Are all MA Systems equally good?

Joab

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Are all merely different paths up the same mountain, equally valid, some simply work better for some people than others, or are some systems really better when it comes to practical, street smart self defense? All opinions appreciated.
 

Thesemindz

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Are all merely different paths up the same mountain, equally valid, some simply work better for some people than others, or are some systems really better when it comes to practical, street smart self defense? All opinions appreciated.

Definitely some are better for practical street smart self defense than others.

But that isn't the only reason people train in martial arts. So while some may be better for self defense, others are better for competition fighting, others are better for demonstrations, and others are better for mental or spiritual growth, etc, etc.

They aren't all equal when held up to any individual standard, but ultimately the question of this style versus that style is mostly a waste of time. If you don't have a good, knowledgable instructor, the best martial arts in the world would be a waste of time.


-Rob
 

AoCAdam

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It would really depend on what you are looking for in a martial art. All Martial Arts have a place and time for them. Defining what you may be looking for would help to gauge what Martial Arts are considered equally good.
 

Andy Moynihan

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Are all merely different paths up the same mountain, equally valid, some simply work better for some people than others, or are some systems really better when it comes to practical, street smart self defense? All opinions appreciated.

All have the same worth, but have it for different reasons.

Went into this in head-imploding detail a while back, maybe you'll find something of sense in it that'll help you answer this:

http://www.martialtalk.com/forum/showthread.php?t=57960
 

Andrew Green

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No, some are even bad and borderline cults. Some are basically passing off larping as reality.

Even only looking at the good ones, and good instructors you need to define a objective before you can decide if a system is good or not, different systems have different benefits attached to them.
 

shesulsa

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No they're not, though you'd have to have a common measuring stick.

The problem with a unifying measuring stick is that not all systems teach the same underlying elements or principles. Some styles are more geared to competition based on western ideas of controlled point systems to minimize violence and injury, hence they may not be suited for combat. Some systems are geared towards paramilitary training or to supplement training for LEOs and military personnel. Others focus on one weapon or a class of weaponry. Then there are arts which have traditional roots and work on art preservation as well as adaptability and contemporary fighting tactics and weaponry, use of self-betterment and kata for fitness, balance improvement, etcetera.

A person really has to decide what they want to get out of their individual martial arts training. Some people want to be the meanest - or at least, most capable - bad *** in town. Others want more contain/control technique focus and weapons retention.

And there are some people who just want an endeavor wherein they can make friends, challenge their growth and betterment, stay fit, discpline themselves, stretch their boundaries, etcetera.

There's nothing wrong with any of these things.

The key is really to find what system trains what you want to train, for your passion, your purpose, your abilities within reason.

Then you need to find a teacher with a respectable and verifiable history.

If you want to train in Tae Kwon Do and then compete in the cage, you're on the wrong tack.

If you want to train in BJJ and MMA and compete in a TMA tournament, you're on the wrong tack.

If you're taking Isshin Ryu and want to be able to take anybody at anytime, you're on the wrong tack.

But if your teacher is high ranking in Judo, holds rank in a few other styles and has worked extensively with law enforcement of various types and has military experience and can tailor your learning experience for YOUR needs and desires? Then you're probably on a very, very good tack.
 

exile

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And further to Shesulsa's excellent post...

... if what you want is hard, cold, street defense, you can find it in just about any of the TMAs. The technical content is there. The various styles of Karate, Taekwondo, Tang Soo Do and a few others have almost identical combat resources; Aikido, Hapkido, the FMAs and several others have somewhat different, but equally effective potential for unarmed SD at close quarters. So the real question is, who is teaching you? Is your Shotokan or KKW TKD instructor teaching you the full set of joint locks and close-in strikes for maximum damage to an attacker's head, throat or upper body, or are they teaching you for the ring? Because if they're seriously training you for the formerand that involves very different kinds of training than what you find in most schoolsyou're going to come away with the capacity to inflict real, sincere and probably decisive damage on even determined violent attackers. The question is, are you getting that kind of training? Because it's not the technical content of the art per se that counts here, it's the way that art is applied, and the way the practitioner approaches a situation of unsought, unavoidable violence, that determines how good your MA is in that context.

In other words, look at the training methods and protocols. Training in exchanges of violence with serious partners under reasonably faithful simulations of out-and-out assault is going to teach you to handle such assault situations very effectively, whether it's TKD, Isshin-Ryu or Long Fist Ch'uan Fa. Learning to 'spar' at a comfortable distance of eight to ten feet or so with an opponent, as opposed to an enemy, is going to teach you to spar under tournament conditions. Not the same thing at all. As Shesulsa suggests, define what you want, as specifically as possible, and then find a school that teaches it. That's the trick.
 

Msby

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If I may put my personal view on this, I'll use your idea of the mountain. Consider that there are three places on the top of the mountain that different people want to get to. There is a place with a great view which requires snow shoes to get to, a place to collect rocks which requires cleats to get to, and a place to just sit under a tree and relax which requires hiking boots to get to.

Let's say a person with hiking boots goes up the mountain to relax. Part way up, he decides to go on the trail which leads to the great view. Because he's not wearing snow shoes, it's a bit more difficult for him to get up that trail, but eventually he makes it up.

I hope that made sense! (Sorry, I make weird analogies! :p)

But from a martial arts perspective, here's another personal opinion. At the school where I learn tae kwon do, we learn TKD, basics of boxing, and basics of grappling. To practice hand strikes other than jabs, straights and hooks, I put in extra time to look into the forms and find steps with a "practical application". To practice wrist locks, I asked a friend who studies Hapkido to help me. Basically what I'm trying to say is, if you put in the extra time to work on the things that are not taught as much wherever you learn, you can make any system work for you.

take my newbie advice with a cup of salt
 

Balrog

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Are all merely different paths up the same mountain, equally valid, some simply work better for some people than others, or are some systems really better when it comes to practical, street smart self defense? All opinions appreciated.

IMNSHO, it really depends on what the student wants to get out of the training. All of them will teach you self-defense to some degree, but some will emphasize life skills, some will emphasize mortal combat, some will fall in between.
 

sgtmac_46

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Are all merely different paths up the same mountain, equally valid, some simply work better for some people than others, or are some systems really better when it comes to practical, street smart self defense? All opinions appreciated.
Equally good for what?

All have their purpose, but understanding a things purpose is the key. No system can be all things to all people. Some are better for street self-defense, some are better for the ring, some are better to send your kids to learn respect and discipline, etc.
 

punisher73

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Equally good for what?

All have their purpose, but understanding a things purpose is the key. No system can be all things to all people. Some are better for street self-defense, some are better for the ring, some are better to send your kids to learn respect and discipline, etc.


Exactly. It's like saying which is better, a hammer or a screwdriver? Both are tools that fit a certain job. All MA's were created for a specific enviornment that was encountered by it's early founders. If you are in the same type of environment and you have trained your art properly than it is good. If it works for you, it is good.
 

MJS

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Are all merely different paths up the same mountain, equally valid, some simply work better for some people than others, or are some systems really better when it comes to practical, street smart self defense? All opinions appreciated.

All arts have the potential to be effective. As I said in another thread, I usually put more on how each person trains. Now, there are some systems that get right to the 'meat' and eliminate the side dishes. An example...take Kenpo and Krav Maga. Both arts are, IMHO, very effective. However, there are no katas in KM, so time saved from not doing that, could be spent on other areas. KM tends to be an art that is simple, effective, easy to learn and the material can be retained with little to no practice. I wouldn't say the same about Kenpo. If you're not training the techs. and kata, chances are they may start to fade from memory.

Again, don't take this as me putting Kenpo down. Its the art I've been doing for the past 20 odd years, so if I didn't like it, I'd have left a long time ago. :)

We can pretty much say the same about any RBSD art out there. While they're not really teaching any new per se, its their method of training that seperates them from other arts. Another example...in a TMA you will probably be more likely to see people in a static stance training punches, where as the RBSD guys, while they're probably doing the same strikes, are taking up a boxing stance, adding movement and training that way.

Again, this isn't to say that the TMAs dont do this, but from what I've seen, its usually done static first.
 

shesulsa

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Equally good for what?

All have their purpose, but understanding a things purpose is the key.

Exactly. It's like saying which is better, a hammer or a screwdriver? Both are tools that fit a certain job.

Exactly. They're all apples. Some are for eating, some are for baking, some are for seeding, some are just ... worthless. ;)
 

Aiki Lee

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I think we all pretty much agree here. I personally think that any martial arts system is better than none (with the exception of crack pots who oobviously cause more harm than good), but clearly there are arts more suited for competition, self-defense, and life or death struggle.
 

Bill Mattocks

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Short answer, no. They are not comparable in many respects, so there can be no statement of equality that is accurate.

It is like asking if an apple and an orange are equal. They are in some ways - small, round, edible, people seem to like them mostly. And they are different in many other ways - nutrition, vitamins, ability to grow in different climates, disease resistance, etc, etc.

Martial Arts are all self-defense methods. That's about as far as I'm thinking you can reasonably take it.
 

Xue Sheng

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Are all MA Systems equally good?

No actually they are all horribly useless and that is why they were developed for various fights and conditins and that is also why they have been around for so long

:D
 
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