“California Dreaming” with Bill “Superfoot” Wallace

Now, I can understand how this can happen sometimes. They don’t know that they don’t know. It took nearly 15 years for me to find out about the Kukkiwon. I had known my organization wasn’t the only “way” as it very sport heavy and hosted awesome tournaments that drew 500+ competitors. I still baffles me that students today think they know THE way everything should be. Now, don’t get me wrong! I’m all for loyalty! The arrogance presented is NOT the way a martial artist should behave.

It bothers me, too, that students can’t name their forms nor anything about where it came from. I watched a video posted of a guy testing. The form didn’t look bad but it was one I’d never seen. I messaged him to ask what and where it was from. His reply was “form #5 but he didn’t know the name” and his instructor said it is an “ITF form”. Well, back some 15 years I did spend some time learning the ITF tuls and got to HwaRang. This video looked nothing like the 5th form – YulGok. Don’t even start on learning bunhae!

When you watch different schools or different styles do forms, are the variations practical? Do the extra movements make sense for creating an effective and efficient technique? How much of it could be caused from trying to teach a technique without adequate words? Another aspect is that the lessons were made to make a certain point but the point got lost along the way. When instructors don’t continue to provide context, then the point is lost. Sadly this leads to many students replying with the worst answer EVER – I just do what I was taught.

Where is this going? Well, if you are told that your style is the best, you’re being told a half truth. It will be the best for many. The others will always struggle and often fail. This is because the main teaching points for the style fit a certain personality, not all personalities. This can lead to a bunch of problems. Potential students try a class and feel that it doesn’t fit. Now they believe that that art isn’t for them and never try another school of that style. Does this make the style the best or the worst? Yes.

Author: Master Robert Frankovich

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One thought to “Everything”

  • Andrew

    This commentary reminds me of why Alexa and I so enjoyed our time studying with you. We might have been a bit more preoccupied learning the origins and history of the martial art we were learning but we were richer for it. The focus for us was learning the martial art correctly. The “i” in “martial art” is fifth in order and buried in the whole as a lower case letter. So it is analogous in Confucian thinking which orders the relationship of self to others in hierarchical fashion. There is a place and a value in individualism but it can be taken so far as to be inharmonious. The creation or innovation of new martial art forms first requires mastery and understanding of what one is purportedly studying rather than the pursuit of some athletic or dance aesthetic. We were blessed to have you as Teacher.

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