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MarkT13
6/11/2008 5:47pm,
I've been a perpetual MA beginner over the years - TaeKwonDo, Shotokan, Chito Ryo, etc. - the schools haved folded or I have moved and since I've lived in rural areas, it's usually awhile before I can find another MA school that seems decent and close enough to get to regulary.

Anyway, my question is does the Great Master Mythos - amazing stories about how a key figure in the history (not ancient, but within the last generation or 2) of the style/art can do amazing demonstrations of skill -- these stories are very common. Would these types of unproven stories (usually second or third hand accounts at best) be evidence of the McDojo type of school or are they just common place to attract younger members and create some excitement around the gym? They aren't usually the local Sensei/Shihan, but someone once or twice removed.

I recall that when UFC was first getting popular, there were several threads on the Dojang Digest and other MA related newsgroups asking why these great masters of the traditional Japanese and Korean MA styles (the styles which Americans tended to first think of when hearing about MA) weren't getting in and cleaning up. The answer was, of course, that they were above all of that.

Any thoughts (on how much of red flag such stories pushed around a MA school should be considered)?

Thanks!

AikidoBot
6/11/2008 5:48pm,
So MarkT13, you decided to go ahead and register huh? Cool. Don't forget to review your dojo (http://www.bullshido.net/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=83).

G-Off
6/11/2008 8:41pm,
Oh yes. Story in my association of the grandmaster falling off a church steeple and popping right up off the ground because he fell with proper break-fall technique.

aaaargh
6/12/2008 6:56am,
I think in karate these stories are very common and are just a part of the culture. I've come across so many over the years- one guy killed a tiger with his bare hands, another let a whole town beat him without getting injured, and of course the old "nukite through a side of beef."

Maybe it's just because I did a lot of karate, but I can't ever remember hearing similar stories from any other martial art.

anza
6/12/2008 10:07am,
In my son's Karate school they constantly refer to the "bible" written by the founder of their style, named "Principles of Perfect Execution", available for purchase for $29.95.

The kids would oooh and aaaah whenever Grandmaster, eleventy-level black belt, shows up to teach class.

Asriel
6/12/2008 10:14am,
I remember being told about how a Wing Chun master rooted himself to the spot so that two body builders couldn't lift his old and frail body.

BudoMonkey
6/12/2008 10:50am,
Those stories suck. Sometimes they are so cool you just really want to believe them.

Mine was always presented as a 'legend' that may or may not have been true.

The story is of an old master, who in his old age had grown to have frail legs uncapable of hard training. So, he took up a walking stick and settled into the role of cook for his monestary. One day, while all the other students were out on a training excercise, there was a seige on the temple by 40 or so soldiers, all armed with swords and other bladed weapons. The story goes that the master drove them into the courtyard, where he killed EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM (or they ran off or something), using only his wooden walking stick.

When I was a little kid, it was too awesome to not believe.

MarkT13
6/12/2008 1:36pm,
Thanks for the replies so far. So, I gather you don't really fault the school(s) too much for this? I kind of get the old legends, but when the stories are more current (of the instructor's instructor), I kind of either want to see the demo or feel like the school is tarnished some in my estimation for doing this.

BudoMonkey
6/12/2008 1:39pm,
Yea, Mark. If it's a ridiculously inflated story about the actual instructor or the instructor's instructor I would say that is definetely a red flag.

What kind of stories are you talking about?

Chili Pepper
6/12/2008 2:10pm,
Those stories suck. Sometimes they are so cool you just really want to believe them.

Mine was always presented as a 'legend' that may or may not have been true.

The story is of an old master, who in his old age had grown to have frail legs uncapable of hard training. So, he took up a walking stick and settled into the role of cook for his monestary. One day, while all the other students were out on a training excercise, there was a seige on the temple by 40 or so soldiers, all armed with swords and other bladed weapons. The story goes that the master drove them into the courtyard, where he killed EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM (or they ran off or something), using only his wooden walking stick.

When I was a little kid, it was too awesome to not believe.

That's the story of Jin Nan Luo defending the Shaolin Temple against the Yellow Turban rebels, poorly rendered.

escrimador6
6/12/2008 2:15pm,
I have yet to find a martial art that doesn't have some bullshit story associated with it.

wavy tiger
6/12/2008 2:52pm,
Actually, I wouldn't say that such stories automatically = bad school or red flag. It depends on whether or not there's a context to them. My old Sifu would occasionaly tell us stories like that, but they were always done to give context to a move, or to give cultural insite, etc. On the rare occasions when someone would actually ask him if the stories were true he would look at them real funny (as if to say "stupid round eye") and then just walk away shaking his head.

For me it's only bad if the person telling the story is preaching it like it's truth.

MarkT13
6/12/2008 3:01pm,
Similar to the ones mentioned so far:

The master defeating 7 black belts simultaneously in full contact contest and taking no punishment in the process.

The elderly master trying to avoid conflict from a young thug twice his size and deflecting all blows, but being very low key until he finally strikes back and knocks the thug out cold with his first strike - one that appeared to not a full speed punch.

The instructor standing on the back of standard chair balancing with one foot for hours.

BudoMonkey
6/12/2008 3:17pm,
UUUUgggh. Those are exactly the kind of stories I would call bullshit on, and do nothing to emphasize any technique or situation as wavy tiger pointed out. Just a bunch of crap being spewed from the mouths of guys who've probably never been in a fight to lure guillable students into believing what they are doing will really work.

Except maybe the chair thing. I mean, that's conceivable I suppose.

Pointless, but conceivable.

escrimador6
6/12/2008 3:35pm,
UUUUgggh. Those are exactly the kind of stories I would call bullshit on, and do nothing to emphasize any technique or situation as wavy tiger pointed out. Just a bunch of crap being spewed from the mouths of guys who've probably never been in a fight to lure guillable students into believing what they are doing will really work.

Except maybe the chair thing. I mean, that's conceivable I suppose.

Pointless, but conceivable.

Just because someone tells bullshit stories, doesn't mean they can't fight. All arts have bullshit stories in them, even the good ones.

BudoMonkey
6/12/2008 3:59pm,
**** you escrimidor, you're full of ****.

Anyone who tells those 'beat up 7 black belts in nhb fights without getting a scratch' is full of **** too. And you can take that to the bank.

Don't open your mouth if it's full of crap next time.