Sword Fighting for Blood

Newsletter 937

Using a Sword for Real!

There was one time I used a sword for real.
Sort of.
At any rate,
I used swordsmanship to cut open an attacker’s chest.
Lot of blood on that one.

I was working in a door factory,
big, noisy warehouse,
and a couple of the fellows there knew I knew martial arts.
One of them asked me,
quite seriously and with respect,
how to use a sword.
We went into the back of the warehouse,
one of the badly lit areas,
and picked up a couple of metal runners for sliding doors.
They were about the length of swords,
no edge,
but a nasty and poorly cut end.
So I showed him how to hold it,
showed him a couple of cuts,
and suddenly I felt a huge hand,
much bigger than my body,
grab my body
and pull my sword back.
For some reason,
I didn’t know why,
I pushed the sword sideways.
It went sideways slightly,
then back down,
and then cut through the chest
of a fellow sneaking up behind me.
Poor Eddie.
Blood all over the place,
didn’t know what had hit him.
Figured it was an accident,
and life went on.

But I was profoundly effected by the incident.
I asked Eddie,
after we had him all patched up,
what he had been doing.
‘I was sneaking up on you.
I was going to grab you.’
And I knew what he was thinking,
‘I’ll show him this karate crap doesn’t work!’
So I asked him what he was thinking.
He said, ‘Right before you cut me,
I thought…
‘Gotcha!’
Then I cut him.

Gotcha.
There was the thought that made me move.
It was strong enough to wake up the art,
and the art doesn’t mess around.
If I hadn’t pushed,
with all my might,
that sword would have cut right through his face.
Marked him up for life.
But somehow I managed to resist that energy
that had grabbed me
and was moving me.

Some people don’t believe in this stuff.
Don’t believe in ‘chi,’
think superhuman stunts are BS,
nothing more than vivid imaginations.

But I had experienced it.
I felt like a little puppet
in the hand of the true art.

So what was it?
What was this energy that moved me?
Chi?
Some mystical Kung Fu god come to help me out?
Maybe just a bigger version of me?
The ‘me-spirit’ that operates this body called Al?
None of the above?
All of the above?
I know…but there’s no way I can describe it,
other than through the incident itself.
It’s something that happens subjectively,
can’t be proven in real universe terms,
can’t be proven by physics.
But,
really,
it doesn’t matter.
I just know,
in solid terms proven by experience,
that the martial arts enabled me to create this experience.
The martial arts protected me.
And if you study the martial arts. intensely enough,
you’ll experience it, too.

So why don’t others experience this kind of thing?
I think lots of people do,
but since there’s no way to explain,
they don’t want to sound like a kook,
so they don’t say anything.

But I get letters from a LOT of people,
and a LOT of people tell me things that happened to them,
that are similar,
in some way,
to my experience.

So why don’t more people experience this kind of thing?
Because they stop too soon.
The martial arts tend to be a long path.
If I hadn’t stuck to it,
obsessed on it with this matrixing thing,
I might not have experienced it.
And here’s something I do know…
Matrixing will speed up your progress.
It will speed up your evolution as a martial artist.
And maybe that is the key,
to get to a certain point,
to live enough life
to where you get to that signpost of ability,
that experience of something greater
than the so-called ‘science’ of mankind.
I certainly hope so.
I don’t want people to go fast enough
so they get ‘done’ with the Martial Arts…
I want them to go fast enough to reach the real martial arts,
that area where mystical things happen,
where abilities pop out,
where the true art protects you no matter what,
and in the firmest of terms.

Hey,
obligatory,
got to give you a link.
You know where to find matrixing,
the Monster,
and here’s the Matrix Kenjutsu link,
which is what I was showing the fellow
when the big hand turned the heck out of me.
http://monstermartialarts.com/matrixing-kenjutsu/

Have a great work out!

Al

http://monstermartialarts.com/matrixing-kenjutsu/

Mr. Case,
I have received the Master Instructor Course, read it multiple times and have wondered…where has this information been and why is this not required for all instructors that have the care of their students entrusted in them? I was amazed that the principles of Matrixing and how they can take any martial art and develop it into one practicum.
The most obvious observations I made is that my students seem to “lose” their breath while training. By demonstrating the breathing techniques that you share in the course, I was able to assist in redirecting their breathing patterns.
I look forward to introducing more of your principles into the classes. I have ordered the “Matrix Karate” course and anticipate a great learning and training experience, with it.
Thank you, Mr. Case
GARREN

 

Have you subscribed to this newsletter? Gotten your free book sight it? See link below…

http://monstermartialarts.com/free-martial-arts-books/

Martial Arts Become the Problem

Newsletter 936

What’s the Difference Between a Martial Art?

Why did you sign up for the martial arts?
What reason was ticking away in the back of your skull?
If you’re like me it was probably to get tough,
to be strong enough to fight back against the bullies.
And that is the secret of selling the martial arts.

To sell something you have to find a problem,
and offer what you’re selling as the solution.

The problem the martial arts addresses
is the student’s poor opinion of himself,
his desire not to be victim to all the people who bully him.
And this problem/solution has been selling the martial arts
since time was invented.

I remember a book in the fifties/sixties,
‘Super Karate Made Easy.’
And you don’t have to look for it,
it’s here…
http://monstermartialarts.com/free-martial-arts-books/

In this book situations were presented
in which the reader was addressed as being helpless,
but has fortunately studied a mysterious art.
Here’s a sample…

Your opponent tip-toes behind you and grabs your hair. To stop the hair pulling throw both your hands above your head and grab his hand. Follow thru with repeated smashes of the foot to opponent’s shin or down hard on his instep. That will be the last time this ingrate will get into your hair!

Do you see it?
You were a victim,
now you are offering the punishment.
This book sold…MILLIONS.
Wasn’t a very good book,
but it had the formula down,
present the reader as victim,
offer the solution.

When I signed up for Kenpo
I was fodder for the sales guy,
because I had just come through high school,
which means I had been bullied for four years.

In fact,
my parents told me to
shape up,
listen up,
shut up,
toe the line,
don’t fight back,
do what you’re told
and so on.

Then my teachers said to
shape up,
listen up,
shut up,
toe the line,
don’t fight back,
do what you’re told
and so on.

Even the other kids told me
shape up,
listen up,
shut up,
toe the line,
don’t fight back,
do what you’re told
and so on.

I wasn’t being raised…or educated,
I was being prepared for a life of
shape up,
listen up,
shut up,
toe the line,
don’t fight back,
do what you’re told
and so on.

So when I walked into that karate school,
and they offered me a solution,
man…I JUMPED AT IT!

Want to know a bad secret?
If you want to make money in the martial arts,
start up a website,
put a few techniques down on paper,
and surround them with descriptions of mayhem,
and sell them as a book.
And advertise the book by telling people they are weak,
and your ‘system’ are the solution.
Guaranteed.
You are going to get rich.

You don’t think so?
Go back through the internet scams
of the last few decades.

The guy
(who is described in a way that reminds you of you)
walks into a dangerous situation
(a bar, a party, a convention of skinheads)
accidentally offends
(bumps, is shoved into, makes a joke)
a bully
(a biker, a skinhead, a big drunk)
and uses a secret technique
(fight ender, prison elbows)
taught to him by a mysterious person
(monk, nun, spetznatz operative, green beret)
and he will share this system with you
for a price ending in 7.
(37.00, 47,00, etc.)

So why am I telling you this?
Because the other day I came across a website,
it was selling the same old same old,
a new and efficient system,
tossed out the slop,
focused on brutalizing the opponent.

I want you to think about that.
Brutalizing the opponent.
Isn’t that why you started the martial arts?
To stop being brutalized?
And now people are being sold on brutalizing.
They have become the problem.

The truth is that the martial arts have shifted.
They have gone from ‘defend yourself,’
to ‘beat the crap out of somebody.’
We have stopped seeking the solution,
and started seeking the problem.
Weird.

Now,
here’s the truth.
When I walk into a martial arts school,
I meet people who are not competent.
They don’t know how to teach the martial arts,
so they push fighting.
Not the martial arts,
but fighting.

Instead of drilling until one is aware of how a technique works,
the student is taught to fight…fight…fight!

Instead of learning how to control his body,
and thus the body of an opponent,
the student is taught how to brutalize.
Sure,
it’s all in the name of justice and humanity,
but it’s not in the spirit of justice and humanity.

What’s the solution?
Present the truth,
as best you can,
and hope you can penetrate to the human being
before he catches on fire.

The martial arts are not about fighting,
they are about not fighting.
About stopping the bully without beating the crap out of him.

It’s not about hitting the bag so hard you bust it,
it is about investing yourself with awareness.

Here’s the truth:
it’s not about beating some bully up,
it is about beating yourself up,
working out until you are so strong and competent
that the bully doesn’t come near you.
That is the way you create a peaceful world.
Not by pounding it into shape,
but by pounding yourself into awareness.

Here’s a win to encourage you.

Hello sir, I hope this email finds you in good spirits. I just wanted to give you an update on my progress with the Butterfly Pa Kua Chang training. I have kept up the 3 hours a day training, adding in some training elements such a lion holding the ball and the serving tea cups exercises. On the weekends I’ve been training at the parks here in Philadelphia, while my kids run around playing.

As previously mentioned I have a lot of martial experience, but Pa Kua Chang is unlike anything I had ever done in the past. It took me a good couple of months to get used to, but I have a real firm grasp of all of the basics and have even worked on my own double changes, three in total. I am absolutely addicted to it!!!

I can’t thank you enough for putting the course out there for people like me, who have no access to learning it in person here. I’ve even had several people stop me at the parks and ask to follow along with the movements as I walk the circle!

Thank you sir,
Fred

Have a great work out!

Al

Here’s the PKC course

http://monstermartialarts.com/martial-arts/butterfly-pa-kua-chang/

What’s the Difference Between a Martial Art!

Newsletter 936

What’s the Difference Between a Martial Art?

Why did you sign up for the martial arts?
What reason was ticking away in the back of your skull?
If you’re like me it was probably to get tough,
to be strong enough to fight back against the bullies.
And that is the secret of selling the martial arts.

To sell something you have to find a problem,
and offer what you’re selling as the solution.

The problem the martial arts addresses
is the student’s poor opinion of himself,
his desire not to be victim to all the people who bully him.
And this problem/solution has been selling the martial arts
since time was invented.

I remember a book in the fifties/sixties,
‘Super Karate Made Easy.’
And you don’t have to look for it,
it’s here…
http://monstermartialarts.com/free-martial-arts-books/

In this book situations were presented
in which the reader was addressed as being helpless,
but has fortunately studied a mysterious art.
Here’s a sample…

Your opponent tip-toes behind you and grabs your hair. To stop the hair pulling throw both your hands above your head and grab his hand. Follow thru with repeated smashes of the foot to opponent’s shin or down hard on his instep. That will be the last time this ingrate will get into your hair!

Do you see it?
You were a victim,
now you are offering the punishment.
This book sold…MILLIONS.
Wasn’t a very good book,
but it had the formula down,
present the reader as victim,
offer the solution.

When I signed up for Kenpo
I was fodder for the sales guy,
because I had just come through high school,
which means I had been bullied for four years.

In fact,
my parents told me to
shape up,
listen up,
shut up,
toe the line,
don’t fight back,
do what you’re told
and so on.

Then my teachers said to
shape up,
listen up,
shut up,
toe the line,
don’t fight back,
do what you’re told
and so on.

Even the other kids told me
shape up,
listen up,
shut up,
toe the line,
don’t fight back,
do what you’re told
and so on.

I wasn’t being raised…or educated,
I was being prepared for a life of
shape up,
listen up,
shut up,
toe the line,
don’t fight back,
do what you’re told
and so on.

So when I walked into that karate school,
and they offered me a solution,
man…I JUMPED AT IT!

Want to know a bad secret?
If you want to make money in the martial arts,
start up a website,
put a few techniques down on paper,
and surround them with descriptions of mayhem,
and sell them as a book.
And advertise the book by telling people they are weak,
and your ‘system’ are the solution.
Guaranteed.
You are going to get rich.

You don’t think so?
Go back through the internet scams
of the last few decades.

The guy
(who is described in a way that reminds you of you)
walks into a dangerous situation
(a bar, a party, a convention of skinheads)
accidentally offends
(bumps, is shoved into, makes a joke)
a bully
(a biker, a skinhead, a big drunk)
and uses a secret technique
(fight ender, prison elbows)
taught to him by a mysterious person
(monk, nun, spetznatz operative, green beret)
and he will share this system with you
for a price ending in 7.
(37.00, 47,00, etc.)

So why am I telling you this?
Because the other day I came across a website,
it was selling the same old same old,
a new and efficient system,
tossed out the slop,
focused on brutalizing the opponent.

I want you to think about that.
Brutalizing the opponent.
Isn’t that why you started the martial arts?
To stop being brutalized?
And now people are being sold on brutalizing.
They have become the problem.

The truth is that the martial arts have shifted.
They have gone from ‘defend yourself,’
to ‘beat the crap out of somebody.’
We have stopped seeking the solution,
and started seeking the problem.
Weird.

Now,
here’s the truth.
When I walk into a martial arts school,
I meet people who are not competent.
They don’t know how to teach the martial arts,
so they push fighting.
Not the martial arts,
but fighting.

Instead of drilling until one is aware of how a technique works,
the student is taught to fight…fight…fight!

Instead of learning how to control his body,
and thus the body of an opponent,
the student is taught how to brutalize.
Sure,
it’s all in the name of justice and humanity,
but it’s not in the spirit of justice and humanity.

What’s the solution?
Present the truth,
as best you can,
and hope you can penetrate to the human being
before he catches on fire.

The martial arts are not about fighting,
they are about not fighting.
About stopping the bully without beating the crap out of him.

It’s not about hitting the bag so hard you bust it,
it is about investing yourself with awareness.

Here’s the truth:
it’s not about beating some bully up,
it is about beating yourself up,
working out until you are so strong and competent
that the bully doesn’t come near you.
That is the way you create a peaceful world.
Not by pounding it into shape,
but by pounding yourself into awareness.

Here’s a win to encourage you.

Hello sir, I hope this email finds you in good spirits. I just wanted to give you an update on my progress with the Butterfly Pa Kua Chang training. I have kept up the 3 hours a day training, adding in some training elements such a lion holding the ball and the serving tea cups exercises. On the weekends I’ve been training at the parks here in Philadelphia, while my kids run around playing.

As previously mentioned I have a lot of martial experience, but Pa Kua Chang is unlike anything I had ever done in the past. It took me a good couple of months to get used to, but I have a real firm grasp of all of the basics and have even worked on my own double changes, three in total. I am absolutely addicted to it!!!

I can’t thank you enough for putting the course out there for people like me, who have no access to learning it in person here. I’ve even had several people stop me at the parks and ask to follow along with the movements as I walk the circle!

Thank you sir,
Fred

Have a great work out!

Al

Here’s the PKC course

http://monstermartialarts.com/martial-arts/butterfly-pa-kua-chang/

Martial Art Work Outs to Kill For!

Newsletter 935

Why Do a Martial Arts Work Out?

Good and HOT day to you!
It’s over a 100 here in so cal,
And PERFECT for working out!

Hey,
Can I get in your face for a moment?
How much do you work out?
The whole purpose of this newsletter
is to encourage the work out.
So how much do you work out?

To me,
A work out is like a prayer.
I work out EVERY day.
Rain or shine,
Hot or cold,
In good health or poor.
Heck,
Because of working out I’m 70,
and feel like a 25 year old.
I think that makes it all pretty important.

When I work out I get in touch with me.
My thoughts are clearer all day,
Bushwah that bugs me
Suddenly recedes,
Becomes unimportant.
Problems become easy.
People who are difficult suddenly become…easy.
So how much do you work out?

Let me tell you something…
When I was working for my black belt
All those years ago,
I didn’t work out as much as I should.
I just worked out at the school,
Thought that was the only place to work out.
Boy,
Was I dumb.
Then,
Over the years,
I became aware of how much martial arts was doing for me.
I began obsessing.
Reading everything,
Studying everything,
Working out until the wee hours.
But,
You know,
I always have this little niggle inside.
I had wasted time.
I had not worked out obsessively back in the beginning.
I had only worked out at the school.
What wasted opportunities.
When I was fresh and full of vim and vigor,
I relaxed.
I wasted.
What a dope.

So that’s the message of this newsletter,
Now and always…

WORK OUT!
Agree with me or not,
Disagree or not,
The fact is that this is a reminder.
Nothing more,
Nothing less.

Here’s a recent win to encourage you.

Al,

I have gone through many of your courses and am currently going through blinding steel and eventually on my way to forty monkeys. I recently went through your book Matrixing Tong Bei. Several things clicked and the martial arts universe opened up after finishing that book.
Respectfully,
Tyler K

Come on,
Guys and gals,
Work out and make the universe open up for you!

Have a great work out!

Al

Here;S the Blinding Steel course, in it you learn how to matrix ALL weapons!
http://monstermartialarts.com/martial-arts/3a-blinding-steel-matrixing-weapons/

Dealing with Martial Arts Injuries

Newsletter 934

Martial Arts Injuries!

I don’t usually get injured,
And when I do it’s usually something stupid.
I detached a tendon in the fourth finger of my right hand.
Stupid.
And it takes six weeks to grow back.
But,
Every tragedy is an opportunity,
So let me elucidate on that.

First,
When you are injured
You figure out better ways to do things,
You are forced out of the same old same old,
And start to think,
How can I do this technique?
Should I change angles?
Use the other hand in a different way?
And so on.
And,
There is a bump in awareness.
You have to move so that you don’t impact,
But rather match the trajectory
Of whatever is incoming.
So you learn stuff,
And get smarter.
But stupid injuries are still just that…
stupid.

And,
At this point,
Let me offer the injury formula,
If not for your benefit,
Then mine.

Speed plus Ignorance equals Injury.
S + Ig = In

Geez.
You’d think I would have that down,
eh?

Except that it is a caution to go slow enough
to engage your ability to analyze,
And not a guarantee.

Anyway,
That all said,
Let me point out that
‘Chiang Nan’
Is the book that teaches you
how to make karate into Tai Chi.
I’ll be doing a lot of Chiang Nan
For the next six weeks,
And I urge you to look into it.
http://monstermartialarts.com/how-to-translate-karate-into-tai-chi-chuan/
It has a TREMENDOUS amount of knowledge,
And a whole new way of looking at the martial arts.

And,
One other reason I am pushing this book,
I am about to come out with a new one.
So get caught up,
Don’t get left behind.
I’ll let you know about it,
Probably the next newsletter.

Okely Doggone Dokely,
I wave my busted finger at you,
And caution you…
WORK OUT HARD
You never when you’re going to get busted.
(insert a trickle of a tear down my cheek here)

Al

http://monstermartialarts.com/how-to-translate-karate-into-tai-chi-chuan/

A Better Way to Teach Martial Arts

Newsletter 933

A Different Method for Teaching Martial Arts

One thing I noticed,
Over the years,
Is that people like to make things harder.
In the beginning,
Mac was easy,
intuitive.
Tried a Mac lately?

Or,
How about a car?
Used to be you could take your car apart,
Fix any little problem,
And even the big problems.

You know how we used to work on Volkswagons? (Beetles)
We would drive the car over a couple of four by fours,
Let the air out of the tires,
Loosen four bolts,
And lift the car off the engine.
Try that with your new Lexus!

And,
The sad thing,
The same thing has happened to the martial arts.
They have become so difficult.
Memorize a couple of dozen routines,
Make a couple of hundred techniques work,
And so on.

But…
Here’s something interesting,
You hear it all the time,
But it’s still interesting…
You never use forms in combat.

And,
I should correct that…
You never use forms in combat…in modern times.
Back in the sixties and seventies we did.
Used the heck out of the forms.
Taught us incredible things.

So what happened?

People started making the forms difficult.
Instead of letting people just do the forms,
Until the forms taught the people,
Teachers started getting nit picky,
Explaining things that didn’t need explaining.
Foisting BS concepts.
Mixing pieces of different arts together,
Without understanding what either art was.
And so on.

Got real difficult,
You know?

But the mind doesn’t like difficult.
And,
Let’s face it,
A fight isn’t difficult.
You either trained in your basics,
And those basics are intuitive,
Or you didn’t,
And they aren’t.

In matrixing you make things logical,
And this makes things simple.

You don’t have to memorize techniques
you would never use in combat.
We use an entirely different method
For learning techniques
That WILL work in combat.
Here is how I teach.

Let’s say I give a person the matrix of blocks.
This is a handful of blocks that,
Through a simple trick of logic,
Becomes over 60 techniques.
The student starts working his way
Through the circle of blocks.
He reaches one which doesn’t work.
He comes over to me and says,
‘Al, this doesn’t work.’
I say,
‘Oh, you can’t make it work.’
They say,
‘No, it actually doesn’t work.’
So I say,
‘try changing which foot is forward.’
It doesn’t work.
‘Try changing the timing.’
It doesn’t work.
‘Try changing…’
It doesn’t work.
And so on.
Finally,
They throw up their hands.
They say,
‘I told you…it doesn’t work!’
I say,
‘Oh,
Why didn’t you say so!’
They blink,
Their eyes open,
Sometimes we get a little frustration popping out.
I say,
‘So,
Did you learn anything?’
And…they did.
They usually say ‘yes.’
If they say no,
I ask them,
‘Well, would you use it in a fight?’
‘No.’
‘Then I guess you learned something.’

Now,
You may think I’m being ridiculous,
But the Martial Arts are full of techniques
That people try to make work,
And they don’t work.
Yet people train and train,
Never actually coming to grips
With the fact that the technique doesn’t work.

Let me light this method of teaching up.

You get frustrated by your ‘smart’ phone.
You curse the thing for being dumb.
We’ve all been there.
But a child picks that phone up and programs it for you.
ARGH!
Makes it even worse, doesn’t it?

Now put that child in the cockpit of a stealth fighter.
You know what’s going to happen, don’t you?
Grin.
And that brat,
Making a super techno gimmick like that work,
Is all the more frustrating.
Repeat…
ARGH!

But the child has not been taught that doing something wrong is…wrong.
So he just makes his mistake,
corrects,
Never inputs society calling him stupid,
And flies the plane.

I don’t have to train him,
By using methods like the one I described earlier,
To accept his mistakes.
He’s already quite happy making mistakes!
And he is willing to learn from them.
Doesn’t have all that ‘grown up’ distraction stuff.
Heh.

So,
Let’s bring it home.
The martial arts are every bit as complicated
As flying a super stealth fighter jet.
The proof is that so few do it right.
They end up fighting,
And not handling the incoming missiles,
And downing the attacker,
In a simple, scientific manner.

Unless,
Of course,
They have embedded themselves with
A heaping helping of…
matrixing.

Guaranteed,
You have been infected by grown up things like…
‘YOU’RE DOING IT WRONG!’
How many times have you heard an instructor say,
‘No, no. Do it like this.’
‘No, no. Use your arm like this.’
No, no. Don’t kick in a situation like this!’
About a million times.
Even the best meaning instructor
infers,
implies,
Tells the student he is wrong.
And the student,
Having been educated in school,
Knows that he is wrong,
And somebody else is right.
His parents have told him he is wrong.
His teachers have told him that he is wrong.
Even his friends have told him that he is wrong.

You know how I teach?
Let’s say I see somebody eating a kick.
Trying the same wrong block over and over.
I don’t tell him why he is wrong.
I never tell a student he is wrong.
I simply say,
‘Move to the left.’
The student doesn’t.
I repeat,
‘Move to the left.’
The student doesn’t.
And,
After a few dozen times,
He finally moves to the left.
Kick slides by.
‘What are you going to do?’
Student looks blank.
‘Do it again.’
The kick slides by.
And,
eventually,
The student blinks,
Hooks the kick,
And body bumps the hip.
Opponent goes flying.
I never told the student what to do…
I never made him wrong,
Or tried to tell him what I would do.
I just gave a simple direction.
Move this way.
Move this way.
Never getting frustrated.
Never making him wrong.
Never lecturing him.
Just…
LETTING HIM DISCOVER THE TECHNIQUE!
I don’t teach,
I back off and let the student fall forward.
When he finally catches himself…
He has educated himself,
And he has learned how to educate himself,
And educating himself is going to get that much easier.
And my job gets easier and easier and…easier.

Okay,
I should wind it up here,
I’ve blatted your ear long enough.
If you want to jump out of the trip
Where people tel you you are wrong,
Then come on over to the matrixing trip.
Guaranteed.
It I fun.

The Circle of Blocks is in the ‘Matrix Karate’ course.
http://monstermartialarts.com/martial-arts/matrix-karate/

But if you think you’re smart,
And want to cut to the chase,
Try the Master Instructor Course.
http://monstermartialarts.com/martial-arts/4-master-instructor-course/

Now…
HAVE A GREAT WORK OUT!
Al

http://monstermartialarts.com/martial-arts/5-core-package/

Small Steps to Make the Big Leap to Black Belt

Newsletter 935

Problems with Promoting People to Black Belt

Just to warn you,
there is a lot of meandering this newsletter,
so get your head ready
to turn left or right
on a whim or a blink.

I was talking with another instructor,
and he told me how he got black belt.
He spent five years at the belt below black belt.
He was in his mid thirties,
and he finally went up to the head instructor and said,
‘Promote me,
I’m not getting better,
I’m just getting older.’

Just getting older.
How grim.
Which brings us to the point of it all.

In the beginning,
a person was promoted when he finished
the requirements necessary to promotion.

Chuck Norris did it in a year and a half.
Mike Stone did it in 7 months.
Joe Lewis earned THREE black belts in a year.

Sure,
they are superstars,
but why can’t we finish our requirements and get promoted?

It was Kenpo that established the standard,
they introduced the famous ‘car contracts,’
which were contracts designed by an Arthur Murray dance instructor.
Kenpo spread out the material
so the contract would last four years,
keep the student paying tuition for four years.
Survival, man.
And within a couple of years
all systems of martial arts lasted four years.

Then we have people like my friend,
who are kept at a belt level,
brown or purple,
or whatever,
for five years plus,
until they finally confront their instructor
and demand to be promoted.

Or,
let me digress a moment,
I knew a fellow,
it was kenpo,
who set up a program for his students
to reach black belt in…17 years.

That’s right.
His students were signing up for
SEVENTEEN YEARS!
Zowie.
What’s funny is that,
at the time,
he had 12 years experience.
That’s right,
he had never completed his own system.
But he was demanding students do…what he hadn’t.
Can somebody spell ‘crazy’ for me?

Anyway,
back to the issue at hand,
when should a person be promoted?
When he shows competence at the level he is at.
If he is required to do a form,
a certain set of techniques,
he must show that he understands
the form and the techniques…
and can do them.

So how long does it take to become competent?
If your system is properly arranged,
3 – 6 months per belt.
If your system is matrixed
1 – 3 months per belt.

And some individuals can go faster.

The test is simple.
If you are doing a form…
do you understand what the moves mean?
Can you take a move and apply it?
Without thinking?
To anybody?

You don’t need Bruce Lee’s speed.
You don’t need to pluck arrows out of the air.
You just need to know what something means,
and show that you can do it.

It’s like a plumber.
He knows what length to cut the pipe,
how to connect the pipe.
And that’s it.
for one level.
No mysterious standards,
just simple level
after simple level.

I remember somebody telling me
to sail a boat they needed to take a course,
read a 500 page book,
take a test,
and hope they remembered enough to pass.

But I was told that there is a rudder,
and a sail.
Two moving parts…plus the wind.
500 pages and a test to learn how to point the rudder
away from your destination,
and fill the sail with wind.
Hmmm.

My ultimate instruction for karate is…
don’t get hit…hit the other person.
Sure,
it is sadly lacking,
but once the person fills his sails
you can tell him about currents.
And once the person is looking at a fist in his face,
you can tell him about blocking.
Really.

Now,
with all these sad understatements,
let’s talk about what you are really looking for.

You are looking for control.
Not whether a person can remember a pattern,
or a series of techniques,
but whether he can control his body.

Is he falling over…
I like to call this falling off the floor…
because his stance isn’t being used to sink his weight?

Is his butt wiggling because
he is putting power in his butt instead of his fist?

Is he out of breath because
he isn’t breathing properly?

Do his blocks collapse under impact?

These are the simple questions I ask,
and I ask them of ALL belts.
No hidden standards.

Sure,
a white belt is sloppy,
and a black belt is snappy,
and in-between there are gradient steps,
never too big for the student,
never so small.
Just a staircase of simple steps
leading to more and more body control.

I once observed that white belts and black belts,
in a class,
were doing the same things.
The black belt just looked better at it,
didn’t get out of breath,
and so on.

Nothing mysterious,
no hidden tricks.
Just…a slow climb to competence.

Now,
let me make some points.
These are the points I usually lose readers at,
they read this stuff,
disagree so loudly,
that they immediately cancel the newsletter.

There was a rumor,
once upon a time,
that a student had to fight,
AND DEFEAT
100 other black belts
to earn his black belt.

This was a rumor taken from Kyoshinkai,
where they have a 100 man kumite.
Nobody ever defeats all the 100 men,
in fact,
by the time they are in the last 50,
they are pretty badly bruised and beaten.
By the time they reach the last 10,
they are usually getting beaten pretty regularly.
But the question is…do they finish?
Or do they quit?
It is a matter of spirit.
Do they have it or not?

Interesting reality behind this rumor.

I have seen schools
where they do demand a brown belt
to defeat black belts before they are promoted.
But there is a severe wrongness to what they are doing.

To beat somebody doesn’t show any degree of competence,
it just means you can beat up people.
And beating up people is not the point of the martial arts,
learning how to be a competent human being is.

And,
when somebody is enrolled in a type of school,
where they are expected to ‘roll’ for four or five years
on a single belt level,
before getting a black belt,
that does not show competence.
It shows endurance,
and a variation on 100 man freestyle,
and…
proving that you can beat somebody up
to qualify for black belt.

But I just told you,
if you are learning how to beat people up
you are not learning martial arts.
Sure,
you can beat people up with the martial arts,
but the martial arts are really about…competence.
Achieving a skill level.
Not proving that you can ‘take it.’
Or endure.
Or beat people up.

And,
the people i lose?
They are the ones stuck in a belt level for half a dozen years,
they are stuck,
can’t take any perceived criticism,
need to beat those people up,
and quit the newsletter.

The people who need this advice the most
are the ones the most put off by it.

Ah,
well.

My advice is this:
select a system with standards,
even steps between the belts,
without dominating personalities
demanding you to beat people up.
Find a system where you can see
the small differences between belts.
Where you can see people taking small steps
to make the big leap to black belt.

And,
if you can’t find one,
better learn some matrixing.
Learn how to understand the martial arts,
it will be ten times easier to learn an art then.
Even an art that demands endurance instead of competence.

Here’s the first course on matrixing…
http://monstermartialarts.com/martial-arts/matrix-karate/

Have a great work out!

Al

Here’s a link for an article about when I first started doing this book on Kenjutsu.
I intended to finish it quickly, but it’s actually been five years!

https://alcase.wordpress.com/2013/12/02/new-book-about-the-samurai-sword-is-coming/

here is the page on the new book on Matrixing Kenjutsu
http://monstermartialarts.com/matrixing-kenjutsu/

competence not politics
intuition v figuring out
teach FS w/o losses