Bolt on arts

Daniel Sullivan

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Lots of cool gadgets and gear can be purchased from speed shops, Keystone and Jegs catalogues for a car. Lots of these gadgets are bolt on items. These items offer to enhance the car's performance without really altering the nature of the car, such as K&N air cleaners, Hooker headers and Flowmaster or Borla exhaust systems. They don't alter the car in its essential nature, but allow the car to do what it does more easily and effectively.

There are quite a few martial arts that offer to do the same. Marketed as bolt on arts, they often offer to fill in the holes that some more specialized arts sometimes have, such as Kukkiwon taekwondo which is all striking. Often, these arts have a home instructional aspect, either via online instruction or via video (DVD/VHS) and some even have rank advancement available with the home instruction.

Combat Hapkido, IKCA Kenpo, Tracey (sp?)Kenpo and various combat arts are marketed in this way. I've even heard Jeet Kune Do described as a system that enhances an existing art rather than replacing it by some.

Video instruction aside, does anyone here have any experience with how such bolt on arts mesh with an existing art? Is there real fire in these arts, or is it all just smoke? Or perhaps somewhere in between?

I'm not hunting for info on any one art, which is why I posted it here. But the concept seems to be advertised on every other page in every MA publication that I read.

I've seen topics on specific bolt on arts, but not on the bolt on concept in general, so I figured I'd post one.:D

Daniel
 

shihansmurf

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Interesting take on this.

I'm playing around with the IKCA stuff right now, well at least the Orange material as I snagged the tape at a yard sale on the cheap and I'd say the Idea of a bolt on descriptor is pretty accurate. I wouldn't consider abandoning shotokan for it, certainly never drop boxing in favor of it, and I can't see going through the video testing program (although I am curious as to how it actually works but I''m not comfortable with the concept of taking rank from someone I've never met, nothing against those that are I'm just not willing to do so), I do think it is an interesting bit of material to work with.

I think that in order for these arts to mesh within another martial arts framework well they need to plug holes. Shotokan is primarily a system that focuses on hard linear punches and kicks with solid foot sweeps. Adding one of these "Bolt on" systems that focus on a similar strategy would be unhelpful, even redundant. Combat Hapkido could be usefull teach throwing an locking skills, for example, would mesh well and plug some holes.

JKD is an outgrowth of a particular martial artists expression of his or her own development of martial arts skills, acquired through training in "standard" martial arts and not some pre-packaged moveset that Bruce Lee was performing at the time of his death. It is a training concept, an idea, not a dogmatic package of tricks and techiques that are mixed into a pre-existing product to create a hybrib martial art. It is a training concept that help the individual martial artist make themselves into a better martial artist.

I think that a lot of these Bolt On martial arts are used as band aids and marketing ploys. In order to develop real skill and ability as a martial artist requires a great deal of work. Most martial arts don't have nearly as many "holes" as we tend to think that they do. The fact is, the fillers are already in place it just take a lot of hard work to find them and even more to be able to use them. Developing strength, speed, timing, agility, and endurance is difficult. It is also a hard sell. Its a lot easier, to be able to tell a student something along the lines of " No matter what physical condidtion you're in, we have just the technique that will work for you. At Our school you can learn the deadly art of TKD as supplimented by techniques from Hapkido, Kenpo, Krav Maga, and Ninjitsu!!!Sign Up today!!! No sweat, no hard work, no real effort, just cool secret techniques from the newest art that our head instructor was certified in just this last weekend. With His extensive 72 hour seminar workshop experience he can mentor you in the art of beating the crap out of perple with Nerf Bats(or whatever those things that Dana Abbot advertises are, they are a good product, but come on, they are really just expensive Nerf Bats)!!!!"

Sorry back on topic...

Bolt on arts can be a good thing. For me I find the IKCA stuff to be a neat change of pace, because to be honest boredome can set in after a bit. I don't plan on teaching it though. As a general concept, I'm not sold on it.
I think that one would be better off to formally study an art that specializes in the skillset that you are looking to become proficient in, along with maintaining a good conditioning program, or find a school that teaches a well rounded system to begin with, and given time you'll not need a bolt on art to suppliment your art.

One last note.

I'm not sure that Tracy Kenpo really could be considered a Bolt On martial art, given the size of their system, association, and promotion requirements. To be fair I haven't really had any contact with any Tracy Kenpo people for quite a bit so things my have changed.

Mark
 

championmarius

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My view might have been skewed, having my foundation in one of these bolt on arts. It was always stressed that anything else you needed or wanted would slide right in, or out of it (Tracy Kenpo). It was a mindset we were constantly aware of. We did alot of inschool crosstraining, different drills and concepts taken from anything we could get our hands on.

It certainly opened alot of doors, windows, cupboards etc. I have a solid foundation with kenpo, but constantly look for new things to plug into it. The list of stuff (components or entire sections) from other arts that have bolted onto my Kenpo is astounding.

Perhaps the marketing is backwards? I have seen more people with their foundation in the "bolt on" have success with bolting other arts (or components of) into it, rather than trying to come at it the other way. They end up trying to "overwrite" to conform to the ideology and concept of the "bolt-on" art. And for that matter, it might not be too terribly compatible with other bolt ons, I have experienced it, trying to "overwrite" something to conform to the bolt on art.

Or it might not necessarily be a by-product of the art, but rather an intrinsic mindset instilled by the instructor.

I don't look at things as a whole organic system, but as series of modular components that I can snap in and out of the foundation art, whether it be from a "bolt on" art or not.

Thank you in any event for giving me a much more concise analogy for that concept/idea.
 

geezer

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Lots of cool gadgets and gear can be purchased from speed shops, Keystone and Jegs catalogues for a car. Lots of these gadgets are bolt on items. These items offer to enhance the car's performance without really altering the nature of the car...

There are quite a few martial arts that offer to do the same. Marketed as bolt on arts, they often offer to fill in the holes that some more specialized arts sometimes have...

Daniel

I think this is a really interesting analogy. To take it a step further, look at what you can do to your car with bolt on accessories. You can add a few touches just to personalize it a bit. No problem there. Or you can buy a ton of tacky stuff, from fuzzy dice to cheesy window decals, poor fitting chrome trim, big non-functional spoilers, running lights, and 10 inch diameter megaphone exhaust pipes. And you think you look so cool. Or then again, if you really know a bit about cars, you may be able to add some things under the hood that will actually improve your car's performance.

I think it's the same with the martial arts... especially when doing some superficial cross-training or taking "open" seminars in another system. If you want do do more than superficially personalize your art with a few ornaments, stay away from the flashy chrome trim -- the tricky moves and gimmicks. Look for something that will really work with the core concepts of what you already have. Or something that will help you better understand how the other guy moves. For example, there is a really prominent Escrima master who offers seminars designed to benefit people from many backgrounds. I attended one and didn't pick up any "cool tricks". I did learn more effective ways to maximize my power, tweak my timing, and move more efficiently. Some folks might have been disappointed, All that trouble and no chrome! I thought it was time and money well spent.
 
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Daniel Sullivan

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Big nonfunctional spoilers, neon kits, fake scoops (well the factory is guilty of that one too), ground effects kits who's effect is looking cool but lack any functionality (and actually make the car more vulnerable to curbs and speedbumps), and a whole host of stick to the body with tape items are the other side of the bolt on automotive accessory market, and usually the side that is not well respected by those of us who know cars.

And that that side of bolt on arts is something that is meant to be a part of this thread, so I appreciate you bringing it up, Geezer.:)

Daniel
 
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Daniel Sullivan

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My view might have been skewed, having my foundation in one of these bolt on arts. It was always stressed that anything else you needed or wanted would slide right in, or out of it (Tracy Kenpo). It was a mindset we were constantly aware of. We did alot of inschool crosstraining, different drills and concepts taken from anything we could get our hands on.

It certainly opened alot of doors, windows, cupboards etc. I have a solid foundation with kenpo, but constantly look for new things to plug into it. The list of stuff (components or entire sections) from other arts that have bolted onto my Kenpo is astounding.

Perhaps the marketing is backwards? I have seen more people with their foundation in the "bolt on" have success with bolting other arts (or components of) into it, rather than trying to come at it the other way. They end up trying to "overwrite" to conform to the ideology and concept of the "bolt-on" art. And for that matter, it might not be too terribly compatible with other bolt ons, I have experienced it, trying to "overwrite" something to conform to the bolt on art.

Or it might not necessarily be a by-product of the art, but rather an intrinsic mindset instilled by the instructor.

I don't look at things as a whole organic system, but as series of modular components that I can snap in and out of the foundation art, whether it be from a "bolt on" art or not.

Thank you in any event for giving me a much more concise analogy for that concept/idea.
This brings up a point of perspective. If your base is in an art that is a stand alone/bolt on art, then you're already open to the idea that it is not a closed system, so to speak. From that perspective, as you point out, it may be easier to intermesh elements of different arts than it may be for a traditional practitioner who sees his or her art as a cohesive, self contained whole. Especially if that art has a tradition that tells the students that it is superior in some way to other arts.

Daniel
 

searcher

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As far as bolt on goes I am not sure any art would fall into this ideology. The closest as an art goes, IMO, would be boxing. My only reasoning for this would be its simplicity in terms of volume of techniques. I could see a person looking at "bolt-on" techniques or forms, but not an entire style. I just look at the bolt-on aspect like saying I am going to bolt-on an entire Honda onto my Chevy truck. Some parts would transfer over with a little fitting required, but not the entire vehicle.
 

Cryozombie

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Isn't this where MMA comes from? "I'm gonna Take this Body Style, (a basis) Bolt on a Spoiler from this manufacturer, (adding effective "bits" from another art) remove the Cat and Muffler for sound (strip the non-ring effective techniques) then add in some aftermarket parts from this guy, (pick up more techniques that will help from another art) have it tuned up in this speedshop (gym time) and then go to 5th Street and Race! (Ring fights).

I don't see anything wrong with it, there are, however many of these places that will sell you "tape on crap", like you mentioned... I think you have to know what you are looking for.
 
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Daniel Sullivan

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One thing I do think about a "bolt on" art is that if you are going to bolt on another art to an existing one as an enhancement, you should be an advanced practitioner (first dan or equivalent - and no, first poom or junior blackbelt is not an equivalent) in the base art.

Also, one should be sure that they have a solid training foundation. A black belt from some places are not the same as a black belt from others.

Also, be realistic: adding Krav Maga to your existing art will not make you into an IDF spec. ops. hand to hand combat master.

Daniel
 

CDKJudoka

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Now I think ALL MAs could be considered bolt on arts. I am a TKD guy, and have been since day one, but I decided to "bolt-on" judo since I learned at a young age that cross training makes a more well rounded martial artist. I will be bolting on BJJ soon, to get a better newaza background, and will also be bolting on real HKD, if and when I can find a dojang here in NY that offers JUST HKD, not a TKD dojang with some HKD SD techniques.
 

MJS

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Lots of cool gadgets and gear can be purchased from speed shops, Keystone and Jegs catalogues for a car. Lots of these gadgets are bolt on items. These items offer to enhance the car's performance without really altering the nature of the car, such as K&N air cleaners, Hooker headers and Flowmaster or Borla exhaust systems. They don't alter the car in its essential nature, but allow the car to do what it does more easily and effectively.

There are quite a few martial arts that offer to do the same. Marketed as bolt on arts, they often offer to fill in the holes that some more specialized arts sometimes have, such as Kukkiwon taekwondo which is all striking. Often, these arts have a home instructional aspect, either via online instruction or via video (DVD/VHS) and some even have rank advancement available with the home instruction.

Combat Hapkido, IKCA Kenpo, Tracey (sp?)Kenpo and various combat arts are marketed in this way. I've even heard Jeet Kune Do described as a system that enhances an existing art rather than replacing it by some.

Video instruction aside, does anyone here have any experience with how such bolt on arts mesh with an existing art? Is there real fire in these arts, or is it all just smoke? Or perhaps somewhere in between?

I'm not hunting for info on any one art, which is why I posted it here. But the concept seems to be advertised on every other page in every MA publication that I read.

I've seen topics on specific bolt on arts, but not on the bolt on concept in general, so I figured I'd post one.:D

Daniel

I've 'bolted on' many things in addition to my Kenpo, which is my base art. IMHO, it can't hurt, but instead, only improve ones skill set. I don't want to give the impression that someone should stop art A after 20 yrs, pick up art B for another 10, etc., but instead, look at what else is out there, especially ones that specialize in something.

There is grappling concepts, and defenses in Kenpo, however, by studying BJJ, I've learned more how the grappler operates and can adapt my Kenpo accordingly. :)
 

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When I think of the term "bolt-on art" I don't think of anything containing a large system. I consider it more of a "combatives" approach, where what you are getting is the very stripped down essentials, that may help you against a lesser trained opponent, but if used against a full practitioner of that art, they will probably laugh and move right through you.

As a kenpo, kali, and very very occasional BJJ practitioner, I don't think any of these qualify as "bolt-on." I can show a TKD guy a counter-knife tech from kali, but over half the tech isn't about the physical but about the requisite sensitivity needed to read where that knife is going and what is appropriate to get to counter/control. That usually limits instruction to counters of simple direct attacks, because the student doesn't have the prerequisite skills to utilize anything else out of the kali toolbox. There isn't anything wrong with that, but realize that what you bolted on isn't "kali" but rather a lesson in "really basic knife defense."

I've seen very few "bolt-on" arts, though most of the military combatives systems SHOULD be pretty good at installing basic competance quickly. Tony Blauer's "SPEAR" and Paul Vunak's "RAT" concepts would probably qualify as well, as they focus on particular ranges/phases of the fight.
 

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