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Re: Principles
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Well i've recently started a new dojo so the prinicples I'm teaching right now are distance and angles through the Kihon Happo. This occurs of course through footwork and body structure so I suppose I'm looking at these things first. In a nutshell: Ukemi and Kamae

When I go and train at my own teachers dojo, I'm learning the same stuff but with added things like dori-gata, moguri-gata, shinnen gata etc.

Mostly these things aren't explained explicitly, in either case, but are learned through the body through training.

I think the name of the principle comes after the principle is learned....Like with kata perhaps? Or any named thing in fact! Learn the thing, then assign a label to help you remember!

Posted on: 2009/10/19 21:49
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Re: Principles
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RJHill wrote:

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I'll leave all the doing things "half-assed" alone, I just hope people aren't practicing half-assed.


I agree with you about that. I have never liked how Hatsumi sensei explains this principle. It makes people believe half assing something is the preferred method. It isn't and when Hatsumi sensei is teaching it he really isn't half assing it. Which is why so many don't get it. One way is not being overcommitted. Or I think a better way to describe it is just being for one sensitive to changes that are happening including when something isn't working or changes to the situation occur. And second being able to transition from technique to technique when something doesn't work. Kukishinden is a prime example of that. Similar to other Koryu styles the kata are long for that reason. Each step in the kata is meant to be a finishing blow or a perfect technique. It is when it doesn't work that the kata continues.

Papa-san wrote:

Quote:
Just curious, but does this "half-baked" idea relate to Sensei saying "if you do a perfect technique it will get you killed"?


Doing a perfect technique makes it possible for one to counter it because you know what it is and thus its faults. On the flipside, if it is really perfect then it is highly unlike to be stopped or countered because some factors make it far superior. For example if don't see it coming or can't understand what is happening. It is too fast to respond to or just too powerful.

I would believe they are all related principles are never isolated but used in groups. That is perfect technique.

Are you truly asking or simply planting seeds? I figured the higher ranking would have an understanding of these things especially principles he speaks quite often about. I thought this what these high ranks signify,

Posted on: 2009/10/19 21:53
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Re: Principles
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RJHill wrote:

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There is also something important to consider; should the principles be "taught" or explained in the beginning?


I say yes! I think there will be exceptions to the rule but in general, yes. I wonder what those with post graduate degrees in education think about that.

Posted on: 2009/10/19 22:22
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Re: Principles
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Jwills, if a person can't read do you teach them the principles of composition? Or do you teach them how to form the sounds of the words and letters they see on the page?

To hit a golf ball do you begin with the principles or do you show them the movement and let them work on it before you move specifics?

Posted on: 2009/10/20 19:04
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Re: Principles
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RJHill wrote:

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Jwills, if a person can't read do you teach them the principles of composition? Or do you teach them how to form the sounds of the words and letters they see on the page?

To hit a golf ball do you begin with the principles or do you show them the movement and let them work on it before you move specifics?


Everything that happens has a principle behind it whether we know it or not. That is why they work or don't work. I also think that certain principles have priority over others when it comes to learning. I think basic principles or maybe universal principles first.

Using your golf analogy, we first work on form and the principle of alignment. Then practice the swing only after explaining where the power comes from. Then after try to hit the ball. Followed later by discussing wind speed.

Just going out and doing something and saying play isn't going to cut it. If you want to see how much a person has learned then yeah. If I was in school and a teacher taught this way all the time then they probably wouldn't be considered one of our finest teachers. It would also mean that a small percentage of students would get something from the teaching. A lot of people will be talking about how lost they are. Sound familiar? Have you heard that from students before? Certain people have stated in the past that they are not good teachers. I think people should take that to heart.

With principles explained you have better chance of understanding how they can be applied in other situations. Not simply limited to vessel or situation that was used to teach them.

Since you know a principle by definition is a rule or law used to explain something then yes I would also teach sounds first. Each sound has a certain you must follow in order to make it. I explain where to put the tongue, how the breathe is used and make the sound.

Principles first is my opinion. Like I said ask those who have degrees in teaching or teaching experience outside the dojo. They could shed some light on this.

Posted on: 2009/10/20 21:47
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Re: Principles
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Posted on: 2009/10/20 23:41
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Re: Principles
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I think you've got some quite valid points about principles as they apply to teaching body mechanics in the dojo.

There are other levels of principles that apply as well.

Peter King's essay simply titled, "Fighting" takes many of the movement principles you've spoken about and applies them to actual combat, something in which he's well experienced. Just a short excerpt:

"Fighting is dangerous, don’t fight unless you have to. If you do have to, then win. If you can’t win then survive. However, don’t think of winning or losing. This is like the godan test. You should not hold on to expectations of the outcome. Luck should never be underestimated. If you win you should acknowledge to yourself that you were fortunate. If your opponent has luck on his side, then you must be able to turn your mistakes into advantages.

Be bold, but not reckless. When possible take the initiative and hit the opponent before he has completed his attack. Alternatively, draw the opponent and attack him when he is most vulnerable. Create your strategy according to your comparative strengths and weaknesses, rather than being limited by them. Although martial arts training provides the basic model of physical and non-physical attributes relating to fighting, you must make them your own. They are conceptual models, not dogma. Do not expect a fight today to be copy of a fight 500 years ago.

However understand the principles and mechanics of human movement potential will remain constant and this is where the value of a martial arts education lies. Understand other martial arts – their dynamics, how they use distance, their strategies and their rhythm. Always be open to an unexpected tactic and don’t be surprised. Be adaptable and let your response be dictated by your opponent’s action. Anything that is fixed is either dead or liable to be broken. Movement and fluidity are the natural order of life. In nature, those that cannot adapt become extinct."

Posted on: 2009/10/21 3:35
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Re: Principles
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You have understood a lot of what I was saying. A"perfect" technique is known and recognized and therefore can be stopped, UNLESS it comes as a surprise, is hidden, and not seen. That is maybe the thing we should really be working on. Instead of "perfecting", which doesn't happen as perfect is beyond human capability, we should emphasize hiding what we do. Teaching what causes the "surprise", looking at the energy we project and use it to hide our moves. I do think that the principles are what all effective action is based upon. Kata and technique are merely vehicles to teach the principles. Principles are a way to adapt effectively to any situation and again I agree that one either adapts or one looses. When loss means death you are dead. Way too often we forget that our art is a COMBAT art and does not fit into any other situation. Live or die, that might be determined by a fraction of a second or a millimeter of distance. One of the most stupid lines I ever heard in a movie was from "enter the dragon" --- "but I'd be looking good" this while he was beaten to a pulp later.

Posted on: 2009/10/22 0:30
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Re: Principles
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I believe that basic principles of human movement don't change. Paleo-anthropologists studying fossils probably have a different opinion. But for our timescale, I think it's safe to say that there are "universal" principles of angles and distances etc.

Bravo, we've extracted a single pizza slice worth of reality. But knowing the bio-mechanics of how you move offers me very little insight into what will be your *first movement* once chaos and adrenalin take over.

I guess you need to add a new layer of principles related to "fight or flight".

So now we know principles related to biomechanics and endocrinology. Another pizza slice captured.

But people are individuals at the margin. So knowing how you move, knowing how your body reacts to stress now needs to be supplemented with principles of psychology I suppose. Another slice.

Then, it's also given that culture and certain types of training will affect outcomes. After all, the suicide bomber runs toward the crowd while the sniper keeps their distance. They both are trained to shut down any notions of normality. Another set of principles.

Please believe me that I'm not dissing the idea of learning principles one bit. Angles, movement, distancing, power, speed, accuracy are the grammar of good taijutsu. Further to that, you can say that there is actually such a thing as correct grammar in both language and taijutsu movement.

But art---in literature and in budo---usually comes from violating established principles in a wonderful and unique way. That’s why most attempts at art fail.

Occasionally, however, the violation sticks and thereby opens up new possibilities to advance. That’s why in the early 90s, I let go of all my karate/judo training from the 80s to learn from a man who seemed to violate nearly every *principle* with some of the sloppiest, non-crisp movements I’d ever seen. Then I took a turn at being uke and everything changed....

I embrace his philosophy of learning principles and techniques so well that you can forget them.

Movement principles are excellent for the dojo. But I leave them at the door when I finish for the day. Open eyes and mind have kept me a lot more safe.

Just my opinion today....

Posted on: 2009/10/22 5:16
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Re: Principles
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I always thought that when one has perfect technique then they should already have perfected the very idea of being hidden in said technique. I do not think its wise to look at them as separate things like having perfect technique then saying ok now we learn to hide it. I thinking learning to hide techniques is just one of the ingredients. Just like learning the form and the principe are also ingredients in the formula..

Posted on: 2009/10/22 9:13
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