Kung fu is bad for self defence

Discussion in 'General Self Defense' started by Midnight-shadow, Jul 5, 2017.

  1. Midnight-shadow

    Midnight-shadow 3rd Black Belt

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    Ok, slightly click-baiting title, but I'm fast coming to the realisation that a lot of traditional chinese martial arts are not suitable for self defence. This is not because the techniques themselves are bad, but because there are far too many of them to learn and practice effectively. There are so many different variations and combinations for every scenario that it just gets confusing. With so much to learn I find it hard to practice it all to the point where I could rely on it in a self defence scenario. Surely it's better to have a smaller number of techniques that work for 80% of situations, than a huge number of techniques that cover 100%.

    Any thoughts on This? Or am I missing something here?
     
  2. Flying Crane

    Flying Crane Sr. Grandmaster

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    What system are you practicing?
     
  3. Midnight-shadow

    Midnight-shadow 3rd Black Belt

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    A variation on Fujian White Crane
     
  4. drop bear

    drop bear Sr. Grandmaster

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    No that is pretty much correct. And is not style specific.

    As the saying goes. If I could do in a fight what I could do in sparring. I would be able to beat anybody.
     
  5. jobo

    jobo Grandmaster

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    but the,argument doesn't follow, if out of what you have leant you have a viable defence for a right punch a left punch some sort of kick and some one,swinging a bottle or some such, then you pretty much have self defence sown up. If you then have a have an effective punch, elbow kick , you can knock them down. But I think it fair to say that 90% of it is filler and could be done away with from a SD point of view. But then its said that you only remember 10% of what you have learnt when the pressure is on, so it works out about right
     
  6. drop bear

    drop bear Sr. Grandmaster

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    By they way martial arts doesn't really work that well either.

    The other guy has a bad habit of screwing up your cool moves.
     
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  7. Flying Crane

    Flying Crane Sr. Grandmaster

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    Alright, I don't have familiarity with the curriculum, but i train in Tibetan white crane, quite different.

    I have trained some other systems that definitely have some very large curriculums, which in my opinion do reach the level of being cumbersome and unwieldy. I no longer train in those.

    That being said, I am a fan of getting more mileage out of less material. And my system has about a dozen and a half long forms, and maybe a dozen or more weapons forms.

    The thing is, you don't need anywhere near this much material to be able to fight. Our fundamentals really cover it quite well. My belief is that these large curriculums get built over time by generations of people who saw some need (real or imagined) for it. Keep in mind, no system sprang forth fully formed from nothing. If the system is older than a couple generations, or you can trace its history and roots to older material, I am certain that it did not originally contain all the material it has now.

    In my opinion, forms and other bits of the curriculum should not be viewed as stuff you need, like a shopping list of things you need to have. It is useful stuff, but it should be viewed as possibilities that give you grist for your mill to work with in ultimately devising your own solutions to the problems you are presented with. So they are possibilities, they are not obligations. They are a useful training tool, but you don't NEED to be able to use everything in them, and some may be un-useable because of various reasons like, they get deep into theory and maybe depart from reality a bit, but still have useful lessons to teach.

    One observation I have had is that when my sifu breaks down the form and shows applications, more often than not it boils down to a handful of fundamental applications. All this movement found in all these forms, are just variations on a small number of useful applications.

    The material, including many forms, is meant to help you understand and develop some skills, but you certainly don't need it all. It is just a wide range of possibilities that help broaden your vision of what is possible. If, for example, you have learned six forms and within that process the usefulness has come together for you, you really don't need to learn six or twelve more. The six you learned have done the job they were designed for. On the other hand, if you have learned six and you still don't "get it", learning another six or a dozen or whatever, isnt likely to help you much. I think there must be something fundamental you are missing.

    If you learn and know more stuff, well it can be useful to have, but if you don't have it, you probably aren't actually missing anything.

    So, there can definitely be material to the point of clutter. But the heart of the system is likely very useful. You, as a student, need to be able to step back and decide, I have enough material now, learning more will just get in the way.
     
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  8. Midnight-shadow

    Midnight-shadow 3rd Black Belt

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    So are you saying that I should just focus on the core principles of the style rather than trying to learn and practice all the different techniques?
     
  9. drop bear

    drop bear Sr. Grandmaster

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    You have to have a core principle before you can learn the other stuff anyway.

    All that foundational crap people bang on about
     
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  10. Flying Crane

    Flying Crane Sr. Grandmaster

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    Within reason, yes. The techniques should be helping you understand the core principles. That is their real purpose. The techniques can be useful as they are, and that is great. But the real point is that you learn the principles and apply them in any way you want and need. And more often than not, what is needed is something simple and direct, and those are your fundamentals, built on your core principles. Not some complex, abstract combo that leaves your enemy broken in eighteen places and twisted into a pretzel and gutted and hung out to dry.

    So keep practicing the techniques, they help you see the principles in action in lots of scenarios, and that helps you see and recognize possibilities. But don't approach your training with the idea that you MUST be able to use everything or else you are failing. It's a mindset that is different.

    Some people are gonna disagree with me on this, but this is how I see it, and I think it makes a lot more sense than working fruitlessly on a never-ending list of stuff that you know, in your heart, you will never be able to actually use. The formal curriculum should serve a different purpose than that.
     
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  11. jobo

    jobo Grandmaster

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    no i don't think so, all the different techniques' reinforce the core principles, so its learning by repeating, even if what you are doing seems new. Otherwise just do the same two or three over and over and over again, which can get a bit samey
     
  12. Reedone816

    Reedone816 Blue Belt

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    That is what we are being told, techniques are there so we could understand the core principles.
    So once you -think- understand the principles you are not bound anymore by technique.

    Sent from my Lenovo A7010a48 using Tapatalk
     
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  13. Touch Of Death

    Touch Of Death Sr. Grandmaster

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    I know, right?
     
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  14. DaveB

    DaveB Master Black Belt

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    There are valid reasons why one might not like kungfu for self defence but this is not one of them. I say this as a fellow fujianese crane practitioner.

    Honestly if your still dazzled by the variety you just haven't trained enough.

    All arts exist around a core set of both techniques and ideas and this is what you fight with.

    If you want self defence now then find a krav class. If you don't mind waiting then stick with it.
     
  15. hoshin1600

    hoshin1600 Senior Master

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    Something everyone should consider is that your teacher in most cases teaches martial arts as they were taught, as their teacher taught them. For many decades now martial arts were taught in a kind of bubble, divorced from reality a bit. For better or worse MMA brought about a paradigm shift in how people think about martial arts. In most cases teachers now are still figuring out how to deal with this shift. Some are ignoring it some are blind to it and others are trying to adapt.
    Bottom line is your teacher is teaching you a skill, it is up to you to make it useful and relevant to self defense. Not everyone studies for actual self defense. Good teachers teach for the widest audience range.
    You can send the kid to college but you can't make him think, it is also his own responsibility to go out into the world and use that education to his benifit.
     
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  16. DaveB

    DaveB Master Black Belt

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    While ultimately if I want something it's my responsibility to go and get it, I don't think that should let bad teachers off the hook.

    It's just as much the responsibility of someone who wants to teach a functional self defence art to learn the most effective ways to teach the most practical skills.
     
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  17. Midnight-shadow

    Midnight-shadow 3rd Black Belt

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    Thank you for all the replies everyone, they have given me a lot to think about. Perhaps my focus of the training is slightly off which is where I am drawing these conclusions from. I honestly don't know as I have only been training for a short time (relatively speaking).
     
  18. hoshin1600

    hoshin1600 Senior Master

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    of course there are bad teachers out there. we do have to accept that the majority of martial arts are taught to a wide variety of students. my own journey has led me to accept the fact that for me to focus on pure self defense, i had to give up certain aspects found in traditional martial arts. i really do love Okinawan karate and everything that goes along with that, rei , kamidana, kata, sempai/ kohai, white gi and all. but these things can be more of a distraction for us and at a point it is actually counter productive.
    the art and system itself sometimes can be counter productive to an applicable self defense.
     
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  19. Xue Sheng

    Xue Sheng All weight is underside

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    Should be said that the term Kung Fu is not a style it is a container full of styles. So just so where clear, this is what you are saying when you say Kung Fu

    List of Chinese martial arts
     
  20. Midnight-shadow

    Midnight-shadow 3rd Black Belt

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    Yes Xue Sheng, I am well aware of the proper terminology and meaning of "Kung Fu", and you'll notice that in my actual post I used the phrase "traditional chinese martial arts". I'm not exactly sure what any of this has on the conversation we were having in this thread though....123
     

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