Decline of CMA

7starmantis

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Do you guys see a decline in CMA in general as far as interest by the general public? I'm not saying its a bad thing, but it seems people look at kung fu and most CMA as "magical" "fantasy" type arts forms that wouldn't work if put to the test. Anyone getting that feeling other than myself?


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fist of fury

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No you're not the only one. It seems to come from myths that sports like the UFC have propagated.
 
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Skarbromantis

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Hay 7star

I agree that most of the CMA (magical, fantasy) arts are not so popular right now, do to all the NHB fights and the BBJ, I think its great, let all the "I want to be a bad ***" go to the other MMA, myself I prefer it that way, that way, the ones that do go looking for CMA, have a genuine love for the art, It is like this...

There is a huge Tai Boxing club, that has some of the best fighters, UFC and all that type, if you want to be a bad *** around these parts you go and train there, all of the "I could kick your ***" type in my city go there, I go study with a small 70yr Master, doesnt make me tough or cool, only honored.

(I hope that make sense, got to type quick at work)

Skard1
 

Matt Stone

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CMA have been declining in the US from the moment the first student bought into the "he is Chinese and therefore MUST be legitimate" theory. CMA are taught all over the world, but the only schools who produce consistently quality students are few and far between...

Those schools are disciplined, uniformed, and focused. The schools where discipline is lax, uniforms non-existent, and students meander through their training at the whim of the teacher produce the student often envisioned by those who believe CMA are "mystical" and "magical." Folks who think Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon was a true story flock to these kinds of schools...

Folks who think that Internal MA mean floppy, droopy relaxedness, constant push hands training at the expense of everything else, and believing that qi will take care of everything contribute to the problem.

CMA have the longest documented history of fighting techiques in the world (barring some theories about Egyptian and Greek styles). In 5000 years of history, I find it hard to believe that other "upstart" arts have come up with things so revolutionary that CMA haven't done it already long ago.

BUT, with the droopy eyed new age folks being the main ones propagating a popular view of CMA, who do we point the finger at? Only at ourselves for not going out of our way to show the public how wrong those other folks are...

Sorry for the rant, but this one cuts too close to home. I have to contend with four Temple Kung Fu schools in my area and a Shaolin school whose teacher doesn't know what Chuan Fa is. With loonies like that bantering about, causing irreparable damage to the image of CMA in the public eye, I take great pains to make sure folks know that the training group I am a part of is legit.

Gambarimasu.
 
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SifuAbel

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Public opinion is a funny thing. I don't think the average american really knows much about the whole UFC thing. In contrast to movies that are more available.

Media does play a huge part in perception. Back in the bruce lee days people saw him and wanted to learn what he was doing. It was more accessable than the jackie chan or jet lee films that are too complex for people to actually beleive its something they could attain. They see it and think its awesome but few beleive they can be that good, so why try. Kung fu oriented films need to be less over the top when it comes to choreography and yet maintain some resemblance that it is kung fu. \
 
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7starmantis

7starmantis

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Well, I agree with Yiliquan1, I also feel the need to let people know my training is serious and legit. Sometimes its simply by example, but I do try to show that at all times. I understand about the UFC and Pride fighting right now, but its not like something hasn't allways been there to lure the general masses out of their money with the line of "the best of the best". I would prefer it that way like Skarbromantis said, it cuts down on those people joining CMA in search for the ultimate tool to kick *** with. On the other hand, it seems alot of people are looking at CMA and deciding to go with other systems, in my case particularly "hard" systems. I don't mind people who don't think CMA is for them, but it seems even the ones who train in CMA have this belief that they are just studying history and still need to take a "fighting" art. Maybe its the fact that few students are serious enough to study hard for the length of time it takes to grasp what most CMA are all about. Either way it is still bugging me, and I know alot of the blame has to be placed on CMAist themselves.


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7starmantis

7starmantis

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Originally posted by SifuAbel

Public opinion is a funny thing. I don't think the average american really knows much about the whole UFC thing. In contrast to movies that are more available.

Media does play a huge part in perception. Back in the bruce lee days people saw him and wanted to learn what he was doing. It was more accessable than the jackie chan or jet lee films that are too complex for people to actually beleive its something they could attain. They see it and think its awesome but few beleive they can be that good, so why try. Kung fu oriented films need to be less over the top when it comes to choreography and yet maintain some resemblance that it is kung fu. \

I don't think public opinion on a MA system should be gotten from a movie or set of movies. If you take your opinion from them you are not doing your research and are not serious enough to train properly anyway, I think. If we cater the Kung Fu movies to the non-kung fu crowd, what movies will we watch?

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SifuAbel

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I'm not talking about me. I've been at this 20 years already. I'm talking about lay people and those whom don't know any better which is 95 % of the people out there. Every time some new movie came up I got telephone calls from people asking f I did ninjitsu or thai boxing or whatever the flavor of the month was. It was usually driven by what they saw on TV or in films. Most who seek instruction don't know what they want until they have been at it for a while.
 
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7starmantis

7starmantis

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Originally posted by SifuAbel

I'm not talking about me. I've been at this 20 years already. I'm talking about lay people and those whom don't know any better which is 95 % of the people out there. Every time some new movie came up I got telephone calls from people asking f I did ninjitsu or thai boxing or whatever the flavor of the month was. It was usually driven by what they saw on TV or in films. Most who seek instruction don't know what they want until they have been at it for a while.

Yes, I understand that, but dont you think we will allways have to deal with that? AS a business you want to be in popular demand, but if you think about it, in the long run, you want serious students, return customers if you will. I don't think the ratio of serious students in the crowd that calls and asks, "Can you teach me that stuff from croutching tiger?", is going to be that large. People will allways call around after seeing a movie, but will they actually train seriously, even if you said yes you could teach them that?


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theneuhauser

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sorry to jump in a little late here, folks.
yiliquan, you are so right. it's kind of a big mess.
actually, this internet is probably the best thing going on for the propagation of good kung fu in america. while, there is a whole truckload of sour apples and bad intentions and greedy idiots, we are also connected well here. since ive moved here to AZ, ive bounced around between teachers looking for something of substance, something to commit myself to, but if it werent for the internet, i would be resorting to a phone book, or word of mouth.
so, it hasnt helped me out all that much yet, but look at it this way. you no longer have to open up a karate palace on the corner and sell out to teaching 5 year olds anymore. if you want to teach traditionally, at home, or in the park with 4 or 5 dedicated martial artists, rather than watching people come and go like the supermarket, all it takes is a few students that respect you on the web. they will do the advertising for you and you can pick and choose your people based on what's important and not worry about making rent every month. i think thats great. Maybe wushu is going back to it's roots, families and tong's in their backyards and garages learning real martial arts without distractions, while the rest of the public can only guess about it.


sorry, just my wet dream.
 
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yilisifu

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I definately think the public's image of CMA is heavily influenced by what they see in the movies and on television - that's where Bruce Lee got his start. If he hadn't starred in the "Green Hornet" series, he probably would have been just another average kung-fu teacher in America...

These kinds of media have focused almost entirely on the outer, fighting aspects of the arts and have, in many cases, taken them to the level of fantasy.

Additionally, the tournament scene has become something of a joke what with competitors demonstrating homemade forms which look like a violent interpretation of Swan Lake and fighting with huge marshmallow pads while using techniques that resemble what one might see in a local boxing club.

The UFC event is, in my opinion, a tragic misrepresentation of martial arts. They miss the second word in that phrase; "art." UFC is about two kliks below being a "martial arts" version of WWF and has virtually nothing to do with real martial arts. Yet, it fills the martial arts magazines with it's hype.

Additionally, there are a great many "martial arts" schools which teach different varieties of bunk. And a number of the "legitimate" schools teach what might be called "sterile" kung-fu. They're like doughnuts; nothing in the center but lots of yummies on the outside.

As long as we tolerate this kind of exploitation, we will suffer it's results.....a public that thinks kung-fu is a cute fantasy, a form of Chinese dancing mixed with some nifty gymnastic maneuvers, and so on.

In the past, I stood up and made my opinions very clear to the kung-fu public. I made some friends and some enemies. But if we would all stand up and shout, maybe someone would listen.:soapbox:
 

tshadowchaser

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I'lll throw my two cents in at this time.
I think that most Americans want what is popular and the latest trend/fad. For a while it was Karate,next Korean, then the Cma, then Fillipino, and now MMA. "It's whats happening DUDE"
Most people do not want to spend the time required to learn the "old" arts. They want fast, "I can look impressive in a week" arts. To really learn an art takes a goodly portion of a life time and most Americans do not put that amount of energy into to many things.
As for thr MMA, well sorry to say this but it looks like what we did on the play ground when I was a kid. Anything goes just beat the hell out of the guy/girl in front of you. Is it new, hell no, just better advertised and it has good PR men now.:soapbox:
IMHO
shadow
 
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chufeng

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OK, problem is identified...now what do WE do to fix it?

Do we treat it as a virus and allow it to burn itself out?
Or do we SHOW the real thing at every opportunity?

I know I would do poorly in tournament sparring because:

a) I will allow myself to be hit in order to close the distance.
b) I will attack with classical postures...(no patty-cake crap for me).
c) I will hit points that are NOT considered vital by most folks, or that are considered "fouls" by others.

But, I'm willing to go and be disqualified :)

I don't see how that would help the current problem, though...

any thoughts?

:asian:
chufeng
 

Matt Stone

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How to fix it... Hmmm...

When I get into discussions with people about martial arts, I stay away from defining what I do... I let them see a few techniques, explain some theories, and only then do I let it fly that I do CMA, much less internal CMA.

While I hate to say it, I have been best received by some MMA guys and traditional Japanese/Okinawan guys I have met. They didn't judge based on country of origin, but withheld their judgement until after they saw the techniques.

I called a few schools in my area in the hopes of finding something else cool to study in addition to Yiliquan, and instead of doing so I found I was being congratulated for having had the training I have had...

How to fix it... Hmmm...

The internet is a good venue for getting information out, getting word around about who is doing what. Real teachers providing quality training can be advertised for free and word of mouth will spread their repuation. It also exposes frauds very quickly, and the word about them can get out quickly.

But that still doesn't change what people do.

I do my best to "spread the word" about what real training is like. I don't just proselytize Yiliquan, either. I have studied Modern Arnis and (very briefly) Ryu Te Karate, and so have been exposed to some other "real" styles in addition to Yili. My concern is to get people who are teaching crap or learning crap to recognize that what they are doing is crap and that there is much better instruction available out there.

I think that the crap instructors are only successful due to A) preying on the ignorance of the general public and B) continuing the ignorance of their present students. It has been my experience that when folks learn that what they have been studying was crap, and they are not so egotistic as to be unable to let go of their prior training in search of better education, they run (not walk) to a good instructor without reservations.

So we need to get the word out, be in the public (martial arts community) eye, and be very open and honest about what we are supposed to be doing.

We need to tear down the veil of ignorance and expose the truth of martial arts as a whole, and of CMA in general. Sometimes that is going to piss people off. Sometimes that is going to earn us some rather vocal enemies. Whatever. If enough peopel stand up proclaiming their adherence to "real" martial arts and refusing to allow frauds and hoaxes to abound, eventually things will turn around.

Of course, it would help if we could eliminate greed as a motivating factor for some instructors.

It is a long road and a hard battle. But I, for one, have enlisted for the cause...

Gambarimasu.
:asian:
 
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yilisifu

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Fixing the problem is a tough row to hoe. Mnay moons ago, I was the Nat'l Chairman for the AAU Chinese Martial Arts Division. It became the largest Chinese Martial Arts organization in the U.S.

My intention was to do what I could to preserve the integrity and true spirit of the Chinese martial arts, and to improve competitive events.

I met with the kung-fu leaders throughout the U.S. Many of these leaders were interested only in two things; (1) Money, and (2) Gaining Face. In that order.
Some were interested in achieving the same goals I had in mind and they were willing to work hard to do it. But they were very few.

I think we have to begin by insisting, through letters or by whatever means available, that the martial arts media stop exploiting the kind of hype we see with the UFC and other events and teachers who are frauds or who, at the very least, have no real interest in promoting or preserving the integrity and true spirit of our arts.
We have to make our feelings known to tournament promoters who hold events wherein we find as many as 20 or more form divisions (to keep everyone happy); ie., southern short fist, northern long fist, Yang Taiji, Wu Taiji, Chen Taiji, blah, blah, blah.
And events such as competitive Push-Hands (??? C'mon, guys, get real - push hands was never a competitive event as far as I know) - which we laughingly referred to as "Greco-Roman Push-Hands - or competitive Chi-Sau (ditto)........or putting on boxing gloves and armor for sparring which looks like very sloppy muay-thai (I've seen better fights in a schoolyard) instead of real, traditional martial arts......

Moreover, we need to train our students in the traditional ways.

I made more than a few enemies during my time with AAU; I fired more than one kung-fu "leader" because he/she was simply unwilling to do the job (just wanted the title) or adhere to very strict standards.

But I've made this art my life and I'm here for the duration. Whatever I can do to help, I will do.
 
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brianhunter

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Originally posted by tshadowchaser
I'lll throw my two cents in at this time.
I think that most Americans want what is popular and the latest trend/fad. For a while it was Karate,next Korean, then the Cma, then Fillipino, and now MMA. "It's whats happening DUDE"
Most people do not want to spend the time required to learn the "old" arts. They want fast, "I can look impressive in a week" arts. To really learn an art takes a goodly portion of a life time and most Americans do not put that amount of energy into to many things.
As for thr MMA, well sorry to say this but it looks like what we did on the play ground when I was a kid. Anything goes just beat the hell out of the guy/girl in front of you. Is it new, hell no, just better advertised and it has good PR men now.:soapbox:
IMHO
shadow

Im late on this on but it reminds me of when the "J'Lo" movie "Enough" came out....Women everywhere wanted to learn "Krav Maga" I actually seen a couple of websites debunking it as a pyramid scheme, right or wrong it was interesting to read and something that seem "happening" for the time being.
 
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Elfan

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I think what would help you in your quest there is to diferentiate between the attitude/hype/portraly surrounding the UFC and the UFC itself. The people in the MMA forum arn't pleased with the WWF-like stuf either.
 

Matt Stone

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Originally posted by yilisifu
I think we have to begin by insisting, through letters or by whatever means available, that the martial arts media stop exploiting the kind of hype we see with the UFC and other events and teachers who are frauds or who, at the very least, have no real interest in promoting or preserving the integrity and true spirit of our arts.

I think people will always have a deep seated perversion that will draw them to gladiatorial games... To paraphrase Field of Dreams, "if you promote it, they will come..."

I think "martial entertainment" is fine, but when it gets passed off for the real thing then we have a problem... I don't doubt that the fighters in UFC and other copycat productions can handle themselves well (you don't see me trying out for that *****, do you??? Not likely!), but is it martial arts?

We have to make our feelings known to tournament promoters who hold events wherein we find as many as 20 or more form divisions (to keep everyone happy); ie., southern short fist, northern long fist, Yang Taiji, Wu Taiji, Chen Taiji, blah, blah, blah. And events such as competitive Push-Hands (??? C'mon, guys, get real - push hands was never a competitive event as far as I know) - which we laughingly referred to as "Greco-Roman Push-Hands - or competitive Chi-Sau (ditto)........or putting on boxing gloves and armor for sparring which looks like very sloppy muay-thai (I've seen better fights in a schoolyard) instead of real, traditional martial arts......

I remember when I first started training... There were homegrown, local tournaments constantly from about August until around February. You couldn't help but hear of a new tournament every few weeks.

Now it seems that unless there are sponsors crawling out of the woodwork and tons of greenbacks to be had, nobody puts on tournaments at all...

When I first went to tournaments, there were good friends to be had, good fights to fight, good names to be made... Occasionally there was also the "arch-enemy" to earn as well. As years progressed, there was less of the cameraderie and more competition... Not sure I care(d) for that much... :(

But I've made this art my life and I'm here for the duration. Whatever I can do to help, I will do.

As my teacher speaks, so too must I volunteer to fix what ails our community... I think forums like this are one (small) step toward doing just that. But we need to make such feelings more public, ingrain these attitudes on our students so that their students carry the torch further...

Sooo... Anybody up in Washington State care to put together a friendly tournament? I'll do whatever I can to help, and I won't even charge a dime... ;)

Gambarimasu.
:asian:
 

theletch1

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The instructors that are running the schools that are there just for the money or the instructors ego do well for a few years and then fade away. You have a very hard time keeping a school going when none of your students stick with the art long enough to make the higher ranks. However, a lot of these instructors aren't worried about that scenario so long as a steady stream on new students come through the door and stay long enough to pay the exorbitant initiatian fees and uniform fees and so forth.
That which makes the difference between martial ART and martial SKILL is a certain ethereal quality that drives the student to truly understand not only how to do something but WHY to do something. I don't know of any way to instill that into another human being. It seems to either be there or not.
The movies and other forms of the entertainment industry have become such a driving force for the public that it behooves the instructor to interview the prospective student before beginning any training. This however presents a problem as we live in the most litigious society in the world. The first time an instructor tells an individual that they will not teach them then they open themselves up to a law suit.
The be all and end all of my tirade here is this... the qualities which make a true martial artist are dying out in the world today. I don't think we can actually "fix" the problem with out fixing a lot more in the world. CMA or for that matter any worthwhile martial art is not a quick path to becoming barney bad *** and sadly that seems to be what far too many of todays students are after.
I just left a school because I did not feel that ethereal something from the instructor. The techniques were good, the physical training was adequate but there was no third side to the triangle that is so often bandied about. Had the mind and the body but truly and sadly lacking in the spirit of the martial art. Until the spirit returns to the kwoon we will continue to see a lack of interest in CMA.

respectfully
theletch1
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arnisador

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Originally posted by theletch1
I just left a school because I did not feel that ethereal something from the instructor. The techniques were good, the physical training was adequate but there was no third side to the triangle that is so often bandied about.

Yeah, been there, done that, got the (school) T-shirt still in my closet somewhere.
 

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