DragonTalon's Space

A multifandom nerdfighter from Australia. Martial artist, scientist, wannabe author. Or a housecat. Please say hi!

Anonymous: How can you tell if the school you practice at is good or not? I mean, if it's the only one you've trained at won't you be biased? I'm just trying to work out whether I should switch a schools, or if the one I'm currently at is good :) I do shotokan karate!






I will use your question to go into a bit of detail on the matter of schools.

When it comes to being a martial artist in a martial art, I’ll be blunt, and I’m not sorry about it.

This is a personal opinion, so please, spare me any hate. (I’m speaking to everyone in general).

A school I would avoid is a school where everything is money, aside from the monthly fee, equipment quota, quota for events, belt testing fees every three months like clockwork, planned trips every year, so that’s another monthly quota there for trips, federation fees. Well, basically if you get reminded that you have to pay this or that all the time.

If class is always a competition or competition oriented all the time. If all they talk about is the next tournament this or that. That’s a school to avoid, unless competition is all you’re looking for.

If you’re required to have a class uniform, a uniform for fighting in competitions, another to compete in kata, another for “formal” occasions, that’s also a no.

If their belt system is white, white with a stripe, white with two stripes, and so on, and you have to pay for each little stripe added, or there’s a whole testing process just for that, that’s another no.

If all you learn is how to fight, even if it’s self defense, but ALL you learn is how to fight. That’s a no, as well.

If all you need to do to get your black belt is memorize a set of kata and a set of techniques, that’s another no.

Now, it’s not that what I consider a good school doesn’t or shouldn’t compete. Many do; but in a good school, you learn that there’s a big difference between tournament fighting, dojo fighting and street fighting, and each is practiced and developed differently.

In a good school, you learn history, you learn compassion and humility, you learn that fighting is not an option until there are no more options. You learn that a belt is nothing. You learn how to live your martial arts, rather than merely practicing techniques. You learn to develop character and confidence without boasting. You learn loyalty and honor.

You learn that teachers are just like you, only with experience. There’s nothing godly about them. And the respect they command is earned through respect, not demanded through fear or simply because his/her belt is black. You learn that a teacher is as much a student as you are.

You earn your belt when you’re ready, not buy it at set times.

Now, none of this makes a school good or bad in and of itself. It all depends on what the student is looking for. If it’s competition the student wants, then that’s fine, but the student NEEDS TO UNDERSTAND that a MARTIAL ART and a MARTIAL SPORT, are two completely different worlds. You can’t say you know self defense if all you do is train for competitions, and just as much, you can’t say you can compete if all your training is in self defense. Both aspects are completely different.

Also (and I add this because I’ve seen it too much, and lately I’ve seen it here on tumblr, too), you don’t just quit a martial art whenever you want. When you’re a martial artist, that stays with you in your daily life, in your character, in your actions, even if you don’t physically practice.

If you can just train for a while, go compete, reach a black belt and then quit, or as some have said “retire”, and your life goes back to “normal”, you were practicing a martial sport, not a martial art.

If a martial sport is the case, that makes a person an athlete, not a martial artist.

Edit: Almost forgot. No, training at only one school doesn’t mean you’re biased. Some people do their research well, others are lucky enough to find a good school from the get go. Either way, with time, you start learning and seeing the differences. Sure, starting at a school for the first time and claiming your school is the best, complete and in the right above all others, after the teacher gave you one good advice, one week into training, then that opinion is biased. It has happened, though.

Best. Answer. Ever.

Main reasons I don’t formally train anymore are my high school standards.
At my old school….

No fees other than monthly.
Any uniform from any dojo was allowed.
Gradings were not scheduled after kids levels, and even then it was an opportunity. As in if you were ready, you were told to prepare , then attempt. And people failed. Often.
You owned your staff and sword, and could buy them anywhere. Discounts for buying via the sensei. Sensei recommended staff; doweling. (Good enough for learning kata, but not flexible enough for true iado).
No black belt grading without demonstrating ALL kata, including prearranged sparring. Usually 1year prep, min. And you must teach/volunteer with the younger students regularly.

How can I find that ever again?

You have a whole life. =P

Seriously, though, just visit what’s close to you and ask how things are done. Never be afraid to ask for information.

I have asked… Its a terrifying world of 8 year old blackbelts with sloppy stances out there.

Until I find somewhere I really like, I’ll just keep up my Kata at home.

Ouch, terrifying indeed.

Has anyone here considered the massive benefits kids have from multiple belts with a regular grading cycle? My 6th dan head sensei also has a masters degree in education and 20 years teaching primary school kids. He KNOWS that kids need timeframes and some kind of indication they are improving.

This is why we have a belt for each of the 10 kyu grades. We have a curriculum of knowledge and techniques we must know to earn our next belt and have 2 or4 months to learn it. And we are given pretesting stripes in class when we show a sensei we know it. No stripes means no grading invite and free new belt because pretesting means you already passed when you get the invite.

  • student: hey government can I have some money to go to university
  • uk government: sure here you go. you'll have to pay it back but only when you're earning £21,000+ a year, and if you don't pay it off after 30 years we'll just write it off, don't worry about it man
  • scottish government: nah man just go to uni we ain't gonna charge you
  • us government: no. you gotta pay it yourself. upfront. your parents have to save up from the moment you're born. good luck, fucker.
Anonymous: How do you feel about crushes in the dojo?








I think they’re totally fine and normal and fun as well as great motivation, but talking from experience, don’t let them take over your training

The hardest i’ve ever tried at soft baton sparring was when I was put against my boyfriend. And my partnered housemates are at each other’s throats as soon as they are allowed to pair up for training. We get away with anything personal so long as we actually do the activity properly and I love that atmosphere it creates.

Huh interesting. I would have taken the same policy as I do with work, no dating co-workers. It may be fine while people are dating, but the inevitable break up will create a lot of drama. That’s probably best to avoid at a martial school.

That’s one way to think of it. I just have trouble thinking in that way when even the worst break ups I’ve witnessed have not stopped any friends of mine being in the same place. They’ll be on opposite sides of the room pretending each other doesn’t exist. But they’ll never stop their hobbies or going to the usual places because of each other.

Also with all my coupled friends at training, they all train together because one of the pair introduced the other to our dojo. It’s a way to share and build an interest together.

Those are great points, and it’s good to hear that your friends & associates behave that way. That is more mature than many people would behave. However, a martial arts class is not a place where people can stand at either side of the room & pretend that the other doesn’t exist. It’s a place where they’re going to grab each other by the collar and / or be throwing punches & kicks at each other.

Anyway, this was just my way of thinking. I would like to share martial arts with someone as well, so congrats to you & them for having this.

At my club we always pick our partners. And occasionally when we do rotate partners, i’m still not going to end up with someone on the other end of the floor.

Sometimes we’re asked to have short people in front to practice patterns. You’ll see me run from the front of the group to the back for sparring afterwards ‘cause I haven’t enjoyed sparring 12 year olds yet.

I’ve often found the guys at my TKD studio to be like older brothers to me. We’re like one big taekwondo family!

I do have a thing for cute black belt guys, though. Perhaps when I graduate and start TKD at my university, I might find someone for me.

It would be fun to be partnered against a significant other. And you could always practice and rant and talk about martial arts outside of class!

Martial arts is such a big part of my life, I need someone who can share that passion with me.

I end up ranting with one housemate in particular mostly since we’re both 5’ tall women of similar belt rank, age and hobbies. We tend to get annoyed about the same things, which usually involve the youngest teenagers. While i’m waiting until 3rd or 2nd Kyu to learn to teach, we have 12 year old 8th Kyu students in our leadership program for fun, and also in our additional classes (xtreme karate, weapons). My boyfriend listens to my rants. He understands me. Though it is my housemate who rants with me.

This year I want to do really well at uni, and at karate, and write a novel, and keep my room inhabitable so I don’t nearly die of the sick again. I should talk to more people.

I also just want to lie in bed and watch entire seasons of animes in one go.

This year will be hard.

I didn’t realize walking into a hairdresser and telling her to get rid of a lot of my hair would make me so unreasonably happy :D




Basic Kumite Rules.

I have a problem with the first rule on penalties…

it’s all a joke tbh. playing for points.

In my opinion points are good feedback. Sure, the techniques used aren’t necessarily the most practical in the street. But for those of us who instead come to the dojo purely for love of an art form, this is our only chance to use some techniques in a competitive way. Competition in itself is motivating and shows your weaknesses and strengths.
shotokanandscience: Surprise! Say 5 things about yourself and pass it along to your 10 favorite followers! Be sure to tag your questioner :-)

Hi!!! Okay, I can do this…

1. Biotechnology and Chitokai Karate are taking over my life.

2.  The hardest thing to admit to my family has been that I joined a Quidditch team.

3. I think the appropriate size for a cup of coffee or tea is ‘bucket’.

4. Every time I’ve tried to roleplay a ‘lawful good’ character in games, I’ve ended up accidentally setting a small child on fire or something equally chaotic.

5. It makes me very sad I can’t adopt a cat while i’m renting.