Author Topic: 500 Techniques? Overload or What?  (Read 17277 times)

Karazenpo

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500 Techniques? Overload or What?
« on: March 12, 2003, 10:59:30 AM »
 I bet here's a topic that will get a lot of comments and opinions. There are a couple of legitimate kenpo/kempo systems that are quoting 500 techniques in their curriculum. There are still others with 250 plus. What are your opinions on this?
  From what I understand the original kempo was based on a limited number of techniques and a strong foundation of basics that one could borrow from and create more techniques. Some of your most legendary kempo fighters trained this way, correct? You have "x" amount and then technically the others are either variations or hybrids! Your "x" amount, however, should vary enough to include all the principles and concepts of your system.......in other words, "the keys".  Would there not be much redundancy in a system of 500 techniques? In the words of Bill O'Reilly......."What say you?" ;)
  
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by 1054443600 »

Offline Mike Nagano

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Re: 500 Techniques? Overload or What?
« Reply #1 on: March 12, 2003, 11:23:47 AM »
This is an interesting topic....I feel that one technique is too much if you do not understand the concept behind the technique.  If you fully understand how a technique works, and apply it to various attacks, and in different combinations, you will be able to respond more spontaneously, more creatively, with an "infinite" number of possibilities.  Many of the traditional arts don't have set techniques.  Students are taught how something such as a block, a punch, a wrist grab, etc, works.  Then they practice these defenses against various attacks.  Kenpo systems have categorized techniques.  In MY opinion, this can limit sponteneity a bit, IF students don't understand what makes these defenses effective.

« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by 1054443600 »
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Karazenpo

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Re: 500 Techniques? Overload or What?
« Reply #2 on: March 12, 2003, 11:53:30 AM »
I think I got you. In other words, you feel its best to know one technique ten different ways then ten different techniques mediocre.  Agreed!  Keep it coming! ;)
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by 1054443600 »

Offline sifutimg

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Re: 500 Techniques? Overload or What?
« Reply #3 on: March 12, 2003, 12:52:59 PM »
It seems in my opinion that there are two camps in which martial arts are taught (very high level thought here).  One camp teaches from a technical base.  What I mean here is that you are taught various techniques that you add to your arsonal and then work on the situations, strategies, and scenarios utilitizing said techniques.  It's kind of like strapping on a bucket to your belt, then as you learn new techniques you desposit them into the bucket.  A situation arises where you have to use your technques and you look into the bucket and grab one and use it.  Unfortunately until that creative higher level of understanding is in place, you find that the technique you pull out of your bucket didn't fit the scenario and as a matter of fact you can't find one that does.  This could be bad.  Now as the years pass and more and more techniques fill the bucket you start to have to smash them together to fit and whenever you have to pull a technique from the bucket, sometimes they get stuck together and such, but the technique works to your surprise.  Here begins a transformation.  As a little more time passes each time you pull a technique out of your bucket you end up taking them all out because they are permanently smashed, squished, and bent around one another.  It's at this point it all becomes one.   Learning a technical based system is not a bad thing, it just is what it is.

The other camp is principle based.  The student learns principles about position, centerline, high and low line, position without speed is better than speed without position, if you want to generate power - never move two bases at the same time, doing as much with one line as you can, distance - timing, base-angle-leverage, etc.  This is a harder way to learn if techniques are not taught along with principle.  

I have been taught  both ways over the years and have seen students perform techniques at a high level on the bag and such, but when they have to rely on it whether be in sport or the street, they have had difficulty.  On the flip side I have watched folks who understand position or centerline principles, but don't understand what technique to use at the right time (that is another principle - right technique at the right time).  Much of this depends on how a teacher implements their given curriculum but I believe a balance of technique and principle seems to be a good formula in my experience which isn't very much as I still have so much to learn.

My instructor used to coach us at the tournaments.  I had a fast backfist, but when I got up against someone more skilled, my teacher used to say things like "change the line - change the time", or "low first - then burst".  he didn't want me to change my fast backfist to another technique which I wasn't as comfortable using, he just wanted me to change the way I would use my backfist.

Anyway, great topic.

Yours in training,
Sifu Tim Gagnier
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by 1054443600 »
Grandmaster Tim Gagnier
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Chief Instructor Pacific Wind Kajukenbo
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Yamhill, Oregon

Offline Gints Klimanis

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Re: 500 Techniques? Overload or What?
« Reply #4 on: March 12, 2003, 02:23:43 PM »
Many excellent points posted!  Thanks for a good read.

As a system grows, I think it is inevitable that
techniques are accumulated over time.  If the word
"style" references a subset of the possible
techniques and their method of execution,
then more techniques will likely reduce the
boundaries of a style.  Many techniques are
executed by wrote.  For example, take kata
or dances.  Most are executed in a group and
repeated from start to end.  Very few people seem
to be interested in applying the movements, so
these technical sequences are appropriately
named.  Many are taught by form rather than
function.  Squat low !  Move your fist higher!
Faster!, slower!, etc.  Very few teachers have
the knowledge or the time to break down
and apply the moves individually.  Since dances,
even in the absence of interpretation and application,
are respected as a body of knowledge, they are
accumulated.  My club teaches at least 20 dances.


With the arrival of the printing press, photography,
film and now, computers and video, martial arts
can be passed without direct communication with
a teacher.  So, it's easy enough for an organization
to claim a catalog of 500+ techniques.

Check out the most excellent book :
Hapkido: Traditions, Philosophy, Technique
by Marc Tedeschi

This is an amazing catalog of hand and foot techniques.
You will notice that there is considerable overlap
with technically-rich Kajukenbo.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by 1054443600 »
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Offline Sifu_George

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Re: 500 Techniques? Overload or What?
« Reply #5 on: March 13, 2003, 11:21:00 AM »
I think that the reason we learn and constantly strive for perfection in all the techniques in our system, even though each one of us may teach each slightly different, is to be ready to mix certain techniques(when we have to), according to each unique aggressive situation.
We have to be ready to get creative when it's call for, which is more times than not.
Maybe each creative response for those systems with 500 techniques, seems to me, is being catorgarized as a unique technique to that style/system. Which isn't what I would say it is. I think this would be a creative melding or mixture of techniques based on our system's base techniques.
I teach my students; be creative; in real life you will seldom come upon an aggressive attacker/minds that will be the same.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by 1054443600 »
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Karazenpo

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Re: 500 Techniques? Overload or What?
« Reply #6 on: March 13, 2003, 03:34:12 PM »
 Okay, I'm going to "stir the pot" on this a little. I'm going to give an analogy:
 
 1) You are going to be given a written test on a subject.

 2) You will have three months study time-3 hours a day

 3) Your goal, ofcourse, is to receive the highest grade

 4) However, you are given this choice: you can either    choose to study from 2 volumes, 4 volumes or 6 volumes but the time studying remains constant at 3 months-3 hours per day.

 5) Incentive-highest mark wins "$1 Million bucks! :D


  *There is not anyone who wouldn't pick the 2 volumes over 4 and 6!!!!!!!!!   Without getting all analytical about it, what does that tell us about 500 techniques? ;)
  

« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by 1054443600 »

Offline Gints Klimanis

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Re: 500 Techniques? Overload or What?
« Reply #7 on: March 13, 2003, 04:47:22 PM »
I don't think that anyone will contest you that it's difficult to develop combat proficiency in many techniques.  However, having 500 techniques to
choose from is cool.  A teacher can only present
what he knows.  In some cases, techniques are
forgotten.  I agree that it's up to the teacher to
present a program using a subset of all of the
techniques.  But, I would rather have access to
1000's of moves and ideas. Modern media allow a student to study and reference huge libraries
of techniques.  Video allows for demonstration
of techniques that are beyond the ability of
an aging or injured instructor.  In the future,
video will be probably be used more and more to
present the work of a deceased instructor.  He will
live on through video.  With miniDV camcorders
running for < $500 and movie-capable digital
cameras going for $300, there is little excuse for
regular videography.  When your instructor passes
away, you will kick yourself for not seizing the moment.


« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by 1054443600 »
"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

Karazenpo

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Re: 500 Techniques? Overload or What?
« Reply #8 on: March 13, 2003, 05:48:57 PM »
 I understand what you are saying and agree with you part way. I refer to it as the "menu concept", thus having a variety of techniques and forms to choose from so that the individual can tailor the system to fit themself.
  However, here is my point beyond that. Imho, a student needs only a certain "core" of techniques that once ingested and assimilated will open the door for them to inspire their creativity and imagination. To me this is the true essence of Kajukenbo-Kempo Karate. I wish I could take credit for this belief but it was Gm. George Pesare & Professor Nick Cerio that taught me this. If the instructor wishes to practice more than the core to assist their students in their creativity, that's a personal choice and at the discretion of the instructor, but not the mandatory requirements for promotion. In other words, you shouldn't be doing it all for them or they become simply clones of you or the system and self development goes down the tube.
  Otherwise, you're going to have students robotically performing these techniques, everyone, to a specific situation. I feel the reflexive conditioned response should be more generic in nature. In kata, the the movements are generic enough to have several applications to one particular movement or technique. Imho, they will think too much and thinking causes hesitation and as one kempo great once said, "He who hesitates, mediates, in a horizontal position"........Ed Parker.  
  Fighting, in my opinion, should be more conceptual in nature. A man is weilding a bat, you know from your training that to JUST keep from getting hit, you either duck or step to another plane, BUT, if you're goal is to DISARM then you better be close enough to "kiss" him on the cheek. Once you play out your concept and get that far your close combat responses take over and you reflexively do your thing.  Anyway, it works for me! :)
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by 1054443600 »

Offline sifutimg

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Re: 500 Techniques? Overload or What?
« Reply #9 on: March 13, 2003, 07:01:33 PM »
What a great topic...

I agree with most everything everyone is saying about this subject and IMHO it's more about not how many techniques one knows, but the understanding behind each of the techniques and even more so the principles your art has to offer and how that balance is struck.  Techniques alone won't cut it as techniques by themselves are empty.  I have many techniques in my curriculum definately and I teach them to all my students.  But I know that people are different and unique (one of my favorite things about people), and it's the students perception of how technique, principle, and strategy come together creating the best advantage for self preservation that is the goal.  I always tell my students that I am not teaching them to be like me, I am teaching them to be like them.  In fight or flight and when that autonomic nervous system starts the process of dumping chemicals into your system in preparation for combat your fine moter skills get shaky.  Under this condition your mental processes are in a heightened state and can be as shaky depending on how you train and what you have experienced.  It can be very unfortunate to find out just how much you don't understand about whatever technique you employ at this most crucial time.  I believe in teaching tools and techniques, yes, definately, but spend a fair amount of time conveying the principles behind how to use said tools and techniqes more so in a creative fashion.  The methodology I use to teach relates to my belief system as I believe we are here to create ourselves in the greatest version of the grandest vision we can hold for ourselves in every moment available to us.  With that said, I very much encourage creativity, finding what resonates with a given student as we delve down as deeply as we can to develop the understanding behind what comes natrually for the student.  I teach in a kind of "core skills" format where techniques are part of the curriculum, but the curriculum is only one of many "core skills" that are taught.  The techniques contained in the curriculum are a way to showcase the framework and foundation of how techniques, strategy, and principle can come together and work in a given situation.  This provides examples to the students to generate thought and get their creative juices flowing.  Fighting is chaos and it's very difficult to have something that is concisely understood holistically to pull out and use for every possible scenario one might find themselves in, but if the principles of power and position are upheld, and strategy is employed, then the how and the when relating to the use of techniques, I believe, can be expressed effectively.  The reasoning behind this, and some of you may find flaw in this and that's OK because I am here to learn and don't claim to really know anything, is I am always going to imagine that my attacker is faster, stronger, and better skilled than I.  Again IMHO this develops a mindset of always striving to be on top of your game.  How many of us have been to a tournament and when you line up with someone, you did so because you have already made up your mind that your going to beat them, but the reverse happens.  Your executing your tried and true techniques, but your still getting your butt kicked and by the time you pull your ego back and figure out how to beat your opponent, it's to late.  I don't think you want to go through that kind of experience out in a street.  The very best thing about Kajukenbo for me though, is that the founders as well as others have used the many techniques, principles, and strategies in real combat and that gives me an enormous amount of confidence in what I am training and teaching.  Kajukenbo is great isn't it?

Anyway I may have gotten a little off subject and a little excited, but thought I would add my 2 cents.

Yours in training,
Sifu Tim Gagnier
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by 1054443600 »
Grandmaster Tim Gagnier
Student of Great Grandmaster Charles Gaylord & Grandmaster Sid Lopez
Chief Instructor Pacific Wind Kajukenbo
Student Forever
Yamhill, Oregon

Karazenpo

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Re: 500 Techniques? Overload or What?
« Reply #10 on: March 14, 2003, 06:08:43 AM »
 Excellent points, Sifu Tim. I teach my students two reasons why we do prearranged techniques. 1) They are a "vehicle" to drive home the principles & concepts of the system 2) Like forms training, they totally coordinate the the body to respond reflexively to situations of violent attack.
  I also instill into them that it is best to just act spontaneously to a situation than to hesitate in the hopes of coming up with the textbook solution to the assault. Many more times than not, the reflexive response will prevail.
  When I teach a specific counter to an attack I tell the students you may hear of a documented situation where someone did something and it was totally the opposite of the principle & concept I was emphasizing for that particular assault. Let's say it was a knife defense or gun disarming. I explain that even though the technique was successful, it wouldn't be classified as a "gun technique" or "knife defense" per se. It was a spontaneous reaction and it worked!
   One example of this that comes to mind was at an officer survival seminar. A police officer was being interviewed to recount a situation when he had a "bad guy" point a gun in his face and his gun was still locked in his holster. The cop was a noted "Golden Gloves" boxer. He talked to the suspect and suddenly without warning threw a beautiful right hook which knocked this guy out cold before the gun even left his hand. ;D   Now, obviously, one wouldn't teach this method as a "gun disarming tecnique" but it sure as hell worked, lol! ;)  
  My whole point to this is, imho, we should have a curriculum that has enough techniques to teach the students all the principles & concepts of the system (whatever number that may be) and add a "number" of variations to set them on the right path, again, whatever number that may be, but I have to stand by my belief that 500 is overkill and may clutter the mind of many students. I guarrantee if we went over them you would find many that were "sooo" close to each other that it wouldn't even be warranted calling it another technique or a "hybrid"- part of one technique added on to part of another, etc, etc. Hybrids are a good thing & I use them but they are simply made up of the movements from the "core" techniques we had discussed earlier.  Respectfully submitted,  Shihan Joe
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by 1054443600 »

Offline Gints Klimanis

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Re: 500 Techniques? Overload or What?
« Reply #11 on: March 14, 2003, 02:01:40 PM »
Honestly, I think that the average modern peson is more interested in quantifiable entities.  So, 100 techniques will little proficiency is generally considered to be more valuable than 10 techniques with great proficiency.   As an artist, I agree with the 100 techniques.  As a fighter, I agree with the 10 techniques.

« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by 1054443600 »
"We do not condone the use of a toilet seat as a deadly weapon"
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Baltic Dog, Dog Brothers Martial Arts

Karazenpo

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Re: 500 Techniques? Overload or What?
« Reply #12 on: March 14, 2003, 04:28:28 PM »
I don't know, Gints, as an instructor I can see having a wider variety for a student to choose from, what I call the menu concept.  Three of us go out to eat at the same restuarant, we all order from the same menu prepared by the same chef, but we may all order something different. It may all suit our individual tastes so we'll all satisfied. I totally believe in that and you saying 100 or so is also fine with me but we're talking 500. I am open minded and have changed my views when convinced but in this case I have to go with "Quality over Quantity", I'm a firm believer in that!
Great discussion and I totally respect your viewpoints but like the menu in the restuarant, sometimes we all order something different! :)    Respectfully, Shihan Joe
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by 1054443600 »

Offline John Erickson

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Re: 500 Techniques? Overload or What?
« Reply #13 on: March 15, 2003, 03:38:29 AM »
I believe that there are really two issues to be addressed on this topic.

First, what defines a "technique"?  Is a block followed by a palm to the face a different technique than a block followed by a front two knuckle punch to the face?  Or is one a variation of the other.  I would consider each to be the same "technique".  Apparantly some schools or systems would classify these as 2 different techniques.

Second, how many "concepts" are appropriate to comprise an effective system.  Certainly techniques which I find highly effective would not work for certain individuals.  A system has to have enough varied techniques so that each student can have a repertoire of effective techniques.  

Additionally, I think that the conversations have been touching on the idea of how many techniques does one need to be competent for self defense?  I think that most would agree that being highly proficient at several techniques is better than being familiar with dozens.  

To digress a little, I feel that sometimes more emphasis is placed on the techniques than on the person performing them.  I believe that the respect that the founders of kajukenbo and kempo have earned was as much for their brutal training and being extremely tough individuals as it was for their synthesis of their systems.

Additionally, I think that the uneducated american consumer is what creates situations like this.  Some people feel better about signing up for a school that promises hundreds of techniques instead of one offering dozens.  I think I may start a thread for more on this.

Respectfully,

John
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by 1054443600 »
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sigungjoe

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Re: 500 Techniques? Overload or What?
« Reply #14 on: April 29, 2003, 08:09:47 AM »
500 techniques?!! wow. I dont think I can even remember 20.. On a serious note though, shouldnt techniques be taught as spontanaity?(sp?) If i figure correctly, most people get hit in a real situation because they dont react quickly enough to the attack. and that is because they are trying to remember 1 of the many techniques they have practiced. Shouldnt we concentrate on the main aspect of a technique? that being, dont get hit. then react accordingly?
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by 1054443600 »