Why GM's are great to train under

Discussion in 'Kenpo' started by KempoFist, Jan 21, 2008.

  1. KempoFist

    KempoFist Attention Whore

    Continuing this thread from the derail of the Hui thread http://www.martialartsplanet.com/forums/showthread.php?p=1382679#post1382679

    I was making an example. I don't know of the training style of those Grandmasters so I can't comment. I do know that my point wasn't that GM Harper is the only good GM, but that if he never was promoted to GM, or was even ostracized from the main group of GM players who could promote him, would that take away from his instructing credentials? You can replace GM Harper with any other GM you can think of. I was just using a personal example of someone I'd love to train with so that we could stop with all the hypotheticals.

    Not really, as I'm too new to the Ohana to know of all the qualified people who have had a falling out of their instructor, and have essentially been "kicked out" of Kajukenbo, with no way to progress without kissing some major rear of someone who also happens to dislike their former instructor enough.

    Incorrect. You seem hung up on this whole instructor imparting the wisdom of the ancients upon you that plagues every crappy TMA art in existence. The Sensei-idol worship. Advancement doesn't come from mimicking moves, it comes from seasoning forged out of experience with the moves you do know. That is what separates a white from a green belt, and a green from a black belt, and a 1st dan from a 5th.

    They say in Jiu-Jitsu that a purple belt knows all the same moves as a black belt. But the difference between a purple and a brown, and a brown and a black is simply timing, experience, and seasoning. If I held a purple belt in BJJ, I'd hate to go to another gym and then begin learning how to guard pass again with the white belts, or even worse learning an antiquated move such as the "Gracie Gift" due to the school being a more traditional GJJ place, just to keep my rank respected, and possibly promoted.

    Sorry, those of us who actually train, tend to have our belts loosen up and sag. I'll have to remember to buy a stapler and permanently affix it to my gi. ;)
  2. SifuJason

    SifuJason Valued Member

    I don't disagree that skill comes directly through training. However, at some point, just sparring the same people or doing the same drills starts to yield diminishing returns. The advantage of GMs and others of high rank is that they know enough that they can constantly have you work on things that push you, without running into the diminishing returns issue. They simply see f"flaws in your game" and how to fix them far quicker and more efficiently than someone of less experience. In other words, they help you extract the maximum out of your training time.
  3. Rebel Wado

    Rebel Wado Valued Member

    When I started Goju-ryu karate I started under a 7th-8th degree instructor. I did not know his rank until after I started... to me he was just Sensei and a really good teacher. I trained ten years under a 3rd degree instructor after moving away from my first instructor. Again, did not know his rank until after I started and to me he was just Sensei. My Aikido instructor was 2nd degree and she got to 3rd degree while I was training under her. Again just Sensei to me. The BJJ instructor I cross-train with I started under him when he was a blue belt and now he is 2nd degree black belt. All great instructors.

    My Kajukenbo instructor, same story. In think he was 2nd-3rd degree when I started and now he is 7th degree black belt.

    I would not say they are all the same. I would see my instructors go off and train with their peers and those higher ranked than them and come back even the better for it. So CLEARLY my instructors saw value and benefit from training with those higher ranked and more experienced than them.

    Anyway, I'm not going to discuss that a GM is a better instructor than a 1st degree... there is not a general rule... it is all on a case-by-case basis. Experience and how well you get along and how much time you put into training and spending with them all factors in.

    What I want to say is that with the higher ranks you get a lot more higher ranks to train with. When I trained in a room of forty black belts and spent time with them... the quality of training for me was just so much more than classes with colored belts. Not to say that classes with colored belts is not valuable and good training, but a room full of black belts is just another level.

    Train with a black belt, maybe two or three is good. Train with a dozen... even better. That's what I got from when I do train under 8-9th degree professors and grand masters.
  4. DAnjo

    DAnjo Valued Member

    Not hung up on instructor worship at all. But there are some things that take too long to learn on your own without a lot of needless blundering down trails that your instructor has already been down before you. Learning from your own experience is good, but it doesn't mean that a lot of distilled information and wisdom can't be learned from the experiences of others. But you seem like a lot of young guys that think they already have all they need and just shake their heads at the stodgy old folks who yell at the kids skateboarding on the sidewalks in front of their houses.

    Well, that's true for BJJ, but not for Kajukenbo. You don't have all the techniques at blue belt or even brown belt or student black belt. You seem hung up on the idea of not actually learning the art you hold rank in. When Sijo was asked what it took to get a black belt, he said "Basics, forms, self-defense techniques, sparring and fighting." No one ever said that you needed to learn all of that in order to be a good fighter, but he did say you needed all of that to be a black belt in Kajukenbo. At least ideally. Oh he did acknowlege in that same interview that there were those out there teaching what they called Kajukenbo that was stuff that he had never taught. He said, "I just look at them and said, 'Jesus Christ Man! You're not teaching what I'm teaching! But that's okay. (shrugs shoulders, laughs and shakes his head)'"

    So I guess you have to look at what Sijo said he wanted versus what he would allow for the sake of peace. Just because he permits something to go on, doesn't mean that's the way he wanted it to go on. You hold your rank because Sijo has allowed black belts to hand out rank to whomever they want to up to one rank below their own (under 8th degree) based on their own judgement. But that doesn't mean that he wouldn't rather have them learn the art.
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2008
  5. Lily

    Lily Valued Member

  6. KempoFist

    KempoFist Attention Whore

    Great post. Couldn't have put it better myself.
  7. KempoFist

    KempoFist Attention Whore

    This is under the assumption that all rank value is standardized across the board. See my example of a hypothetical Grandmaster having not gotten promoted due to politics.

    You are confusing rank with experience. Although it is ideal, the two terms are not interchangeable.

    Replace "Purple" and "Black" with "5th dan" and "9th dan"

    Not so. I am hung up on getting away from promoting the "image" of practicing and gaining rank in an art, and getting back to training and representing the arts core in its truest sense. You said yourself that Professor Bishop did not promote you after your first year of training despite you being capable of earning it, because of the image that would portray to others in the Ohana. So there, despite being physically capable and knowledgeable, you waited another year to satiate the illusion of worth via time in grade.

    And did he specify which forms, and self defense techniques he wanted to see? Are the techniques found in WHKD, Tum Pai, CHA-3 and Chuan Fa close enough to OHS (what Sijo taught) to pass? If that's so, what about the techniques and forms found in SKK that are quite similar? In my training, I know over 100 self defense techniques, 20+ Kenpo-based forms/katas, and that's not counting the technical knowledge I have gained from the BJJ, Judo, Boxing, and Muay Thai I have trained in. Would you say I have met Sijo's standards? If not, do you feel the other branches (which are just as accepted by Sijo, as my old Kempo instructor) meet those standards? Why or why not?

    I was brought into Kajukenbo by Sijo himself via GM Rich. Do you disagree with his decision?
  8. SifuJason

    SifuJason Valued Member

  9. KempoFist

    KempoFist Attention Whore

    The issue here seems to be that some want to have their cake and eat it too.

    We all want to pretend that rank is universally accepted and equal, and that there are only a few "exceptions," but we all know what's said behind closed doors.

    We all know that there are decisions made by not only Kaju instructors, but apparently by Sijo himself that people disagree with (though they'd dare not ever say it for fear of being ostracized, and then only being accepted by ironically...the Hui :rolleyes: ), but at this point you have to eventually just accept that what's done is done, and move forward from here. I say standardization of rank is a step forward. Other's would rather stay the path and deal with the political fall-out once Sijo is no longer with us to keep everyone together.

    To each his own. Good luck to you guys with your training. I know I'll keep doing my thing.
  10. SifuJason

    SifuJason Valued Member

    I am aware that ranking isn't perfect, whether it is Kaju, kenpo, or BJJ. However, just because it isn't perfect doesn't mean one should help to devalue it, or ignore it completely, especially in styles such as BJJ and Kaju that tend to have pretty consistent standards. It's a reasonable assumption to assume a GM in Kaju is significantly better than a 5th degree; hence, it's worth training with them if you can, and "why they are great to train under" has been covered several times. If they aren't a legitimate GM, then it will become apparent when the greatness people have mentioned isn't apparent.
  11. Rebel Wado

    Rebel Wado Valued Member

    I think you skipped right passed what I meant but at the same time realized it... Lily when you bring 200 BB from various schools together to train that SETS A STANDARD.

    I know peers of mine that just don't seem to be as proficient as me in unarmed, but give them a knife or a stick and they clean house with me. Then some clean house with me on the mat, others in the ring. When you get black belts together you don't just get black belts in one art, you get guys with multiple black belts, boxers, wrestlers, cross-trainers. You rarely see this if everyone is from the same school (unless it is a really big school). You need to find long time martial artists that have been around.

    What kind of person can bring all these people together? It isn't the rank, it is all the years put into gaining the respect of people to bring them together. It is all the person to person interaction that makes it work.

    It doesn't work over the mail or email or the phone... it is done in person.

    It isn't the GM that holds everything together, it is their organization. The GM is the boss. It is one big family. Kajukenbo is family based... Ohana. It is only as good as the people in the family.

    The founders of Kajukenbo were all in their early twenties when they created kajukenbo. Hardly grandmasters at the time... but they stayed together and over the years it grew, the family grew.

    There is a lot of politics in Kajukenbo right now. The grandmasters keep things together under Sijo. IME, there is no way to keep politics out of Hui. The question is how can the Hui do what a GM does for their organization?

    Keep standards enforced.
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2008
  12. SifuJason

    SifuJason Valued Member

    The WHKD, Chuan Fa, and Tum Pai techniques were all developed with the direct consent of Sijo; hence they are official branches, and are "what he wanted to see." I really suggest you learn the history of Kaju some more. As a 3rd degree (and thus a Sifu), it's an obligation of your rank.

    Secondly, comparing your entrance into Kaju through GM Rich is in no way similar to the other branches. The founders of the other 3 branches were life-long students of Kaju under Sid Asuncion and Sijo himself (at various stages in their training). Tum Pai and Chuan Fa were developed by Sijo in conjunction with GMs Al Dacascos and Al Dela Cruz, and were official, sanctioned styles of Kaju. WHKD was GM Dacascos' personal development of Chuan Fa, which was also sanctioned by Sijo as it's own branch. All these branches have very defined curriculums, and you cannot earn rank in any of them (to my knowledge) without knowing the curriculum. There are around a 100 GMs in Kaju, but only 4 branches. Those 4 branches (and several of the methods therein) represent what Kajukenbo is, as a system. GM Rich was brought in because of his knowledge. While that means you are now part of the Kaju Ohana, that doesn't mean you have the same knowledge. GM Rich met Sijo's standards, which doesn't mean you necessarily have. GM Rich also doesn't have his own branch of Kaju, he is part of Original Method, and to my understanding he has taken up teaching OM techniques in his schools (although I could be wrong, as I haven't seen him in 2 years, but that was my impression from my conversations with him).
  13. SifuJason

    SifuJason Valued Member

    Again, I urge you to look at the art you are a part of. WHKD, as the one branch I can speak for, has standards for rank past first degree. In fact, we are currently in the process of making the standards even more formalized by having specific curriculum beyond 1st degree, in addition to general teaching, training, and tenure requirements.
  14. Rebel Wado

    Rebel Wado Valued Member

    Maybe a GM is trickier and more knowledgeable but I would not say they are better. Some of these guys are eighty years old. They don't move anywhere near as well as they did when they were younger. However, I'm not saying they still don't move very well and kick my ass.

    My point is that you don't get it all from the grandmaster but from his students also.

    I've been told that the middle black belt ranks (e.g. 5th degree) was the right-hand man. I'm no spring chicken either but when guys come to train, I'm the one that spars with them. I'm training up folks so they can do the same as I get older.

    You know the saying... no one wants to fight an old guy cause they are too old to fight you, they will just use trickery to kill you.

    Or maybe I'm just missing the point.
  15. Rebel Wado

    Rebel Wado Valued Member

    Great example, I got to see GM Al Dacascos at a seminar in Portland last year. Amazing he is... really inspired me to train harder.
  16. KempoFist

    KempoFist Attention Whore

    Careful, I may know more than you think. I understand the different branches, and have done much reading on the issue mainly in part thanks to Professor Bishop's writing. I also have had a great education on the history through discussions with SiGungs Pat and Dan Tyrrell, as well as Sifu Mike Ritchie.

    Still doesn't answer the question though...or maybe it does. I'll continue this thought in response to your next comment here...

    So you concede that GM Rich is accepted, and what he teaches is accepted by Sijo as being Kajukenbo correct?

    Oh no? I taught under GM Rich essentially running one of his schools teaching the same curriculum that Sijo has deemed Kajukenbo under the OHS banner. I have been tested and accepted by SiGung Dan to have met his own personal standards for rank under him. I'd say that is two vouches of approval, both by way of Sijo.

    Yes GM Rich is under OHS, and he has trained his black belts with Reyes lineage material such as the alphabet techniques, where a lot of the other counters and tricks were already being practiced through similar enough material under Kempo namesake.

    Thanks for your thoughts. I may not show it, but you guys really are giving me a lot to think about :)
  17. KempoFist

    KempoFist Attention Whore

    I really have to see GM Al in person. This is like the 5th testimonial I've heard attesting to his speed and agility. Sounds awesome.
  18. SifuJason

    SifuJason Valued Member

    Ya, I agree age can have an affect, and that many ~5th degrees are in that sweet spot of skill, age, and knowledge--that is a very good point, and is something I wasn't really considering. I may be biased in that the GMs I have worked with (like my Sifu) are still young enough to be frightening. Heck, my Sifu is stronger and faster than I am, and he is 65!
  19. SifuJason

    SifuJason Valued Member

    Sounds like you have had a decent education, which means I don't understand some of your comments.

    GM Rich meets the standards that Sijo set, that is his prerogative and not for me to judge.

    As for you, I can't really say. It says like both Dan and GM Rich vetted you out separately (and after GM Rich's inclusion into Kaju), so you should know many of the Kaju techniques. If you don't, shame on your lazy butt.
  20. SifuJason

    SifuJason Valued Member

    I'm having him out to NC sometime in the next year or so I hope. I'll let you know.

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