Sorry in advance for the rant, but I didn't have anything else to write about so I thought this deserved a short comment. (I hope the irony isn't lost there!)
I was reading a couple of forums and blogs recently. I don’t know why. On one of them, a rather popular site that tends to sometimes lengthy discussions of traditional Okinawan karate--at least that's the way it's billed--the forum regulars were bemoaning the fact that a lot of forums had gone quiet recently, that there didn’t seem to be any interesting topics of discussion, and that this had been the case for months. I could sympathize. Of course, all things go in cycles. I started training martial arts back in the days when Kung Fu was a popular TV show. Heck, I knew students who stayed home to watch David Carradine instead of come to class. But the really funny thing about these forum regulars to me was that in discussing the lack of meaningful discussion topics most of them seemed to come to the
|When is a punch,|
not a punch?
Anyway, how could this be? Who are these people? Is it that they don’t train enough or they have no imagination? What with all of the back slapping and deferential agreement that so often accompanies any discussion on these forums, IMHO it’s surprising that any of them have lasted this long. Most of the time they seem more like mutual admiration societies. I hate to rant, but that in itself raises all sorts of questions for me. For example, if two people practice the same kata differently, however slight those differences may be, doesn’t that raise questions? Who’s right? Why the differences? Perhaps everyone has just agreed to disagree. Life goes on. There is no argument, and no one is wrong because everyone is right. And they all lived happily ever after. Except I have questions, always questions… Why does the Higa dojo (Shodokan) do Sanseiru one way and Meibukan and Jundokan do it another way? Why do we practice an upper-level punch (jodan tsuki) in most schools when it doesn’t occur anywhere in the classical kata? Why do we practice barefoot in New England? Why do we count in Japanese?
I guess the answers are probably pretty predictable for most people—something akin to what I read on another forum this past week. At the end of the discussion topic, one forum participant wrote something like this: “Well, that’s what my teacher said, and I see no reason to question him since he hasn’t steered me wrong yet.” And they lived happily ever after.