STYLE OVER SUBSTANCE

Discussion in 'Karate' started by DaveB, Jun 23, 2017.

  1. DaveB

    DaveB 2nd Black Belt

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    Hello all, I posted a couple of times before a long absence so I won't be offended if no one remembers me (or cares).

    I thought I would try and flog some life into one of my pet deceased equines...

    Can you describe your karate (or other art) style WITHOUT reference to your training methods/class stducture etc?
     
  2. Flying Crane

    Flying Crane Sr. Grandmaster

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    No, I do not believe that I can.

    Why?
     
  3. hoshin1600

    hoshin1600 Senior Master

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    sure , its a Fujian Chinese art learned by an Okinawan who studied in China and who taught in Wakiyama Japan. his son taught in Okinawa so its considered karate rather than kung fu.

    now how else would we describe a style without disscussing training methods. methodology is the primary difference between karate styles.
     
  4. DaveB

    DaveB 2nd Black Belt

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    But is it though?

    I think that training methodology has become the focus because of an absence of something else far more fundamental to the nature of a fighting art. I will explain my view but I'd like to see if there are any other descriptions. Hoshin, your laying out of geographical and peadagogic lineage was unexpected and an interesting way to view a style from.

    I've never been in two schools that trained in the same way yet never found two that were different.

    All martial arts train air techniques. They all do 2-person drills of some sort and they all incorporate some degree of fitness. Everything else is just details and preferences.

    No style has a monopoly on training methods and every martial artist I've met has co-opted something from other art's or style's training regimes.

    None of this is meant to imply that training is unimportant. On the contrary I feel it is the main determining factor in any fight/match. I just don't think it makes the style.
     
  5. Flying Crane

    Flying Crane Sr. Grandmaster

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    I disagree. I believe that in the end, there is often more similarity than difference. But how one gets there, the training methodology, is what is different, and that is what defines the style.

    I can essentially guarantee you that certain training methods used in my system will not be seen outside of three related arts, of which my system is one, that all came from the same root system.

    That does not mean that every training drill we do is unique. But there are some essential and foundational training methods that we use that are extremely important to our methodology, that will not be found outside of our very small family of systems: Tibetan White Crane, Hop Gar, and Lama Pai.
     
  6. Bill Mattocks

    Bill Mattocks Sr. Grandmaster

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    Oh lord.
     
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  7. DaveB

    DaveB 2nd Black Belt

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    I would wager though that 90% of even your small family style training is at least in principle the same as other styles training.

    Once I crystallized this realisation of what (I think) is supposed to differentiate fighting styles it became harder and harder for me to understand this view that training is what makes the art.
    We don't go to the ballet to watch stretching or judge a javelin thrower on his morning run. If I balance on some wooden pillars does that make me Shaolin? Am I doing taichi if I do my Kata in slow motion or judo if my sparring is free and continuous and at full power minus dangerous stuff?

    I don't think it does.

    That being said I'd love to know more about the system specific exercises you mentioned? If they aren't secret, can you explain what they do and why they are so key?
     
  8. Touch Of Death

    Touch Of Death Sr. Grandmaster

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    This is easy. Attitude, Logic, Basics, and fitness.
     
  9. Flying Crane

    Flying Crane Sr. Grandmaster

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    I believe that the principles upon which our system is built are indeed shared by many other systems. But the way in which we train to develop those principles as a driving power for our technique, and just how it manifests, is unique to our method.

    That is why I say that in the end, there is probably a whole lot of similarity, but how we train and how we get there, is different, and that defines a system or a style.

    I don't think I can describe our method, as that was expressly forbidden in this thread. :)
     
  10. marques

    marques 3rd Black Belt

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    We can tell the speciality, objectives, history, benefits...
    Not true.
    Details are the difference between the common and the excellent. What would you consider a good (or different) martial art?

    Life is better when we appreciate the small things. :cool:
     
  11. Buka

    Buka Grandmaster

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    Piece of cake -

    American Karate
    kəˈrädē/ - Noun - No such thing. Made up mishmash of stuff. Still making stuff up as they go along.
     
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  12. Ironbear24

    Ironbear24 Senior Master

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    A collection of what I have learned through various instructors and experiences.
     
  13. hoshin1600

    hoshin1600 Senior Master

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    What makes it even better is when it's said in a Boston accent.
    Car-ra-dee.
     
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  14. DaveB

    DaveB 2nd Black Belt

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    Which martial arts don't ever drill techniques without resistance?

    As to good or excellent, that's beyond the scope of the question. Obviously details are important to outcomes but if every class is different to every other within the same style a focus on details takes us out of broad types like shotokan or jeet kun do and into the style of the individual.
     
  15. marques

    marques 3rd Black Belt

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    Is 'air techniques' the same as 'techniques without resistance'? Anyway, all styles I tried or trained, techniques were applied on someone or something since the beginning: self defence, krav maga, boxe de rue, systema, kickboxing, Muay Thai... Well if we consider shadow boxing, used as warm-up, as air techniques you're quite right.

    Purely 'air techniques' I even do not consider martial, but training techniques with little resistance is a first level in training. Is something wrong with that? Or 'all' martial arts are correct? What is your disappointment about MA?
     
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2017
  16. DaveB

    DaveB 2nd Black Belt

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    So might not the manifestation of your principles be the thing that differentiates your style from the next?

    How come it's not the method of fighting that distinguishes the fighting style?

    The absence I mentioned in my post to Hoshin is precisely that: fighting.

    I believe martial arts were created to encapsulate specific strategies that were then supported and ingrained through their training regimes.

    You see this in boxing and MMA all the time. For all the talk of homogenising fighting with a boxing/muay Thai stand-up game, a wrestling game and a ground game, there have emerged not just fighters but champions, displaying unique fighting methods.

    Compare Mohammed Ali to Mike Tyson (in his prime). One used footwork and distance to snipe his opponents before coming in for the kill. The other used body movement to evade everything while close up and bludgeon his opponents.

    Their training differed because it was helping each of them be better at their specific fighting style, but ultimately faster tougher stronger is what training is about. Without the fighting style to guide their requirements their training would be the same.

    I think Itosufication began the process of de-emphasising fighting methodology in karate, turning specialists of 3-5 Kata systems into 10-20 Kata generalists.

    I think Bruce Lee put the nail in the coffin by popularizing the cool and pragmatic sounding "take whatever works" philosophy.

    Whatever the cause, martial artists seem to place all their emphasis on the development phase rather than the execution. How we conduct ourselves in a fight; our route from conflict start to conflict end is in my view, what defines a fighting style.
     
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2017
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  17. DaveB

    DaveB 2nd Black Belt

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    ???

    Why do you keep thinking I am trying to make some sort of value judgement about ma?

    I'm interested in distinct fighting styles. I find very often though that people don't believe they exist or that the few that do suck.

    I'm curious about who actually has a strategic element to their art, what it is, and why others don't.

    I have no disappointment in ma, nor do I care who thinks which styles are good or bad. I mentioned air techniques purely as a common component of ma training.
     
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2017
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  18. marques

    marques 3rd Black Belt

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    My strongest background is an hybrid self-defence system. The essential strategy there was avoiding opponent strengths. Nothing special, but having a range of options and no speciality (as a system - individuals could have), this strategy was quite mandatory.

    At the end, the strategy was often short distance striking and putting the opponent on the ground (not much BJJ at that time). It was using the space between striking and grappling, without much wrestling curiously.

    In Muay Thai, the strategy is quite similar. Having options from teep to clinch, it may be smart fighting in the range that doesn't please the opponent. Or just using our A game, if it is good enough. Or using a mix of both.

    Ps: Sorry if I misunderstand you, twice.
     
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2017
  19. DaveB

    DaveB 2nd Black Belt

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    No worries.

    Did the self defence strategy manifest purely in terms of the fight or did you apply it to pre-fight conflict management?
     
  20. marques

    marques 3rd Black Belt

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    Also to pre-fight conflict management. It is hard to assess the fighting skills of someone before the fight itself. But we can 'guess' their fitness level, how many they are, check the environment and escape routes, intentions, hidden weapons... and chose the best option accordingly. Also, I am not great at defending punches, and every punch in the eyes is effective, so avoiding opponent's punching range is the only sort of standard I have.

    It may seem too much thinking for a conflictuous moment. But if you train self defence every day or week, always listening the same advises, these assessments become natural. Sometimes it is my thinking exercise: If that guy comes to me looking for trouble right now, what could I do? How many they are? Am I alone? Do I need to protect someone else? Do I know the place? And so on. I do not have a standard solution. If time is short, my body may act without conscious decision. Hopefully, not much trouble last years (and I hope I am not worse than I think, which is another trap).
     

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