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Thread: Perspectives

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    Default Perspectives

    Perspectives

    From time to time there are students who train in American Kenpo, who belong to specific associations, relocate and only have the option of training with a different instructor who belongs to another association.

    The issues are along these lines of similar techniques with different names, different requirements for the belts, and the skill level of the student based on the standards that are set by the instructor of the new training.

    One very important consideration must be given to the student to reinforce that the material they have is useful and has merit. Keeping this in mind one needs to give an in-depth study of how the student moves before teaching them the material within the curriculum of the association of that teacher. Look at the patterns of their motion and remember that the self-defense is a by-product of their study, and the techniques are there to reinforce the applications of the motion.

    It would be very easy to downgrade their training to support our own agendas thus leaving the student feeling as they have been cheated.

    Any thoughts?
    Brad Marshall SP
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    Default Re: Perspectives

    Great post. An issue of people coming in from other kenpo backgrounds is that of wearing rank. I know some instructors make thm start over, while others allow them to wear their old earned belts.

    I like he idea of starting where they're at, as it relates to the instructors purpose of aiding the unfoldment of the student, under the technical guidance of the resident expert...the prof.

    The assumption that one's own way is the only way will lead to discounting the students previous lessons, which can be discouraging. Sometimes, though, it may also be accurate. I'm sure most of us have seen the kenpo guys who can't find their butts with either hand. I also think there is some merit to utilizing their previous learnings as bridges to new information..."that's good; now let's tweak it by going like this, and see what happens".

    I have a tendency to draw kenpo orphans refugees as students. I hardly ever tell them they're doing it wrong. Rather, I invite them to try it differently as an exploration, and experience the results for themselves. This allows them to hang on to whatever confidence may have come from their previous training, while allowing me to feed my own ego needs by introducing them to my infinitely better way of doing things

    D.
    Clear mind, clear movement. Mastery of the Arts is mastery over the Self. That in this moment, this motion, the thoughts, memories, impulses and passions that cloud the mind must yield to the clarity of purpose, and purity of motion.

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    Default Re: Perspectives

    I like the idea of not berating someone's previous experience in so long as they don't try to impose those methods over what is being taught in the studio they are currently attending.

    What was really interesting about starting my endeavor into Kenpo is that my instructor invited me to wear my existing belt (from jujitsu) and said that we'd just stripe it with the rank color that I hold in Kenpo. I thought that was very courteous.

    None the less, I folded my old belt and put it away to dawn a bright, new white belt...I still contend that the belt is what holds my jacket closed...well, except for those aggrivating strings on the sides that you have to keep retying after every sparring bout...those help to hold my jacket closed, too!
    ~Bill Richardson

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    Forgive everyone everything

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    Default Re: Perspectives

    Quote Originally Posted by toejoe2k View Post

    What was really interesting about starting my endeavor into Kenpo is that my instructor invited me to wear my existing belt (from jujitsu) and said that we'd just stripe it with the rank color that I hold in Kenpo. I thought that was very courteous.


    I offer the same to my students
    Brad Marshall SP
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    Default Re: Perspectives

    I agree with giving the student the option of "striping" their current rank/belt, but I also like Toejoe's humility. If you change organizations you should be able to keep your belt if you can demonstrate some competency. If you change systems all together, it makes more sense to start at the start to me.
    Of course if they do hold rank in one association and wish to start over, they would probably move through the ranks rather quickly.
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
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    KenpoHank is offline
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    Default Re: Perspectives

    Excellent topic Mr. Marshall. I would say it shows a whole lot about the instructor's character in the way he/she would handle a situation as you have presented.
    "Fall seven times, stand up eight." Japanese proverb

    "I've seen some cats do some crazy stuff like bending swords with their necks and breaking flaming bricks... thats great and all but can they fight?" *shrugs* Moses Powell

    -Hank Colado

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    Default Re: Perspectives

    Quote Originally Posted by KenpoHank View Post
    Excellent topic Mr. Marshall. I would say it shows a whole lot about the instructor's character in the way he/she would handle a situation as you have presented.
    Mr. Hank,

    You have have a lot of knowledge to share, I feel its all about the character of the instructor.

    My Respects
    Brad Marshall SP
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    Default Re: Perspectives

    Quote Originally Posted by Mikael151 View Post
    If you change organizations you should be able to keep your belt if you can demonstrate some competency. If you change systems all together, it makes more sense to start at the start to me.
    Of course if they do hold rank in one association and wish to start over, they would probably move through the ranks rather quickly.
    I totally agree... it just makes sense all around. It's like switching universities, sometimes you can transfer credit over and continue where you left off. But if you are switching majors, you may have to start from scratch.

    If you are in the same martial art and are merely switching schools and/or organizations, and you can prove your competency, you shouldn't have to relinquish your rank. Now let's say for example that you are a green belt moving from a 16-tech system to a 24-tech... obviously you will be behind on some material. That's an opportunity for the instructor and student to make a plan to get up to speed, so that the student can retain his rank in the new organization. But on the flip side of the coin, if you are from a completely different art and are moving into a new one, your previous experience may help you advance quickly, but there should be no question that you are starting from the beginning as far as rank.

    I have a black belt from another hybrid MA system, but when I decided to start in kenpo a year and a half ago, there was no doubt in my mind that I was starting as a white belt. Although my class appreciates my previously learned knowledge and respects my experience, I am there to learn American Kenpo, its system and style, and to earn competency in its ranks. My black belt has no place there.

    Many people have asked me "why are you starting over?" to which I answer "I'm not starting over, I'm starting anew."
    "Your kung fu's no good..."
    *Warrior, Scholar*

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    Default Re: Perspectives

    Its unfortunate that so many people are rank motivated
    My motivation comes from helping my students progress and watching them grow, so I do everything I can to gain more knowledge and improve myself to help them.
    Its about the brotherhood and learing the art.
    In the old days they didnt have all these belt ranks, they are nothing more than a progress check in the lower ranks.
    TRAIN HARD AND PASS IT ON

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    Default Re: Perspectives

    Thanks everyone for your comments, I agree it isnt about the rank, but the quality of the student and whats in his/her best intrest.
    Brad Marshall SP
    KKFI

    trgodbm@yahoo.com

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    Default Re: Perspectives

    Originally Posted by domino3700
    I have a black belt from another hybrid MA system, but when I decided to start in kenpo a year and a half ago, there was no doubt in my mind that I was starting as a white belt. Although my class appreciates my previously learned knowledge and respects my experience, I am there to learn American Kenpo, its system and style, and to earn competency in its ranks. My black belt has no place there.
    It is nice, though, to have people ask questions about how you learned and perform certain techniques. Given that 5.0 is incorporating ground techniques and even some joint locks, I gives me a sense of importance when I have a 3rd degree black belt ask, how do you deal with this? or how were you taught to apply that? And, they are sincerely interested.
    I only demonstrate differing perspectives when asked as I don't dare breach common courtesy by saying, "This is the way I learned it".

    Origianlly Posted by Echelon95
    Its unfortunate that so many people are rank motivated
    My motivation comes from helping my students progress and watching them grow, so I do everything I can to gain more knowledge and improve myself to help them.
    Its about the brotherhood and learing the art.
    In the old days they didnt have all these belt ranks, they are nothing more than a progress check in the lower ranks.
    It is interesting that rank is so important. It is abused by many who want the rank but, aren't willing to put in the time and effort. I also see so many who hold very high ranks in many different systems which reeks of self-promotion. It's a sad commentary that something that should really just be an indicator of time spent in a particular system is used as a status symbol to invoke a following. I think that's why I left some systems that tend to promote to black belt rather quickly. It's a sad commentary for the martial arts indeed.

    Great posts, friends.
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    Default Re: Perspectives

    In the end I think it boils down to:
    1. The standards of the school/Instructor and/or association.
    2. The instructor striving to do what best benefits the students ongoing growth as a martial artist.

    Taking these two things into account, it'd probably be a case by case situation. I think it's a good idea to have a 'policy' at the school regarding how the instructor or association requires this be approached. If there's more than one avenue to chose from (keep current rank as is, keep current rank but stripe it as they progress or start anew at white) this needs to be 'established' so the impression of favoritism isn't given room to spring up down the road. Lots of cases have their exceptions of course, but if a general standard is in place, it can help prevent a lot of negative issues.

    I agree that the standards of the new instructor should be given the greatest impetus, but the past shouldn't be 'put down'...even if you view it as 'incorrect'. Simply to help them see what's better and more useful, and to present them with the reasons why should help them see the need to change and adjust to the new methods. I had a student come to me after having had a few years of training with a different Kenpo instructor. He had fine ability, but the angle he'd hit with some of the basic blocks and stances wasn't what I would consider correct or optimal. I knew that telling him "You're doing it Wrong, now let me correct you!" wouldn't go over real well in helping him accept the modifications. So I found a time in our conversations to bring up some of the issues. I showed him HOW I wanted it done and why. He's a very intelligent guy and later thanked me for the changes.

    I can't take credit for knowing the 'better' methods. IF I get ANYTHING right in Kenpo it's because of the care, wisdom and knowledge (and enduring patience) of my instructors! IF I know How to correct others, it's because I had to be corrected SO MANY TIMES myself.

    Like I said before, I think that the three most important issues in this are that the instructor demonstrate that they have certain standards that need to be met....but give information on how and why, they need to make their decisions on what would benefit the student the most and they need to realize that NOT all cases are the same......exceptions abound, so they'll need to remain open minded and flexible.

    The students role in this?
    To remain receptive and adapt to the instruction they get.

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    Default Re: Perspectives

    Originally Posted by Brother John
    I agree that the standards of the new instructor should be given the greatest impetus, but the past shouldn't be 'put down'...even if you view it as 'incorrect'. Simply to help them see what's better and more useful, and to present them with the reasons why should help them see the need to change and adjust to the new methods. I had a student come to me after having had a few years of training with a different Kenpo instructor. He had fine ability, but the angle he'd hit with some of the basic blocks and stances wasn't what I would consider correct or optimal. I knew that telling him "You're doing it Wrong, now let me correct you!" wouldn't go over real well in helping him accept the modifications. So I found a time in our conversations to bring up some of the issues. I showed him HOW I wanted it done and why. He's a very intelligent guy and later thanked me for the changes.
    I experienced this with the upward block. My current instructor demonstrated the strength utilized when you push your fist and forearm out a bit as opposed to my traditional training dictating that you should hold it directly over head, not past, say, your nose on a vertical plane. The new method is, indeed stronger/harder to push down.

    That's one plus with Kenpo...very many things have been carefully scutinized and evaluated for effectiveness, not just looking good.

    I can't take credit for knowing the 'better' methods. IF I get ANYTHING right in Kenpo it's because of the care, wisdom and knowledge (and enduring patience) of my instructors! IF I know How to correct others, it's because I had to be corrected SO MANY TIMES myself.
    You are far too humble. At least take credit for being a vessel that can hold water and not one that leaks...i.e. being "teachable". Those who can be taught make excellent teachers...like you, I'm sure.
    ~Bill Richardson

    Rudeness is the frustrated attempt of a small mind to communicate.

    Forgive everyone everything

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    Default Re: Perspectives

    Interesting discussion...

    Many years ago, I started crosstraining in Judo. The instructor knew I was a black belt in Kenpo and said I could wear my black belt if I wished and could practice Kenpo before and after class.

    I thanked sensei, but always wore a white belt and no matter how often I was asked by fellow students I never showed a Kenpo technique. I was there to learn, not teach.

    I gladly let Judo blue, brown, and belts work their techniques on me (I enjoyed getting tossed around).

    Only on one occasion when sensei asked me to help with woman's self-defense class, did I do any Kenpo on the Judo mat. Interestingly, after that I got even more respect from sensei's senior students.

    When I go into another school, I'll only share knowledge when I'm asked. I think it's a good thing to be a white belt again and empty your cup.

    It isn't easy to do this. Sometimes it's easy to get caught up in that, I'm a "black belt badass "syndrome, which frequently leads to an butt-kicking from a white belt...

    Lots of smart people have said many times, "You really can't learn, till you learn to listen."
    Humility is not thinking less of yourself. It's thinking of yourself, less.

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