The potential of TMA

Discussion in 'General Martial Arts Talk' started by Obsidian Fury, Oct 3, 2018.

  1. Obsidian Fury

    Obsidian Fury Orange Belt

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    First of all a little disclaimer: I like all types, styles, shapes, and flavors of martial arts I have trained judo and TKW for about 20 years, researched about many other styles around the world, I have been a competitor, and I have even been in the cage as a guest in the local MMA gym (In which I lost miserably once we where both on the floor, my ne waza wasn’t nearly as good as the other guy, still it was a lot of fun and my opponent was the nicest guy). The purpose of this post is not to put any style or form over another but to talk about the potential hidden in several systems.

    I worked this a idea ever since a friend of mine who does Tai Chi Chuan and I decided to hold a friendly sparring, more along the lines of randori, both exerting force on each other so it didn’t turn into a dance choreography but not so competitive that we can’t experiment. At the beginning it was awkward for me as I didn’t feel much oomph from him but as we progressed he did some sort of pull and immediately landed something called a Fa Jing on my jaw and I was out it was marvelous, that little combo was like a concentrated explosion of power something very special I learned a lot that day.

    Some say that TMAs work some say they don’t, and then the classic debate of MMA vs TMA starts again. After a lot of research, training, and some experiences outside my comfort zone I’ve come to hypothesize that all sorts of MA work we just have to learn properly several moves that look silly and do not work in a fight rather than been useless the problem lies within the execution. For example in TKD when you throw a punch you pull your other hand towards your hip, you do that in a fight and that is an opening, however if the passive hand before traveling to the hip catches and pulls the other guy’s wrist then you got a hold on him, pulling with some strength could put him off balance and your punch is much more efficient at landing since the target is in a weaker position.

    I believe that many moves, even the extravagant ones can work when used properly under the right circumstances, as my sensei says look for available techniques rather than forcing a technique on your opponent. There is a problem to this and that is that the transfer of information throughout martial arts history hasn’t been perfectly preserved, in some old texts the moves are described in the format of small poems thus learning the applications becomes more difficult, this I would solve with serious research and experimentation. Look at the HEMA guys they had to decode old manuscript and experiment a lot to bring the systems back to life, in the same way any martial art can get that treatment.

    Just like the MMA guys all martial arts that wish to be effective at fighting have to spar and fight in a competitive environment with an opposing opponent and stress, we have to become better athletes as technique can improve with physical prowess, we have to cross train, cross spar, and cross fight, we can learn a lot from other systems. We must also be more accepting of the opinion of others as everyone has something to teach and we can all learn.

    We must also pursuit aesthetics for efficiency so that effectivity is not compromised, but a beautiful executed move with some nasty power behind it can do wonders I believe that, and my molars really experienced that Fa Jing.

    We must also pursuit discipline and keep traditions, the greatest warriors in human history practiced every day for hours, we have to dedicate ourselves to learn the whole thing. However we are currently in the 21st century teaching and learning have become more efficient, we can learn more in less time if we do it correctly with the aid of modern technology.

    I believe that there are many missing parts in the martial arts due to poor interpretation but there are just as many opportunities to find something amazing. Learning to fight with a sword or a spear will definitely not make you weaker and while you can’t take a spear to a boxing match you may learn something useful from that different experience.

    We also need context, I always try to take thing for what they are rather than for what I want them to be, forms are great there is a lot of knowledge in forms but that will only carry so far in a different situation, to apply forms in combat we have to do combat and experiment and look for the way to apply forms, sparing is the same if we spar with no technique we will only appreciate some lousy kick boxing. Competitions, combat, and self defense are different things we must not mix them.

    Competitions are regulated you have to fight in a certain way, combat against a skilled fighter requires a totally different type of strategy, fighting against several fighters requires yet another strategy, and self defense requires yet another different strategy. In the book Kodokan Judo by Jigoro Kano there is a chapter solely dedicated to self defense the term used is Goshinjutsu and it is a complete different animal from Judo.

    Martial arts have curriculum that is not very popular for different reasons, an example is TKD it has grappling and the use of some weapons, amongst other things however since competition TKD is very popular and doesn’t include those many Sabonims don’t teach that. Yet it exist.

    With the easy access that we have today to all sorts of information I believe that all styles of MA can be restored to what they where meant to be and improved further since civilization advances the arts must adapt and evolve accordingly while keeping their past.

    What are your opinions do the MA styles regarded as outdated or useless hold impressive potential? I say yes.


    Well maybe not every style or at least definitely not this one:



    I say everything legit has the potential to be good and we should be unraveling lost knowledge and accepting rather than rejecting.
     
  2. Headhunter

    Headhunter Senior Master

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    Of course. I mean anything can work. All this style vs style bs is just ego trips. There's only so many ways you can punch, kick, block, takedown etc. at the end of the day it's all very similar and everything has its place in the world. I don't get the need to have the best martial art. What does it matter what's best? The fun of martial arts is that is so much to learn it'd be boring if there was only one style. Everyone has their own reasons for training and if I meet a guy who's really happy training at a mcdojo getting a belt every month and enjoying being part of the clubs group and getting out the house who am I to judge.
     
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  3. Hanzou

    Hanzou Grandmaster

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    I say no. Some TMAs have been watered down to the point of no return. I am also of the opinion that some TMAs were BS from the get-go and were never effective, and the disciples of these styles simply created fantastical stories of their masters beating hundreds of armed manchu warriors with their hands tied behind their back. These arts merely survived because they were in a bubble and never really needed to be tested in any real way.

    Finally there are the "Real deal" styles who weren't transmitted properly because their founders or gifted exponents simply didn't trust their students and decided to hold back the good stuff and left their student with a neutered martial art.

    At this point with all the information and technology out there that can piece together the past, if your martial art isn't working, it's never going to work.
     
  4. Obsidian Fury

    Obsidian Fury Orange Belt

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    You are right the MA universe is huge and we all have our reasons for training, I particularly train for the sake of learning something I didn't know so I get super exited at the possibility that the MA universe is actually much bigger thus there are more things to learn much more than meets the eye. It is just like candy the world wouldn't be as good if the only candy to ever exist was kit kat. The variety makes it fun and I believe that it can become more diverse.
     
  5. Obsidian Fury

    Obsidian Fury Orange Belt

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    That is definitely another option there is a lot of BS out there and BS has been around ever since humans walked the earth. But what can be rescued I believe deserves to be rescued and judged only after we unraveled the facts.
     
  6. skribs

    skribs Senior Master

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    The way I see it, there are 5 types of art. For the sake of this discussion, I'll define them:
    • Martial Art - Art which is taught through first honing technique. The beginning stages will focus more on stances, drills, and forms more than actual fighting, with the goal to progress those techniques into concepts that can be used. Examples are most TMA.
    • Martial Science - Art which is focused on self defense and combat. It could be a military science like Combatives or a self defense system like Krav Maga.
    • Combat Sport - Art which is focused on competition, such as Olympic TKD, boxing, wrestling, MMA.
    • Exercise - Art which focuses less on sparring and more on personal wellness, such as Cardio Kickboxing or how most people in the West use Tai Chi.
    • Demonstration Art - Art which is designed to look good (such as Wushu or tricking)
    Disclaimer: arts can be more than one. Taekwondo is a Martial Art in its forms/defense system and a Combat Sport in the olympic sparring rules, and can be a demonstration art in terms of Gymtaek and TKD dance.

    Now, I put Tai Chi into "exercise", but it sounds like your friend has taken it more as a Martial Art, with the intention of learning the connection between mind and body before applying the technique.

    The first three I defined are all ways to learn to fight. The latter two are more for wellness and expression than anything else. So when you're comparing their effectiveness, we should look at the first three.

    1. Martial Arts have several benefits. Someone who has a mastery of an art (not just the techniques, but the concepts, principles, and applications of the art) can have a significant understanding of the human body, and how to defend it or break it. Martial arts are not limited like sports are, and can get much more creative in how to defeat an opponent. Martial Arts are especially good for kids, as ways to help them learn how to study, practice, and be respectful. I've taught plenty of my advanced students skills that will help them get a job, such as how to respectfully argue with a superior, how to handle it when you won't be able to show up when scheduled, etc.

      The weakness of a martial art is generally how long it takes before you start seeing results compared to a martial science or sport. It can take time to progress from the trainer techniques to the real techniques, or to connect form to application. Where in boxing, you train your punches as you would punch. This is only a weakness in the short term, and it is something that is more of an advertising problem than a problem with the method itself. People in the West want instant results and we want to immediately see the connection of what is taught to what we will use in a real situation.

    2. Martial Sciences are the quick-and-dirty way of learning to fight...in general. They're a good sell for someone who doesn't care about forms or points. It's simply hard to argue that they don't work, because they are specifically designed with one goal in mind.

      Where the sciences lack is in what they don't teach. There isn't as big of an emphasis on the historical training methods, which are what draw many people to the arts (especially parents of kids who they want to build respect and a positive attitude). So while effective, they aren't for everyone.

    3. Combat Sports are generally going to teach you how to spar better than any of the other methods, because that's what they're built around. But they're usually highly specialized, and you miss a lot in them too. As a 3rd degree black belt in Taekwondo, I expect I could take on someone from any other art (except maybe Capoeira) and destroy them in a sparring match where punches and grappling are banned. I expect a boxer will destroy anyone if kicks are banned but punching is allowed. And same with a wrestler if grappling is the only method. An MMA fighter would likely lose all of those matches. A TMA fighter would likely lose all of those matches. But not because they are bad, but because their training is focused on a different objective.
     
  7. Obsidian Fury

    Obsidian Fury Orange Belt

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    I agree with what you say they are different from each other on purpose since their goals differ. Now do you think that there can be a wider middle-ground between the classifications you laid out to enrich each experience?
     
  8. Rat

    Rat 2nd Black Belt

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    Kind if a TL;DR moment. (also a big rant most likely)


    I dont have a MMA vs TMA, i have a which would you have wasted more time on when you have been stabbed or shot to near death. :p


    My viewpoint is more to time you spend being proficient and what their priortires are. Its no mystery a lot have the stance its for life and a black belt is when you actually properly start learning their style. For example your insutrctor could have started young and known more than adults they teach when they were those adults age because they started so young and they kept going all their life etc. And you might not realize it doesnt work for you until its too late or after several years of following it as they release more information for you etc.


    But then sport is about being good at that one sport.

    Neither is good in my eyes for purposes of defence of oneself but sport looks like it takes the least amount of time to get good combatives and fit in. So before 5 pages of the same thing reworded, go with the thing that wastes the least amount of time.


    I do personally hold a middle ground that you need to do something thats specifically made to be fore self defence use now days since most TMA has switched its objective to spirtual and emotional and generalized well being over maiming people and sport is to be good at that one particular sport. I see the problem in my own point but it reflects there being no good solution. :p


    Anyway, off i go before this gets longer. there may be some points in here that can be salvaged. but i reiterate and highlight the RANTY nature of this post. Really only posting this as i think it has at least one good point in it that i dont want to erase.
     
  9. hoshin1600

    hoshin1600 Senior Master

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    This is really a narrow view of the situation. There are far more reasons for the decline of an art.
    How about a real deal system that was lax in their standards over time?
     
  10. pdg

    pdg Senior Master

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    What about the large proportion of people who aren't doing it for self defence?

    What you're saying is kind of the same thing as saying that someone who wants to learn to weld should find a crochet teacher because that's more effective for crochet.
     
  11. Hanzou

    Hanzou Grandmaster

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    That could certainly be the case as well. The question is after years/decades/centuries of that lax instruction, could such a style be salvaged? Add on the fact that TMAs are notorious for not being open to change within their systems.
     
  12. pdg

    pdg Senior Master

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    There's definitely a need to have the best - and by that I mean the best for you.

    If it's not the best (or at the very least, suitable) for you, you'll quit.
     
  13. drop bear

    drop bear Sr. Grandmaster

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  14. Obsidian Fury

    Obsidian Fury Orange Belt

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    Now that I read it I do come of a bit ranty, what I was trying to convey is my belief that in every MA system there is more than meets the eye and that it is worthwhile digging into it. And find out if anyone thinks there might be more to it than we know.
     
    Last edited: Oct 3, 2018
  15. Obsidian Fury

    Obsidian Fury Orange Belt

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    Definitely many of the manuals of the older styles are rather cryptic, and in transmitting the art from one generation to another eventually will cause a loss of information. Thus reviewing the original source material, and experimenting following the scientific method might show us long lost knowledge with a pragmatic use. That makes sense to me. I know that in Europe Great Britain, Germany, France, Italy, and Spain have successfully salvaged martial arts from the middle ages 14th century with little source material and have done a bang up job that is HEMA. In the Baltics they have unraveled GLIMA the viking MA. In Greece Pankration is being successfully salvaged. The same thing could be done for Asia and the rest of the world, the more starting source material the better obviously however there are other ways. Currently a friend of mine a photographer and HEMA practitioner has been traveling throughout Latin America researching and documenting what he calls Historical Ibero American Martial Arts, meaning the MA that surfaced from the mix of the Spanish and Portuguese MA systems with the native systems thus resulting in several undocumented MA systems from Rio Bravo to Tierra del fuego. We might find some BS, some unsalvageable data, and we might also find some amazing overlooked data to improve all aspects of a style.
     
    Last edited: Oct 3, 2018
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  16. drop bear

    drop bear Sr. Grandmaster

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    If you don't you get dogma.

    Which might work for religion but isn't very useful in self defence.
     
  17. Obsidian Fury

    Obsidian Fury Orange Belt

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    That is right when researching we should look for facts, and more often than not we find things we don't like, but we must always question what is it we are doing and how to improve it.
     
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  18. Obsidian Fury

    Obsidian Fury Orange Belt

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    There have been successful cases in Europe with HEMA, GLIMA, and Pankration so Asia should have a pretty good chance however it requires a lot of work and dedication.
     
  19. Flying Crane

    Flying Crane Sr. Grandmaster

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    I would really suggest that there are simply lots of different methods, that came from different cultural groups and different eras in time. Some are old, some are new. They tend to lean toward a particular use based on their origins and based on the whims of those doing them today. Yet they can all be used for whatever end a person may desire.

    There is no TMA to contrast against Modern. They are all simply methods.

    The rest is all window dressing.
     
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  20. skribs

    skribs Senior Master

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    There's middle ground, there's things that fit into different categories, there's lots of things. These are kind of 5 archetypes, not 5 absolutes.

    For example, Hapkido by intent is a Martial Science, because it's purely focused on self defense. But by practice it's more of an Art, because it takes a long time before you're proficient enough in it to be useful.

    And while I listed the respect and attitude as a "pro" of the "martial art", I'm sure most boxing schools that are designed as an outreach to youth in the community are going to teach a lot of those principles as well. Maybe in a slightly different way, but they will.

    I would argue that by virtue, a Martial Art should teach with the "get it right the first time" method and get any bad habits out of the artist right away, while a martial science should be about getting people hitting pads and doing drills and then correcting them over time. Sports will depend on how soon you want to compete, if you want dirty technique now or clean moves in a couple years. But that's only to fit the archetype as I described.

    My Master uses the proprioception approach - let the student work through the technique and shape and polish it over years. It works in Martial Art because it's a few years before you see results, and it works in a Martial Science because you can get immediate results faster that way.

    I have a different teaching method I'd like to use - break all bad habits as they're noticed. But I don't use this method at my school because I'm not the master. This would be good for quickly accelerating someone through the Art approach I mention, once the student gets over the steep learning curve (if they can get over that steep learning curve while I'm busy hounding them). But I can also see it as a way to break people of bad habits in a sport or science (i.e. if they keep dropping their guard, smash 'em upside the head until they learn to keep their guard up...gently, though).

    So these aren't all set in stone, but they are kind of archetypes I see.
     

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