An Open Letter to Mr. PickOctober 26 2007 at 10:58 PM
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|Dave Crouch, DC (Login DrDaveDC)|
from IP address 126.96.36.199
Response to Letter from Grandmaster Michael Robert Pick:
I originally posted this over on the other forum, and am pasting it here as well.
Thank you for taking the time to respond to the missives of internet warriorship. While I understand why so many seniors choose not to play in this sandbox, I also find their absence regrettable, and wish more offered their ideas in this media. To point, I am a little bit bummed that one of the few offerings you decided to make was to address this issue; there are so many technical ideas that contain myriad possibilities of perspective, that I am sure we would all be more edified had your efforts been freed to be placed elsewhere. I, for one, did not care who signed Mr. Kelley's 7th. I expected it would have been either you or Mr. Hebler, and would regard it well signed in either case. My lack of caring is not out of disdain for Mr. Kelley, his work, or his placement, but rather from the simple idea....there are just more important things to worry about in kenpo and in life than the inner workings of a bunch of guys in black pajamas and patches. Us. The kenpo geeks of the universe. The world is still hungry; war still ravages entire regions; superbugs are still brewing in Southeast Asian chickens threatening major world outbreaks; and my credit score still sucks. Whaddya gonna do.
I am what I consider a long-time nobody in kenpo. Meaning, I've been in it a long time, but have achieved no great titles, clout, accomplishments, not summited any Kenpo Kilimanjaro's, etc. I was talking to another long-time nobody the other day about what it would be like if Mr. Parker suddenely emerged from a long vacation and faked passing. How many of the seniors would be called into the office for a talk, and taken to task for their actions in his absence? With yet another, we dialogued about the issue of rank in kenpo. How there are guys wearing 7ths now who have accomplished nowhere near the level of ownership, accomplishment or contribution as many of the original 7ths had in their time with the Old Man. How there are guys wearing 7ths and 8ths who were barely blacks 18 years ago (I compare them to Mr. Perry, and how many years he had been active and contributing in kenpo before choosing to reach for yon dizzy heights, or Mr. White's contribution and presence in sport karate...the number of years he produced champions at the IKC's before being recognized for his efforts, time, and dedication; guys like Dave Hebler and Chuck Sullivan who've been in kenpo since Adam was in the Garden...the list goes on, with Mr.Parker having been rather conservative with the conferrment of higher rank). I see guys who weren't blacks yet wearing 7ths; guys who were 4ths wearing 10ths, and 2nd gens who lateraled to Mr. Parker contending that they should be granted 1st gen positioning on the family tree, for no reason other than they want it that way ... even though there are still people alive who remember that they were not 1st gens. I was ranked as a 4th in one lineage, 5th in another, and 6th in an AK+Japanese jujutsu eclectic system 18 years ago; I am that still, and wear whichever rank I feel up to defending at that particular moment (kinda beat up and permanently partially disabled...good days and bad days, don'tcha know, and can't get started without pain meds and a pot of coffee). I have not made the contributions that warrant promotion; none of the men from whom I would accept rank have offered; and I ain't gonna pop around asking. There are plenty of good men and women with better understandings and skills than I have who can pass on the system more completely than I, so I will leave the pursuit of red and the passing of legacy to them. As a full-time studio owner, Mr. Kelley is better positioned to touch more lives and turn more stones in the search for tomorrows kenpoka in the south-east; do us all a favor as his chosen leader, and learn him well. (And see if you can sway him to take a typing course while you're at it...Lord knows he won't do it on our account).
I will, in my own way, endeavor to entice inner wisdom from it's hiding place in my students, using martial arts instruction as the vehicle for exploration of the Self. Should they so choose. (and that's the key here). I have a personal relationship to my martial arts, and in the context of that relationship, I use training as a reflective time for personal & character development. The saying, "The heart of the warrior is forged in the fires of repetition" is etched on the inside of my eyelids. I kenpo-think while awake; I lull myself to sleep analyzing motion mechanics as they apply to kenpo; I'm basically a high-functioning obsessive lunatic, and happy that way. I, too, have been shot at and sliced and beaten in my commitment to stand up for those who can not or will not stand up for themselves, and I take great personal pride in that. But a huge difference I percieve between Mr. Kelley and myself is I do not expect my students or associates to adopt the same personal credo or eccentricities that I connect to the martial arts. Some choose to refine their souls through prayer in church rather than on the mat or in the mind, or to dedicate the depths of their souls to raising better young men and women -- their children, and the disenfranchised children of others. Still others opt for entirely personal paths of self-development which I have never known, because they choose to keep them private and seperate from their kenpo. And from me, their kenpo instructor. Sole and seperate issues.
In short, I find myself of mixed mind when I read the "higher road" postings of Mr.Kelley and Mr. Miller. Not because I have anything against them: In fact, when I met Mr. Kelly in February, I found him to be an engaging and verbally adroit conversationalist. He just can't type or write worth a damn. On one hand, I'm pleased to see someone is endeavoring to hold up a higher standard for people in general to aspire to: Talk to women in geriatric warehouses, and ask them about men who open doors, and children who say "excuse me", "please", and "thank you". We are in a generation without a clue as to what it looks like to be in service to something higher than ones self. And any effort to hold up a representation of what that might look like to young minds should be applauded. On the other hand, kenpo is kenpo. Not religion. And I have a hard time reconciling "higher standards" in kenpo to the simple ideas of freedom of speech and action in life, in general. It seems to me to be a boundary violation, with kenpo instructors as the perps, to demand some set of higher-order compliance from kenpo students. A "Judge not" sort of thing.
Honor, Integrity, Dignity, and Humility are outstanding ideals to aspire to in life. I've been an ongoing antagonist of Mr. Kelley's, because his posts often lack these, even while proposing them or claiming to reflect them. Like someone who cannot enunciate without an accent because of where they are really from, but are unable to detect the accent in their own speech, invisible to them as water is to a fish. But you are correct: We should be a collective family. And, as another dubious member of the kenpo community pointed out, families do not always get along. Some of the most vociferous and passionate arguments of my life have been with family. Some of the people I love to see on the holidays -- and want to bury over the holidays -- are family. I would offer that we are, in fact, a family EVEN THOUGH we do not all get along. Some Uncles and cousins I dig, and some just don't float my boat. So we gravitate towards the family members we resonate best with. Here, on AKF and a couple other forums, I've managed to "meet" a few that I would enjoy sharing a bottle of wine with, and some I'd rather not. Just like family. You'll never see or hear of me wanting to join the Alliance; not because of elitest opinions of myself, but rather because I enjoy the obscurity of the shadows. I'm comfy on the fringe, & prefer life under the radar for my own obtuse reasons. I embrace that idea of not wanting to belong to a club that would have me as a member. And should I have a student who needs more than I can offer, I will gladly refer them to someone who is better able to take them to the next level.
I will continue to teach kenpo to the best of my ability, and to improve my own kenpo through ongoing education, evaluation, and consideration. Such as I may. But, I will leave the jockeying for position to others with a more vested interest in the outcome. Unfortunately, politics, bickering, and tribalism was part of kenpo before Mr. Parker left us, and will be well after the rest of us have moved on in our own time. Thank you for your input, and hopefully we will be able to benefit from your technical insights on this forum one day soon.
David W. Crouch, DC
|This message has been edited by DrDaveDC from IP address 188.8.131.52 on Oct 27, 2007 1:01 AM|