Author Topic: If it ain't broke, don't fix it!  (Read 9341 times)

Offline Mitch Powell

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If it ain't broke, don't fix it!
« on: October 13, 2003, 02:54:38 PM »
I thought I was going to hold my tongue on this, but I can't. At a recent tournament I couldn't help but notice how poorly a local school performed Kajukenbo forms.

What's sad is the students are not to blame. They performed the forms as taught, but apparently the teacher modified the forms. I guess the teacher must have felt Sijo didn't get the forms right the first time, so they had to fix them.  

These poor students were off balance, had no power and clearly did not have a clue what the movements in the forms were used for.  At times I caught myself feeling sorry for them.

Of course, I couldn't say anything to the teacher. I'm sure they believe they have created something very special. We all need to take this into consideration when we modify Kajukenbo to fit our likes and dislikes.

As Kajukenbo teachers we have a responsibility to our students to provide them with real Kajukenbo, not a made up, modified version.  The Kajukenbo that grew out of Palama contained the concepts and techniques of Sijo, his brother Joe, and those who helped establish the art.

Today's, Fred's method, Bill's method, and so on are not the same and they make Kajukenbo look bad. If you need to come up with something of your own, then call it something else. A word to the wise, if it ain't broke, don't fix it!

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Offline Gints Klimanis

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Re:If it ain't broke, don't fix it!
« Reply #1 on: October 13, 2003, 03:24:39 PM »
While I certainly can't comment on this forms performance, I would like to comment on growing an art.  There are many branches of Kajukenbo, easily seen on Phil Gelinas's tree.  While they all have a common root, few practice identical material.  The original spirit of kajukenbo seems to be a distillation of
the material of several arts, refined and modified by experiences in Hawaii. So, given this history, I think it is a bit unfair to restrict every teacher from innovation.
In the Interview videotape in Garry Forbach's series,
Sijo explicitly states that he wants his instructors to be innovative. Some will go the wrong way, while others will truly add something.  New forms will be added and others displaced.  Some people will specialize in particular aspects to improve teaching methods, training methods, anatomical study, etc.   In my book, if one is unable to refine by improving, adding, deleting, etc., then one really doesn't know the art.  

Mitch, I remember your post about using a stick to strike an uncooperative opponent in a real situation.  Also, you've made some changes in practicing the Art with the padded attacker. Don't those experiences change how you teach the Art?  Since you are experimenting, how do you know where your efforts will lead you?




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TODD

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Re:If it ain't broke, don't fix it!
« Reply #2 on: October 13, 2003, 04:37:08 PM »
I was brought up to not change anything.  Add is ok but never change what is already there.  The innovation comes after the technique is done and groundwork begins.  This doesn't mean I continue only when the attacker is on the ground...an extra elbow, knee, poke, etc on the way down is encouraged.  This innovation is not taught the basics are, hence creativity.  As in changing forms its a simple no.  I've viewed Prof. Forbachs tapes and what I saw is exactly that.....the basics with the creativity left to ones imagination.  Just my opinion...I'm always good for 2 cents ;)

Offline Gints Klimanis

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Re:If it ain't broke, don't fix it!
« Reply #3 on: October 13, 2003, 04:54:44 PM »
Todd,

Why should your innovation only begin on the ground?
"We do not condone the use of a toilet seat as a deadly weapon"
Go Shin Jutsu Kenpo, 3rd Degree Black Belt Prof. Richard Lewis
Bono JKD/Kajukenbo, Prof. John Bono, San Jose, CA
Baltic Dog, Dog Brothers Martial Arts

Offline kajudaddy

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Re:If it ain't broke, don't fix it!
« Reply #4 on: October 13, 2003, 05:12:29 PM »
ive been in 3 different branches of kajukenbo and not 1 had the same exact pinans.they all are similar but have all been modified.i'll admit that kata's are not my strong area.im good but not great so i choose to fight in tournaments and skip the kata's.
Paul Ferber
4th degree
Eugene Ray Kajukenbo
Great Falls,MT

TODD

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Re:If it ain't broke, don't fix it!
« Reply #5 on: October 13, 2003, 05:22:36 PM »
Begins after technique is done.  "This doesn't mean I continue only when the attacker is on the ground...an extra elbow, knee, poke, etc on the way down is encouraged."  If I knew how to quote I would.  Adding to a technique and teaching it is not ok with me.  Teach the basics and let the student go from there.  What is ok with me is adding boxing or drills, and getting creative with teaching the art.  But changing the art is not ok.  If someone else wishes to do this fine, I am nobody to say other wise as long as it ain't my student doing such a thing.  An example to my point is this....advanced trick(punching counter) #1.  Why stop there.  The attacker bends from the kick to the groin, add a knee and then an elbow and continue.  But i will not teach the add-ons.

Offline Mitch Powell

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Re:If it ain't broke, don't fix it!
« Reply #6 on: October 13, 2003, 06:22:21 PM »
Maybe I'm being too harsh. I mean, we all have the opportunity to create whatever we want to create-that's America. The problem is, there's a difference when you improve something that you actually understand-that you've spent years perfecting and have found a better way. But when you change something for the sake of change or because you never actually understood what you were learning, then I have a problem with that.

Yes, I added the striking poles to my training, but I didn't change the blocks or strikes. I realized the students could practice blocking and striking against full force hits without getting hurt. Had I changed the blocks and strikes and changed the way they were taught, then I'd be as bad as the person I'm talking about.

Tony Ramos, Marianno Tiwank, Charles Gaylord and others developed versions of the original method and those methods are rock solid because they were based upon the fundamentals of Kajukenbo and backed by real training.

Maybe what I'm saying is, without going through what those men went through to learn Kajukenbo, others might not have the knowledge and skill to make any major improvements to the art.
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Offline Gints Klimanis

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Re:If it ain't broke, don't fix it!
« Reply #7 on: October 13, 2003, 06:55:26 PM »
In understand and agree with respecting the material of
one's teacher.  As an instructor in my Kenpo class (I have to call it Kenpo because my instructor calls it Kenpo even though we are from the Marino Tiwanak branch, which apparently predates the usage of the name Kajukenbo), I teach the Arts in the combinations they were taught.  However, I have seriously diverged in the teaching methods.  I have students repeat the
two-man counter arts (Grab Arts, Rotations, Punch Combinations, Club, Knife) solo, which makes them look
like the regular kata.  This ensures that they know
the moves, since some forget do the moves unless they follow someone else.  Also, I break down and repeat the
complicated portions of the art in a partner exchange format.  I run the "Gauntlet" in which one person
stands and executes only the first part of the move in
response to all students rushing at him one at a time.
Sometimes, this involves game formats such as:

1) Cookie Press
Start the art on your stomach, have someone stomp
the wind out of you by flat foot stomping your rip cage, and rise in time to greet your opponent

2) Goooooooal !
Start the art on hands & feet, have someone kick out
part of your doggie walk.  Get up and start the art
from there

3) Drag Queen
Have someone drag you around on your stomach, let
go, rise in time to greet your opponent

4) Pinball
Have a tight circle of students push you around, like in grade school, eventually, one will start the Art.


5) Usual
The original Gauntlet.  You stand in ready position and
have students rush you for the Art

6) The Marauder
You run towards your opponent and do the art.

and more.


That's about as far as I go in the class itself.  I'll change the teaching methods to keep things fresh.  In my private garage club, I'm not bound by the agreement to teach only my instructor's art.

"We do not condone the use of a toilet seat as a deadly weapon"
Go Shin Jutsu Kenpo, 3rd Degree Black Belt Prof. Richard Lewis
Bono JKD/Kajukenbo, Prof. John Bono, San Jose, CA
Baltic Dog, Dog Brothers Martial Arts

TODD

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Re:If it ain't broke, don't fix it!
« Reply #8 on: October 13, 2003, 07:43:57 PM »
I'm not aware of the circumstances on the creation of the different methods and branches.  Am I correct that these had/have Sijo's blessing?  Where I'm getting at is if a student changes something such as the Palama Sets etc should that student not get Sijo's permission if they are to call this new art Kajukenbo?  Change can be in very positive ways but I think there has to be a stamp of approval or anyone can change anything and still call it Kajukenbo.  Gints, i like your game formats ;D

Offline John Bishop

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Re:If it ain't broke, don't fix it!
« Reply #9 on: October 14, 2003, 12:51:38 AM »
Many times I've heard people quote Sijo when explaining why they've changed their Kajukenbo techniques.  Some even use the Panther Video interview to back up their cause.  

In the talks and interviews I've had with Sijo about the subject, he always said that you could be creative and add techniques and principles to your teaching, but "don't change the original techniques, your roots".

If you listen closely to the Panther video interview, Sijo says "be creative, if you see something that's good, put it in".  He never says "change any Kajukenbo techniques".  He simply says, feel free to add something if you think it's worthy.  This is not a license to change any or all of the techniques that he and the other founders created.

Between the "Original Method", "Chaun Fa", "Tum Pai", and "Won Hop Kuen Do" branches, Sijo has authorized enough techniques to last anyone a lifetime.
John Bishop  8th Degree-Original Method 
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"You watch, once I'm gone, all the snakes will start popping their heads up!"  Sijo Emperado

Offline D-Man

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Re:If it ain't broke, don't fix it!
« Reply #10 on: October 14, 2003, 01:49:32 AM »
I can understad having a problem with someone who completely changes an art, then still wants to call it Kajukenbo.  I don't think that Ronald McDonald would be very happy if some roachecoache franchise of McDonalds restaruants started serving tacos and pizzas.

At the same time though, I don't think Ronald would like it if someone took a McDonalds restaruant, changed one item on the menu, and called it something other than McDonalds.  (I'm hungry, can you tell?)

So, who decides exactly how much is too much modifiaction, or, when it is no longer Kajukenbo?  I certainly don't think that you do Mr. Powell, deciding that you can change things only once you are on the ground.  Or do you?  Could be true.  It's your world.  I know who authorizes changes or additions at McDonalds.  Didn't Bruce Lee say something about not being able to teach people his style, only being able to share his style with them?

I apologize for not knowing exactly what the creator, the "owne"r of Kajukenbo thinks, I hope that I do not put words into his mouth.

I practice Northern Kajukenbo Tum Pai Gung Fu, under my sifu, at my school with my school family, which is unlike any other school, any where else, my own way.
« Last Edit: October 14, 2003, 01:53:17 AM by D-Man »

Offline Gints Klimanis

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Re:If it ain't broke, don't fix it!
« Reply #11 on: October 14, 2003, 03:53:15 AM »
>John Bishop wrote:
>Between the "Original Method", "Chaun Fa", "Tum >Pai", and "Won Hop Kuen Do" branches, Sijo has >authorized enough techniques to last anyone a lifetime.

Doesn't this imply that changes were made before authorization?  Someone had to go out and develop alternate material to a level of proficiency before it was authorized.  If the branches mentioned about practice identical material, what is it about them that make them Kajukenbo?  Honestly, it seems as if the various branches have no qualms with adding new Arts and conveniently forgetting others.   For some reason,  many are hypersensitive to changes/modification in the forms/dances/kata.


"We do not condone the use of a toilet seat as a deadly weapon"
Go Shin Jutsu Kenpo, 3rd Degree Black Belt Prof. Richard Lewis
Bono JKD/Kajukenbo, Prof. John Bono, San Jose, CA
Baltic Dog, Dog Brothers Martial Arts

Offline John Bishop

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Re:If it ain't broke, don't fix it!
« Reply #12 on: October 14, 2003, 09:11:47 AM »
So, who decides exactly how much is too much modifiaction, or, when it is no longer Kajukenbo?  I certainly don't think that you do Mr. Powell, deciding that you can change things only once you are on the ground.  Or do you?  Could be true.  It's your world.  .

D-Man:
Is this the kind of respect for a Professor's opinion that is taught at your school?  I don't think it is what Prof. Loren teaches.  
And by the way. Professor Loren asked Sijo's permission to re-establish the development of the Tum Pai branch.

Gint's:
The development of Chuan Fa, Tum Pai, and Won Hop Kuen Do were authorized by Sijo before their development.
John Bishop  8th Degree-Original Method 
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"You watch, once I'm gone, all the snakes will start popping their heads up!"  Sijo Emperado

Offline Mitch Powell

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Re:If it ain't broke, don't fix it!
« Reply #13 on: October 14, 2003, 10:35:58 AM »
D-Man,
You kinda lost me, but I hear what you are saying. Let me ask you this? If I taught your students to jump up and down and clap their hands between each move in their forms, would you feel the same way after watching your students look foolish?

That's how bad the forms looked to me compared to the way they were originally taught. That's what bothered me the most. It wasn't the change as much as the outcome from unneeded change.

I realize you are one of the more outspoken individuals on the Cafe and I can appreciate your candid remarks; however, I do believe I have the credibility to make the statement that I made.

I have trained in Kajukenbo nearly 30 years (1975-2003) and have a thorough understanding of both the original method and the Ramos method of Kajukenbo as well as all 26 Alphabet Techniques. I'm not a paper Professor, I earned my title through years of hard work and dedication.

My teachers have been Ahgung Tony Ramos, Grandmaster Calvin Shin, Grandmaster Emil Bautista and Grandmaster Joe Davis. Through their teaching I know what Kajukenbo is, where it came from, and how it works. What I described was a deviation from the roots of the system.

As far as Bruce Lee goes, his art was an expression, Kajukenbo is not an expression. Kajukenbo has set forms and techniques. The two are not the same and should not be compared.

One other point, the different methods of Kajukenbo like the Emperado Method, Gaylord method and Ramos Method are much more similar than different. For the most part, many of the techniques and forms are the same they just have different numbers. The roots are the same because the teachers have the same roots.

As far as doing your art your way, I can appreciate that. For me, I rather not try and come up with my own art. I'd rather spend my time perfecting my abilities with the one Sijo created. You're taking the leader role and I'm taking the follower role. I'm OK with that.

By the way, Professor Loren from the Tum Pai just recently awarded my teacher, Grandmaster Bautista, his most distinguished award for maintaining the integrity of Kajukenbo. Hum?
« Last Edit: October 14, 2003, 10:36:54 AM by Mitch Powell »
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sigungjoe

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Re:If it ain't broke, don't fix it!
« Reply #14 on: October 14, 2003, 11:35:40 AM »
Correct me if I am wrong Prof. Mitch, but I think the main concern of your original post was that teachers were changing kata's, and because instructors did not understand the form and its concepts, it would lack balance, intensity, and focus. simply put, just looked aweful. If thats the case, I tend to agree. I didnt think I saw anywhere on your post where it says you cannot change self defense techniques to fit you or that you shouldnt try out different things to see if it works for you in a street situation. As I remember from our chat last month, you are, and always have been open to all kinds of variations of self defense as long as it worked. With that said, knowing what kind of person you are and who you run with. I would say you are one of the most knowledgeable people on this forum and in the kaju community.
 Now it seems on this forum that some people tend to forget that kaju is a large worldwide organization. Sort of like a giant fish pond. We are all fish in this pond, but  some people think they are bigger fish than they really are.They seem to spout off at the mouth not realizing who they are talking to, or what kind of knowledge these people have learned through years and years of blood, sweat, and tears. Maybe where they are at now makes them a big fish in a small pond, so they think its ok to say what they say. The only big fish around here are Sijo the Grandmasters and Professors.
Sorry for my ranting, but I had to say what I had to say. Ive seen too much disrespect on here towards the high ranking instructors and didnt want to sit by anymore.
To everyone that has been respectful and positive on this forum I appologize for my tirade.
Joe
« Last Edit: October 14, 2003, 12:24:32 PM by sigungjoe »