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That GKR guy reporting in again

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    That GKR guy reporting in again

    Hey all,

    I was on here a couple of months back. I posted this thread

    Tl;dr I've been doing GKR for a while, read a bunch of bad stuff about it on the net and decided to try a bunch of either styles as a result. When I last left you, I had tried out Wing Chun, Goju-Ryu and Taekwondo. Well, just in case any of you were interested, I've done a bunch of other stuff since then and I thought I'd come back and say hi, and get some opinions on where to go from here.

    So for the last 6 months or so I've been consistently training (once a week or more), in:

    Go-Kan Ryu Karate (still going. Despite what I've read and experienced elsewhere, my regional manager makes the style worthwhile. We practice contact, techniques closer to their original Shotokan/Goju variations and kata which is slowly becoming closer to the original forms as well).

    Shaolin Kung Fu



    I was also training in Goju-Ryu for about 3 months but dropped it. I'll go into detail about each other style I've tried so far and why. As a general note, you'll see that the styles I've tried so far are not practical, combat styles (Capoeira especially). After doing a bunch of different stuff I find I'm less of a fighter and more of a forms/kata/patterns kinda guy. I like the look of martial arts, and (to provide a hypothetical example), if I was to take up martial arts as a profession, I'd be more interested in, say, film fight choreography than being a professional cage fighter etc. As such, just take my testimonials with a grain of salt. The styles I've done definitely have what I have been looking for, but may not be what everyone else is into. Anyway onto the styles

    Shaolin Kung Fu.

    Found a cool place that teaches traditional Shaolin Kung Fu near where I live. I came across it while looking for a Wushu school (this school teaches Kung Fu, boxing, contemporary Wushu, San Da/San Shou, tai chi and acrobatics). Cheap prices and an excellent curriculum. The master there is also excellent and what he does and a really good teacher. I train at Shaolin Kung Fu Guan ( Gonna put it out there right now that it's a very traditional style, and as such we don't do any form of sparring in the Kung Fu class (however the school also runs San Da/San Shou classes and I'll get onto that later)
    When I first tried it out, I found the straight-leg kicks, long and low exaggerated stances and emphasis on jumping/spinning kicks to be slightly impractical. I maintain that some of the kicks are combat impractical, but after studying the style for a while now I have managed to glean plenty of combat applicable stuff from it. More importantly, the style has really, really helped me improve my flexibility (head kicks are a breeze now (straight legged or more traditional karate kicks, w/e). I've also learnt some really amazing forms, have the opportunity to study a huge range of weapons as I get more advanced, and even got to train with the grandmaster of the Shaolin Temple, Shi De Yang, upon his visit to Australia last week. The style doesn't use a grading system, and rates are really cheap. Overall I've been loving what I can get out of Shaolin Kung Fu.


    I found a great Capoeira school at West End called Xango ( They seem to be the only place in Brisbane to study the style. I was interested in Capoeira, once again, because it just looks impressive and really fun to do. Training there is great for my flexibility and overall fitness. While the "sparring" they do there (the Roda) is not really sparring in any sense, more of a dancing game kinda thing, I've learnt a lot of badass kicks that I have actually managed to use in a more open sparring situation in karate or taekwondo. I've seen some MMA fighters incorporate elements of Capoeira in a similar way. The teacher there is really great and I've been going there consistently for a while now, with no intention of stopping.


    I'm training with a Taekwondo school near where I live that falls under the Jidokwan banner. I'm gonna put it out there right now that of all the styles i've tried, Taekwondo has impressed me the least. I'm training at a different school to the one I tried earlier in the year (no longer training at ONETKD, their prices were to expensive). I won't post the name of the school I'm training at purely because I don't want to give them a bad name.
    This is because I was very unimpressed with the level of the students there. I've been training there now for 6 months and have graded to yellow belt. While I have learned some different, interesting techniques, and have DEFINITELY improved my cardio fitness (so much of Taekwondo seems to be based on that, in both schools I tried), the actual skill level of many of the students there I found to be quite low. The higher black belts (3rd degree and above) are good, but I found a lot of the students at lower grades than that to have bizarrely poor technique. I've seen massive inconsistencies between technique varying from student to student, even among black belts.
    The main issue I think really is the speed at which people grade. My understanding of Taekwondo (by taking a look at the curriculum of a number of schools) is that black belt can be achieved in about 2 years. To me, that seems too soon. In GKR it's a minimum of 5 years, same with the Goju-Ryu school I trained at. Reaching Graduo in Capoeira takes something like 7 years. I feel like pushing students along at that sort of pace, awarding black belts where they shouldn't really be is a little silly.
    All that being said though, at the class I train at, the instructor is the 7th dan grandmaster of the club. He's actually quite good, knows and teaches the exact correct technique, pushes his students and has taught me some cool stuff.
    Part of me is really not sure why I'm continuing Taekwondo though, as 80% of what I'm learning (basic kicks, strikes and blocks) is almost identical to karate. I guess the cardio fitness is good, and their jumping/spinning head kicks are cool to learn. And it's like a block away from my house and really cheap. I dunno. If I was to drop a style it would probably be this one, but it does complement my other training so I've had no reason to do so.


    I dropped this a few months ago, on account of it being too similar to GKR. I learnt a lot of really great karate training with Goju-Ryu ( It really helped me understand some thing which GKR brushed over, improve my upper body strength, and round out my karate knowledge. However, after a few months, I found the training to become a bit same-samey. A lot of what we did each class was exactly the same kinds of combinations and exercises, using the same techniques and stances, most of which I already did at GKR. Goju gave me a better understanding of how various techniques work, how to apply them, the origins of them, etc., but once I had picked up that knowledge, there was little difference between what I was training at Goju and what I was training at GKR. The one thing I do miss is their sparring. The school I trained at was renowned for being one of the toughest Goju karate schools. The master of the school didn't like the WKF kumite tournaments, preferring to enter his students into Enshinkahn and Kyokushin full contact tournaments. As such we did full contact sparring in class. If I'm honest, the contact was only a little more contact than we practice at black belt training in GKR. It did make a difference though. I found myself fighting in different ways and blocking much, much better.
    But despite this, the repetitiveness, similarity to GKR and the inconvenient time (I was finding it difficult towards the end to make classes due to transport issues), I ultimately dropped it.

    So anyway yeah, there you go. I've been trying some other stuff and I love it. My question to you is, what do you reckon I should do next? (inb4 drop capoeira coz its just dancing)

    As I mentioned above, the Kung Fu school also teaches San Da and San Shou. Having read good things about this style (styles? My understanding is somewhat limited. As far as I know they're somewhat interconnected, with San Da being the striking and San Shou being the throwing? Anyway, I digress), I'm going to pick this up when my summer uni holidays come round (already training 6 nights a week and doing a 7th is just a little too much atm). I also intend to try out Wushu.

    I have been tossing up whether to try Shotokan, as I have a friend who learns at a great Shotokan school (I've watched them train). Their katas look awesome to learn, but I feel like I would probably be in a similar situation as with Goju-Ryu, finding myself repeating a lot of stuff. Shotokan seemed even closer to GKR than Goju. I feel like my limited time would be better spent doing something like San Da.

    I'm also feeling one response is going to be to learn BJJ or Judo (or some similar throwing style). I feel like learning a full-on grappling/floor work style would definitely round out my fighting, however as I said above, I'm more interested in badass flippy-spinny-jumpy kick kinda stuff when it comes to MA in general. I was originally going to pick up BJJ but yeah, just decided against it through lack of interest. As I said above, I'm going to start going along to the San Da/San Shou classes at SKFG. They do full contact sparring in San Da and throwing in San Shou, so I feel like that would REALLY fill in the blanks in my training at the moment.

    The last thing I feel like people will probably suggest is to drop GKR in favour of something like Shotokan. A fair enough assumption. Having learnt more about the "business" side of GKR, I've found that most of the accusations of pyramid like tactics with the money appear to be true. Robert Sullivan is a terrible karate-ka and has woeful business ethics. HOWEVER, as I've said before, these issues have never effected me (nor have issues of under qualified instructors, watered down techniques, no-contact). While until I started training at black belt class, we didn't train with any contact, I maintain that in my region in GKR, none of these issues are apparent. We train with contact at black belt class (the RM has been more open to that and is continuing to open up in regards to this, now allowing take downs, elbows and knees in kumite), sempais "black and white belts" are rarely given their own class (are mostly kept as assistants to higher black belts), and are not any rank lower than 4th Kyu (the limit is 6th Kyu for us but we don't have any 6th Kyu sempais). And after observing Shotokan classes and training in Goju-Ryu, all the technical stuff is mostly the same. I can't speak for other regions/areas around the world, but for me, I see no reason to leave GKR. I can get over the shoddy business tactics of the club due to excellent martial arts training from my regional manager. If I didn't have my particular RM my decision would probably be different. However seeing as he has black belts in Shotokan, Aikido and GKR, and has trained in a number of other styles, and is so open in regards to contact etc, I'm perfectly fine staying where I am.

    So yeah. In case any of you were interested, there's my story.

    I can respect your desire to learn aesthetically pleasing martial arts, as you seem to be aware that is what they are. However, I would suggest you trial some of the practical martial arts for two reasons, one, to see how fun they are and two, to deconstruct your delusion about practical martial arts. Put it this way, I'd say the chances are comparable that someone who trains in Jiu Jitsu is as likely to become a cage fighter as someone who trains any of the styles you listed would become a film fight choreographer. Your preconceptions are your limitation.

    Of all the martial arts I have done, the ones that bring me the greatest benefit of mind, body, and soul, have been practical. Why waste your time following in footsteps of that which you know to be ineffective?
    Originally posted by Devil
    I think Battlefields and I had a spirited discussion once about who was the biggest narcissist. We both wanted the title but at the end of the day I had to concede defeat. Can't win 'em all.
    Originally posted by BackFistMonkey
    I <3 Battlefields...


      Hmmm, would you be open to some inter-style sparring? There's a few of us heading down brisvegas way from amac for the UFC in December, we could get a throwdown happening, would you be open to some no ego sparring?
      2018 Male Purple Belt Adult No Gi
      #2 Ranked Competitor - QBJJC



        There is beauty in throwing another/being thrown to mother earth. She's always there, with open arms.
        Carter Hargrave's Jeet Can't Do


          Originally posted by hungryjoe View Post

          There is beauty in throwing another/being thrown to mother earth. She's always there, with open arms.
          I'm pinching that, Joe!
          "So, yeah, Zen teachers may well insult you, work you to the bone, hit you with sticks, shout verbal abuse at you, and punch the shit out of you.
          And when the shit's been punched out of you, you might just find that you're far better-off without it." - Vieux Normand

          "So in short, BJJ wins again. BJJ, and chainmail." - TheMightyMcClaw

          "On bullshido, your opinions are not sacred, neither are your feelings." - Scrapper

          "You entered the lions' den. Don't bitch if you get eaten." - danniboi07

          "Needless to say, it's much easier to clear a bunch of drunk kids out of your house when you're yelling GTFO and carrying a samurai sword." - DerAuslander

          "Eventually, I realized it doesn't matter what art you train, what matters is the method in which you train. Training in an alive manner, under skilled and qualified instruction, is the single most important aspect of gaining martial skill. All else is window dressing." - JNP : Saying it how it is!


            Battlefields: Thanks for understanding. I don't really think I have a "delusion" about what you would call the "practical" arts. Like I said I think there's practicality in what I do for one thing. And I think they're perfectly valid forms of combat and awesome to look at in their own right. I'm just not as interested I guess. But I'm willing to give something like that a shot. I wanna start with San Da/San Shou and see where I can go from there.

            Cualltaigh: I'd definitely consider it. Just depends on when/where for one thing (early December I'm going to be away for a few weeks), but also on conditions. I don't want to get into something over my head and get the living shit beaten out of me :P. If we started off easy and worked our way up I guess that'd be cool.

            HungryJoe: I'm gonna second Jing Merchant by saying that is an awesome quote :P. Judo appeals to me more than Jiujitsu/BJJ for some reason. But like I said for now I wanna fill that gap in my week with San Da/San Shou. If I like the throwing aspect maybe I'll try find a good Judo school to fill up my Saturday night or something.



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