NSFW Blogging: martial arts “purity” is a lie and so is “tradition”

15 Apr

A frequently remembered moment among my staff (which are also my students) was an episode at a martial arts business event where several instructors ask me how I generate so much content; this blog, my facebook posts, my youtube, my DVD’s, my books, my secret facebook group(s) (YES, several0, etc etc yadda yadda. To which I replied something to the effect that as long as I am breathing and awake I seem to generate content.

Of course, there are more logical observations to be made. I have a background in education. I have written many papers and a large thesis that was turned into a book. I prepared curriculum when I taught at the university level. I have a vast background in martial arts; having studied with many teachers and/or coaches. In some of these things I have pretty advanced rank. I have practiced four decades and taught almost three decades. And, finally, as I run a full time school the very classes themselves of course produce content daily.

I have so much content that I run a web page featuring just this content at http://www.sifudavidross.com/. I went further and recently set up a page at “teachable”; https://new-york-san-da-martial-arts.teachable.com/. I am currently editing two new projects for the “teachable” page; an instructional “Striking for Mixed Martial Arts” and a module for instructors “How to Teach Kickboxing” to help develop class formats.

And yet anyone who knows me even in passing knows how I feel about “laundry lists” and that despite the many materials I have produced to HELP both instructors and students, ultimately, there is no such thing as teaching martial arts! There is no such thing as “purity” and the idea of “tradition” is misguided at best (fraud at worst). At best I can suggest and point you in a direction; ultimately, you must do the work and are responsible for the product.

Put another way, those who trained with me who go on to train others will not “teach” what I taught them. They will teach what they “learned”, which means filtered by what appealed to them, how they interpreted it, how they wanted to view it, how they want to “pass it on” and by experiences they had before, during and after training with me.

They will NOT teach “what I taught” anymore than I teach what Chan Tai San “taught” in the sense of a complete body of work. They will keep some of it, discard some of it, teach some of it the way I did, teach some of it differently. They will add what is uniquely their own.

I have tried to help my students understand this fundamental truth, but inevitably all “students” who progress to “teacher” will move in this direction. Those who consciously fight the inevitable, who struggle to maintain “purity” and/or “lineage” fail to understand TRUTH. Martial arts is a living thing, it MUST evolve.

This is the opposite of most people’s initial perception of the martial arts, and for many it makes them uncomfortable. But in the end, you can not fight TRUTH.

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One Response to “NSFW Blogging: martial arts “purity” is a lie and so is “tradition””

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  1. Martial arts “purity” is a lie and so is “tradition” – SMA bloggers - April 16, 2018

    […] via NSFW Blogging: martial arts “purity” is a lie and so is “tradition” — Sifu David Ross […]

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