Martial Arts “Masters” – FACT or FANTASY? – Part 4

This post is also available in: Italian

A new section to this article: “Martial Arts ‘Masters’ – FACT or FANTASY?” will be posted every Thursday.  Please leave a comment giving your feedback and/or opinions. I look forward to the discussions.

Shihan Pascetta & Osama Arkia - Israel

 

QUESTIONABLE PRACTICES

Unfortunately, today there are those individuals who would take a loose interpretation of aforementioned requirements and claim that since they were the “founder” or “patriarch” of their own “system” that they are “Grand Master” or 10th Degree. The pertinent question is: “Grand Master” of what?

In today’s modern age there are those who have used this 10th Degree status under the proposition that they are “founders” of their own system. This is a seriously questionable practice. If it were an instant way to credibility then any individual with little or no training and experience could create a fantasy that he/she had ‘created’ his/her own unique system. My opinion is that, although they may or may not actually be in the process of attempting to create their own system, such a system and their “real” status would certainly lack much substantiated credibility as compared with those individuals whose work and efforts had stood the test of time and scrutiny of their peers. Age  old wisdom dictates, “Let the buyer beware.”

Consider that anything is possible but not all things are probable. It is possible that some very gifted and/or talented individual may develop some system that is unique and eventually proven to be valid. However, this would arguably be the exception; therefore, it is much more prudent to view to process of such activity over time.

If a person has truly achieved the level of 10th Degree, what is his curriculum? Where is the evidence over time that such curriculum can produce quality beginner, intermediate, and advanced level students prior to Black Belt? Further, where is the evidence that this “new system” is, in fact, unique? Where is the evidence that such a system can produce quality “Black Belt” level students? Where is the evidence that this system can produce “Master” level teachers? And ultimately, where is the evidence that this system can produce “Masters of Masters” who also have the administrative abilities to minister and serve those under their leadership.

When one puts this in a clear perspective of what these “ranks” and diplomas truly represent in terms of actual work and achievement, it should be clear that it is a process that takes time and cannot appear magically “overnight”. These are not activities that can be accomplished in a “closet” or hidden from general view. They are processes that by their very nature involve literally thousands of individuals over a 30, 40, or 50 year term.

No amount of mystique or even illusion of “secret training” or “secret societies” can substitute for such dedicated lifetime study, practice, teaching, social, and administrative accomplishments. And if, in fact, a legitimately advanced “Master” of a particular style of Martial Arts decides to develop his own “system”, is it truly a new and unique system of his creation or merely a modified “version” of the one he previously studied and “maybe” mastered?

It would make more sense that, if such a “Master” were to leave one system or organization, he would not automatically move up in degrees. It would make even more sense that before he could claim to be of a higher degree he must at least demonstrate the work and organizational activity over reasonably significant time that is distinctly different than what he had left.  Until then, any claim of “Grand Master” status would remain questionable at best.

Another serious point to consider is the actual time and effort invested by any such a “master” and particularly a “Grand Master”. There are many legitimate and dedicated martial arts practitioners who could spend their entire life studying and practicing their martial arts. What deserves further consideration is what is known as an “avocation” as compared to a “vocation”.

An “avocation” is an activity that one chooses to participate in due to personal interest and/or passion.  Some people call this a “hobby” regardless of the passion with which it may be practiced.  A “vocation” is an activity that a person participates in as a profession (work to support his/her sustenance and family). To put it more simply the first is more of a “hobby” for personal satisfaction while the second is the work that your existence and the prosperity of your future and of your family is based upon.

I pose a simple question. Would you ever equate the qualifications of a person who had a passion for medicine, even surgery, and studied it part time (when he could find the time) to a person who attended the intense education, training, practical experience, and consistent organized and formal examination of superiors and peers necessary to become a brain surgeon? I think not.

QUANTITATIVE EVALUATION

Viewing this quantitatively first, let’s consider the martial arts practitioner who passionately studies, practices and perhaps teaches his/her “art” two or three times a week for several hours each week for perhaps even twenty years or more. This person would certainly be considered a ‘serious” practitioner and rightly would receive a certain level of respect for his/her dedication, study, and the subsequent skills developed by such activity.

Now, let us now contrast this with an individual who is a “professional”, who spends 40-60 hours each week immersed in every possible aspect of martial arts training, study, teaching, competition, research, promotion, organization, etc. Simply comparing quantitatively over a similar twenty year period the actual time invested in such activity is incredibly and significantly more.

Do the math. Three times weekly for 3 hours equals 9 hours a week. Nine hours times 52 weeks equals 468 hours. Four hundred and sixty-eight hours times 20 years equals 9,360 hours of dedicated study. Most would agree that this is quite respectable.

Now let’s compare “the professional”. Conservatively compare merely forty hours a week times 52 weeks equaling 2080 hours annually. Two thousand eighty hours each year over the same 20 years equal 41,600 hours as a conservation estimate. When we compare the two there is no comparison.  Therefore, how would the qualifications of both individuals be the same assuming that they each spent 20 “calendar” years practicing the same art?

If we used the ”part timer” as the standard then the “professional” would have logged work equivalent to approximately 90 “years” (using the standard of  active “hour years/hours” set by the part timer)! If you use the “professional” as the standard then the “part timer” would have an equivalent of approximately 4.4 “years/hours” of equivalent work! WOW!!!  How can anyone not see the distinct and drastic difference between the potential accomplishments of the two?

One might rightfully argue that the qualitative factors can also have a significant impact on such results, however, the quantitative factors are clearly so overwhelming and enough to stress the probability of the “professional” being quite superior in most areas to the “part timer”.

The subject can be more complicated and unfortunately it opens the possibility and even probability that some individuals (not all) who have not been willing to do the full work necessary sometime use these nuances as an easy excuse to cover their own lack of true accomplishment. They somehow claim and promote their “status” as legitimate high level “master teachers”, or “Grand Masters”, or even “Soke” (founders of a particular system of study).

It is this author’s observation that this has causes a clear “inflation” of the very belt ranking system that could help give credibility to such a valuable method of human development as Martial arts. In my opinion such “inflation” has only served to limit the credibility of our field of passionate study. This “fantasy” has posed a serious obstacle and has hurt all those practitioners of martial arts who have stayed true to integrity, either with their martial arts avocation or vocation.

It is the opinion of this author that it is unlikely and at least questionable that any martial artist claiming to have achieved the levels of 8th, 9th Degree (much less 10th Degree Black Belt) could do so on a part time basis. Such a claim at best lacks credibility and demonstrates a clear and serious limitation to that individual and/or any of those associated with his/her organization/system of study.

I acknowledge there are occasionally some very limited exceptions , however, these are usually due to verifiable mitigating factors.  Perhaps that doesn’t matter to certain practitioners. Each must “choose his/her own poison”. However, let’s not pretend. We need to “call a spade, a spade”. If it’s yellow, has webbed feet, and goes “quack, quack”, it’s in all probability a duck. Let’s not confuse it with an eagle!

“…AND THAT’S THE WAY I SEE IT!”®

Copyright © 2010  R.V. PASCETTA, All rights reserved

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24 Comments

  • Graziano says:

    Credo che il valore del Maestro sia in base quanto lui ha dato per la ricersca dell'essenza dell'arte.Credo che il Maestro abbia una Missione,una missione basata sui valori, la crescita di essere uomo.Questa ricerca continua di capire ,ascoltare mettersi alla prova con il mondo esterno in funzione alle epoche,agli eventi,alle nostre debolezze.Quando riusciremo a capire il quanto,potremo capire quanto siamo Dan.Pochi Maestri danno al Via,dedizione al sacrificio.Gli Eletti,hanno l'onore di insegnare la propria scuola,la propria filosofia.

  • abe says:

    “(ALL WORDS WRITTEN IN RED/CAPS ARE RESPONSES FROM SHIHAN PASCETTA) The words written in yellow are the orginal comment of Abe

    “NICE TRY ABE! I CAN SEE THAT YOU PUT A LOT OF THOUGHT IN YOUR RESPONSE. HOWEVER, EITHER I HAVE NOT DONE SUCH A GOOD JOB EXPLAINING THIS ISSUE CLEARLY, OR YOU ARE USING SPECIOUS LOGIC TO JUSTIFY WHY YOU DON’T WANT TO COMMIT TO BEING A FULL TIME PROFESSIONAL. FURTHER, AS I READ YOUR RESPONSE IT IS CLEAR TO ME THAT YOU ARE MISUNDERSTANDING MY EXAMPLES, MAKING ASSUMPTIONS, AND/OR TAKING THEM OUT OF CONTEXT. SO, I WILL ATTEMPT TO CLARIFY THOSE POINTS EVEN THOUGH YOUR DISSERTATION IS QUITE LONG AND SOMEWHAT CONFUSING AT TIMES.

    First things, first awesome article, but I think its more to it then what you explain. The key is BALANCE!!!! IT APPEARS THAT YOU ARE BEGINNING TO USE MY OWN STATEMENT, “BALANCE”, AS A CLICHE. IF WE ARE GOING TO DEBATE AT LEAST USE YOUR OWN MATERIAL OR QUOTE ME ACCURATELY. ;-} I have a few things to say about your QUANTITATIVE EVALUATION section of your article

    Through the example you provied “profession” is obviously going to be better in terms of Martial Arts then the “part timer” but at what cost!! And later Im going to flip it a little bit! MISTAKE NO. 1. AND I WILL ALSO ADDRESS THIS ISSUE LATER.

    our numbers for the the profession are a little misleading you say 40 to 60 hrs a week of work as if all that time is spent on the floor training and teaching? YI NEVER SAID THAT ALL THESE HOURS WERE “ON THE FLOOR TRAINING AND TEACHING”, THAT WAS YOUR ASSUMPTION. FURTHER, BE ADVISED THAT THIS “EXAMPLE” IS NOT INTENDED TO BE A TELL ALL, KNOW ALL, EXAMPLE. I SIMPLY USED THOSE NUMBERS TO DEMONSTRATE THE “POTENTIALLY” EXTREME DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE TWO. OF COURSE, IT WOULD BE LOGICAL THAT EVERY SITUATION IS DIFFERENT IN SOME WAY.That ‘profesion” is now a business and any business has a great protential to go out of businessIRRELEVANT! How much time is that teacher spending in the office or in the street hustling for more students so that he or she can keep the lights on,feeding his or her family, spending time with his family, wife,husband, kids, etc..! It cant all be KARATE KARATE KARATE KARATE (unfortunately lol)ASSUMPTION #1. FOR SOME REASON YOU MISS THE POINT THAT A “PROFESSIONAL”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

    I seriously doubt that there are many 10th dans, Soke, teachers of teachers, (whatever you want to call it)out there that can 100% say they are “professions.” AH HA!!!… YOU GET THE POINT NOW.

    Master Pascetta you stated that you have been studying Goju (in My Vision article I think) for almost 50 years in that time you never had a job on the side to support your dojo or place of training? I ask that question not just to Master Ric Pascetta, but to all teachers in your era. If the answer is yes (and Im almost certain it is) then at that specific time frame you were a “part timer!YOU ARE CONFUSING THE ISSUE HERE, OF COURSE, MOST FULL TIMERS START AS PART TIMERS. IN MY CASE MORE THAN 30 YEARS WAS FULL TIME. SO WHAT IS THE POINT? THIS CHANGES NOTHING.

    Most high ranking blackbelts that I know were former police officer, some (retired), constuction workers, teachers, Lawyers etc.. They come from all different facets of life. AGAIN YOU MISS THE POINT, OF COURSE, ALL MOST ALL MARTIAL ARTS MASTERS BEGIN PART TIME. FOR SOME REASON YOU AGAIN SEEM TO THINK THIS “DISQUALIFIES” THE EXAMPLES GIVEN HERE. AND AS FAR AS WORKING OTHER JOBS IS CONCERNED, THERE IS A DISTINCT DIFFERENCE BETWEEN SUPPLEMENTING YOUR INCOME WITH OTHER WORK AND NOT BEING A FULL TIME PROFESSIONAL. AGAIN, THIS IS IRRELEVANT TO THE DISCUSSION.

    Lets go back a little bit.

    Even the old timers can’t say they were 100 percent professions. Many of them were farmers. The founder of Goju Karate Chojun Miyagi was an adopted son of a weathy businessman. So he might be close but even he was a fisherman! The founder of shotokan Gichin Funakoshi was a assitant Teacher for many years. #1, HIS PART TIME ACTIVITY DOESN’T SIGNIFICANTLY CHANGE THE DISCUSSION. #2, YOU WILL NOTE THAT MOST OF THESE “FOUNDERS” AND MA PIONEERS NEVER CLAIMED TO BE 10TH DAN. THAT STATUS WAS ADDED TO THEM AFTER THEIR DEATH IN MOST CASES OR AFTER A LIFETIME OF DEDICATION. YOU ARE COMPARING APPLES TO ORANGES. THIS HISTORY ACTUALLY UNDERSCORES MY POINT. THAT THESE PIONEERS GAINED CREDIBILITY BY MANY YEARS OF WORK. IT DIDN’T BEGIN AS SOON AS THEY SAID, “I AM FOUNDING MY OWN STYLE OF MA!”Even the more recent old timer O’sensei Peter Urban was in the Navy while being a student. So it can be said that he was a part time student and look at all the wonderful things he did for American Goju Karate producing Wonderful Martial Artists such as yourself Master Pascetta!!!
    So I think the “part timer” and the “profession” have some overlap lets call it “profestimer” lol. AGAIN, I ADDRESSED THIS ALREADY AND FOR SOME REASON YOU SEEM TO THINK THAT BECAUSE A PROFESSIONAL FULL TIME MASTER STARTED PART TIME THAT THIS SOMEHOW DISQUALIFIES THE EXAMPLE. YOU ARE USING SPECIOUS LOGIC, AGAIN!

    Now, when your “business” starts thriving then you may want to give up your job and make the move from “part timer” to “profession,” but don’t forget that you once were a “part timer.” I NEVER HAVE FORGOTTEN. IT ALSO SEEMS THAT THIS PART OF YOUR DISSERTATION HAS ALREADY BEEN ADDRESSED DUE TO THE FACT THAT YOU HAVE MADE AN INACCURATE ASSUMPTION. FURTHER, YOU ARE ASSUMING AGAIN. WHEN I DECIDED TO GO FULL TIME WITH MY DOJO THE PART TIME BUSINESS HAD LITTLE PROFIT. THE COMMITMENT I MADE WAS BECAUSE OF MY VISION AND BELIEF THAT I COULD SUCCEED AT THIS BUSINESS. THE SUBSEQUENT ADVANTAGE OF BEING ABLE TO FOCUS MY TIME AND ENERGIES ON SOME ASPECT OF THE MA DAILY IS WHAT ALLOWED ME THE OPPORTUNITY TO ACCOMPLISH THE MANY REQUIREMENTS NECESSARY FOR THE HIGHER DEGREES OF BLACK BELT.(TRAINING, COMPETITION, ORGANIZATION, RESEARCH, PROMOTIONS. DEVELOPING CURRICULUM, AND PROVIDING MY BB STUDENTS WITH EXPERIENCES THAT THEY MAY HAVE NEVER HAD).

    Moreover, when you make that move you are putting all your eggs in one basket, at anytime that full timer may go out of businness (especially these days) and then what? He or she is jobless and you have no back up plan, IRRELEVANT!This isn’t 60s, 70’s or 80’s its 2010! YOU ARE DEFINITELY MISTAKEN AGAIN. IF YOU HAVE NO
    BACK UP PLAN” THAT IS BECAUSE OF YOU OWN POOR PLANNING. IT HAS LITTLE TO DO WITH WHETHER YOU ARE FULL OR PART TIME. AND THERE ARE MORE FULL TIME PROFESSIONALS IN MA TODAY THAN EVER BEFORE, IN 2010! AND MANY OF THEM PRODUCE EXCELLENT STUDENTS. YOU NEED TO GET OUT INTO THE MA WORLD AND TAKE OFF YOUR PREJUDICED BLINDERS!

    The “Profession” is a thing of the past outdated unless you sellout owning a McDojo (we all know what that is) if you don’t know, you probally own one! Yal, know what Im talking about, you charge ridiculous amount of money due primary to the fact that you care nothing about your students and everything about MONEY. You get your 1st dan in 5days 2nd dan in 10 days and 4 dan in 1 year!. HA, Im exaggerating, but you get my point! YOU CAN’T BE MORE MISTAKEN AND I DON’T AGREE WITH YOUR POINT. SIMPLY BECAUSE SOME “COMMERCIAL” SCHOOLS SACRIFICE QUALITY FOR MONEY IT IS MISTAKEN TO GROUP ALL TOGETHER AND ASSUME ALL DO THAT. I CAN GIVE YOU NUMEROUS EXAMPLES OF INCREDIBLE MASTERS WHO COMBINE COMMERCIAL OPERATIONS WITH EXCELLENT INSTRUCTION IN 2010. YOU NEED TO GET OUT OF YOUR HOUSE AND INTERACT WITH SOME OF THESE PROFESSIONALS AND PERHAPS YOUR PREJUDICED PERCEPTION WOULD CHANGE. TO NAME BUT A FEW OFF THE TOP OF MY HEAD: STEVE LAVALLE, JOE CORLEY, JEFF SMITH, JAMES CHILLEMI, AND THE LIST GOES ON AND ON. ALL ARE FULL TIME PROFESSIONALS WHO PRODUCE HIGH QUALITY STUDENTS, CONSISTENTLY. AGAIN YOU SEEM TO HAVE DEVELOPED A PREJUDICE BY TAKING THIS PHENOMENON OUT OF CONTEXT.
    So a part timers may love to do martial arts just as much as the “profession” but he or she may not want to risk being unemployed! Major Drag!!! PASSION IS ONLY ONE FACTOR AND IT TAKES MORE THAN PASSION TO DEVELOP A MA ORGANIZATION THAT SERVICES THE MEMBERS AND PARTICIPANTS.

    Or perhaps you were lucky and your like McDonalds and you had a real school not a MCDOJO and you similar to McDonalds or Mirosoft haven been established for a long time so much so that you are almost recession proof. This is unlikely for a karate school they do exist but they are few, far and between! Alot of minuses for the full time “profession.” ABE, YOU NEED TO GET OUT OF SOUTH JERSEY AND SEE THE WORLD AND THEN PERHAPS YOU WOULD OVERCOME YOUR PREJUDICES AND ERRONEOUS ASSUMPTIONS

    Lets talk about the part timer shall we.

    The Part Timer (PT) in my opinion, is the way to go. “OPINIONS ARE LIKE ARMPITS WE EACH HAVE TWO AND THEY CAN SOMETIMES BECOME PRETTY SMELLY.” WHATEVER WORKS FOR YOU IS YOUR OWN CHOICE, BUT NOT NECESSARILY THE BEST CHOICE. I HAD THIS SAME CONVERSATION WITH JAMES CHILLEMI 20 YEARS AGO. AT THAT TIME HE WAS CONVINCED LIKE YOU. I SAW HIM LAST MONTH AND HE IS NOW TELLING ME HE SHOULD HAVE LISTENED A LONG TIME AGO AND NOT LOST ALL THAT TIME BEFORE GOING FULL TIME. TODAY HE HAS A VERY SUCCESSFUL SCHOOL, EXCELLENT STUDENTS AND IS DOING WHAT HE WAS CUT OUT TO DO. HE DOES SO WITH GREAT SATISFACTION AND FEEDING HIS FAMILY WELL. WHAT COULD BE BETTER FOR SOMEONE WHO HAS THE TALENT, INTELLIGENCE, AND PASSION TO DO THIS TYPE OF WORK?He or she can teach more the 3 TIMES a Week! Why do you limit it to 3 times a week in your example under QUANTITATIVE EVALUATION section? Suppose you have a job 6am to 2pm or 9am to 5pm weekends off. Now he or she can teach 5 days a week and rest on the weekends.BECAUSE I’M USING AN EXTREME BUT RELATIVELY COMMON EXAMPLE TO SHOW THE POTENTIAL CONTRAST. YOUR MISTAKE HERE IS TO TAKE MY EXAMPLE LITERALLY AS THE KNOW ALL, ALL ENCOMPASSING FACT. THIS IS SIMPLY ONE EXAMPLE THAT SHOWS HOW POTENTIALLY SKEWERED THE PRACTICE DESCRIBED CAN BE. OF COURSE THERE ARE MANY MANY OTHER FORMULAS THAT COULD EFFECT THE OUTCOME, HOWEVER, THIS TYPE OF EXAMPLE IS MUCH MORE COMMON THAN YOU MAY REALIZE. FURTHER, THE NEXT SECTION OF THIS ARTICLE ADDRESSES THE “QUALITATIVE EVALUATION”, PERHAPS YOU MAY CONSIDER READING THE ENTIRE THING BEFORE MAKING ASSUMPTIONS.If you have assitant insructors maybe more then that. Technically this teacher is a part timer he or she could use that extra 40 hrs a week for training, but he or she chooses not to have to worry about “how am I going to pay my light bill” that is what the 40hrs a week job is for. IYOU ARE MISTAKEN AGAIN. FOR SOME REASON YOU ARE ONLY COUNTING MA PRACTICE AND TEACHING TIME AS PART OF THE MA EXPERIENCE THAT IS NECESSARY TO ADVANCE TO THE HIGHER LEVELS. If he or she whats to charge his student it can be cheap so the martial arts is not for just the rich, but for everybody. Master Ric Pascetta can the “Profession” afford to do that and feed wife kids, pay bills, without sacrificing quality teaching in 2010? hmmmm!!!! I know you did for years, but times have change or evolved!! As the cost of living goes up so does milk, gas, comcast, food, Electric, and last, but not least Dojo fee’s!

    Also, you stated part timers can’t achieve 8th 9th and 10th dan as being a part timer. YOU ARE MISTAKEN AGAIN. I NEVER SAID ANYTHING WAS IMPOSSIBLE, JUST LESS PROBABLE.What Im about to say is debateable, but the only true 10th dan is the founder of his or hers art at best one could become 9th dan. Just my opinion. Kano developed the belt system from the school system. FYI, KANO NEVER CLAIMED TO BE A 10TH DAN WHEN HE FOUNDED HIS SYSTEM. SO YOUR DEFINITION IS A DISTORTION OF REALITY, NOT FACT. AND NEVER HAVING BEEN A 10TH DAN, HOW WOULD YOU KNOW? (ANOTHER ASSUMPTION.)There are many people out there with two or three jobs and still manage to earn their doctoral in Psychology or their MD from a accredit Medical School and then move on to teach interns. YOU ARE MISTAKEN AGAIN. ALTHOUGH THESE STUDENTS MAY WORK MULTIPLE JOBS AND TAKE COURSES OVER TIME, THE TIME IS STILL LONGER TO ACHIEVE THEIR DEGREE AND EVEN WITH THEIR DEGREE THEY MUST WORK FULL TIME OVER MANY YEARS TO ACHIEVE CREDIBILITY OF A HIGH LEVEL DOCTOR OR SURGEON. YOU ARE COMPARING APPLES TO ORANGES HERE IN YOUR EXAMPLE.

    If they can do all that on a part time level it has to be a way to achieve high dan ranking (7, 8, 9th). By your logic its only one way to the top of the mountain (sort of speak) and we both know that the road leading to the top of the mountain has many paths. Perhaps your way is faster! What do you think?I THINK YOU MISSED THE POINT. OF COURSE THERE ARE MANY WAYS TO ACHIEVE VARIOUS THINGS IN LIFE. MY POINT IS THAT BECAUSE THERE ARE MANY WAYS THERE ARE ALSO MANY MA INSTRUCTORS WHO USE THESE VARIABLES TO SLIP THROUGH THE CRACKS AND CLAIM TO BE MUCH MORE THAN THEY TRULY ARE. MY ARTICLE IS SIMPLY A WAY TO ATTEMPT TO USE BOTH QUANTITATIVE EVALUATIONS AND QUALITATIVE EVALUATIONS TO COME TO MORE REALISTIC CONCLUSIONS AND SORT THROUGH THE ABUSES OF THE BELT SYSTEM THAT HAVE BECOME SO COMMON TODAY.. IF YOU WISH TO SPLIT HAIRS OVER ASSUMPTIONS AND IRRELEVANT TECHNICALITIES THEN WE CAN GO ON INDEFINITELY.

    Lastly, I would like to say that this is not a attack on the writer nor anybody who may read this, Im playing Devils Advocate, I do believe the part timer is the the way of the future in the United States. lol YOU ARE WELCOME TO YOU OPINION EVEN IF YOU ARE WRONG AND EVEN IF IT RESTRICTS YOUR POTENTIAL. If that means I will never reach 8th or 9th dan. So be it! Its way too many of them out there anyway!! These days either you are a 1st dan or your a 10th dan there isn’t much inbetween. Its almost refreshing to see someone 4th or 5th dan. REMEMBER, IF YOU ARE NOT PART OF THE SOLUTION THEN YOU BECOME PART OF THE PROBLEM. WHEN RIGHTEOUS MEN FAIL TO STAND AGAINST UNRIGHTEOUSNESS, THEN EVIL WILL PREVAIL. i AM NOT SUGGESTING THAT WE ATTACK ANYONE FOR THEIR ACTIONS, QUITE THE CONTRARY, HOWEVER, BY OUTLINING THE PERTINENT ASPECTS EACH INDIVIDUAL CAN CHOOSE HIS OWN PATH AND LIVE THE CONSEQUENCES.

    I do know that you (Sensei Pascetta ) are the real deal so Im not referring to you: your Outstanding reputation and unshakable integrity procedes you and I thank you for taking the time to read this! Take Care and God Bless!! < THANK YOU FOR YOUR KIND COMPLIMENTS. HOWEVER, AT THE RISK OF SEEMING TO BE ARROGANT, I HAVE ATTEMPTED TO USE EXTENSIVE REAL LIFE EXPERIENCE AND EXAMPLES TO CLARIFY THE PERTINENT ISSUES YOU HAVE RAISED. I CERTAINLY APPRECIATE YOUR “OPINION” BUT PERHAPS YOU MIGHT RECONSIDER IT IN LIGHT OF SOME OF MY RESPONSES. MY SUGGESTION IS TO REFRAIN FROM MAKING “BLACK AND WHITE” ASSUMPTI0NS AND TAKE A STEP BACK AND VIEW THIS FROM A BROADER PERSPECTIVE. ALSO REMEMBER THAT I AM SEEING THIS FROM LOOKING BOTH BACKWARD OVER A LONG PERIOD WITH MANY SUCCESSES AND FAILURES, WHILE ALSO LOOKING FORWARD TO CONTRIBUTE IN A POSITIVE WAY. AT THIS POINT IN YOUR TRAINING YOUR ABILITY TO LOOK BACKWARD IS MUCH MORE LIMITED. YOU HAVE NOT YET DONE MANY OF THE THINGS I DESCRIBED SO IT IS NATURAL FOR YOU TO HAVE A LESS ACCURATE PICTURE NO MATTER HOW LOGICAL OR INTELLIGENT YOU ARE. WISHING YOU ALL THE BEST.

  • sabato trent says:

    Shihan, I agree with everything you say and there are not many like you that has both a vovation and avocation at the same time. The problem I see is that there are many who put in the time and have good technique and even though they may be involved for 40.hours a week; how often do they physically train. It is an avocation to me but I train with the 3yr olds, the next class and both intermediate, adv anced and adult class. Not teach but work alongside of my fellow students. I will forever be a student and one of the biggest problems is too many want to be a teacher and not the student.

    • Hi Sabato,

      It is great to hear from you after so many years. I can relate exactly to what you are saying. I firmly believe that once we stop "living" to our fullest, we begin moving toward "death" and loose the quality of life . There are too many "teachers" who have stopped being a "student". You can see that many times by counting the "big bellies" on many of the senior "Dans". Once you stop learning, you also become less relevant.

      But in fairness to them, it is also important to distinguish between those instructors who actually had real personal skills from which to draw when they teach, yet, perhaps they have neglected their own physical conditioning over time. I must admit that many times there are legitimate reasons for this such as health issues, and injuries, and even other personal matters that such an individual has chosen to give priority over at his own sacrifice. To say that these individuals still do not have a benefit to offer their students would be unfair.

      Obviously, those who can continue to train regularly, maintain their physical prowess even at advanced age have an advantage to pass on to their students and serve as an example of one of the most valuable benefits from a lifetime of MA training, that is good health and quality of life. My greatest criticism is for those who never have attained the physical prowess to begin with and later hide behind age and inflated accomplishments to prop up their exaggerations. Regardless, in life and every human activity there are examples of both. It is my opinion the best effort we can do is put most of our energy into acting as the best example we can ourselves and let those who are interested make their own evaluation.

      I have known you many years, my friend, and have observed you from a distance, although we have never trained together, I have always admired your physical prowess and that of your students. And even more so your humble attitude in spite of your many accomplishments. That speaks volumes beyond our words. Keep up the good work and thank you for your input here.

  • abe says:

    IT APPEARS THAT YOU ARE BEGINNING TO USE MY OWN STATEMENT, “BALANCE”, AS A CLICHE. IF WE ARE GOING TO DEBATE AT LEAST USE YOUR OWN MATERIAL OR QUOTE ME ACCURATELY. ;-}

    My usage of the word “BALANCE” is quite different then the way you are using it. Let me explain,,

    When I say balance is the key, maybe I didn't clarify myself enough. I am talking about balance as martial arts and life in general. Martial Artists (MAs) say often "Martial Arts is a way of life" That may be the case for many but for me not so much anymore because MA is very addicting and time consuming. I love it but I don’t want to get too consumed in it. Jesus is the way of life! How many martial artist forget about just high ranking lets talk about all Martial artist but especially black belts . How many of them are successful Martial artists but they are unsuccessful Wives, Husbands, Fathers.? That is what I am referring to when I say BALANCE like I said it cant all be karate, karate, karate. Many World Champions in all combative sports not just MAs are unsuccessful husbands, fathers, etc. etc. etc. Why, probably too much time on the dojo floor and not enough time at home: something has to give!

    Now before you say "I need to take off my prejudice binder" let me say this "what I said in the above text does not apply to all, some MA are well balance, but I do believe that there are way too many MAs out there who are not balanced. Being that marriages ending in divorce is almost 60%

    I think I am on the right track. I believe this is a yet another reason why partimers decide to stay part time and not pursue teaching on a full time basics. One has to PAY THE COST TO BE THE BOSS, and some times that price might be a little too expensive. You are a accomplish individual

    I for example have spend more time on the dojo floor then I have in church. Is that right? I know I am not alone here, but I’m not afraid to stand up. Perhaps me admitting that fact may help someone else. Or maybe I’m alone in this boat, but that’s ok too!!!

    • Response to: “abe says:
      June 24, 2010 at 2:56 am”

      When I referred to “Balance” it has always been in reference to life as a whole, not simply MA. If you re-read my articles, this should be evident. So, your use of the term in that manner was certainly not unique.

      Please don’t be so foolish to assume that because a particular man appears to not be “successful” as a father. husband, etc, that the primary factor is his dedication to his job, to MA, or any one recreational passion. Marital relationships are much more complex than they may seem. Many times what appears to be causative is actually merely a symptom of much deeper issues. I agree that there needs to be attention paid to keeping a balance with whatever activities a person participates and priorities that look past the moments satisfaction, especially those giving priority to spiritual and familial activities. However, that is true with all work related activities and not limited to MA.

      I agree that it is important to prioritize your time, however, that is the same with any job, recreation, family time, and time spend furthering your relationship with GOD (not necessarily in that order). You seem to somehow confuse that with the issues here of whether you choose to do MA full time or part time. The fact is that whether you are full or part time at any profession, you still need to strive for balance.

  • abe says:

    Through the example you provied “profession” is obviously going to be better in terms of Martial Arts then the “part timer” but at what cost!! And later Im going to flip it a little bit! MISTAKE NO. 1. AND I WILL ALSO ADDRESS THIS ISSUE LATER.

    My above comment also explains this too! It explains what I mean by "at what cost" to further exemplify what I mean. A lot of (way more then need be) Professions not just MA because though I believe the MA Profession is unique, its not completely diferent from any other profession. Many Detectives are awesome detectives solve and/or caught some of the biggest murders in history, but they have been divorced 2 or 3 three times. Why, because lack of balance, they spend all their time on the street on the prawl and hardly no time at home. The same can be said for MA Professionals only they spend there time in the dojo doing variety of things coming home late at night 5 or 6 times a week. Eventfully something is going to give. I believe this is one of many reason why a partimer makes a cousious decision to become stay part time.

    • Response to: "abe says:

      June 24, 2010 at 3:00 am"

      I can appreciate that decision to not have a full time school if that individual is unable to balance that time with other priorities in his life. Those are personal choices based on your own situation and own limitations.

      Further, the fact is that most relationships are much more complicated than what stats show. It is more likely that such time spent away from the home and family are not the causative factors. It is much more likely that they are symptomatic of much deeper issues within that individual and/or between that couple. There are plenty of examples where people in those same professions have successful marriages and achieve a balance between the various aspects of their lives.

      If someone has been divorced 3-4 times, don't blame their jobs or work, there is likely much more going on there than meets the eye. Unless you are able to look beyond the surface it will be an easy mistake to make.

  • abe says:

    YOU ARE CONFUSING THE ISSUE HERE, OF COURSE, MOST FULL TIMERS START AS PART TIMERS. IN MY CASE MORE THAN 30 YEARS WAS FULL TIME. SO WHAT IS THE POINT? THIS CHANGES NOTHING.

    Who said I trying to change anything?

    The point is your article is insightful (as I mention before), but I can see that you are more leaning toward the Professional after all that is the route you took. I am simply showing some love for the partimer, giving some viewpoints for why they decided to not only to take the route they took, but reasons for why they kept on that path.

    You went down highway partimer, but you got off at highway full timer and kept on it and because of that you have touch many lives that’s evident from the comments I have read on this blog and your facebook. I’m just pointing out that most professionals didn't start off that way, they started off as a partimers then maybe made a decision to go full time. This maybe be obvious to you now but was it obvious back in 1969 when you started teaching (read your bio). There are those out there who have a pipe dream: thinking that you can just throw on your Gi, put a sign up and students will come to you like bees to honey and it doesn't work that way. Thats my point!

    • Response to: "abe says:

      June 24, 2010 at 4:40 am"

      I agree that any financial activity should be scrutinized carefully before embarking on that path. Again the issue is little to do with the choice between full time and part time MA work. Either path takes serious consideration as in any other profession.

  • abe says:

    Now, when your “business” starts thriving then you may want to give up your job and make the move from “part timer” to “profession,” but don’t forget that you once were a “part timer.” I NEVER HAVE FORGOTTEN. IT ALSO SEEMS THAT THIS PART OF YOUR DISSERTATION HAS ALREADY BEEN ADDRESSED DUE TO THE FACT THAT YOU HAVE MADE AN INACCURATE ASSUMPTION. FURTHER, YOU ARE ASSUMING AGAIN. WHEN I DECIDED TO GO FULL TIME WITH MY DOJO THE PART TIME BUSINESS HAD LITTLE PROFIT. ).

    The word "you" is general for everyone not you perse, but if the shoe fits wear it, and if it doesnt (and obviously it doesnt) leave it on the shelf lol!

    I never said anything about your partime business. Im suggesting that you cant have one with out the other. There is some serious overlap! It's highly unlikely to be a full timer without first being a part timer.

    I knew a wise man from your era (no names) that once told me that he/she (staying anonymous) opened a dojo and expecting students to come to him or her. That person had no back up plan and the dojo went downhill like JACK and JILL . Whoever that person was died a slow death, but there is a lessen to be learned. This person wasnt' stupid maybe a little overambitiuous which can blind you. Nevertheless, that person learned the lesson and ended up becoming one of the best Martial Artist in the world!

    There are young Martial Artist just like that individual out there who may read your article and be inspired wanting to achieve what you have achieved. Not realizing what they are getting themselves into.

    • Response to: "abe says:

      June 24, 2010 at 5:22 am"

      As in any profession, time and resources must be invested in education and preparation. Of course you wouldn't expect to make much of a living as a plumber or carpenter without an apprenticeship or some first hand experience. Police officers go to a Police Academy to prepare, most people at least complete high school, some college, and some even higher. Those who do not complete even high school have a greater challenge to make as significant of a living as those who do.

      This is no different than someone who foolishly expects to be successful as a MA school owner when he/she has done little preparation, training, or planning for the business aspects of running a school. This is specifically one of the roles of the higher level Black Belts. One of his/her responsibilities is to guide or mentor those who wish to become professionals. How is that "Shihan", "Kyoshi" or "Hanshi" able to fill that responsibility when he/she has had no such real life experience himself/herself? Of course, financial failure would have more impact if the person were to try to teach full time. Remember that you can just as easily fail at business part time after you have used all of your "spendable" free time trying to meet the bills and after you have invested all your savings to maintain a part time school. There are no guarantees in life, even if you work for someone else.

      My impression of you comments continue to lead me to believe you are still missing the point with regard to the discussion of part time vs full time.

  • abe says:

    THE COMMITMENT I MADE WAS BECAUSE OF MY VISION AND BELIEF THAT I COULD SUCCEED AT THIS BUSINESS. THE SUBSEQUENT ADVANTAGE OF BEING ABLE TO FOCUS MY TIME AND ENERGIES ON SOME ASPECT OF THE MA DAILY IS WHAT ALLOWED ME THE OPPORTUNITY TO ACCOMPLISH THE MANY REQUIREMENTS NECESSARY FOR THE HIGHER DEGREES OF BLACK BELT.(TRAINING, COMPETITION, ORGANIZATION, RESEARCH, PROMOTIONS. DEVELOPING CURRICULUM, AND PROVIDING MY BB STUDENTS WITH EXPERIENCES THAT THEY MAY HAVE NEVER HAD.

    It is one word I want to add to your above passage "Quicker" Going full time allowed to achieve all those goals quicker because they could have been done as a partimer! May have taken longer but then again whats the rush in my opinion its the "its the journey not the destination!"

    • Response to: "abe says:

      June 24, 2010 at 5:31 am"

      You are confusing the difference between using time prudently with wishing to do things "quicker". Perhaps I've been unclear. The comparison in my article between full time and part time was to provide a more realistic guide to help clearly measure the tenure of a person practicing MA in terms of actual time spent towards MA related activities as opposed to "calendar" years. With few exceptions there is no way a person as arrive at the same destination in the same time measured in "calendar years" regardless of how interesting his "journey' may be.

      The way this issue was addressed in my article was by giving a more accurate way of comparing "time in grade". The method I advanced also took into consideration "quality" factors in addition to "quantity" factors. To use your analogy of "journey" and "destination" consider this scenario.

      We both set out on a "journey" to reach California from Philadelphia. We both travel driving the same type of vehicle. We each travel the same route. However, you drive 14 hours each day and reach California in a week. On the other hand I drive 2 hours each day and in the same week's time I reach Ohio.

      If I were to claim that I had also reached California (even though I hadn't) everyone would think I was strange. Even if, I stated, "I've also been driving for a week." Technically, this would be "true" since I had begun driving a week ago. However, any fool could see the difference between driving 14 hours daily for a week and driving 2 hours a day for a week. The issue isn't that someone should or should not choose to drive either 14 hours daily or 2 hours daily. The issue is that a no reasonable person would equate the two when given all the facts.

      This was the point of the article when comparing full time with part time. Each person must choose what works best for him, unfortunately, there are too many in MA who attempt to portray themselves as being more than they have paid the price for. That is a major reason why MA in general has lost credibility.

  • abe says:

    That ‘profesion” is now a business and any business has a great potential to go out of business IRRELEVANT!

    Oh, its quite relevant!

    You have a great article when I read it the first question that popped in my head was “what factors makes a Martial artist want to teach partime?”

    Your article is well written and you do your darness job to stay neutral, but I can see that you are more for the full professional. One has to read between the lines. This is natural considering the fact that its the path you chose!

    Those Businesses/Dojos are what feeds your family if it goes out of business your family is affected. It doesn’t get anymore relevant then that! For one to achieve the higher rankings of black belt (BB) he or she must have many BB’s and his her BBs must have many BBs that have schools that produce BBs (quality BBs may I add). Correct? So everything being equal a high ranking black belt may have dozens or hundreds of schools. Great awesome if you can do that and still be a decent husband, father, etc. etc. God bless you, but those that I know, seem to struggle at that.
    They are either at one extreme or the other. Rarely, have I seen balance between the two (Dojos and Family) I believe the part timer chooses that path to better balance his or her life so neither suffers especially Financially . “Heavy is the head that wears the CROWN”

    Your dojos have to almost be self operating like a car wash. The owner only shows up to pick up the cash. He or she once in a while may check up to make sure maintenance is going well (or for senior BLACK BELTS making sure the system is being taught properly) etc. etc. That type of businessman or professional is at his or hers highest level of Business and /or leadership and few reach that level and those who do pay the cost to be the boss. The question is specifically, what was the cost and was it really worth it? Could you have done the same thing as a partimer and not sacificed so much i.e marriage, father son/daughter relationships.
    Most businesses including dojos close do to lack of revenue, so its quite relevant.
    Moreover, some of the greatest entrepreneurs (because as 10dan ultimately that is what you are) are the most unsuccessful in marriage and fatherhood. Donald Trump gets married every 5 years. lol. Argueably, the greatest realtor ever. Like I said “at what cost?” Even Bill Gates after he got married handed Microsoft (his baby) over to his protege why because of BALANCE! Its hard to run Mirosoft and maintain a marriage!
    I am not saying this applies to all Martial Artist, but I do believe the majority or at the very least some! Sometimes the cost to be a full timer is too expensive and thus you have the part timer! Thats the relevance: “And that is the way I see it!” lol

    • Response to: “abe says:
      June 24, 2010 at 4:04 am”

      Perhaps I’m not being clear. Of course any financial loss or setback is “relevant”. My point was that you are again confusing what the real issues are here.

      I’m sure that you will agree that any man must work to support himself and his family. Whether he gets laid off, fired, or his business takes a downturn, or he ultimately fails, these are all temporary yet relevant setbacks. For some reason you seem to imply that a full time professional Martial Artist is putting his family at risk. If so, isn’t a full time plumber, carpenter, Corrections/Police Officer, butcher, dentist, etc. putting his family at risk if he can’t find work , gets laid off, or fired? Isn’t he putting his family at risk if he must spend 4-60 hours a week to make ends meet or even work a second job. My point is that you missing the issue here. You seem to know a number of Martial Artists that have difficulty with balancing their time with their families. If you look around I think you likely find that this phenomena is not special to martial artists. It seems that your personal experience have biased you not to consider outside that limited group.

      You stated: “I believe the part timer chooses that path to better balance his or her life so neither suffers especially financially.” It isn’t whether you are a full time or part time school owner, the issue is about balancing your time with your other priorities no matter what your profession is. Therefore it’s not a relevant argument for teaching MA part time as compared to full time unless you have no confidence in your ability to be successful. Further, that would have little difference than if you had no confidence in getting hired and keeping employment as a carpenter, or plumber, or real estate sales person.

      Your reference to Bill Gates actually undermines your position. You stated: “The question is specifically, what was the cost and was it really worth it?” Ask him and his family along with the hundreds of thousands of people whose lives are touched by giving them employment of the charity he now can afford. Here is a classic example of someone who has paid the price in advance by hard work and dedication in his job so that now he has the luxury of spending more time with his family and for more altruistic activities. I’m sure you realize that this was not handed to him without plenty of sacrifice. It would seem that he made some good choices for himself and his family. As far as Donald Trumps’ 5 marriages are concerned, it would make more sense to look beyond the surface of his public persona as an entrepreneur and see what other factors are playing into that equation.

      Do you think Bill Gates was any less passionate for his work and business or was any less an entrepreneur? Yet he hasn’t been married 5 times! Like I said before, if a person can’t do the balancing then I accept that this type of full time work is not for him. But then again, perhaps many types of full time work would be a challenge for him to balance with his personal time and priorities.

  • abe says:

    AGAIN. IF YOU HAVE NO

    BACK UP PLAN” THAT IS BECAUSE OF YOU OWN POOR PLANNING. IT HAS LITTLE TO DO WITH WHETHER YOU ARE FULL OR PART TIME. AND THERE ARE MORE FULL TIME PROFESSIONALS IN MA TODAY THAN EVER BEFORE, IN 2010! AND MANY OF THEM PRODUCE EXCELLENT STUDENTS. YOU NEED TO GET OUT INTO THE MA WORLD AND TAKE OFF YOUR PREJUDICED BLINDERS!

    You are defitnetely missing my point. The question is why do martial artist stay part time. There are martial artist out that have been part time for over 20 30 some 40 years.

    Karate was originally for adults, kids werent taught traditionally Not here in the UNITED STATES the market is kids and for adults MMA. So if that is what you are talking about yeah there are more full time professional schools in 2010 mostly MMA though. The market for "Traditional" karate is down though that is a fact the public has a lowly opinion on traditonalist namely our practice of kata.

    Now, when you make statements like "YOU NEED TO GET OUT INTO THE MA WORLD AND TAKE OFF YOUR PREJUDICED BLINDERS" you are speaking out of ignorance my friend. I have been bless to been all over the United States and international at a young age.

    I vacation and research at the same time. How do I research? I visit different dojos and many times train with them.

    I especially participate in MMA schools (they love fighting). I only watch the mcdojos! So I have a legitamite perspective I dont spend all my time in Jersey and make statements without researching it first.

    • Response to: “abe says:
      June 24, 2010 at 5:31 am”

      You stated: “You are definitely missing my point. The question is why do martial artist stay part time.”

      I didn’t notice that you were asking a question and I certainly didn’t raise that question since it was outside of the context of my article. Based on your many statements concerning the comparison between full time and part time MA instructors it seemed more like you were making assumptions.

      Please forgive me, I wasn’t aware that you were such a world traveler and had done such extensive “research” while vacationing in so many states and countries.

      Perhaps you can share with me, out of curiosity, how often do you vacation? How many vacations have you taken? Are you an old man or a young man? How many schools did you visit in each area you traveled to? Were they mostly traditional schools, MMA schools, or “mcdojos”? How did you select the schools that you visited; randomly or did you have some criteria that focused on a particular type of school? How much time did you spend in each school? Did each of the owners share with you the private details of their businesses? How did you verify that those owners were giving you accurate data? Did you ask all the school owners the same set of questions in the same manner?

      If you’ve done all of that then perhaps, you may actually be able to make a better income as a research consultant than a full time MA instructor.

      My MA Master once said: “That which is offered without proof may be disputed without proof”. Forgive me if I am scrutinizing your “data” before accepting its credibility. I am not trying to imply that you would make false statements, however, just like in my articles, when someone is seeking the truth then it is imperative to look beyond generalizations based on anecdotal experiences. If, in fact, you did any legitimate “research” then you would easily answer those questions in a professional and scientific way. You would be able to present the written report substantiating your “research”. Unless, of course you are using the term “research” very very loosely. If so, it is somewhat similar to those who claim higher ranks in MA while doing the necessary work quite superficially.

      I am not trying to disparage your “experience”, however, it is more likely that it is relatively insignificant of a sampling of MA schools to come up with such far reaching assumptions that you have been presenting. Further, the lack of consistency along with the tendency for most school owners to no share private info would likely skewer your findings even further. And that is assuming that you asked the same questions in the same manner to every school owner.

      I may be wrong but it appears that your findings are little more than anecdotal at best. But, nice try. ;-}

  • abe says:

    FYI, KANO NEVER CLAIMED TO BE A 10TH DAN WHEN HE FOUNDED HIS SYSTEM. SO YOUR DEFINITION IS A DISTORTION OF REALITY, NOT FACT. AND NEVER HAVING BEEN A 10TH DAN, HOW WOULD YOU KNOW? (ANOTHER ASSUMPTION.)

    I never said Kano did claim to be a 10 dan just that his belt system was based after the school system. There are variety of was for one to become a professor. Many professors achieve that status going to school part time the same can be done for teachers teaching on a part time basics. Yes, it may take longer but it can be. That is all im saying!!

    Now let me tell you what i do know about 10th dans. Its not rocket science I bet you knew what it took to achieve 10th dan long before you achieve it. One has to have a goal and know how to achieve it before he can make Achieving that goal an reality. It doesn't happen by accident.

    If you ask sokes what it takes to become a soke you will get a 100 different answers if you read about it you will still get an 100 different answers. Especially in the United States. We have more 10 dans on the eastern seaboard alone then ever before. 10 dans that have one dojo 1 master level student but if you were to question their level they give you a million reasons why they are legitamate. Everybody is a 10th dan or close to it. I think im going to go get mine tomorrow lol!!!!

    • Response to: “abe says:
      June 24, 2010 at 1:40 pm”

      Thank you for making the point for me: “Yes, it may take longer…”. It will definitely take longer, however, “professors” in college are primarily academic teachers with little physical prowess required, if at all.

      Further, college “professors” are not necessarily required to have administrative experience or assume administrative responsibilities whereas in MA, that is one of the most significant duties of the higher ranking Black Belts. Martial Arts are more military-like in that sense. I’m sure you’ve made the connection between the two: military= martial??? .

      If you bet on my answer as you suggested, you would have lost. I certainly had a vision of what it would be like to be a 10th Dan earlier on. Was it an accurate “vision”, absolutely not. That vision was significantly different from the actual experiences later. It would be kind of like your child attending sex education classes at school and then claiming he/she “knows” what having sex is like. Until it happens, you simply don’t “know”, no matter what you’ve been told, no matter what you’ve read, no matter what you’ve watched.

      You stated: “If you ask sokes what it takes to become a soke you will get a 100 different answers…”. Again I believe you are missing the point. For example I could ask 100 women what it takes to become a “woman” and get 100 distinctly different answers. That doesn’t change that fact they are all women. But as a man I would not and could not ever “know” what it was to become a woman. I could perhaps imagine, maybe envision it, but I could never really know since I have never experienced what it was to be “behind the eyes” or within the physical body of a woman.

      One thing is for certain though, there will be a commonality among all women regardless of how differently they express it. That becomes evident as you interact with more and more women. Similarly there is a commonality among 10th Dans even if they have never communicated with each other. After you been around enough of them long enough you will easily know the difference between the “real deals” and the “counterfeits”. This established and documented commonality is part of what I have tried to communicate in my writings to help it become more evident to the readers.

      An argument similar to what you have expressed has been used by many to help camouflage their exaggerated status. My point is that there may be many variations, however, the primary elements remain the same among the legitimate leaders of all the martial arts systems.

  • abe says:

    THANK YOU FOR YOUR KIND COMPLIMENTS. HOWEVER, AT THE RISK OF SEEMING TO BE ARROGANT, I HAVE ATTEMPTED TO USE EXTENSIVE REAL LIFE EXPERIENCE AND EXAMPLES TO CLARIFY THE PERTINENT ISSUES YOU HAVE RAISED. I CERTAINLY APPRECIATE YOUR “OPINION” BUT PERHAPS YOU MIGHT RECONSIDER IT IN LIGHT OF SOME OF MY RESPONSES. MY SUGGESTION IS TO REFRAIN FROM MAKING “BLACK AND WHITE” ASSUMPTI0NS AND TAKE A STEP BACK AND VIEW THIS FROM A BROADER PERSPECTIVE. ALSO REMEMBER THAT I AM SEEING THIS FROM LOOKING BOTH BACKWARD OVER A LONG PERIOD WITH MANY SUCCESSES AND FAILURES, WHILE ALSO LOOKING FORWARD TO CONTRIBUTE IN A POSITIVE WAY. AT THIS POINT IN YOUR TRAINING YOUR ABILITY TO LOOK BACKWARD IS MUCH MORE LIMITED. YOU HAVE NOT YET DONE MANY OF THE THINGS I DESCRIBED SO IT IS NATURAL FOR YOU TO HAVE A LESS ACCURATE PICTURE NO MATTER HOW LOGICAL OR INTELLIGENT YOU ARE. WISHING YOU ALL THE BEST.

    You have change my opinion on a variety of things you may notice I didn’t respond to everything and you wrote. My ability to look backwards is limited. So to gain wisdom I look at people like yourself and many others who are in your era and others that were before and not neccessarly from your style. I look at their success and failures and many of them paid a steep price not in martial arts perse, but in other facets of life. Whether it be marriage, lack of time with kids, financial loss for variety of reason. Some couldn’t figure out how to teach quality karate with out “selling out” it not a easy thing to do. Therfore, they became rich in people and relationships. Nothing wrong with that its honorable and I believe they will receive their treasure in heaven.

    Some just simply put MA before their family and they too shall receive their reward in heaven.

    However, i believe if they had taken a different route and made MAs partime they would have taken longer to achieve their goal, but would have cost them less.

    For me if you are a senior BB with all these accomplishments in Martial Arts BBs with lots of schools, Champions, financial wealth, Hall A fame, etc. These are great accomplishments but your interaction with people is all you can take with you to heaven. You cant take wealth, trophies, belts, these things will burn. All you have is who you are as a person and how you interacted with others. Keep in mind that who you are at the dojo maybe different then who you are at home. If become a senior BB (6dan and above) has cost you your soul then maybe you should have stayed as a 5th dan. IF being full time instructor cost you your marriage or personal realtionship with your children then maybe you should have stayed partime. I am not talking directly to you Sensei Pascetta when I say “you” I am being GENERAL. Playing devils advacate!

    Simply put I believe maintaining “balance” in all facets of life not just martial Arts is a essential reason why Partimers chose to stay as a Part Time Professional.

    Obviously, you Master Pascetta was one of the few blessed ones becoming not just a great Martial Artist,but Father and role model for Martial Artist to look up to including myself. So therfore you have maintained balance in all facets of life not just martial arts. So what I have mentioned in the above text doesn’t apply to you, those shoes DON”T FIT YOUR FEET, but look around you, there are many in your era whose feet, fit quite well.

    Take care and may god bless you with contiuious success with your field of choice, longevity, and Happiness! OSS

    • Respose to: "abe says:

      June 24, 2010 at 2:42 pm"

      Thank you again for your kind words. I admire your tenacity and the priorities that you set for you life. It will be interesting how you view these same issues many years down the road after you've had more chances to test some of your "theories", make some failures, and enjoy some successes. I wish you all the best in those goals. It is wise to seek counsel as you seem to do and even wiser to examine it critically. You have, LORD willing, a lot of life left in front of you.

      If you truly believe that the scripture is the "TRUTH", then you will have also read that all this is "folly" anyway. That is not to be negative but to be realistic about our limitations as humans. There is a value in a certain level of confidence in your own thought process, however, we still need to temper that with humility or life will humble us anyway. We see now darkly as through an obscure glass, in time the real truth will be revealed to us. That will be the most interesting conversation when we can ask the LORD directly. My guess is that we will probably laugh at ourselves somewhat for our feeble attempts at "wisdom". Until then, I intend to do the best with what the LORD has given me.

      Thanks again for the positive interaction and for boldly sharing your thoughts and opinions with me. GOD bless and take care.

  • Jim says:

    I see no problem with people being part-time instructors. Many of us old time part-timers had to make a living while doing what we enjoyed. When it comes down to it, why do we practice martial arts? 1) enjoyment, 2) fitness, 3) self-defense, 4) sport…it really doesn't matter why as long as you benefit from the training in some way. Funny how this subject would even come up. Looks like some instructors might be insecure.

    • rpascetta says:

      Hi Jim,

      Thank you for taking the time to comment on this article. We are in agreement in the sense that I also see "no problem with people being part-time instructors." There has been much contributed to the martial arts by those who practiced MA part-time. My personal respect goes out to all who have shown any level of dedication such as yourself. I also agree with you that "it's all good" as long as one benefits from the training in some way. Perhaps if you review the article you will note that there is no criticism or judgment whether part-time or full time is better or worse. Each has it advantages and disadvantages.

      You may also note that the primary point was the DISTINCTION between ACTUAL TIME and experience when calculating calendar "years" that were actually spent practicing and participating part-time in contrast with the "years" spent actually practicing and participating full time. The math has no "insecurity", and facts are clearly just facts. If there was any criticism or judgment in this article, it was aimed at those who may distort or confuse those differences and thereby create a less than truthful illusion. If you equate my advocation for integrity with being "insecure" then perhaps I would stand guilty as charged, or perhaps that part of your comment wasn't intended for me. However, from my personal perspective as a MA leader, it is part of my responsibility to stand for integrity, and clarity, speaking the truth yet, without attempting to disparage specific individuals. We don't need to agree since this is merely a personal conviction of mine.

      As to why "this subject would even come up.."; it seems that it would be obvious since one of the first things out of the mouth of almost any experienced MA practitioner when asked about his/her martial arts is to re-count how many "years" he/she has trained. From my observations, what has also served to challenge the credibility of martial arts is a widespread "inflation" of ranks and titles to the point where it we are top heavy with more self proclaimed "Chiefs than Indians". Further, if more accurately pointing out this distinction between calendar "years" passed and actual MA activity occurring during those "years" appears to indicate some level of "insecurity" then perhaps you misunderstood the context of the article, or perhaps I did a poor job in communicating my ideas, or perhaps again the "insecure" part of your comment was a reaction to one of the other respondents. I hope this response to your reactions helps to shed more light on the issues you bring up from this article.

      Regardless, we each view these issues from our own limited perspective anyway, so you are welcome to your own opinion. I am pleased to receive your response and share some constructive interaction whether we ultimately reach the same conclusions or not. Best of luck to you in your continued training.