Beginning a New Martial Arts Journey

Bill Mattocks

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Hello everyone

I trained in Hapkido back when I was in high school (from when I was 15-18); I'm 43 now (yeah...that long, LOL)

Anyway, I've been meaning to get back into training in some form of martial arts for a long time, but my problem is that I feel/believe that a lot of martial arts are too common. I suppose that's to be expected with how much history martial arts in general have. While I've always been fascinated with arts like Ba Qua or Tai Chi or Praying Mantis, I feel like in Chicago, you'll find those in many parts of the city so they're not as obscure as in the past.

It doesn't matter if the art is mainly offense or defensive, if anybody has any suggestions for a martial art that you would consider to be "unknown" or "not commercialized" or "an acquired taste" I would be glad to hear it. I realize, also, that this might be sounding too simple or whatever, but hey, I'm giving it a shot. Thanks for your time!! o.o
Welcome to MT and good luck with your journey. I train Isshinryu. Not terribly exotic, but somewhat unusual. Nothing fancy about it though. It's just hitting, kicking, and avoiding same.
 

Flying Crane

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His videos get several views. I don't know what famous is to you.
I guess I just am never quite sure why people tend to point to what someone with a YouTube channel is saying, as an example of someone we all ought to be paying attention to. Is this guy an authority? Is he just some schmuck? Is there a reason to give any weight at all to what he says? Ive never heard of him. So when I ask if he is famous, I guess what I am really saying is, why would anybody care what he says?
He says shaolin is more about developing physical attributes than actual sparring/fighting. So, he switched to more "practical, street fight kind of martial arts."
And this is what I was getting at: what is taught at the actual Shaolin Temple in Honan Province, China, and what is taught by various Shaolin monks in various parts of the world, is Modern Wushu and not an actual combat method. In the 1950s the Chinese Communist Government created Modern Wushu as a competitive and performance art, based on the older fighting methods but altered for aesthetic and performance reasons, and separated from any functional combat methodology. It was developed to be visually pleasing to a largely uneducated audience and promoted as a Chinese cultural vehicle. I repeat: it is not meant to be a fighting method, and never was, from the moment it was conceived by the Chinese Communist Government. It is more akin to a gymnastics floor routine with a kung-fu flavor.

Older kung fu methods from Shaolin prior to the Communist era were, and continue to be, viable combat methods. Those who still practice these methods are mostly from lineages that escaped China prior to the Communist government takeover.

It sounds to me like the fellow on the video has come to the realization that he has been training in Communist-supported Modern Wushu, and not the older combat methods. That is unfortunate for him. But his experience means nothing for the viability of the older Shaolin methods.
 

marvin8

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I guess I just am never quite sure why people tend to point to what someone with a YouTube channel is saying, as an example of someone we all ought to be paying attention to. Is this guy an authority? Is he just some schmuck? Is there a reason to give any weight at all to what he says? Ive never heard of him. So when I ask if he is famous, I guess what I am really saying is, why would anybody care what he says?
Maybe the OP. Because, they asked "if anybody has any suggestions" without a famous criteria. It's one person's opinion with their reasons listed.

And this is what I was getting at: what is taught at the actual Shaolin Temple in Honan Province, China, and what is taught by various Shaolin monks in various parts of the world, is Modern Wushu and not an actual combat method. In the 1950s the Chinese Communist Government created Modern Wushu as a competitive and performance art, based on the older fighting methods but altered for aesthetic and performance reasons, and separated from any functional combat methodology. It was developed to be visually pleasing to a largely uneducated audience and promoted as a Chinese cultural vehicle. I repeat: it is not meant to be a fighting method, and never was, from the moment it was conceived by the Chinese Communist Government. It is more akin to a gymnastics floor routine with a kung-fu flavor.
Ranton said the quality of MA schools can vary depending on one's location. Also, some MAs/schools compete, spar and/or fightwhich can be essential when searching for a "practical, street fight kind of martial art."
 

Monkey Turned Wolf

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Maybe the OP. Because, they asked "if anybody has any suggestions" without a famous criteria. It's one person's opinion with their reasons listed.
They were asking for suggestions of what they should practice, not asking for suggestions of what they shouldn't.
 

marvin8

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They were asking for suggestions of what they should practice, not asking for suggestions of what they shouldn't.
Right. Ranton suggested for "practical, street fight kind of martial arts," he switched to BJJ, boxing and judo. I suggested Wai Lan Choi teaching Liu Ho Pa Fa, a less common MA, in Chicago, IL as a possible prospect.
 

Flying Crane

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Ranton said the quality of MA schools can vary depending on one's location. Also, some MAs/schools compete, spar and/or fightwhich can be essential when searching for a "practical, street fight kind of martial art."
And again, it isnt surprising he would come to this conclusion after spending years training in a method that was never meant to be a fighting method. What is surprising is that it took him years to figure that out, when it is pretty common knowledge and not a secret.

Modern Wushu counts on the ignorance and gullibility of the audience and feeds them an exciting performance. That is the uneducated public. As someone who is training, he should be able to understand what Modern Wushu really is, and not be fooled by it.

But whatever. This guy isnt an authority on anything, really. He is just some guy who is disillusioned to find out that what he had been doing was never meant to deliver what he wanted.

My point in commenting is to distinguish Modern Wushu from traditional Chinese combat methods. They are not the same thing. His indictment of Modern Wushu is meaningless when it comes to traditional fighting methods.
 

Taiji Rebel

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And again, it isnt surprising he would come to this conclusion after spending years training in a method that was never meant to be a fighting method. What is surprising is that it took him years to figure that out, when it is pretty common knowledge and not a secret.

Modern Wushu counts on the ignorance and gullibility of the audience and feeds them an exciting performance. That is the uneducated public. As someone who is training, he should be able to understand what Modern Wushu really is, and not be fooled by it.

But whatever. This guy isnt an authority on anything, really. He is just some guy who is disillusioned to find out that what he had been doing was never meant to deliver what he wanted.

My point in commenting is to distinguish Modern Wushu from traditional Chinese combat methods. They are not the same thing. His indictment of Modern Wushu is meaningless when it comes to traditional fighting methods.
There are plenty of gullible candidates seeking mystical powers and magical strength who are attracted by the martial arts industry. The OP seems to have gone quiet now, but even this person was looking for something unusual to practice. Why not just pick a standard martial art with a proven track-record?
 
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Flying Crane

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There are plenty of gullible candidates seeking mystical powers and magical strength who are attracted by the martial arts industry. The OP seems to have gone quiet now, but even this person was looking for something unusual to practice. Why not just pick a standard martial art with a proven track-record?
Yeah, quality kung Fu does not exist in every city, but I would expect something could be found in Chicago or the surrounding areas. That is a population of several million, a central cultural region in the area. But more to the point, the method does not need to be rare or exotic. A good teacher matters. That is most important. Getting all hung up and obsessed over something rare that is non-existent in his area makes no sense at all unless he is prepared to move somewhere else just for that, without having tried it out first.
 

marvin8

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Ranton said the quality of MA schools can vary depending on one's location. Also, some MAs/schools compete, spar and/or fightwhich can be essential when searching for a "practical, street fight kind of martial art."

And again, it isnt surprising he would come to this conclusion after spending years training in a method that was never meant to be a fighting method. What is surprising is that it took him years to figure that out, when it is pretty common knowledge and not a secret.

Modern Wushu counts on the ignorance and gullibility of the audience and feeds them an exciting performance. That is the uneducated public. As someone who is training, he should be able to understand what Modern Wushu really is, and not be fooled by it.

But whatever. This guy isnt an authority on anything, really. He is just some guy who is disillusioned to find out that what he had been doing was never meant to deliver what he wanted.

My point in commenting is to distinguish Modern Wushu from traditional Chinese combat methods. They are not the same thing. His indictment of Modern Wushu is meaningless when it comes to traditional fighting methods.
Or Ranton knows there's both a modern and traditional (hard to find if not extinct) Shaolin. What he adds and does say...

Ranton said:
Shaolin Kung Fu has been a huge part of my life since 2013. Its the love of my life and still to this day probably my favorite martial art of all time I have never seen Shaolin Kung Fu as a way to fight. At least the parts that are commonly associated with it. That means we are excluding sanda, shuai jiao and chin na. Since, the temple itself is excluding that stuff too kinda. Were talking mostly forms, acrobatics, weapons basically. These are the things that are trained first and foremost.

When people point at kung fu and say its not for fighting, I laugh not because I think it is. But because the things it teaches you are going to be helpful, if you choose to go into combat sports down the line. Shaolin kung fu improves your flexibility. Splits in all directions is a must if you want to be good. It improves your stamina, strength and coordination. It's fun, its difficult. And its beautiful. I see the merits of Shaolin kung fu. I see what it does to a person. There are plenty of reasons to practice it that dont include wanting to be a fighter.

Ranton's opinion speaks to the OP. A "practical, street fight kind of martial art" is one where sparring/fighting is essential. From his "Ranking" video at 10:03...

Ranton said:
Effectiveness ... we are talking forms, acrobatics and breaking stuff with your hands and your head. To all the people who love the Shaolin Kung Fu, if this is what we think of then we have to be real. The overwhelming amount of Shaolin Kung Fu classes do not include sparring, do not include chin na, do not include shuai jiaoremoving all of the parts that make an effective martial art. So forms by themselves are not going to help you much. Breaking stuff with your hands is not going to help you that much. Being able to do a backflip is not going to help you much. The effectiveness of what people typically associate with Shaolin kung fu is a 3 out of 10 which leads to a total of 7.7.
 
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isshinryuronin

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its better if you take Kenpo Karate its the best take it from me
Ed Parker's system of kenpo is very good: Fast, efficient, based on sound physical principles, combo oriented...a lot of good stuff there. I ran a kenpo school and spent a short time learning directly under Mr. Parker, one-on-one. I would describe the style as influenced largely by Okinawan karate with softer (yet powerful) Polynesian influences (a la Lima Lama's Master Tino T. - one scary mother!)

That said, it's not the style that's "the best" - but the teacher and the student that's most key. Even EPKK has its drawbacks, IMO, such as over-reliance on too-long strings of combos/extensions and an excess of market-driven memorization of same.

With the exception of some "phony" styles and poor teachers, most styles can produce good martial artists, if there is a great instructor and dedicated student.
 

Flying Crane

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Or Ranton knows there's both a modern and traditional (hard to find if not extinct) Shaolin. What he adds and does say...
Definitely not extinct. Quality kung fu of any kind can be difficult to find. I actually feel that way about pretty much all martial arts, not just kung fu: there is more poor instruction out there than quality instruction. One needs to look for it.

My impression is that this fellow only trained modern wushu and thinks that is the definition of Shaolin kung fu. It isnt. That is the point I was hoping to make. Modern wushu is not combat kung fu. Simple.
 

marvin8

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Definitely not extinct. Quality kung fu of any kind can be difficult to find. I actually feel that way about pretty much all martial arts, not just kung fu: there is more poor instruction out there than quality instruction. One needs to look for it.
Ranton and I agree.

Both the OP and Ranton were looking for "a practical, street fight kind of martial art(s)." In doing that, Ranton implies that sparring/fighting is important in any style of MA. The OP may or may not agree in choosing their MA.

My impression is that this fellow only trained modern wushu and thinks that is the definition of Shaolin kung fu. It isnt. That is the point I was hoping to make. Modern wushu is not combat kung fu. Simple.
Ranton trained at Shaolin Temple Dengfeng in Henan.

You made your points clear. However, the OP asks "if anybody has any suggestions." While you are attacking the person, instead of addressing Ranton's argument or positionsparring/fighting is necessary when choosing a practical, street fight kind of MA.
 

Flying Crane

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Ranton and I agree.

Both the OP and Ranton were looking for "a practical, street fight kind of martial art(s)." In doing that, Ranton implies that sparring/fighting is important in any style of MA. The OP may or may not agree in choosing their MA.
The OP is actually looking for rare or unusual methods. Functional combat is implied in my opinion, but not specifically stated.
Ranton trained at Shaolin Temple Dengfeng in Henan.
Exactly: communist government sanctioned modern wushu, not the older functional combat Shaolin kung fu which is now somewhat difficult to find in China. Most of those folks fled the communist takeover.
You made your points clear. However, the OP asks "if anybody has any suggestions." While you are attacking the person, instead of addressing Ranton's argument or positionsparring/fighting is necessary when choosing a practical, street fight kind of MA.
Im not attacking the person. I am adding information for those who may not understand the difference between modern wushu and the older combat methods. I am not convinced this Ranton fellow understands that. He trained at the Shaolin temple and then stated that Shaolin kung fu isnt good for combat. He trained in a performance art, not a combative art.
 

marvin8

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The OP is actually looking for rare or unusual methods. Functional combat is implied in my opinion, but not specifically stated.
Which is why I suggested Wai Lan Choi teaching Liu Ho Pa Fa (in Chicago where they spar) a less common MA as a possible prospect.

Im not attacking the person. I am adding information for those who may not understand the difference between modern wushu and the older combat methods. I am not convinced this Ranton fellow understands that. He trained at the Shaolin temple and then stated that Shaolin kung fu isnt good for combat. He trained in a performance art, not a combative art.
Then you're arguing the person instead. Yes, we don't know because Ranton doesn't bring up that subject.

The OP was not about modern or traditional shaolin, but looking for an unknown, practical street fight MA which Ranton indirectly addressed.
 
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Flying Crane

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Which is why I suggested Wai Lan Choi teaching Liu Ho Pa Fa (in Chicago where they spar) a less common MA as a possible prospect.
Good suggestion. I see they also teach lama Pai, a closely related system to the Tibetan white crane that I practice. Of course I am biased, but I can appreciate that suggestion.
Then you're arguing the person instead. Yes, we don't know because Ranton doesn't bring up that subject.

The OP was not about modern or traditional shaolin, but looking for an unknown, practical street fight MA which Ranton indirectly addressed.
I am disputing Rantons message because from what I can tell, he is trying to comment on something he has never trained. I disagree with his message because his information appears to me to be misunderstood.

What ranton has effectively addressed is that modern wushu is not an effective method for anyone who wants a viable combat system. Modern wushu is what he has trained and is what he knows.

What he has NOT addressed is whether traditional Shaolin (or other traditional kung fu methods) are effective combat systems. It appears that he hasnt trained them, so he is not in a position to comment on them. But his comments seem to imply traditional kung fu, because he does not acknowledge the difference between modern wushu (that he has trained) and traditional kung fu (that he has apparently not trained).

My motivation in pursuing this point is to clarify that there is a difference, so that people reading this will understand that and Rantons comments will have meaningful context.
 

marvin8

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I am disputing Rantons message because from what I can tell, he is trying to comment on something he has never trained. I disagree with his message because his information appears to me to be misunderstood.
He comments on today's Shaolin, not mentioning traditional or modern.

What ranton has effectively addressed is that modern wushu is not an effective method for anyone who wants a viable combat system. Modern wushu is what he has trained and is what he knows.
Do you disagree with Ranton's message "Effectiveness ... the overwhelming amount of Shaolin Kung Fu classes do not include sparring, do not include chin na, do not include shuai jiaoremoving all of the parts that make an effective martial art?"

Ranton's Shaolin training or knowledge does not effect the answer. To argue "There is not an overwhelming amount of Shaolin Kung Fu classes that do not include sparring ... because Ranton has not trained traditional Shaolin" is an error in reasoning.

My motivation in pursuing this point is to clarify that there is a difference, so that people reading this will understand that and Rantons comments will have meaningful context.
An implied suggestion from Ranton's video that may be meaningful to the OP (the reason it was posted) is to ask prospective MA schools if they teach fighting principles, concepts and techniques that can be applied in sparring.
 

BobY777

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Hello everyone

I trained in Hapkido back when I was in high school (from when I was 15-18); I'm 43 now (yeah...that long, LOL)

Anyway, I've been meaning to get back into training in some form of martial arts for a long time, but my problem is that I feel/believe that a lot of martial arts are too common. I suppose that's to be expected with how much history martial arts in general have. While I've always been fascinated with arts like Ba Qua or Tai Chi or Praying Mantis, I feel like in Chicago, you'll find those in many parts of the city so they're not as obscure as in the past.

It doesn't matter if the art is mainly offense or defensive, if anybody has any suggestions for a martial art that you would consider to be "unknown" or "not commercialized" or "an acquired taste" I would be glad to hear it. I realize, also, that this might be sounding too simple or whatever, but hey, I'm giving it a shot. Thanks for your time!! o.o
I feel like this approach to find something "niche" is quit weird. Think of what is close to you and what you would enjoy : grappling, striking, rituals ...
 
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