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Thread: What's the deal with "family styles"?

  1. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Patrick McCarthy View Post
    Mr. Mertz, thank you for opening the door with your comments. I assume I am one of the experts you're alluding to. Based on this I will offer my 2 cents worth, too.
    Mr. McCarthy I wasn't eluding to you actually. However I was trying to make a point that family systems aren't any better than more standardized systems and you unload on my past yet again. It was quazi accurate, so next time I do a release I can just copy and paste. Thanks for doing the work for me.

    The base was closed in 1998, however that is just when operations stopped there. Military kept control of the grounds till 2001. We were there pulling out gear, taking down doors, and kind of scrapping the place. I was there for about 18 months. We were working most days till noon then off the rest of the day. 18 months isn't bad for about 15 kata. I also had recorded Mr. Irei doing everything as a reference. Your buddy Terry Wingrove told me that he had met and trained with Irei as well.

    The 9th dan thing was a huge mistake. the USMA actually gave me a 7th dan, but the 9th dan came from icmaua.com. I got away from this org when I figured out what was happening.

    As far as a time line for rank goes. I made Shodan in 1994, Nidan in 1995, and Sandan in 1999. Post Navy, I made Yondan in 2003, and just made Godan in late 2007. I'm not up for a promotion again for a long time.

    What I'm doing now is solidifying what I enjoy teaching. I'm not really creating anything new or anything. While I'm on this note, when I was on the ship I did hit south asia, and saw a lot of stuff. Also my girlfriend is from Thailand, her dad runs a Thaiboxing school in Surin. Going to be in Thailand in less than a month if my plans go right. We are heavy on the bunkai in my dojo. I have stopped teaching civilians and really only teach military anymore, I feel like they benefit from it. My classes are free, and the only thing they ever have to pay for is certs from Nitta. Also if you have noticed I have pulled down all my DVD's for sale. I seriously am not in it for the money. My focus right now is to develop a tournament team that can win every division. I want to try to do AAU next year and do a sweep.

    Also I pre-screen anyone who wants to be a member to my site. I don't let anyone in because I do have a lot of videos in there that I don't want out to just anyone.

    Karate training like this is kind of like being an orator at a museum. You can walk around and talk about the stuffed moose all day, but in the long run talking about the moose doesn't help you. I think many of the old styles of karate have become the preserved moose. Of course the experts will fight tooth and nail if someone else find's different preserved moose. But of everything you do... NEVER... try to bring the moose back to life and make it work again.

    Ok Scoty out!
    Scot Mertz
    www.ryuhoryu.com

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    Unhappy How do you steer this thing??

    Quote Originally Posted by samertz View Post
    The ability of the karateka really comes down to natural talent and how hard they train. The pattern of movements they do don't really matter if the karateka understands the application of the movement and body mechanics. This is why there are some many different styles, or even sub styles based on a major style. Everyone who practices karate changes it, and in reality what we practice now is probably unrecognizable to the masters of old.

    I wouldn't chase a system because of the kata they practice, or spend much time researching family systems if what you are doing fulfills all the needs you have in a system. You need to really look at yourself and figure out why it was that you began practicing karate in the first place, and if the system that you have chose meets all the needs that you had when you began.

    Rank and everything is subjective. You want to know who the best karate person there is in the entire world? It's the guy in the bar who sucker punches you and takes your wind away even after you have trained for 20 years. My point is, all of this is just to prepare you for a fight, if you train and do kata all day but still can't fight.. reality is that you still can't fight. System doesn't matter.
    Scot, I think that a majority of what I selected above from your post mirror's my sentiment. I would say, however, that a system does matter. In the case of karate, a system is a methodology of training for fighting, right? That, combined with your level of effort and dedication, your disposition related to violence, and your aptitude physically and mentally, is what contributes to your success in a conflict. Perhaps this is what you meant and I’m being too literary about the content. The point that you make overall about the subject of family styles stands to reason.

    Perhaps this is a question best saved for another thread and maybe it’s not worth airing at all. But I am wondering when a guy is given back his “street-cred” after making some past transgressions, or poor decisions and misrepresentations.

    Pat, you've surely done a bit of homework on Scot. As you pointed out, from past posts in general, it looks like he has gotten the big smack-down from lots of folks on the forum. As a result, it would seem the material on his pedigree is readily available. If someone’s claims become a consistent issue then it’s a feature of their character and it’s hard to trust them. And, even with opinions, I think it’s good to consider the source. But in this case, I’d like to think the content of Scot’s post has contributed in some way. How about you?

    And more importantly, what do you think about Tim’s question and the opinion he offered? I’m getting bogged down in a lot of the side-commentary. The material you and Jeff Beish shared is great stuff, especially since I am now living in Okinawa and have been to/can visit a lot of the places you are writing about. But I kind of wish that stuff was in a different thread. And I feel like we’re about to “veer off into the weeds” again. You’re a prolific author and experienced practitioner. So, what’s your take on family styles and the points of view shared so far?
    Last edited by Hanbaga; 4th October 2008 at 07:44. Reason: too wordy
    Jonathon D. Hallberg

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    Patrick, my best bud lives in Pensacola Florida (http://www.asjja.com/) and probably knows all the budaheads in that area. BTW, if you got to his web site mute volume, can't get through to him about IE7.0 volume control! He tells me he have never heard of Mr. Mertz. Oh well, Robby is getting old and less alert these days.

    Anyway, check this site: http://www.pownetwork.org/phonies/phonies19.htm because I have contacted those guys to look into our pal, Mertz's, military background. You see, we are sensitive about people masquerading as military heroes. Like most of the guys they claim a chest full of medals and feats of Audi Murphy guts in their warrior conquests.

    So, when the Japanese finally took over most of the military bases on the "Rock" during the 1990's, NSGA Hanza must have been one of the last. In fact it was called Torii Station for years and I remember going up there to visit with friends. It was close to Kadena AB and surprise, surprise -- the even closer to the village where the "Karate Kid's" mystical sensei came from!!!!! Wow, ths guy must be for real -- "The Karate Kid"!!!!!

    Hum, sorry about getting off track and jabbering. It's an age thing.

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    Dusty,

    I'm not claiming a chest full of medals. This is what I have.

    1 Joint Service Commendation Medal, 3 Joint Service Achievement Medals, 2 Joint Meritorious Unit Awards, Outstanding Unit Award, 3 Good Conduct Awards, National Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Medal, Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal, Sharpshooter Rifleman Award.

    Have fun checking all of that stuff out. I don't mind. Handed a purple heart but it was retracted because of a technicality and paperwork issues. So it is NOT one of my awards. What is listed here is all I have. I want to stomp that rumor here.

    the NSGA's all went away a few years back. They were the Naval Security Group Activity bases. They went away to the NIOC commands (Naval Information Operations Centers). Hanza was on Torii Station.

    What did you do in your military career Dusty?

    Also Pat, you want to talk about having no respect for me?!?? I sent you that email that you so happily posted in confidence. That really shows the level of your character. No wonder most of your peers don't respect you and say you have serious mental problems.

    Sorry about going off topic, but people on here seem to have more issues than solutions.
    Scot Mertz
    www.ryuhoryu.com

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hanbaga View Post
    Scot, I think that a majority of what I selected above from your post mirror's my sentiment. I would say, however, that a system does matter. In the case of karate, a system is a methodology of training for fighting, right? That, combined with your level of effort and dedication, your disposition related to violence, and your aptitude physically and mentally, is what contributes to your success in a conflict. Perhaps this is what you meant and Iím being too literary about the content.
    Sorry about going off topic Hanabaga. The reason I came back to this thread was because what I meant by system doesn't matter is that you can really learn all the strategies in a system, all the kata, all the dirty tricks, and still not be able to win a fight. This can be because of a lot of reasons, but it probably all comes down the the mentality of the person fighting. Some people actually get to comfortable fighting and start taking things for granted. I guess what I was saying is that it really matters if you can apply your style in a real situation, because if you can't then style doesn't matter. So I think you got the grasp of what I was talking about.

    Scot
    Scot Mertz
    www.ryuhoryu.com

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    Ous! Bowing
    Hello all Wow, That is a lot of love and respect given to this young man Sensei McCarthy. I have read a lot of your work sir in my own quest for knowledge. The time it took to actually prepare your last post is a pure demonstration of commitment to supporting others in being in integrity so thank you sir!

    What I just read in this thread reminded me of being on the mat in Judo and being thrown over and over again until I was light headed from my brain rattling around in my skull by a Rokudan from the Kodonkan when I was 26. I had no idea at the time what an incredibly fortunate person I was to have him toss me around.

    Sam I am going to point directly to something that is at the heart of this for me and before I do let me first say the only reason I can see it in you is that I have been guilty of it myself.

    Seriously Sam I am going to point to it with out the educated intellectual structure, or the research that Sensei McCarthy, has used. In laymenís terms it simply called ego! This is what is in the way. Yes you have conceded that you made a few mistakes but you have not conceded fully to your innermost self that is clear in all of your post. Itís like apologizing then giving a reason why you did it. The reason negates the apology.
    When you really do get it, it will be crystal clear for all of us to see.

    I am going to go out on a limb and say if you where not a military man and a passionate student of the Budo Arts you would not be given the time of day by the older sensei. They can see clearly youíre a student but be a student your not a master yet. When its time for you to be a master no one will dispute it, and it will occur as if the rocks agree even the dirt in the street will say youíre a master. Then it wonít mean so much to you that you are one by the way.

    It is much more important to be a student any way and it doesnít, matter one little bit how talented you are. You are absolutely correct about one thing the secret to the martial arts is in continuing to practice every day.

    On the topic of the thread I donít think keeping some thing a secret and not continuing to test it by openly engaging in interaction with others in our field can be anything but disempowering. My Sensei used to say if it canít be tested it canít trusted.
    Chris McLean
    Martial Arts student

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris McLean View Post
    Ous! Bowing
    Hello all Wow, That is a lot of love and respect given to this young man Sensei McCarthy. I have read a lot of your work sir in my own quest for knowledge. The time it took to actually prepare your last post is a pure demonstration of commitment to supporting others in being in integrity so thank you sir!

    What I just read in this thread reminded me of being on the mat in Judo and being thrown over and over again until I was light headed from my brain rattling around in my skull by a Rokudan from the Kodonkan when I was 26. I had no idea at the time what an incredibly fortunate person I was to have him toss me around.

    Sam I am going to point directly to something that is at the heart of this for me and before I do let me first say the only reason I can see it in you is that I have been guilty of it myself.

    Seriously Sam I am going to point to it with out the educated intellectual structure, or the research that Sensei McCarthy, has used. In laymenís terms it simply called ego! This is what is in the way. Yes you have conceded that you made a few mistakes but you have not conceded fully to your innermost self that is clear in all of your post. Itís like apologizing then giving a reason why you did it. The reason negates the apology.
    When you really do get it, it will be crystal clear for all of us to see.

    I am going to go out on a limb and say if you where not a military man and a passionate student of the Budo Arts you would not be given the time of day by the older sensei. They can see clearly youíre a student but be a student your not a master yet. When its time for you to be a master no one will dispute it, and it will occur as if the rocks agree even the dirt in the street will say youíre a master. Then it wonít mean so much to you that you are one by the way.

    It is much more important to be a student any way and it doesnít, matter one little bit how talented you are. You are absolutely correct about one thing the secret to the martial arts is in continuing to practice every day.

    On the topic of the thread I donít think keeping some thing a secret and not continuing to test it by openly engaging in interaction with others in our field can be anything but disempowering. My Sensei used to say if it canít be tested it canít trusted.
    It is increasable for me to read that anyone was manhandled by some Judoka in the Kodokan. In all my younger years occasionally working out at the Kodokan I never had my brains rattled. For some rokudan to have done so would have been completely adverse to our Way in Judo. If one had attempted to do that to me I can assure our sensei(s) would have spoken to said rokudan in private and said rokudan would have not been welcomed back. Or still worse, sensei would have cleared me to wipe up said rokudan in the tatami -- then he would not be welcomed back.

    Again. so solly for the OT.

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    Mr. Beish you added man handled, I did not, what I said was. He through me over and over again untill I was dizzy. It was not a shia we where in randori and I had just failed to throw him and he was teaching me Ashi Harai because my Kuzushi was to weak. I assure you the attitudes where correct.
    He was the Sensei on the matt that day.

    My point was that Sensei McCarthy had just ipponed Scott over and over with clean technique and with the proper attitude.
    Chris McLean
    Martial Arts student

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris McLean View Post
    Mr. Beish you added man handled, I did not, what I said was. He through me over and over again untill I was dizzy. It was not a shia we where in randori and I had just failed to throw him and he was teaching me Ashi Harai because my Kuzushi was to weak. I assure you the attitudes where correct.
    He was the Sensei on the matt that day.

    My point was that Sensei McCarthy had just ipponed Scott over and over with clean technique and with the proper attitude.
    http://www.e-budo.com/forum/showthre...094#post469094

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    Thumbs down Sorry, Tim. I tried.

    Doesn't anyone want to talk about the actual topic of the thread? This nonsense is generating a lot more heat than light. You fella's don't like Scot. Or, you don't respect him. I get it! I think everyone gets it by now. He needs to apologize, wear a scarlet letter on his forehead, whatever. Seriously folks, I doubt I'm ever going to meet the guy you're smearing and thus, I could care less about his background. But he's the only one who offered an opinion about the actual subject matter and I give him kudos for that alone. Let's move on.
    Last edited by Hanbaga; 4th October 2008 at 18:59. Reason: I spelled nonsense wrong.
    Jonathon D. Hallberg

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    With the family stuff the other problem is that you don't know what you are going to get. I have a lot of stuff I can't verify because there isn't any standards on it.

    Is it right or wrong? No one knows. This is also the problem with training in obscure but more common systems or training in old kata.

    The nice thing about systems that evolved beyond family practice is they were standardized. Makes it a little easier to identify what is what.

    Scot
    Last edited by samertz; 4th October 2008 at 20:48. Reason: removing video link.. don't feel like sharing with those who will just bad mouth me.
    Scot Mertz
    www.ryuhoryu.com

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    My sensei was Nagamine Shoshin (http://www.okinawan-shorinryu.com/biography.html), whose school in Naha was very well known.

    His son, Takayoshi Nagamine, was living in the States for many years and when his dad got sick he went back to Okinawa to continue his work: Matsubayashi-ryu Karate-do (http://www.matsubayashi-ryu.com/).

    Some neat photos of Nagamine sensei: http://www.alljapankarate.com/galler...nkichi_arakaki

    Michael Cox ( http://www.okinawan-shorinryu.com/ ) sent me more information and a neat photos of Nagamine sensei. Other than personal memories I have one of Nagamine’s books and one by a Mark Bishop who was supposed to have written a fairly extensive history of Okinawa karate. Some nice guy sent me some CD’s with lots of stuff about Okinawa karate and it really wakes up old and fond memories.

    Ask Prince (http://www.e-budo.com/forum/member.php?u=5910) about his involvement in Matsubayashi-ryu. It is a very interesting method in the Shorin-ryu. I can only speak of my brief time on Okinawa and training. However, I like to study the history of it and a shortage of information is evident. He has gained considerable knowledge and experience in the art.

    Now then, has this enlightened you along that path of knowledge?

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    Are there many known family styles in Okinawan karate circles? I have heard of Motobu ryu/udundi, and was under the impression it is more of a synthesis combining the martial arts of Japan with those of Okinawa. Perhaps someone familiar with this or others could write a few words.
    Nullius in verba

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    Quote Originally Posted by Todd Lambert View Post
    Are there many known family styles in Okinawan karate circles? I have heard of Motobu ryu/udundi, and was under the impression it is more of a synthesis combining the martial arts of Japan with those of Okinawa. Perhaps someone familiar with this or others could write a few words.
    There is all kinds of systems that haven't even went public yet. Some of them are good some are bad. I am not claiming to be an expert in this field, but there are a lot of family arts. You have to keep in mind that Ryuei Ryu developed out of one of these family arts. As well as Kojo Ryu and some of the other more obscure arts.

    Scot
    Scot Mertz
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    Talking

    Thanks to Jeff for creating the new thread a couple posts back, and for the cool links. That is awesome! Had I clicked on it, I would have realized that you'd put things into action prior to my little tantrum. Thanks!

    I put together some material from past posts that I wanted to respond to. I've tried to draw attention to some elements in my responses that might be fun to discuss if anyone is up for it. Please, no one, take it personally. While I try, I can't convey my sentiments in text nearly as well or diplomatically as we might discuss this in person. Some of it is just a request for clarification. Perhaps this is all understood but since I'm new here, and I'm sometimes pretty pointed about how I address people and concepts, I don't want to offend.

    Quote Originally Posted by samertz View Post
    The reason I came back to this thread was because what I meant by system doesn't matter is that you can really learn all the strategies in a system, all the kata, all the dirty tricks, and still not be able to win a fight. This can be because of a lot of reasons, but it probably all comes down the the mentality of the person fighting. Some people actually get to comfortable fighting and start taking things for granted. I guess what I was saying is that it really matters if you can apply your style in a real situation, because if you can't then style doesn't matter.
    When you say comfortable fighting, do you mean comfortable with sparring or actual throwing down? I'm going out on a limb here but I think this gets us into the given purpose of a kai-ha's approach to training. And to be honest, each of Miyagi's main students seem to have flavored their kai-ha differently since branching out. Some people advocate karate for health reasons and teach with that emphasis. Other people go for tournament-style kata and kumite.

    I think training for tournaments can be instructive in terms of developing confidence and a sense of timing and distance. But here is a case where things can be taken for granted. When there are no referees, no rules and no mutual start to the conflict, it's a whole different ballgame. And the same goes true for the chest bumping with some other drunk in the bar, versus a guy with road-rage blind-siding you; trying to drag you out of your car with a tire iron in his other hand on the inner-state highway. Are a bloody nose and bruised quads and forearms real violence?

    One would think that a family style was developed in a more violent time, where you may want to preserve your life or take someone out. Perhaps some of these styles didn't undergo the change that so many karate sensei advocated of getting away from violence and making it a cultural thing. If you're bringing karate to Jr. High schools, which was happening even before WWII, you can't in good conscience teach these kids eye strikes, for instance. Perhaps this is the appeal of a family style, getting at the goods for really throwing down?

    Quote Originally Posted by Chris McLean View Post
    On the topic of the thread I donít think keeping some thing a secret and not continuing to test it by openly engaging in interaction with others in our field can be anything but disempowering. My Sensei used to say if it canít be tested it canít trusted.
    Here, here! I agree wholeheartedly. In looking through my collection of material that I've learned, I chose to cull material. This includes kata for the most part. But there are some things that I tried to resurrect through notes that I realize now were poorly understood, poorly taught, or that I didn't think would be very beneficial. I truly don't think everything should be saved just because it's old. IMO, it's much better to attempt to perfect, than to collect.

    Quote Originally Posted by samertz View Post
    With the family stuff the other problem is that you don't know what you are going to get. I have a lot of stuff I can't verify because there isn't any standards on it.

    Is it right or wrong? No one knows. This is also the problem with training in obscure but more common systems or training in old kata.

    The nice thing about systems that evolved beyond family practice is they were standardized. Makes it a little easier to identify what is what.
    Interesting point of view, Scot. Some things I'm not understanding; What kind of standards are you looking for? How would a technique be considered "right"?

    I think a huge mistake that westerners fall into and Japanese in particular are prone to just through cultural disposition, is to not ask why something is done a certain way. My Shorin teacher looks at my Goju kata from time-to-time. He gives me his 2-cents on how to use them, what kinds of small variations I could apply in a conflict, etc. He doesn't need verification that my approach to the kata is the same one that Chojun sensei took. Does he "shorin"-ize it? I don't know. I think he "Onaga"-izes it. Some would say he has no business doing so. Beware of my bias, but I think his analyses are brilliant and always look forward to them.

    If someone advocating a family style can tell me why they do something a certain way, and HOW they apply, that is satisfying. Then its up to me to determine if it's something worth practicing and developing. I'm not above changing my approach simply for the sake of "preserving tradition". But I like to note that it is my diversion, influenced by "said person" for "said reason". Then people are free to assign whatever level of credibility they wish.

    Ah, you mentioned standardization of some of the more major Ryu-ha. I eluded to this above, but I think that interpretation of fighting approach has actually been stratified, not standardized.

    Here's an illustration;

    1. Go to the Jundokan and ask them about a particular kata and why they train it that way, then head down the road to the IOGKF group and ask them why they do it differently.
    2. After that, check in with the Meibukan honbu and ask Yagi Meitatsu sensei, then head over to his brother, Meitetsu sensei's Nagata dojo and ask him why their approach is different. Senaha sensei's Ryusyokai where I train is going to be different as well (the last three teachers were all students of Yagi Meitoku).
    3. Then you can check in with Higa Seiko's lineage and ask them what they're doing.
    4. How about the mainland? Yamaguchi Gogen made quite a few trips to Okinawa. He didn't just visit Chojun sensei. I know for a fact he went to train with Yagi Meitoku when he was alive (have seen the pics) and likely others. Yet GojuKai is much different.


    So, who's version do we consider "right" or "verifiable"? You gotta' wonder which of these guys was asking "how" and "why". And which of their students were asking the same thing. My assumption is that those who won't tell you were also probably not told.

    Interesting stuff, folks. I appreciate your thoughts and observations. If you've read this far, thanks! I hope to hear what you think.

    Best Regards,
    Jonathon D. Hallberg

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