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My McDojo's "Point of No Return"

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    #76
    I had a really good TKD teacher when I was a child/teenager. A short while after getting my BB he was killed in a accident while driving home. His assistant (who was a 2nd or 3rd degree BB) took up his class but I stoped going because I found him too soft (my teacher was really hard on us, pushing our limits with endurance training and sparing, this guy was more about no touch point sparing, and getting younger kids and familys into the class). I took a year off when I moved about 100 miles away for work. Finally, i start looking and end up in this old korean guys school. He talks the talk and his class looked strict (although it was a forms class and not sparing which should of throw a flag that he didn't invite me to see a sparing class). They also taught hopkido and gumdo. I thought the idea of grappling would be something I was really interested in, but he said to take hopkido you also had to take TKD. He also wanted me to come in as a white belt and said I could quickly test up to my level if I was good enough (another flag). So I suckered up and signed the contract for a year. Went to a few classes and found out it was crap. He wouldn't let me attend the hopkido until I was a higher belt, and his tkd classes where WTF style (this was the first time I had ever seen WTF tkd). So basically it was not my TKD, it wasn't anything I had seen as TKD. I was disillusioned. I went to a few more schools but all I could find was ATA schools and they were more of the same (light sparing, very young instructors or very fat high belted guys with limited range of movements). After seeing black belts who couldn't kick or punch, and a few other things I just quit.

    I didn't even keep going during my contact, I just stopped and threw the cash away. It took me almost 2 years to get back into martial arts. I ended up going to a friends krav maga class. I had a blast with the speed of it and the freedom in sparing. A little grappling, a lot of endurance work with punching, kicking, knees, elbows etc. Tons of work with a partner and pads. And of course a good 1-2 hours a week of sparing. But the teacher was 'new' to krav maga and he quickly ran out of steam. I started to see techniques I didn't like, or just plain knew wouldn't work (and proved with some sparing on my own time). And I felt like I learned all he had to teach. I later found out he was an ATA TKD teacher doing a krav maga class on the side. The upside to that was the sparing was very good with lots of contact. I frequently went home feeling beaten and tired (in a good way).

    So again, I was disillusioned and took the summer off martial arts looking for some inspriation. I felt I needed to re-address what I wanted from martial arts. Did I want to be a sport figther? Well at my age most sport fighters are all ready established, so thats out. Self defense? I feel I have some skills to handle myself if I need too. Personal growth? I could use that, stress release, focus, etc. Scholar interest? Yes, I think that is a major driving factor.

    So I came up with my new goal. I decided I wanted to try all the arts I can. So firsts on the block was aikido. I found a local small school. I went there with an open mind and the teacher there really impressed me. He demostrated some great locks and throws on me and even answered my questions about all the what ifs. He allowed me to 'come at' him in a friendly sparing sort of way and was very impressive. We didn't fight, but I dont think we needed too. This guy is one of the most impressive martial artists I've ever met.

    He teachers a blend of styles from his exp. He had a wide range from judo, aikido, and jujutsu. We mainly focus on aikido, but ever now and then we will drill how to put a strike here or take this technique from the non violent to the violent (take this into the jujutsu realm, or add a strike, etc). And the technique works. We train in a varying resistive enviroment (resitsance gets stronger as skill increases). Its a very small class (under 10 people) and its almost free in comparison to other schools. I've never been more focused or more excited about anything.

    I still plan on my original goal of trying all the arts I can, but I think aikido will always be part of my training. I love this place and I dont think i'm ever going to leave. I'll just supliment it with other schools that I want to try. Currently I've been looking at a KK school, a judo class at the Y, and a BJJ/MMA gym down town.

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      #77
      This is such a good thread , thanks to everybody sharing!

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        #78
        I used to train at a really traditional Shotokan school. They trained hard, but most of their training methods were things like Kata, semi-free sparring, etc. There were some good things that offset a lot of the traditionalist b.s.: tough cardio conditioning, bag work, and they were moving into more hardcore sparring for the blackbelts. Well, time came around for me to test for my second degree blackbelt. The head honcho has us doing a few sets of basics up and down the floor when suddenly he stops and says "You're too slow, show me that you want it. Give it everything you have." So we all crank it up as far as it can go. We get done with everything, after I took a nice rib shot (some hard sparring again finally), and no one passes. Guess what the reason for me not passing was? I was going too hard and some of my techniques weren't as controlled as they should be. Hmmm, I'm told to show that I want it and to give everything I have, then I'm criticized for going too hard. Strike 1, actually count that as strike 2 as well, it pissed me off pretty bad.

        Afterwards, they said there were just a few things I needed to fix and that I could retest in 2-3 weeks, but I was moving out of state for school the next week. I did visit the last time I was in town. Turns out this old guy who once taught a class in which he spent 5 minutes explaining the right way to bow, got his second degree. The little zen opening ceremony at the beginning of the class was a nice reminder of how much time I wasted buying into all the bullshit hook line and sinker. Strike 3. I do BJJ now and just hope that someday I get the chance to take some of my old colleagues to the mat and show them there is more to learn than just how far the rising block should be from your head.

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          #79
          I left my old school because my new school has some rotties.

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            #80
            All Isshin-ryu is not created equal.

            I had an epiphany about 12 years ago. I had been studying Isshin-ryu Karate for about 15 years at a karate school that was fairly well respected in our area. I also ran my own dojo in a city about 15 miles away. However, I had grown increasingly disillusioned with tournament karate and self-defense techniques that in no way resembled the movements from the kata I was learning. I was ready to quit.

            Then in 1994, I became re-aquainted with a karate instructor from Carson, Iowa that I had met a few times before named Sherman Harrill. Sensei Harrill was giving a seminar on kata bunkai near Waterford, Michigan. He mostly covered Naihanchi kata. It blew me entirely away. At that seminar I realized that after 15 years of training, I knew absolutely nothing about karate. In 1995, I hosted my first in a series of seminars with Sensei Sherman Harrill and took off from there. I was still a member of this other dojo at this time. However, at a rank testing, I was told to change how I was then performing a kata movement back to "their way of doing it." I could not do that, because their way of doing it was wrong....not just different...but wrong. Wrong because it ignored correct body mechanics. I never looked back.

            I was accepted as a student by Sensei Harrill a short time later. Isshin-ryu Karate became a brave new world for me. It was sometimes painful for me to have to unlearn old habits, change my understanding and focus, and correct years of improperly performed techniques and kata movements. However, my karate has developed to a whole new level of understanding. It is fascinating to me that you can understand so much, but still know so little. I have so far to go. Thanks to my Sensei, I have a new appreciation for "real" Isshin-ryu Karate-do. I have only begun to comprehend the level of Sensei Harrill's skill and abilities. It is actually scary. I wish I had more time. Unfortunately, Sensei Harrill passed away in 2002. I will have to do the best I can with what he gave me and continue to work with some of his other senior students to add to my understanding.

            It is really unfortunate that so many students of Isshin-ryu Karate's founder, Tatsuo Shimabuku, continue in their ceaseless efforts to make Isshin-ryu Karate the laughing stock of the karate world. With an ever increasing over-abundence of high ranking Isshin-ryu "karate masters" who can barely stumble through a kata, it is with mixed emotions that I embrace my chosen art. True Isshin-ryu Karate is a dynamic, deadly, efficient fighting art. What passes for Isshin-ryu Karate in most dojos across this nation is only good for beating up drunks.

            Thank you, Sensei, for showing me they way!

            Kanpai Sensei!

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              #81
              It doesn't matter if Isshin-ryu is the laughing stock of the karate world when Karate is the laughing stock of the martial arts world.

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                #82
                I've never left a school but on a similar note, I went to a BJJ place for about 2 weeks to try it out. I liked it very much and the instuctor was a BB trained by Renzo Gracie. But the problem was they wanted me to sign up for a full 1 year contract, once you sign up thats it, I dont remember how much it was but it was a big lump of money to join, so I left.

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                  #83

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                    #84
                    Seriously now...

                    Originally posted by Adrian5
                    It doesn't matter if Isshin-ryu is the laughing stock of the karate world when Karate is the laughing stock of the martial arts world.
                    Oh boy! Thats special. Must be a real thoughtful intelligent person to impart such profound words of wisdom. Your instructor must be so proud!

                    I will grant that because of sports karate, commercialism, and the American propensity for fast food, many karate schools in this country are not worth spit. However, do not be fooled into thinking that there are no "real" karate dojos out there, quietly operating in the background, more concerned with developing their skill than making a quick buck or winning a plastic trophy.

                    Anyone interested in a serious discussion, or is this just a name calling group.
                    Last edited by Darren San; 2/26/2006 11:46am, . Reason: mispelled a word...sorry

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                      #85
                      Yes, we know you have Teh R34l Isshin.

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                        #86
                        First let me offer you th3 advice I was offered when I first started posting Darren. Keep it short unless you have something worthwhile to say. Second, judging by your last post you are talking about all these low key skewls opertaing in the background practicing the 'r3al krotty'. You better be careful next thing you know you'll be claiming u have secret knowledge handed down from ninja masters in some cave (see GI Joe issue 86?). So lets move on and except that you r new and we will tolerate your quest for intellectual conversation only so far. And as for your question about "is this a place just to call ppl names?" Of course not asshead. :new_321:

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                          #87
                          Originally posted by Darren San
                          Oh boy! Thats special. Must be a real thoughtful intelligent person to impart such profound words of wisdom. Your instructor must be so proud!

                          I will grant that because of sports karate, commercialism, and the American propensity for fast food, many karate schools in this country are not worth spit. However, do not be fooled into thinking that there are no "real" karate dojos out there, quietly operating in the background, more concerned with developing their skill than making a quick buck or winning a plastic trophy.

                          Anyone interested in a serious discussion, or is this just a name calling group.
                          The problem is that 90% of karate and tkd out there is utter crap. I've trained in good places and I've trained in crap places. When I first tried my hand at contact fighting (in a tkd school - GASP!) back in the late 90's I realized that a lot of what I had learned was bullshit. My tkd teacher did forms, and we did those fancy jumping spinning kicks. He also made sure we knew what was for fights and what was for show. As evidenced by the time I was fighting him, tried a jumping spinning heel kick. He charged in, grabbed me, slammed me in the tile floor and while I lay there in considerable pain he told me never to try that fancy shit in a fight again. He then went on to tell me that moves like that were not for fighting. The only purpose they have was to impress chicks and strengthen the body. He still taught us those moves....but he made sure we knew they wern't to be tried in a fight.

                          Sadly most karate and tkd teachers don't make that distinction hence why most of the dojos you will walk into are garbage. Hence why most people on here will tell you that karate and tkd are crap. They are right. It's sad but true. It's not the styles, it's the way they are taught and trained.

                          I love doing kata, it's relaxing and good for overall fitness. But it's nothing more than dancing for boys. Anyone who tells you otherwise is full of shit.

                          Don't expect anyone to respect your style of karate when 90% of karate schools teach worthless bullshit. Unless you're doing hard contact fighting, and learning takedowns/ground work you're missing out on a lot of the tools you need to defend yourself.

                          Until the average karate school becomes a place where you learn real seff defence the average bullshidoka will say karate sucks donkey balls. You can either accept that fact and prove them wrong by showing up to a throwdown or you can continue to get your knickers in a twist and bitch about the fact that you're not getting respect on these boards. I hope you choose option #1 because people don't have patience for option #2.


                          P.S. No I havn't been to a throwdown. But before you harp on me for that I was supposed to be at the last Toronto TD...got there late and the venue had changed. Had no way of getting in touch with anyone to find out where it was. Plus I don't claim to have th3 r3al shotokan, or any real fighting skills in general. In fact these days I kinda suck ass.

                          P.P.S. No I don't have stats to back up my percentages....that's just my way of saying "the vast majority". So don't fucking get bent out of shape by the numbers. You know the point I'm getting at.

                          P.P.P.S Welcome to Bullshido

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                            #88
                            I remember my first time sparring, after a month or so of TKD.

                            "How do I block? Like the way we practice? *demonstrates front down block*"

                            "No, of course not. Just try and not get hit."

                            "*blown away* But... why did we learn them?"

                            I was a dumb little fucker.

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                              #89
                              Originally posted by feedback
                              I remember my first time sparring, after a month or so of TKD.

                              "How do I block? Like the way we practice? *demonstrates front down block*"

                              "No, of course not. Just try and not get hit."

                              "*blown away* But... why did we learn them?"

                              I was a dumb little fucker.
                              I hear that shit.
                              I started a fight with a guy I didn't like after one year of taekwondo. I thought I could fight.
                              I was wrong.

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                                #90
                                Originally posted by Mjelva
                                I hear that shit.
                                I started a fight with a guy I didn't like after one year of taekwondo. I thought I could fight.
                                I was wrong.
                                I'm picturing you backing up while throwing grazing up-roundkicks until you quickly fall over. Am I right?

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