A Magical Martial Art: Is There Such A Thing?

Discussion in 'General Martial Arts Talk' started by MJS, Mar 25, 2010.

  1. MJS

    MJS Administrator Staff Member

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    Many times, while surfing the web, reading various forums, I always find myself coming across posts from people, asking for the opinions and assistance of others, to help them find a martial art that suits them best. Sometimes people will come on and post specific things, such as that they're looking for a good grappling art or school, a good X-Kan ie: Buj, Gen, Jin, and other times they'll be less specific, saying that they are looking for the best art for self defense. Usually included in that, are comments stating that they're looking for the art that'll teach them the most dangerous and violent things, that they can possibly do to an attacker.

    So, after reading all of this, it makes me wonder..."Do these people think that there is actually an art out there that is the end all, be all of self defense?" Of course, I tend to find this rather interesting, because IMHO, its not necessarily the art, but the person. For example...some of us could look at TKD, and think that its the worst art out there, that all they do is focus on point fighting, keep their hands down, they dont do this or that, etc., but unless we see every TKD student out there, we'll never know if its really that way, or if there're TKDists out there that focus on street oriented material, more practical ways of fighting, etc. Of course, its not limited to TKD. I've had people talk about Kenpo.

    Are these people assuming that because they see something in the movies or in 'the cage' that what they see is the best? Are they assuming that an art thats billed as RBSD, is the best? Again, while some arts may be geared more towards the real deal over something else, I still maintain that its the person. I know and train with many people who dont limit themselves to 1 thing, and go out, and make themselves as well rounded as possible.

    Another rather interesting thing with these people who're looking for the magic key, is that they once again, assume that if they're training in this super magical unbeatable art, that it'll make them Supermen. I beg to differ on that, because if there was one super-duper art out there, it'd put all of the other arts out of business, because everyone would be training there at that one school.

    In their quest for this ultimate knowledge, it seems to me that they're missing an important key....the fact that if all they have is the knowledge to do one thing, then thats what they'll be limited to. In other words, if these people are lacking the ability to verbally talk their way out of something, then God help them, because the only answer to the simplest situation, will result in an overkill response.

    I also have to wonder if these magic key seekers, actually take the advice of those that're giving it, those that are more advanced than them, and step onto a mat, and do some actual training. I mean, ya gotta do some physical research instead of just hoping that you'll find some magic solution.

    I've been training for over 20yrs now. I've seen some good stuff and some poor stuff. I've yet to come across the magic key. The arts that I do train in, are for me, what suits me best. They help to round my skills out, but that doesn't mean that I have the magic key, that I'm training in the magic arts. No, it simply means that I've found what works for my needs.
     
  2. Bill Mattocks

    Bill Mattocks Sr. Grandmaster

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    I do not have your experience in martial arts, but I'm crowding 50 years old. My experience is that there are always people who want something for nothing. MA experience without training, education without studying, musician without practicing, etc. These people will never be convinced that there are no shortcuts, they will always refuse to believe you.

    I used to be more gentle with them, but I've lost patience and I call them what they are. Victims, suckers, losers; and not because of the cruel hand fate dealt them, but because they are at heart lazy and feel entitled. To them, it is not fair that Johnny is better at karate than they are, even though Johnny practices and they do not. There must be some magic system that will make things equal so they don't have to work but can still be Johnny's equal.

    All I can say is it sucks to be them. Life as a professional victim cannot be much fun. But trying to help them is like teaching a pig to sing; it wastes your time and annoys the pig.
     
  3. Blade96

    Blade96 Senior Master

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    Everyone wants a magic pill. Some just will have to learn the hard way that there isn't one. No art is gonna do everything, and no art is perfect.
     
  4. Big Don

    Big Don Sr. Grandmaster

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    Abracadabra Fu?
     
  5. Carol

    Carol Crazy like a...

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    I'm sure there are folks out there looking for shortcuts.

    I'm also aware that there is precious little unbiased information that one can research when one has no experience and is looking for a school or style. Most info out there is information documenting a style, or information marketing a school. Sure, some people's expectations may be from Mars, but in general I think people asking questions are generally ones that will make a more informed decision than those who don't.
     
  6. xJOHNx

    xJOHNx Purple Belt

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    If I understand your post correctly you are addressing two topics.

    1. The beginning, but ignorant student who is drowning in a ocean of information and styles available.

    2. People who just want a free ride in a fancy car. Getting blackbelt and at the same time good without effort.

    In the first case I can only use the words of Rutherford: "we are drowning in information, yet starving for knowledge". Plus the fact that every style seems to promote itself to be the best style ever.

    In te second case: I've always seen people like that during my humble years as an "artist" and an ethousiast.

    Helping people in the first case is noble, in the second case they need a good whack on the head from a shinai.
     
  7. Bill Mattocks

    Bill Mattocks Sr. Grandmaster

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    Call me jaded, but it has been my observation that these folks wander onto a discussion forum like MT, ask about a dozen questions in the space of a couple days, all centered around 'which art is deadliest' (easiest to learn, fastest, requires the least amount of effort, etc, etc) and then wander off again, or repeat the same questions over and over again. They spawn threads that end up going 6 pages long, but they never really take part in them again, unless it's to continue to ask the same question. Only on rare occasions have I seen a person become enlightened in this way; most seem to get frustrated and go away after not hearing what they want to hear.

    Same kind of people drop by the dojo from time to time; observe and leave, never to return. Or they actually join, but only show up for a couple sessions. And here's a good one; there are a couple who call up every six months or so to ask basic questions, state their intentions to show up and start training, but never actually show up! Why they do that is beyond me, but they do; some even have recognizable voices, you know they called before!

    I realize that some of these people might have been misled or are confused; look at the ads in the back of Black Belt magazine for examples of people trying to separate these folks from their money. But seriously, are they that confused, or are they simply hoping that one of those 'overnight sensations' can really impart the secrets of the martial arts world to them via a DVD or book because they're essentially lazy?
     
  8. harlan

    harlan 2nd Black Belt

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    Martial arts is like marriage...one has to committ. Does it REALLY matter which art...or is the important part stepping over that threshold for the first time? For me, the 'magick' is that moment...every time.
     
  9. Joab

    Joab 2nd Black Belt

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    I've studied four of them and have gotten something out of all of them. I practice some things out of all of them that I think will work for me. And that makes the most sense to me, find out what works for you and practice them over and over again until you really get them down. I don't think you really need that many techniques (As one teacher told me) you just need to really get a few down into your muscle memory so that you will do them without thinking should a self defense emergency arise.

    I do think that simplicity and efficiency of movement should be emphasized for practical self defense, and this has been stressed by teachers that I respect. This really comes from them, I'm no expert, but it makes sense to me.

    Why do some people ask the same questions over and over again looking for some magic martial art? I don't know. I don't think one exists, just techniques that can work for you.
     
  10. Daniel Sullivan

    Daniel Sullivan Grandmaster

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    I suppose that if David Copperfield or any talented stage magician could apply sleight of hand in a combat situation and systematize it so that it could be taught, that would qualify as 'magical' martial arts.

    Imagine an entire class of folks in tuxedos with top hats wearing capes and carrying canes training. Work in some escrima and lacanne along with creative use of the cape (not to mention all of the goodies one can store int hat hat; throwing stars, pepper spray, weighted chain, and the ever popular rabbit) and it would be a pretty interesting system. You could even have a colored cummerbund system, with masters having the option of wearing waistcoats.

    You could then promote it in the movies with Liam Neeson in the lead role telling the police in a very Sho Kosugi way, "Only a magician...can kill a magician."

    Daniel
     
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2010
  11. Cirdan

    Cirdan Senior Master

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    No shortcuts, dilligent practice under a good instructor is the only way. If you have a great instructor you are not only lucky, you are privelieged.

    Most people are too lazy and would rather have a magic bullet. "I want a black belt in uber-do quickly so that I won`t have to worry about armed muggers ever again" Bah!

    Then you have the "experts" who prefer to practice by playing playstation, watching movies and reading about the arts on the net. They show up once every six months (usual excuse for not attending is some mysterious pain or injury) and will brag about how great the class of spetnaz-jutsu they took during their vacation was. Odd creatures, I think they are afraid of actually learning something because it would ruin the magic.

    The arts can be for everybody, but only if you want to train.
     
  12. Shifu Steve

    Shifu Steve Green Belt

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    Good point. I've consistently studied two styles and worked out with many martial artists with different backgrounds and have found that at the end of the day it's all pretty relative to what you understand and extrapolate from it. I've never seen a movement, technique, etc where I thought "What the hell did they just do?" I mean, the root is the root if you know what I mean and everything else is just a branch off of it. Some styles may appear more complex at face value or employ unfamiliar concepts, but I think that if you "get it" then nothing is really too foreign. I used to work out with a guy that claimed he had a "secret" Kung Fu form that he felt gave him some sort of an advantage. He agreed to run it once for me and upon watching it I have to say that although it looked cool I did not see how the form in and of itself gave any special advantage. I will say however that certain ideas behind the movements that may not be readily evident could be emphasized in a style or form that might be advantageous. However, I think you can find those ideas in any style; you just have to apply them correctly.
     
  13. wushuguy

    wushuguy Purple Belt

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    One can always LARP, thereby becoming a battle mage who can wield a sword and cast "magic missile" ...


    ... but really, people's desire is to be spectacular in martial arts in a short time. that's why there's so many advertisements like "most deadly secret fighting technique of Master Gnirreh Der" or "master the techniques of ultra deadly too brutal for military, karate for only $29.95"

    The magic really happens when they buy into such things time and again and finally realize that they need to go to a school and put in time and effort to achieve a skill. The skill achieved with years of hard work and fluidity of the achieved technique through years of practice is the "magic" they were looking for and finally grasped.
     
  14. Shifu Steve

    Shifu Steve Green Belt

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    Well said sir. The gatekeeper to the magic is blood, sweat and tears; not necessarily in that order. (Not that I condone crying in martial arts :))
     
  15. Draven

    Draven Green Belt

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    Well thats were I see as this; their is a "magical art" and there are systems which are more dangerious then others. First I deal with the latter and get back to the former, when it comes to dealier MAs there are several which come to mind and they are "deadly" because they don't with hold anatomy or practical application until later grades. Which is something we see with sport Karate for example. Add to this that many commercial systems, either drag out or speed up training for money & it makes the problem worse. It causes the uneducated general population to assume that all MAs are equally as watered down; allowing the marketting of "secret deadly" martial arts, which no deadlier then anyone else they simple don't have all the commercial or dogmatic "fluff" watering down the training.

    Now on the issue of "magical martial arts" it comes up as two main problems; the first is lazy people looking for a short cut. They want to be "ultra deadly & highly skilled" for nothing part of this is seen in movies where the "hero" spends a few weeks/months with a wise old master doing inhumanly difficult & often dangerious training to achieve great skill in a very short time. Sadly, they are quick to ignore the fact that the magical training is very hard & requires a lot of discipline.

    The other problem is the stripping away of excess; when you skip the dogma and commercial reasons for dragging out training it flows at a quicker pace, add to that further stripping away of common excesses it allows students to learn the more effective methods much sooner. This of course is the heart of the "magical deadly marketting campagn" since students get the the "good stuff sooner." Which of course enters the issue of if you learn what you need to; to be effective, at an earilier period that it is assumed you have achieved mastery higher then or faster then those who get to learning the effective methods at a slower pace. The fact however is that it requires the same amount of hard work and discipline to get to a compentant level even if you learn the "effective techniques" at an earilier point and time.
     
  16. Xue Sheng

    Xue Sheng All weight is underside

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    A Magical Martial Art: Is There Such A Thing? Anbo-Jitsu, Hiten Mitsurugi-ryū, Senjutsu
     
  17. Draven

    Draven Green Belt

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    I had to look those up & they don't exist... Of course that opens a whole different can o' worms becasue its "anime occultism" and to be honest most occultists don't even know what their doing.

    Basicly Occultism (hidden knowledge) is based in the mystery schools of the Middle-East which spread East & West respectively. However the mystery schools used parlor tricks, espionage networks, rituals & restricted (i.e. secret) knoweldge; usually dealing with drugs, poisons and medicine. The initiated were feed false knowledge and allowed to "blow things out of proportition." While, the intitated were fed a "false theology" and as the initiates gained further rank more of the falsehoods were peeled away to reveal the true science behind the mysticism. In the end the mystical stuff is just "smoke & mirrors."
     
  18. Shifu Steve

    Shifu Steve Green Belt

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    "Senjutsu (Sage Techniques) refers to a specialized field of jutsu that allows the user to sense and then gather the natural energy around a person. Senjutsu practitioners can then learn to draw the energy of nature inside of them blending it with their own chakra (created from spiritual and physical energy within the shinobi), adding a new dimension of power to the Sage's chakra, resulting in the creation of senjutsu chakra."

    Hahahaha. If this finds it's way into the UFC I may finally become a fan.
     
  19. Xinglu

    Xinglu Black Belt

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    A Magical Martial Art: Is There Such A Thing?

    Yes, Xingluquan! For $500 you can be a master of acient Chinese martial magic secrets!!
     
  20. Blade96

    Blade96 Senior Master

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    That reminds me of when I was talking to my Sandan and I said how our Sempai hardly ever spoke two words to me when i was a white belt but became more friendly after I became a yellow belt. I said I realized some dont want to spend the energy on white belts who might only stay a couple months and then leave. No loyalty. Sandan snorted and said "Months? You mean white belts who leave after a couple DAYS." I have never seen it. But he has seen a lot of that, having been around since 1992 at shotokan.

    People who just drop by and observe, and never return, or people who observe, talk to our senseis and ask a few questions, but never return, I have seen.123
     

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