Combat vs art

Discussion in 'General Martial Arts Talk' started by Headhunter, Dec 30, 2017.

  1. Headhunter

    Headhunter Senior Master

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    So just something I've been thinking about and while I've always been a combat practitioner competing in combat sports and spending more time training in competitive styles I do also have a passion for the art side of it. Things like forms I think the can be beautiful to watch done right (though some people's forms have made me want to bleach my eyes) also things like spinning kicks and acrobatic stuff. I know that stuffs pretty much ineffective but I still enjoy seeing the beauty of it. Sometimes I like to just flow through some flashy looking moves effective or not. I also love seeing a whole class performing forms as one when they're perfectly synchronised. To me there's a certain beauty to that.

    One of my favourite martial art actors right now is Scott Adkins. He's a very talented guy and the kicks and moves he does in his movies mainly undisputed and the 2 ninja movies are truly a joy to watch despite them being unrealistic.

    I think a lot of people just focus so much on pure fighting that they miss a lot of the artistic side of martial arts that can at least in my opinion be just as exciting as sparring or competing.

    Just my 2 cents worth
     
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  2. drop bear

    drop bear Sr. Grandmaster

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    There is a whole spectum of martial artist performing at different levels of artistic and practical martial arts.

    From drills to sparring to competing to self defence the trend is to become more conservative and less artistic. With some exeptions.

    So Meisha Tate vs some gumbies is not Meisha Tate in the octagon.


    Saenchai sparring is not Saenchai in the ring.


    There is much more room for artistic expression when the risk of failure is less.

    So the concept that the focus is soley on practical over artistic is not that they are abandoning the artistic for the practical but understanding the difference.
     
  3. Kung Fu Wang

    Kung Fu Wang Grandmaster

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    The art can also exist in combat as well.

     
  4. JowGaWolf

    JowGaWolf Grandmaster

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    I guess people find "artistic" in different things. For me the functional forms are more artistic than the flashy ones. The flashy forms are more entertaining.
     
  5. skribs

    skribs Master of Arts

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    I personally break martial arts into three categories myself:
    1. Art
    2. Sport
    3. Combat
    I used to break them into 4 categories, but I can't for the life of me remember what #4 is, so I'm going to stick with these three.

    I'm lucky in that the Taekwondo dojang I train at includes all 3.

    1. We do forms, including synchronized forms in our demonstration team. We learn some pretty cool nunchaku tricks, and I've managed to teach a few of our students the 540 hook kick and 540 roundhouse kick. Plus, I've managed a 540 back kick, something I've never seen in movies (correct me if I'm wrong).

      There's also a functional side, where we demonstrate functional self-defense or board-breaking techniques, or we perform more functional forms. However, the self-defense is sometimes a little bit stylized, and we definitely keep "magic" techniques out of the demonstration (i.e. techniques that look fake until you have them done on you, like a lot of hapkido wrist locks).

    2. We train for Olympic-style Taekwondo sparring, including a class dedicated to just sparring.

    3. We train self defense drills, as well as our forms building the necessary muscle memory to include power in our self defense training.
     
  6. drop bear

    drop bear Sr. Grandmaster

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  7. skribs

    skribs Master of Arts

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    Drop Bear, I like how that video is half practical and half theatrical.
     
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  8. gpseymour

    gpseymour Sr. Grandmaster

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    This is something I've come back around to in the last few years. If I'm honest with myself, there are things I enjoy studying about aiki arts that I don't think are a good idea for training self-defense. But I REALLY like them. Some of them look cool. Some, when done right, feel fantastic when doing them. Some also feel fantastic and surprising when receiving them, while others feel overwhelming and overpowering. I have better options for defense, but really like some of these things. And I'm growing to like the feel of flowing through a form. I've been considering replacing a couple of the forms I introduced with one new one, and I'll probably build that around a more flowing progression.

    Sometimes, we just like what we like, and it doesn't have to be rationally useful. That's what art and hobbies are about, most of the time.
     
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  9. Headhunter

    Headhunter Senior Master

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    To me the most fun I've always ever had in martial arts isn't sparring or rolling or competing its actually learning a new form. I just really enjoy learning and having it slowly pieced together and building on it
     
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  10. JR 137

    JR 137 Senior Master

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    That kind of goes along with my feelings. My favorite thing is when I’ve finally gotten down a new form or similar standardized stuff. That first time when it just clicks and goes smoothly is what it’s all about to me.

    I really like nailing a kata on the rare occasion that I compete. Except for once, I’ve always placed top 3. No one else’s score really matters though. If I nailed it, I don’t care what the judges thought nor do I care if someone else truly did better than I did. I took 3rd out of about 25 people last time (2 years ago). The guy who took first was genuinely on another level. He was a former pro dancer, and it showed. The second place guy was appreciably better than me too. Even if I was last or first, I honestly did that kata better than I’ve ever done it before. Where I placed was completely irrelevant when all was said and done.
     
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  11. Headhunter

    Headhunter Senior Master

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    I've never competed in form competition simply because I don't agree with how a lot of its judged. I've seen a lot of fancy dance moves with no application winning first place and technically good people coming last because it wasn't flashy enough
     
  12. JR 137

    JR 137 Senior Master

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    I’ve only competed in 2 types of tournaments:
    AAU karate - kata has to be traditional Japanese or Okinawa. There’s a list of allowed kata
    Seido organization tournament - open to Seido students only; kata has to come from the Seido syllabus, must be rank specific and can’t be altered in any way.

    I’ve never competed in a tournament where anyone was allowed to make up their own kata, and I never will. That’s not a kata competition, it’s a dance competition IMO. The last tournament where the guy who won was previously a pro dancer was a Seido tournament, and he did a Seido kata (Seido 3). Most counts have a kick (either roundhouse or front kick) immediately followed by hand combinations. His flexibility, balance, and coordination made it all look so easy. If you’re a kicker, that’s the kata you want to perform. If not, at that rank you perform Gekisai Dai or Pinan 4. No one else performed Seido 3. When he named his kata, I whispered “that takes some balls to do” to the guys sitting next to me. They both nodded yes. Right after the first kick, we all knew why he chose it.

    But yeah, I don’t compete in tournaments where anything goes in kata. Not my thing. And I can’t see it ever being my thing for a lot of reasons.
     
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  13. jobo

    jobo Senior Master

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    i think its a false. Dichotomy!
    there isn't two elements to ma, martial AND art. Just one the art of hurting people, which will or at least should look good if its efficiently and correctly applied.

    forms are a means to increase your ability to hurt, not a thing within themselves, if they become the art form, disconnected from how they improve your fighting ability, then you are no longer doing ma, in any real sense, just dancing, or synchronized dancing and it is as far removed from ma as the tango.

    that not to say it doesn't have physical and psychological benefits, dancing is good for you, its that calling it martial arts and yourself a martial artist is a mockery and a serious delusion
     
  14. gpseymour

    gpseymour Sr. Grandmaster

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    There are things within many martial arts that lack efficiency, effectiveness, or application - some lack more than one of the three. In NGA, there are at least 4 (my count varies by day) Classical techniques I classify as "esoteric", because they aren't really effective toward fighting/defensive use. They do help train flow and can be argued as useful drills for developing the feel of aiki. But as techniques, they are not useful. But they are fun to work on and look really good (and feel it, too) when done right. I really enjoy those techniques and continue to practice and teach them, but if I were going for best combat fitment, I'd drop them entirely.
     
  15. gpseymour

    gpseymour Sr. Grandmaster

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    I love to see someone that far above me in some area of MA. Their movement is at least as entertaining to me as any dance (ballet, etc.). I think that's how the lines get blurred. That guy brought more effective kicking technique because of his dancing ability. Some go a step further and just focus on the dancing ability, and allow it to alter the effectiveness of the technique.
     
  16. jobo

    jobo Senior Master

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    I'm not really sure of the point you are making? If they help ultimately to make your fighting better, then they are of benefit, just as press ups are of a benefit even though they have no combat application.

    if they don't but they are fun, then keep doing them, fun is good, but your not just doing non applicable fun training, its a small part of a much bigger whole, the. Vast majority of which is combat relevant, unlike people who just learn forms for exhibition or competition purposes
     
  17. Buka

    Buka Grandmaster

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    Judged Kata for many years in competition. I've found that dancers, regardless of how fit or flexible they are, do Kata like dancers, not like Martial Artists. I always scored them appropriately.....like dancers.

    Another thing I noticed over the years, swimmers, competitive swimmers who live in the pool, all throw sidekicks like swimmers, with that duck feet sort of look to their kicks.
     
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  18. gpseymour

    gpseymour Sr. Grandmaster

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    Agreed. My point was simply that there are parts of MA that are not about effectiveness and efficiency for fighting/defense/combat. Some of them are just nice to look at, some are just fun to do, etc.
     
  19. Headhunter

    Headhunter Senior Master

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    Absolutely. I couldn't care less about fighting anymore. I never really cared much about the self defence side it's good to know it but I'm not obsessed with it. I just enjoy training. I've never been in a street fight in my life and have no plans on starting now
     
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  20. gpseymour

    gpseymour Sr. Grandmaster

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    My focus started as SD, has wandered back and forth between that and the intellectual and physical pleasure of learning techniques. For many years (and much of the time even now) much of my personal training was really about how good it felt to do something well. I figure I have most of the skill for SD I'll ever manage, so my personal training isn't much about that, thought it's what my teaching is mostly (but not entirely) about.
     

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