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JKD UnderGround >> Does Belt rabk matter to you?


10/8/09 11:13 AM
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laqueus
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In a completely different direction, having a BJJ black belt allows you to make a living just teaching BJJ, without having a ridiculous overly commercialised business. It's pretty reliable in that aspect. You might not make great money, but you're still making enough to get by without selling out. If you've got a BB and have kids, by the time they're grown up they'll have them, or be nearing it at least. Providing your kids with experience and credentials to go with it so they can earn money can matter quite a bit to a parent.
10/12/09 8:12 PM
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m.g
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I try to look at belt ranks in martial arts in the context in which they were created.

As many of us know the whole idea of belt ranks in the martial arts originated from Jigoro Kano who was the founder of Judo.

Jigoro Kano got the idea of ranks or grades from the world of education. For the most part rabks or grades are suppose to be representive and symbolic. Grade levels and degrees (from the high school diploma all the way to the PH.D) signify both progress and completion. They also can represent committment "to" and, to some degree, expertise "in" and mastery "of" a given field etc


I personally feel the meaning of a given rank really deopends on the "value" the individual gives it. And that "value" depends on how much time, energy and effort the individual invested in getting the rank.
11/13/09 3:40 AM
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shen
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All I know is I've got a legitimately earned Yellow Belt in Hapkido and NO MAN can take that away from me.
11/13/09 10:54 PM
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OneScoup
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I rank as follows:

1. Success in competition

2. Extent of competitive career

3. Belt rank

4. Where you trained, who with

There are exceptions, for instance a guy who sucks, never learns and competes a lot, or the guy at a place that cranks out belts.
11/16/09 5:07 AM
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laqueus
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I definitely find competetive success to be the most important too. That's a good test of how you deal with pressure and apply your arsenal against a resistant opponent. Belts are really much more useful for people who don't compete.

Belt can also be an indication of the completeness of your skillset. If you have the right attributes you can win with some large holes in your game, that would be beating black belts consistently but still not advancing past white. A boxer who KOs Kyokushin black belts he trains with is definitely very good, but if he can't throw a good kick he's still not even yellow.

Also, I've been thinking that if someone says belt rank doesn't matter, how you react to that depends on who is saying it.

If you have several people saying "I don't care about belts"

Person A: Black belt in 3 styles.

Person B: Division 1 wrestler, amateur boxer.

Person C: Yellow or Green belt in 1 or 2 styles.

Person D: Someone who has never trained.

Clearly A and B will be taken seriously. C & D can't really say that, they're just starting out. I'm somewhere between C and B in that example, much closer to C though, since I haven't competed at any level close to what Division 1 would be. I can reasonably say that it doesn't matter to me much since I've got a good degree of success despite my lack of rank, and I can beat people who have much higher rank, but it still doesn't hold as much weight as someone who has been training longer than I have been alive and has a high degree of success saying belt rank doesn't matter to them. Also, compared to someone with a black belt in Judo, BJJ, Kyokushin Karate and maybe one more style, who has competed and placed internationally in all 3, I don't have much weight especially if they say that belt rank matters a lot. Not only have they outranked me but they've had more success than I have. If they say it matters and I don't, maybe I'm wrong...
11/21/09 3:40 PM
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nowaydo
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I like that. I'm closer to "B" and I don't care about belts.
11/21/09 11:59 PM
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WidespreadPanic
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Semi-joking, but if you can beat someone in sparring, decisively, why shouldn't you be able to take his belt. IOW, a throw-down spar, winner takes all.
11/22/09 8:52 AM
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laqueus
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There is that argument. But if I beat a Kyokushin blackbelt by taking him down and choking him out, do I really deserve a blackbelt in Kyokushin? Not really. It still shows that rank doesn't matter all that much, since a good gameplan and the ability to implement it can trump rank.
11/22/09 10:06 AM
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John Frankl
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WidespreadPanic,

Semi joking and all, you have just made most purple belts in BJJ and decent high school wrestlers 10th degree black belts in Taekwondo, and Tai Chi, and Karate, and you have also given them 3 or 6 certifications in all sorts of JKD weirdness as well. Good job.
11/22/09 10:57 AM
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WidespreadPanic
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Edited: 11/22/09 10:58 AM
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laqueus - There is that argument. But if I beat a Kyokushin blackbelt by taking him down and choking him out, do I really deserve a blackbelt in Kyokushin? Not really. It still shows that rank doesn't matter all that much, since a good gameplan and the ability to implement it can trump rank.
Well, carrying this on for fun, why not? I don't know of any rule in Kyokushinkai which says you can not to a choke. AFAIK, you just can't punch the face.

In fact, one situation in my TKD class, they were doing two-on-one sparring. Well, I figure (somewhat rightly) that if you're fighing two guys, anything goes. So I reach up and grab the first guy in a modified plum and pull his head forward and get a guillotine. I use this to prop myself and side kick the other guy knocking him down. The first guy was so surprised, he gave up (even though I wasn't choking him hard).  I won that match in about 5 seconds, lol.
 
John Frankl - you have just made most purple belts in BJJ... Good job.
Exactly. Thanks. In fact, I'd say most purple belt -females- could do this feat.

Makes ya think, eh? :)

  
11/23/09 8:02 AM
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John Frankl
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Yes, it does make me think. It makes me think why are you in a TKD class when your go to move is a guillotine?:)
11/23/09 10:56 AM
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WidespreadPanic
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Edited: 11/23/09 11:00 AM
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John Frankl - Yes, it does make me think. It makes me think why are you in a TKD class when your go to move is a guillotine?:)
As I said, it was two-on-one sparring so pretty much anything goes for the defender. I didn't really plan it, I just wanted to grab and neutralize the first guy. It wasn't really a choke, but was a guillotine in structure - I had bent him over at 90deg and I had his head and one arm under my left arm, with a grip on his lapel and was kind of dragging him around off-balancing him. He freaked due to the unfamiliarity of the position or something and not due to being choked, and tapped out.

My thought was "I'm not going to win this sparring match by squaring up and trying to 'spar' each of them, I have to do something different and unexpected". It worked.

In SD three steps, we did practice throws and wrist releases and trips, so it wasn't as though I broke some 'rule'. I'm not sure if anyone ever did any 'grab and punch' type moves back then - probably was most didn't think of it.


    
11/23/09 11:12 AM
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Edited: 11/23/09 11:24 AM
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I think that the comment illustrates a good point about TKD and other 'Karate' styles (at least back then in the 80s). They were unwittingly compartmentalized and limited by their own idea of what 'fighting' was. Though we did trips, and throws and even things like flying scissors, in 'rehearsed' SD mode, in sparring they just 'traded kicks'. It was as though everyone bought into this idea that using the legs was superior.

At the time I was trying to figure out how to actually do SD and how to spar effectively and incorporate both. I had done some wrestling in HS, but at that point, I'd only done two styles of Korean karate, drifted away when the first owner moved, did some Escrima/Arnis and was in a local JKD club. I went back to the TKD studio since I found out I was in the same department at work with the new owner (one of the first Master's BBs who inherited the club) and started talking to him.

It had occurred to me that guys who stood back and threw kicks and would go to one leg were vulnerable to being shoved around and grabbed, but in regular sparring it was pretty much just trading kicks (we couldn't punch to the face). So when we did the two-on-one sparring, something pretty much designed to 'punish' or test the lone defender that I could turn it around and actually come out on top by doing the unexpected. In other two-on-one sparrings it wasn't uncommon for the 'defender' to grab one of the attackers and try to get him to screen out the other guy, but no one had followed up on a grab as a 'hold' like I did.

Now and then, I was trying other things, too, like throwing fake kicks at the opponent's legs (not connecting or just touching lightly) to get them to drop their guard. We weren't "allowed" to kick below the belt, but nobody said anything about faking a leg kick. After all, I figured, you couldn't punch to the head but you could fake a backfist to the face and then kick to the midsection. I was trying to get the people to realize that in the street you weren't going to be able to just 'spar' and defend yourself.




     
11/23/09 2:38 PM
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laqueus
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WidespreadPanic - 
laqueus - There is that argument. But if I beat a Kyokushin blackbelt by taking him down and choking him out, do I really deserve a blackbelt in Kyokushin? Not really. It still shows that rank doesn't matter all that much, since a good gameplan and the ability to implement it can trump rank.
Well, carrying this on for fun, why not? I don't know of any rule in Kyokushinkai which says you can not to a choke. AFAIK, you just can't punch the face.


Aren't there rules against grabbing and throwing? Or is it just that Enshin and the like emphasize that more than standard Kyokushin does?

I mean I'd figure if you can go into a black belt Judo division and tap everyone out even if you're not using much in the way of throws then sure, you'd have a good claim to a Judo black belt.

Also, do you really want a black belt in a style when you just earned it by what essentially comes down to invalidating it in a real fight context?
11/24/09 2:26 PM
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WidespreadPanic
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laqueus -
Aren't there rules against grabbing and throwing? Or is it just that Enshin and the like emphasize that more than standard Kyokushin does?

I mean I'd figure if you can go into a black belt Judo division and tap everyone out even if you're not using much in the way of throws then sure, you'd have a good claim to a Judo black belt.

Also, do you really want a black belt in a style when you just earned it by what essentially comes down to invalidating it in a real fight context?
In most Karate styles you can grab and punch (like, once) and you can grab and sweep the foot, or trip, or just kick-sweep the foot. Mas Oyama's book shows such moves.

As to 'taking the person's belt', first, I meant it as a kind of light-hearted comment, or maybe a bet, like 'let's spar for belts'. The belt would be a trophy, not something you'd wear, particularly. Again, I never did it. In fact I kinda think the person would not have agreed, fearing to lose their precious belt. But it would have upped the stakes and struck at the heart of the facade of TMA - belt ranks with little fighting skill in reality.


 
11/25/09 1:45 AM
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laqueus
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Yeah, I got that you were kidding there, I figured it would be more interesting to discuss than to just LOL.

If we're talking about earning belt rank by fighting for it, that does suggest that in some ways ranking presents a pecking order. In some martial arts and clubs it very much is a pecking order, others not so much, and of course when there is a pecking order, you automatically jump in at whatever level you can beat everyone at.
11/26/09 3:34 PM
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WidespreadPanic
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Edited: 11/26/09 3:38 PM
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laqueus - Yeah, I got that you were kidding there, I figured it would be more interesting to discuss than to just LOL.

If we're talking about earning belt rank by fighting for it, that does suggest that in some ways ranking presents a pecking order. In some martial arts and clubs it very much is a pecking order, others not so much, and of course when there is a pecking order, you automatically jump in at whatever level you can beat everyone at.
In some clubs, they actually get mad if you're whupping up on a guy with a belt higher than yours. In many, they give a guy a belt if he's been there, like, forever. It's stupid, though you could make the argument that up to and including first degree black is just about 'learning the basics'.

I was sparring with the BB instructor of our club once and didn't realize it, but had backed him into a corner and was peppering him with light strikes - nothing damaging since we were going mostly low/medium contact. Next thing I know the master instructor comes up behind me, grabs my belt and pulls me off of him. WTF? I've NEVER ever seen him or anyone else do that in all the years I'd been there. I have to figure I was embarrassing someone.

Another time, I was sparring with the same BB, and he threw a high right roundhouse kick. I trapped it with my left arm, and stepped in while grabbing his left lapel, and swept his standing leg and laid him almost gently on the mat. He jumped up and screamed at me that if I ever did that again, he'd rip my balls off. (His fav female brown belt was standing near us). I was stunned and was at a loss, since we did this kind of thing at other times, frequently (takedowns). I figure it was just because it was me, I was a blue and he a BB, and I was smaller than him (and the girl was watching). (He didn't know it, but at the time, I was boxing and sparring in the ring downstairs after class all the time). Believe it or not, but up to and including Blue, you weren't supposed to be 'sparring' without an instructor present. Jeeze, that's just silly.

Had I been an upper belt, I know he would have congratulated me. I shudder to think what would have happened in that dojo if I had done a takedown, mount and armbar or something -really- effective. They'd have thrown me out of the class. Ironic, huh? Again, this was just strange, looking back, because in our one and three-step SD we had things like throws and even a flying leg-scissors. Why not do them in sparring (with a mat, no less).

    
11/26/09 9:22 PM
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laqueus
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I've run into that to a smaller degree, although not with the head instructor. I've got a good relationship with the head guy, but some of the senior belts aren't so thrilled about it, so if I do simple stuff that shuts them down, like push kicks to their thigh to frustrate their kicks I'm told I'm not supposed to do it. 'Cause I never fuck anyone up and I go very easy on lower belts I can essentially do whatever I want in sparring (also given my strength is ground fighting and unless explicitly told to fight on the ground I'll always just stand up to test myself in my weaker area and their stronger area). I definitely get that kind of vibe though. If anyone, after I beat them in sparring were to claim they'd hurt me if I did it again, I think I'd just drive the intensity up to call their bluff. Not necessarily the best idea I know, but it's absolutely baffling having someone threaten to hurt you right after you've beaten them.
11/27/09 12:19 AM
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WidespreadPanic
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Edited: 11/27/09 12:25 AM
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Well, you have to understand the mind-set back then. MA were heavy into the 'show' and not so heavy on the authenticity. It was very frustrating. I didn't know anything else, so I initially bought into the whole myth.

To give you an idea...the main instructor was almost bragging that he never read a martial arts magazine. I could hardly believe it. Now, looking back, he wasn't missing anything. However, I did learn what the 'opposition' was doing, what they thought was effective, it gave me multiple perspectives and I also looked up out of town dojos and tournaments and found my second instructor. Back then, when magazines sold for 50 cents or a dollar, I bought everyone I could find, looked up every book with anything in it related to training, even went to the education library and researched the sports journals. I even took a bus to Washington D.C. and visited the Library of Congress (even though our University had a good library).

Now, sadly, looking back, very few books had anything that was helpful, though I do think I learned some things from Mas Oyama's books. But the idea I had was to research far, wide and deep. I didn't just read about MA, but kinesiology, yoga, running, general fitness, and weight training.

One other comment he made was I kicked the bag too much. Well, that comment was particularly hilarious, because his favorite brown belt female and assistant instructor -never- kicked the bag. One day I saw her go up to it and try and she COULD NOT do it. Her kick just side swiped the bag (she used a kind of 'hinge kick' form of side kick like you see in some old Shotokan books). She could not even HIT the bag with her hands without hurting her wrists. HOW in the world she thought she could hit an opponent for real, I do not know. She seemed totally unconcerned with this. She was amazing at Kata, and that's how she got her belt. BUT, it was a total rip off and gave her a completely false sense of security. I hope she never tried to walk alone in the dark in a bad part of town or thought she could have defended herself, because there's no way.

It may be hard to fathom, but there was literally NO connection between MA and athleticism or attribute training or cross training. It simply wasn't done. MA (Korean karate) was considered a means and end complete in and of itself. People who jogged or lifted weights were laughed and were warned they'd get 'muscle-bound'. We only kicked and punched in the air. It was ridculous.

Anyway, sorry for babbling. Like I said, back then MA were anything -but- realistic and it took me 3 wasted years to figure that out and 4-5 more to finally learn how to train. If only  I'd known, I'd have gone into wrestling or judo, haha.

People who train today in modern MMA and in bjj and other alive arts have NO idea how lucky they are. It's all laid out for them. We had to figure out everything (and I mean everything) on our own.
   
11/27/09 12:41 AM
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laqueus
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"
Now, sadly, looking back, very few books had anything that was helpful, though I do think I learned some things from Mas Oyama's books. But the idea I had was to research far, wide and deep. I didn't just read about MA, but kinesiology, yoga, running, general fitness, and weight training. "

Ultimately, I'd assume you figured that the time you spent researching was worth it?

"She was amazing at Kata, and that's how she got her belt. BUT, it was a total rip off and gave her a completely false sense of security. I hope she never tried to walk alone in the dark in a bad part of town or thought she could have defended herself, because there's no way."

This is an important point, and is a good response to why some of us will argue about efficacy of arts when someone says "you do what you like and we'll do what we like", it's also about protecting people from charlatans, and really also from themselves.

Along the lines of funny ideas, there was a guy from an RBSD group who claimed that muscle development was bad because it lead to the rib cage being expanded and you'd be more susceptible to shots to the xyphoid process. Strange rationalisation for not doing strength training really.

"
People who train today in modern MMA and in bjj and other alive arts have NO idea how lucky they are. It's all laid out for them. We had to figure out everything (and I mean everything) on our own."

To some degree I think there's an advantage to having had to figure it out, particularly as far as teaching goes. Having the perspective of a different way of doing things gives you a better understanding of what you do yourself, and will allow you to explain it better as well as properly answer questions instead of the "just do it" answer.
11/27/09 1:57 PM
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WidespreadPanic
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Edited: 11/27/09 1:58 PM
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laqueus -
Ultimately, I'd assume you figured that the time you spent researching was worth it?
Well, If I had it to do over, I'd rather have been just training. Yes, it is important in that there is a big advantage to being able to 'self-coach'. By doing research on your own, you learn how to read research papers, how to discern a good paper with adequate cohorts and data analysis versus 'junk research', and you can see through the 'myths'.

My feeling is one of 'your body, your science experiment'. IOW, try a lot of different things, keep records of your progress, review, chart, graph and analyze your results, and keep what works. Be aware that even the best stuff will stop working, so you should be prepared to move on and maybe come back to old methods, later.

I learned a lot more than martial arts, as I said. I went off on a lot of tangents, studying sports psychology, kinesiology, bought charts of the body, skeletal system, muscular system, and all that (of course I was already in the medical field, so had studied anatomy, physiology, cell biology).

But when I started studying and applying nutrition, I realized I didn't know what I thought I did. It wasn't until I started using Fitday (fitday.com) that I really learned about nutrition.

In fact, I'd have to say my biggest failing, back in the day, was having sub-optimal nutrition. I did take a lot of vitamins and supplements, but I still ate too many carbs, ate them at the wrong times, had inadequate protein, and ate too many bad fats (mainly not enough fish, too much red meat). I knew what protein, carbs and fats were but didn't really understand it.

For instance when I first started tracking my protein intake, I would weigh 4oz of chicken and figure I got 4oz of protein. Nope. Chicken is mostly water. A chicken breast, weighing 3.5 oz (100 gm) is only 30 gms of protein.
there was a guy from an RBSD group who claimed that muscle development was bad because it lead to the rib cage being expanded and you'd be more susceptible to shots to the xyphoid process.
Yeah, IDK about this. I do know my rib cage is a lot bigger than when I started training many, many years ago, and I can feel my xyphoid process. But it's also a hard spot to hit, and my cardio and strength was much, much better than most of the MA in my area. It's ironic, though, isn't it? Most RSBD guys have big guts, and enlarged livers. LOL.

So, yes there is an advantage to having to figure out stuff for yourself, but for me it was very frustrating. I spent a lot of time in the library and reading and accumulating MA books which it turned out were worthless. I'd have rather been on the road training.
 
11/27/09 4:51 PM
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laqueus
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I can see your point there, research to some degree is good, but it's better if you're not being fed misinformation to start with.
12/7/09 1:12 AM
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GladiatorGannon
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Edited: 12/07/09 1:16 AM
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cprevost - 
Joe Maffei - I ask this question because belts don't mean anything to me.

Not accusing you Joe but more often than not people who say that either haven't gotten any rank or they are lying, or they realize that the rank is BS.



Just for the record, I started training with Joe '93 because he was the first Gracie Affiliate in Mass. He was one of the very few Americans that were doing BJJ before UFC. His guys had some (brutal) IFC success back in the day, and he had a fighter in one of the first UFCs. You'll also see his name on the homepage of this forum.
12/7/09 1:31 AM
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laqueus
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The point still stands though, and that's one of my issues as well. If you don't have rank, then obviously it's questionable to say that, because if someone discounts what they don't have you have to wonder if there's any promotional self interest going on there.

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