So Let Me Get This Straight-- Why Don't We Have New Arts?

Kung Fu Wang

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You don’t really need to force yourself. When I first started rolling, I only had two or three moves I could somewhat do against someone who was trying to subdue me. Over time your move set grows, and you add more to your tool belt. It’s a fairly natural progression over time.

The bad part is if you’ve never sparred before and the first time you can test your abilities is when you have to defend yourself.
Not sure how BJJ guys develop new skill.

A guy is good in single leg may not be good in hip throw. If that person depends on his single leg to win on the mat all the time, he will never be able to develop hip throw.

This is why when a person cares too much about his winning record, it will be hard for him to develop new skill.
 
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Gerry Seymour

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Nope. That's true. Well, it's a little more nuanced than that. I'll try to distill it into bullet points:
  • Expertise is an accumulation of skills developed over time thought application in context.
  • Whenever you use skills in a different context, your chances of failure are higher, because there is a transfer of learning. For example, if you learn to swim in a pool, and then swim in the ocean, there is a transfer of learning. If you're a strong swimmer, you will probably do fine, though there are important things about tides that you may not know. If you are a weak swimmer in a pool, you will be an even weaker swimmer in an ocean. And if you've only ever mimicked the motions of swimming while on dry land, your chances are pretty slim, though you may intellectually understand what you need to do.
  • The more similar one context is to another, the more likely one will successfully transfer skills.
  • Training to fight is not the same as fighting. Fighting is an application of skill. Training is preparation. You can develop expertise without training (though good training is valuable). You cannot develop expertise without application.
  • If you don't apply the skills you're learning in the context for which they are intended, the training itself actually becomes the context. If this happens, you are no longer even training to fight. You are now training to become an expert trainee. So, to your points, @gpseymour , this is a form of application. It's just not fighting application anymore.
  • When this happens, the objectives for the training shift from fighting skill to training skill. In other words, you stop training to be able to fight. You start training to be able to chi sao, or experience true aiki, or perfect a kata, etc. You start training to become skilled at training. Any expertise you develop is within the context of training.
  • To the point of this thread, if all you do is train in a system and your expertise is in that system, the best case scenario is that you will refine the system based on training goals. Simply put, you may chi sao better, or you may perform kata better. You might be able to turn that 180 degree kick into a super cool 360 tornado kick. Will you be able to fight, though? No clue. You're not even on the spectrum of fighting skill. More like fighting adjacent.
  • And most importantly, if you don't apply the skills and develop actual expertise in a context, you shouldn't be teaching anything related to that context. Or said in a positive way, you should teach what you know. If you know a system, teach the system.
I'm not sure how any of that clarifies why two people applying their skills against each other is "application" if there's a ref, but "training" if there isn't.
 

Gerry Seymour

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It occurred to me, @gpseymour , that within this bullet we might find the source of confusion. in the statement above, fighting is analogous to swimming. If a chaotic, random street fight is the ocean, I would consider competition to be swimming in a pool. I think you believe you're swimming. But if you aren't actually swimming, you're the guy on the side of the pool.

A person who is mimicking the motions of swimming, but doesn't swim, is developing some muscle memory. These motions may actually be useful for swimming (or not, but it's possible). But it's not swimming. No one would look at a person doing swimming motions on dry land and say that he is swimming, even if his form is impeccable.

If you do get into a pool and try to swim, I wouldn't expect it to go very well. But even if you do that only one time, it's going to be a big deal. You are going to get a tremendous amount of feedback that will inform your training. To continue to progress, however, you need to continue to get into the pool. Even if you only get into the pool occasionally, it will keep your training grounded in performance and your skills will grow (albeit slowly).

If you never get into the pool, then you have supplanted the goal of swimming. You are now into something else... a sort of performance art where perfection of dry-land swimming is the goal. And if that's what you're into, then by all means, have at it. Just be mindful that when you first get into the pool, it's going to be a big deal, and it's not likely to go very well. And remember, the pool isn't the goal. The ocean is the goal. If you aren't prepared to jump into the pool, you really shouldn't jump off the boat in the pacific out of sight of the shore.
Okay. So if a guy is swimming not in a competition, is he still swimming?
 

Gerry Seymour

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Steve, I think Gerry would agree with most of your points, but your response bypassed the point he was trying to make in his comment that I've quoted above.

Namely, if you spar in the dojo (under a certain set of rules) and spar in a competition of some sort (tournament, cage fight, whatever) under those same exact rules, why would the former be considered training and only the latter be considered application?

I have my own answers for why someone might consider that to be the case.
  • Many of us primarily spar "to learn" rather than "to win" in the dojo, while most people bring their "A game" to win in a formal competition.
  • Adrenaline tends to be higher in an official competition with trophies or prize money on the line then in routine sparring in the dojo
  • Tournament competition may provide the opportunity to test yourself against people other than your classmates
  • If your goal is a winning athletic career, then official competition may involve "metagaming" factors beyond the official sparring rounds - things like scouting an opponent, knowing what the judges are looking for, cutting weight, etc
However, I'd still say that the distinction is a bit of a fuzzy boundary. Even those of us who spar "to learn" have plenty of experience with sparring partners who go balls-to-the-wall putting maximum effort into winning. And for those of us who train for generalized fighting ability, the metagame of a particular competition ruleset may not be so vital.

To use your own analogy, sparring in the dojo might be like swimming in an indoor pool while competing or fighting in the street might be like swimming in the ocean with the possibility of bad weather or riptides.

I do acknowledge your larger general point. That's why I don't claim that I am any kind of expert master in "street fighting" or "self-defense." On the other hand, I don't necessarily limit myself to saying "I teach the cultural heritage art of BJJ." What I do claim is that I have a reasonable degree of expertise in executing and teaching certain specific skills which may be useful in a variety of contexts. Things like:
  • Escaping from the bottom of mount when someone is on top of me trying to choke me
  • Getting back to my feet safely if I am on the ground and someone is standing over me trying to hit me
  • Taking someone to the ground against their will when they are trying to hit me
  • Punching someone with a reasonable degree of force while protecting myself from them doing the same to me
  • Hitting someone with a stick while protecting myself from them doing the same to me
  • Preventing someone from throwing me to the ground when they are really trying to do so
  • Falling safely without being hurt when I fail at stopping someone from throwing me to the ground
  • Choking someone unconscious when they are trying to not let me do that
  • etc, etc, etc
Could those skills be useful in a self-defense situation? Sometimes, depending on the context.
Could those skills be useful in a fight? Sometimes, depending on the fight.
Could those skills be useful in a sporting competition? Sometimes, depending on the competition.

I don't claim to be any kind of great fighter or great competitor or self-defense guru, but the specific skills I teach I feel pretty confident in.
As you often do, you did a better job of stating my point, Tony. And I tend to agree with the points you made. Assuming a person places import on winning in competition, the competition provides some stressors they may not experience in sparring (where many folks simply won't be as driven as when in a competition). And I wholeheartedly agree that competition is likely to produce a wider range of people to test with.

And I agree about what we can claim expertise in. I teach with a self-defense focus, but don't claim to be an expert in self-defense. If I'm an expert in anything, it's at teaching a set of skills that can be applied in that context (my experience is that I teach better than my personal skill level). I've never claimed expertise in that, but I'd sooner claim that expertise than even claim expertise at the skills, themselves.
 

Gerry Seymour

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You make many good points. I think it goes a little off the tracks when you say "spar in a competition." For many of the reasons you outline, they aren't the same. Much more accurate to say you spar in training and you compete in a competition.

And to be completely honest, while I think this is very important, I agree that it's nuanced (i.e., fuzzy). Is it possible for someone to learn to swim without ever touching the water? I honestly don't know the answer to that for a few reasons. First, because the person hasn't done it. Second, because we have a reliable way to teach people to swim, though it relies on being in water.

I think you hit some of the clear differences between training to fight vs fighting. Or training to compete vs competing (or basic training vs combat, etc). But you asked a good question. If I change the language just a little bit, I think it becomes more clear. Still nuanced, but I think a little more concrete:

If you fight in a dojo under a certain set of rules, or fight in a competition under those same exact rules, why would the former be considered training and only the latter be considered application?

The answer is, it depends. But the rules are only part of the context. You touch on other elements in your post above. When you fight in the dojo, is this fight the culmination of training specific for that event? Is there a tangible reward for success and also a tangible consequence for failure? Is one fight part of a larger series of fights (i.e., if you win, do you advance to fight someone else?). So, to answer the question, I can envision a school saying, "Six weeks from now, in lieu of classes, I have invited our satellite schools to join us for the rumblepalooza. We will be using submission only rules. Top three in each division will receive a tangible reward, TBD, and anyone not in the top three will be made to spar consecutive 3 minute rounds with the 20 other people in the school, starting with the blackbelts and going down to white belts.

Simply put, with a lot of thought and effort, you can get close. But this raises two questions. First, is something like the above what people have in mind when they say "sparring is application?" I don't get that impression. And second, even in the above situation, is this analogous to competition or simply a lesser alternative to competition? Maybe a better way to say it is, even if you do participate in the above (which actually could be pretty fun), does it fully replace the value of competing in an event outside the school with other people/schools?

Whew. If you're still with me, my hat is off to you. To sum up, it's common sense that you can't learn to swim without swimming. But that's not exactly the question you're asking. What you seem to be asking is, can you learn to swim without water? And the answer is... maybe? If you're determined enough to learn to swim, and creative enough to replace water with something that can get you close (a 10'x10'x10' vat of canola oil? Vodka?), you might learn something like swimming that, if you find yourself in an actual pool, will keep you from drowning.

What I think is more likely, though is that if you don't train in water to begin with, swimming in a pool or anywhere else isn't your actual goal.
Here's a question for you: what are the "tangible reward" and "tangible consequence" for competition? Are they tangible to everyone? You spell out a consequence in your post that I'm not aware of any competition including (having to spar everyone at the competition, because you placed too low). Asking the "sparring" to include that seems to be placing a requirement on it that isn't equivalent to the competition.

And you mention one other thing I've tried to point out before. You ask if the sparring is the culmination of training specific to the event. Why does it need to be? What is the specific benefit (beyond placement in the competition) of training specifically for an event. I know folks who never did that, yet competed and placed well, simply because their normal training made that possible.
 

Gerry Seymour

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This is why you should force yourself to use just a set of techniques (or even just a single technique) in sparring. You won't obtain winning if you use a technique outside of that pre-defined set.
To me, that's sparring to learn. Which is fine, but sometimes sparring should be specifically to win - you use your best stuff against their best stuff to see how it goes.
 

Gerry Seymour

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You don’t really need to force yourself. When I first started rolling, I only had two or three moves I could somewhat do against someone who was trying to subdue me. Over time your move set grows, and you add more to your tool belt. It’s a fairly natural progression over time.

The bad part is if you’ve never sparred before and the first time you can test your abilities is when you have to defend yourself.
Which, in my experience, is too much a possibility in many self-defense-oriented schools.
 

Gerry Seymour

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Most people have heard of karate, kung fu, krav maga, judo, muay thai, jiu jitsu, taekwondo, etc.

I would think that when most people hear some funky new name they never heard of, then spidey senses go off.

Absent some internet research - probably the kind that would require some prior MA knowledge in the first place - I'd think kudo, for example, would be a hard sell too many.

It's a cross between karate and judo? It kind of reminds me of that episode of Sanford & Son where, when asked what type of stone what's on a cheap ring he had, Fred said that it was a "doobie" - which is a cross between a diamond and a ruby. I believe that it's probably how kudo and other similar concoctions are perceived by those with no prior martial arts experience.
I think you'd be surprised. There's a Karaikido Karate school near me. They simply tacked "Karate" on the end, for name recognition. Their style is really "Karaikido". They've been around quite a while. I know of at least three new styles of Aikido that have cropped up in the last 15 years (at least 2 of which may be properly classified jujutsu styles), plus 4 or 5 jujutsu/jujitsu styles (at least 2 of which may be properly classified Aikido styles). Most consumers know a few words, but not really what they mean. If you tell them what you teach is a blend of the best of (insert three words they probably recognize), that has about as much weight as telling them it's "Karate".
 

Gerry Seymour

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Not sure how BJJ guys develop new skill.

A guy is good in single leg may not be good in hip throw. If that person depends on his single leg to win on the mat all the time, he will never be able to develop hip throw.

This is why when a person cares too much about his winning record, it will be hard for him to develop new skill.
If he's winning, does it really matter? If he's not, wouldn't he be seeking something new?
 

Hanzou

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Not sure how BJJ guys develop new skill.

A guy is good in single leg may not be good in hip throw. If that person depends on his single leg to win on the mat all the time, he will never be able to develop hip throw.

This is why when a person cares too much about his winning record, it will be hard for him to develop new skill.

If a person is winning all the time using a single leg, he's in a pretty crappy BJJ gym.

More to your point, if that person is in your standard gym, the single leg shouldn't allow him to dominate all the time, which would force that person to figure out something new in order to survive, or submit their opponent.

For example, when I first started BJJ, I tended to "win" rolls simply because I was a fairly large person. I used my weight and strength to dominate smaller people. My personal favorite sequence was to smash my way through my partner's guard, enter side control, and use kesa gatame to stall and submit. Thanks to my (brief) stint in Judo, I had a fairly good kesa gatame, and Bjj doesn't really teach escapes for kesa gatame until upper ranks. So my poor white belt peers had no idea how to counter what I was doing. BTW, I was so happy to be "winning" with that sequence that I completely neglected my guard game and fighting from the bottom.

However, as I continued to train I started to lose a significant amount of weight (about 50lbs), and my partners got better at escaping my sequence. Suddenly my top game wasn't so good, and without my extra heft, I couldn't smash through guard like I used to. I began to roll against people who were more skilled than me, and my lackluster guard game suddenly came to the forefront. It got to the point where if I was on the bottom, I was pretty much assured to get tapped. I had to completely change my game in order to be competitive, and that meant focusing on developing my guard game, getting serious about learning escapes and technical guard passes, and adding other tools to my kit besides smashing people with a beer belly.

That's how you develop new skill in Bjj.

BTW, I typed "winning" because in my fool head I thought I was winning, but in reality I was losing, because while I sat back in kesa gatame thinking I was hot ****, my partner was on the bottom actually learning more than I was.
 
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Rusty B

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I think you'd be surprised. There's a Karaikido Karate school near me. They simply tacked "Karate" on the end, for name recognition. Their style is really "Karaikido". They've been around quite a while. I know of at least three new styles of Aikido that have cropped up in the last 15 years (at least 2 of which may be properly classified jujutsu styles), plus 4 or 5 jujutsu/jujitsu styles (at least 2 of which may be properly classified Aikido styles). Most consumers know a few words, but not really what they mean. If you tell them what you teach is a blend of the best of (insert three words they probably recognize), that has about as much weight as telling them it's "Karate".

I can only speak for myself on this, but when I hear of a martial art that is designed to be a combination of two or more others; what immediately comes to mind is a 2-in-1 as opposed to separate shampoo and conditioner (or, even these days, a 3-in-1, which adds body wash).

Sure, a 2 or 3 in one will get the job done in a pinch... it's cheap, and saves time... but you don't get the full benefits from this product that you would get from separate shampoo, conditioner, and body wash.

I imagine that, in order to combine two or more martial arts into, certain aspects from each are going to be discarded.
 

JowGaWolf

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I imagine that, in order to combine two or more martial arts into, certain aspects from each are going to be discarded.
This is true but it's not a total lose. It's like babies. Half one parent and half the other parent. The possible outcome is that the child will be better, equal, or worst than the parents. Most likely outcome is that it will be better in some ways an worst in others. The benefit that one gets from the hybrid system depends on how well the person understands the two systems that are being combined.

If the person doesn't understand it the systems, then that hybrid system is likely to trash. I think of it like cooking. The better a person understands the ingredients, the more likely that person is to be able to create a successful hybrid system.
 

Kung Fu Wang

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in order to combine two or more martial arts into, certain aspects from each are going to be discarded.
Agree! Sometime to combine 2 MA systems is almost impossible.

In this clip, his power generation require about 1 second to achieve. When you need 100% compressing before releasing, your striking speed will be slow.


In this clip, his striking can be less than 1/4 second. When you strike in fast speed, you don't have time to generate full power.

 

Steve

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Okay. So if a guy is swimming not in a competition, is he still swimming?
In a few months, someone else like tony will say the same thing and it will click for you. You'll agree with him because that's how you roll. I've sincerely given it my best shot.
 

Steve

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Here's a question for you: what are the "tangible reward" and "tangible consequence" for competition? Are they tangible to everyone? You spell out a consequence in your post that I'm not aware of any competition including (having to spar everyone at the competition, because you placed too low). Asking the "sparring" to include that seems to be placing a requirement on it that isn't equivalent to the competition.

And you mention one other thing I've tried to point out before. You ask if the sparring is the culmination of training specific to the event. Why does it need to be? What is the specific benefit (beyond placement in the competition) of training specifically for an event. I know folks who never did that, yet competed and placed well, simply because their normal training made that possible.
You're completely missing the point. What I can't tell is if it's on purpose or not. Either way, I just can't give you any more of my energy. Go ahead and teach folks self defense. I just hope for their sake they never have to use it. I just don't know how your conscience can bear it.
 

Bee Brian

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My friends, call me wrong if you like but perhaps the reason there are no more new arts is because the original creators of these fighting systems have pretty much explored everything. There's nothing else to discover or invent at this point.
 

Bee Brian

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I think you'd be surprised. There's a Karaikido Karate school near me. They simply tacked "Karate" on the end, for name recognition. Their style is really "Karaikido". They've been around quite a while. I know of at least three new styles of Aikido that have cropped up in the last 15 years (at least 2 of which may be properly classified jujutsu styles), plus 4 or 5 jujutsu/jujitsu styles (at least 2 of which may be properly classified Aikido styles). Most consumers know a few words, but not really what they mean. If you tell them what you teach is a blend of the best of (insert three words they probably recognize), that has about as much weight as telling them it's "Karate".

Bro, you said "Jujutsu" instead of "Jiu-jitsu"...

I love that!
 

Flying Crane

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Agree! Sometime to combine 2 MA systems is almost impossible.

In this clip, his power generation require about 1 second to achieve. When you need 100% compressing before releasing, your striking speed will be slow.


In this clip, his striking can be less than 1/4 second. When you strike in fast speed, you don't have time to generate full power.

Chen is doing a demonstration, which of course needs to be slower in order for the audience to see what he is doing and to get something out of the demo.

I am certain that he can do it much faster than that demo shows.
 
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