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 pros and cons of teaching a "system"?

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Richard Grannon
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PostSubject: pros and cons of teaching a "system"?   Mon Sep 14, 2009 10:35 am

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Hi richie

just emailing to ask i know you have your own system in fighting but like i suggested before and maybe others have to have you not thought of setting out a a course in self defence or street fighting level 1,2 etc? I know theirs loads out there but i think with your knowledge and other people out there you could certainly come out with a positive response?

What do you think?

Most of you know that I'm not keen on "systems" and the implicit pitfalls of preaching some kind of dogma

yes, as an instructor, it makes you more "kosher", makes your material easier to conceptualise (not easier to use though) and more desirable to BUY (people want total solutions, not a mix of concepts that force them to think for themselves and train hard)

the biggest problem I have is Im reluctant to give up the freedom of constantly changing and developing, your locked in if you teach a "system" arent you?



I can see some benefits to myself in a promotion/business sense (teaching a system and qualfiying people is big money in martial arts land, some say the ONLY way to make money, Im not in this for the money but if I make more of it I can stay in the game longer Very Happy ) and some possible benefits to students who are lured in by the "easy option" of "learning a system" only to find they've been cunningly tricked into "developing some skills" instead Wink


Im not keen, what are your thoughts guys and gals?
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Sharif H



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PostSubject: Re: pros and cons of teaching a "system"?   Mon Sep 14, 2009 11:09 am

Don't think I can give much input but I'm often asking myself this question too. Like mentioned in a previous post, it's hard explaining to people what I teach when it doesn't have a name. Why is Self Protection Tactics not good enough for people??? scratch

I too see the business benefits of creating a system with a cool logo and stuff. But I just don't agree with it philosophically.

So I would also be grateful to hear people's opinions Smile
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thugsage
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PostSubject: Re: pros and cons of teaching a "system"?   Mon Sep 14, 2009 12:54 pm

when someone becomes a teacher--of academics [so called], they are qualified
...but then advancements are made for the cause, or changes in the philosophy,
etc...and teachers are expected to continue to take classes to maintain their
status.

i see no problem in making a system, but then keeping it open-ended--potentially
not changing for ages if not needed, but perhaps occasionally making adjustments
that all must follow to be technically up to scratch.

on the macro level, it could mean qualifying some that have regional workshops
that are offered for public consumption, but then to advanced and teachers as seperate themes.
the obvious drawbacks are that only a few can afford such rigor--as it invariably involves travel
and lodging--perhaps the gaps could be filled with the advances of the web when those
already at a certain level would only be tweeking--to include perhaps training that
is video'd [on a teacher, and teacher-instruction level] as evidence of the rigor maintained.

falling away from that rigor could mean a change in the status--from:
1. qualified to teach "x" system
to
2. previously qualified to teach "x" system

as a means of differentiating, and encouraging return to, the system--which is open ended.

too cryptic. oh well Razz i was trying to avoid pages and pages from my work desk.

in short. i don't see the trouble with it, as long as those who are interested in being instructors
understand what constitutes remaining qualified. actually Richie--and Shar, you could get alot of
travel out of qualifying, giving up to date training changes, and requalifying teachers/groups/etc...
depending...

do what you love, then make money to continue being able to do what you love, and to get the
bad taste of business out of your mouth--make the process unappologetically rigorous to maintain.

i used to teach students for free, because i wanted to teach so badly that i didn't want to leave
people out of it who might be serious. i argued that i could raise the level of intensity at will, and could
ask anyone to leave--no questions asked. then marriage, then children, then no time...and the only
way to justify to my family that this sort of time is viable, is to make it support my family. nothing
wrong with money--or keeping your ideals high. i still teach folks for free, but personally their is
a distinct difference in flavor between my paying customers--slower and more gentler pace but otherwise the same material, and my non'paying customers [okay mate, now your training will be
helping my training Razz ].

i think i wouldn't have trouble being a part of a system--maybe from one school first, concurrently
with web and dvd stuff seperately run. then gradually merging the two worlds as their paths start
to blur and head toward the same direction.

i used to imagine shared trainings with other clubs, and all the rest of it...so some groups could be
sybiotic and affiliate in nature. but i've been happy just to finally have a small group who aren't afraid
to work hard lately Razz .

rambling officially coming to a halt now.

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roadkill

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PostSubject: Re: pros and cons of teaching a "system"?   Mon Sep 14, 2009 1:51 pm

Well it seems that the question is in response to the letter. To system or not to system, that is the question.

If your going to take someone that has no experience what so ever in fighting or defensive situations. You have to start somewhere, and some basics are probably a good place. Well after they get somewhat proficient at that, it makes sense to take them to another level and increase the level of difficulty and types of situations. Then we add more and go a little farther… etc. etc.

Is that not a system of sorts? If you want to teach something to someone to the point that they actually become proficient at it. Some thought, structure and a goal is necessary to succeed.

Does that mean that things can’t be changed at different levels to accommodate changing times and to take new discoveries into account? I would think not.

I teach a couple of different disciplines, one of them being Hapkido. Now that is an art, with a specific curriculum and specific levels of proficiency. Does that mean I cannot introduce combative principles because the art falls short when it comes to street level fighting? I have changed things many times over the years and my students know that I will change things again in the future. They are all happy with that and understand that things will and must adapt. When we find a better way, we use it. Nothing wrong with that and yet it is still a system.
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PostSubject: Re: pros and cons of teaching a "system"?   Mon Sep 14, 2009 2:51 pm

Now this is a subject I have spent much time contemplating.
I personally do not like the idea of a 'closed box' of ideas.
I even dislike the idea of levels of skill that can be quantified. I also don't trust 'systems' where there is no room to evolve - they seem to take the brain and the creativity out of the equation. Not that creativity can't have it's pitfalls, but none the less, life, people, threat, conditions etc change. The material should mirror this.
Having said this, I have also noticed that in general, people are much more comfortable with patterns, drills, boxes, levels and systems. They like to know where they are, how they are doing, how 'good' they are getting, and they like being part of a hierarchy and wear a cool outfit - all anathema to me personally.
I teach 2 different martial arts - one that has a discernible system, and one that does not - only a goal. The system is far, far easier to teach, especially in a class environment. The no-system is much harder to teach, and works best one on one, or in very small groups.
The no-system material varies depending on the individual student, their attributes and their gaps. The system is not individually tailored, and as such the goal is more nebulous. The no-system means the student must take more responsibility for themselves and their training. The system does not.
Some days I'm tempted to create a system out of the no-system to make it more accessible, but I just can't make myself do it. It feels that I, and it would lose it's integrity.
Wish I had a definitive answer ..... but just my thoughts ....

PS: Just read your post Roadkill - I, too add from other places to fill the gaps in the system ... but all the things I add are from the no-system, or from SP material!

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PostSubject: Re: pros and cons of teaching a "system"?   Mon Sep 14, 2009 3:57 pm

...and to quote a famous 8th degree fisticuffs instructor,
and 9th degree in Thwack-fu--from the U.K., who's first name
is Richie, and who's last name rhymes with 'Mannon'.

Learn the form--and then be prepared to go outside the lines.from structure to no structure. from finite, to infinitum [sp?]

Wink

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PostSubject: Re: pros and cons of teaching a "system"?   Tue Sep 15, 2009 1:33 am

Hello everyone,


I personally prefer a structured type of "ladder" of advancement.

I would love to teach RBSD in a few years but any future student would ask "where were you/how are you certified to teach?" My answer right now would be "well...i watched tons of dvd's" ...I'm not sure they'd stick around to see what I had to offer! Very Happy

Being recognized and certified by a respected instructor like you Richard, I think would help alot of people.

On the other hand, I think RBSD is always evolving, you gain new insights all the time, we gain new insights all the time from many sources....to put a box around it....kind of muffles the pure pursuit of learning and absorbing from all sources. (IMO)

There is also alot oversight and "quality control" required on the "governing body" of an organization. And then eventually politics often rears it's head into organizations.

*Whatever you choose to do Richard, I support your work and I will continue to be a customer of your materials. You sincerely are one of the top instructors in the world.
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Danite



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PostSubject: Re: pros and cons of teaching a "system"?   Tue Sep 15, 2009 3:29 am

mmmmmmmmmm! I think many would agree that there is a basic training level of techniques and concepts that should be included in any effective approach to self defence,yes there is a need to stay flexible and experiment and explore.maybe a system could have both? A first learning and training the basic attributes and skills and applying the basic concepts, then at the higher levels really applying things through scenario training.maybe the open eneded scenario training could be a key ingredient of the "system" ?As well, if it is done honestly there is nothing wrong in making money, why shouldnt hard work and innovation bring that reward?it allows for the innovator and creator to continue his work why not? personally I never spit on money.One can be ethical and honest and make money for his troubles and efforts. Very Happy
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PostSubject: Re: pros and cons of teaching a "system"?   Wed Sep 16, 2009 10:59 am

well apparently Krav-Maga is a system and none of us can pinpoint exactly what that system is lol!

I'm certain we all appreciate your pioneer spirit and devotion to 'reality' in your work here Richie, and most of us probably want you to keep things as they are, more or less.

But I'm not so sure you can't have your cake and eat it too ...

To have a system you'd just have to nail down and state your core beliefs and mindset. Just the basics.

Give that a cool sounding name and you could still have a system that keeps on growing and expanding....

why not? flower

cheers
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PostSubject: Re: pros and cons of teaching a "system"?   Wed Sep 16, 2009 1:31 pm

thanks very much for the feedback guys, something to think about, no immediate plancs to put anything into effect though
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PostSubject: Re: pros and cons of teaching a "system"?   Wed Sep 16, 2009 3:31 pm

Well... systems schmystems... It is about whatever the point is, isn't it? Not the arbitrary definitions and small models people try to use to conceptualize and communicate it with.

No need to create a word-prison and go into the whole thing with chaining yourself up in attempting to be consistent about things which may no longer be true as better ideas and new experiences accumulate. That and especially the idea of qualifying instructors in an evolving system leads me to believe that using versions might be of some use. Like software companies do.

"Mr. Potatohead. Qualified to teach Beta-8; V 1.02" or something like that.

That way he is still qualified as things evolve. The worst that could be said about him if not updating himself is that he is outdated. Only a minor blemish in most cases, it is true, and also stands as an incentive to get qualified in the updated material.

Back to the idea of a system Vs. trapping yourself in definitions of things. The point, or actually there are two main points, go something like this.

1: The best way you've found to win against the kind of violent problems we see today.

2: The best way you've found in terms of training to become proficient at point 1.

Two systems in their own right, but point 1 becomes more of a conceptual blueprint, while point 2 becomes the construction-work. Instruction is about having people understand both of these, guiding them through the construction-work, and checking that the work matches the blueprint along the way. Workshops focusing on the theoretical education would be central, as gym time tends to work poorly for that purpose. Theoretical education being important if the goal is to cultivate intelligent students who can think for themselves.

There is a quote, can't remember where from. "The greater the ignorance, the greater the dogma." If you don't want to stumble into creating dogma, education is he way. If done right anyway. I suppose it is mainly done by providing raw information about reality, and sharing the thought process along the way in making sense of it. Why's and how's and so on. Then upon being told to do something a certain way, a construction-worker can say, "but due to X and Y, doing it that way can lead to problems here, this other way might prevent that." Instead of following "orders" blindly. There might be pitfalls here, but gold as well.

The metaphor seems to still be operational, so let's keep going with it a bit. Enter the ladder of advancement.

We are all a bunch of damn apes in the end. "Styles" become tribes, and hierarchies - regardless of their original intent - seem to have a tendency to warp into our old primate dominance hierarchies. The style-tribes automatically begin waging war with other tribes, over mental territory and general apeshit. You get all these uniforms, buzz-words. some might have purpose, but most of it is monkeybusiness to steer clear of. Yeah, pitfalls...

But we are building something. On one level we start with the foundation and move up, but there can also be a modular progression where we build larger parts and put them together. I figure in training a little of both is required for our purposes. Anyway, a ladder of advancement should reflect the structure of the system when you chop it up into pyramidal/hierarchial pieces. Basically, so-called "advanced" things rest upon more fundamental skills, attributes and so on. This could be taken as a general principle that applies throughout a system from top to bottom.

I.e., multiples. How can someone expect to be able to handle multiples if they cannot first defeat one individual enemy?

And knives Vs. unarmed. But this is where it gets circular and freaky. I consider being up against knives to come before empty hands, this also applies to multiples. Defeating one unarmed individual should be done as if there are several and there are knives. Because you can't necessarily percieve that beforehand, and if you didn't act as if, then you are fucked. Now, realistically in a situation like that, chances are you're fucked anyway. But the best we can do is improve the odds.

So what does that mean? Well, it's a mess. IMO properly, there should be no fight, just a one sided beating, quick and aggressive. Yet, with considerations about knives and multiples, defense comes first, in training. Mainly, movement for range and angles, and good reflexes. That is the main difference between strictly unarmed fighting and multiples with weapons. It makes people take their safety seriously. Which is imporant in unarmed fighting as well, because a well-placed fist or boot has ended lives. That is more about potential than likelyhood though.

Attack, seizing and maintaining the upper hand is the primary plan. But I think mastering the defensive component makes you better at noticing when the opportunity is there for attack and when it isn't. Of course, experience with attacking should do that too, as well as provide a sense of defense at the same time. But this is what I'm talking about. Taking different things and putting them together into larger things. There is synergy, and the pieces overlap to some degree. You still with me? It brings us right back to the ladder of advancement and the thing about modular components.

It does not necessarily go straight up through these things. IMO anyway... I wonder, what if you were to actually attempt to create a "horizontal system?"

Well semi-horizontal anyway. I'm thinking about a pizza. Instead of vertical grades, you can have slices. To reflect components and general areas. I suppose there would have to be a sort of clockwise progression through them. Yet there is some degree of vertical progression. I.e., a pizza needs a bottom, filling, cheese and so on. Who can say which is more important? If you don't have it all, where's the pizza?

If done right, it just might be able to prevent the primate dominance hierarchy thing from rearing it's ugly monkey-face, to some degree at least. Instead of the usual belts, t-shirts and so on, just hand students a slice of pizza upon moving ahead. Razz

The end goal being to end up with a full pizza. Bottom, filling, cheese and garniture of personal choice. All hot and juicy right out of the oven. What a Face

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Last edited by RichardB on Wed Sep 16, 2009 4:00 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: pros and cons of teaching a "system"?   Wed Sep 16, 2009 3:51 pm

Oh, with regards to quality control. You say that the proof of the pudding is in the eating. Well I figure that must be true about pizza as well.

Each slice, if indeed a whole stand-alone component, should be possible to properly put to the test. By heating it and eating it. Er... I mean, well metaphorically that was accurate. I.e., defense. Pad up as much as necessary and get as close to reality as possible. At what point does the defense begin to break down? Is everything in place? Do you need to add more tomato sauce?

That way it is possible to prove that they actually have a slice of the pizza before anyone can say that they do. Well the quality of information coming from research depends on the quality of the experimental conditions, but yes.

Damn. Looks like I'll have to put some actual pizza to the test after all this. Laughing

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PostSubject: Re: pros and cons of teaching a "system"?   Wed Sep 16, 2009 4:38 pm

Very good points and observations!
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PostSubject: Re: pros and cons of teaching a "system"?   Wed Sep 16, 2009 11:40 pm

RichB - great post, as per , but now you've made me really hungry ... I could eat a set of blueprints

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PostSubject: Re: pros and cons of teaching a "system"?   Mon Sep 28, 2009 5:54 pm

comes to something when you cant log in to your own bloody forum... haha! anyway

RichB

Im sorry I missed your post, it is excellent

I only found it because I dug up the old thread to say that after having several chats with my new partners and this consultant chap who is helping me out, Im definitely goin ahead with the idea of bringing everything together as a system

I'll be going back and rereading your post mate and using it as a guideline for designing the course

Having gotten over my precious little moment of "oooh its against my philosophy" Im feeling really keen about this, will be good to condense the disparate peices of training and bring it together in some kind of cogent whole

I like the pizza idea... I was sort of thinking similar lines but more boy scout badge scenario: "oh youve done your "premeptive strikes" course and your "mulitples" but not the "deadly five finger death touch" yet..." etc

wheras your analogy makes me hungry

anyway either way the "horizontal" approach deals with my anxiety about hieracrchy, stagnation and dogma

not that that isnt inevitable, but I think we can go along way to discouraging it

proof of the pizza being in the eating as you say



anyways, just to let you know, it's on and to say thanks for the input, I know its going to come in very handy and is greatly appreciated
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PostSubject: Re: pros and cons of teaching a "system"?   Mon Sep 28, 2009 5:58 pm

ps

the name is meant to be Fat Sensei Grannon

but its too long and just comes up as "Fat Sens"

in case you were wondering, what the fudge is this plantpot on about?

its me, but I cant log in properly
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PostSubject: Re: pros and cons of teaching a "system"?   Mon Sep 28, 2009 7:09 pm

LOL
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PostSubject: Re: pros and cons of teaching a "system"?   Thu Oct 01, 2009 12:11 pm

Fat Sens wrote:
ps

the name is meant to be Fat Sensei Grannon

but its too long and just comes up as "Fat Sens"

in case you were wondering, what the fudge is this plantpot on about?

its me, but I cant log in properly


I JUST SAW THIS AND NOW MUST FIND A TISSUE TO SMEAR AWAY THE SNOT
FROM MY NOSE--AND HOPE NO ONE HEARD THE BURST OF LAUGHTER FROM MY
OFFICE. Razz Suspect Razz Suspect Razz Suspect

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Richard Grannon
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PostSubject: Re: pros and cons of teaching a "system"?   Thu Oct 01, 2009 12:13 pm

my psychological strikes Know not the quotidienne boundaries of time and space!

SNOT AMBUSH!
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Richard Grannon
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PostSubject: Re: pros and cons of teaching a "system"?   Thu Oct 01, 2009 12:14 pm

Currently considering a very simple format for first module

2 dvds

dvd 1 , what to do

dvd 2, how to train it

what say you?
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PostSubject: Re: pros and cons of teaching a "system"?   Thu Oct 01, 2009 2:06 pm

i think if your teaching a ssystem you need to be able to know how to use it and also how to modifie it when you need to.
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PostSubject: Re: pros and cons of teaching a "system"?   Thu Oct 01, 2009 3:31 pm

As keen as I am for this to be a democratic process, Ive had some real good input so far, but too many cooks can spoil broth and all that, Ive decided on what I want to cover and how Im going to do it

its been a very long time in the making this

Very Happy


thanks guys really looking to gettting your feedback when its done


pirat
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