Thursday, April 26, 2018



When you begin you learn your art according to the paradigm your instructor follows. And likely it was a good paradigm to follow, for the dojo he ran.


You follow it, believe in it, and then you begin to instruct it. Perhaps not with the same group of students, but adapt it to those you teach.


Then you have time, a lack of proximity to others in your system, so you begin to train with a lot of other people and see what they are teaching.


You focus on several of those instructors, training deeply in what they offer.

Not changing what you are teaching, but at the same time observing and thinking.


You come to realize you are addressing a different student population, than your instructors, An entire group of young people, who prove they can learn that paradigm well. But you become sensitive that the needs of the young are different than adults, and after 5 years of thinking, choose to teach the original art within a different paradigm using supplementary form studies, mostly to slow down the pace of instruction, giving more time for them to develop stronger cores for your arts use.


You further come to realize you won’t keep most of the students, and the most valuable lesson you can share is that they can learn through their own efforts.


Another lesson, those students who spend the 7 to 9 years to develop into strong shodans, almost 100% of them will leave you for their own life needs. Such as College, Military Service, Work, Marriage etc. Other instructors with extremely strong youth programs share they find the same with their students, even the most gifted who have been international competitors.

You contribute to the Warp and Woof of their lives but move on they will.

 And you consider other subsidiary kata studies to add more texture to their Isshinryu. Both giving them knowledge of how other systems operate, in part, and provide tools to work against in advanced kata application studies.

Then beginning an adult program I found I was working with a very different class of students. Teaching for no compensation,  I was not dependant on continuing student enrollment to provide for cash flow.

These were adults in every sense of the word. Responsible for their family’s finances, they would not be able to attend every class. They often had more important things to do, and should do them. At the same time they were committed to their own training, staying for decades. They could learn very well, but the regular absences did not make the old paradigm fit them very well.

I came to realize that I was probably trying to juggle multiple paradigms at the same time.


1. A youth program 7 to 12

2. A older beginning youth program 13-17

3. A much stronger advancing teen program 13-17

4. A young adult program 19-30

5. An adult program 25-55

6. A mature adult program 45-75

7. Advancing dan studies 25-75

I might have looked like the same program, but really each group had very different needs to make them work.

I should add I had another program, probably my most important program.

8. My personal development studies, never ending, no limitations

All of this required continuing effort on my part. 

One of the choices I made was all would study the same fort template. The initial subsidiary form studies for youth development, were covered for the adults as well.

The advancing subsidiary studies in Goju, Shotkan, Pai Lum really for use at dan study would be begun as advancing kyu’s for use decades later, Skilled execution use.

 Sparring was another item that fit some groups and was not possible for others.

 For the new youth I came to realize the stronger their base ability was the stronger use of sparring would be. So I choose to wait 2 years focusing on their core movement development before allowing sparring.

 Then advancing teens and the young adult group, providing they had the time to train, sparring was definitely a core study.

The adult were another matter, not having the ability to make every class, trying to teach strong sparring episodically as they had the time did not make sense. And my own studies into kata application potential and realization, provided another alternative.

I never found I had all these groups operating at the same time. The actual mixture changed as time progressed. Keeping everything focused became another requirement for my own study.

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