and proved NOTHING>...who will be fighting 25 guys in a row...in their LIFE or even for their life? It does not only boarder on abuse....it is abuse and silly in my oppinion,. Granted that is only my views.
As a grading examiner I would suggest that this was more about some 'ritualistic' and woefully mistaken belief that if students can show they can take a beating they somehow display Karate skill - which is of course nonsense!
I know personally many rugby players whom can demonstrate an ability to endure extreme amounts of potentially bone crunching or even fatal impact for 80 minutes with no complaint, excellent discipline, immense spirit, courage, determination, bravery, physical and mental strength, endurance and stamina etc!
However, this in no way could be judge as an example of their 'Karate ability'.
As you well know Tom I fully expect Kaarate Examinees to display all of the above during a grading examination but I do not expect them to endure what is (as you rightly suggest) abuse during the examination.
I note the point about the 'Seniors' Dropping in at the end and brutalising the lad = pure bullying and an almost medieval example of 'stamping their authority' upon the boy.
I wonder if those same seniors would cope if they (after 15 previous bouts) had yourself, Rod, Mark, Dave and Paddy step up (fresh as daisies!) and go rattling at them?
A Grading Examiner has a duty to be able to observe and analyse an Examinee's performance against a vast array of 'reasonable expectations and skill requirements'. Under the system you describe one could make an analysis by simply making the lad play 20 minutes, in the front row of the pack, in an inter Pub Amateur Rugby League Match and see if he survives!!
There were a whole raft of problems with the grading format in my opinion. The grading was a very unpleasant viewing experience, especially when your setting really close to the Mat...and steve you are absolutely right about the "stamping thier authority" thing. Kind of a weird sadistic thing going on as well...
The 'seniors-end-game' was kind of indicative of the attitudes and behaviours I expereinced in the club and organisation. As a young (16-17yrs) lone shotokan chap I would turn up at one of the dojo's during the holidays and the instructor would make a point of trying to humiliate me in front of the class. The first time I turned up I was selected to stand up in front of the class and fight a senior grade who had about 10 years and 4 stone on me ... it was a horrible lession in taking a punch.
It didn't help him much though as I came back the next week very grumpy, fully understanding that I was allowed go full-contact during his version of"light sparring". After I had taken out the first two (yes he made me stay standing and fight his senior student after the first proved inadequate) I was made to go-out of the dojo to calm down.... hahahaha! What a prat.
Not a nice club, not a nice organisation.
Tradition is the passing on of the fire, not the worship of the ashes - Sir Thomas More
and Great Kudos for you Tom, at your young age for going back and 'stamping' your aothority on the situation. Knowing you I am not in the least surprised
Sadly Tom there are many opportunities for 'Paper Tigers' to impose bullying regimes on a club or group - there are several I have come across and could name. Tis such a shame because I am sure that many have left Karate as a result - not because they were scared NO! Just because they felt - I don't need this shit!
ANyway - at least now your with a sterling group of clubs, led by Rod - Hard as nails all of them but nice people!
The joyous thing about Elwyn's approach to Karate is that it is ALL 'Real fight' applicable - be he be in a Senior intrnational Bout, Dojo Sparring, Teaching or in 'the street' - all interchangeable and thus IMHO All real Karate.
ANd Tom - Previously you have claimed that it is I that comes along and slaps you all around LOL! - I bet it was a welcome change - especially so that it was I that arranged Elwyn's visit! HAHAHA!
I've been thinking about this 25 fight scenario for the chap going for Nidan, I think if my club/org had similar rules then I wouldn't be around for long either.
I went through a lot of sparring to get my Shodan but I assumed that they were looking for my fighting spirit even when I was exhausted and not how much of a kicking I could take. At what point does this become illigal? In my mind everything done in the Dojo is under control so you would never hit or be hit with full power, so if someone hit really hard surely they would be commiting assault.
I don't want to come across as a sissy boy, i'm capable of taking a few knocks and have given out a few - mostly under control but there is always the odd stray - always followed by an apology.
I read a famous Karateka's book a while ago and even after reaching Shodan he was in scenario's where he used full power in and out of the Dojo because someone upset/annoyed him, I was a bit disappointed that such a senior would do such things.
It would be interesting to see how we stand legally if we visited a Dojo and a senior grade "stamped" their authority.
The running rule in my dojo, and where Elmar teaches, during any pairs training the junior rank dictates the the level of speed and power they can handle. It's then incumbent upon the senior to honor that, but can turn up the heat in order to challenge the junior, but not so much as to overwhelm them.
There isn't a strict rule for the same thing with us, but that is exactly how we approach Kumite when mixed grade sparring, like when i'm sparring with a Green or Purple belt I can see what they are doing before its half way there but I allow them to perform the best they can and don't take advantage of them. I try in return to attack gently so they can get used to blocking or avoiding it, not show them how quick I can be or how hard I can hit them. Either way we train with them just ahead of there ability to push them forwards - if that makes sense?
Sorry if I am speaking out of turn here, but there is some history behind the "hundred man kumite" that people may not be aware of.
At the very end of the Meiji era (or maybe into the early Showa era) there was a famous kendo instructor who was considered the very last of his kind (and as far as I know he is still considered a latter day anachronism in the Japanese world). He devised a series of kendo tests that were meant to help the student sublimate his ego and stop worrying about success or failure, just living in the moment. I apologize for not remembering the name of this sensei; I cannot even remember the reference now it was so many years ago that I read the article. I suspect it might have been in one of Cook's more commercial efforts on the history of the Samurai.
Anyway, the series of tests could only be considered by a student who had trained for 1000 days consecutively. There was three levels: a single day test during which the candidate met opponent's all day with only short rests between matches, a three day test where the number of opponent's tripled, and a final 7 day test that had 7 times the number of opponent's. All done with short rest between matches. The test was meant to be the ultimate challenge. But....
The important point of the entire exercise was meeting the opponent, not beating the opponent. There was no requirement that one had to win all the matches; in fact winning or losing was NOT the essence of the test. The candidate had to release his need of validation and just live in the moment, letting each match fall as it did, win or lose. As I understand it the founder of KK took the 100 man challenge from that original model.
Unfortunately, it became some sort of challenge to "best" 100 men, rather than just meet and spar 100 men. The essence of the challenge has been destroyed.
In the original form the losses were as important as the wins because the challenger had to dust himself off, forget the loss and continue on with the test. If the challenge was to "beat" 100 men, at some point you might just choose to lose if you knew the exhausting effort and suffering was going to end. If the test continued win or lose, you would have to dig down and find that will to go on, while your opponent need not worry if they beat you (as a person might if his treasured sensei or good friend was undergoing the challenge).
Six hours later.... "Samurai: The Story of a Warrior Tradition" by Harry Cook, Sterling Publishing, New York, 1993 pp. 130 Starting under the heading
.....He devised three tests, called seigan - a Buddist term meaning vow. These could only be taken by advanced students. After 1000 consecutive days of practice, the candidate could take the first test, which considted of 200 contests with only a short pause for food. If successful, the candidate was eligible for the second test: 600 contests over a period of three days. The third seigan was the ultimate test: 1400 contests over seven days, pushing the candidate into the realms where physical skills alone were not enough. To succeed at the third seigan, the swordsman had to unite their physical and spiritual strength with and absolute acceptance that victory or death could be their only choices.
For Tesshu, the true function of the martial arts was to develop the spirit: they were a shugyo (austere discipline), who's purpose was not simply the destruction of and enemy but the forging of spiritual strength in the practitioner
Oyama Masatatsu's adoption of this form into his school is referenced on page 131 of the same text. No comment to suggest that one has to actually win all of those contests.