Critique vs Criticism

Discussion in 'General Martial Arts Talk' started by jks9199, Nov 13, 2014.

  1. Xue Sheng

    Xue Sheng Sr. Grandmaster

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    been there, done that and sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't. Sometimes it all depends on the tenacity of the one making false claims or suggesting dangerous training methods.

    Thank you
     
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  2. Gnarlie

    Gnarlie Master of Arts

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    I have been there too and I agree, but, I would credit the readers of this forum with enough nous to decide for themselves...therefore it would be less important to 'win', and more important to supply enough information for the reader to form their own conclusions in support of your own. It is not necessary to 'convert' or 'break' the person making the claim, to have them capitulate and say 'okay dammit you are right'.


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
     
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  3. Dirty Dog

    Dirty Dog MT Senior Moderator Staff Member

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    There's a lot of truth to what you say, when the subject under discussion is one of opinion or conclusion rather than fact.
    If you say "meditation helps me feel more balanced and that makes me move more smoothly and faster", then ok, that is your experience, and it's reasonable for someone else to say 'my experience is different in this way...'

    If you say " meditation allows me to levitate while causing all the car stereos in the neighborhood to blast the Jedi theme", then that is a factual matter, and it is reasonable for someone else to say 'what a load of hokum, do your meds need adjusted?'
     
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  4. Gnarlie

    Gnarlie Master of Arts

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    It's reasonable for someone else to say 'there is no evidence to support your claim, in fact all evidence points to it being highly unlikely. And extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. The burden of proof lies with the person making the claim, so please provide us with evidence that what you say is true, otherwise the readership here will likely come to the conclusion that what you claim is indeed false.'

    It could however be considered mean-spirited and not in the spirit of a friendly forum to cast aspersions about the poster's mental health based on a post like that. Doesn't that stray into personal attack territory?
     
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  5. Steve

    Steve Mostly Harmless

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    Why not stop with, "What a load of hokum?" I mean, there are more diplomatic ways to say that, but you really have two clauses in your sentence. "What a load of hokum" is essentially challenging the claim. "Do your meds need to be adjusted?" is an unnecessary and destructive personal attack.
     
  6. Transk53

    Transk53 The Dark Often Prevails

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    Huh, an interesting reply!
     
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  7. Touch Of Death

    Touch Of Death Sr. Grandmaster

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    Maybe your medication makes it seem more interesting that it really was. :)
     
  8. Kung Fu Wang

    Kung Fu Wang Grandmaster

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    Agree!

    Instead of trying to point out the errors in someone's post as in the following example.

    A: aaa bbb ccc ddd eee fff ...
    B: aaa bbb should be aax bbx.
    B: ccc ddd should be ccx ddx,
    B: eee fff should be eex ffx,
    B: ...

    Why not just express your own view instead of pointing out what can be wrong in someone's post.

    Also there is no need to bring the "style" into any discussion. Judo guys like to "grab" and Taiji guys don't. It's better to discuss the PRO and CON of the "grab" instead of saying, "In Judo, we do ..." or "In Taiji, we do ...". The moment that "style" is what you are trying to defend, the discussion can be easily get into argument.

    When someone starts a thread, "What MA style should I train?" That thread will soon get into "my style is better than your style" argument. Do we really need a thread like that to tear us apart instead of bring us together? Can we have general MA discussion without trying to drag "style" into it?
     
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2015
  9. Xue Sheng

    Xue Sheng Sr. Grandmaster

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    Unless of course someone says in Taiji we do not...... and we actually do ;)
     
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  10. Steve

    Steve Mostly Harmless

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    I don't know how successful we can be without ever bringing style into a discussion. I'm a fan of being specific. There's a middle ground between questioning or critiquing a style or a training model, and style bashing.
     
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  11. Kung Fu Wang

    Kung Fu Wang Grandmaster

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    If we don't bring style into discussion, there will be no style bashing. Style means there are principles that you (general YOU) want to reference. Unfortunately when you only reference those set of principles, you may ignore principles used in other styles. Sometime, that will cause argument.

    Of course if you don't cross train and you only train one style, your style will be your bible. But if you have cross trained, you may like to look at things from different angles and consider principles from all MA styles.

    For example, if you only consider

    - "defense your center from inside out", you may forget "defense your center from outside in".
    - "keep your center within your base", you may forget "move your center outside your base and take advantage on the gravity".
    - "body lead arm is more powerful", you may forget "arm lead body is faster".
    - "when you grab, you will have less freedom", you may forget "when you grab, your opponent will have less freedom."
    - ...

    When style is not involved, we can look at things from all different angles and have a pleasant discussion. When someone said,

    - "We don't do this in my style".
    - "It's against our style principles".
    - ...

    The discussion will only be looked at from a certain angle and the discussion will start to become personal.
     
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2015
  12. Steve

    Steve Mostly Harmless

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    I hear what you're saying, and it makes sense in a discussion about principles and such, but we aren't always talking about principles.

    In a discussion about a style, it's kind of hard to dance around references to that style. There's a thread right now about tessenjutsu, which seems to be a style that is often rolled into many other styles. Different styles seem to use the fans differently. Avoiding any reference to style might actually cause more trouble than it resolves, as you could end up with two people saying contradictory things and both be completely correct.
     
  13. drop bear

    drop bear Sr. Grandmaster

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    You would also have to remove all the appeals to authority. Which brings your own style into the discussion.
     
  14. Kung Fu Wang

    Kung Fu Wang Grandmaster

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    That's the famous paradox theory.

    1. My spear is so sharp that it can penetrate all shields on earth.
    2. My shield is so strong that no spear on earth can penetrate it.

    1. If you can't get a head lock on your opponent, you are not a good wrestler.
    2. If someone can put a head lock on you, you are not a good wrestler.

    1. If you can break my grip within 30 second, my grip is not strong enough.
    2. If I can't break your grip within 1 second, my MA skill is not good enough.

    I have 2 MA teachers in my life. One teacher told me that MA is cruelty, poison, kill. My other teacher told me that MA is patient, kind, peaceful. When your enemy kills your father and you want to apply patient, kind, peaceful, you are wrong. When someone just call your name and you want to apply cruelty, poison, kill, you are wrong too.

    Sometime, both can be right. Everything in MA is "relative" and not "absolute". If you have 30 years of MA training and I only have 10 years of MA training, the normal logic may not apply between you and me.
     
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2015
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  15. Transk53

    Transk53 The Dark Often Prevails

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    I was being serious. I actually thought it was an interesting reply :)
     
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  16. Steve

    Steve Mostly Harmless

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    That's really interesting, but I wasn't referring to any kind of a paradox. I was referring to stylistic differences. In the example I mentioned, it appears that more than a few traditional styles teach tessenjitsu. Some include no techniques that use the fan in an open position, and may teach that this is never done. Others teach that there are a few specific applications for the fan in the open position. They're both teaching tessenjitsu.

    Who is correct? I'd say both, but you wouldn't know it if you didn't get specific and carefully reference the style.
     
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  17. Xue Sheng

    Xue Sheng Sr. Grandmaster

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    I agree with Steve

    You can't be, you end up with a generic Martial Arts discussion and if you are posting in the general section maybe that is what you are after. But if you post in the Chinese martial arts section and you are discussing taijiquan, or Xingyiquan or Baguazhang or even Sanshou for that matter or BJJ, Wing Chun, Karate, Kali or JKD you have already brought a style into it and it IS part of the discussion. If you are having a discussion and attempting to justify your POV by talking about a Style then again, style is part of the discussion and should not be stripped out. I someone is making blanket statements about a style that is incorrect you should challenge that, not bash, not call them names, challenge, use examples to the contrary and debate the issue

    If one is "only" discussing principles then it is principles, but if someone is discussing principles and throws in they only do this in this style and they never do that in that style...well...all bets are off...it is a style discussion. IMO avoiding or stripping out any reference to style is simply ridiculous and opening up MT to anyone who wants to come along and make ridiculous claims or talk about training that WILL hurt people .

    We are a bunch of martial artists for crying out loud, we get knocked around, thrown, punched and beaten for fun.... so we can't take a little criticism or take being asked to back up a statement or take the hit on a webpage...please
     
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  18. Chris Parker

    Chris Parker Grandmaster

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    Hmm… it seems like you're referencing something familiar there…

    Little peak behind the curtain with myself, then. Nothing I do or say is in isolation. In other words, I was not responding to a one-off comment, but looking at a pattern of behaviour and interaction, and offering a genuinely felt push towards a more useful and positive way to engage here. And believe me, it was very friendly.

    With regards to "attack the post, not the poster", in some cases it's simply not that easy to separate them… which is where that entire line of reasoning falls down. And the basic reality is that not everyone has something of value to offer… despite their beliefs. The idea that "everyone is entitled to their opinions" is often misconstrued to be "everyone is entitled to have their opinions heard and given equal weight with others". Simply, no. There are some examples coming up, actually…

    I don't know that that's really the way things go in many cases (it certainly does in some, but I don't think that's the majority of cases). The real issue is more along the lines of "frogs in a well"…

    I get where you're coming from, Steve, I really do… but honestly, I don't agree. I know, big surprise…

    The issue I see with "be more tolerant" is that, in many cases, it's simply not warranted. Tolerance, when taken to an extreme, is just enabling… it's enabling false beliefs… it's enabling bad ideas… it's allowing the bad to be given equal voice with the accurate and correct. And, in that view, tolerance leads to a lowering of positive communication.

    That only works if all parts are equally correct… giving "positive" critiques when you have to invent them, or stretch to find them, only serves to bolster the idea that the person has more positive to offer than perhaps they really do.

    But… what if I'm, for example, directing my comments towards you? I mean… to be frank here, John, you have a tendency to try to enter into discussions of specific aspects of specific arts, ignore what's actually being asked, and give general "advice" on what you think all martial arts should have, or be about… in many cases, being completely out of your depth in regards to the art you're supposed to be discussing. In those instances, I think it's perfectly appropriate to ask you, specific and in particular, what you're talking about, and why you think what you're saying is even relevant.

    To put it another way… you (generic "you") might want to stop and think if you actually understand what you're talking about, or have any understanding of the topic and subject before you tell people how they should do things. Oh, and that wasn't such a "generic you" there, by the way…

    Or, by responding to those who disagree, you might be given the opportunity to solidify your beliefs, demonstrate why you're correct, or re-assess your understanding…

    Well, let's look at some such examples, yeah? You've entered into specific questions about specific training methods in judo forums (on another forum, for the record), ignored the fact that you don't know anything about the training method (or judo itself, for the record), give your (frankly, uninformed) views which not only ignore what was actually being asked, but in cases directly contradict what was being asked about… and then wonder why you're asked about your credentials and ability to answer such questions? Or we could look at a thread here, on self defence books… where the OP asked for specific recommendations on books covering self defence (which is not fighting, nor martial arts)… and your answer was "why would you want books? Martial arts are for doing! If you can do this (picture of a comic character punching through someone's head), why do you need books?"… again, completely ignoring the thread, the OP's request, their context, and everything else. Frankly, when you do that, I feel it's more than valid to pull apart your posts.

    Good question.

    Yeah… of course, when the original claimant continues with their claims, you need to keep supplying more and more evidence… repeating over and again what's been said. And, honestly, that gets old. And, again, we get back to the idea of frogs in wells…

    Yeah… not sure I'd agree that the readers have enough "nous" to decide for themselves… the problem is that, in many cases, these areas are highly specialised… if you don't already have a fairly thorough background, it can be very difficult to discern what's real from what isn't. In Koryu forums, it's not uncommon for people to put up examples of groups claiming to be "traditional, samurai martial arts" that have no real basis in anything of the kind… but, unless you know what you're looking at, it's not easy for people to see. I mean… in a lot of cases, it looks just like what people might expect.

    Possibly. But then again, possibly not. As in everything, context is king.

    Or it's an expression of cynical humour designed to underscore how far from the expected reality the original comment was. It emphasises and strengthens the conviction behind the first part ("What a load of hokum") without explicitly saying "you're a complete lunatic who has no idea what they're talking about. If you honestly believe what you're saying, then you have either been lied to and been too stupid to recognise it, or it's a conclusion you came up with yourself, in which case you're a gullible fool with no filter for garbage, and no sense of critical assessment and thinking. I feel you are a danger to yourself and society, and should be heavily medicated, and likely sectioned away from the general public… or, at the very least, your interaction in any sense of "teaching" should be limited to nothing at all.".

    What it really comes down to, though, is the perception in the reading. Is it really an "unnecessary and destructive personal attack"? I don't think so… and I think that those who feel it is are far, far too overly sensitive about such things, or are looking for ways to interpret such comments in an overly negative fashion.

    Because sometimes you really do need to simply correct errors. Frankly, if you're wrong, I will say you're wrong. And I will commonly demonstrate why. It's got nothing to do with "views", it's to do with correct or not.

    Garbage. When discussing different methods/approaches/systems, it's essential to bring "style" into it. That's the whole discussion. This bizarre idea of yours that you can keep it out of discussions is why you keep jumping into threads and forums concerning systems you don't have a clue on, and trying to discuss without any knowledge… which is why you get the responses you do (such as you listed earlier).

    You know, I've been involved in these forums for a while now… and honestly, threads such as "What MA should I study" usually don't go anywhere near "my style is the best" at all. Most commonly, it's a series of questions about what the poster is after, what's around them, and some suggestions based on people's experience. These threads pretty much never "tear us apart"… bluntly, I don't know what threads you've been reading… but that doesn't happen here, or on MAP (where you're also a member).

    True.

    Again, garbage. Discussing within a style/system is done to, well, discuss within that system/style. Certain aspects will be highly specific… others will have some cross-over. It's got nothing to do with ignoring "other principles"… it's to do with having a common understanding. When discussing one systems approach within a larger framework/discussion, then you're talking about how that system does things… which again will reference the terminology/principles/concepts of that system. Without such specificity, there's not really anything to discuss.

    Style bashing, on the other hand, commonly happens when people with no clue about the system try to criticise it from outside. But stylistic discussions are not automatically "style bashing".

    Which will only be applicable to some discussions, not to all of them. For some, stylistic specificity is required.

    And, one more time, absolute garbage.

    Look, if we're discussing differing methodologies, tactical approaches, and so forth, looking at how different systems do things (not uncommon), then yeah, you kinda have to point out what is done or not, why and why not, in a particular system.

    Yep. Even then, though, I'd say that what John is talking about is of limited genuine application.

    For reference, "tessenjutsu" isn't a style… it's a skill-set, a combative application of a particular weapon. There are "styles" of tessenjutsu, of course… but "tessenjutsu" isn't a style any more than "kicking" is a "style"….

    I have no idea what you're talking about… what "appeals to authority"? And what do you mean by "your own style" being brought into the discussion?

    Psst… "jutsu"… not "jitsu"… wrong word there…

    And here's what I was talking about earlier, in regards to people being able to make up their own minds. Bluntly, the simple lack of knowledge means that people like Steve here, who's an intelligent guy, can come to the conclusion that "both are correct"… or that, in traditional systems of tessenjutsu, some teach that the fan is never open, and some teach that it sometimes is… yet, when you look at the thread itself, the only people who have trained in anything like a genuinely traditional system incorporating tessen will tell you that it's always closed. The thread starter, training in a modern Korean form of karate, who have imported (created) a weaponry syllabus, doesn't train in a traditional (historical) system of tessen… most others saying it is used open qualify their statements by pointing out that they don't have experience in this area… and cited Chinese systems and anime, rather than anything Japanese… yet here we have Steve saying that he'd say "both (are correct)". No.
     
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  19. Transk53

    Transk53 The Dark Often Prevails

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    Okay. Perhaps I viewed that post as being something more then. Yes it I was referencing yourself, but did want to appear I was accusing you. As I often have to say, I read things a little to black and white sometimes. For what it is worth, no personal offence was meant.
     
  20. Steve

    Steve Mostly Harmless

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    It's VERY easy to attack the post and not the poster. It's a choice to do it or to not do it. I presume you are self-aware, and so when you attack the poster, I am pretty sure you do it with intention. You are making a choice to do it. So, I absolutely believe that you have a reason (presumably what you would consider to be a very good reason) to attack the poster when you do it. But it's simply about making the choice not to.

    I think we can agree that there are some posters who have little to offer the forum. I would bet, though, that my list would be fewer than 5 (and I can't think of any who haven't already been banned) while yours is much, much longer. :)
    Simple. Don't take it to an extreme. I'm certainly not suggesting that you do. What I am suggesting is more tolerance, not absolute tolerance and anarchy.
    Ah, the, "Just kidding," approach. You're a jerk... just kidding. LOL. Don't be so sensitive. Personally. I don't care for that approach. It boils down to, "I disagree with you for these reasons, and you're a jerk." More often than not, it's a clumsy approach at establishing a heirarchy. It's usually irrelevant to the point, and it often weakens the message and clouds it in subjective judgement.
    Fair enough. You and I have different opinions on this matter, and I'm okay with that.
    If it's a fact, then it can be independently verified. That doesn't mean that we now have to cite every source. But it points to the distinction between fact and opinion, once again. Facts can be verified. Opinions are just that. Now, is your opinion more credible than mine? Well, how solidly grounded in facts is your opinion? Are your facts independently verifiable?

    But, even the most credible opinion is still not a fact. I remember a discussion we had regarding language a while back that comes to mind regarding how the Brazilians were spelling jiu-jitsu wrong. :)
     
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