Poll: Tradition or Evolution?

Discussion in 'General Martial Arts Talk' started by kidswarrior, Mar 24, 2007.

?

MA: Preserving Tradition, or Continuous Evolution?

  1. 100% Preservation of what the masters handed down

  2. 75% Preservation/25% Evolution with the times

  3. 25% Preservation/75% Evolution for relevance

  4. 100% Continuous evolution to ensure modern effectiveness

Multiple votes are allowed.
Results are only viewable after voting.
  1. Adept

    Adept Master Black Belt

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    That doesn't make a whole lot of sense to me. Sure, it works for asians where wearing shoes indoors is not the norm, but here in the west?

    Personally, the only reasons I can see (pragmatically speaking) for not wearing shoes during training is that 1) a tennis shoe hurts more when it hits you in the face and that 2) it makes the floors harder to keep clean.

    In an attempt to 'evolve' I think most training should be done in shoes. You are more likely to be wearing shoes when you have to use your skills, and wearing shoes can significantly alter how a technique should be executed.
     
  2. kidswarrior

    kidswarrior Senior Master

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    I only train in shoes, for these very reasons (well, OK, my feet are pretty broken down, too). Went to a convention last summer where I was seemingly the only one there wearing training shoes, albeit 'indoor' shoes that I change into after arriving at the center/studio. But out of respect, I restricted myself from participating on the mats. I would've rather just rolled up the mats and used the wooden floor. And lest somone think I'm a radical who wants to throw out the baby with the bathwater, I wear a Gi, a belt, bow in and out--but train in shoes. So I guess now you know, my view on the poll is tradition, yes, but got to keep evolving, too, IMHO. :asian:
     
  3. kidswarrior

    kidswarrior Senior Master

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    This makes me wonder why Asians make and wear kung fu 'slippers'?
     
  4. MJS

    MJS Administrator Staff Member

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    Great thread! I wish I had joined in sooner. :) I voted 75/25. I think that its important to keep the art 'pure' to an extent, but its also important to allow for change. Change is often frowned upon, and why I don't know. Everything changes. Its a part of life.
     
  5. TraditionalTKD

    TraditionalTKD Blue Belt

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    Using shoes as an example, I actually prefer to not wear shoes for three reasons:
    1. Traditionally, Tae Kwon Do students didn't wear then during practice.
    2. Going barefoot strengthens the feet and enables your feet to withstand the forces associated with training.
    3. Not wearing shoes allows students to see how their feet should be positioned for various techniques. You can't always tell by proprioreception.
    Now having said that, I see no problem with practicing in shoes sometimes to simulate real world technique. Wearing shoes forces your body to adapt to executing stepping and kicking in ways different from being barefoot. Shoes get heavy after awhile too.
     
  6. kidswarrior

    kidswarrior Senior Master

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    Not if you have feet like mine. When I was 19--or 29, or even 39, maybe I'd agree with you. But after a lifetime of use/abuse including several (5) fractures, my arches and toes do better with support. I never go completely barefoot, even in the house. And training barefoot would only break my feet down further.

    Now you may say, Yeah, but you're not a good example because you're old. But remember I teach teens all day every day, and many of them have more health problems than I do. So, IMHO maybe we want to be careful about over-generalizing here. :)
     
  7. Adept

    Adept Master Black Belt

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    Given that this is a thread about the relationship between evolution and tradition, this is a point that I think we should analyse further.

    Why didn't TKD students wear shoes?

    Depends. It doesn't strengthen the foot per-se. The muscles in your feet and lower leg do not become stronger in the absence of shoes. It will, however, make the bottoms of your feet tougher and more calloused, which makes them more tear resistant. Of course, this only comes in to play if you are training in bare feet, so while wearing shoes makes your feet softer, it no longer matters because you are now wearing shoes.

    Having said that, not wearing shoes will often exacerbate pre-existing foot conditions like fallen arches.

    This is certainly a valid point!
     
  8. Kacey

    Kacey Sr. Grandmaster

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    There are exceptions to everything - which is a point that needs to be considered, when determining how much you change your MA to meet the needs of yourself and your students. For example, I have a student who severely sprained her ankle, to the extent that she was in a plastic formed brace, the kind that looks like an open-toed boot - she wore a shoe on the other foot, because the "boot" was so high. After she got out of the boot, she wore shoes for several weeks because the smaller brace (also plastic) needed to be in a shoe. On the other hand, I had a student with completely flat feet - after about a year, he finally had a visible arch in each foot, and could wear shoes with arch supports comfortably, which he couldn't do when he started - tricky, for a teenage boy who likes sports, and can't comfortably wear sneakers of any variety. It can go both ways - the key is to be aware of the students' needs, and adjust accordingly.
     
  9. kidswarrior

    kidswarrior Senior Master

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    Good points, Kacey. I don't quite understand the situation with the boy (did he not wear shoes for the year, or wear them and from that develop arches?). But I get the point. I knew a teen who had to have custom arch supports built--at that time, about $200. Doing MA barefoot would have been impossible for him.
     
  10. CuongNhuka

    CuongNhuka Senior Master

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    This is true. I think one should train mostly bare foot (atleast to get used to how to do the movements), but one should get used to doing them on various surfaces bare foot, wearing shoes, flip flops, and so. But if you have any condition that makes it so wearing shoes is a good idea, the rules should be bent to allow. Like with you.
    It's intresting how we've funneled this whole conversation into one example of the evolution/tradition argument.
     
  11. Brian R. VanCise

    Brian R. VanCise MT Moderator Staff Member

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    Well this conversation comes up pretty regularly and is always a good one. For myself I like training in shoes, boots, cowboy boots, barefoot, socks, slippers, etc. I enjoy training in bare feet because it keeps my feet calloused and ready to go if I am in a personal protection situation and caught bare foot. Now do not laugh because this could happen at the beach but probably and most likely would happen if someone broke into my house and I did not have shoes on or was waking up in the middle of the night to deal with some predator that invaded my house. I explained this once to a good friend of mine who really only trains in shoes and even wrote about it in one of his books and he turned to me and said you know you are absolutely right. However, training in shoes and being able to do your martial skills in shoes is absolutely critical in that you are almost going to be wearing shoes when out and about and in those potentially danger zones of walking to and from your car, at a bar, restaurant or other place. So to neglect training in shoes is also to neglect an aspect that could also get you into trouble as martial techniques do work differently and feel differently in shoes. Just a couple of rambling's from me on this matter. [​IMG] Great thread! [​IMG]
     
  12. exile

    exile To him unconquered.

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    Absolutely right about the variety of footwear, Brian. And a complementary training consideration is variety of floor surfaces. The better your school flooring surface, in a sense, the less realistically you're training for real fights and the more you better get out there on uneven concrete, slick cheap linoleum, or slippery thin carpeting. You aren't going to get into many all-out CQ encounters on perfect sprung flooring, after all... that's one reason why garage/driveway/basement training is a very useful addition to dojo/dojang practice (at least if your garage/driveway/basement is anything like mine :lol:)

    A fervent amen to that!
     
  13. Brian R. VanCise

    Brian R. VanCise MT Moderator Staff Member

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    Training surface has to be varied as well. Not to mention clothes or lack thereof. :erg: Available tools and thing's that could be used to defend yourself. Multiple factors come into play so realistic personal protection skills need to have variety in there training. [​IMG]
     
  14. Bigshadow

    Bigshadow Senior Master

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    I think this poll is problematic. I had to go with 100% evolution, but I don't if one can put a percentage on any of it. I think there are core fundamental principles that make things work. It is what works off the principles that is evolving. Kind of like gravity (as universal principles) and how things have evolved on this planet.

    Like many have said, there is henka (variations) and there is doing it wrong. :) Knowing the difference is important.
     
  15. kidswarrior

    kidswarrior Senior Master

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    Bigshadow, I actually agree with you in that life cannot be reduced to a cut-and-dried, all-or-nothing set of multiple choice answers and percentages. But for the sake of stimulating discussion, sometimes it's fun to use opposing categories. Kind of like being forced to move so many squares in a board game. Life's not a board game, but playing one can sometimes spark an Aha! moment--and maybe be fun, too. :)

    So to everyone who's participated in this thread (so far), a big Thanks!
     
  16. exile

    exile To him unconquered.

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    Actually, so far as I can see, kidswarrior and Bigshadow are in serious agreement here—in one of the early posts, KW said something very similar to what Dave what saying in his post about the difficulty of quantifying in this way. And actually, most of the discussion in this thread—one of the most thought-provoking I've seen on MT—seems to me to be independent of the poll framework, focusing more on the qualitative issues involved than on the blunt-force trauma of percentage figures.
     
  17. kidswarrior

    kidswarrior Senior Master

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    Just an FYI for anyone interested. The Sept/Oct '07 Kung Fu-Tai Chi magazine has an article on the topic of this poll and thread: "Innovating Traditional Martial Arts: Ren Guangyi's 5 Step Roadmap." I won't risk infringing on copyrighted material by giving the steps, but it's fascinating to see how this Chen Tai Chi master has reconciled the dichotomy of this discussion in his practice and teaching.
     
  18. exile

    exile To him unconquered.

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    I'd love to see this article... it may not be easy for me, though; that mag isn't sold in too many venues around here, I suspect. Thanks v. much for the pointer, KW!
     
  19. kidswarrior

    kidswarrior Senior Master

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    My pleasure. :) If you're willing to wait, it may show up on the website in a month or so: www.KungFuMagazine.com
     
  20. CuongNhuka

    CuongNhuka Senior Master

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    Looks intresting. I'll have to check the article out. If nothing else, Chen guys scare me a little (I've heard storys about some of the stuff they can do).
     

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