Don’t go changing (to try to please me)

by Sensei Mike Pepe

For many years, each martial art style has had its own little corner of the student market. The Koreans taught Korean karate the Japanese taught Japanese karate the Chinese taught Chinese karate and so on and so on. Each system taught its own self-defense techniques and their own fighting philosophy. Although we know each taught more, you could sum up a style in one word. It’s a striking art, it’s a kicking art, that style does throws and the other does circular stuff.


In days of old, a sensei may send his best student to train with a friend from another system for the students’ betterment, but not to add to or change the style. If you were a striking art, then striking was the way to take out an opponent. If you attended a kicking dojo, kicking was the method of defeating an opponent.


Until one day when sensei “X” sees students flocking to the “kicking” school and he decides to add kicking. “Hey! We’re kicking here! Look, we can kick too! Come join us not only do we strike but we kick too!”


Furthermore, another sensei says that kicks are good, but here’s “real” self-defense, and teaches jiu-jitsu. Now you see all styles run and scoop up every video they can find and suddenly, the new war cry is out. “Hey! Look here! We’ve been grappling all the long. Come see us for the overall best style. We kick, punch and we grapple!


It’s a sad sight, in my opinion, to see videos from styles who have been putting out punching, kicking, or kata tapes for years to suddenly have a series of grappling videos, claiming, “We’ve been grapplers the whole time so now join us!”


Now, as the new fads and “better” styles come along each dojo, not wanting to get left behind, claim we teach real self-defense we teach jiu-jitsu, we’ve got Tae-Bo for ya this week and we got the best thing in self-defense, better than our own style, we got the Krav Maga comin’ your way!


Many dojos claim these fads are secret techniques they have had right along, as they speed-read another “teach yourself manual”…

…All I can say is, “Don’t go changing to try to please me; I like you just the way you are!”


A warrior rambling

Sensei Mike





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