some not so much.

    I believe in discipline, but I also believe in teaching with humor.

    I find that a lot of beginner students don't know yet if they love the art and it's my job to show them why they should.

    I do think it's important. Respect is important and appropriate behavior is important. Since it's not my school, I don't have as much control over it as I would like.

    I'm a big fan of always bowing on and off the mat, no gum, always show respects to your partner. always wear full uniform in class, etc.

    I think that's part of it.

    I know that rules are different at each school, but I think people should wear their gi tops and belts during class. I think that's part of discipline.

    --Amy
    The New Kenpo Continuum Book is now accepting submissions for volume 2. Our fabulous, ever-changing website is Sacramento Kenpo Karate.
    I'm a member of the Universal Life Church and the ULC Seminary. I'm also a Sacramento Wedding Minister and Disc Jockey
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    Default Re: Discipline In Training: Is It Important?

    I am glad to here that our school is not the only one that still teaches "discipline". In our school respect for a black belt still exists. For example; My instructor does not tolerate cry babies. "To feel is to Believe". He can afford to do this because my instructor is retired and he picks and chooses his students. It only costs the student the price of his Gi, sparring equipment, and whatever it will cost the student to make copies from a senior student of the study material that was put together by our instructor for the belt that you are presently trying to obtain. Belt rank does not come easy in our studio. In other words we do not have what some people refer to as the "all mightly dollar - black belts". they dont exist in our studio. In our studio you cant buy your belt, you have to earn it. And by far I am not knocking the American Kenpo students that pay for there lessons. I am just trying to convey that in our studio you either want to be here or not! Just my opinion!

    I hope alot of my kenpo brothers & Sisters in Kenpotalk.com are as lucky as I am!
    If You Dont Want TO Do The Time, Then Dont Commit The Crime!

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    Default Re: Discipline In Training: Is It Important?

    I went to one school that was like that. I was hand-picked by my instructor and I was proud to have been. The belts took approximately a year to earn, but that was the minimum and there was no guarantee.

    He didn't charge me for about the first 9 months I was there, then he said that since he started charging one of the other guys, he would charge me too. $30 a month. That seemed like free to me.

    He was very strict. For instance, if (God Forbid) you forgot your belt, you were a 'no-belt' for the whole class and had to be in back, you had to do 50 push-ups and when you came back next time with you belt, he hit you with it. Good motivation to remember your belt.

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


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    eyebeams is offline
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    Default Re: Discipline In Training: Is It Important?

    We worked with various methods over time, but some of these concerns regarding dojo space and uniforms aren't relevant given that we didn't use uniforms and train wherever it's convenient.

    Thus, these outward signs are far less important to me than the basics of respect, which are to listen, attempt an exercise in good faith, practice without creating or heeding distractions, and take initiative for applying previous training to current training. And no lateness, ever.

    Listening is self-explanatory.

    Exercise in good faith means that you do not make excuses for below-potential performance or critique the teaching until you try it.

    Practice without distraction covers talking, activities not relevant to the current teaching, etc.

    Taking initiative means that you do not forget what you learned last time and can apply it to what comes next.

    At one point, the standard punishment for infractions was 50 press-claps (pushups where you launch up, clap your hands and land), but that eventually passed once the need to apply it passed.

    Finally, respect means that the student/teacher relationship has set limits and areas where it ceases to apply.

    In return, the teacher respects the boundaries of his privilege, searches for better ways to teach the material, is willing to test his material against reality, does not belittle the student, and gears activities to her needs.

    I currently only teach my son so this is all quite easy for me. my teacher retained five students at any given time; many more usually quit due to the level of contact and other hardships. Most people do not want to train in -10c weather, for example.

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    Default Re: Discipline In Training: Is It Important?

    At one time I was being taught an exercise and I was required to keep my heels off of the floor.......in order to make sure I did not cheat, my teacher taped thumbtacks to my heels.

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    Default Re: Discipline In Training: Is It Important?

    I guess a lot of that stuff about listening and practicing I take as a given for me, but since it's not my school, it's a little hard for me to enforce.

    I do expect that when I'm talking, nobody else is. Eye contact is expected when people are talking to me.

    Ma'am and Sir are expected on the mat, but not off.

    Respect is expected, both of fellow students and of the environment where we train.

    Personally, I don't chew gum on the mat (by mat, I mean anywhere I'm training), I bow even when I'm at the gym (because I'm a dork), dojo etiquette is important to me, and I certainly practice.

    I can tell who hasn't been practicing and those people don't get new material.

    So, all in all, I think it's very important, but unless it's your own school and you have total control over it, it's not always easy to enforce.

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


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    Default Re: Discipline In Training: Is It Important?

    In reference to Amy's post......That is all kind of like the respectful things a teacher would expect from a student.

    The kind of discipline I'm talking about is something most haven't experienced before......The kind that pushes you both mentally and physically.
    Eyebeams mentioned training outdoors in 14ºF weather.
    Standing in a kiba dachi or zenkutsu dachi for an hour or more, practicing kata while being sprayed with freezing water from a garden hose, non-stop grappling, sparring with blindfolds on.
    Some people think that learning how to fight doesn't require extreme training measures........if that were the case, the military wouldn't have boot camps.

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    Default Re: Discipline In Training: Is It Important?

    Quote Originally Posted by Blackcatbonz
    At one time I was being taught an exercise and I was required to keep my heels off of the floor.......in order to make sure I did not cheat, my teacher taped thumbtacks to my heels.
    That's a tad extreme. LOL. The worst thing I've ever done was to a student that transfered to us from a TKD school, he was a red belt (like a brown for those that don't know),and he would not keep his hands up. No matter how many times he got 'tagged' for droppong his hands, he just couldn't get it through his head (no pun intended) not to drop his hands when he kicked. So.... I had him hold his arms up on either side of his head and tied them there with his red belt before sparring again.
    "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: Discipline In Training: Is It Important?

    Quote Originally Posted by Blackcatbonz
    In reference to Amy's post......That is all kind of like the respectful things a teacher would expect from a student.

    The kind of discipline I'm talking about is something most haven't experienced before......The kind that pushes you both mentally and physically.
    Eyebeams mentioned training outdoors in 14ºF weather.
    Standing in a kiba dachi or zenkutsu dachi for an hour or more, practicing kata while being sprayed with freezing water from a garden hose, non-stop grappling, sparring with blindfolds on.
    Some people think that learning how to fight doesn't require extreme training measures........if that were the case, the military wouldn't have boot camps.
    I had one school where we did nutso things like that. One time, in November, in the hills, we were running around all over doing crazy things and the instructor announced that we were to follow him and do what he did. NO HESITATION. So we run down the mountain and then he jumped into the American River (butt cold anytime, but in Nov. was beyond cold) and swim to the other side. I've never been so cold in my life.

    Then we ran up the hill and did punches in the wind. Did I mention that it was about 6am by this time? We'd started around 5.

    That was just one of many crazy things we did. And we all did it too. No Hesitation.

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


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    Default Re: Discipline In Training: Is It Important?

    ....like a bunch of lemmings?
    "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: Discipline In Training: Is It Important?

    Quote Originally Posted by Celtic_Crippler
    ....like a bunch of lemmings?
    Ahem. Like a bunch of well-trained, disciplined, insane, martial artists....

    Thank you very much.

    He also had us do stuff like practice claw on a tree, do obstacle courses at places under construction and more.

    (The stupid tree gave us all poison oak, btw.)

    He also did stuff where he said to get from point A to point B with our throwing knives. If he saw us, he'd throw stuff at us. When we got to the point B, we had to throw our knives and hit the target. If we missed, we had to do it all again. It was fun, but I was 17 or 18 at the time. I don't know if my creaky old body would appreciate it as much now.

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


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    Default Re: Discipline In Training: Is It Important?

    One of the things about discipline in the dojo is that you can pretty much tell right away who has it and who doesn't. Eyebeams talked about not creating distractions during the training. This is an excellent point. I have often seen instructors giving classes where they were conveying some obscurities about one movement or another as some one walked into the building. It is pretty amazing that a bunch of grown men and women couldn't focus enough to pay attention to the instructor and had to look at the scantily clad lady walking through the door. The classes at some of these schools only last an hour and for every interuption that occours that is either class time lost or time that we had to stay late.

    Discipline in training should cover one staying healthy and fit, staying alert and attentive in class, and striving to reach "excellence" in one's training. Meadiocre attendies of the classes we take do nothing but chew up people's class time and take time from an instructor who could be helping people who want to be there. I prefer a solid "weeding out" program so that potential students are screened for the type of attitude that would benefit the class and not the other way around.

    I use to belong to a school that had a fantastic reputation and amazing training. It was commercial however so it was open to anyone who could show up and pay. On those nights when I had to work out with either the Bruce Lee groupies or the "living dead" I felt as though my time, talent and treasure were waisted for that day. I have no problem working out with new students (which sometime I learn more than working out with a senior) and those that might have had a weird day ( thus blowing the concentration a bit) but some of these people were just cracked. The instructor's response was that some days you had to "bite the bullet." I am sure that many on this forum have had the same experience and remember that night when they had to work out with "that person." I know I don't go to a school and pay out sometimes lofty sums to bite the bullet.

    Although I am no Karate-do god I put a lot of myself into my training. I would expect no less from anyone else.

    Regards,
    Walt

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    Default Re: Discipline In Training: Is It Important?

    The advantage of running a free school is that you can pick who you want to be in it, also your duty of care is less legally defined. It is not good for a student to feel they have the right to dictate the terms of their teaching, how much physical force THEY are prepared to take/use or feel thay can listen or chat because they've paid to be there. These are extreme cases but you do get them! An Oyukashi should not be obligated to his students except in the traditional sense. This is not to decry a well organised paying class that is set up with these caveats in mind.
    O

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