So Let Me Get This Straight-- Why Don't We Have New Arts?

Discussion in 'General Martial Arts Talk' started by JKDJade, Sep 24, 2020.

  1. JKDJade

    JKDJade White Belt

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    Here are some names:
    Bruce Lee- JKD
    Ed Parker- Ed Parker Kenpo
    Bart Vale- Chinese Kenpo
    Tony Leo- Shuri Shindo Ryu
    Freedie Lee- Freedie's Modern Fu
    Al Tracy - Tracy Kenpo
    Jeff Speakman -Kenpo 5,0
    Helio Gracie- BJJ
    Steve Mohamad- Black Karate Federation
    Gary Dill- Bushido Kempo/SDS
    Chuck Sullivan- Karate Connection-Kenpo
    Sifu Anderson- Anderson Martial Arts
    Hwang Kee- Tang Soo Doo
    Al Moore- Shou Shu Kung Fu


    Do you guys know what all these people have in common? Well, they all took one, two, or three arts, kept what they like and added what they thought it needed.

    They they rebranded it as a new art. In some cases, this was evolutionary, in others revolutionary. Why are some revered, and others not?

    Further, why don't we have more blending and progressing of older arts? How come new martial systems/styles pretty much stopped in the mid 1990s. I would say from 1960s-1990s there was a marital art explosion in the US that led the creation of the aforementioned styles, some trace their lineage to older mixed/blended arts before the 1960s like Tang Soo Doo

    Now we have mma.. pretty much kick boxing with BJJ. The question is their room for regrowth of traditional martial arts? Can these arts continue to expand? Will ever see new arts created? Or we stuck with striking and grappling= MMA

    Ohh and since we are talking about it... can we someone go ahead and create Cobra Kai Karate :) lol

    Let's discuss
     
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  2. _Simon_

    _Simon_ Senior Master

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    A cool topic :)

    I have a sense that new arts were formed in terms of bigger changes, discoveries and methodologies. And nowadays arts are refining and evolving in much smaller ways due to not being many grand changes being able to take place (everything's been done... almost).

    Feels like every club I've trained at has never been pure this or that, but have added their own flair and unique stuff to it. As though every specific dojo/gym is teaching its own specific interpretation of the art, and there can be infinite creativity in martial arts even in that thought :)

    So I reckon, in other words, the bigger general stuff has mostly been sorted and it's hard to create an entirely new art, and the smaller stuff are still evolving :)

    But would be cool to hear of a completely new art emerging, if even possible!
     
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  3. Steve

    Steve Mostly Harmless

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    My theory is that people at one point applied their skills and so really knew what they were doing. They actually got to a point where they were prepared to innovate. We don't have much of that anymore, and even most instructors are only really skilled at applying the very specific style they train only in the context of that style. Cops sometimes use their skills in cop contexts, but that's not really a martial arts style. Same with other violent professions.

    In MMA there is always a lot of innovation because there is a clear path to application, in a rule set that is not overly restrictive. So, you see a lot of innovation within MMA. Without application and genuine, high level expertise, you have a natural tendency to focus on preservation of tradition. Outside of application, folks fall back on the legitimacy and structure that tradition provides.

    Look at it like this, if you don't fight, you aren't learning to fight better.

    The chart below is Bloom's Taxonomy. A very simple shorthand for how to train folks to do things. Most martial arts schools get to a comprehension level for fighting skills (at best). They can talk about fighting with confidence. But the skills that they are applying are training skills... forms, sparring, kata, chi sao. If that's what you're applying, that's what you're developing expertise in doing. If your expertise is internal (i.e., you are an expert in a system), you will only ever be able to innovate within that system. And in a traditional martial art style, innovating within the system is not generally encouraged.

    Said simply, folks who learn a fighting art but never fight are not well equipped to do more than replicate as faithfully as possible what they have taught. They have no personal experience to help them evaluate their system and improve it.

    Capture.JPG
     
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  4. isshinryuronin

    isshinryuronin Brown Belt

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    JKD, many of the kenpo branches (including the BKF) are not separate arts, but business/political outgrowths of Parker's art, pretty much having begun about 1970. The names you associated with these "new arts" were all Parker students who broke away, mostly for personal or business reasons. The differences are too minor to call them separate arts IMO. They were barely different styles, though they may have diverged a little more than when I had a kenpo school in the 1970's, instructors having borrowed a little from here and there over the years.

    Getting to the essence of your question, historically, geographic isolation led to the evolution of different styles/arts, just as it led to the evolution of different languages and accents. That is now gone.

    Also there is the old maxim: necessity is the mother of invention. In modern times we have access to many styles and it is easy to find and blend whatever you like - no need to invent a new art. How many new languages have been developed over the past 300 years? (I guess texting shorthand, and cultural slang may qualify if you really stretch the definition.) There's already plenty to go around that get the job done.

    You mentioned branding. A brand is different from a product/style - it's mostly an artificial identity to help market a product. In the 70's and even 80's, the karate market was booming and competition was stiff with schools opening up everywhere. There was a need for branding to differentiate yourself from the competition. Not so now in a slower business environment.

    We're not "stuck with the MMA." There are plenty of arts and styles out there now to appeal to most everyone's wants, needs, abilities and taste. With such a rich buffet spread out before us, no need to go hungry. Just load up your plate with whatever you like.


     
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  5. Rat

    Rat Master Black Belt

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    Just reinventing the wheel. And the field of study is very much in favour of stick with what you know/know that works. Death is usually involved in learning what works in lieu to something else.
     
  6. dvcochran

    dvcochran Grandmaster

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    I feel there were other Big influencers going on during the same timeframe (60's-90's) that facilitated a lot of it. This was a big peak in the information age. Sharing information became exponentially easier, faster, and frequent. The same can be said for travel. Walls were being broken down politically and geographically. So naturally many, many things including Martial Arts began to coalesce.

    I can remember the era when the "ancient Chinese secret" was prevalent in the U.S. Many (including myself) bought into it for a while. Most of us who stuck with their training and continued searching for more information figured it out and learned to apply the new knowledge to our training. Frankly, I hope there is never an end to this.
    I think this is the gist of how MMA got started. It stripped out all the traditional parts and left the purely fighting principals from every style out there. Whether that is good or bad is for everyone's own viewpoint. Most of that has to do with age, and intent. If you grew up in the age of MMA or in the age of traditional MA's, well there you go.

    As far as another totally new style, I can't say. I think there may be some shrinkage or re-consolidation of styles, remerging into the main styles first. Of the 14 styles you listed at least 6 were a Kenpo variant. Can you see them coming together as one again? Sadly, TSD has seen major shrinkage and I can see it becoming one with TKD in some fashion. These are purely marketing lines that are being held together as much in the effort to make money rather than maintain a certain style, which are one and the same.

    To be certain the model of martials overall is changing. Saturation has caused some bad and Very bad things to seep into the models. I do think this is factoring itself out a good bit but bad schools & instructors will always be around. Some of this is from truly good intentions but it still happens.
    So I think the elephant in the room is this: What truly different and unique technique, style, system, or instructor have you seen in say the last 15 years? 15 years is the typical benchmark in technology to say parity is found. It is very cool when someone shatters that window. I am probably wrong but I would say the last 15 years has been the golden years of MMA. It peaked in popularity and is in a settling phase. I am certain developers and marketers are hard at work to find the 'next new thing'. I hope many of us practicing a MA are doing to same.

    This is a different vein but thought it worth mentioning. There is an organization called Tiger Rock Martial Arts. It is Very, very, very closed circuit. They do not share or interact with any other TKD schools. You are either in or out. As a corporation, they are Very profitable. So they have figured out a model that works based on economics which, to be honest, is a big part of the viability of any school and especially a system. Good or bad? For me, both. Good for the people making money and hopefully good to most of the people training. It must have many good training qualities (facility, equipment/gear/teaching) or I doubt people would buy in for as long as it has been around (since 1983). But for me bad as a traditional Martial Art. I don't even know if they consider themselves traditional.
    Just an example to think about.
     
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  7. ShortBridge

    ShortBridge 2nd Black Belt

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    It's a fair question. I don't know enough about all of the people you listed above, but that aside:

    There are people of various disciplines who come up with a framework or method in their particular field (mathematics, music theory, software engineering, and why not martial arts?) that they are recognized for because of what they are able to produce. There is a fractional segment of those people who build the teaching framework to ensure that it spreads, continues to develop, gets passed down, and becomes a new functional model that isn't dependent on them continuing to stay active in their field.

    With traditional Chinese systems they had a purpose, whether it was political (restore the Ming to power), or a family or village style (gar), or a temple style. In each of those cases their objective was not just to have someone be great or win something, but to unify a group of people around the same capability so they could either collectively protect themselves and each other or go on some sort of collective offensive. So, that teaching and spreading framework was foundational.

    We live in an age of individualism, not collectivism, so perhaps today's innovators are not thinking about codifying and spreading what they have learned/discovered. Perhaps tomorrow's innovators are trying to come up with their own thing rather than follow in someone's footsteps.

    Just some rainy morning thoughts. May or may not be factual.
     
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  8. skribs

    skribs Grandmaster

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    I may post more detailed thoughts later, when I'm on a computer with an actual keyboard and mouse.

    I think a lot of it is that many big organizations have a lot of leeway in their classes. I can teach KKW Taekwondo, and as long as I teach the 8 Taegeuks, I can add in anything else that I know. My local BJ school also offers a striking class, with kicks and punches from kickboxing and MMA.

    Similarly, people don't feel locked into an art. If you want to combine muay thai and bjj, the simple answer is to just train them both. Whete traditionally it may be seen as an insult to your lineage, in modern times it's common.
     
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  9. drop bear

    drop bear Sr. Grandmaster

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  10. JowGaWolf

    JowGaWolf Grandmaster

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    Glad I read this first. For me Its simple. You have to know how to use the current system before you can blend and create a new one.

    I dont know many people who can actually use the system they train at a high level. Too many people train martial arts for health and not for fighting
     
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  11. gpseymour

    gpseymour MT Moderator Staff Member

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    I'm aware of at least 5 new styles/offshoots created in the last 10 years, and that's just among the folks I've personally interacted with. I don't think that has slowed - there's just not as much spread of them, since TMA doesn't have as large a market as it used to. So, if you develop a fantastic new offshoot, it probably stays in your school and maybe the schools of a couple of your senior students, if you're really prolific.
     
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  12. Buka

    Buka Sr. Grandmaster

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    Welcome to Martial Talk, JKDJade. Hope you enjoy it. :)
     
  13. Star Dragon

    Star Dragon Orange Belt

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    I have trained a few arts in many different schools over the last decades, and not two of them taught things exactly the same way. This holds true for the Parker Kenpo that has been my primary focus in more recent years, but also for more traditional arts such as Aikido and even Shotokan Karate! Even in schools that originated from the same lineage, the differences were often quite evident.

    This is actually quite natural... I believe that in any kind of art, the art changes with each practitioner, as each of them will be expressing it in keeping with their individual characteristics. And martial arts are no different...

    Once a variation of an art has become distinct enough from the system it originated from, it may then be declared as a new style. Sometimes it may indeed be seen an improvement of the latter, sometimes as quite the opposite - but tastes and perspectives vary. Always rely on your own judgement whether a system, school, instructor may help you to manifest your own highest potential or not.
     
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  14. KOKarate

    KOKarate Green Belt

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    What’s wrong with that? Not everyone cares about getting into fights. If I only taught people who cared about fighting I’d have 3 students at most
     
  15. gpseymour

    gpseymour MT Moderator Staff Member

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    Yes, and I think this is a natural progression that hasn't changed drastically in my lifetime. What may have changed is the point at which names change. When there was great mystique around arts and their founders - during the boom of TMA in the US - there may have been more marketing cache in having a new "improved" system. Now, there may be more practicality in having a better-recognized name.
     
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  16. gpseymour

    gpseymour MT Moderator Staff Member

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    Firstly, let's not confuse "getting into fights" with being able to fight. I have no interest in fighting, but much interest in being able to fight.

    But you are correct that not everyone is as interested in developing fighting skill - and certainly not to the same level - so many of us are teaching folks with differing focus.
     
  17. donald1

    donald1 Senior Master

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    If it ain't broke don't fix it?
     
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  18. JowGaWolf

    JowGaWolf Grandmaster

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    If you are going to create a new martial arts system that will actually be functional then you'll need to have a very good understanding of how the applications work and flow together. In other words.

    If you want to build a new computer system then you better have a good understanding of how things work and fit together. If you don't have a good understanding then you'll just end up with a bunch of components in a box and a computer system that doesn't work. Creating a new martial arts system is like that. It's not enough to know what the techniques do, you actually need a deep understanding of how to apply those techniques. You have to know how to use them and not just "copy-paste" what you were told about how it works. People know how to use computers but not many know how to actually build their own computer in comparison. Martial arts is like this as well.

    Now if you want to design a new martial arts system that just looks cool, then you can do that without understanding how to apply it. Hollywood does it all the time. You can watch old Kung Fu movies and see the same thing. Just don't expect it to be something that that actually works. In a real fight. Hollywood kung fu is not the same as real kung fu. Some would even say the same about Whu shu. Even the Chinese Government admitted that a lot of kung fu that they train in China is for health and not fighting.

    I guess the real question that you have to ask yourself when creating a new "martial arts system" is what will it be used for. Only health, Hollywood fight scenes, or for actual fighting.
     
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  19. JowGaWolf

    JowGaWolf Grandmaster

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    I'm going to go out on a limb and say that this guy designed his new martial arts system


    1. Is it new martial arts. Yes, but that could just be my limited knowledge
    2. Could you use it for fighting. Probably, but it just may not be effective.. You may scare some people away. But for that person who is going to dedicate the next minute to hurting you really bad. Probably not.
    3. Does he have a good understanding of generating power? I'm looking at how much that bag moves, so I'm going to say no.
    4. Does he have a good understanding of body mechanics, probably not, but he seems to be a natural at keeping his balance through it all.

    I think DK Yoo has also created his own system, it looks much better than the video above. But I think he actually has some fight experience and a deeper understanding of what he's using. I've seen him spar before but not with someone of equal or higher skill level. But with some of the mechanics I can see it being possible to actually use them as his stuff is not totally out of the blue.
     
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  20. Steve

    Steve Mostly Harmless

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    Speaking for myself, there’s nothing at all wrong with that, provided you’re clear to students that you aren’t teaching them to fight. And if you have little fighting experience, that you aren’t qualified to teach them to fight. that level of transparency is rare, in my experience.123
     
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