A lot of martial arts classes pick one thing or the other: either you learn traditional punching/kicking/etc. or you learn the “modern” punching/kicking/grappling of today’s current schools. Each of those types of schools, depending on their choices, will often decry the other choice. I really do not see it that way. The “pre-modern” or traditional martial arts methods are useful for some things and the modern ones are useful for learning other things. If you just want to fight and do not care about anything else, you can stick to the modern. If you want to be traditional and follow the letter of the style, then you can do the pre-modern stuff. However, there is a third way.
This month, it has become quite evident in our curriculum why we have included both the pre-modern and modern methods. If we only had the modern methods, we would be no different than the strip mall martial arts places you see on every street corner, and given the huge market saturation in that area, we would have zero students because we are not equipped to offer what they offer. Nevertheless, the few students we have would learn all about fighting and nothing about themselves other than what they get through having the floor wiped with their butts. Enter the traditional methods. I found that they are useful in a better way, as suggested by people before me such as Gichin Funakoshi and Bruce Lee: to learn about yourself deeply on all levels, from the physical to the spiritual. If we only had these pre-modern methods, however, our students would have no way to apply what they know, so we also keep the modern methods intact too.
So far we have spent this month in class looking deeply at executing technique from all levels of the self: the gross, subtle, causal, and non-dual. They can be called by other names too. We just choose this terminology from Integral Theory. It’s amazing to see how we’ve been taking the entire hour of class and just working one technique for most of the hour, dissecting it on all levels and moving through it (or not moving at all in the case of the causal!) Teaching these aspects using modern punching and kicking techniques in MMA, which are derived from kickboxing, would be difficult. The Okinawan base we have comes in quite handy for this, because it gives you the opportunity to spend time thinking about your hips, and other power centers physically, while also concentrating on moving and flowing through the technique using subtle energies. You could do this with the MMA techniques. It would just be a little less obvious.