"Creating" your "own" art?

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

  1. Twin Fist

    Twin Fist Grandmaster

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    As much as I hate to revive old threads, I found this and it got me thinking.

    In theory, if someone had a good understanding of multiple arts, and wanted to combine them, there is nothing wrong with that.

    The act of doing so isnt bad. The result could be bad, if the person doesnt have the skill to do it.

    And, some styles could be blended together to make a better whole.

    For example, TKD and Kenpo

    Kenpo hand techniques blended with TKD's kicks?

    sounds pretty well rounded.

    But, just like the fighter makes the style, so too does the teacher make the art.
     
  2. Imua Kuntao

    Imua Kuntao Green Belt

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    To truly create your own style, you must know all the principles of the Martial Arts, the concepts or the truths. These include the 8 points of balance, the 9 directions(9gates), ranges, timing-distance, and body/opponent manipulations, just to mention a few. the idea of having beginner belt levels in several styles inst to bad, but they are just that, beginners level with no concepts/principles nothing to follow thru with or to grow on. In order to create a style one must first achive Black belt status of a least 3rd Dan in at least three different styles which teach the mentioned princples.
     
  3. tellner

    tellner Senior Master

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    It's sort of ironic. Kano-Sensei came up with the idea of the Eight Points of Balance, entering-fitting-throwing, the kyu/dan system and a lot more as he was making up his own style called "Judo".

    You could say it wasn't an unqualified failure...
     
  4. exile

    exile To him unconquered.

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    This has struck me as an interesting possibility for a while now—TKD does have a lot of good hand techs (basically, the same as its Japanese karate ancestors), but they are rarely emphasized and even more rarely trained with that emphasis on flow that the Kenpoists are so concerned with. A teaching/technical style that focused on that kind of connected, nonstop flow from strike to strike (or strike setup) would I think be a valuable development in the art.

    Always. Two different instructors can make the 'same' art look like two very different ones. In the end, individual interpretation and emphasis counts for a lot—much more, I suspect, than people generally think.
     
  5. Twin Fist

    Twin Fist Grandmaster

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    I disagree in terms of rank. Rank means nothing. understanding comes when it comes, regardless of rank.

    Yes, in most arts, you are still learning new material, but this is not always the case.

    If you want to combine two complimentary arts, as long as your understanding of the arts is good, with a LOT of work, you could come up with a nice mix.
     
  6. jks9199

    jks9199 Administrator Staff Member

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    I think that we all create our own arts as we train. We find the techniques and approaches that work for us, sometimes from multiple systems, and combine them into our own personal practice. But to set out and say "I made something new" takes making a leap into something new... That doesn't happen that often, even expanding the definition to include things that I'll call personal interpretations of existing systems like the Jinenkan or BJJ.

    I think the real test of having created something new is whether it persists beyond yourself and maybe your most immediate students...
     
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  7. kidswarrior

    kidswarrior Senior Master

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    That's one of the best ways to express this concept that I've run across.

    This is probably true, but only important for someone who wants credit for the 'creation'.
     
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  8. exile

    exile To him unconquered.

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    Systems evolve on the basis of trial and error, for sure; you find things that work and you incorporate them. Culture is inherently conservative; it takes a relatively long time for an innovation to make its way into standard practice, because the change, whatever it is, has to prove itself. But change does happen—thats what history is all about—and it's clear that much of that change is driven by the realization on someone's part that there was a better way of doing something, or a way of taking advantage of a discovery someone else had made for one purpose, in order to achieve a different goal. Fighting systems are no different in that respect from any other system. But there's a catch...


    ... and that's the catch: not all change is progress. So far as I can see, the sportification/spectacle aspect of the MAs, while unquestionably a significant change, doesn't represent anything that could be said to be progress; the divorce of form from combat-effective function does nothing good for fighting systems. Martial artists have continually innovated over time—Matsumura's significant modifications to the CMA combat systems that were influential in earlier phases of Okinawan history—without much fastidiousness about 'stylistic purity' (a concept which they couldn't afford and probably would have been somewhat baffled by). Matsumura, so the story goes, had no compunctions about adopting the combat knowledge he supposedly learned from the Chinese sailor Chinto into the kata of the same name; it had worked against him, and that was enough. But practicality has to be the ruling standard, and that means, I suppose, that you really have to at least understand the limits of what you've got before you go on to something completely different.

    And it will persist, if it represents a genuine solution to a real problem, or a practical alternative that meshes well with the strategic assumptions of your own 'base' art. But innovation simply to be able to put your own 'brand' on something... that's a marketing plan, not an idea whose time has come.
     
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  9. Imua Kuntao

    Imua Kuntao Green Belt

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    O-Sensei Kano created Judo by stripping down Ju-Jitsu, at higher ranks they practice lots of grappling and striking like mma.
     
  10. jks9199

    jks9199 Administrator Staff Member

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    Thanks... And you make a great point. I think most of the "new" martial arts that have been created or recognized in the recent past which also persist have been formulated to suit the creator's needs (sometimes personal, sometimes organizational like krav maga), not their ego. The ones that seem to have come largely from ego... Well, we'll see how many of them are around after a generation.

    Which is a good way of stating what I tried to get at above.

    In The Musashi Flex, Steve Perry chronicles the creation of his fictional super martial art, sumito. It's not created because the guy who develops it wants to be known for it; it comes about through realization that the protagonist can condense or contain his experience and training in many martial arts into a new form. It's answering his personal need to express his realization, not to plump up his ego. (It's a great read; I highly recommend it and all of the Matador books -- though a couple seem kind of disjointed, even as they offer insights to the characters.)
     
  11. jimsbro

    jimsbro White Belt

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    Hi everyone, great conversation. I have studied and carry dan rank in 3 traditional systems, as well as lower rank in 3 or 4 more. "patching holes" that I've found over the last 30 years. Now, I have studied with some world class people (no names) but don't always agree with what I'm being shown. So should I decide to include the simplicity of kickboxing with the sophistication of kenpo and the no nonsense approach of jeet kune do, with ground fighting of jiu-jitsu, what would it be called? What would be my rank? "Integrated martial arts concepts" seems pretty honest, that's exactly what it is. As for my rank... the highest I currently hold is sixth dan. It would remain at that. No one could promote me in a fighting approach of my own design. As for fat or lazy...at 44 I'm still making 20 year olds sweat and say "damn he's fast!" Thank God! keep it real, keep it honest, and believe in your students more than in yourself or your "rank". Give 100% and you'll get 100%.
     
  12. GBlues

    GBlues Purple Belt

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    karoddy!

    Made me laugh. Good post also. Thanks a ton.
     
  13. Twin Fist

    Twin Fist Grandmaster

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    Jimsbro
    call it American Combat Karate or something, and go with it.

    Or do like i do.

    I certify my students in American Tae Kwon Do, but i teach them some TKD, some Kenpo, Some lua, some akido, etc. All the things I have picked up over the 25 odd years I have been learning.
     
  14. exile

    exile To him unconquered.

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    I like your view of things, J. The most active borrowers and combiners were the great pioneers of the TMAs in the modern era. For that matter, if you listen to a lot of classical music, one thing that keeps hitting you over and over again is how much the very great ones, Bach and Mozart and Co., took whole chunks from some of their contemporaries (or earlier masters) and used it as the basis for their own orginal compositions. The originality was in how it was used, what kinds of variations were worked in. There's an old adage in the music business—Good composers borrow, great ones steal—attributed to Stravinsky, but who know knows who really came up with it!—that applies I think to every creative aspect of life. Why should the MAs be any different?

    The important thing is to judge the product by its quality, not any hype associated with it or marketing blather. TF's suggestion about how to package and present it makes sense to me, and I suspect his experience and yours are far from uncommon. Just because the great masters of the past combined and recombined elements of different systems doesn't mean that modern masters can't do the same, eh? :)
     
  15. LawDog

    LawDog Master Black Belt

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    Actually very few have created a new art, they just re-organize differently.
     
  16. searcher

    searcher Senior Master

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    Same here when it comes to karate. I train them under the umbrella of Chito-ryu, but I teach them Isshin-ryu, TKD, grapling, and some techniques from others. If someone shows me a good technique, why should I let it go to waste? I don't let it go, I find a place for it.



    No truer words have been spoke on the subject.
     
  17. kidswarrior

    kidswarrior Senior Master

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    Came across this today by Blake, and it seems to be just another way of saying what many here have said: I must create my own system or be enslaved by another man's. I'd probably say some reasoning and comparison in our context is necessary, but not so much that we become enslaved to another's orthodoxy, or to fear of someone else's comparisons.
     
  18. LawDog

    LawDog Master Black Belt

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    Kidswarrior,
    Sounds to me like he is an untrainable person. :barf:
     
  19. kidswarrior

    kidswarrior Senior Master

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    Or maybe he just knew his own mind, and wasn't afraid to be true to himself.
     
  20. LawDog

    LawDog Master Black Belt

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    You are correct, it depends on ones point of view. I have seen to many create before they knew.
    If you know then go on to follow your own path then ok.
    Either way each to their own.
    Hope that your holidays went well for you and yours.
     

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