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What Is Meant By "Traditional" Martial Arts?

The phrase "traditional martial arts" is found wherever the International Karate Association & College of the Martial Arts is described, but what are "traditional martial arts"?

First, let's look at the definition of "traditional" as defined by Merriam-Webster: 1) of or relating to tradition: consisting of or derived from tradition; 2) handed down from age to age; 3) following or conforming to tradition: adhering to past practices or established conventions (traditional morality, traditional values/beliefs).

When asked, Hanshi provided some insight into how "traditional" fits into the scheme of his teachings and here is what he had to say:

"Traditional martial arts begins with having as close to the mindset and etiquette of ancient teachings as possible; it is how things are done. It is the expectations I have of my students, as well as expectations my students have of me. It is a mirrored connection of the ones first created in an often forgotten forge.

Mindset is the understanding and respect for where you are once you enter the dojo; it is a place of The Way, not an arena for sport. We train for betterment, not just in the arts, but in ourselves especially. Students must put aside any outside thoughts in order to train effectively and efficiently; all students must be able to absorb the teachings and stay in the moment. Thinking beyond where a student is at without the full understanding of their present point in training puts up barriers to furthering progress.

How things are done begins with earning your rank in my school. It will not be awarded to you lightly, and it most certainly cannot be bought. The color you wear will reflect the time, dedication, effort, and, most importantly, understanding of what is expected of you at specific levels. If a student understands their place, it will show. If a student is giving maximum effort and dedication, it will show. However, with that being said, not everyone can be the same as we are people of difference and that has to be taken into consideration. The one similarity among all students is that everyone starts at the bottom; it is up to the student to grab a rung and climb up from there.

Within my school the respect a student is given is determined by the price they are willing to pay and by that I mean, perseverance, effort, courage, and integrity. It is the desire to quit, yet pushing beyond what a student believes they are capable of. With each "push" that takes place within the boundaries given them such as humbleness, self-control, respect for fellow students, respect for the dojo, respect for protocol, and respect for instructors, a student grows and comes to understand the true meaning of the art.

The aforementioned is not to say that some students are not respected, for all students are individuals and will be treated with the respect that comes along with each person's uniqueness. I will always, just as I always have, make every effort to bring out the best in each person within the framework of successfully proven methods I have come to know as a former elementary, junior high, and high school teacher as well as the way martial artists have been taught throughout time.

Teaching any martial art has definitely changed over time and certainly with the transition from Asia to America, but the fundamentals, and the principles, remain as true to the art as possible at the International Karate Association & College of the Martial Arts."


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