Thread: Christopher Allen TMA
9/03/2010 12:48am, #41
Looking at old versions of Alexander's orientalmartialarts.com site via the internet archive...
(screencap taken for posterity)
?FAST TRACK?WHY YOU DO NOT HAVE TO TRAIN FOR YEARS TO ACHIEVE YOUR INITIALGOAL!!!!?or
The rank system is a 20th Century invention, first introduced by JIGARO KANO, the Father of modern Judo. This system was later adopted by GUNJI KOIZUMI and eventually established as a modern practice by GICHIN FUNIKOSHI, the founder of Shotokan Karate. This was to satisfy the Western need for recognition of exactly where students are on the tuition ladder. Gradings were totally foreign to all genuine martial arts until the start of the 20th Century. There were certificates awarded at various levels, but in classical martial art, the belt is underneath the HAKAMA for example. However, it can take a lifetime using this system to reach any realistic rank. Ranks were initially done on a time scale i.e. you could not be a 5th Dan until you were 35 years of age, 7th Dan until you were 55, 9th Dan until you were 65 and 10th Dan, any length of time after that but at least 80 years old. The final certificate of achievement was MENKYO-KAIDAN, the ultimate attainment.
So, to say that one could achieve 1st Dan Black Belt level is quite realistic on a weekend or weekday course with your chosen instructor, as there is a very, very long way to go after that. 1st Dan, is the barest minimum standard in most martial arts and of little importance in reality. 1st Dan, despite the title, is the lowest on a 1-10 scale, so you should have every expectation of being able to achieve your 1st Dan in your chosen Arts and start that long and lonely path that so many have travelled before you, to your final rank attainment.
So, all you need to do, is to dedicate the next 50 years of your life to your chosen art, quite simple really !!!!!.In all cases, please do remember, that you will need to do a minimum of 2 days per subject to get a grading at black belt level. You could do an additional one-day course in preparation for a future grading in another chosen art. On a one-day course you could possibly achieve up to second KYU Blue Belt but not Black Belt rank. All courses are covered by our Martial Art Qualification certification. This qualification will enable you to start instructing on attaining your 1st Dan and will enable you to acquire professional indemnity insurance, which is essential before forming a club.As an example of the present chaotic state of rank awards we re-iterate a reply to a student who had been training in martial arts for many years, but could not find the support and self confidence to make the step towards becoming a professional martial arts coach and actually making a living at something that they loved doing. Read the following reply to a Tai Chi Student and apply it to your present grading situation. When the student in question asked his Sifu
if he could do a teacher training course, was told, “You will have to train for many years yet to consider that position". That student is now a professional coach making a good living, enjoying life after training and qualifying after a Fast Track course.
Hi - - - - thanks for your email. Yes, I can teach you to become a Tai Chi Instructor, with a fast track course, providing that you have some experience and aptitude, as it appears that you do. There is no Chinese ruling about how long one should train before becoming an instructor. I can tell you that there are several self-appointed “ governing bodies” but there is no official governing body or set rules about Tai Chi training. To set rules and to enforce extended training periods is totally unreasonable. No one has the right to say how long it takes to become an Instructor. Who has the right to set these extended training periods? Extended training periods are in my humble opinion a get rich, money-making system with extensive on-going costs. To set rules, conditions and extended training periods is against the whole principal of Tai Chi. Tai Chi is fundamentally a complete system of freedom of thought, action, mind and deed. The recently accepted symbol of Tai Chi i.e. the Yin/Yang symbol, proposed that all things interact equally and opposite with each other and that everything is possible, as long as everything is in balance. However, from the Zen point of view to make distinction between this and that/ black and white/ up and down/ forward and back, or any other word that you can think of that has an opposite, is to already sub-divide the senses. In Zen, we propose the centre path of no choice, i.e. the middle way, in Tai Chi or any martial art all things are possible and it would be totally against the principals of Tai Chi to set rules. One has to realise the fundamental thinking behind the concept of Tai Chi and the concepts of Tao. Most instructors I have seen and the classes I have witnessed, involved so much esoteric rubbish, avoiding totally the actual pure tuition of Tai Chi by including such things as push hands, meditation, Gestalt reasoning, visualisation and touchy feely encounter groups etc. Some classes even ask you to bring a blanket or a cushion so you know you will have to sit down a lot! We, at the Alexander Tai - Chi Foundation, are a direct transmission school. We teach nothing but Tai Chi, to music, totally avoiding all other distractions and diversities. In Tai Chi we are totally alone, there is no opposing force. There is in reality, no enemy except yourself. Tai Chi is the purest of martial arts and should not be clouded by the other issues that instructors pad out their classes with. I suggest that you find someone, who can “cut” (if you’ll pardon the words) “ the crap” that goes with some Tai Chi tuition. I can’t hope in an email to convince you of the validity of my reasoning, but in Tai Chi and all martial arts, all things are possible, in all possible worlds. Take no-ones word (not even mine) about the rules, regulations and constrictions of Tai Chi. There are none, otherwise it would not be Tai Chi, it would be an enforced, regimented system. You are a leaf floating in the stream of life; you have the right to follow the stream down any rivulet that the stream takes you. Tai Chi should impose no rules, Tai Chi just is. At the Alexander Tai - Chi Foundation we have one rule, Think big. In other words, "Break out of the classical mess", as Bruce Lee once said). Follow your heart, to that life long dream of actually making a living out of something that you love doing, be it Tai - Chi, Swordsmanship, Karate or Kung - Fu.
9/03/2010 1:16am, #42
More information dump. There's a lot to be found by web archive...
Jade Mountain Kung Fu is his own style...
(Shaolin -Taiji -Kung -Fu)Jade Mountain Style
Shaolin-Taiji-Kung-Fu, Jade Mountain Style is based on Shaolin fighting methods, basic Tai-Chi-Chuan technique and effective modern Kung-Fu technique. It is a dynamic, mildly exertive, free flowing, expressive Chinese form of choreographed movements based on ancient Chinese internal/external systems.It has been formulated and developed by Jon Alexander over many years of training in various Chinese martial arts and is based on traditional/non traditional training methods and combat skills.The main tuition method is by learning the Jade Mountain Form in 10 parts.
Various applications are shown as the form develops.The Style is relatively difficult to learn and any previous experience of Tai-Chi or Kung-Fu would be a great advantage.Regular practice can help rejuvenate your senses, improve your health and fitness, help you to lose weight and generally improve your flexibility in daily life.
Zen–Shin-Kyudo-Kai offers a 1day short, intensive course on Japanese Archery with certification.Zen-Shin-Kyudo-Kai does not use the traditional KYUDO glove method of release but uses a Western style TABI on the middle 2 fingers. The main style Zen-Shin-Kyudo-Kai teaches is OGASAWARA-RYU. The most leading practitioner in the world was the late HIDAHARA OHNUMA of MINOTO KU in Tokyo. HIDAHARA OHNUMA was the founder of the ASAHI Archery Company.
Master a weapon in 1/2 days, even with experience of other weapons??
Zen -Shin -Kobudo -Kai(Small weapons)Kobudo is generally defined as small weapons training.We can offer an intensive 1 or 2 day course in a variety of weapons and providing that you have some experience and practice of other weapons we can usually add a second or third weapon to your armory of weapon skills.Weapons generally accepted would be Sai (pair of prong forks), Rokushaku- Bo (long stick), Katana (Japanese Sword), Rattan Stick (Escrima), Nunchaku Kobutan, Tonfa, Broad Sword etc.This can usually result in grading and certification to various standards.
After many years of training and teaching throughout the world, Jon Alexander formulated and developed an exciting, new and dynamic sword style with Kata as the main teaching system. Whilst learning the basic Kata (forms), new teachings are introduced at each Kata level. This may be retreating or advancing steps, down cuts, angle cuts, side cuts, and many more effective methods of cutting. Of special interest are the artery and underarm cuts, involving reverse grip of the Katana. Each individual Kata has its own unique Shutsu-ha (drawing method), Shiburi (blood shake) and Modosu-Ken (resheathing methods). There are no repetitive or excessive stretching exercises or moving or marching up and down the dojo. All cutting practice is directly in relation to the next Kata. Zen-Shin-Do-Kenjutsu is unique in that it shows extensive use of MUNE, (the back of the Katana), which can be even more important than the edge, in deflecting, diverting and blocking attacking cuts and includes unique armour piercing techniques. Providing the student has the aptitude they can expect to reach 1st Dan, Black Belt within a year. The main criteria of Zen-Shin-Do-Kenjutsu grading, is correct performance of the required Kata, performed to high standard, as well as sincerity, dedication, correct attitude and KATAGI (Samurai spirit). Certain aspects of Zen are embodied within the style, as Zen was the religion of the Samurai. Recommended reading and other input methods heighten the student’s awareness and practice of the true meaning of Samurai Swordsmanship and the spiritual and physical motivation behind the Art. A typical training session would involve, cutting practice to various angles, examination of effective use of the Katana, Kata, Boken (wood sword work)
tsuka-ate (handle striking technique), some kneeling practice and at 3rd Dan level actual TAMASHIKIRI (live cutting practice)
SPECIAL NEWSFORALL REGISTERED STUDENTS OFZen-Shin-Budo-KaiREGARDINGGRADING BY VIDEO/DVD EVIDENCE.IF YOU ARE INTERESTED CONTACT US FOR FULL DETAILS
Various historical photos for those more knowledgeable than I to mull over...
Hey, mods - do you think that this guy is worthy of his own thread?
9/03/2010 1:36am, #43
It should also be noted that Jon Alexander is listed as 9th Degree/Dan in Karate, Kenjutsu, Tai Chi Chuan, Kobudo, Kyudo, Kung Fu, Kendo and Aikido
here, at the International Black Belt Registry (which would appear to be something to do with him, considering that he's member #1 on there):
9/03/2010 5:47am, #44
- Join Date
- Aug 2010
- Kickboxing, BJJ
Seems Chris has a habit of attending day courses to become an instructor....
It looks like some of Jons websites are down for "maintenance" as well.
A friend and I were looking through one of the Tring Martial Arts Krav Maga brochures and it stated it would take a student a year of training to become a black belt. Is that the norm for Krav Maga?
Chris has still not confirmed or denied whether he obtained his Krav Maga experience from weekend courses which is a bit of a piss take considering he expects his students to study for a year before they become a black belt.
9/03/2010 7:45am, #45
- Join Date
- Aug 2010
- Kickboxing, BJJ
This lists Chris as a level 1 black belt in Tai Chi Chuan not 5th. Only thing I can find on the site that resembles a date is in the source and it's 1999.
9/03/2010 7:50am, #46
Yes, many do intensive seminars to give levels so, it wouldn't surprise me if he achieved a Black belt in some Krav school in a year.
9/03/2010 8:50am, #47
Thought I'd swing by the UKMA site and see if anything's changed. It has.
Looks like Mr. Allen has updated his resume with more details. I note that the Judo 1st Dan has been removed now and he also makes it clear that the 'oriental martial arts' thing is honorary.
Black Belt Qualifications
5th Degree Tai Chi Chuan - Yang 24 Form, Baduanjin Qigong & Jade 8 Form
3rd Degree Freestyle Kickboxing
3rd Degree Krav Maga (equiv Lv 2)
Competition Referee and Judge (Chinese Forms, Light & Semi Contact Kickboxing)
Grading Examiner (Kickboxing, Krav Maga, Tai Chi & Chinese Forms)
First Aid Trained (approved by CIEH)
Lv3 Child Protection & Safeguarding
Enhanced CRB Clearance
Accreditations & Awards
Honorary 6th Degree Oriental Martial Arts (awarded by National Council Oriental Martial Arts)
Highly Commended - Dacorum Sports Awards 2010
Most Dedicated Instructor - BBI 2009
Life Member Zen Shin Budo Kai
Guild of Independent Martial Artists
Association of Martial Arts Professionals
Federation of Small Businesses
(relevant stuff highlighted by me)
The early years - I was born in Cornwall in 1975 and have been passionate about martial arts since joining my local judo club at the age of 9. Originally, my parents got me into the martial arts as a way of giving me self confidence and the ability to defend myself against bullying. Throughout my childhood, it is fair to say that I was the victim of bullies, for no other particular reason than being a tall, lanky child without much self confidence. I can honestly reassure any parent reading this that in my own personal circumstances martial arts helped me gain an incredible amount of self confidence as I knew that I could defend myself if I really needed to, but one of the most important tenets of martial arts is self control - I had the discipline to not use my skills unless it was for self defence.
My Judo sensei was an inspiration to me, and I committed myself to training in the style of Judo from 9 until the age of 17, achieving a 1st degree three days before my 17th birthday. Typically, as most teenagers do, I became interested in other activities and whilst I left the martial arts training in 1992, I still maintained my interest and passion for it. - I do not teach Judo, but some of its techniques do feature in my instruction in Kickboxing and Krav.
Kickboxing - In 1999 I left Cornwall to pursue my career in sales and marketing, and moved to Hertfordshire where my interest in martial arts was renewed under a local sensei called Richard Farmer who taught Freestyle Kickboxing. After 6 years of training (normally between 3 to 4 classes per week) I qualified to Black Belt 1st degree in Freestyle Kickboxing, on 3rd April 2005.
On the 15th July 2005, I started Tring Martial Arts as a once a week class held at the Red Cross Hall.
Throughout the rest of 2005, 2006 and 2007 I continued to train, compete and instruct at TMA, qualifying to 2nd degree in Freestyle Kickboxing on 18th March 2007.
Shortly after this grading, I sadly left Richard's organisation and the WUMA association for professional reasons. After a short spell being affiliated to a number of other associations, I finally joined a not-for-profit association called the Guild of Independent Martial Artists, where all grades are ratified and recorded.
In September 2007, I left my full time employment to set up UK Martial Arts Ltd, as a martial arts training company. On 29th May 2010, I achieved my 3rd degree black belt at a grading panel organised by Master James Latus of Kernow Martial Arts, who is a good friend and colleague, but after 6 hours of grading and no end in sight I started to question just how much I liked this man, thankfully my grading was completed after a further 1 hour of hard work. I am excitedly waiting to take my 4th degree hopefully in 2014.
T'ai Chi Ch'uan & Oriental Martial Arts, I first met sensei Jon Alexander from the National Council for Oriental Martial Arts and Zen Shin Budo Kai in late 2003, when I organised to travel to his home in Cornwall to train with him in Tai Chi. I trained with Jon on a personal basis from 9am until 4pm daily for 7 days, after which I returned home (knackered!) to practice the Yang 24 Form (Peking Style) which he had taught me. I continued to practice the form on my own and in several more private sessions with Jon, eventually I returned on 17th June 2005 to take my 1st degree black belt and instructor qualifications.
Since 2005, I have been teaching the Yang 24 Form, sometimes known as the Peking or Bejing Style and have had the pleasure in transmitting the benefits of this wonderful martial art to many, many students.
Throughout the period between 2005 and 2008 I returned to train with Jon many times and each time found his teaching to be very motivational and of the highest quality. In 2007 I achieved 3rd degree and in May 2009 (and one of my most cherished memories), that Jon suprised me with a promotion to the rank of 5th Degree Black Belt in Tai Chi and and bestowed an honorary title of Master (6th Degree) in Oriental Martial Arts. Jon felt that my dedication to the one form and to my efforts to promote martial arts training in general needed to be recognised. I am still to this day incredibly honoured and proud to be recognised for my efforts in this way and to have met such as inspirational sensei.
On March 28th, 2010 I travelled to Leeds to meet and train with Master Wang Xun of Zengzhou, Henan Province who was leading a seminar on the Yang Long Form and Yang Sword Form, I learnt a great deal from Master Wang who helped me to understand more about my existing knowledge and validating my own training with Jon. He was a very generous instructor, giving as much information and assistance as he could. I found the seminar to be highly motivational and I apply his advice in my daily practice of the Yang 24 Form.
In 2006, I attended a training seminar with a visiting Krav Maga expert called Amnon Maor, of the Maor Self Defence Institute Israel. Like many practicing martial artists, I felt that I was lacking experience in reality based self defence and yearned for the opportunity to learn. The day long seminar was an amazing experience and something of a wake-up call, it made me realise that some of the skills I had learnt along the way weren't going to cut it on the street, so I set out to find a way to learn Krav Maga and to apply the skills in my own classes.
On 26th October 2008, I attended a week long instructor course with Moni Aizik of Commando Krav Maga. The course was very intensive and at the end of it, I was awarded a Level 2 instructor qualification and set about running my own classes using Moni's progressive system.
In 2009, I chose not to renew my membership to Commando Krav Maga. Instead, I decided to form an independant club utilising our own syllabus called Krav Concepts™ which incorporates my existing knowledge with skills from other martial arts such as Judo, Systema, Kali and Kickboxing. Our syllabus makes no claims to have been taught to military personnel, instead it seeks to provide skills to defend against the most common forms of violence and crime that students may face on the streets.
Krav Concepts™ approaches each self defence scenario with the simplest and most direct solution, only 25% of our training is within the dojo, we practice our skills in urban areas such as streets, car parks, night clubs and utilise other "greener" areas such as fields, tow paths and woodland. Krav Concepts strives to provide 100% reality based scenarios and these aren't often found in nice warm dojo's.
- 1st Dan Judo at 17... is that possible in the UK? Thought you had to be 18? Doesn't teach Judo at his school, per se, so understandable why he chose to remove it from his resume.
- 11 years of training to reach 3rd Dan Kickboxing - sounds not too unreasonable a period of time. Did previously find record of him competing.
- Trained Tai Chi with Jon Alexander for 1 week intensive course in 2003, plus several private sessions over the next two years or so. Received 1st degree blackbelt at end of this and began teaching. Not a 2 day course with blackbelt at the end - but doesn't seem like much training to me, considering that he'll be instructing others.
- Trained with Jon Alexander (went to his home in Cornwall?) on many occasions between 2005 and 2008.
- Received 3rd degree blackbelt in Tai Chi from Jon Alexander in 2007 and 5th degree/6th degree honorary Master of Oriental Martial Arts from same in 2009.
- Began instructing Krav after one-week intensive course with Moni Aizik and previous seminar with Amnon Maor
- Who added the Systema and Kali to his new Krav system?
Scans of his certs, which he's been kind enough to provide:
Don't really know about WUMA - but the World Head Of Family Sokeship Council may be a red flag.
This is from the Wang Xun seminar.
9/03/2010 9:25am, #48
- Join Date
- Apr 2009
Honorary 6th Degree Oriental Martial Arts (awarded by National Council Oriental Martial Arts)
Yeah: but the "National Council Oriental Martial Arts" is just another way of saying "Jon Alexander" - who is also "Zen Shin Budo Kai" and the "International Black Belt Registry."
Seen it before, many times: some guy starts up a fantasy organization, calls it the "National" or "Worldwide" or "International" something or other, and lets people jump to the conclusion that there's something "official" about it; or:
some guy starts up several organizations that are really the same thing with different names, and lets people believe that they're all different and that his grades (etc.) are being recognized by several different "governing bodies".
Since when have there been grades in Tai Chi, anyway?
An old story, isn't it?
Last edited by HenryT; 9/03/2010 9:39am at .
9/03/2010 9:27am, #49
the syllabus, minimum age for 1st Dan is currently 15 under the BJA and 16 IIRC in the BJC. It may at some point in the past have been higher, or lower, of course.
9/03/2010 10:28am, #50
- Join Date
- Aug 2010
- Kickboxing, BJJ
I'm pleased he has put some further information up, fair play to him. At least people have the information available now and if they want to go and train under him that's their choice.
I agree with you HenryT it's a sorry state of affairs that these organisations keep popping up and it annoys me to no end when people offer fast track black belt courses. It really doesn't do anything other than dilute martial arts.