"Creating" your "own" art?

Discussion in 'The Great Debate' started by Bester, May 5, 2005.

  1. Gemini

    Gemini Senior Master

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    I believe cross-training is a good thing, but that isn't the issue here.

    It seems to me that if you become a "Master" or "Sensei" of an art, you are recognized as having an in-depth knowledge of that art and have earned the right to pass that information along to others. If you have done that with multiple arts and choose to incorporate them into a hybrid art and teach it, with solid credentials to back it up, I really don't see anything wrong with it.

    But if you become a BB in an art, quit, go to another art and so on, you haven't "Mastered" anything. Now having done this with multiple arts which you haven't "Mastered", you incorporate your basic knowledge of each into an art and call yourself the "Grand Poobah" of that art is a very different thing to me. A "Master" or "Sensei" is having a great deal of knowlegde about something, not the compilation of a little knowledge about alot of things. If you haven't EARNED the right to teach any one component, (because any component will not acknowledge that you have acheived the required experinece) how then have you EARNED the right to teach their sum?

    [Ducks newbie head] Okay, Fire away....
     
  2. Jerry

    Jerry Blue Belt

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    I'm dying to hear the bright-line test for "system" vs "style". Sounds like "Species" vs "Genus" but without that almost-functional "interbreeding" idea.

    How, for example, is TKD a different SYSTEM than Karate? Or do you not think it is?
     
  3. Andrew Green

    Andrew Green Grandmaster

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    You can define the words in many ways, hence a word game.

    There is personal style which he means, but there is also the stylistic aspects of Kenpo which make it recognizable as "Kenpo".

    There is the system of techniques that make up kenpo, which i believe is what he means.

    But there is also the teaching system employeed by the instructor.

    As wel as the elements of that system that differ from one instructor to the next.

    Depending on what you mean when you say those words you could also say the style is the same and the system is different and mean pretty much the same thing.
     
  4. Jerry

    Jerry Blue Belt

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    Agreed.

    The danger, of-course, is falling into the symantic argument... particularly likely when using such subjective terms (my point in my previous post). If we use the tecnical body of knoledge to define a "system", we have to ask "how many changes to it represent a new system?".

    It's not a clear-argument... I don't think there is any bright-line test. Systems evolve; and unless there is a single reference which is dogmatically referred back to, liniages will draw seperate from one another.

    The metaphorical cross-breeding of martial arts makes this even more apparent, as can be seen readily in the modern MMA movement. I'm not aware that most MMA schools teach every art seperately (few students have the time); rather they teach an agmalgamtion art. What happens when two systems are taught integrated?
     
  5. Andrew Green

    Andrew Green Grandmaster

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    You get something new that contains the stronger (hopefully) aspects of each.

    Biology tells us inbreeding is bad, but many martial artists think it is the only way to go.
     
  6. Goldendragon7

    Goldendragon7 Grandmaster

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    RIGHT !!!!!

    They know more and more about less and less 'till they finally know everything there is to know about nothing!

    %-}
     
  7. rmcrobertson

    rmcrobertson Guest

    The evidence suggests, rather, that this sort of inbreeding brings out the worst recessive traits in both arts--and this is without even considering the arrogance it creates, or the way that subsequent students then go on to cross-breed their own crappy martial arts.

    It would be far better if we went back to the roots of our arts, which in many cases have all the completeness anyone could ask for.

    Of course there are a few situations--Ed Parker provided one; Bruce Lee didn't--where it's possible to create something meaningful. But that depends on peculiar cultural and historical circumstances that individuals cannot possibly create.

    In other words, you can't just think this stuff up.
     
  8. Jerry

    Jerry Blue Belt

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    Could you elaborate on what evidence that is? Unless you have extensive data on "street" fights, the best I have to pull from are the various limited-rules cross-style competitions. As I recall, those are currently dominated by "MMA" people, who have either studeied several arts and amagalmated, or studied the amagalmation itself.

    Further, most of the instructors I've worked with have had systems in which they incorporated from other arts, and in which their teachers had done the same; and these include some rather well-known people.

    What, precisely, is the root of your art? Who was the first person to practice your system and by what manner did they come to posess it?
     
  9. Andrew Green

    Andrew Green Grandmaster

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    Yup, inbreeding produces bad results, we should draw from a wide range of very different systems.


    Yes, the roots are in crosstraining and "rolling your own" based on a number of different sources, we should go back to that.

    Umm... So Bruce Lee got it all wrong then huh?

    Nope, you train hard, diversify your training, and things will come together. Isolate yourself to one particular aspect and it won't.
     
  10. rmcrobertson

    rmcrobertson Guest

    No.

    First off, the evidence is right here, and right on the Internet--how many, "new arts," are there? How many, "inspired masters?" And how many of these are any good? Or let me guess--how many of them take a striking art and "combine," it with some form of wrestling and maybe a weapons art? Gosh, how new. How innovative. How unique.

    Second off, there are very very few martial artists who are dumb enough to get into a cage with Godzilla. With their restricted room, limited rules, etc., of course a very good, very big, very aggressive fighter is probably going to win. Unless of course we're talking about, say a Gracie--and hey, guess what? The Gracies didn't invent their own art. They went back to the roots of judo, and trained the living hell out of it.

    Third: Bruce Lee did not invent a martial arts system, unless you want to call the system of no system a system. And if you'll actually look at history, ALL the martial arts systems either, a) come from an extraordiary confluence of a remarkable invidual with a unique set of circumstances, or b) don't even HAVE a real, "author." It is a fantasy to believe that somebody is going to go out and just think this stuff up on their own.

    What individuals do when they cross-train is very different from actually inventing any new art. At best they are re-inventing themselves, which is great and the damn point anyway--but sometimes, they confuse this with inventing a brand new art. Very, very few of these people--Morehei Ueshiba was one--are right.

    Mostly, what's going on has nothing to new with a new art--or for that matter, a legitimate one. It usually has to do with marketing; it usually has to do with ego.

    Sorry, but as far as I'm concerned, the level of narcissism and arrogance involved in nearly all--not all, but damn nearly all--of these, "arts," is staggering. It is exactly like walking into, say, Stephen Hawking's office and announcing that after five or ten years of intensive study, you've developed the TOE---my training? no, didn't do that. Maths? no, skipped that--I found it got in the way of creativity....oh physics? well, that stuff's all backwards anyway...not let me show you the Perpetual Motion machine I built using my perfected understanding...

    Get on the websites and look. Thirty-year old masters; tubby senseis and sokes; genuises of 14 different arts....oh look. They've combined striking and grappling arts and rediscovered aiki-jutsu. Wow, see there? He mixed kenpo and FMAs and discovered the weapon attacks, sets, techniques and forms that were in kenpo by 1977. Gee whiz--he's put TKD, midget wrestling, and guns together and found taekkyon and target shooting. Of course none of these guys know jack about teaching, but oh boy, did they ever teach the Navy SEALS secret combat techniques.

    Meanwhile, the guys who are the real deal--the Donn Draegers, the Herman Kauzes, the Tom Muzilas, the B.J. Frantzises, the Gene LeBells--why, poor them, they just spend their lives studying and teaching and writing, without all the, "I HAVE THE POWER!!!" nonsense.

    Now I feel sure that this comment will draw:

    1. You're just a traditionalist!
    2. Didn't your own Ed Parker tell us to evolve?
    3. Bruce Lee taught JKD to everyone!!
    4. Oh yeah? YOU try the UFC, then!!!
    5. Kenpo doesn't have knives, sticks, weapons or grappling.
    6. Waddya YOU know, anyway?

    What I know is that nearly all of these masters and their shiny new arts are phonies. What I know is that they're confusing their own development with everybody's. What I know is that we live in a world of commodification, where everything is turned into a sellable object. What I know is that a little humility in the face of martial arts wouldn't hurt us none at all.

    Oh, incidentally, kenpo is a formal martial arts system in a way that arts such as TKD are not. By this, I mean that there is a well-described curriculum, an organized set of theories supporting that curriculum, and a fairly-orderly road map laid out for learning that system. In this regard, it woud be comparable to the sword arts taught by, say, Gerard Thibault, or the traditional internal arts such as Yang style t'ai chi.

    Exactly as described, one learns the system, then develops one's own style--well, people DO; I just fall down a lot. In some cases, serious people have either chosen to focus on and develop within an "earlier," stage in kenpo's development (Steve Hearring or James Ibrao come to mind), or to focus on a particular aspect of the system as a whole (for instance, Mr. Chap'el): this is still a matter of system, however.

    Style is what one does with the system to individualize, or, "tailor," it. But good martial artists don't get their developed style (which is exactrly what they should be doing) confused with fundamental changes in the system. if you do that, you cheat your students out of the chance to develop as you did.

    So to summarize--what's the big rush to be a master or soke or whatever Orientalist name they've dreamed up lately?
     
  11. Makalakumu

    Makalakumu Gonzo Karate Apocalypse

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    Um, Robert, are you implying that TKD doesn't have these things? You should take this to the KMA section. In fact, I might just do that...I don't want to gank this thread, so perhaps you would like to clarify this here...

    http://www.martialtalk.com/forum/showthread.php?p=389328#post389328

    upnorthkyosa
     
  12. Jerry

    Jerry Blue Belt

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    Your sarcasam aside, I fail to see you supproting your claim. There certainly is a market of people poffering instruction who lack good combative skills; and my put new names on their arts in order to stand out (though often, these people are teaching a more establish art, or portions of it), but this does not support your thesis.

    You've claimed that "in[ter]breeding brings out the worst recessive traits in both arts"; that people who form a system out of two (ore more) arts create an art worse than either one. I would like to see you support this claim. I've already poitned to the only source I'm aware of, which has shown quite the opposite.

    This appears both non-interactive and rethoric-filled. It also illustrates several of my points.

    Firstly: Helio, and possibly his teacher, formed a new system out of Judo (BJJ). This system has been highly effective and popular.

    Secondly: The Gracies did very well in NHB for a time. When they started loosing, it was precisely to the people who had cross-trained. Thai-boxers that had added anti-grappling to their art, and wrestlers who had added striking and modified for the rules at hand. It both showed the value of the arts themselves, and the room to improve on them.

    Jun-Fan Gong-fu.

    Lee had a good number of students who claim to teach his art (the one you are saying that he did not have), Vnick, Inasanto, etc.

    Your complaint seems to be more "many people are unqualified to create a new cirriculim and some do anyway", to which I agree... but that's not what you keep saying. Every system in existance started somewhere... wheather invented ad-hoc by one person, the evolution of simpler systems over time, or created out of a pool of prvious systems by one person. At the end of the day, Akido, Judo, Krav Magda, and BJJ have the same origins as Akijitsu, Wing Chun, and Karate'.

    I think you need to redefine for yourself what it is that you are upset about. I don't think it's congruent with what you are actually arguing against.
     
  13. TimoS

    TimoS Master of Arts

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    Of course this depends on the aim of the "developer". My training has been mostly in traditional arts, with some more modern creations before finding my current sensei. Many people are saying that yes well these traditional arts are lacking in some aspect. But sometimes it would be good to know how much training has been put into the art by the people making these claims. How much knowledge do they really have ? If it looks to be lacking in some area, well maybe it is and maybe it isn't. And if it is, is the lack of something there for a reason ? That's something some people have a difficulty in understanding. I remember one online argument I got into when trying to explain the jujutsu style I practise. We're not taught much groundwork, like in e.g. judo and that is because the system was originally meant for border guards. Why not teach those ground work, you might ask. Well, think about it this way: you kind of have to assume that if somebody attacks you (or you attack someone), he most likely isn't alone (not in those days anyway), so if you're on the ground fighting with one guy, his buddy/buddies come to help him. So it makes more sense to get rid of the attacker as soon as possible and remain standing. The counterarguments were along the line that yeah well why can't you do that in the ring then ? :rolleyes:
     
  14. Andrew Green

    Andrew Green Grandmaster

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    Actually, they integrated it with Wrestling and Muay Thai, redeveloped it completely and came out with something that has many unique aspects that Judo does not.

    Point is? Or are you just trying to say that American Kenpo is the best?

    I'm rather glad what I do isn't hat structured to be honest.

    Bit of a strawman you're setting up now isn't it?

    Some people name themselves master and Soke by integrating a bunch of silliness, therefore anyone that integrates stuff is doing it wrong...
     
  15. The Kai

    The Kai Master of Arts

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    You really don't see a lot of Muay Thai with BJJ
     
  16. Gemini

    Gemini Senior Master

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    Well, I think we can certainly agree to disagree on that point.
     
  17. clfsean

    clfsean Senior Master

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    Gotta ditto that one...
     
  18. MJS

    MJS Administrator Staff Member

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    You bring up some good points. Another question we can look at is, how long does one have to train in said art before one can be called a "Master"? As I said in my first post...we shouldn't have to train in an art for 15 yrs. before we can defend ourselves. Yes, of course, the longer you work at something the better you'll be, but is there a certain time when someone can say that they've mastered something?

    Mike
     
  19. Marginal

    Marginal Senior Master

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    John Hess, Scott Ferrozo....
     
  20. rmcrobertson

    rmcrobertson Guest

    1. Please look at the title of this thread. Those quotation marks? All I'm doing is agreeing. "Own," my tailfeathers.

    2. Are folks seriously arguing that the endless parade of self-described sokes, senseis, masters, professors and so forth who appear on these forums don't actually exist?

    3. If TKD has a system, comparable to kenpo, fine. Just explain what it is. If the Gracies mixed as early as the 1950s, fine. Just document the claims: lay out exactly what that system, and organized curriculum, is.

    4. Who the cares what happens in the UFC? It's entertainment. It's not why I went into martial arts, and neither did hardly anybody else. And oh, by the way, 99.9 % of martial artists from any style would get their asses kicked in a tiny little ring with these guys. The same would be true, for exactly the same reasons, if you looked at the WWF.

    5. Since when did becoming a master and founding your own system become The Reason to start training in a martial art?

    6. There's a thread right on this forum where somebody advocates mixing muay thai and Brazilian jiu-jitsu. For that matter, two posts down somebody makes the claim that that's what the Gracie family did.

    7. Better six months training with, say, Gene leBell than 500 years with any of these self-professed masters.123
     

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