Internet MA Taliban

Mr. E

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One of the reasons I like Martialtalk so far is that the staff here won't let a lot of the things I am going to complain about happen. Please keep that in mind as you read.

I also want to stress that I am not sympathetic at all to folks like Bruce Calkins. A thread I was just participating in linked to a thread with him in it. People that come onto boards, acting like they are experts with dubious claims need to be put in their place or else they will take over.

What I want to talk about are folks that feel the need to supress any other art or way of thinking about the martial arts other than what they do.

Sometimes it seems to be for money. There seems to be no better way to try to convince people that you have a good system than by trashing someone else. If you are in a position to look down your nose at others, then maybe people will think you know enough to make that type of judgement.

But there does seem to be a lot of people that come into forums that they have nothing to do with just to let the particpents know that they suck.

As I said, I don't think the staff here would let it happen. If you don't know what I am talking about, you probably will have to find the worst examples on other parts of the internet.

Everyone probably thinks that the art they study is the best. If we thought that the art we study wasn't the best, why bother to study it? But of course, what is best for me might not be the best for you. Some people only want just enough to give them an edge should they be attacked. Some want or need something that will take up a good part of their time and energy. Some people need to run away from violence if they can, and there are some brave people who need to run towards violence. Someone working a door might need to know how to hold someone for the police, someone in a rough neighborhood might be better served learning how to use a legal weapon.

There is no one right answer.

But that does not seem to stop some people from deciding that they and only they have the right idea when it comes to martial arts. They will go out of their way to make some forums unreadable with all the disruptions they cause. There is actually one site where the members get together and talk about trying to cause trouble in other MA forums!

It all reminds me of the Taliban. It was/is not enough for them to do certain things or go without others, everyone must show their devotion to God. Of course, the devotion to God by someone forced to do so probably is not very great. And the idea of sacrifice in Islam as explained to me is that the items that they must do without are like Lent- you have to give them up yourself to show your willingness to do without for God. So if someone else makes that choice for you, it has no meaning.

But that is not enough for the Taliban, and it is not enough for some of the folks on the internet it seems.

I do many arts. I don't do a lot more. If something does not appeal to me, I spend my time on something that does. I don't read or comment on boards devoted to things I don't do. It would be a waste of my time. I do not like golf and my answer to golf programs or internet sites is to ignore them.

But I can't be the only one to notice that someone with no relation to a certain art seems to spend a lot of time tearing down that art. They go into other forums and even register with the sole intent of telling folks that other arts are not as great as theirs. Am I really the only one to notice?

If someone is commiting fraud or hurting others, then that needs to be stopped. But if it is merely a matter of opinion about how things should be or what standards should be held, what kind of ego does someone have to have to state that they know the answer, the only answer and that anyone who disagrees with them must be crushed?

Or what kind of insecurities are they dealing with? Are these folks trying to convince others that all other arts suck, or are they trying to convince themselves that what they do isn't a foolish choice? I have noticed that the most vocal seem to be those that are young. It all strikes me like the way some of my teenage friends used to talk very big to all around them. The older, wiser and more secure guys never felt the need to prove anything to themselves or to anyone else and never felt the need to tear anyone else down.

Martialtalk has a policy against fraudbusting. But they don't seem to go out of their way to coddle people that come on here to try to swagger around and impress others. I think that the reason for this is that so much of what could be called fraud-busting actually has very little to do with claims that are false and more to do with trying to destroy competing opinions, theories and methods of doing the martial arts.

Again, I am not talking about people that lie about what they are or what they do. Someone who goes from teaching Shotokan to teaching BJJ after watching a video and claiming to be a champion from Brazil is fair game if they start posting on a BJJ board IMO. Nor am I talking about sheer stupidity or things that will land you in court. I am talking about people who can't seem to allow anyone else to have an opinion about how we should go about our martial arts training.

So, am I the only one that has noticed the comparison between the Taliban and the way some folks act on the internet? What do you think the reasons are? Lets try to keep this polite and lets not use specific names if possible.
 

exile

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One of the reasons I like Martialtalk so far is that the staff here won't let a lot of the things I am going to complain about happen. Please keep that in mind as you read...

...am I the only one that has noticed the comparison between the Taliban and the way some folks act on the internet? What do you think the reasons are? Lets try to keep this polite and lets not use specific names if possible.

Interesting question, Mr. E—why some people feel the need to villify certain arts (we've recently had a bit of a dustup on one of the threads in the KMA forum; 'nuff said!)

I can see two main reasons. The less interesting one is $$: if you can make baseless allegations about someone else's art, you might get more people to sign up in your own school. The more interesting one—more interesting because it goes much deeper into the whole fabric of the MAs in North America—is that people at bottom are insecure about their own arts. These fighting systems evolved under conditions of need, conditions which I don't think are at all the same in contemporary society. Chinese peasants and Japanese serfs were essentially without legal protection: no constabulary, no court justice system, no restraining orders or peace bonds. They had to survive on their own, through their own devices, and their personal self-defense therefore had to be effective, or they might not make it home on any given night. We middle-class-and-up North American TKD practitioners have all of these things, and our MAs aren't a necessary part of our survival toolkits, compared to the conditions under which those MAs came into being. So how can we be certain they'd be effective—how do we know that we're not wasting our time?

Severe `live' training is probably the best we can do in this day, age and culture, but I suspect most folks don't train like that: it's pretty bloody unpleasant! And even if you want to do it, it's not all that easy to find training partners. So you have a bunch of insecure MA practitioners wandering around feeling antsy at some level about the value of their years of training (or months of training; some of the worst people for the sort of thing you're talking about are the novices).

I'd guess that this insecurity is the major precondition and contributing factor for the kind of art-bashing you're describing... but what's strange, if you accept this analysis, is that the British, say, don't seem to do this sort of thing nearly as much. That's the impression I get from our UK board members.... hard to figure that one out.
 
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Mr. E

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Severe `live' training is probably the best we can do in this day, age and culture, but I suspect most folks don't train like that: it's pretty bloody unpleasant!

I happen to think there are other ways. But nothing, nothing short of actual combat is real combat. So a lot of folks seem to have a deep rooted insecurity about the matter. After all, they don't really know they will survive an encounter until they actually have that encounter. Some folks seek out all they can and try to find new ways and possible answers. Others seem to latch onto their way of training and scream about how effective it is and how nothing else will work to cover up this insecurity.

I have noticed that a lot of people that have used what they do to come home alive are just as big a targets by these guys as the real frauds. I think that it is because if someone has done something other than what they do and has made it work, it crumbles their image of having the only art that will work. And so they need to attack those that challenge their view of the world.
 

shesulsa

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Mr E. et al,

What I love is that there are people who have to ask this question because they cannot find the reason to emulate this behavior themselves.

I'm going to ramble and just type thoughts in an effort to perhaps write something that rings a bell to someone else:

Competition is *marketed* for *everything* - take a look, people compete for love, for bettering how one looks, for validation of lifestyle, for a bigger, better house, a better car, to lose weight rapidly, to gain "immunity" or bragging rights, the MP3 player with more memory, faster internet, faster & easier foods, better sleep, better ... everything. I think competition through demeaning others is becoming a national pastime. This behavior is modeled in jest, in drama, in everything, really.

So it's not surprising to me that people will buy from the bully - and there's another axiom of survival, siding with the bully, we could explore. People thing meanness or snideness equals strength, superiority; that ditching tradition and getting the quick fix of whatever kind of fighting they think is worth their attention at the time is worthwhile.

Is it a loss of influence from the older generation in our daily lives? As the occurrence of dementias rise, do we as the American society naturally equate age with dementia and therefore discard the wisdom that can only come through life experience?

I think we're becoming a very adolescent culture with young adults defending adolescents as being "grown up enough" to <fill in the blank>. What is this due to? Vast conveniences in our lifestyles?

There is a general loss in society of genuine maturity, genuine consideration, genuine respect and genuine tolerance.

*taps chin in thought*

...
 

Em MacIntosh

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The opinion that "everyone should do what I do because it's right" is still just an opinion. Free speech is not for the weak. Someone has the right to offend you just as you have the right to be offended and vice versa. No matter what anyone says, whether based on fact or not is still just an opinion. Anyone is fair game and no matter who they are they should be prepared to defend their opinion. I think something that is not a requirement but can save a lot of degeneration of a conversation is to agree to disagree. I had the same problem in a thread about weapons. My weapon of choice are the nunchakus. Just about everybody scoffed but I stuck with it. I know, they assume.
 
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Mr. E

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The opinion that "everyone should do what I do because it's right" is still just an opinion. Free speech is not for the weak. Someone has the right to offend you just as you have the right to be offended and vice versa.

But why should someone go out of their way to offend others? Why should people have to put up with this type of thing?

I do not go to church. I am pure evil and stepping on holy ground would cause me physical pain. So even though I am opposed to much of what passes as religion, why would I go out and sign onto a site devoted to religion just to post about how it really was God who was the baddie?

In the same way, if there is a thread about making Bagua moves work on the street, why would anyone butt- in to tell everyone that Chinese arts won't work? What kind of insecurities do some people have that force them to go out and attack others like that? And why should anyone have to put up with it? The right to free speech does not mean that anyone has to listen to you, nor does it mean that anyone has to help support you get your message out. No one running a message board has to let just anyone post.
 

Sukerkin

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Another fascinating thread :tup:.

I concur on the lack of understanding as to why people would join a fora simply to abuse those who are already members :confused:. Nothing is gained by such actions apart from, perhaps, a few outraged responses - maybe those responses are what are found to generate humour and provide motivation in an of themselves?

Shesulsa's post has a lot in it worthy of discourse but I'm reaching the edge of my 'fatigue envelope' and I doubt I can muster the depth of reasoning required to continue the train of thought - Exile ... help! :D.

On the subject of cultural differences in this regard, specifically with regard to British style-tolerance, I think part of it is that we have something of an 'absorb and adapt' nature. We were invaded many times in ancient times and took on many racial characteristics. We've been subjugated a couple of times and we didn't like that, thank you very much. We had a globe spanning Empire and as a quid quo pro of conquest we adopted a slice of many nations cultures too.

It's in our character to simultaneously mock and adopt - just ask our people of Indian ancestry for a modern confirmation. I've done the same in martial arts in that I'll jokingly pour scorn on a fellows art, say shotokan karate, and he'll belittle my Lau Gar. We both go, "Okay, let's spar!", whale seven bells out of each other and then move on to the vital 'pub' stage of proceedings :D.

Fighting is fighting and it's something that the best of us will do at need, so why bother about the way a chap will choose to do it?

On a final, thread de-railing, sleep befuddled point, we've been described by Napoleon as a "Nation of Shopkeepers" and we kicked his **** and by the Germans as "Lions lead by donkeys" and we kicked their **** (twice, with your fellows help :)). I'm not being totally silly here, as the point I'm making is that when 'push comes to shove' we'll do what we have to do and that means we have no time for any my-style-beats-your-style twaddle.
 

Kacey

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There are two ways to tell people how good something is: by telling them why you think it's good, and by comparing it to something you think is worse that they might already be familiar with. The latter is, often, much easier, while the former is, generally, more truthful... but it takes longer, requires more thought, and requires the speaker to understand the reasons why their preference is good on it's own, rather than in relation to something else.

For many people, they were taught something along these lines: Style "X" is better than Style "Y" because it's easier to kill people with Style "X". They are never taught enough - nor do they go out and find out enough - about Style "Y" to know if the comparison is correct; they just parrot what they were taught - often with a great deal of enthusiasm. This pattern can be continued through a number of generations, until it becomes "known/proven fact" rather than opinion, at least as far as the people at the bottom of the chain know. The fault here lies with the people who start such opinions far more than with those who repeat what they were taught as "fact". Despite that, I do think that all students - whatever they are studying - have the responsibility, once they are old enough, to do research on their own, to confirm or disprove the information with which they are being presented. Any other course of action leads to a group of sheep, being led by a wolf in sheep's clothing.
 

Steel Tiger

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So, am I the only one that has noticed the comparison between the Taliban and the way some folks act on the internet? What do you think the reasons are? Lets try to keep this polite and lets not use specific names if possible.

I think you can see that others of us have noticed this behaviour, but you are the first to really draw an appropriate comparison. Why are people like this? It is something you notice running through society; that need to belittle some thing that someone else is doing or interested in whether it be stamp-collecting, wargaming, train-spotting, or martial arts.

Then there are the sort of people you are refering to who take this aspect of human nature to a whole new level. It speaks of personal insecurities, and it is always easier to tear something down to build something up. So rather than face their own demons and come to terms with their own difficiencies, they tear down what is around them to try to make everyone else feel as insecure as they themselves are. In short, it is cowardice that drives these attacks.



Interesting question, Mr. E—why some people feel the need to villify certain arts (we've recently had a bit of a dustup on one of the threads in the KMA forum; 'nuff said!).

And again, I commend you for your cool head my friend.

I'd guess that this insecurity is the major precondition and contributing factor for the kind of art-bashing you're describing... but what's strange, if you accept this analysis, is that the British, say, don't seem to do this sort of thing nearly as much. That's the impression I get from our UK board members.... hard to figure that one out.

I think that Sukerkin has hit upon a significant factor for this difference. Britain has spent the better part of the last 2000 years absorbing influences from around the world (and has managed to maintain a clearly British identity) whereas the US, and Australia to a lesser extent, have only been around for a little over 200 years. We are the novice voices looking to establish ourselves.



I think we're becoming a very adolescent culture with young adults defending adolescents as being "grown up enough" to <fill in the blank>. What is this due to? Vast conveniences in our lifestyles?

There is a general loss in society of genuine maturity, genuine consideration, genuine respect and genuine tolerance.

*taps chin in thought*

...

This is something I greatly fear is the truth.

There is a staggering disrespect for the elderly. Of course some, do not have wisdom but they do have knowledge and experience, even if they have not learnt from it. I recommend sitting down with an older person and listening to what they have to say about the world when they were younger. Its usually fascinating. And perhaps, somewhere in these conversations we can rescue our societies maturity, respect, and tolerance.


For many people, they were taught something along these lines: Style "X" is better than Style "Y" because it's easier to kill people with Style "X". They are never taught enough - nor do they go out and find out enough - about Style "Y" to know if the comparison is correct; they just parrot what they were taught - often with a great deal of enthusiasm. This pattern can be continued through a number of generations, until it becomes "known/proven fact" rather than opinion, at least as far as the people at the bottom of the chain know. The fault here lies with the people who start such opinions far more than with those who repeat what they were taught as "fact". Despite that, I do think that all students - whatever they are studying - have the responsibility, once they are old enough, to do research on their own, to confirm or disprove the information with which they are being presented. Any other course of action leads to a group of sheep, being led by a wolf in sheep's clothing.

Oh yes, the well known fact. Kasey, this is a very nice description of how dogma comes into being. There is no substance, there is no thought, just poor information and vilification. Martial arts generally, has an unclean hand in this, however. Often the discipline in the dojo gets to the point where there is no questioning of the teacher. What he or she says is true, regardless. And it is in the dojos of these tinpot dictators that these dogmatic and well known facts originate. A person secure with temselves and their art does not need to make such confrontational, comparative statements.

I agree with Kasey in that we have a responsibility to research our arts no matter what we have been told. This is what those masters of the past, who we admire for their knowledge and tenacity, did, so why shouldn't we?

If we do the research, it doesn't matter if what we turn up is good or bad, we have the knowledge and can learn from it. Further more it arms us against the Internet MA Taliban. Nothing makes a person look more foolish than using well thought out reasonable arguments to blast holes in fallacies.
 

Carol

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Sometimes all ya need to do is shut up and train. :rolleyes:
 

mystic warrior

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Thats all fine and well
But then there would be no need for forums such as this. Because people would be doing what they are supposed to be doing.
TRAINING
Just a thought though.
 

Bob Hubbard

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And we'd have less meet n greet fun, but I digress.

Mr. E's post was interesting....I'm processing it. :)
 

Carol

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Aye, well we gotta have the site. Need to have some place to surf while at work :D
 
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