Tag Archives: Martial Arts

What I learned After 50 Years of Martial Arts Forms

Newsletter 966

Fifty Years of Martial Arts Forms

Felt like a work out the other night,
so I went out and did my forms.
I did the basic Pinan (Heian) forms.

I learned those forms near 50 years ago.
I do them near every day,
and for a simple reason:
I learn something from them.

I look at each angle,
adjust those angles according to stance,
and the surface I am on,
if the legs are spread wider
it changes the angle of the arms.
I work on breathing,
focusing on the tan tien
and coursing energy through the body,
making sure I have the correct angles
to support the energy.

As I go through the forms
I imagine opponents,
how the blocks would work,
focusing on the snap and pop
as I loosen and tighten the muscles,

The forms are calisthenics,
a lot of people don’t think of the forms like that,
they are into the mystical and such,
and I am not unaware of the mystical,
but if I am doing a horse,
I am squatting.
If I am doing a front stance I am lunging,
And together with the tightening of the muscles
I am getting a real work out.

The great thing is I don’t have to pay for my work out,
I paid for these forms near 50 years ago,
I bought them,
so I use what I bought.

Almost every day I repeat those forms,
and here is the interesting things.
In the beginning I had to remember them,
work on my memory,
and I did.
But at a certain point they became intuitive,
I could just snap through them,
very liquid.
But I find myself going more slowly these days,
feeding awareness into the forms,
and here’s the odd thing.
When somebody hits me,
they are hitting my energy,
the patterns of energy I have carefully placed in my body.
They are hitting my awareness,
an awareness that makes the body firm and solid,
and quick and fast.
Isn’t that interesting?
That awareness could be mystical?
But mystical comes from mystery,
which merely says you don’t understand something.
But after 50 years of forms I understand them.
When somebody hits me I just run awareness through my body,
to the point where I am being struck,
and energy follows it,
the muscles become hard almost without tensing,
and the fist or foot bounces off my frame.

And,
when I strike back,
I control myself,
because if I put too much awareness in my fist,
the other fellow will be hurt.
But I don’t want to hurt anybody,
I just want to practice my art.
Heck,
if 50 years of doing these silly forms has given me this much,
imagine how much I will from another 50 years!

Here are three arts,

http://monstermartialarts.com/martial-arts/evolution-of-a-martial-art/

including the one with the Pinans in it.

Have a great work out!
Al

A WIN!
Al,
When I do my forms now I find myself working less on visualization and more on listening to what the structure of the form I’m doing has to teach me. Have you ever experienced this? A kind of spontaneous learning by repeating the form over and over just being aware? I am almost certain you have, but I like chatting with you about these things cause you invariably give me something new to consider.
A good workout to you
Justin

“A good teacher protects his pupils from his own influence.”
– Bruce Lee

Who are the Real Martial Arts Gods?

Newsletter 965 ~ sign up now!

The Martial Arts Gods are Pissed!

1967, November.
My very first class.
The instructor said:

you bow when you enter the building
to show respect for all within the building,
and the art taught within the building.

you bow to any instructors you meet
to show respect for their hard work

you bow when you step onto the mat
to show respect for everybody
who has ever studied the martial arts.

‘WAIT!’ I protested.
“Everybody?”
“yes.”
“Who is everybody?”

“The people who taught your instructors,
the people who taught the people who taught your instructors,
the people who taught the people who…and so on.”

“So I’m bowing to everybody who ever studied the martial arts?”

“Yup.”

Silence.

The instructor:
“Do you know how much blood it took
to figure the martial arts out?
Do you know how much sweat it took
to put the techniques into teachable routines?”

“Oh,” I said,
dimly understanding what I was getting into.

The instructor continued.
“When you bow to me it is not because
I wear funny pajamas and have a black belt,
it is because I represent a sacred trust,
handed down through hard work and dedication.
Got it?”

I did.

You know,
in the past I have gotten away from that explanation,
and I shouldn’t have.
I tell people that bowing is saying ‘hello,’ and ‘goodby.’
And it is,
but who you are saying hello and goodby to is pretty important.

When you walk into a church you know it is a church,
there is just a feel to it,
a spirit,
and you can feel that here is a place where people pray,
and the walls and floors and everything
have soaked up that energy.
A martial arts studio is the same.
There is a feel to the mats and mirrors and bags,
a feel different from a gym,
or a school for boxing,
it is a deeply spiritual feeling,
put there by endless ritual,
by respect,
a sense of ‘art’ that is exuded by spirit,
and deeply perceived by people who are in love with that spirit.

The martial arts spirit,
the sweat and blood and spirit
exuded by the trillions of men who ever stepped on to a mat,
who defend self and families with honor,
who believe in a better world.

Bow to it.

Have a great work out!
Al

A WIN!
I see the progressive curve in matrix martial arts, the logic, the feeling, the system (order) and the change from hard to soft, from physical to spiritual, from external to internal and how the both come together. In essence the notion of styles and belts vanishes, as does the delusional importance placed on the external, materialistic side of the martial arts…rank, fame, winning/losing, belt number and color, titles…vanity and ego. For something to be true, its opposite must also be true,… where the external is superficial and limited, the internal, the essential qualities, are deep, bound and limitless, hence the truth, coming from the source, not the human mind. Can’t take the belt with us, but the essence, the wisdom, the teachings, remain, perpetually. At least this is what I have found. On my matrixing journey from basic basics to matrix Karate, to Pangai Noon, to monkey boxing, to blinding steel, to Pakua to Tai Chi.
Now all I care about is to master the material and be the best teacher i can be. So others find their way home as well…
Thank you for all you have given me over the last 3 years.
It is a debt I can never repay in full, but it definitely brought me to the point where I am now and beyond. I humbly bow to you in sincere gratitude and respect, sensei Al.  I always considered you a Grandmaster, my teacher and a good man who cares.
Will S

“If there is a God, he is within.
You don’t ask God to give you things,
you depend on God for your inner theme.”
– Bruce Lee

‘Backwarditis’ in the Martial Arts

Newsletter 956

Going Backwards in the Martial Arts

Have you ever thought about
the actual process involved in fighting?
Most people think it is hit the other guy quicker,
but that is so inadequate
so far from the truth.

You stand and face Bozo Bob.
Bozo Bob has a thought:
hit you.
First:
you have to pick up the thought,
see the technique he is going to use
Then:
you have to reverse the thought
understand the technique from your viewpoint
because you saw it from his viewpoint.
It is reversed from your viewpoint.
You need to reverse it in your mind.

You need to reverse it
so you don’t create a defense that is backwards.
Then:
you have to create the defense…and do it.

Now,
that is the simplicity.
More to it
of course
but that is the simple truth.
So how do you reverse
the thought of his attack
so you don’t make a backwards defense?

In classical karate,
and other arts with forms,
we do the forms.
We practice controlling the bodies,
we practice the defenses for the moves
until everything is intuitive.

Think back to when you first began,
chances are,
most people go through this,
you went through what I call
‘backwarditis’

Backwarditis is when you do things backwards.
The teacher says right,
the students does left.
The teacher says step backward,
the student steps forward.
The teacher says do the technique on the right side
the student does it on the left side.
This is backwarditis.
Teachers everywhere experience it
They blink,
and keep going,
and the student eventually gets over it.

But nobody knows why the student does everything backwards.
Now you know.
The student looks at the attack
and it is backward in his mind
because he is observing somebody else do it,
so he makes a backward defense.
Eventually,
he gets over it,
without understanding
he finally absorbs the data
and begins moving correctly.
Knowing this should help you
when you construct self defenses,
it will help you get over trace backwarditis
and learn new things quicker.
It will help you make the bridge to intuitivity.

Now,
here’s a couple of interesting things.
Arts where the student doesn’t experience backwarditis
are lacking something.
Arts which don’t have forms
are missing the step for getting rid of backwarditis.

For instance,
MMA doesn’t have forms,
any experiences of backwarditis
are quick and fleeting.
The bodies are intertwined,
they are positioned
so that backwarditis doesn’t happen.
BUT…
to be an art there should be backwarditis.
It is a step of evolution that is necessary
lest the student doesn’t experience proper growth,
he doesn’t go through the stages of learning
that are in the martial arts.

Don’t get me wrong,
I am not bashing MMA,
I am just describing the effects of theory
and the teaching method
and what to look for in a student.
Heck,
there are things in MMA
that other arts don’t have.
But we are just looking at the teaching/learning method here.

Anyway,
there are several ‘cures’
things to help the student make the shift
to thinking backwards in his head intuitively

First,
when doing basics at the beginning of class
do them facing the same way as the class.
Then,
doing them facing the class.
Watch carefully,
see who has got the wrong foot forward,
correct him gently.
And keep going back and forth
every few exercises,
facing the students
then facing away from the students.
This is pretty easy and good to do.

Second,
make sure they practice their techniques on both sides,
have them perform their forms on both sides,
and even have them do the forms backward.
And backwards on both sides.
The students will get over backwarditis
their minds will be quick and agile,
will duplicate what an attack is correctly,
and build a defense that is not backwards.

If you want to know something fascinating things about forms
how they are constructed,
and even construct some yourselves,
I recommend the
‘Create Your Own Art’ course
http://monstermartialarts.com/martial-arts/2d-create-your-own-art/

Do be warned,
the videos are poor quality.
You can still see them,
but the quality of video recorders
when I filmed this course
was REALLY caveman.
BUT
the material is spectacular,
and the Buddha Crane book
is even bundled in,
as an example of how to create an art.
There is also a progression of art through Pa Kua Chang
that is simply fascinating.
Really good stuff!

Have a great work out!
Al
http://monstermartialarts.com/martial-arts/2d-create-your-own-art/

A WIN!
Hello Mr. Case. I recently purchased the Create Your Own Art course from you. As I have told you in the past I studied Hsing-i quan. Lately I have been having lots of trouble in my practice. At one time I had what I called the Hsing -i “kernal of power” but as of recently I have been unable to do it correctly. The power was bleeding off somewhere in the transitions between stances. I looked at your book Buddha Crane Karate book and I noticed that you have the foot in an elevated position much like the Seven Star stance of Northern Mantis before the step and strike. Well on a hunch I jumped up and ran in the other room and tried it in the Pi quan form and presto! All the power was back.

Knowledge will give you power, but character respect.
Bruce Lee

Use the Eyes Correctly in the Martial Arts

Newsletter 955

The Eyes Have It in the Martial Arts

I’ve got a student
and he can’t look at me.
His eyes focus on me briefly,
then he looks somewhere else,
down at the ground,
off to the side,
someplace,
and I know he is unconscious.
Unconscious being not conscious of me,
or,
taking his eyes off his attacker.
In the martial arts
if you take your eyes off the target,
the target hits you.
So I asked him,
have you ever flipped anybody off?
He got self conscious,
nodded and mumbled in the affirmative.
I said,
NO YOU DIDN’T!
Your body flipped them off,
and you told your body what to do.
There is a separation
you see,
between body and spirit.
I asked him if he ever took a leak.
He laughed and said yes.
I said,
NO YOU DIDN’T!
Your body leaked.
You didn’t leak,
you told your body to leak.
And he started to get it.
And here is the lesson.

You don’t look at the chest,
and try to see everything.
You don’t look at the hands/feet.
You look at the eyes because…
THE EYES ARE THE WINDOWS TO A MAN’S SOUL!

If a car was driving towards you
should you look at the driver or the car?
You look at the driver
because he is controlling the car.
He is the spirit behind 2000 pounds of metal.
So you look at the eyes,
and you look for the awareness
that is driving a 150 pounds of flesh and blood.
And that’s where you look.
Period.
And somebody who disagrees,
is simply WRONG,
and I prove it with my next words.
you see,
I told him one other thing.
A very important thing.
What is the one reason
you always look forward,
always keep the eyes open?
The answer is simple,
and yet so hard to grok and do.
The spirit radiates in all directions.
It is aware from the center of a sphere,
looking outward in all directions.
So the one reason a person always looks outward
is so that he doesn’t look inward.
You can’t defend yourself
if you are looking inward.
If you are looking inward,
you are not aware of what’s coming to hit you.
Remember:
the one reason,
the only reason,
for looking outward,
is so that you don’t look inward.

Here’s the obligatory advertisement,
do yourtself a favor and go there…

http://monstermartialarts.com/martial-arts/rolling-fists/
This is the one drill I use
to train people to look outward,
it works,
and it is better than ANY drill
in ALL the martial arts.
I developed it myself,
putting the missing pieces into
some of the lop sau drills in other arts.
This is the complete and real deal.

Have a great work out!
Al
http://monstermartialarts.com/martial-arts/rolling-fists/

A WIN!

Al,
Allow me to say that in 27 years of Chinese martial arts your Lop Sau instructions are the most clear and cogent ones I have ever in my life encountered. ~ Justin H

“There is no comfort in the growth zone and no growth in the comfort zone”
Unknown

Learning ‘Angry’ Martial Arts

Newsletter 951

Angry Martial Arts

Had a kid in class yesterday,
he was losing at freestyle,
got upset,
got emotional,
started carrying on and whining
and generally disturbing the class.
We worked with him,
but at the end of class he was still upset.

The next class I gave a lecture
about giving in to emotion.
You have to control yourself
if you are going to control your opponent.
And I addressed this lad
who had been so-o- upset.

You were upset the other day,
it was hard to talk to you,
because you couldn’t listen through your emotions.
You’re calm now,
so now you get the lesson.
If you fall to emotion,
you’ll fail in your art,
and fall to an opponent.

He agreed.

But the day before he didn’t agree.
He couldn’t learn through emotion.

The point here is don’t be so anxious
to give a lesson
when somebody is upset.
Let him calm down.
When the emotion is gone,
and he is able to think,
to actually analyze,
that’s when you give the lesson.

And,
a quick lesson for you
on how to defuse emotion.

Humor.

One day we had a special needs kid in class.
He got upset,
screamed at us,
said a bunch of foul words,
went to the door
and flipped us all off.

The instructor next to me said,
‘Hey! I’m number one!’
Everybody laughed.
Even the special needs kid started to laugh.

So use humor,
if at all possible,
to defuse a situation.

Now,
it is HanaKwanMass!
You only have a couple of days
to get yourself a present,
and I tell ya,
the best present you can get somebody,
and even and especially yourself,
is a complete martial art.

Here’s one…

http://monstermartialarts.com/martial-arts/6-shaolin-butterfly/

remember,
my HanaKwanMass poetry is almost here,
so sit by your computer with bated breath.

http://monstermartialarts.com/martial-arts/6-shaolin-butterfly/

Here’s a great win…

A WIN!

My journey with Al started about 8 years ago with a book written by Al called Shaolin Butterfly, which I studied and still study on a daily bases. Then Al did something that has changed my martial arts life he started offering all of his courses at a lower price than what he used to charge. I took advantage and started by ordering just a couple. I went through them and found a wealth of information which cleared away the fog that most instructors throw at their students because they themselves don’t understand the whys of their systems.

That was it. I ordered all of Al’s courses. I have taken something from each of the arts that Al has put at my feet and have made it my own, and this has been a real gift.

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” – Mark Twain

What Matrixing Does to the Martial Arts…and to the Mind.

Newsletter 946

What is Matrix Martial Arts?

It’s time to explain what Matrixing is.
I know a lot of you guys and gals understand this already,
but the newsletter grows
and it is time to describe matrixing and what it does
for all the new guys and gals.

You go to a strange land where miracles occur.
The people are strong and healthy,
and life does exactly what they want it to.
You ask their secret.
No one can tell you,
but they do tell you that the secret is in a book called
‘Secrets of the Universe’
Where is this so-called ‘Secrets of the Universe?’
In the library.

You walk into the library looking for
‘Secrets of the Universe,’
Unfortunately,
that library doesn’t have the Dewey Decimal system.
Books have been thrown in a pile for hundreds of years.
There are MILLIONS of books.
Unfortunately.
none of them have covers.
So you sit in that library for the rest of your life,
opening and closing books,
looking for the one that has all the Secrets of the Universe.
Unfortunately,
you die before you find it.

Curse this library for not having the Dewey Decimal system.

Okay,
you decide to study the martial arts,
you sign up,
go to class,
and spend years studying everything you can.

Unfortunately,
there is no dewey decimal system inside your head.
You can’t decide when to use which technique,
the techniques of the various systems all blend together,
there is no way to tell which technique is bogus,
and which technique really works.
Like the books of that far away library,
your techniques are piled haphazardly
without any way to reference them,
without anyway to access them specifically.
One day you get in a fight,
you can’t pick out which technique to use,
you hesitate,
and somebody cleans your clock.

Curse your head for not having a ‘Dewey Decimal’ system.

Matrixing is the Dewey Decimal system of the martial arts.
It makes every move make sense.
It puts all the techniques in order,
it gives you the right reasons for stances,
the right drills to make your moves fit together.
It gives you…

INTUITION!

Now,
here’s the funny thing…
it used to be,
several decades ago,
when the martial arts were fresh to the shores,
that martial art systems did create intuition.
But those were what we call CCS,
‘Closed Combat Systems.’
They had been put together over generations,
over hundreds of years,
and they had been made workable
and honed to a state of perfection.
But look at what has happened to the MA
in the last few decades.

People put aside workable techniques for tournament fighting.
People gave up workable forms
to learn forms that didn’t work,
in the name of nationalism.
Arts were restructured to make them easier to sell.
Belt systems came into vogue.
Concepts that were once easy to understand
became confused, abused, and forgotten.

I tell you right now,
I began MA in 1967.
I saw what was taught,
and it DOES NOT resemble at all,
what is taught today.
Or,
perhaps I should say,
what is taught today
does not look one whit
like what was taught back then.

Kids are taught to fight,
and the way to intuitive movement has been put aside.
Students are entertained,
and discipline,
such as I was subjected to back then,
does not exist.
Teachers take seminars
and then think they can teach the whole art
of that seminar.
Teachers put arts together,
the better to advertise,
and what they have synthesized…
DOES NOT WORK!

And on and on and on.

What matrixing does is

put the techniques in order,
eliminate useless techniques,
get rid of all the extra crap
that has been stuffed into the MA.

If I gave you 3, 8, green, 9, 2, and a turkey,
could you count to ten?

Fifty years ago there were CCS arts
and somehow they worked,
and you could count to ten.
Only take you 15 or 20 years.

Nowadays,
every system is filled with excess crap,
bunches of systems all mixed together,
concepts that not only don’t work,
but actually oppose each other.
Most systems cannot teach intuition.

They can’t teach that mystical state knopwn as
Mushin No Shin
(Mind of No Mind)
let alone what it is
or how to make it work.

But people,
because they can ‘fight good,’
think they are intuitive.

Nope.

There is virtually no intuition in today’s martial arts.
now way to read minds
and see what somebody is going to do
before they do it.

Intuition has been forgotten.
People don’t know it,
people heart about it,
but nobody experiences it,
and nobody teaches it.
So Matrixing changes that.
It teaches you how to count to 10 in the martial arts.
It puts the techniques in order,
logical order,
and intuition starts to creep in.
And it creeps in fast,
faster than even the old CCS methods.

A person who has a couple of years experience
can gain intuition,
as fast as he reads the material,
for to read about matrixing
is to absorb it.

A person with little or no experience
is still going to have to do the work,
but even that will take less and less time.

And,
here is the juice.
Once the mind has accepted a logical system,
a matrixed system,
the mind starts to become matrixed.
Other subjects fall to the intuitive logic
that is matrixing.
One walks into confusing situations
and the confusion just leaves.
There is no debris in the mind
distracting and disturbing.

THE MIND LIKES THAT WHICH IS SIMPLE AND LOGICAL

And the door opens to a new you.
An intuitive you,
a you that can absorb MA systems
literally ten times faster.

Your mind has just been matrixed.

So that is what matrixing is…
and what it does.

I’ve got over 600 pages of wins,
people telling me how matrixing has changed their art,
and changed them.

Since 1984,
when I first went into the mail order business,
which is the pre-runner of the internet biz,
I have had only four returns.

I have never had anybody
claim it doesn’t work,
or that it was wrong in some way.

Look,
don’t believe me,
I’m not even going to try to sell you on all this,
simply click on the link and read a few of the testimonials.

http://monstermartialarts.com/testimonials/

Have a great work out!
Al

http://monstermartialarts.com/testimonials/

Here’s a win I received a few years ago…

A WIN!

Master Case,
I purchased your Matrix Core Course last October and it’s truly amazing and revolutionary material, it’s taken me months to complete, and it covers a lot of martial arts ground.
Then I purchased the Matrix Master Text and it blew my mind even further out.  It helped me understand the core material even better.
I have never paid so much for a PDF download file in my life, but after opening that eBook, and reading it, I realized how much time and energy you really put into your Matrixing work. Your core course and the master text are worth a lot more than what I paid, you have by far over delivered by redeeming my time spent in the martial arts and saving me all that scratching on my head for the coming years ahead.
I will never see the martial arts the same way again.  After over 20 years in the martial arts studying Judo, Jujitsu, Hapkido, Kenpo, Tang So Do, and Taekwondo, I have learned more in these past 11 months, than I have in my entire martial arts career.

Thanks!
Elmer G

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