Tag Archives: karate instruction

What Happened to the Black Belt, and What has been Done About It

A Black Belt in the Church of Martial Arts

When I started the martial arts I wanted to be a black belt in the worst possible way. I thought that was mecca, the ultimate, better than anything in the world

So I went to work. I signed up at a Karate school and I put in the time. Interestingly, I was to learn that it took more than time. It took a precise bit of knowledge.

To be precise, I spent a couple of years in one system (Chinese Kenpo), then several years in another system (Kang Duk Won Korean Karate), before I achieved Black Belt. When I got it, however, it was better than I had ever imagined

Interestingly, as the years passed, I realized that I had struck it rich, that all Black Belts were not the same, and that I had lucked out.

You see, the standards of what it took to reach Black Belt were all over the place. One fellow I knew got a black belt cause he could fight good. Another got it because he lent the instructor money. Honorary black belts were passed out to people who didn’t even study the martial arts. To be honest, real black belts were actually, in spite of there being so many of them, a rarity.

Eventually, in spite of hype and glamour, being a black belt didn’t mean much.

Oh, it meant somebody had sweated a lot, maybe, if they were lucky, but there was no single standard whatsoever.

Now, when I achieved a Black Belt in the Kang Duk Won, that system was directly derived from the instructors BEFORE Funakoshi. It wasn’t infected by the folly of tournaments, the shame of politics, or put together with other arts to corrupt its pure workings.

zen martial artsWhen I achieved Black Belt, when I studied at a specific branch of the Kang Duk Won where the art had not been corrupted, something happened to the students who made it. Simply, they changed.

They achieved something I called CBM, or Coordinated Body Motion. When this happened they began to move their bodies in totally different ways, and there was a feeling of massive energy within. This was usually accompanied by other phenomena, such as dreams, intuitive experiences, and so on.

All of what I have said here has guided me to establish a different standard for Black Belt.

To be sure, if somebody CBMs, I consider them a Black Belt in the old sense. I value that, I prize that. I consider that art of the highest form.

But, interestingly, I don’t make that the thrust of my teachings.

You see, so many people can’t make that step, or, at least, it will take them too long. They don’t have the proper teacher or teaching, even if they are a good student.

shaolin kung fuSo, in putting together my temple (Church of Martial Arts dot com) I am focusing on making sure the student has the knowledge, and therefore the best possible chance, before I start pushing him towards any kind of CBM focused study.

I know that some will disagree with my path, but consider the alternative: 999 out of a 1000 students not making it, being shunted into some weird idea of what a black belt is, putting the emphasis on winning trophies…versus the forging and perfection of character that the Martial Arts are.

Thus, consider the steps necessary to progression in the Church of Martial Arts.

A Postulant is somebody who seeks. This is a fellow who is casting about, and frequently doesn’t even know for what. He encounters Monster Martial Arts or one of my other sites, is intrigued and orders a course or two. If he is ready, if he is a seeker of the true martial arts, something will ignite in his soul. I always know these people, even if only by email, because they start ordering more courses. The courses are inexpensive, they are usually whole arts, and the student starts to ‘drink’ them.

Sometimes people write and tell me what is happening, and sometimes they remain aloof and afar, yet their interest is flaming. Whatever the type of student they are, they are learning the truth about the how and the why of the martial arts. They are learning the physics, and many write to me and tell me how they have changed their art, restructured it, in piece and in whole format, to make it make sense.

And sometimes I receive letters telling me of experiences they have had that let me know that, whether they know it or not, they have CBMed.

Oddly, I get a big kick out of this anonymous relationship we have. I don’t have to be standing over somebody’s shoulder, and by this I mean I don’t need a big organization, to make sure that they are getting the truth of the martial arts.

The art is an art, and though we often, and especially in the beginning, study it as a group, it is a personal undertaking. You are becoming an artist, you are becoming something more than human. You are forging and perfecting your character.

These people who ignite, who begin ordering courses and learning the truth of the martial arts, I call Novices.

A Novice, or novitiate, is a beginner. More important, he is not now a seeker, for he has found the truth; now he is running up the path of the martial arts to the truth of himself as fast as he possibly can.

Now, if a person was to visit me, study under me, and by this I mean at the Church of Martial Arts, the course would be quick and to the point. They would be put on a list of martial arts forms and techniques that are all and completely matrixed

If a person doesn’t have the opportunity to study with me, they need merely go through the eight original Matrixing courses.

Do you see what I have done here? I have resolved the martial arts not to a random, whimsical study of what somebody thinks is cool, or has a bit of workability for an odd variety of people, but to a comprehensive and complete body of knowledge.

Knowledge. Art becomes science. The Way becomes a series of steps that are complete and to the point.

Master instructorOnce a student has completed either of these two methods, either the checklist at the church or the eight matrixing courses, they are considered a monk.

And, a person who has completed novice training in the Church of Martial Arts has a sure and certain knowledge of the complete martial arts, and this includes Karate, several varieties of Kung Fu, Pa Kua Chang, Tai Chi Chuan, and more.

The standard here is in the comprehensive knowledge that can be found nowhere else, and certainly not in the speedy frame of time I recommend.

At any rate, once a person has become a monk, and having a thorough knowledge of the martial arts on the whole, he is ready to pick his specialty. Perhaps he will delve into esoteric Kung Fu, perhaps he will concentrate on Karate, perhaps he will shift into weapons, or some other field of martial arts.

Whatever the Monk chooses to do, he will be well prepared, and he will be assured of his success in his further studies.

If you are interested in a non-religious look at the True Martial Arts, please visit MonsterMartialArts(dot)com.

If you are more interested in the religion, please visit the Monster, then head on over to the ChurchofMartialArts.com.

Dr. Herbal’s Traveling Snake Oil Kung Fu Lessons

Now it could be Kung Fu Lessons, or Karate Instruction, or Kenpo online, or any number of beasts, but it is all the same. It could be the backs of comic books or late night infomercials, but you know what I mean. You can have the power to destroy eight skinhead neo-nazis with a single secret technique that has never been seen before!

Now, the funny thing is, some of these things you see on the net actually work. Some of them are the product of dedicated martial artists. Unfortunately, it is still a ‘buyer beware’ market.

The plot line for these productions is pretty predictable. First build some empathy with the crowd. Since everybody grew up and encountered bullies, telling the crowd that you used to be picked on by the bullies is a pretty safe bet.

Now, you’ve put the idea of being picked on in the rube’s head, the second step is to give him a solution. You’ve got to convince him that if he studies your method he will be capable of beating up the bullies. This magic formula, if you think about it, is at the heart of every kung fu movie ever made.

Now, except for the taking his money part, you’ve basically got it figured out. It is all that simple. Sell him a problem, give him the solution, take his money. Or, if you want to get egghead, suspend his belief, lead him to a fantasy, take his money.

Now, truthfully, some products deserve to be sold, and some should be avoided, and the way to figure out the difference is simple. If the pitch follows a script, you might want to avoid it. A guy who follows a script has done his research as to what works, and he is trying to make money.

The other alternative is the guy who doesn’t follow the script, but who actually communicates to you. It is not a script, but a voice that has substance. It is a guy who believes in the art, and is selling out of compassion and belief.

This is not to say that there isn’t some gold in some of the Snake Oil Kung Fu Lessons, of Karate Instruction, or Kenpo Online, or whatever. Be it prison fighting or ghetto blasting, or secret spetznatz techniques taught in secret by an ancient Mayan nun…there could very well be some juicy stuff, or even a new way of looking at things. Sometimes, you know, Snake Oil really can work!

I lost A Karate School to Sex

I lost one Karate School to Sex. Mind you, I had had schools in a number of places, usually they did pretty well, and i loved teaching, so I was sort of stunned when one self destructed.

This was up in Santa Rosa in the eighties. I had a dozen students, things were growing, and suddenly, within the space of a month, I had nothing.

A couple of months later I happened across one of my errant students and got the story.

There was a fellow who was using the school as a dating service. He moved from female student to female student, dated them, dumped them, and the girls didn’t want to come to class anymore.

And, this cancer seemed to infect even the male students. I guess they just felt the down curve of the whole thing and left. And, the source of his prey destroyed, the sex fiend moved on. And I hadn’t even a clue as to what had happened. Grrr.

I am reminded of the Zen parable wherein an attractive nun keeps getting notes from a secret admirer asking her to meet him some dark night. She stands up in front of the nuns and monks and reads the note aloud, then asks whoever wrote the note to come embrace her in daylight.

Secrets. Secrets of the soul.

Why is something a secret? Because somebody is hiding something they should be ashamed of.

Have you ever considered the root of the word Hell? It means something that is hidden. Have a nasty secret and you are opening the door to hell, and right here on good old planet earth.

I am more aware these days, and I make it public and certain knowledge that if you’ve signed up in my karate school, then you’re there to learn martial arts. I don’t run a dating club, and anybody who disagrees is quickly and without hesitation shown the door.

I teach more than just Karate at Monster Martial Arts.