Passing Judgement on other styles...

Flying Crane

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I've been thinking about this a bit lately, and thought I'd open it up for discussion.

When we have experiences, these experiences will have an effect on how we view other things. It gives us a frame of reference for comparison and a basis on which to understand what else we might be looking at or doing. This holds true in the martial arts. After we have spent time training in one martial art, that experience will influence how we view any other martial art that we look at. If we begin training in a second or third martial art, prior martial experience will influence that later training, even if we try and compartmentalize it and keep the different arts "pure" and separate from each other. I think this is natural and normal. Whatever we have done in the past, influences whatever we will do in the future.

However, I think there is a trap that some people can fall into, and that is judging one art by the standards and practices of another.

It seems to me that many different arts have a lot of things in common. They share a good number of techniques and methods, including how they generate power and what their footwork is like. These commonalities make it easier to understand what we are seeing, and to an extent make a judgement on the quality of what is being done.

But some arts are actually quite different from each other. Their methods are very different, including physical technique, power generation, footwork and movement. They are really different enough that it doesn't make sense to judge the one art by the standards of the other. Yet I sometimes see people doing this.

I think it demonstrates a closed mind to do this. Seems like for some, they feel that their method had captured the "best" way to approach martial training and technique, and if a system doesn't share these methods, then they believe it is inferior or sub-optimal.

I don't understand it when people can't even recognize that they simply lack the experience to pass judgement one way or the other. In my opinion, it's like putting blinders on, and refusing to look around and recognize that while some things are simply different, they are also tremendously effective.

Just my thoughts, feel free to comment.
 

CDKJudoka

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I think that the whole talking down of other arts has been going on for a long time. Think about every bad Kung Fu movie that you have ever seen.

"My Kung Fu is stronger than yours."

I hate to see it happen now, because the internet has made things a more global community, allowing for interchange of ideas and philosophies. I won't put down another style, regardless of how bad it is simply because I may not know anything about the art, or the people that do it. There are several Martial Artists out there who deserve disdain for fraudulent acts or claims, but again, it is not my job to pass judgement on them unless confronted with indisputable evidence against them, and then I will never refer to or look upon them again.

Through all of this, I think the mingling of the martial arts should be something that will only make everyone involved stronger. I am a TKD stylist and most of us get looked down on as not being a real or effective MA due to the proliferation of McDojangs and the way it has been diluted. Will I talk down to a Sport Wushu artist because he style is "useless"? No, because his style may not be for me, but there could be some techniques that would be useful to me in adding to my forever expanding repertoire. Same goes for any other style of Martial Arts, regardless of how ridiculous they may seem or look.
 

Xue Sheng

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But we ALLL know XUEFU is superior to all that came before...right :mst: :D

Basically I look at my martial art(s) as opposed to your martial art(s) as just another way

Years ago I use to feel any style labeled Karate was inferior until a friend of mine talked me into going to a Fumio Demura seminar. It was after that I started looking at other arts as just another way. Also I am iternally greatful to my first CMA sifu, no matter how much I do not agree with him today, for allowing us to all take over the school on Saturday afternoons and spar using whatever style we knew, it is a great way to learn and get over the arrogance of ones style.
 

terryl965

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Of course my art is better, I am doing it. But for reals it has always been about who and what is better. I can remember back in the seventies and the Dojo's wars, man those where some very bad time for Martial arts but here we are still saying MY ART IS THE BEST BECAUSE!!!! When can we just accept that people do what is best for them and really it is never the art but the individual, that truely matters
 

Ninebird8

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After all these years, I have come to the conclusion that it is the person who makes the style, not the other way. Recently, one of my best friends, who is an old style tae kwon do stylist and a 5th dan legitimately, was showing his senior student some locks and takedowns. His senior started laughing, and remarked he recently had watched some YouTube of my Ying Jow master Leung Shum, and my tai chi/white crane grandmaster, Dr. Yang, and saw the movements my friend and my CMA teachers were almost the same, the only difference being the approach, but not the application or result. I train and teach my friend's students once a month for 2-3 hours so they get another perspective, and so do I (though I sparred many styles in my competition days), and have found that the beauty in the arts lies not about an individual style but what each style does for the individual. A great martial art is a great martial art, and if certain arts did not work, like anything else in a Darwinian environment that martial arts is, it would not have survived this long! With respect.
 

davj22

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From my experience a lot of people lose sight of the fact that their particular art is not better or stronger than another. It's really the person ... the individual practitioner and his or her understanding that makes the application of one art better than another. The art, itself, is irrelevant. If you have a great teacher and deep understanding of martial science any art can be effective.
 

dancingalone

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When I see someone style bashing, I just put it up to personal immaturity and a lack of knowledge of other training methods. Anyone who has been around a bit and has kept his eyes open knows that all arts are just gateways to the same location. It's just a matter of which door you prefer or have available to you.
 

Josh Oakley

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I have a decent example of this. My kempo instructor and FASST instructor say to breathe out when you punch. My tai chi instructor says to breath in when you punch. All my instructors hit very hard and can do multiple strikes.

So who is right? All of them. I also just picked up a student who was told to breathe in, hold his breath, and do the techniques. Then breathe out.

I didn't think it made sense, but at the same time he worked it well.

What I have come to understand that there is a way to hit powerfully with rapid succession while breathing out, breathing in, or holding your breath. I'm working on seeing if I combine all three understandings.
 

Kacey

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Most arts, ultimately, will eventually teach the same things; the difference is in which parts are most strongly emphasized. As a TKD practitioner, I learn and teach joint locks, controls, and takedowns - but I emphasize kicking and punching, as those are the primary/key facets of the style.

Whatever a style teaches the most intensely will determine what that style is known for as being "best" at - but ultimately I think that emphasis on certain types of techniques/skills is what differentiates between styles. No one style is, ultimately, the "best" - but a particular style may suit a particular person better than another style might, and may, therefore, be the "best" style for that person.
 

Kacey

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Most arts, ultimately, will eventually teach the same things; the difference is in which parts are most strongly emphasized. As a TKD practitioner, I learn and teach joint locks, controls, and takedowns - but I emphasize kicking and punching, as those are the primary/key facets of the style.

Whatever a style teaches the most intensely will determine what that style is known for as being "best" at - but ultimately I think that emphasis on certain types of techniques/skills is what differentiates between styles. No one style is, ultimately, the "best" - but a particular style may suit a particular person better than another style might, and may, therefore, be the "best" style for that person. Nothing else particularly matters - and once you've found the best style for yourself, you will, of course, consider that the best style - because it is best for you - and what else really matters?
 

jks9199

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"Just as no one nation on Earth holds a monopoly on the sunshine, no one creed, system, or belief holds a monopoly on the truth."

The human body consists of hands, feet, arms, and legs; all are in roughly the same proportion and allotment. They all move in pretty much the same way for everyone. In sum -- there just ain't but so many ways to collide a fist with a face (or other target) and do harm, and there ain't but so many ways to deal with someone trying to do the same to you. But there are, apparently, an infinite number of ways to combine and apply these methods... Some may be more efficient or easier to learn than others; some may work better in some conditions than others or for some people.

At heart, the question of combat is simply "how do I get the other guy without being got myself?" How we answer that question reflects our history, our beliefs, and our environment. I've been exposed to a stick system that has no strikes to vital targets -- and to another that is nothing but strikes to vital targets; each reflects the beliefs of the people who developed it. People who spend much of the year wrapped up for warmth, walking on icy and unstable surfaces will develop movement methods that reflect this. Someone preparing for combat with armored opponents will adapt their methods to the armor.

To try to say that any one style is "best" in every way is silly!
 

Deaf Smith

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Well it all depends...

I once bumped into an art, supposedly martial, and it's literature said that you don't need guns or knives, that their 'art' would do all. That to me indicated their art was out of touch with reality as no one can say to all that their way was so good no other from of defense is necessary.

Now as for styles, like hard .vs. soft or hands .vs. feet, well if their linage goes back and the art was 'battle tested' sometime back then I'd give them a pass and keep and open mind. But, if it's something new and I cannot see any linkage to tested methods, hard .vs. soft or hands .vs. feet, etc..., well color me skeptical.

An example would be if they actually avocated doing flysprings or backflips as part of their fighting methods (and to tell you the truth, jump back spinning heal kicks push the envelope on that!) Such as that is, well, unrealistic. Or if they style depended on a serene calm mind, chanting, and rubbing their elbows to summon their powers to defend defend themselves...

Oh, and there is another style I can say I see through... Those ads for super secret government training (now revealed to you) where: "Your attackers will be puddy in your hands. Yes you will never fear to walk the streets again! Criminals will cower at your approach. Multiple attackers defeated in seconds! Taught to SEALs, Force Recon, SF, Rangers, and Munchkins for years."

See for me the 'martial' in martial arts is the reason for it's existence, least it become just a form of jazzercise that is artistic. Cause if all I want is art, I'll go paint.

Deaf
 

Ironcrane

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I will confess that I use to pass judgment on Tae Kwon Do. When I trained in that style years ago, I found it very lacking. Our workout consisted of static drills, forums, and non contact sparing. All the hand techniques were slow, and clunky. Everyone did their forums rather poorly, and, intresting enough, their kicks were slow, stiff, and weak.
I even went to one of their tournaments, which I had to sit out, due to recovering from lung surgery. There were about 300 or so people there, including the head Tae Kwon Do guy, were all these others schools came from. With only a couple of exceptions, every. Single. One. Of these people were completely awful. I couldn't believe it. I even came up with my own term to describe a Martial Artist like this - paper martial artist. Because you could cut through them like paper.
Eventually, I learned to not dismiss this art out of hand. It wasn't the art itself so much as the commercialisation of it. I know believe that most all Martial Arts have at least some merit to it. And I say most all, because I'd still have to question the newer Martial Arts that come out of training like this, or have never been put to the test.
 

zDom

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With only a couple of exceptions, every. Single. One. Of these people were completely awful. I couldn't believe it. I even came up with my own term to describe a Martial Artist like this - paper martial artist. Because you could cut through them like paper.
Eventually, I learned to not dismiss this art out of hand. It wasn't the art itself so much as the commercialisation of it.

I think the more popular a martial art gets, the more "paper martial artists" you will get.

"Tigers" comprise a very small percentage of the general population, I believe.
 

zDom

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There are martial arts I like and other I don't like for personal reasons. I keep those to myself for the most part.

But I DO openly "pass judgement" on specific techniques based on physics and physiology.

It doesn't matter to me which martial art the technique comes from *I judge each on the above criteria.

As for breathing, breathing in and out regardless of where you might be in an exercise or fighting sequence is the most effective means of maintaining a good oxygen supply, so I've been taught.

On exertion, however, holding your breath can build up dangerous pressure, so I was taught in coaching classes. Everything I've heard from those who specialize in knowing things about the human body indicate exhaling with exertion is the best option.
 

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