RED – Retired Extremely Dangerous
I was just watching the movie RED, and the title struck me as accurate. Of course Extremely Dangerous is more in my mind these days than an accurate reflection.
These days no student graces my doors and I spend a lot of time remembering many things.
In our martial careers we follow many threads:
1. That of a student, of our primary art and of many other secondary studies.
b. Yang Tai Chi Chaun
c. Chinese form studies
d. Sutrisno Shotokan, Aikido, Tjimande
e. friends Goju, Shorin Ryu and many other systems
2.As an instructor of youth.
3.As an instructor of adults some of who trained in excess of 30 years
4. As a researcher in the applications of Isshinryu.
5. As a researcher into older Okinawan karate traditions
That is but one way to look at where my time over my decades was spent.
For one thing at one time or another I probably learned more than 300 forms as well as practicing them. I found out the hard way it was impossible to practice all of them in the long run. As useful as that knowledge was to me personally, I also discovered it was impossible to share all of it.
My main focus was on what the potential uses were for my Isshinryu. I also discovered ever 34 years was not enough time to teach all of them. More important to focus on the principles behind them and let students understand how to use them to understand any technique they possessed.
As a youth instructor what became most important was to be sure to let them realize they could learn through their own efforts, That is what the community needs, youth that learn how to learn, and not just karate. In time each and every one of them will move on, either after 2 years or after 8 years. It is a natural process of growing up. If you instruction helps them to make rational choices for their own needs, you have succeeded.
As an adult instructor, the karate was the same, But the focus was different, they had already made adult choices to choose to train. Developing their skills logically and allowing them to be able to enter the greater study of karate was the most important thing.
Applications were shown for all students from day one. However, the logical study of application potential and then the process for application realization was a dan study, once foundational skills were strong enough to use.
Adults reaching dan stayed an average of 17+ years, but in time they too made their adult choices where they had to spend their time. If you instruction allowed them to make those choices clearly you successfully shared what was most important.
The real thing you learnt working with long term students, was their needs were ever so much more important than your own. At times they could coincide, but only at times.
Time in class was focused on the physical side of the training. Even those training 34 years never had enough time to look at everything I was looking at. And not just in the number of forms.
Entire studies of Okinawan history could never be expressed.
But those studies were very important to me.
As an example, I did a great amount of study on the Okinawan Bubiahi over the years. But I never taught the Okinawan Bubishi as part of any class. Certainly portions of that work are in Isshinryu history, and all are exposed to that, but the majority of it was not discussed. Nor ever did I tell my students to hurry out and buy a copy because it will make their training easier.
Along the way I began my blog.
A way to allow them to remember so many things.
1. Those having direct relevance on their training, allowing them to remember those lessons.
2. A way to share so many other things I experienced or looked at, a way to allow future students or themselves to see what I say. And decide whether to look into them for themselves.
The core was the physical side of things I experienced, and those things I worked out for myself.
Here is a short list of some of them.
A few examples of the more esoteric of my studies.
They are things I freely share with anyone, understanding with the floor time, the understanding will be less than for my students.
Of course there are things I share with them personally.
You might guess I get deeper into such things with them.
And of course there are those things I do not share.
Either their time has not yet come,
Or they are for my understanding alone.