Question about Style Creation

Daniel Sullivan

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Calling something a new style is sometimes as simple as the name of your training hall being associated with the art. Shotokan was the name of Funakoshi's training hall. So if I learned from Funokoshi, I was studying at Shotokan Karate, instead of guy down the street karate. If I recall, Shotokan means pine house or white pine house? Much as Chang Hon simply means blue cottage. Learning from the Gracies means that you do Gracie Jujistu, not because they went off and invented some crazy new style, but because that's the name of the guy who founded the school.

Sometimes calling something new is a result of a practitioner having to put together his own style to find what he's really looking for, such as Bruce Lee.

And of course, there are the guys and gals who repackage the same old stuff, make up a couple of their own forms, and call it an entirely new system.

What qualifies one to create a new style? I'd say that being competent to teach functional techniques is a start. If the 'style' in question works, and if the creator isn't just some money seeking quack, then there's no harm in it.

My biggest issue with the "I created my own unique system" crowd is that for some odd reason, they all seem to think that their style is objectively superior to everything else, which no style is.

Daniel
 

Xue Sheng

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I think that these would be different because they were derived from different styles...what the OP is talking about is, I believe, people who open their own school after training in only 1 art, and think that they can simply rename the art because they've made the "necessary changes" that are designed to suit their own needs.

Now, their actual intentions may be that they want to help others, but the mistake that they're making is renaming the art. Just because they made a few changes to the core art doesn't make it their own. The actual act of renaming the art under these circumstances is where the ego trip and greed issues come into play.

In that case it is purely sales for cash.
 

Xue Sheng

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So what makes it still qualify for the original art's name, and at what point would it cross over and become something else (i.e., maybe the Kaju guys wouldn't want it called Kaju anymore... or Kenpo guys, or TKD guys)? In other words, what does it have to retain to retain its legitimate use of the name? I know this is the opposite side of the question in the OP, but still relevant I think.

IMO the basic principles that any given style is based upon break from those you now have something other than the original style keep those and you may have the same style.
 

punisher73

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In Gichin Funakoshi's autobiography he even mentions being at a demonstration or some type of gathering and all of the "styles he had never heard of". I don't think that this is a new thing at all.

It used to be you learned some fighting and you taught your children. If you were really good, sometimes other people would come to you to learn as well. Later these things were codified by the students and given a name.

Out of respect, if changes were made the title would have "ha" attatched to it. Such as Johnson-ha Shorin Ryu. This indicated that it was Johnson's approach to Shorin-Ryu. In other cases, the changes were so significant that a new name was given to it. For example, when Tatsuo Shimabuku combined Goju and Shorin (along with some other things) he renamed it Isshin-Ryu. There are many that still classify it as a Shorin-Ryu substyle.

There will ALWAYS be somebody that will bad mouth what you do. I have seen ALL styles talk trash about other styles due to lineage or tradition. It all comes down to this, at some point ALL STYLES were created and named by somebody. If enough people liked it and found benefit to it, then the style was "legitimate". Eventually, somebody else would add or delete material to that and come up with their own approach. Same thing, people liked it or found worth with it and passed it on.

I always liked the quote my roommate in college always said about discussions like this. "Everybody sucks to someone else".

I have heard it ALL when it comes to styles (Yes, these are actual statements I have seen).

Isshin-ryu is just watered down Goju or Shorin
TKD/TSD is just watered down Shotokan
Shotokan is just watered down Shorin Ryu
Judo is just sport jujitsu
BJJ is just Judo
Kenpo was just created by street thugs
Aikido is just watered aiki-jujitsu
All Chinese arts are just flowery for show
Then there are all the different branches of the SAME art. This instructor doesn't teach the REAL art, or didn't learn the REAL secrets.

The list could go on and on. These are just what popped into my head first so I apologize if I forgot to insult your art. :)

It all boils down to this....do YOU like what you do? Do YOU benefit from what you do? Does it meet what YOU are looking for in a martial art?

Disclaimer: This is not about dishonest people who take an existing art and then make up a completely false history about it. Like taking TKD (I use this only because it is one of the most popular and recognized arts) and then claiming that it is a long lost martial art from the continent of Atlantis that was just recently discovered through a family of survivors that have lived in secret until now.
 

punisher73

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Personally I feel the Kajukenbo guys have it down best.

Master A in Kajukenbo also studies TKD, Shotokan, and Karate.
Master B in Kajukenbo also studies Kung Fu, Tai Chi, and Qi Gong.

They both go out and teach what they know, but have very different backgrounds outside of Kajukenbo. Do they teach different styles? NO!

Master A teaches Master A method of Kajukenbo.
Master B teaches Master B method of Kajukenbo.

They both teach the same style although very different in their directions there for have different methods.

Does that make sense to anyone else, and any Kaju guys can feel free to chime in about it if I am off base here or on target.

That is what I was refering to when I mentioned traditionally schools would designate that it was a personal method of the style.

I think that this is a good approach if it is basically the same thing with minor variations to the base style.
 

kidswarrior

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Kenpo was just created by street thugs
Yeah, what of it? :mad: :D

All Chinese arts are just flowery for show
Saying this around a couple of guys I know could be dangerous to ones health. ;)

Disclaimer: Like taking TKD (I use this only because it is one of the most popular and recognized arts) and then claiming that it is a long lost martial art from the continent of Atlantis that was just recently discovered through a family of survivors that have lived in secret until now.
You mean it's not??!!!!! Someone owes me a refund. :)
 

Xue Sheng

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I always liked the quote my roommate in college always said about discussions like this. "Everybody sucks to someone else".

I have heard it ALL when it comes to styles (Yes, these are actual statements I have seen).
All Chinese arts are just flowery for show

Hmmm...yes.... I wonder if anyone has told the Chinese military this or better yet maybe your room mate should fly to China and tell one of the Chinese police that thier martial arts is flowery, if you like I will send you the Chinese to tell them so....oooh I'd pay to see that one.

Then there are all the different branches of the SAME art. This instructor doesn't teach the REAL art, or didn't learn the REAL secrets.

Yes Hebei style Xingyiquan is soooo much less effective than Shanxi style and of course Yiquan is not effective at all since it comes form Hebei style Xingyiquan for the most part. And JKD coming pretty much from Wing Chun would explain why it is so ineffective as an MA I guess :rolleyes:

Saying this around a couple of guys I know could be dangerous to ones health. ;)

Me to
 

bluekey88

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I just wonder if there were people that said Kano or Ueshiba were frauds for breaking from their roots and going their own ways?

i iamgine the politcal style v style debates go back as loong as people could clain they had a "style." I also bet there were unscrupulous sort willing to claim rank, skill, etc for the sole purpose of fleecing others. The only difference between then and now is that we no longer can call frauds out for duels to the death...we can only lambaste them on the internet. :D

Peace,
Erik
 

Tames D

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"All Chinese arts are just flowery for show"

Hmmm, I was just dozing off and this comment caught my attention.
 

kidswarrior

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All Chinese arts are just flowery for show
I'm pretty sure this list was just repeated tongue in cheek, since Punisher goes on:

These are just what popped into my head first so I apologize if I forgot to insult your art. :)
So... no harm, no foul? :D

Anyway, nice to see you QUI-GON. I really miss your input. And with X.S. on the thread too...man I sorely miss the old days. ;)
 

BrandonLucas

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In Gichin Funakoshi's autobiography he even mentions being at a demonstration or some type of gathering and all of the "styles he had never heard of". I don't think that this is a new thing at all.

It used to be you learned some fighting and you taught your children. If you were really good, sometimes other people would come to you to learn as well. Later these things were codified by the students and given a name.

Out of respect, if changes were made the title would have "ha" attatched to it. Such as Johnson-ha Shorin Ryu. This indicated that it was Johnson's approach to Shorin-Ryu. In other cases, the changes were so significant that a new name was given to it. For example, when Tatsuo Shimabuku combined Goju and Shorin (along with some other things) he renamed it Isshin-Ryu. There are many that still classify it as a Shorin-Ryu substyle.

There will ALWAYS be somebody that will bad mouth what you do. I have seen ALL styles talk trash about other styles due to lineage or tradition. It all comes down to this, at some point ALL STYLES were created and named by somebody. If enough people liked it and found benefit to it, then the style was "legitimate". Eventually, somebody else would add or delete material to that and come up with their own approach. Same thing, people liked it or found worth with it and passed it on.

I always liked the quote my roommate in college always said about discussions like this. "Everybody sucks to someone else".

I have heard it ALL when it comes to styles (Yes, these are actual statements I have seen).

Isshin-ryu is just watered down Goju or Shorin
TKD/TSD is just watered down Shotokan
Shotokan is just watered down Shorin Ryu
Judo is just sport jujitsu
BJJ is just Judo
Kenpo was just created by street thugs
Aikido is just watered aiki-jujitsu
All Chinese arts are just flowery for show
Then there are all the different branches of the SAME art. This instructor doesn't teach the REAL art, or didn't learn the REAL secrets.

The list could go on and on. These are just what popped into my head first so I apologize if I forgot to insult your art. :)

It all boils down to this....do YOU like what you do? Do YOU benefit from what you do? Does it meet what YOU are looking for in a martial art?

Disclaimer: This is not about dishonest people who take an existing art and then make up a completely false history about it. Like taking TKD (I use this only because it is one of the most popular and recognized arts) and then claiming that it is a long lost martial art from the continent of Atlantis that was just recently discovered through a family of survivors that have lived in secret until now.

I agree with what you're saying here...and in a way, you hit on what I believe the OP was about in what I bolded in your statement.

This would be the acceptable way of renaming an art after modifications have been made. I would consider it acceptable because the name still contains the base art, but also includes the name of the practitioner that made the changes to the art. So now there's no confusion over what's been changed....for example, I decide to open my own dojang and teach TKD. I could name the school and style Brandon's Taekwon Do, and that wouldn't be misleading at all. Anyone who walks through the door knows what art to expect...Taekwon Do is taught, but it's my own spin on the art.

Now, what I think the OP is getting at is when someone has basically the core art with minor changes to the techniques and possibly forms, and renames the style totally, like I had mentioned in one of my previous posts.

Example: I decide to open a martial arts school, and my base art is Taekwon Do, but I decide to create my own forms and omit all headkicks...so now I call it Brandon-Fu, because it's my art. When you walk through the door and see a student practicing, it may very well look like Taekwon Do, but the forms look different. This could be confusing, especially to someone who also has experience in TKD.

That's the difference to me. And the 2nd example, IMO, is a sign of someone with an ego problem, or someone who has a dislike for their core art but doesn't understand how to teach anything else, or both.
 
OP
Cryozombie

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This is all very good discussion, many many valid points brought up here.
 

Xue Sheng

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I just wonder if there were people that said Kano or Ueshiba were frauds for breaking from their roots and going their own ways?

Actually I believe with Kano to some extent yes, but he did not continue to call his style Jujutsu. As for Ueshiba, I do not know but both most certainly had the background, skill and understanding to make thier new style and back it up.

Forget about sending someone else. You were one of the *couple of guys* I had in mind.

:lol:
Nah, not me, I'm just an old neijia guy :EG:

Anyway, nice to see you QUI-GON. I really miss your input.

Agreed, glad to see you back Qui-Gon :asian:
 

YoungMan

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Is this an Ego thing? A money thing? Do they just think they have a better understanding?

99.9% of the time: yes, yes, and no. The vast majority of the time, a "new style" is simply the same old car with a new paintjob.
 

zeeberex

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right..that's true in MOST cases. But let's say I take my taekwondo...blend it with the taijutus i started studying and the Aikido I used to do. In a way...that's what I'm really doing now. In the end, if someone did that and felt that what they had was distinctly different from what they used to do...what's wrong with saying this is a new style?

Taijutsu is really a blend of 9 different ryu's correct? (I'm 2 classes in and not up on all the history). Taekwondo is descended from Shotokan karate which is in turn descended from Okinawan systems.

Aikido descends from daito ryu aiki-jujutsu. One with some knowledge can see the similarities...but the overla tactics, strategy and philops-phies of these systems as well as the training methodologies have diverged over time.
\
Conversely, there are cases where astyles share a name/root but really look different (thin ITF and WTf TKD).

basically, i can see how a person can say that what they do consitute a new style. I can see where that might be legit. This does not hold true for most. Also, there are those who do this simly for ego/money. However, everything we study now started as someone basically "making their own style."

peace,
Erik

That happens on a more quiet basis anyway. My school is technically Ninpo, but the teacher has a background in other things and you can see the various influxes of that style into the interpretation of certain "revised' techniques.

Evolution happens.
 

Xue Sheng

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If somebody has extensive background in multiple styles and starts his own style based on the experience that is fine. However having extensive background in several styles and combining them and calling it by one of the original style names is, OMO, at best false advertisement.

I know of a guy locally that has extensive background in kempo, Muay Thai and BJJ and a couple other things (he has been in MA for years) and he has a school and he teaches MMA and defensive tactics and I have no problem with this at all. Actually I am rather impressed by his background, attitude and dedication to MA. But if he took all that combined it and called it Kempo I would have a problem with it since Muay Thai+BJJ+Kempo does not equal Kempo. It could still be very effective but it is no longer kempo.

However go off and train TKD for a few years and take Aikido for a couple months and call it Aikikwondo and go out and open a school to teach you new style is just plain wrong. After such a short time you simply do not have the understanding and you are pretty much, IMO, just out to make money.
 

geezer

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If somebody has extensive background in multiple styles and starts his own style based on the experience that is fine. However having extensive background in several styles and combining them and calling it by one of the original style names is, OMO, at best false advertisement.

Using this standard, a person who significantly alters a style should call it by a new name. That's a matter of honesty, not ego.

My current FMA teacher and I both began studying eskrima under a well known master back in the '80s. He went on to study under various other individuals and eventually became very good on his own. Now he teaches his own system of eskrima. I asked him about that and he said that it wouldn't be honest to use or exploit our old master's name when he no longer teaches that system. But he openly acknowledges his debt to all his previous instructors.

Frankly, I was quite satisfied with the honesty and humility of his response.
 

Xue Sheng

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Using this standard, a person who significantly alters a style should call it by a new name. That's a matter of honesty, not ego.

My current FMA teacher and I both began studying eskrima under a well known master back in the '80s. He went on to study under various other individuals and eventually became very good on his own. Now he teaches his own system of eskrima. I asked him about that and he said that it wouldn't be honest to use or exploit our old master's name when he no longer teaches that system. But he openly acknowledges his debt to all his previous instructors.

Frankly, I was quite satisfied with the honesty and humility of his response.

That I'm good with, that is one of the reasons why you have different styles of Taiji, Xingyi and Bagua.
 

punisher73

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There will ALWAYS be somebody that will bad mouth what you do. I have seen ALL styles talk trash about other styles due to lineage or tradition. It all comes down to this, at some point ALL STYLES were created and named by somebody. If enough people liked it and found benefit to it, then the style was "legitimate". Eventually, somebody else would add or delete material to that and come up with their own approach. Same thing, people liked it or found worth with it and passed it on.

I always liked the quote my roommate in college always said about discussions like this. "Everybody sucks to someone else".

I have heard it ALL when it comes to styles (Yes, these are actual statements I have seen).

Isshin-ryu is just watered down Goju or Shorin
TKD/TSD is just watered down Shotokan
Shotokan is just watered down Shorin Ryu
Judo is just sport jujitsu
BJJ is just Judo
Kenpo was just created by street thugs
Aikido is just watered aiki-jujitsu
All Chinese arts are just flowery for show
Then there are all the different branches of the SAME art. This instructor doesn't teach the REAL art, or didn't learn the REAL secrets.

The list could go on and on. These are just what popped into my head first so I apologize if I forgot to insult your art. :)

It all boils down to this....do YOU like what you do? Do YOU benefit from what you do? Does it meet what YOU are looking for in a martial art?

To those who thought I was insulting the arts mentioned I was NOT. Please re-read the post. The point of that particular part was that, it doesn't matter WHAT art you study, there is somebody out there who will try to judge it and say that their art is better. Those were comments I have heard and read concerning those arts in particular, NOT what I feel about those arts. I think if we all looked hard enough we could find someone dogging every single system known.

Kano is interesting, if he did what he did today he would be called a fraud and the art bogus. Instead he is called a genius and innovator. He only studied for 4 yrs total and created Judo at the age of 22. That is also why I ended my post about does the art fit what YOU need it to?

I think that there are various reasons that people create their own style. I think it does run the spectrum of thinking that their approach is better to an ego title. There is also probably some blending in there as well. I also think it could be that you want to teach what you want to teach and so you create your own organization/style so you can do that and not have to be told what you can or can't do, or what is "style x".
 

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