Another ATA article.
I am a 3rd dan black belt in ATA, and I must say that I am absolutely ashamed of what they are doing now. This is partially in reply to the grappling post that I read in which I saw an overweight ATA blackbelt being "manhandled" by some dude in a red t-shirt. I guess I should give a little background of myself before I continue.
I started it in about 1992, and at that time, it honestly wasn't so bad. It was usual after sparring nights to see people with blackened eyes and bloodied noses and all the typical things that most of the good folks here attribute to "real" martial arts. At an upper rank, we were required to break stuff, not re-breakable stuff, and at times it was bricks or wood; what have you. We were also taught the forms (kata) according to the rank that we were, and you could really FAIL a test; albeit, it was still pretty hard. There was no mass training system in which a 1st day student was taught sections of a form that he should learn 3 ranks later. It was also when the original grandmaster was still in partial control of his creation.
A huge change occured in the late 90s with the introduction all kinds of different rubbish that is no where even related to TKD. Weapons such as the katana were introduced, different training regimens to attain "trainer' status in things like Krav Manga (**** that I had never even heard of at the time, and something that should be studied for years before trying to teach) became available, people totally unworthy of the "Master" status were advancing, and a style that was once prized on creating a comradarie among all different walks of life was now trying to force people to quit their jobs to become "instructors" whether they liked it or not. It turned out that my master was a total ****, still is, that nobody really liked; as he is today.
I don't know why exactly I'm posting this other than to say that the style CAN actually teach TKD if it's instructed correctly. I ran a school for my loser master long enough to see some of my students reach blackbelt, and boy could they rock. I was later fired by that same master for refusing to mass test and let students on the "basic program" come to as many classes a week as they wanted. It was probably the most underhanded thing that I've even seen, even in movies. After working for him for a long while, he sits me down in his office, tells me he's canning that school, and then tries to enroll/sell me into his "master's program" after I had already finished that course in the mid 90s.
Anyway, are there any ATA veterans/victims here that can commiserate with me? I'm trying to really find some kind of happy ending in the fact that I'm a survivor of a McDojo and still training on my own with a few students.
Any voluntary activity that has adults chanting:
"courtesy, integrity, perseverance, self-control, and indomitable spirit"
. . .and wielding Ninja Turtle weapons
Is worthy of ridicule.
I have an urge to flame you. but you make some good points of self reflection. So i give you this bit of wisdom from the movie tombstone.
Originally Posted by Mydnight
I played the cards I was dealt,
Wyatt. Your problem is you're
Always trying to play someone
Else's. Allow me to tell you the
Truth and thus set you free:
There is no happiness, Wyatt
There is no normal life. There's
Only life, that's all. Just life.
The rest is relative.
You can flame if you want. I think I'm sorta flaming myself by even writing about the ATA here.
I once posted on a newsgroup about ATA and got into a flamewar with this dude that was currently teaching ATA; McDojo-cash-mongering style. He was totally sold that he was doing the world a service while about 30 other people were bashing him about how unauthentic the style had become. The thread went 100 strong before I just threw in the towel and posted in other threads.
The ATA resembles a kinda MA cult in retrospect. Yes, we do chant all those things. Yes we do use foam weapons. Like all things that start with good intentions, it was totally ruined by a bunch of pretentious pricks, of whom dare call themselves senior masters, that were trying to find a way to fund their retirement in their aging years.
I really do respect their forms, though. They have the traditional stances, albeit sometimes totally exaggerated, kicks, strikes, and blocks that were taught in TangSudo and old style TKD. They aren't too dynamic, they don't involve heavy acrobatics, and if practiced, can end up looking good in competition.
I guess this is the only nice thing I can say, so I'll take my grandfather's advice about if you have nothing nice to say.
No one is actually trying to flame you, most of us are over the whole TKD thing, it's been done.
Originally Posted by Mydnight
Here's the thing though: sure maybe these silly things were implemented with good intentions (although they're still embarassingly dumb). The base problem, however, is that your MA is structured in such a way that taking advantage of people is essentially part of the curriculum.
Let me ask you this: why did you choose (or continue to choose) TKD over, say, kickboxing/boxing/MT/KK/fullcontactstuff?
New rule: If you're going to quote from tombstone, don't do it in ninja-tarded free verse format.
Originally Posted by JohnnyCache
Whats wrong with the format?
There there dear. The horror is over now. You're free to move onto a stricter system. Are you looking for a new school or have you found one?
Originally Posted by Mydnight
I didn't even have to do that **** in the army.
Originally Posted by Camus
Hell, come to think of it, I've never had to recite a pledge allegiance to anything.
>The base problem, however, is that your MA is structured in such a way that taking >advantage of people is essentially part of the curriculum.
Yes, indeed, it does now, but it wasn't always that way. The ranking system was put in place not to steal people's money, but to allow Americans see quick, tangable progression; sorta catering to the American lack of patience in the early 90s. Before that, it had the standard ranking system of traditional TKD and the standard forms.
I'm merely reflecting on the past of the organization vs. the present. I have considered teaching the old style here and see how it goes.
Why did I choose ATA? The answer is fairly simple: It was the only thing around. The other schools in town were usually in people's backyards and garages, unorganized, and viewed as dangerous by most people. I was only 11 or 12...
Why did I stay with it? What in the hell did I know at that age. Do I want to find another school, of course! I now live in China, though, and if you could believe it, there isn't as much MA in China as most people think. I visited a TKD school here and it was more sloppy than what I saw in most ATA schools I visited. Same thing went for a Wushu school, Kempo school, and a "traditional gongfu" school that I played with.
What's a boy to do?