Development of a new art - question of legitimacy

Discussion in 'General Martial Arts Talk' started by Kong Soo Do, May 6, 2013.

  1. Kong Soo Do

    Kong Soo Do IKSDA Director

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    Throughout the ages, new arts have emerged from prior arts. The reasons are of course many and varied. In some cases, an instructor may have learned information outside of the traditional system and wished to incorporate the information into a new art. Perhaps he was encouraged by those senior to him. Perhaps there was 'political' strife which lead to a split. Perhaps a war or natural disaster separated the instructor from his country/school and he began a new art in a different local based upon prior knowledge and a desire to make the art his own. Perhaps the art was taken from one country to another and simply given a new name. Perhaps it was dissatisfaction with certain arts and/or certain traditions and a fresh start was desired. Perhaps he wanted to fuse two or more arts together. Perhaps the instructor just wanted to skip all the fuss and print up his own 10th Dan on the inkjet and proclaim himself founder.

    Looking at martial history we can see many 'legitimate' creations and of course, some not so 'legitimate'.

    Since new arts have been and will continue to be 'created' or 'developed' for a variety of reasons...can a consensus be arrived at by the masses as to what would constitute legitimacy? Would the instructor need a certain amount of experience? A certain time in the arts? Would he/she have needed to achieve a certain rank in a traditional art? Should/could/would peer review lend towards legitimacy?

    What would make you look and go, "Yes...he/she is well qualified to form a new art".

    What would make you shake your head and roll your eyes?

    Thoughts?
     
  2. K-man

    K-man Grandmaster

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    The proof of the pudding is in the eating. If what has developed contains the major elements of other arts that have proven themselves then IMO it is legit regardless of the rank of the person developing the art. Krav could be an example of that, plus it has been tested on the street. However, if that person adopted a high rank, say 10th dan, without prior qualification, his new rank would be questionable.

    If, on the other hand, a top ranked instructor comes up with a new age, no hands, form of MA called Kiai Kai, I would be rolling my eyes. :asian:
     
  3. Kong Soo Do

    Kong Soo Do IKSDA Director

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    Thank you. Could you explain what you mean by prior qualifications? What would make a 10th Dan questionable and conversely, what would make a self-assumed 10th Dan legitimate?
     
  4. K-man

    K-man Grandmaster

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    I would think that if a person had the rank of, say Sandan or Yondan and had been training in MAs for twenty years, he/she may well have enough experience to develop a new style of training based on what they already understand. If that person self promoted to say 5th or 6th dan and could demonstrate his/her ability at that level, I would have no cause to doubt it.

    On the other hand, if someone, maybe not even a black belt in a recognised style, put together a training programme based on what he had learned in two or three years and what he had seen elsewhere and promoted himself to 5th dan, I would call BS despite his ability.

    If again, someone of recognised high rank, say 8th dan, did a similar thing and self promoted to 10th dan, it might be considered ok, but in reality what I have seen is that such a person normally has enough humility to maintain his existing rank anyway. :asian:
     
  5. arnisador

    arnisador Sr. Grandmaster

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    The biggest ones have succeeded on a mix of physical skill, a new approach, and overwhelming personal charisma, to my mind--Bruce Lee, Wally Jay, Ed Parker, Remy Presas,...
     
  6. K-man

    K-man Grandmaster

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    And they are all recognised by their peers as evidenced by their induction into various halls of fame. :asian:
     
  7. Cirdan

    Cirdan Senior Master

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    To be honest, if there is one thing the masses of bogus "masters" out there got is is membership in at least a dozen of hall of fames.
     
  8. Drasken

    Drasken Brown Belt

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    The deciding factors for me on legitimacy of any created system is:
    1. Effectiveness. If it isn't effective, it isn't worth learning. Now that doesn't mean universal effectiveness, but it has to be effective for what it was designed for.

    Now as for the person creating any system, their legitimacy is determined by a few things as well.
    1. Experience. How long have they practiced martial arts. Do they have the knowledge and ability to combine things or create new approaches?

    2. And this is a big one. Reason for creation of a new system. Why are they doing it? Ego is a big reason I believe for many. I mean, say you have an effective self defense style. Why are you going to develop a new one? In the case of Krav Maga it was started as wrestling and a boxing foundation. It evolved out of necessity, and became a simple and effective system for applicable self defense in the modern age.
    JKD was a system created to form to a student's strengths and be very effective as well. It was first an attempt for Bruce Lee to improve upon his own abilities and he was reportedly very scientific in his testing and research. It was his passion.
    But many create systems or styles to be able to call themselves grand master. So... In most cases, yay you're grand master of a style that is ineffective or nobody has any interest in. Congrats to the egomaniacs out there.


    Basically I see no problem with creating something new. But most people are understandably skeptic when hearing someone talk about the attempt. If it is your passion, then go for it. Who knows, it might pay off. But I wouldn't advertise your efforts. I know I wouldn't. If it succeeds then great. But If not, then you havent really lost anything. Especially if you look at it as a learning experience.
    Just my 2 cents to anyone considering developing anything new.

    Basically just think about why, be honest with yourself. And go from there. But make sure you have a good bit of knowledge and understanding first. Everyone building something new that has succeeded, has had a great foundation to build on.
     
  9. enthusiast

    enthusiast Yellow Belt

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    what is a sandan or a yondan?
     
  10. Cirdan

    Cirdan Senior Master

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    a 3.Dan or a 4.Dan, third degree black belt or fourth degree black belt if you prefer.
     
  11. grumpywolfman

    grumpywolfman Black Belt

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    I would first want to see if the new art can prove that it has accomplished what it claims it can do. And if that is not practical, then I would make my decision on how useful it looks based on my experience while taking in consideration the credentials of the person(s) who created it.
     
  12. Kong Soo Do

    Kong Soo Do IKSDA Director

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    On this point I agree with Cirdan. Perhaps there is a legitimate Hall of Fame out there in martial arts land...but I'm not familar with any. I can't think of any/many that you couldn't nominate yourself to or buy your way into. I receive emails on an almost monthly basis letting me know I've been invited to join or can nominate myself to this or that hall of fame. Of course there is a fee involved...

    Two things that toss up the red flag are a plethora of Dan rankings in multiple styles. I just don't believe someone can have a dozen 10th Dans or too be honest, a dozen Dan rankings of any level. The second is membership in LOTS of halls of fame or LOTS of organizations.

    Now this cuts to the meat of the matter....motivation. Many of a bygone era have been recognized by peers and given a 10th Dan ranking in some organization. I'm thinking specifically of the formation of many Karate Ryus in the early 1900's. That was the norm for them. I suppose it could be done within any group of peers, both legitimately and not-so-legitimately. Depends on who your peers are to an extent.

    To be a 10th Dan (or whatever is the top rank in the system) there are only a few ways to acheive it:

    • Promote yourself
    • Peer promotion
    • Appointment by someone your replacing

    But this could bring up another perspective (and expand the topic); if your founding an art then perhaps you could (or even should) forgo any rank. Simply be a 'founder'. After all, if you're the founder why would you need a specific rank? And going a step farther, forgo the normal titles of grandmaster, great grandmaster, supreme grandmaster, grand ultimate supreme grandmaster. After all, probably 95% of those that call themselves grandmaster...aren't. And a lot of these 'seniors' that use the title are simply pumping the ego anyway. I mean really...supreme grandmaster? Give me a break.

    Perhaps those that call themselves grandmaster really aren't and the ones that don't call themselves grandmaster but others refer to them as grandmaster really are...123
     

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