Traditional v modern

Discussion in 'General Martial Arts Talk' started by Gweilo, Jan 12, 2019.

  1. Gweilo

    Gweilo Blue Belt

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    My 1st real post on MT (please be gentle), having studied MA since the early 80s, There has been a lot of trends come and go. I have trained in 2 traditional styles, and am currently studying a modern system. I know MA are adapting new styles, new technologies, better nutrition, but recently I have questioned, would I advise a younger me, to start my journey in MA by studying a traditional art or a modern art? .
    In the system I currently train, we use techniques like breath work and body conditioning that have been around for centuries, and are, in my opinion vital, but why learn the meridians and meridian points when an anatomical or neurological strike (both from traditional arts) would be more efficient. I suppose what I am trying to say is why spend years learning how to win/survive/defend, when there could be a quicker more efficient way.
    I do believe traditional MA are still effective, but why would you spend 20 years learning an art form (technique names in its native language, the appropriate way to tie your belt). I don't regret training in traditional arts, but would I really tell a younger me to take that path.
    So are you a traditionalist or a modernist, or maybe you have a different view, I would love your opinion.
     
  2. gpseymour

    gpseymour MT Moderator Staff Member

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    My personal opinion is mixed on this. Firstly, we can toss out anything that is outdated - meaning it's based on an incorrect understanding of physiology or whatnot - and replace it with what we know now. Unfortunately some folks insist upon repeating the exact knowledge they remember being taught, rather than seeking the best knowledge currently available. The one exception to this would be where the outdated approach is a useful shorthand concept that produces useful results, even if the original explanation was incorrect. For instance, I still refer to "ki" in my teaching, though I don't use the traiditional explanation, and instead explain it's just the use of intent, musculature (tension and relaxation), and structure.

    Next, from a pure effectiveness/efficacy standpoint, we can quickly toss out or reduce the emphasis on anything that isn't reliably effective. This can range from pain pressure points (which I teach, but don't emphasize, as they aren't reliable), to most meridians (which I don't bother with at all, because they are at best unreliable), to grappling techniques that don't have good application.

    Now for the sticky bit. We can (and I have done) choose to leave in any of the above for one of at least two reasons: it's fun stuff to practice and learn, or it gives a way to practice movement/principles that reinforce other work.

    So we should really evolve our arts and bring in new knowledge and understanding. To do that, we have to let go of some of the old misunderstandings and less useful knowledge (so we don't overburden students with too much to learn). A rib punch is effective in more cases than a direct nerve strike to the forearm, so I'll spend more of my time teaching and training that rib strike. There are techniques in my primary art that aren't ever going to have direct application. I've left them in because of the principles they force students to practice, but have taken out all attempt to make direct applications from them and given that time to more reliable techniques (some of which were not in the syllabus I learned). I teach strikes mostly from a boxing-inspired approach, but return to the traditional methods of teaching for students who struggle (as they seem to respond better to those drills) and sometimes just as exercise.
     
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  3. jobo

    jobo Grandmaster

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    It depends what you mean by the terms and what you want to get out if your art? Boxing for instance is as old as any of the eastern arts, is that traditional ? Or do you just mean eastern and western ?

    Do you do your art just to learn how to fight, or for health, fitness and mental well being and you learn how to defend yourself ?

    A fair number if the modern fighting systems are based on quackery, or at least massive over estimate of the effectiveness of the techniques that teach, will they make you a better fighter than a traditional eartern art or a tradition western art, some what debatable !
     
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  4. Gweilo

    Gweilo Blue Belt

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    It was not a question about what I get out of my current art, it was a thought about all MA, how does a traditional art evolve, to make its training more current without upsetting the governing federations/traditionalists or diluting the art form, why spend time learning defence against a sword, when it would be more apt to spend more time practicing knife defence for example.
    And if advising yourself when you started which path to take, would you advise modern or traditional.
     
  5. gpseymour

    gpseymour MT Moderator Staff Member

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    I don't think it's a binary choice. I rather enjoy much of the traditional training found in JMA, and dislike other kinds of traditional JMA training. The same is true of more modern methods, and of other origins. If it produces the desired result, I don't care if it's modern or traditional. If I enjoy it, I don't care if it's modern or traditional.
     
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  6. jobo

    jobo Grandmaster

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    it's very much a question of what people want get out if their art, in fact that just about everything there is, if you don't want sword defence's don't do an art with sword defence's, though they have some cross over to base ball bat defence's so are far from useless. though if you can avoid being cut in half with a sword, you can probably avoid a knife

    you'll need to spell out your point, first by defining modern and traditional, and then what parts of tradition training you feel to be inferior and if your taking a about ring rmfighting of self defence,

    at the moment your just insinuating that there's a problem with traditional arts with out saying which arts or what the problem is,


    my art is karate, I find it relivent to modern days and wouldn't hesitate to recommend it to someone for general street defence, but not if they wanted to be an MMA fightetor a boxer, then I'd tell them to do MMA or boxing
     
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2019
  7. JowGaWolf

    JowGaWolf Grandmaster

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    Very wise lol.
    I think of this as enrichment education. It may not help me win a fight but it may provide me with better insight on how my body works. Stuff like this tends to be more of an introduction into the Traditional Medicine field.
    All martial artists learn 2 things (if you actually use it)
    1. How to Destroy the body and the body of your opponent.
    2. How to Heal the body and the body of your opponent.
    We see these 2 things topics consistently play out in this forum. People talking about injuries and how to heal the injuries. And when the injury is beyond "chat advice" you'll hear many of those same people recommend a doctor. So when you are learning about the meridians and meridian points think about that more as Knowledge Enrichment that may or may not become part of your future.

    Knowledge and Cultural Enrichment. One of the downsides that I see in MMA Fighters is that they fall short on the Knowledge Side of things unless they have previously trained in a traditional martial art system. Some of the things that we do like "How to tie a belt" have a secondary benefit. For belt tying, it's learning how to pay attention to detail. Tie a belt wrong and people will call you out on it. This same ability to pay attention to detail is the same skill set that I use when I fight. It's the slightest changes in details that makes it possible for me to exploit my opponent and defeat him/her.

    For me. I would have told my younger self to train harder and to let my instructors know that I was having difficulty in paying the $200 a month membership fee and to ask them if I could help around the school to pay off the other half. I didn't find out later on 30+ years later that my first school did things like that. I would have also told my younger self to not doubt the techniques and that there are more than one way to apply the techniques. Most importantly I would have told my younger self VIDEO RECORD EVERYTHING YOU CAN ARE ALLOWED TO RECORD. No matter how small and unimportant it seems. Record it.

    My older self has done some really awesome stuff with kung fu when the camera wasn't recording. The first thing that went to my mind is. Damn I should have been video recording this.
     
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  8. Flying Crane

    Flying Crane Sr. Grandmaster

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    I train in a traditional method, and I’ve not learned to defend against a sword, I’ve not learned about meridians, and it took barely a few minutes to learn to tie a belt and wear a gi and how and when and to whom to bow. So there isn’t any wasted time there.

    Perhaps your perception of what is a traditional system differs from mine.

    To me, it is simply a method that has been around for a fairly long time (the specific length of time is up to debate, to qualify as “traditional”), and over this time the method has proven itself to be an effective way to build useful skills.

    For me, training a traditional method has nothing to do with nostalgia for the past. Instead, it has to do with practicing a method that has a long history of working well.
     
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  9. hoshin1600

    hoshin1600 Senior Master

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    the first thing i would do, is realize that the question is framed from your own experience and bias. why learn meridians (or anything for that matter)? most of us didnt so the question is invalid. learning what you did is your experience and your journey. you chose it. every individual will have their own journey to follow and own path. Just because you didnt find certain aspects of your training valuable or interesting doesnt mean that bias will hold true for the next person. you cant advise others to train in a traditional or modern. that would be to assume everyone is the same, and their not. advise to pick a good teacher that offers something they enjoy and gives them the benefits that they want. as they mature their needs will change and so should their training. you cant jump to the end of the journey just to "save time". i would bet the younger you and the older you would not agree on much when it comes to what you want to get out of training,, so leave him alone and let him find his way.
     
  10. Gweilo

    Gweilo Blue Belt

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    It is not my intention to knock traditional MA, I myself trained in 2 traditional arts for just over 25 years, I achieved 3rd Dan in Bujinkan Ninjutsu, and 3rd Dan in traditional Hapkido. For neatly 3 years now I have been studying Systema, I loved training in my previous arts, but training in Systema which has no uniform or grading system (I fully understand achievements, goals, and traditional methods and philosophies), albeit Systema is a process and not a style in reality, I have just been thinking recently, that there is a lot unecessary time spent on unecessary processes.
    I agree with the little details that count, but surely the detail should be in the techniques, and as for belts and grading, they are good for beginners as rewards and goals, but beyond 1st Dan surely your technique should determine your grade.
     
  11. pdg

    pdg Senior Master

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    Well, that depends on what 1st Dan means to you (or more aptly, what it means to your organisation) and what each subsequent grade represents.

    And what happens as you age? Should you be periodically demoted as your physical ability degrades?

    And what's your benchmark? A 20 year old me should have had more capacity to develop technique compared to 40 year old me, so should 40 year old me never be allowed to advance?
     
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  12. gpseymour

    gpseymour MT Moderator Staff Member

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    I know of at least one association where it's literally impossible to progress beyond 1st dan without teaching on a regular basis for at least 3 years. In fact, it's pretty tough to get to 1st dan without teaching regularly for a year. Skill at technique is tested for 2nd dan, but you won't get to test if you haven't been actively teaching. Beyond 2nd dan, promotion is basically for producing instructors and furthering the art.
     
  13. Dirty Dog

    Dirty Dog MT Senior Moderator Staff Member

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    I think this is true for most arts. The only thing that varies is at what rank these things become factors.
    For us, you won't get to 1st Dan without teaching. Our Chodanbo students (black belt candidates) spend a year or more learning to teach before they're promoted to 1st Dan. As a matter of fact, the tests for chodanbo and 1st Dan are the same. That transition from student to teacher is the primary purpose of that rank.
    Skills are still tested beyond 1st, but 7th and above are definitely 'service to the art' ranks.
     
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  14. JowGaWolf

    JowGaWolf Grandmaster

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    First you have to have "an eye for details" Here's a good example.
    Techniques can't help you do the following:
    • Tell if someone is fully committed to a punch
    • Tell if someone is shifting weight on their back foot or front foot
    • Tell if someone is preparing to kick or punch
    • Tell if your opponent has a good root / stance or if he's got light feet
    • Tell if your opponent has tell-tale signs (something that happens before he/she takes action)
    • Tell if your opponent is picking up your tell-tale signs and how you are giving away what you are about to do.
    • Tell if your opponent is off balance
    • Tell if your opponent is about to be gassed out or if he's faking being tired
    • Tell if your opponent is really hurt or if he's faking it.
    • Tell if you are off balance or if you actually have a steady stance.
    • Tell if a person is going to kick, punch, or shoot for the legs.
    • De-escalation is all about small details.
    • Help you identify when someone will be open to an attack.
    • Help you if the person in front of you is actually signaling someone behind you.
    • If a person may have a weapon or gun on them.
    There are a lot of small details in fighting that will mess you up big time, if you don't recognize them. So starting off with knowing if a belt is tied correctly is a good easy start to get people in the habit of paying more attention to the smaller things (details) that matter. Eventually that detail becomes second nature and you'll know right away that something doesn't look right about how someone ties that belt. I would be willing to bet that how someone ties their belt can give insight on who and what they train.

    The small details in how someone stands can tell you if that person actually knows to fight or if he's totally clueless. I don't know how many MMA vs Kung Master videos I've seen where I can tell who is going to win just by how the person stands. It's like a collection of small details helping to draw a big picture. Technique will only take you so far.
     
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  15. Buka

    Buka MT Moderator Staff Member

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    If the older me told the younger me something, I wonder if the younger would have listened?

    As to which is better between traditional or modern, the answer is yes.
     
  16. JowGaWolf

    JowGaWolf Grandmaster

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    Nope. But then the Older would have beaten it into the younger you. lol
     
  17. pdg

    pdg Senior Master

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    How is the teaching assessed?

    I firmly believe that not everyone can teach, and of those who can, they still can't teach everyone.

    If someone is bad at teaching, can they still progress in other ways (having fulfilled a token few lessons of teaching)?
     
  18. Dirty Dog

    Dirty Dog MT Senior Moderator Staff Member

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    By observing their ability to pass on knowledge to students, of course.

    You're entitled to believe whatever you want. With whatever degree of firmness you want. Doesn't make it true.
    Some people are better teachers than others, certainly. But I've never found anyone who couldn't teach.

    Sure, they can progress as individuals, they can learn more, and they can grow as people. But since teaching is a rank requirement, those who don't teach won't be promoting.
     
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  19. pdg

    pdg Senior Master

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    We must have different views of what constitutes teaching...

    I've met schoolteachers who can't teach.
     
  20. pdg

    pdg Senior Master

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    Oh, and also.

    Having teaching as a rank requirement - I don't support it, but I don't have to. It doesn't affect me.

    But is it made clear right from the start that you'll be restricted in your rank if you don't teach?
     

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