10 Steps to Better Grappling

Discussion in 'Grappling Martial Arts' started by RJ Clark, Jun 8, 2013.

  1. Kuyaken

    Kuyaken Karate for the streets not just for trophies

    If there's no theory then why do some schools insist on a written examination for Dan grades.

    I love the thread, I think that theory has to be there but only 25-30% max the rest has to be on the mat.

    Consider this example - you read a book on swiming, you then practice your swiming on the sand; does that make you a good swimmer?
     
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  2. liam

    liam Disciple

    I never did like the idea of written exams for dan grades. I have never received a written lesson from an instructor, it always has been hands on with verbal communication, so I am not sold on the idea of a written exam. (If I ever came to a lesson and was given a note of what to work on, I'm out. Not paying for love notes, piss off and die, I'll find another teacher.) Not really sure what the person is supposed to learn from it or the teacher learning from the paper (if it's even read). You should prove you know the theory by applying the techniques, explaining the techniques as in a lesson format with questions and answers, and by creating a new techniques that uses that principle. In turn you have learned the theory by learning the techniques and it's application, learned how to clearly express it to others, and finally you have learned the limitations of the theory by having to work it in a way that others haven't.

    Reading about martial arts training is nice while I'm on the crapper, it loosens the old system up, but training is the only way to go.
     
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  3. Kuyaken

    Kuyaken Karate for the streets not just for trophies

    I thought I was the only one who did this, HAHAHA

    I do read a lot of Martial Arts books (I own around 100 books) but again it doesn't replace the practice just enhances it. When one doesn't have a senior instructor one has to find answers elsewhere.

    regards to written tests, I think they're OK for the tippy tappy schools that look more internal that external where as my school Dan grades need to be able to hold there own which for me is more important than a 20,000 word essay
     
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  4. liam

    liam Disciple

    If the school doesn't have a quality base of material or quality instruction, one of the two or both, usually they fill the whole up with crap. That is why there is a lot of BS material taught, then they want people to write about it because BS never works in reality.
     
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  5. john2054

    john2054 Nearly graduate

    In Judo you're required to know Japanese terminology, and also a limited amount of dojo etiquette, this is theory in practice. Also in Aikido you are required to know the terminology for mutiple waza and nages. This is also theory in practice. In my martial art, dare i suggest that i made one, it is mainly an imaginary martial art existing in the mind, and understood by reading some of my material. It is not tested at present, because at present it only has one practitioner. It exists in my ninja stories. Deal with it.
     
  6. liam

    liam Disciple

    That depends on the coach and school. I know of Judo schools that don't use a single Japanese word or etiquette, in school they don't bow, they shake hands, to open and close class the say "line up, lets begin" and to end they just call out, "that's it everyone, have a good night," they don't turn their back to fix their gi's, actually now that I think about it they don't even have a picture of Kano on the wall, and throws like Ippon Seoinage is shoulder and arm throw, everything is in English with English ettiquette. The only thing they do is give a slight bow to their competition when entering the mat during competitions..
     
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  7. RJ Clark

    RJ Clark Tree Ninja Staff Member

    Terminology is nomenclature in action, etiquette is protocol in practice. Proper manners don't deepen your understanding of an art and learning the name of a throw in another language doesn't give some grand insight into the technique. I had to learn terminology as a very small part of earning shodan in Judo. Of course there was a code of conduct that was upheld, but that equated to a family-like feel of hierarchy and respect not some draconian discipline or required sycophantism. But neither terminology nor etiquette has much if anything to do with theory.
    Without going too deep into this I'll leave you with a quote from Einstein "In theory, theory and practice are the same. In practice, they are not."
     
  8. Eric Dufurrena

    Eric Dufurrena The Iron Fist of Fun

    With regards to having to learn terminology, I don't think it is necessary at all. A lot of people claim they are being traditionalist when they do so, but Gichin Funakoshi himself stated that when you take 'karate' to a different country, you need to adapt the art to the country. And I don't think he was referring only of terminology, either. Bowing was taught in the Asian arts because it was a part of the culture, and martial arts tend to attempt to breed good citizens.
     
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  9. Aaron

    Aaron Shadow Warrior

    In my opinion theory needs to be learned for shodan and above, but it needs to be relevant to the techniques that the student is learning. I think a mix of 75% training and 25% theory and history of the art should be focused on. By learning the theory the practitioner should have a better understanding on how the technique works, which should allow them to become more creative with using the technique in various hankas.
     
  10. Kuyaken

    Kuyaken Karate for the streets not just for trophies

    For me, there's been quite a lot of theory over the last 6-7 years as I've been formulating my Syllabus, making changes etc to fit just correctly

    Now that I'm at a level that grades are time served, its a nice time to actually be able to practice my Karate without having to worry about gradings. etc
     
  11. Void_Karateka

    Void_Karateka Pauper Karateka

    I've only ever trained using Japanese terminology so for me I don't know any different. I love knowing my theory and I have a keen interest in not just Japanese martial history but martial history in general. Would I say that say that time spent researching has made me better at fighting? Nope. Ask the hours drilling techniques and physically training has built that area. But as someone who wants to transmit as fully as possible everything I can to students in future I believe it's all invaluable. Besides that have you ever just been attacked with questions from youngsters? You need an inexhaustible supply of information to keep em quiet!
     
  12. john2054

    john2054 Nearly graduate

    From the british judo association grade syllabus, candidates are required to know the common English translations and meaning of all Japanese terminology used in this section, plus be able to translate <some> words. Also be able to answer the following questions: Who is the founder of modern judo? And in which country was judo devised? This is but a small sample of the theory you have to learn for Judo. I appreciate that practicals are very important in the martial arts, but the idea that Budo can be learnt without any theory at all, is void as it is barren imo.
     
  13. liam

    liam Disciple

    That is a very good use of theory. That is making sure what is taught is synergistic, one building upon another. But as far as turning in a term paper, I would rather stick my face in a fryer.
     
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  14. RJ Clark

    RJ Clark Tree Ninja Staff Member

    Ah, alright I see a bit of the problem here. A lexicon of terminology is not really part of theory for a martial art or even an individual technique or concept. It may seem exotic but it's just describing what's happening in Japanese. Let's take for example the throw Ippon Seoi Nage, one-arm shoulder throw. Knowing the name and/or knowing how to say it in another language other than your native tongue gives you nothing for theory nor how to facilitate and/or execute the throw any more than knowing who and where the art comes from that has integrated a fairly universal throw into it's arsenal helps with theory. Some of the principles behind facilitating the throw can be general, such as maximum effect with minimum effort. Or more specific for this throw, such as getting under your opponent's center of gravity to attack, etc. Knowing how to say maximum effect with minimal effort in Japanese (seiryoko zen'yo) has nothing to do with the theory/principle itself. You can also learn how to execute the "perfect" textbook throw with a compliant uke and know nothing of value until you get on the mats (or if you're unlucky try to use it live). There you'll find the value and wisdom of moving quickly to gain relative advantage, concentrating all your power at the moment of attack, and so on. You get to feel the importance kumikata (grip fighting/taking hold), kuzushi (breaking balance), and committing to nage (throw). How they should flow together...
    Budo can actually be learned without theory, or I should say without putting the theory into words but gained through experience in the training hall and battle and integrated into the conscious an even the subconscious mind. You can take an exceptional martial artist and he/she may not necessarily explain the how or why they are able to do what they do let alone transmit that to another person effectively. But for all your "book smarts" and knowledge of theory you cannot throw them nor stop them from putting you on your back. Respect, mutual benefit, etc all are inherent in the training without the need to define them and are part of the "martial way". It can be helpful to have lists and definitions but not necessary per se. But budo cannot be simply learned through reading, speculation, or even introspection. Epiphanies arrive through contact.

    Slight disclaimer: this post rambles on a bit more than prefer but I'm whipped from my weekend and murderous Monday.
     
  15. Eric Dufurrena

    Eric Dufurrena The Iron Fist of Fun

    Learning terminology in a different language is generally useless to learning a martial art, but can still be fun and make you think a bit more about the meaning. Mostly, though, you learn "Ha dan mahki" is a low block, and call it such all the time. We waste time in class explaining what the name of the technique is, when we could just be learning the technique. Having spent the first 20 years of my martial life learning the arts in foreign language (with the exception of american Kenpo, which rocked), I enjoy practicing a martial art where I can think and explain in English. If you are a bit more into the esoteric, like I used to be, the ambiguity provided by foreign language can be a fun little game to play, at least for a while. That can lead to a bit more theory.
     
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  16. liam

    liam Disciple

    RJ, if I could, I would double like that post.
     
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  17. john2054

    john2054 Nearly graduate

    It's like studying for a degree. This is very difficult to do without theory. By all means you could do someone with a degree without theory. Wham bam thankyou mam. But that's not what i'm talking about. To study and get a 2.2 you have to leaan about Marxism, Feminism, postmodernism, dramaturgy, anti-psychiatry and a whole host of other diverse and complex isms and theologies. By all means to learn a martial art is different from this, and certainly some people may have spent all their (martial) lifes without ever having opened a book. But that's not right. And trust me Aikido, my style of choice, has reams and reams of the stuff, if you choose to go there!
     
  18. liam

    liam Disciple

    and the student tells the teachers what it's like to learn. :unsure::banghead::inpain:
     
  19. Void_Karateka

    Void_Karateka Pauper Karateka

    You CANNOT and should NEVER tell a martial artist what is right and what is wrong in following their Do. Full stop. No bullshit arguments and hiding behind long sentences and all that other I've got a degree crap. Everyone is following his or her own way and you have no right to tell them what is right and wrong based on your opinions and preferences.

    I normally like to sit on the fence and let folks dig their own holes but you are communicating your opinion clean out of yours.

    The fact is their ARE competent Budoka out there who have never so much as glanced at theory in their lives. I personally love my theory, terminology and history. It gives me a deeper understanding of my roots and the where, why and how I conduct myself inside and outside the dojo. It does not have any bearing on how I PERFORM as a martial artist. Reading Go Rin No Sho and Hagakure a heap of times never helped my technique with and without weapons. It never made my kata sharper, never allowed me to see deeper into said kata for my bunkai. Even more still all the theory and traditionalism I've practised and learned never carved my path for me.

    That was all ME. I did all that. I made the decisions to conduct myself the way I am. Fair enough it has all been influenced by my dojo time but that was not the only influence on my character as a martial artist, fighter and a man. REAL experience both in competition and on the streets are what moulded me most.

    You want Samurai fantasy that's fine. But all that supposed honour, poise and dignity they are renowned for is mostly crap. On the battlefield they were merciless bastards and would not hesitate to cut an unarmed man down if it pleased them (heck they cut farmers down if they saw them practicing martial arts or carrying weapons). But on point, go find a drugged up nutcase who's ready for his next hit and put yourself in the crosshairs. See how far your Aikido takes you then when he won't listen to reason and won't comply with your technique. He's not your Uke, your friend. He wants your wallet, possibly your life he doesn't care as long as he gets his next hit. In that situation your budo doesn't exist.

    Practice trumps theory every time in something that is at its root physical.
     
  20. john2054

    john2054 Nearly graduate

    Sorry void you seem to have got me all wrong. I am not telling anyone else what is right and wrong to do in THEIR do. I am telling them what is right and wrong in MY do! If you have been following them you would have picked up that i am a proud judoka of many years. And so same applies to Aikido as well. So sorry for calling me skeptical when I raise questions at these judo/taekwondo/brazillian jiujitsu/kung fu/kenpo and karatedo experts which come on here with their undefeatable comments and safe as houses backrubbing self congratulations. And because unlike these so called experts, and academic achievements aside, I have been in mental hospitals. With four admissions raging from ten weeks to two years over the last eight years. Trust me I have fought with more people in these hospitals. Trust me these are dangerous men and women (mostly men), who are such a risk to themselves and others that they are taken out of the system for many years at a time. On medication which most of you lightweights would be in a wheelchair if you were made to take. And I have brought my martial arts to this situation. So I have done shadow boxing (one finger zen crouching tiger hidden dragon) against a shadow boxer, got a beating and a kicking from another ninja, battered a woman and done aikido punch to near misses with a couple of lads on the ward refractory some years ago. Please note i only hit the woman after she came at me punching and kicking, and in my weakened state i was lucky even to fend that horse off. Also the hour after nearly blacking out from a headlock given my from a patient in the smoke room of one of these wards, when i hit him in the face, in retaliation, i got charged for assault. So yes I have been in real fights. Probably unlike you, who have probably only had a steam up at the pub. What's more this time i spent in hospital when i developed my own style, was before i had anything but a low level karate grade. Since getting out i have graded in judo and aikido and completed the first year at uni despite being on meds which would put your grandma to bed. You can bloody well call me grandmaster.
     

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