Just Got Criticism for blue-sky Thinking

Check out the criticism I got from a respected author, experienced Taekwondo instructor, and a good friend of mine at Taekwondo Yop Marki with a Vengeance. His response was targeted at a favourite book of mine Shotokan's Secret and a forum that's linked to it. Check out my response at the link above.

That entire forum post is an exercise in fantasy and denial. It badly shows up the authors complete lack of any sense of reality in his martial training.

Fine for him but not ok if he is teaching this rubbish, we all get tarred with the same brush when his students see through it.

We live in the age of pressure testing, via ufc style competition or the influence in our clubs of reality-based defence systems.

People dont just believe because we say so anymore, they can read and watch and research and test.

And when you treat that forum post as a legitimate argument you call your own judgement into question.

I realise you are a fan of this guys work but if you want to teach valid self-defence to anybody, then this entire mode of thinking has to be abandoned.

Martial arts are not magic. Not even a little bit.

-- Colin Wee Traditional Taekwondo Techniques, Patterns, and Applications at the Traditional Taekwondo Blog. [Subscribe using email or RSS feeds] [Tkd Sitemap]. Colin is a martial art instructor with 25 years of experience across three continents. Colin leads a small Traditional Taekwondo group for adults in Perth, Western Australia. Connect with Colin on FaceBook and Traditional Taekwondo Group on FB.


supergroup7 said…
Wow.. what a difficult thing to comment upon.

I can see where the experienced Taekwondo Instructor is coming from, and what motivates his criticism. Also, I can understand where you are coming from, and share in your vision of what is being communicated.

I'm just wondering if perhaps the controversy is due to different definitions, expectations, and assumptions. For example, I can say the word "apple", but this word can have so many different meanings for whoever hears it. A chef might think of the many uses of this fruit, while a painter would suddenly be inspired as to it's uses in a sculpture, and a 4 year old would find ways of smashing it around, and messing the walls, floors, and ceiling.

When we talk about "reality" in Martial Arts, it might help to define which type of reality we are searching for, and what we are mentally allowing, and excusing to allow for some flexibility. I believe that the main source of inspiration for the Shotokan's Secrets book is to look at the various Kata from a historical perspective, and thereby unlock some of the applications that would make sense if seeing the Kata through those concepts. I believe that the exhortation written to view one's hands and feet as lethal, and to be willing to rely on them if necessary is to encourage Martial Artists to train with sincerity, and with full effort so that they can feel total confidence in their skills. When one is placed in a dangerous position, it is our mental state of mind that can determine whether or not we will survive. It will do us no good if we give up before we try to fight.. all of our hard earned skills would fall to the wayside. In a way, we should feel that we do not need to rely on a weapon, but that anything we chose to do becomes a weapon. In this manner, we can feel free to use anything around us to defend ourselves, but we will also be aware that the center of power is us.
Colin Wee said…
Good comment.

Basically the criticism was not levied totally on me, but on a particular area of the book's forum which delved on the lethality of the hands/feet.

Essentially, the instructor who is providing the criticism is a person I highly respect - who knows his stuff and who is a logical and analytical thinker. In many ways he is not wrong, and there is wisdom in his analysis of the post.

But, yet, he is also not right - and yes, the book needs to be addressed in the context of that historical timeframe and the value of understanding the background issues which faced the originators of this art.

You know however, all of this is excellent. Many many years ago I got my blackbelt when I was 17yo. I trained really hard - thought that was as much as I needed to do and felt I was pretty much a hotshot. How little I knew, and how difficult it was to accrete additional knowledge over so many years. My point is that any reasoned argument is really beneficial to the learning of good martial arts.

I just wish it would happen more often here.

BTW - did you know I got a mention in the expanded version of Shotokan's Secret? :-)


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