Soft vs Hard Martial Arts Discussion

Cyriacus

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A baseball bat is hard while a whip is soft. I would prefer to not get hit by either one. Both generate power very differently and the concepts and principles do not transfer over to one another. We all start out like the bat but hopefully as we age we become more like the whip. IMHO :)

One thing though:
If i drop a baseball bat off a tall building and it lands on someones head... not good at all.
If i drop a whip off a tall building and it lands on someones head, thats a little disconcerting.
 

geezer

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One thing though:
If i drop a baseball bat off a tall building and it lands on someones head... not good at all.
If i drop a whip off a tall building and it lands on someones head, thats a little disconcerting.

Ever read Championship Fighting by Jack Dempsey? He opens by postulating what would happen if you dropped a baby from a tall building and it lands on someone's head.

...Good book, but WTF!!!!
 

Cyriacus

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Ever read Championship Fighting by Jack Dempsey? He opens by postulating what would happen if you dropped a baby from a tall building and it lands on someone's head.

...Good book, but WTF!!!!
I imagine someone would be laying on the ground crying :)
 

Xue Sheng

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One thing though:
If i drop a baseball bat off a tall building and it lands on someones head... not good at all.
If i drop a whip off a tall building and it lands on someones head, thats a little disconcerting.

One more thing though

If I drop a soft style martial artist off a tall building and they lands on someone's head... not good at all.
If I drop a hard style martial artist off a tall building and they lands on someone's head... not good at all.

Soft, hard, no difference
 

clfsean

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One more thing though

If I drop a soft style martial artist off a tall building and they lands on someone's head... not good at all.
If I drop a hard style martial artist off a tall building and they lands on someone's head... not good at all.

Soft, hard, no difference

For the win!!!

Any arguments past this... you are fail.

Issue is resolved in perpetuity I believe at this juncture.
 

Cyriacus

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One more thing though

If I drop a soft style martial artist off a tall building and they lands on someone's head... not good at all.
If I drop a hard style martial artist off a tall building and they lands on someone's head... not good at all.

Soft, hard, no difference

If that ever happened, the court case would be comedy gold. :wink:
 

GaryR

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Originally Posted by GaryR
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.

Oh yeah, forget an understatement!



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Originally Posted by GaryR

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.

Thank you for such a mature response. I mentioned it includes such because many people think otherwise. The answer about why I feel that way is simple--yet complex; Mechanics is the biggie. How is the body moving? Is your block creating a fulcrum and lever? Is your body delivering relaxed power, and utilizing maximum joint/body linkage to deliver power and momentum with all of the movements? Tactile sensitivity drills are infinitely better in IMA - from touch we can sense the opponents position, power, angle, target, etc., the external styles simply never reach this level of "ting jin" or listening skill. Many reasons...of which I derive from objective measure, and vast experience touching hands with "external" teachers from all over the world at the highest levels. They often feel like beginners when they start to discover the IMA difference, there is a reason for that.

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Originally Posted by GaryR

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. :)

It's awesome your open to hear why, I am always open to changing my mind pending evidence and of course reason, like I said, I'm not married to a style, what works...works. Agreeing to disagree is always fine, if you ever in my town I'm happy to buy you a beer and compare notes respectfully! :)




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Originally Posted by GaryR
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.

Maybe not, perhaps I have not been clear enough. I think the debate is entirely different. Grappling v. standup is a range difference, it's a different stage in combat, and are nearly apples and oranges. I think ground systems have elements of "internal" to them for sure. The game changes on the ground, it changes --the mechanics, physics, etc. From another angle, you could say the skills do translate over in both stages, thus an "internal guy" fighting on the ground may execute moves in a different way than an "external guy" on the ground. But this doesn't pit the ground game against the IMA or the EMA, the soft v. hard debate remains the same regardless of ground or standup context basically. Clear as mudd? I need more coffee, hopefully it's not fuzzy!

Best,

G
 

GaryR

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Originally Posted by GaryR
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.

I do enjoy our discussions K-man! You might understand, this stuff is soooooo much easier to discuss in person, this is a tough venue. 14 years can be nothing, especially without the right well-rounded training and instructors to give you the keys. If you can use soft well, the hard will be discarded. Though these terms can be so vague and ambiguous we could both be correct and aligned in practice and not know it. Do you have clips of this guy????

I said..."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.

Very true, I agree completely. It's a big problem I've been fighting for years in our community...every few years I start a "pussification of taijiquan" thread on emptyflower / rumsoakedfist and create quite the stir!



I said..."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.

They can come together, but my argument is that at the top, the internal trumps, period, there is no "coming together" into one same skill-set / martial level. The internal wipes the floor at the pinnacle, and thats that.

I said..."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!

As I said, I am not familiar with Bas, so I simply claim ignorance. I do think some MMA guys have internal qualities, and some more internal than external. But there is not a UFC guy on the planet I would be deathly afraid of in the street, in the ring ---hell yes, they are professional athletes, I might be tied up and worn out so fast my head would spin!


I said..."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.)


There we go.



I said..."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 have seen systema guys who look soft at the basic level, perhaps our definitions of hard / soft need refining for a more effective discussion?

I said..."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.

Ummmmmm, I think you misread me. I said I would statistically back a hard-style guy. So no taking my money! I have been formally contracted to teach the special forces myself, so yeah, I know what they are training first hand as well, mostly American SF, but some foreign as well. I have also trained them in War zones....have you?

I said..."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:

lol, we may have to agree to disagree here pending a demonstration. It's not all the same, at the top it becomes VERY apparent to the hard practitioner the fallbacks / level. I am claiming to be at the top, I can see it, experience it, and I am willing to demonstrate it, you may not believe it until you feel it-that is often the case. And yes, it is exactly what I say---but like I said, statistically I would back the hard.

With respect,

G
 

Xue Sheng

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After 20 years in Taijiquan with a solid lineage to myShigong, Tung Ying Chieh…. all I haveso say is… if trained correctly Soft….Hard….no difference… the only other thingI would say is see post #36
 

MJS

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




Oh yeah, forget an understatement!

LOL!



quote_icon.png
Originally Posted by GaryR

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.






Thank you for such a mature response. I mentioned it includes such because many people think otherwise. The answer about why I feel that way is simple--yet complex; Mechanics is the biggie. How is the body moving? Is your block creating a fulcrum and lever? Is your body delivering relaxed power, and utilizing maximum joint/body linkage to deliver power and momentum with all of the movements? Tactile sensitivity drills are infinitely better in IMA - from touch we can sense the opponents position, power, angle, target, etc., the external styles simply never reach this level of "ting jin" or listening skill. Many reasons...of which I derive from objective measure, and vast experience touching hands with "external" teachers from all over the world at the highest levels. They often feel like beginners when they start to discover the IMA difference, there is a reason for that.

You're welcome and thanks for your feedback as well. :) FWIW, I've never trained any of the 'soft' styles that've been mentioned. My background is Kenpo (Parker), Modern Arnis (Remy Presas) and currently Kyokushin. My largest exposure to locks, and things of the like, have been from Arnis, though I don't really consider that a 'soft' art, as compared to others. While I certainly agree that the things you mention, ie: body mechanics, etc, come into play, IMO, I feel that with the proper training, application, etc, a hard stylist can apply these things. Is it going to look as fluid? Possibly not, but the effectiveness could still be there.



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Originally Posted by GaryR

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.







It's awesome your open to hear why, I am always open to changing my mind pending evidence and of course reason, like I said, I'm not married to a style, what works...works. Agreeing to disagree is always fine, if you ever in my town I'm happy to buy you a beer and compare notes respectfully! :)

I agree, and I too, am always interested in hearing other views. Thanks for the offer of the beer. I'll extend the same to you as well, if you're ever on the east coast. :)




quote_icon.png
Originally Posted by GaryR
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 not, perhaps I have not been clear enough. I think the debate is entirely different. Grappling v. standup is a range difference, it's a different stage in combat, and are nearly apples and oranges. I think ground systems have elements of "internal" to them for sure. The game changes on the ground, it changes --the mechanics, physics, etc. From another angle, you could say the skills do translate over in both stages, thus an "internal guy" fighting on the ground may execute moves in a different way than an "external guy" on the ground. But this doesn't pit the ground game against the IMA or the EMA, the soft v. hard debate remains the same regardless of ground or standup context basically. Clear as mudd? I need more coffee, hopefully it's not fuzzy!

Best,

G

True. My apologies if I wasn't clear. What I meant was...the grappling vs. stand up debate, has been going on for years, ever since the UFC came about. Yes, there is a range difference. Thanks for the clarification. :)
 

Hyoho

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Not wishing to be disrespectful but the whole issue is dependant on who is using what. It goes back to the old which M.A. is best question.

Being effective comes from relaxation. We don't see tension until people begin to tire. It's soft relaxation and applying hard pressure and explosive action when one sees the opportunity.

I often demonstrate by dropping a weapon to show that gravity already puts in a lot to downward movement. As we as humans use strength to slow things down.
 

K-man

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Of course you could consider this in the Oriental way as Yin and Yang. Within hard there is soft and within soft there is hard.
:asian:
 
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