Soft vs Hard Martial Arts Discussion

Cyriacus

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Hello!

Okay, I ran along the theory of aliveness while on another forum. Recently, many people seem to worship sparring, MMA, BJJ, and discredit any "soft" form of martial arts as ineffective/unrealistic unless if are studied with extensive cross training.

Yeah, that can happen pretty easily. With that being said, the emphasis here is on 'extensive'. A good boxing coach can have your snuff upped in about an hour. A soft style takes alot more than an hour. This is where we loop back to what youre trying to learn exactly.

However, many here know that a skilled martial artist studying a "soft" MA is deadlier than any kickboxer or striker. So, I developed a theory...

Based on what, exactly? If this is the basis behind your theory, scrap it burn it and get better information.

System vs. System: After only a short time training
----------------------------------------------------------

Soft Vs. Hard: The hard MA will win every time. The soft MA trainer does not have the skill to execute locks against a resiting striker, nor the sparring base to apply any learned kicks/strikes.

Soft against hard, assuming these individuals are sticking strictly to their systems in a format of sporting contest in which both can function to the fullest extent of their training, if the hard style person wins its probably because hes more used to people resisting IN GENERAL.
Say i wanna learn an armlock. I could learn a bunch of internal stuff and so on and so forth, or i could just learn the armlock. I could teach you a rather flexible standing kimura with one single sentence and youd be able to use it right away based entirely on that one single sentence. That isnt hard or soft, thats just teaching stuff the easy way. When you learn a 'hard or soft' style, its not the techniques that make it hard or soft. Its all the other stuff defining it.

Soft Vs. Cross Trainer: Advantage cross trainer. Ability to pull of strikes, as well as knows how a slow/sloppy strike can be used to end the fight.

Huh? What exactly are you getting at here? Firstly, how many people who arent on the 'i cant walk in a straight line' stage of intoxication have you see throw a slow sloppy strike? Telegraphed, sure. Slow? No. Sloppy? Eh, depends on how you define sloppy i suppose.

Never mind that, anyway. A person whos crosstraining is mainly exposed to different environments with different rules. The advantage he has is being able to work within different rulesets rather than just from within a highly internalized (not referring to soft. i mean within its own group) system. But that happens with hard AND soft systems.

Hard Vs. Cross Trainer: Advantage cross trainer. Wider skill set as well as striking, maybe even the ability or idea of how to use a lock against resisting opponent.

You basically just said that the person who specializes in one thing and is probably better at that one thing is at a disadvantage against someone else just because they can do something they cant or wont. Thats like saying that learning how to kick makes you able to defeat anyone and anything that hasnt. It doesnt work, and intellectually you already know that. I can see where youre trying to go with this, but youve asked the wrong questions then probably sat around for a couple of hours brainstorming the answers. Am i right? Ill be impressed if im wrong.

System vs. System: After long time training
------------------------------------------

Soft Vs. Hard: The soft MA will win every time. After repetition has eased its way into the trainer's muscle memory, as well as the developed speed and polishing that dedication brings. The hard MA trainer will not know what hit him.

Oh really? First off, youve just said that repetition has ingrained speed and dedicated skills into the trainee. What on earth do you fantasize hard style people do in their training outlets? Pushups and tough-talk?

Disregarding that, you seem to have come to a conclusion, as i said before, then sat around brainstorming why youre right. Take a step back for a second here. I dont care what youre trained in, getting hurt will hurt you and someone whos actively damaging you is going to actively damage you. As an extension of that, becoming more technically skillful does not make you a better competitor. It makes you a better technician, and your soft style amazing polished dedicated fast one shot win that the hard style guy will be shocked and awed by doesnt mean a thing if he just catches it on his guard and barrages the bajesus out of your head with far less 'polished' strikes. Usually works in competitions, go watch some.

Soft Vs. Cross Trainer: 50/50, as a trainer will most likely throw a strike that he/she will regret. If the other MA knows how to prevent counter locks, it is all over.

Youre still looking at technique too much, mate. Theres a counter for everything, and yet by some apparent impossibility, all of those things still work. Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is usually pretty great for demonstrating that knowing a defense against something doesnt really help if the guy whos winning (who youre trying to 'counter') is too busy being successful with his method (winning) to care about your resistance.

Hard Vs. Cross Trainer: Cross trainer every time. Can spar at an equal level of the hard trainer, but one joint lock/take-down and the fight is over.

No sir, it is not that simple. One takedown and the fight goes to the ground. One jointlock and it becomes a scrabble for control. It is not a foregone conclusion. In your mind, if i take you down are you just gonna make like a fish and squirm around whilst i do whatever i want to you? Or is it only when you imagine it happening to OTHER people that they dont stand a chance?

If it is hard vs. hard or soft vs. soft it is a 50/50 thing, as I am only comparing those styles with trainers of equal skill sets and no weapons, just fighting the way they trained. With an intermediate skill set it is anybody's game.

All things being equal, the guy who successfully does his thing usually succeeds. Shocking, i know.

I may be biased due to training in Hankido for several years, so please disprove me if you feel the need. Your thoughts are appreciated as well. I also need to determine how many years is a "short/long time training". I know I will get a lot of hate from MMA trainers, but just remember: it's only a theory.

Your theory is full of holes. If you wanna prove that to yourself, go join a 'hard style' gym for ONE week. Just one. Boxing classes should be pretty cheapo. Then come back with your new and revised theory.

Cheers.
 

Cyriacus

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I know when I have been defeated... Thank you for your debunking. Hankido is a little bit of both, but leans to the "softer" side. After seeing what my instructor and his instructor could do at full speed, I guess I jumped to conclusions too fast. That and I am a bit annoyed by people that denounce "soft" martial arts. Anyways, thanks for the debunking! I will be sure to think of individuals now, not arts when it comes to combat. I guess it is like how some people can easily apply Tai Chi to self defense while others can not.

Lesson 2: Do not base your opinions on people demonstrating things to you. Demonstrations are engineered to succeed (most of the time). Youtube search (insert MA name here) demonstration, and behold how everything can apparently defeat everything else, often in very flashy form.

People denounce soft styles because soft styles arent very useful at all in certain applications. Taking Tai Chi into an MMA bout would be retarded. Always read things in context.

Very good analysis of my prior ideas. I mean more effective in combat, but not in a death v. death match. But, as the above have pointed out, it is the artist, not the style training.

Contest, is the word you were looking for.

Also, its nice that you were able to renounce your own theory early on rather than investing yourself in it. Im probably a bit late to the party, but welcome :)
 

GaryR

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Okay, I ran along the theory of aliveness while on another forum. Recently, many people seem to worship sparring, MMA, BJJ, and discredit any "soft" form of martial arts as ineffective/unrealistic unless if are studied with extensive cross training. However, many here know that a skilled martial artist studying a "soft" MA is deadlier than any kickboxer or striker. So, I developed a theory...

I think you first should have defined "soft" martial arts. I consider a soft martial art one that relies more on relaxed, fluid, explosive, and refined mechanics. Although, even though unrefined, a soft art can work well before the mechanics are near perfect. Soft = taiji, bagua, xingyi, Aikido, LHBF. Hard = Goju Ryu, Shotokan, TKD, and most karate / okinowan systems, as well as some kung-fu systems.

I think any "soft" art can and is ALSO a striking art - I don't understand why you make a distinction. A soft hard will certainly hit much harder and faster than a hard art by a good measure, even at the earlier stages if trained properly.

Aliveness should happen regardless, how you train is as important as what you train, and this is not necessarily style, but school/teacher specific.



System vs. System: After only a short time training
----------------------------------------------------------

Soft Vs. Hard: The hard MA will win every time. The soft MA trainer does not have the skill to execute locks against a resiting striker, nor the sparring base to apply any learned kicks/strikes.

Absolutely false - strikes, locks, throws can all be executed by a soft stylist early in training. Taiji, Bagua, and Xingyi can and should all be trained this way. They should be practiced against a resisting striker and grappler.

Soft Vs. Cross Trainer: Advantage cross trainer. Ability to pull of strikes, as well as knows how a slow/sloppy strike can be used to end the fight.

I think a cross-trainer, depending on the mix will have an advantage more often than not. But this is not due to a mix of hard/soft, but varying in training methods, and partners to brush your skills up against.


Hard Vs. Cross Trainer: Advantage cross trainer. Wider skill set as well as striking, maybe even the ability or idea of how to use a lock against resisting opponent.

Same as above.



System vs. System: After long time training
------------------------------------------

Soft Vs. Hard: The soft MA will win every time. After repetition has eased its way into the trainer's muscle memory, as well as the developed speed and polishing that dedication brings. The hard MA trainer will not know what hit him.

You are correct here for the wrong reasons in a way. A soft stylist will have more power, speed, and the tactile sensitivity to be more dynamic in a real-time situation. Both can be as equally "polished" and "dedicated" in their own training, but not all training is equal, and yes the hard trainer doesn't know what hit him....

I may be biased due to training in Hankido for several years, so please disprove me if you feel the need. Your thoughts are appreciated as well. I also need to determine how many years is a "short/long time training". I know I will get a lot of hate from MMA trainers, but just remember: it's only a theory.

A hard stylist will simply NEVER reach the skill level of a soft stylist who has trained properly (which includes nasty strikes, locks, throws). People like to say they end in the same place -- they don't. Cross training a hard style into a soft style only compromises the mechanics and fluidity of the soft style and stunts growth. If you can't strike and throw with serious power, after softly blending and redirecting an attack (while taking their center), you are simply not training a soft style correctly.
 

jks9199

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A hard stylist will simply NEVER reach the skill level of a soft stylist who has trained properly (which includes nasty strikes, locks, throws). People like to say they end in the same place -- they don't. Cross training a hard style into a soft style only compromises the mechanics and fluidity of the soft style and stunts growth. If you can't strike and throw with serious power, after softly blending and redirecting an attack (while taking their center), you are simply not training a soft style correctly.

I disagree. Hard stylists can achieve every bit of the skill that a soft stylist can, and vice versa. Their skills are different -- but that doesn't mean they can't reach the same pinnacle of skill. Can a football player be as skilled as a baseball player? Or a swimmer? Or a decathlete? Who's more skilled -- a top engineer or a top lawyer? A top psychologist or a top physicist? A poet, a painter or a fine carpenter? Just because skill sets, strategies, and approaches are different, that doesn't mean you can say one skill is superior to another.
 

clfsean

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I disagree. Hard stylists can achieve every bit of the skill that a soft stylist can, and vice versa. Their skills are different -- but that doesn't mean they can't reach the same pinnacle of skill. Can a football player be as skilled as a baseball player? Or a swimmer? Or a decathlete? Who's more skilled -- a top engineer or a top lawyer? A top psychologist or a top physicist? A poet, a painter or a fine carpenter? Just because skill sets, strategies, and approaches are different, that doesn't mean you can say one skill is superior to another.

So incredibly true. Nothing more to add to that really.
 

GaryR

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I disagree. Hard stylists can achieve every bit of the skill that a soft stylist can, and vice versa. Their skills are different -- but that doesn't mean they can't reach the same pinnacle of skill.

Absolutely not. The skills are attempting to go to the same end - combat viability. The hard styles simply cannot reach the same level of combat viability. The pinnacle of the soft is exponentially higher - I'm happy to demo this to anyone regardless of "hard" style level.

Can a football player be as skilled as a baseball player? Or a swimmer? Or a decathlete? Who's more skilled -- a top engineer or a top lawyer? A top psychologist or a top physicist? A poet, a painter or a fine carpenter? Just because skill sets, strategies, and approaches are different, that doesn't mean you can say one skill is superior to another.

This is a non-nonsensical comparison in too many ways to list. The MARTIAL arts have the same end at the heart of it - combat. A football player needs to kick/make a goal, a swimmer a fast lap, a lawyer needs to make a good case (I'm a lawyer), etc. These are very different ends, apples and robots-that different.

One skill is superior to another if combatively they can wipe the floor with them. That is the very definition of superior - more effective for it's purpose. It's nice and PC to say they are "different", but when the rubber meets the road, the hard is left buried in the dust even at the highest levels.

G
 

Xue Sheng

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I disagree. Hard stylists can achieve every bit of the skill that a soft stylist can, and vice versa.

Speaking as a guy who has done 1 style labeled as the king of soft styles (Taijiquan) for over 20 years and another style (Xingyiquan) in the, so called, soft style group for several years....you are absolutely right.

To many people make WAAAAAAAY to much of these categories, that, as far as I can tell, are not all that old. I am fairly sure that as late as Chen Fake he was not calling Chen Taiji hard or soft or for that matter Taijiquan and I doubt any of Dong Haichuan's students labeled Baguazhang soft (although here I am not as certain) and I doubt that any of the early Xingyiquan practitioners labeled Xingyiquan a soft style and I have my serious doubt that many in Xingyiquan today care either.
 

jks9199

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Absolutely not. The skills are attempting to go to the same end - combat viability. The hard styles simply cannot reach the same level of combat viability. The pinnacle of the soft is exponentially higher - I'm happy to demo this to anyone regardless of "hard" style level.
...
One skill is superior to another if combatively they can wipe the floor with them. That is the very definition of superior - more effective for it's purpose. It's nice and PC to say they are "different", but when the rubber meets the road, the hard is left buried in the dust even at the highest levels.
I suppose the next line you'll want to go down is "grapplers are superior to strikers" (or maybe the other way around)... I submit that there is, perhaps, a bit of bias in your assessment. I've seen very experienced, very highly skilled "hard" stylists who could do things that were mind-boggling. And I've seen the same in so-called "soft" styles. They get to the same end in a different way. That doesn't mean one approach is superior to the other, or that the highest level of skill of one is superior or beyond the other. You felt my comparisons were too diverse. All right, let's limit it to lawyers. Who's superior -- a patent lawyer, a trial lawyer, or a corporate counsel? Want to narrow it more? Who's superior -- a criminal trial lawyer or a civil trial lawyer? How about prosecutor or defense attorney? (By the way, if you think any attorney is equal to the task of appearing in court, I suggest you spend a few days in your local misdemeanor/traffic court. You'll see quickly the guy who passed the bar, but had the one required criminal class, and no other experience... and realize why some lawyers have no business appearing in criminal court.) Or which route to a destination is better; a scenic byway or a superhighway. In fact, that might be a very good comparison. The answer there would depend heavily on the person you ask, when you ask them, their purpose in travel, their personality, even their vehicle... and more.
 

K-man

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Absolutely not. The skills are attempting to go to the same end - combat viability. The hard styles simply cannot reach the same level of combat viability. The pinnacle of the soft is exponentially higher - I'm happy to demo this to anyone regardless of "hard" style level.
I'm sorry Gary but I also have to disagree. I have two close friends. One, in his prime, was one of the hardest martial artists in Australia. He has trained across the range of MAs. The other is a top aikido man and he is as soft as you like. He hits harder than any 'hard' guy I know. My first friend is now adding soft to his training and so his style is truly hard and soft and it is his objective to allow the soft to overtake the hard as he gets older.

At the very top of the tree, hard is soft and soft is hard, but there are very few martial artists at that level. At the absolute pinnacle I would agree that soft overcomes hard, but, that is at the very, very top of the tree. But, you could say the same for hard at the top of the tree. You want to test yourself against hard. Go and look up Bas Rutten. I trained with him earlier this year. His body is stuffed but he is still amazing. You want to put your soft against his hard and my money is on Bas.

Soft takes too long to achieve combat readiness. If that were not the case how come we have the explosion of Krav Maga? In limited time you can achieve a proficiency that you can use in combat. They have taken ideas from everywhere to build a comprehensive SD system. You might argue that Systema is a soft system but I don't believe that. There a a few people such as Mikhail Ryabko and Vladimir Vasiliev who can do some amazing things but they are the exceptions so once again, at the very top, soft is very effective.

At the levels you find most people at across all martial arts, I would back hard every time. There would be exceptions but that is the man, not the style.

Originally Posted by GaryR
One skill is superior to another if combatively they can wipe the floor with them. That is the very definition of superior - more effective for it's purpose. It's nice and PC to say they are "different", but when the rubber meets the road, the hard is left buried in the dust even at the highest levels.
When the rubber meets the road I will back hard over soft in most cases. The hard will be buried in the dust only at the very highest levels and I believe, at the very highest levels, hard and soft will be indistinguishable.
:asian:
 
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MJS

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Okay, I ran along the theory of aliveness while on another forum. Recently, many people seem to worship sparring, MMA, BJJ, and discredit any "soft" form of martial arts as ineffective/unrealistic unless if are studied with extensive cross training. However, many here know that a skilled martial artist studying a "soft" MA is deadlier than any kickboxer or striker. So, I developed a theory...



System vs. System: After only a short time training
----------------------------------------------------------

Soft Vs. Hard: The hard MA will win every time. The soft MA trainer does not have the skill to execute locks against a resiting striker, nor the sparring base to apply any learned kicks/strikes.

Soft Vs. Cross Trainer: Advantage cross trainer. Ability to pull of strikes, as well as knows how a slow/sloppy strike can be used to end the fight.

Hard Vs. Cross Trainer: Advantage cross trainer. Wider skill set as well as striking, maybe even the ability or idea of how to use a lock against resisting opponent.



System vs. System: After long time training
------------------------------------------

Soft Vs. Hard: The soft MA will win every time. After repetition has eased its way into the trainer's muscle memory, as well as the developed speed and polishing that dedication brings. The hard MA trainer will not know what hit him.

Soft Vs. Cross Trainer: 50/50, as a trainer will most likely throw a strike that he/she will regret. If the other MA knows how to prevent counter locks, it is all over.

Hard Vs. Cross Trainer: Cross trainer every time. Can spar at an equal level of the hard trainer, but one joint lock/take-down and the fight is over.




If it is hard vs. hard or soft vs. soft it is a 50/50 thing, as I am only comparing those styles with trainers of equal skill sets and no weapons, just fighting the way they trained. With an intermediate skill set it is anybody's game.

I may be biased due to training in Hankido for several years, so please disprove me if you feel the need. Your thoughts are appreciated as well. I also need to determine how many years is a "short/long time training". I know I will get a lot of hate from MMA trainers, but just remember: it's only a theory.

As some others have said, I think that the range is way too wide, to get an accurate idea of what will win/lose, in a particular situation. IMHO, it's not so much the art, but the person doing it, and how they train. I've spent the majority of my training in Kenpo (Parker) but 2 years ago, I left Kenpo, and started training Kyokushin. Needless to say, those are, IMO, 2 opposite arts. However, just because Kyokushin is a hard style, does not mean that they're not fast. Furthermore, I'd say that unless the person training, regardless of the art, is used to contact, well, they're probably going to be in a world of hurt, and surprise, when they get hit.
 

Daniel Sullivan

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Okay, I ran along the theory of aliveness while on another forum. Recently, many people seem to worship sparring, MMA, BJJ, and discredit any "soft" form of martial arts as ineffective/unrealistic unless if are studied with extensive cross training.
Before commenting, I'd like to know what you mean by "soft."

You listed a soft art in your list; BJJ is a soft art. So is Judo. Both of which have sparring. I'm not familiar with hankido, but I am very familiar with hapkido, which is soft/hard. When an art is categorized as a soft art, 'soft' does not refer to a lack of sparring, but usually with how you move and what kinds of techniques are employed.
 

GaryR

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I suppose the next line you'll want to go down is "grapplers are superior to strikers" (or maybe the other way around)...

Thanks for the reply brother. But no, that is not the next line. Not even close. Those are two different aspects / stages of combat that are possible. Both are great to have, and is simply part of a complete training program.

I submit that there is, perhaps, a bit of bias in your assessment. I've seen very experienced, very highly skilled "hard" stylists who could do things that were mind-boggling. And I've seen the same in so-called "soft" styles. They get to the same end in a different way. That doesn't mean one approach is superior to the other, or that the highest level of skill of one is superior or beyond the other.

Not bias, just objective measure. It's not a religion to me, but a science. They do not get to the same end in a different way - if you think that you simply don't have the experience or exposure to know better. Again, the approach that is more effective in combat IS superior to the other. If the highest level of skill in one will always beat the highest level of skill in the other, it is beyond it, very simple.


You felt my comparisons were too diverse. All right, let's limit it to lawyers. Who's superior -- a patent lawyer, a trial lawyer, or a corporate counsel?

You completely missed my point. Your fuzzy logic doesn't help.... A patent lawyer may be superior for a paperwork patent case, a trial lawyer to handle a trial, etc. Different tools for different jobs. BUT, MARTIAL arts are about the same job --combat.

Want to narrow it more? Who's superior -- a criminal trial lawyer or a civil trial lawyer? How about prosecutor or defense attorney? (By the way, if you think any attorney is equal to the task of appearing in court, I suggest you spend a few days in your local misdemeanor/traffic court. You'll see quickly the guy who passed the bar, but had the one required criminal class, and no other experience... and realize why some lawyers have no business appearing in criminal court.)

Again,superior for what? A criminal case is much different than a civil case in the end result, different tools, different jobs, different skills sets required (some overlap though). In the martial arts / self defense context the goal is to survive a physical conflict, very much the same ends regardless of martial style. If you can't see this distinguishing point, well you really have no business in the conversation.

Or which route to a destination is better; a scenic byway or a superhighway. In fact, that might be a very good comparison. The answer there would depend heavily on the person you ask, when you ask them, their purpose in travel, their personality, even their vehicle... and more.

Not the same at all. The question is precisely--" what is more effective for that person to use in combat?" The answer to that will not be dependent on the subjective opinion of the person, but the objective reality of it.

Your ground/standup assumption was flat wrong, and your analogies fuzzy and inapplicable...nice try though :)

G
 

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I'm sorry Gary but I also have to disagree. I have two close friends. One, in his prime, was one of the hardest martial artists in Australia. He has trained across the range of MAs. The other is a top aikido man and he is as soft as you like. He hits harder than any 'hard' guy I know. My first friend is now adding soft to his training and so his style is truly hard and soft and it is his objective to allow the soft to overtake the hard as he gets older.

What fun are these boards if we agree! :) This demonstrates my point a little actually. You said the top aikido guy hits harder than any "hard" guy you know? That is what I said - the "soft" aikido guy should be able to hit harder! Adding soft to hard training is obviously showing your friend that it should be added, AND should take over. He hasn't yet the experience to know what more of the soft would do v the hard if his skill set was reversed and not tainted.

At the very top of the tree, hard is soft and soft is hard, but there are very few martial artists at that level. At the absolute pinnacle I would agree that soft overcomes hard, but, that is at the very, very top of the tree.

Well there go you, you agree, I am talking about the pinnacle, the pinnacle of practice, and teaching hard v soft.

But, you could say the same for hard at the top of the tree.

Well then you would be contradicting yourself, either the soft beats out at the pinnacle, or the hard does, can't have it both ways.

You want to test yourself against hard. Go and look up Bas Rutten. I trained with him earlier this year. His body is stuffed but he is still amazing. You want to put your soft against his hard and my money is on Bas.

I don't know what bas does exactly, but FYI, I would categorize many boxers / MMA types as more "soft" than hard.

Soft takes too long to achieve combat readiness.

It depends on the teacher and the student. In most cases, I agree, the soft takes longer, but that is the fault of the teacher and the training method they use. Take the average Tai Chi guy for example, can't fight, but done properly it's a devastating system that can fair well against anyone even on the same timeline; boxer, krav, etc.



If that were not the case how come we have the explosion of Krav Maga? In limited time you can achieve a proficiency that you can use in combat. They have taken ideas from everywhere to build a comprehensive SD system.

Krav exploded due in part to good marketting and simplicity. But simplicity is everywhere, in soft or hard, you can learn to be combat viable in a short time regardless, its a false choice to think otherwise.

You might argue that Systema is a soft system but I don't believe that. There a a few people such as Mikhail Ryabko and Vladimir Vasiliev who can do some amazing things but they are the exceptions so once again, at the very top, soft is very effective.

Why don't you believe that? What are your criteria for a soft system?

At the levels you find most people at across all martial arts, I would back hard every time. There would be exceptions but that is the man, not the style.

I would also back the hard statistically, but this is not due to style - but training methodology. There are more tai chi people who do a health dance, not a martial art, and a TKD person (and I consider TKD a sport and poor SD martial art), could on average wipe the floor with a taiji person. This is simply a matter of how one applies their training goals and their system together. A soft-style guy focused on combat I would back over a hard-style guy with the same focus everytime - provided of course there was realistic training for pressure testing.


When the rubber meets the road I will back hard over soft in most cases. The hard will be buried in the dust only at the very highest levels and I believe, at the very highest levels, hard and soft will be indistinguishable.
:asian:

The hard will be burried in the dust at the very highest levels---my point exactly. Your next statement about them being indistinguishable is contradictory. They won't be, one wipes the floor with the other, period, they are quite different.
 

MJS

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Aliveness should happen regardless, how you train is as important as what you train, and this is not necessarily style, but school/teacher specific.

I agree, but as we know (or should know) some people tend to forget about that aliveness aspect.



A hard stylist will simply NEVER reach the skill level of a soft stylist who has trained properly (which includes nasty strikes, locks, throws). People like to say they end in the same place -- they don't. Cross training a hard style into a soft style only compromises the mechanics and fluidity of the soft style and stunts growth. If you can't strike and throw with serious power, after softly blending and redirecting an attack (while taking their center), you are simply not training a soft style correctly.

Out of curiosity, why do you feel this way? I can assume there must be more to it aside from the 'nasty locks, strikes and throws', which my Kyokushin teacher has done many times, during classes.

Absolutely not. The skills are attempting to go to the same end - combat viability. The hard styles simply cannot reach the same level of combat viability. The pinnacle of the soft is exponentially higher - I'm happy to demo this to anyone regardless of "hard" style level.

As I said above, I'm open to hear why, but who knows...we may have to agree to disagree. :)




Thanks for the reply brother. But no, that is not the next line. Not even close. Those are two different aspects / stages of combat that are possible. Both are great to have, and is simply part of a complete training program.

Maybe I'm not following you here. The striking/grappling debate has been and still is, going on for years. It's really no different, IMO, than the debate we're having right now, on soft vs. hard styles.
 

K-man

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What fun are these boards if we agree! :) This demonstrates my point a little actually. You said the top aikido guy hits harder than any "hard" guy you know? That is what I said - the "soft" aikido guy should be able to hit harder! Adding soft to hard training is obviously showing your friend that it should be added, AND should take over. He hasn't yet the experience to know what more of the soft would do v the hard if his skill set was reversed and not tainted.

Wrong, wrong, wrong! We do know, we do understand. As I said, he is one of Australia's top martial artists. He has been training soft for fourteen years, me only seven. We can both use soft which is why I can understand much of what you are saying. I even agree with a lot of what you say, but I will not agree that soft is the only way to the top.


Well there go you, you agree, I am talking about the pinnacle, the pinnacle of practice, and teaching hard v soft.

Yes but the pinnacle is only reached by a select few. Most practitioners of soft would get their **** whipped in a real fight and I don't care how long they have been training.

Well then you would be contradicting yourself, either the soft beats out at the pinnacle, or the hard does, can't have it both ways.

Yes I can. :) At my pinnacle a lot of styles come together. What I teach is enter with irimi hit with kokyu, it doesn't matter what I am teaching, the principle is the same.

I don't know what bas does exactly, but FYI, I would categorize many boxers / MMA types as more "soft" than hard.

I don't think anyone on this planet would describe Bas Rutten as 'soft'. I might disagree with some of the things he teaches but when the rubber hits the road, I'm looking on from the pavement. You reckon you could go near Bas, I'll run up the BS flag!


http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=uiGQIh-6Kdo&desktop_uri=%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DuiGQIh-6Kdo

It depends on the teacher and the student. In most cases, I agree, the soft takes longer, but that is the fault of the teacher and the training method they use. Take the average Tai Chi guy for example, can't fight, but done properly it's a devastating system that can fair well against anyone even on the same timeline; boxer, krav, etc.

I agree it can be good, but so too can boxer, Krav, etc and in a shorter time frame. (I'll comment on Krav later, when I have more time.)

Krav exploded due in part to good marketting and simplicity. But simplicity is everywhere, in soft or hard, you can learn to be combat viable in a short time regardless, its a false choice to think otherwise.

Mmm!

Why don't you believe that? What are your criteria for a soft system?

With what you see on the Internet and DVDs Systema looks like a soft art. At the very top it contains a lot of soft which is what we are both saying. I know a lot of people who have trained Systema. I trained with them when I visited Toronto. They practise soft like Aikido practises soft but it is not the soft part that is effective without years of training. It is a hard combat system that is taught to Russian Special Forces to use in combat immediately.


I would also back the hard statistically, but this is not due to style - but training methodology. There are more tai chi people who do a health dance, not a martial art, and a TKD person (and I consider TKD a sport and poor SD martial art), could on average wipe the floor with a taiji person. This is simply a matter of how one applies their training goals and their system together. A soft-style guy focused on combat I would back over a hard-style guy with the same focus everytime - provided of course there was realistic training for pressure testing.

I will put up against you there and take your money. :) The soft guy that could do that is one in 10,000, the hard guys 9,999 in 10,000. Gary, if what you are claiming could be achieved, all the special forces would be doing it, and I know first hand what they are teaching.


The hard will be burried in the dust at the very highest levels---my point exactly. Your next statement about them being indistinguishable is contradictory. They won't be, one wipes the floor with the other, period, they are quite different.
No contradiction, at the very top it's all the same. I'm not claiming to be at the top like some, but at least I can see the top and it's not exactly what you say it is. :asian:
 

Xue Sheng

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I am willing to admit this is likely just me and it is likely because Im old and ornery or it could be I prefer Xingyiquan to just about everything else and xingyi tends to have little patience in application, but these type of discussions; hard vs. soft, internal vs. external always seem to lead me to the same exact place these days

Just shut up and train
 

Brian R. VanCise

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I am willing to admit this is likely just me and it is likely because I’m old and ornery or it could be I prefer Xingyiquan to just about everything else and xingyi tends to have little patience in application, but these type of discussions; hard vs. soft, internal vs. external always seem to lead me to the same exact place these days…

Just shut up and train

Hard to argue with that!
 

Flying Crane

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I am willing to admit this is likely just me and it is likely because I’m old and ornery or it could be I prefer Xingyiquan to just about everything else and xingyi tends to have little patience in application, but these type of discussions; hard vs. soft, internal vs. external always seem to lead me to the same exact place these days…

Just shut up and train

Yeah, I'm not sure one can draw a definitive line separating them. It's a very very loose definition, at best.
 

Kframe

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Wanted to post this morning but the website went down.

Gary I don't know why your trying to insult a lot of martial artists. I have to disagree with your assessment that soft is better then hard. Lets take some of the soft arts for example, taiji and the like. Sure they may be viable fighting arts, but as was mentioned it takes, far longer, to get to the point of applicability. Not to mention good luck finding any teachers in the USA that actually teach those as fighting arts. I have checked and there are none in my state that teach it as a combat art, only a old person dance.. IMHO the fact that arts like taiji and the like, take so long(when you manage to find a good teacher) to actually reach the point that you can use them, to me says they are not superior martial arts.

My style for example, starts of very hard. Hard blocks, hard strikes. Thing is, as you progress up the ladder, it becomes softer, but no less harder. At the top, as my instructor is a clear example, you get both soft and hard in equal amounts. There is no separation of the two elements, they feed each other. A lot of our more advanced techniques can not work with maximal efficiency with out both elements. One can not be pure hard, or pure soft. Aikido is far from soft, they have strikes(if taught properly, from what I have read) and nothing hits harder then the ground.

I know it has been said before, but from my experience, hard styles be come soft(yet while still being hard) and soft styles get hard. I came to this opinion watching those in my life that have vastly more experience then I do in martial arts. The high level karate friend I have can tie you up in locks and throws as much as he can hammer you with strikes. Same goes for my father, how is equally adept at striking and defending, as he is with locking and throwing.

I just don't understand why you would want to go and try to level a veiled insult at a considerable number of martial artists. We in the martial arts community need to be united and stand together, both tma and mma, and soft and hard. Right now there Is a push to take the contact out of American foot ball.. When they are finished with that, I assure you they will resume there attempts to ban boxing and mma. Do you honestly think, their regulations will not harm or interfere with proper and effective learning of traditional arts as well? Especially if they severely hamper contact. Its hard to properly learn a martial art with out some form of pressure and contact. We need to be united, not divided and this type of post and discussion that you have here does not help the martial arts community one bit.
 
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geezer

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Well guys, the more I think about this topic the more confused I get. There was a time when I'd blithely spout off about which arts were harder and which were softer ..or even "internal". Not anymore. When I see a really superb athlete perform, I see a lot of softness ...not only regardless of martial art, but regardless of sport or activity. In the martial arts, I'd even include boxers like Ali at his prime and both Sugar Rays as examples of this. On the other hand, no matter how long you've trained, when you get in over your head you tend to fall back on "hard" movements.

As for myself, although the Ving Tsun I train is not one of the traditional internal arts, it places a lot of emphasis on softness. Yet the basics will function for self-defense to a reasonable degree, even if performed in a very hard manner. I find that when a high level practitioner of this art is significantly better than his opponent, he can maintain his calm and really exploit the art's softness. But I'm glad that the basic stuff can also be applied automatically with "hardness" and viciousness ...in a sort of Krav Maga way on the street, just in case you suddenly need to defend yourself can't overcome the adrenaline dump. I suspect something similar is true for practitioners of other arts as well.
 
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