6/26/2007 10:23pm, #61
What is your full MA background?
What are you comparing FSD by ways of 'effectiveness' to?
What was your motivation for posting?
6/27/2007 6:25am, #62
- Join Date
- Apr 2006
- BJJ ultra-noob
I think we may need a nice sock puppet pic...
6/27/2007 7:47pm, #63Originally Posted by TheDingo
6/28/2007 10:44pm, #64
- Join Date
- Jun 2007
I can relate...
This is the first time I have put my Patenaude experience to words and share them. Having read all the comments, I just had to add my two cents. While time has blurred my recollection of specific events, one thing for sure, this club is definitely one to avoid.
I joined in 1980 and made it to my brown sash by 1989 (with a two year break for work reasons). From your description it is clear that we were training at the same time and I am sure we have met. I too recall the club layout, the ‘gong’, etc…exactly the way you described it!
We all have our stories of training in this club. Compliance was the key and as you mentioned - one learned quickly not to ask questions. I was always disturbed by the extreme nature of the training and the 'all or nothing' approach to defense. More over the system emphasized closing and charging your opponent (double direct close) with the expectation that a flurry of punches should over whelm an assailant. Everything was full out all the time. I too witnessed and participated in 'full contact' sparring, watching students injure themselves and others. One trained in an atmosphere of fear.
Three friends of mine with whom I still maintain contact today also trained with him. Two of them were physically assaulted by Mr. Patenaude and in both cases; they were never clear on why they were attacked. One was in his 'glass bubble' when he relocated on the upper floor (his current address) and the other was at an out door event on his property.
The bottom line is that you didn't resist in order not to escalate - no one wants to fight with their teacher in a full out conflict (unless your teacher is a super cool guy and encourages this level of training for your growth and his; I have sparred extensively with my sensei and has always found it an open experience - but I digress...).
Intimation meant that neither the teacher nor the technique was ever challenged.
I also maintained contact with one of his senior instructors who trained with him for years. He shared countless stories that terrified me. I will not recount them because I did not experience them directly. What was important is that for years everyone had to navigate through bizarre mental states and hide one's doubt in what was going on in order to train and hopefully access the 'secrets' of the system.
I also was training in a second system at the time (btw, I am still training today with my original teacher in that same system), but was kept that to myself. In fact the day after years of training, I revealed that I was in other system was the last time I trained - I innocently told his wife who was mortified to learn I was a senior ranking in another system and warned me this was an issue. As a result I never returned knowing I would be challenged the next time I see him. After watching what happened to other students and wanting to avoid a direct challenge I left 'cold turkey'.
I have trained in many clubs over the years. This one was the only one that had 'issues' with cross training and where you had to hide any previous experience. All of my other instructors over the years never had an issue with cross training. A mature instructor and a mature system encourages students to explore other systems. In many ways, this helps to validate the personal decision we all take when it comes to dedicating ourselves to a teacher and a specific lineage. It also serves to validate your commitment to the system you eventually choose to dedicate your life to.
We all assume the teacher knows what he or she is doing. We entrust ourselves to them for their guidance - usually out of our own self interest. That self interest (or insecurity) can blind us to what is going on. Patenaude clearly demonstrated enough skill to dazzle an inexperience student. Under the shadow of his attitude, you mimicked his choreography, stances and packaged (often over engineered) trapping hands techniques.
The challenge we all face is how to determine if the person knows what they are doing and if the technique taught make sense. What or who can we look to? If we are inexperienced we put faith in our teachers. When you are young you are quicker to gravitate to someone who seems more powerful than you, who seems to have the ‘answers’ you are looking in the martial arts. You want to get a 'piece' of that power and are willing to surrender what ever it takes to get access to the ‘holy grail’. Pursuit of power / salvation / invincibility is stuff cults are made of and the premise behind this club's recruitment philosophy (at least in the early 80's).
When you have no frame of reference, it is difficult to question what you are learning. You take what you are given out of an unspoken faith that the teacher has integrity. The problem is if they are confused, you will become confused as well. If they are crazy, you become crazy. If they misrepresent themselves, you become a victim of deceit. This explains the attitude and behavior of the inner circle. I have no idea how his current students grapple with information presented on this site.
I was fortunate enough to find a balance. There were aspects to the training and conditioning that were worthwhile, however it came at a terrible personal and professional cost. Access to what ever knowledge there was to be gained required you to 'hide in the closet' – no pun intended.
The inability to question or challenge in this club created a stunted system that was able to mask its technical and socially pathological problems. It created a blind faith in ‘smashing some ones face in’ as the foundation for good form. The purpose in the end was not martial arts or self defense, it was a business model that dangled access to ‘knowledge’ but never quite delivered.
After I left, I witnessed Patenaude lose in a mixed martial arts competition and heard him utter that the rules of competition did not reflect reality (this was in the early 90's if I recall correctly). While this is true at one level, it also exposed the limitations and weakness in the system itself and approach to training. I suggest he does not compete because seasoned martial artists are not conditioned to be intimated by the package he has developed.
An environment of openness and the opportunity to question actually enriches a system and allows both students and the teacher to examine and validate the integrity of the system and its techniques. It speaks to the lineage of previous instructors and allows one to understand the nuances of a given form. It forms a dialogue that allows both students and the teacher to grow over time.
I am still training with my current instructor after 30 years and spent over 15 years teaching. I now train in a traditional system of kabudo as well. While I have trained in other systems over the years, I still maintain a deep relationship my original jujutsu sensei who is also one of my best, most valued friends. My current kabudo instructor welcomes my rank and experience from other systems.
The martial arts is a personal journey based on openness and tradition - not fear, intimation and secrecy.
I understand why I was drawn to it as an insecure young adult and after years of training, I can look back and completely understand why I left – I just wish it didn't take me so long to figure it out…
For those of you with children, always get to know your martial arts teacher and be sure to audit any instruction your children receive. This is one school you do not want your children to be involved in (no matter how old they are).
Thanks for taking the time to read this, thanks for letting me share my thoughts on a subject that haunted me for years...
6/28/2007 11:00pm, #65
- Join Date
- Mar 2006
Thanks for sharing your story Riittnoe. Can you please offer some more details on the competition you referred to in your post.
Originally Posted by Riittnoe
6/29/2007 7:34am, #66Originally Posted by ghyslain
If I ever get my **** together enough to start training again I'm definitely signing up with his school (which is quite near NDHQ where I work).
http://www.thaiboxing-ca.com/Jesus loves you. I think you're an asshole.
6/30/2007 7:55am, #67
- Join Date
- Jan 2007
yeah, what kind of MMA event did he participate? how did he lose?
btw, my wallet thanks me for having left FSD. 175$ per month for BBC x 2 years... jeez. if only i knew before i started....
6/30/2007 8:04am, #68
- Join Date
- Apr 2005
- BJJ, Ju-Jitsu
I think you have put up a good summary:
Originally Posted by RiittnoeOriginally Posted by Riittnoe"Sifu, I"m niether - I'm a fire dragon so don't **** with me!"
6/30/2007 1:33pm, #69
- Join Date
- Jun 2007
- No where near
- Proudly Shaolin Do.
great read, and the entire idea of that cult is just screwed up.
6/30/2007 3:23pm, #70
I hope people are reading this. I ran into another fanger (a blue/green, I believe) at my new gym recently who told me he read the stringfellow article just after he had joined, but didn't see the rest. He came around eventually, but probably would have left sooner if he had read these stories.