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"One thing has always been true: That book ... or ... that person who can give me an idea or a new slant on an old idea is my friend." - Louis L'Amour

"Ideally, your self-defense will never get physical. Avoiding the situation and running or talking you way out - either of these is a higher order of strategy than winning a physical battle." - Wise Words of Rory Miller, Facing Violence: Chapter 7: after, subparagraph 7.1:medical

"Read not to contradict and confute; nor to believe and take for granted; nor to find talk and discourse; but to weigh and consider..." - Francis Bacon

Warning, Caveat and Note: The postings on this blog are my interpretation of readings, studies and experiences therefore errors and omissions are mine and mine alone. The content surrounding the extracts of books, see bibliography on this blog site, are also mine and mine alone therefore errors and omissions are also mine and mine alone and therefore why I highly recommended one read, study, research and fact find the material for clarity. My effort here is self-clarity toward a fuller understanding of the subject matter. See the bibliography for information on the books.

Note: I will endevor to provide a bibliography and italicize any direct quotes from the materials I use for this blog. If there are mistakes, errors, and/or omissions, I take full responsibility for them as they are mine and mine alone. If you find any mistakes, errors, and/or omissions please comment and let me know along with the correct information and/or sources.

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Innovative Practice, when can it be acceptable vs. detrimental?

Blog Article/Post Caveat (Read First Please: Click the Link)

“At what point is innovation (in regard to the practice of karate) acceptable and when does it become detrimental?” asked by Kyle Pjd on Ryukyu Martial Arts research and discussion Facebook group.

First, an excellent question if I do say so myself. The answer I would give is, “It depends.” It does depend on a variety of factors and one critical factor is the practitioner, the individual learning and practicing. I can only say, from my perspective; my perception; my experiences as limited as they are, etc.

Second, a practitioner can only reach that level of practice if they have an excellent mentor in their system of practice. It is this dual symbiotic relationship that leads one to achieve a level of proficiency and expertise that allows such innovational understanding allowing one to stretch, reach and achieve innovative practice of say, “Karate.”

Third, to achieve this level both the deshi and the sensei must understand concepts such as “Shu-ha-ri and Shin-gi-tai.” I don’t need to go into this here because there are others more qualified who have published excellent literature on the subject such as Sensei Michael Clarke of Shinseidokan Dojo of Australia. I will say that most practitioners achieve a solid understanding of the “Shu” levels but rarely go beyond into the “ha-ri” levels. 

Finally, as per my perception and perspective, one does not have the expertise and proficiency to move to the higher levels at the sho-dan or lower yu-dan-sha levels, it is just to early and today’s gratuitous awarding of black belts kind of muddies the waters on this subject. In my limited experience I believe that, all things being perfect, one cannot, does not and will not have that innovative mind-set and mind-state until they reach the following as to levels and criteria:

1. Go-dan levels in a perfect world (it doesn’t exist but it is a good gaol to set).
2. A certain level of maturity that in my opinion cannot be achieved until one reaches the age of fifty years.
3. A level of symbiotic mentoring with others that also relates to age as in mentoring age, i.e., about twenty years as a mentor (not to be compared to the age of the individual as indicated in no. 2.
4. A certain level of knowledge, understanding and most important experience. (Note: the experience level must include a certain level of proficiency through actual hands-on like experience dealing professionally with conflict and violence both social and asocial in nature along with experience through adrenal stress conditions)
5. A complete comprehensive understanding, knowledge and application of the fundamental principles of martial disciplines. (Note: it does not have to be martial art oriented but some form of hand-to-hand defensives systems)

This is the bare minimum and only when one achieves some level of understanding, knowledge and expertise here and through continued studies will they reach a level that allows them to be innovative. It is also important that they reach a level where they can perceive and determine what is innovative and what is simply change for change sake. Too many have simply made cosmetic changes to their practice so they can self-promote and create a “New System” so they can be masters with all that entails from a strictly commercial standpoint.

As can now be seen herein to achieve a level that allows for innovative change is also a very complex model that is often too complex to explain fully and completely in an article or comment but you can at least see through this effort that it is not a simple nor easy answer and to actually achieve it is rare indeed. Asking the question is a good start but only a start for the road is long, treacherous but achievable to at least a few. 

Bibliography (Click the link)

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