The style debate

Discussion in 'General Martial Arts Talk' started by AceVentura, Jul 25, 2020.

  1. AceVentura

    AceVentura Orange Belt

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    Let's be honest about this.

    All martial arts are valid and no style is inferior to any other.

    Except for the style you train.



    :cigar:
     
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  2. skribs

    skribs Grandmaster

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    One of the things I find is that most style bashing is really just excuses that people make for the gaps in their style or training. This defense mechanism comes from the fact that people have identified what they think is "best". It might be the best art, the best training method, the best testing method, or even the best purpose of training martial arts.

    Let's say, for example, that I train Muay Thai. I decide Muay Thai is the best martial art, because it has comprehensive striking AND stand-up grappling, it has a very strong competition focus, and it has a large amount of prominence in the UFC. I can then look down own any other art, because it doesn't meet these criteria:
    • Karate may also have stand-up striking and stand-up grappling. But the grappling isn't often used in competition, and the competitions are usually about points instead of KOs.
    • BJJ might have a strong competition scene and be prominent in the UFC, but it doesn't have striking.
    • Boxing might have a strong competition scene and be prominent in the UFC, but it doesn't have kicks, knees, elbows, or nearly as comprehensive a clinch.
    • Wing Chun has striking and trapping, but it does not have a strong competition scene, nor is it common in UFC.
    • Krav Maga may have striking and grappling, but it does not have a strong competition scene, nor is it common in UFC.
    From here, I have established that not only is Muay Thai the best, but I have established the failings of those other arts. Therefore, when someone comes in and says they train BJJ, I can easily look down my nose at this inferior art and say "that's cool, but you have no idea how to strike." Of course, there are holes in what Muay Thai teaches, so any of them can look down on me in the same way:
    • Karate may look down on me, because we don't do any forms (so you're missing out on some benefits) and because with fights going to KO so often, you're risking brain damage
    • BJJ may look down on me, because once we are on the ground I will have no chance
    • Boxing may look down on me, because they spend 100% of their time on punches and feel they've earned the right to be the best punchers, so why should I bother training punching in Muay Thai when I can box?
    • Wing Chun may look down on me for being overly focused on competition instead of self-defense
    • Krav Maga may look down on me for not including situations like multiple attackers or knife defense
    What you're seeing here is the typical response someone has. It very easily creates tension and arguments between martial artists. The response to each of these is then to point out why it's useless to be good at whatever it is that the other arts say I'm missing out on. Often, it's why I can do better with my training than they can with theirs, even in those situations. For example,
    • I might tell the Karate guy that forms are useless.
    • I might tell the BJJ guy that ground-fighting is stupid if you're on concrete or if they have friends.
    • I might tell the boxer that it doesn't matter how well you can punch if you don't know how to react to a kick.
    • I might tell the Wing Chun guy that he has no clue how well his techniques work if he doesn't do competitions.
    • I might tell the Krav Maga guy that training against multiple attackers or knife defense is a waste of time, because you'll just lose that fight anyway. I mean, fight for your life if you are attacked, but don't bother training it.*
    *I'm going to criticize this one right now, because I hear it a lot. "My BJJ where I've never done knife defense is going to be better than your Aikido for defending against a knife attack." This means that you're adjusting to the new parameters of the fight (the edged weapon) on the fly. Right now I'm studying for the CISSP, a cyber-security exam. One thing that comes up in Disaster Recovery is to have a plan before the disaster hits. For example, what will you do if there's a fire, an earthquake, or a hurricane? Having a plan in-place (in this case, having training in-place) will help prepare you to respond immediately to the disaster. Otherwise, you have to start figuring things out in the heat of the moment, and you're a lot more likely to make mistakes.

    Instead, I have a couple of other options:
    • Tell the karate guy that forms are not my thing. Or ask him to teach me his forms.
    • Tell the BJJ guy that groundfighting doesn't exist in a Muay Thai competition, and that in a real fight I'll lean on my strengths. Or ask him to teach me some groundfighting.
    • Tell the boxer that I prefer the more comprehensive rules of Muay Thai. Ask to do some light sparring, and see if I can teach him ways to avoid kicks and the clinch, and if he can help improve my punching.
    • Tell the Wing Chun guy that my focus is on competition; that isn't a bad thing. Talk to him and see if he's got ideas about situations where I'm not prepared for, and to see if I can help him pressure test his abilities
    • Tell the Krav Maga guy that since knives aren't allowed in the ring, and neither will I be fighting multiple opponents, I'm not going to spend training time on those scenarios. Or take his advice, go to class, and find a few guys to spar 2-on-1, or give one of them a rubber knife and have him "attack" me and try and fend him off.
    The healthy options are to accept the risk of having that skill gap, or to cross-train to decrease that skill gap. The unhealthy option is to start playing this "my art is better than your art" game, which nobody wins. It's one thing to have a healthy understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of your art (and other arts). It's another thing to assume that the only strengths that matter are yours, and the only weaknesses that matter are theirs.
     
  3. Gweilo

    Gweilo Master Black Belt

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    Imo, styles are good for basics, but when you follow a duplicatable system, it makes you easier to read, for example, you train yourself for muscle memory, its great for reaction, or putting together a series of stylised movement, the down being, you only move in certain ways, this can make you predictable, the body only moves in certain ways, with repetative training, you force the body to move in a certain way, forming patterns.Patterns are recognisable, recognisable makes you predictable., far better to study natural movement, and disguise your strikes within that movement, making you able to strike from non familiar angles, and at speeds, not recognisable from routine, serial movement.
     
  4. Headhunter

    Headhunter Senior Master

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    There’s no such thing as a bad style or the wrong style. Everyone has their own preference. Whether it’s hard or soft styles. Whether it’s physical training or internal training, whether it’s sport orientated or self defence or fitness everyone has their own preference and no one is wrong either way
     
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  5. drop bear

    drop bear Sr. Grandmaster

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    This is not the case in any other activity. If we mesure by performance.

    Why is martial arts unique in this idea?

    So imagine I wanted to run fast. I could not do any sort of training and have the same result.

    There will be specific training programs or styles that work. And there will be ones that don't.

    This would be self evident to fast runners. This would even be logical to your average person. And with enough of a Google would be backed up by scientific evidence and statistics.

    This would be aside from genetics. Which would also factor. And even aside from work ethic. Which would factor.
     
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  6. skribs

    skribs Grandmaster

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    I don't know about that. Any style I've learned it's been about reacting to what your opponent gives you and being unpredictable. In Taekwondo, I have about 10 different kicks, which might easily be combined into 30 "techniques" when you include variables such as footwork. You may expect me to kick, but you don't know where that kick is coming from, because I can hit you in the body or the head in several different ways with each leg.
     
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  7. Kung Fu Wang

    Kung Fu Wang Grandmaster

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    In MA, there is no right or wrong but trade off.

    In this Chen Taiji clip, his punch has a lot of power. But in this clip, each strike takes about 1 second. In a fight, you just don't have that 1 second.

    If a Chen Taiji guy says that his style has better power generation than your style has,



    You may say that your style has better speed generation than his style has.

     
  8. isshinryuronin

    isshinryuronin Purple Belt

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    Reminds me of that scene in "Billy Jack" when he tells this yahoo he's going to kick him on the left side of his head using his left foot and "there's nothing you can do to stop it," and then Billy executes an inside crescent kick - Bam! Every technique has many variables to keep the opponent guessing. Most everyone who sparred Joe Lewis KNEW he was going to throw a lead side thrust kick to their ribs - Most of them got hit with a lead side thrust kick to their ribs, anyway.

    Timing, footwork, feinting, angles, positioning, etc, provides endless variety to even a single technique. Anyone can execute a technically good strike, but to land it usually takes "art." Art being defined as manipulating these variables to be effective against the specific opponent. Sure, a technically good kick will land - sometimes - especially if the opponent makes a mistake. But the art of controlling these variables is what makes the technique work when YOU want, not just taking what the opponent gives you.

    IMO, rather than spending time practicing 100 different techniques, practice just 25, and spend more time on mastering the variables. I think we spend too much effort in mastering the technique instead of mastering the art of how to effectively deliver it. A 1st degree black usually is a great technician (having mastered the technique). A 4th degree black should be an artist (having mastered the variables.)
     
  9. Gweilo

    Gweilo Master Black Belt

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    I used to think this way too, the problem is, and Isshinryu picked up it, you are not efficient at it until you reach higher Dans, and I dont know the %, but how many students reach these higher Dans, how many students reach the higher Dans in an effective art.
    Most arts are taught in a syllabus that is regimented, a duplicatable system, and it has to be, so the student reaches certain levels of skill, regardless if certain skills suit the students or not. I have not trained in HKD for some time, but if an opportunity presents itself, I will use a technique from HKD, even though I am no longer a Hapkidoist, I still move like a Hapkidoist when executing. Yourself from what I recall are TKD and some HKD, kicks from both these arts are very similar, they have a Korean style to them, and no matter how you mix it up, your hips your shoulders and other things reveal your training, and can leave you readable, easier said than done I grant you that.
    Although it pains me to say it, @drop bear is correct when he says you only know what your teacher teaches, and that is no guarentee of quality. Imo moving naturally, how we are designed to move is more efficient, and less predictable, but I agree, a duplicatable syllabus is needed to reach certain levels, But it does not need to be stylised., you can reach these levels and not stand in neat lines punching the air for hours, neither do you need to put huge amounts of stress to your joints, that put you at risk of permanent pain in later life, I said this before, look how bill superfoot wallace walks nowdays, look at the videos of older Japanese masters, watch the movement in the knees and hips.
     
  10. drop bear

    drop bear Sr. Grandmaster

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    All martial arts are going to claim efficiency in movement and unpredictability though.

    The only time someone has suggested that a body part should move in a way it is not ment to be moved is when you are moving someone else's.
     
  11. Gweilo

    Gweilo Master Black Belt

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    The human body was not designed to perform the axe kick, it is capable of it by using certain movement, from certain training.
     
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  12. Buka

    Buka Sr. Grandmaster

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    Seven pages. :)
     
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  13. hoshin1600

    hoshin1600 Senior Master

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    the issue is martial arts is not measured by a single data point or unit of measure. The REASON people train will dictate how they train and the ultimate end result. The overwhelming majority of martial artists train for enjoyment. Training for effectiveness involves a level of unpleasant experience and negative emotion often at a level that would offset the level of enjoyment received from training.
    to use myself as example at this point in my life i am not willing to train in such a way that it could have a negative effect on my lively hood and ability to support my family. i will gladly sacrifice performance for longevity. this is a situation many people struggle with and the consequence is that this trade off between Performance / enjoyment is that the end result is the measure of performance is theoretical. However the other units of measure like the overall sense of well being and enjoyment is concrete. the art can be valued for these other benefits over performance and measured as such.
    The problem comes in when the community at large continues to place performance measures above the other benefits. People will judge their art on a theoretical performance.
     
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  14. Rat

    Rat Master Black Belt

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    Its just caterogorisations for what they do/how they do it (if they are sub styles). The whole "oh you beat that person up pretty well, where did you learn that" means that the person who taught you it, probbly can teach them to do the same thing, and teach any average person the skillset. (lets be fair, your a **** teacher if you cant teach the average person to do things, there is a very small subset of person who cannot be taught and its down to mental or physical disability usually)

    Providing the teachers he has green lighted are good, they probbly can do the same thing as well.



    Saying style doesnt matter is pretty much like saying Meyers longsword is like Shindo Muso Ryu. Or saying Boxing and Judo are the same to be honest. (not saying anyone said that, just a example)


    Addendum: Just thought about it, its possible sub style rivalry started this style nonsense in the way we see it today. Like, my karate is better than your karate. As opposed to Karate is better than boxing or something like that, i can see why it would taint what styles are if you are used to it denoting a diffrent flavour rather than a seperate thing in whole. Anyway thats just ranting on the subject. Over specilisation as well hasnt helped this whole affair.
     
  15. skribs

    skribs Grandmaster

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    Considering how every student has different strengths and weaknesses, different techniques that they favor, I find this to be painfully incorrect.

    One guy at my school favors the Mike Tyson style of punching. One guy favors the boxing style. One girl has a reputation for groin kicks. Some of the kids are really good at tornado kicks and spin hooks. I personally favor "flick kicks", where you do multiple kicks without puttinv your foot down. Some of the kids favor double roundhouse or back kick. Some prefer to be patient and use a teep.

    You can spar 10 people at my school and get ten different strategies. And it's not just at the high dans. People come in with their own proclivities, their own strengths and weaknesses.

    I couldn't imagine a school where everyone fights the same way.
     
  16. drop bear

    drop bear Sr. Grandmaster

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    Yeah but your personal investment in the training doesn't change the performance of the training.

    It changes your performance. Which is a different thing.

    Again if we compared cancer medications and crystal healing. And then suggested crystals work better because you don't actually take the cancer medication and crystals make you happier.

    Well I think you would do prison time if you tried to sell that.
     
  17. drop bear

    drop bear Sr. Grandmaster

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    Ok. Now human bodies can demonstrably perform the axe kick.

    So how are you getting that they are not supposed to?
     
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  18. Gweilo

    Gweilo Master Black Belt

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    I dont know your beleifs, wether you beleive in a god created Bi peds, or they evolved, the Axe kick was invented/devised in the mid 20th century, bi peds ( 2 legs) have been around for hundreds of thousands of years, we have (usually) 2 legs, stylised kicking is mans invention, the human body is capable of it, with training, but not an efficient design for it, we have 2 legs to support our structure in or out of movement, my claim is not we shouldnt do it, but its not a natural movement, man has been to space, but he was not designed to. This goes back to my point about stylised movement, as the body is moving in certain ways that are not natural, it make the stylised move easier to predict.
     
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  19. Gweilo

    Gweilo Master Black Belt

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    Good for you and your school, but do you teach the same technique for example a roundhouse, pivoting the foot to open the hips etc?
    You break down the technique, and correct the student at points that they deviate from the correct execution, the same way your teacher instructed you, your styles position in stance, movement, generation of power, execution, finishing balanced and ready to transition to another technique.
     
  20. drop bear

    drop bear Sr. Grandmaster

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    I don't think we really have a good enough understanding of our design to essentially know.

    Rather than the body is capable of effectively striking from that position.123
     

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