One of the first questions I’m often asked is “What style do you teach”? The best answer I can provide is “None of them…”. I realize this is difficult to understand, at least until you begin training with me.
The truth is; Rank, Style, and Title have no value or purpose in quality martial arts training, let alone ones own ability to defend themselves or others. At Kaizen, students will develop skills in striking, kicking, grappling, throwing, disarms, and even against multiple attackers, along with self-defense against weapons. I don’t have my students memorize forms, compete in tournaments, enroll in expensive “Black Belt Clubs”, and I don’t hide behind my own titles. Instead, I utilize a method of training focused on “Concept Application”, which develops instinctive skills and intuition. My curriculum is my own design and structured in a way where students experience the result of “knowing without knowing”. It’s very similar to understanding a language and how we learn it, speak it, read it, and communicate with it.
An attacker doesn’t care if you’ve achieved enlightenment, or have a Black Belt, or what style you’ve studied… they want your money, your body, or your life. It’s not the style that will keep a student safe, it’s the quality and degree of their training, and how hard they’ve applied themselves to it. Period.
While I utilize a ranking system for my youth students, which greatly assists them visually to challenge themselves, set goals, experience success, and see results… I do not use rank as a competition or race, or a method of judging one’s own capabilities.
My adults do not utilize a ranking system and training is informal. I don’t want adults calling me “Sir”, and answering to me like I’m their boss. Nor do I make them perform dangerous techniques not suited for their age or fitness level. Let’s keep our feet on the ground, not twirling through the air.