Well I never thought I would be posting here. I somewhat hate this site, despite the good dose of reality it provides to many of us TMA's. However, I have to submit to the dark side and talk about one of the worst experiences of my martial arts path.
First a little background on myself. I started martial arts when I was six years old, in Kyokushin. I did this for six/seven years, then did Wester Boxing under Otis Grant. I then moved to Toronto, and I fell into Wado Kai, Ryukyu Kobudo, Kenpo, and Submission Fighting. I taught at the Mudokwan as well.
Long time passed, and I eventually decided to give Ninpo a try. I really believe in having as many tools possible in the box, and I really believe every style has SOMETHING to teach. I won't name the school or the teachers involved, but man was this experience unlike anything else...and not in a good way.
First and foremost, I was laughed at for sparring, and considered way too aggressive and "firey". My previous experience was considered child's play, even though I would have wiped the floor with their whole org. There was nothing like having little men come up to me and say they couldn't spar, because their techniques were too deadly. Now, I understand and am knowledgable about the whole sparring vs street techniques debate, but sparring still plays a vital role. And I mean, a really vital role. In fact, if you don't spar, I think you're just playing martial arts. The attitude towards anything that could test their skills was nuts. Here are some of the bullshido lines I was fed in this school. And yes, this particular school had the largest amount of bullshit I had ever come across, and unfortunately they actually think it's legit. *sigh*
1) Sparring is silly. Our techniques are too deadly.
2) If you sweat, it means your Taijutsu isn't any good. Man, this one was unreal. They really get freaked out if they sweat. Obviously they've NEVER been in any combat.
3) The other styles were, for the teacher, a waste of time. That statement alone really made me wonder...
4) Nearly everything the teacher did came from the movie Peaceful Warrior. This guy would quote the movie and do things from the movie...it was interesting.
5) All techniques were done extremely slow. The idea was that if you could do it really slow, you could do it very fast. No wonder they don't spar...
6) Gun disarms would get you killed....trust me.
7) Knife disarms would get you killed...trust me.
8) Guys with two months experience were telling me, with twenty years experience, that my stuff was wrong. Ungh. They had the minds of cult leaders.
9) Told me that techniques they were doing wouldn't work in sparring because my intention would be different on the street...and that if the intention wasn't there, the techniques wouldn't come out. Oh man, that one just bothered the hell out of me.
10) Told me that eventually, with all the energy work they were doing, I wouldn't be able to spar. They said my body would literally burn out and that punching or shadow boxing would hurt my body. They even hinted that firey people like me get cancer. It was UNREAL.
11) The place was like a cult.
12) None of them were good fighters.
13) Their idea of freestyle grappling was to not use any techniques, but just to flow until your knee happens to buckle the other person's knee and they fall down.
14) They claimed they were grappling experts, though the teachers couldn't even pull off a fucking arm bar.
15) They anti grappling techniques were easily the worst I have ever seen.
16) The ego in the place...my God. They think sparring creates ego. I say sparring keeps ego in check, because you always get bested by someone else.
Man I could go on forever...
It was just the worst place guys, I'll never be the same...
I ended up looking into the Genbukan, and I enjoy it a lot more. I get hit, I sweat, we do proper grappling and there's a good deal of contact. Yeah I know the Genbukan ain't cool with you guys either, but let me tell you, it's at least like your basic Japanese Jujutsu class.