ARM CHAIR WARRIORS (A Short Rant)by John Johnston

Having just finished reading another article written by another Arm Chair Warrior, I’m once again left with the feeling “ WTF are they talking about”.

I fail to see the value of yet another technical article about how to develop power in your punch, or should you turn on the ball of your foot or the heel, or even some more obscure ideas to do with psychomotor skills or breath and tandem. I just wish they could teach themselves a breathing technique that would allow their rectum to swallow them whole and disappear into the ether.

What is it that they are trying to teach us these theorists and technocrats?

I’m all for the exchange of ideas, different training methods and how to advance and enhance your techniques etc but surely that must be done on the Dojo floor in training!

I’ve seen some of these Arm Chair Warriors training or teaching and to be honest they couldn’t fight sleep let alone knock someone out.

I do not want someone that has never been in a real fight or conflict, never scored Ippon in a high level competition, never dropped an appoint whilst practicing Juyu Ippon or Kihon Ippon Kumite, telling  me that they know a better way of performing a technique. All the theory in the world is only as good as the paper it is written on.

I am writing this letter in my blog rather than as a letter to the magazine directly. It is more of a rant to myself and likeminded people. I know we will never change the nature of the type of person my rant is aimed at because you would never meet them on the Dojo floor. That’s the proving ground for real Karate technique and not on the pages of a magazine.

How We Teach/ Why We Teach (continued) by John Johnston

From time to time my wife Elaine and I take the opportunity to observe other Martial Arts clubs training. There are several reasons for this:

1)      Because we enjoy Martial Arts

2)      We learn a lot from observing

3)      It helps us to understand other styles and systems

4)      On a commercial basis we can see what the opposition is about

5)      As Martial Artists, it is good to be able to have a positive interaction with other instructors and their students.

Having said that we have often seen some atrocious training sessions.  We find it hard to get our heads around the Instructors motivations. We understand the commercial reasons but some of these sessions don’t have enough students to make the session pay, so is it ego? Because it can’t be the love of the art or to the benefit of their students. One club we observed on two seperate occasions at different venues about 18 months apart, the Instructor conducted the whole of both sessions sitting down. The whole session lacked any dynamics, energy or structure. The students looked incompetent, lacklustre and undisciplined. In contrast to the previous, we watched a session where the Instructor ( we nick named him Rat Boy) drilled his few students, 5 in total, 2 young boys, 1 girl, 1 teenage boy and 1 older man all of various grades. They, regardless of grade or age, were given combinations to perform at full speed from the outset. Rat Boy shouted at them to perform stronger, there was no correcting or coaching, just dictorial bulling. They then went on to do Kumite which was poorly demonstrated and would be totally ineffective with no explanation as to objectives. Kata came next but at this point we had had enough and left.

Recently we visited a local McDojo. The session had just started. There were 40 plus students on the floor, 5 or 6 adults the rest were children. The session was being ‘overlooked’ by a senior Instructor with about 8 junior Instructors of an estimated average age of 16. It looked like playtime at the park. I will not describe the training but it wasn’t what I would call Martial.

These are only 3 examples, there have been many more but I feel these are three extremes. In the first example we can only surmise that the Instructor believes that he is providing a service. The second example (Rat Boy) was exercising his ego and satisfying his bullying nature. The third was purely commercial. It certainly was not for the benefit of the students.

We fail to see why in this age of the internet & available good Martial Arts Clubs as to why parents and adult students would wish to pay for this type of tuition.

Buddha say’s “speak well of others, not of their faults” Buddha’s not paying or having to sit quietly by and watch the harm done to others.

Children need correct guidance and support in their Karate