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The Michael Jordan syndrome

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  • The Michael Jordan syndrome

    The other day I was practicing with a beginner (5 kyu I think) and he was dipping and bobbing and jumping in yelling kote (without hitting anything) and raising his hand in victory. I was a bit surprised by his actions, but on the third or forth time I ask what the (expletive) are you doing? He said he had been watching the all Japan championship and was trying to do as they did.

    My question is the following (for none US folks you have to use a little imagination). If I just started to play basketball and watched MJ play basketball on TV then went down to the park and tried to do as he does I would not be able slam-dunk just because I watched him do it. The fact is that Jordan has practiced the fundamentals of basketball for 20 years and what you see is the culmination of hard work and dedication.

    Why then do many beginners watch the worlds best kendo player and think since they watched the video they are ready to compete at the highest level? What they miss is the 20 years of kendo practice it took to get to that level. I could be off base on this one. I wonder have anyone else run into this syndrome in their practice?

  • #2
    "Michael Jodan Syndrome?"

    Comment


    • #3
      durrell4: All the frickin' time! But you can only just be patient.

      In my experience, people in the US just starting out have a lot of misconceptions about kendo in general and it takes time for those to get straightened out (sometimes they never get resolved and those people end up quitting).

      As to your beginner practice partner there, I think you should feel encouraged that this guy is actually trying to emulate the AJK champs and is interested enough to watch them...

      Comment


      • #4
        Hahhaa that's so cool!!

        I don't think there is anything wrong with doing crazy (like your 5th kyu dude) stuff when you are a beginner! When you are a begginer you have no idea what to do , you can't really understand kendo at all, so you need a model right? He took the all japan kendo champions as a model (maybe he is doing a bit too much!!).

        I remember in my first days of keiko in bogu.
        The first times when I was fighting my sensei, and when he was beating me up tooooo badly, I was getting mad, so sometimes I grabed his shinai as too say: "enough please!!!" He was just replying: "hey that's a sword you can't just grab it like that, you cut yourself"

        My point is whatever a beginner is doing is fine, when we are beginner we have no idea of what we are doing!! At a certain point if that person continue kendo seriously (comes to practice often and regulary) with that attitude he/she will get bored and will stop doing stupid things like that. Also the senpai are there to tell(what they think of) what is wrong and what is ok to do.

        I think these situations are great and a lot of fun. People at the begining when they start kendo have a lot of false idea about the art of kendo. (some even think they will eventualy become samurai!!)
        Only problem I could see in these kind of situations is if the person doing these weird things continues on with the same bad habbits without trying to listen to his/her senpai/sensei. Then that's just wrong and not acceptable!

        Comment


        • #5
          Hey you said they're beginners..... YOU should be the one telling them "nonono"!

          It's good for that particular one to learn from the AJK Champ... At least it's important for beginners to have a strong spirit with initiative to attack. Watching is the best way to learn Kendo! Instead of doing your own cuts not knowing what they should be delivered... watching the others make beginners/everyone correct their own bad habits.

          At least you know where that's from Durrell... I don't know where one of the beginners in my dojo learn this from: a missed Gyaku-kesa-giri ended up on someone's thigh!

          But I cannot imagine anyone to try doing things after watching Kyoto Taikai/Enbu... I recall one clip I saw was a Hachidan vs Hachidan.... for 4/5 minutes there isn't a single cut, but pure Kiai and seme...... Not for beginners.

          Comment


          • #6
            ya I agree with mingshi, the most important thing for beginner is spirit!

            But I cannot imagine anyone to try doing things after watching Kyoto Taikai/Enbu... I recall one clip I saw was a Hachidan vs Hachidan.... for 4/5 minutes there isn't a single cut, but pure Kiai and seme...... Not for beginners
            ya
            Not for me...lol
            at least it's better than a clip I saw on kumdovj.com...5 minutes + 5 minutes encho. They were the whole time in tsubazeria!!!!And the final point was so ....sad!

            The Michael Jordan syndrome is ok..
            But Samurai syndrome is worst!!(and not only beginners have that syndrome you know!)
            Last edited by kendokamax; 5th August 2002, 03:01 AM.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by kendokamax

              But Samurai syndrome is worst!!(and not only beginners have that syndrome you know!)
              No way the Rurouni Kenshin syndrome is worst, trust me i should know because i suffer from it...there have been a many a'times when i have tried to emulate the Hiten-Mitsurugi-Ryu-Kuzu-Ryu-Sen technique, however for some reason i just keep failing to do so...hmmm, i wonder why.

              Maybe i should come back from la la land...

              Comment


              • #8
                I never thought of the spirit connection. I agree he had Great Spirit and enthusiasm. I would have said something this fellow, but it was not my Dojo and I try not to teach to others when I am a visitor. I guess we will have to see in time if he mellows out.

                No way the Rurouni Kenshin syndrome is worst, trust me i should know because i suffer from it...there have been a many a'times when i have tried to emulate the Hiten-Mitsurugi-Ryu-Kuzu-Ryu-Sen technique, however for some reason i just keep failing to do so...hmmm, i wonder why.

                I agree that this is worse then the MJ syndrome, but rare in these parts.

                Comment


                • #9
                  ya you shouldn't teach when you are visiting a dojo :O or when you are receiving.

                  I hate being teache by people that I don't know, pointers are ok but teaching.. I went to one dojo somewhere west of canada once ( I won't say which) the senseis there all started to teach us basic things, so we all felt like our kendo was crap..( I felt I was all wrong!)
                  They were absolulty right about the mistake we were doing, but we didn't come all the way to their dojo to get that kind of special treatment. My friend and I felt really bad after that practice, sure we learned a lot, but I don't think you should ever gives 10000 comments about someone's kendo. Many good advices yes, but it confused me too much. One at a time please, I won't stop doing kendo tomorrow.

                  So one thing I learned from that: When I will have the chance to teach kendo to beginners I will try to keep it simple and focus on one thing at the time.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    shinsen gumi syndrome

                    In my case, i get shinsen gumi syndrome, well, not from em but from my seniors and my juniors. "I AM THE EVIL KENDOUKA, I WILL SILENTLY INTIMIDATE YOU AND TRY TO TOWER OVER YOU UNTIL YOU CRY!" Unfortunately, i'm taller than them, and it never works. They they try the "I AM THE EVIL, NASTY INDIVIDUAL YOU DON"T WANT TO MESS WITH! RAAAAWWWR!" That's just funny, because we'reall wearing bogu, and there's only one or two people strong enough to hurt me through it, and they aren't the ones who a good spanking.

                    On to what I wanted to say...

                    I disagree that spirit in the most important thing for kendou. Spirit doesn't get you a point in a match, spirit doesn't help your kendou appreciably, spirit does not fix your technique problems, it even, nay often, interferes with doing clean kendou! I've seen people with spirit in spades, but their kendou sucks. it's sloppy and ugly. it's like watching a three legged dog try to dance to a skipping record.

                    Spirit is a critical part of kendou, but for the beginner, basic waza are the most important thing. if you instill in a beginner some good solid waza, the spirit portion will come later. if however the beginner just runs screaming around the dojo all the time, they aren't learning much.

                    having 'spirit' is taught in keiko and kakarikeiko. do not over estimate the importance of 'spirit'. Some people turn kendou into a ridiculous religious activity. they talk endlessly about spirit, and elevate it to a mystical level, but even if you choose to approach kendou this way, itis far too complex for beginners. (Personally I think it's a sad excuse for religion to elevate kendou to some mystical experience, but that's just me.)

                    In the end, I highly recommend an emphasis on waza rather than spirit. you can have all the screaming, jumping kendouka you want, i'll take the kid in the corner who is devoutly practicing his suburi. You may say it's dry and boring, but it's actually a test to sort out the losers, the kind of people who would only do kendou because they like to hit people, or because they get off on turning kendou into some kind of power game.

                    This isn't flame bait, but I suspect it will cause quite a bit of flaming.

                    c

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                    • #11
                      Despite being a serious anime fan, I've never really had an urge to emulate what I see on screen... somehow, despite burying my nose in sci-fi novels and burning my retinas with seizure-inducing animated explosions, I kept the ability distinguish between fantasy and reality. There is one kid who shows up on occasion, though... whenever he's not doing an exercise, he's flailing his shinai around like he's starring in a Hong Kong action theatre flick.

                      Come to think of it, that kid hasn't shown up to practice in a long time. I wonder if, once your "Michael Jordan Syndrome" student discovers that it will take a lot of practice to pull off moves like a world champion, will he still come to class?

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I think it all comes down to each individuals.

                        When I went to a new dojo in vancouver there was that beginner who was screaming like crazy...while we were doing basic footwork...It was kind of funny!He was screaming soooo much I don't think he was actually concentring on his footwork. My friend overheared him talking with others from his group and at one point the guy said "is there such thing as too much kiai?" hehe soo funny

                        I think showing courage/spirit is almost as important in kendo as to use good waza. Sometimes in front of some opponents for differnet reasons I'm scared . I can't go for men uchi. I lose courage...so I end up losing. But when I do kihon practices I can easely/very well do my stuff against the same person..

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by kendokamax

                          I think showing courage/spirit is almost as important in kendo as to use good waza. Sometimes in front of some opponents for differnet reasons I'm scared . I can't go for men uchi. I lose courage...so I end up losing. But when I do kihon practices I can easely/very well do my stuff against the same person..
                          You raise a good point.

                          I still believe waza is slightly more important, because being confident in the strength of your waza can help you build more 'spirit'. However, as you say, it does depend on individuals' approach to kendou and their goals. Some people are happy running around not getting overly good, while others want to have really good waza and good technique, and some people just want to study kata and do elegant, graceful kendou.

                          c

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Confound


                            I still believe waza is slightly more important,

                            c
                            I think one reason why junior kendokans find hard about performing good waza is at an early stage most junior kendokans are more worried about not getting hit by the opponant because they want to execute their attack as quickly as possible, in which they end up doing some sloppy looking kendo, whereas for a senior hopefully it should be easier for them to execute nice looking waza quickly because of the experience behind them. So with some patience, as they begin to get faster in executing their attacks they will end up doing some nicer looking kendo.

                            One example is performing a men cut, in which your arms should be brought just above your head, this is taught to most kendokans as the fundamental way of doing that cut. However, because we need to be quick in making our attacks, most people end up rasing their arms half way and then doing the men cut because it feels and is more quicker to do it that way, in which there is a greater chance of doing sloppy looking kendo.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              At the lower dan ranks, I strongly believe that waza is more important than the mental (I mean mental not spiritual). aspects.

                              At higher dan ranks, I believe, though not strongly, that waza is still more important than the mental (yes, mental, you got it right) aspects.

                              At a very high rank, say, hachidan, than maybe the mental stuff is more valuable.

                              At mudansha levels (below ikkyu), I believe etiquette, attention and footwork are the most important things to think in. There's plenty of time ahead to worry about the rest.


                              PS. Some people just go kiai crazy from time to time. Doing kiai when putting the kendogi, when folding the hakama, et caetera...

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