Stop Comparing Styles, Start COmparing Training Methods?

Shotgun Buddha

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Howdy there everyone. I was just wondering if anyone else agreed with me that it would be far more constructive debate wise if people stopped comparing styles, which generally turns into something of drunken hooker worthy cat fight, and instead got down to discussing and debating the training methods those styles use instead?
To my mind, the functionality of a style is determined not by what the base techniques, but instead by how those techniques are trained and drilled.

Im currently in an interesting position, because Im training in a style that my sensei has created, and since we're his first batch of students, I get to see how that style evolves according to the methods used.
The origin of the style was Yoshinkan Aikido, which my Sensei is a 3rd dan in, and has modified to be of more realistic use.
At first, while the technique had been modified to be slightly more realistic, the training methods were essentially the same as Aikido, and it resembled a slightly rougher form of it.
However, as the grading system became a bit more defined, the style altered a bit more throughly.
For our green belt, the randori used works like this: Uke has a band attached to their wrist, Nage has to get that band off them, or force them to submit. This usually results in a grappling and groundfighting.
Due to this, and the practice and training done for this, the style has begun to bear a distinct resemblance to Judo, and BJJ.
Having witnessed how much this altered the style, Im looking forward to seeing how the inclusion of striking for our red belt randori further develops the style.

Have you yourselves noticed this correllation between training method and style functionality, and what are your opinions on it?
 

Andrew Green

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kata vs no kata
Karate vs TKD
MMA vs TMA
Sparring vs No sparring.


All work out about the same in terms of how they get argued ;)

But for what it's worth, I fully agree. And to take it a step further, I think in the end your training methods will dictate what you train.

If I train with sparring under Muay Thai rules as my main piece, no matter what I start with, over time it will look more and more like what all the other Muay Thai fighters do.

Same as the "Sport karate" circuits. Doesn't matter if a person is Karate, TKD, Kung fu or anything else, the forms might look very different, but for the most part, they all fight basically the same.
 

zDom

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Same as the "Sport karate" circuits. Doesn't matter if a person is Karate, TKD, Kung fu or anything else, the forms might look very different, but for the most part, they all fight basically the same.

So very true.
 

Robert Lee

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A M/A is a training method. as most relate to one another in what you will learn But it is argued as to which is better and there is just better instructors perhaps. To get good you have to be a good student allways trying to improve yourself. And yes some arts may help in your improved training as to how that art gets to the core of the method. in the end there is no style just you doing what you do. That is where you want to be And look at style or art as foundation for learning nothing more. Who you are how you live and how well you can do what you do its all just about you its not a karate punch gung fu punch and so on its yours
 

exile

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I think in the end your training methods will dictate what you train. If I train with sparring under Muay Thai rules as my main piece, no matter what I start with, over time it will look more and more like what all the other Muay Thai fighters do.

Same as the "Sport karate" circuits. Doesn't matter if a person is Karate, TKD, Kung fu or anything else, the forms might look very different, but for the most part, they all fight basically the same.

I think this is exactly right. Legends of the Hwarang aside, both sport karate and Olympic-style TKD use a much greater variety of high kicks than their katas/hyungs display, and kicks play a much greater role in the sport practice than in the forms. If you're training for sport, you're going to emphasize high kicks and flash, because that's what sports practice dictates, that's how you score points. And if you're training for pavement, then you're going to bring to the foreground a very different set of skills, tactics and approaches to combat. Combat-oriented karate looks very different from sport TKD, but the contrast is probably parallel to that between combat-oriented TKD of the O'Neil variety vs sprort karate. Your choice of uses for your MA determines what you train and what you wind up doing in your MA practice.

But Shotgun Buddha's and Andrew G.'s posts made me start (re)thinking why different martial arts train with the emphasis they do. Why, for example, are there so many dojangs with a sports-TKD-style emphasis? I've tended to put the blame for what I see as the devolution of TKD on the concerted Kukkiwon/WTF pressure in the direction of ring competion-based techniques, but it suddenly occurred to me that this might not be the whole story. Maybe I'm putting the cart before the horse... is it instead possible that MA schools wind up emphasizng certain kinds of training primarily because of the economics of the MA business, rather than the media market/sports industry complex? What I'm thinking about in particular is the effect of children's instruction on training orientations in MA. Interest in an MA may well spread from the sports angle, but training future Olympians isn't going to keep the vast majority of MA schools afloat. As a MA becomes more popular, studios which want to take advantage of that popularity to establish a viable business have to go with the demands of the market. And in the MAs, that---from what I've observed about the business side of things---seems to be instructing children. You obviously aren't going to train children the way you would train a class of committed adults. Parents aren't going to mind their children learning a kind of stylized sequence of blocks as the supposed interpretation of a kata/hyung, but you can't teach seven and eight year olds that the sequence can actually be taken to be a series of locks and vital point strikes culminating in a hammerfist blow targetting the attacker's carotid sinus. Itosu knew exactly what he was doing. Unlike things in Itosu's day, however, a lot of dedicated MA studios probably have a clientele primarily made up of children and preteens. That will almost certainly shift the training focus in these schools away from the effective but very nasty applications of MAs to what Master Terry Stoker, in another thread, has referred to as foot tag, of the kind we see in TKD and increasingly in sport karate.

If all this holds any water, it means that the more popular MAs get to maintain their popularity in the marketplace just in case they orient their training to applications suitable for children and young people. In connection with the original thread topic, this would suggest that the more widespread your MA is (and therefore the more likely its client base consists of predominently of children), the less likely you are to find a school whose training orientation is built around `hard' self-defence techniques. Since people are inclined to continue training in the way they've been introduced to the art, the result is that the default training approach for someone in a very widely-practiced MA is likely to be a diluted, sport-oriented style.

I'm just trying to think this through to see if there's a key here to why people tend to follow particular training orientations in different martial arts. It's not that you can't find hard combat training in an art whose commercial viability depends crucially on teaching children, but it is going to be much harder... does any of this make sense??
 

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Before this completely breaks down into another MMA vs. TMA debate, let me say that practice methods and techniques are only partially related. We could practice anything in a sports style in a non-sports context, using only compliant parteners, refusing full speed and full power bouts, eliminating competition etc. I don't know that it would innately change which styles are better or worse. I certainly hope for more hard-core practitioners of arts to come forward, because their take on their arts is ussually more interesting, however, we still have to realize that the art itself is hugely important in how effective we are.

I could get a video blackbelt from Ashida Kim, and it even if I started class with a required 500 consecutive hindu squats, it wouldn't change that what is taught doesn't stand up to pressure and is ineffectual as a fighting method. It would, however, give people thighs of steel.
 

Andrew Green

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I don't think it's a MMA vs TMA case at all, just a simple fact that the rules you train under will dictate to a large degree how you fight. There are of course different people specializing in different things, but for the most part, people training to fight under the same rules will end up using the same techniques given enough time.

To get all zen like about it, all paths up the mountain lead to the same peak. So if everyone is climbing the same mountain / using the same rules we will all eventually get to basically the same spot.
 

Garth Barnard

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To quote Dave Turton's (Self Defence Federation) analogies:

"It doesn't matter what the colour of the cat is, as long as it kills mice!"

and

"It's not the dog in the fight, it's the fight in the dog!"

Those two qoutes/analogies pretty much sum it up for me.
 

Hand Sword

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I think This makes sense. Again, no style is better than another, it's the practitioner that matters. We've all heard this and know this, also, no matter the style, the same techniques are used. MMA, Karate, Kung Fu, Kem/npo, doesn't matter, an elbow to the jaw is an elbow to the jaw, a front kick is a front kick,etc.. We ALL do these or versions of these. How better to train them to highest efficiency for self defense makes more sense, IMHO.
 
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Shotgun Buddha

Shotgun Buddha

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kata vs no kata
Karate vs TKD
MMA vs TMA
Sparring vs No sparring.


All work out about the same in terms of how they get argued ;)

But for what it's worth, I fully agree. And to take it a step further, I think in the end your training methods will dictate what you train.

If I train with sparring under Muay Thai rules as my main piece, no matter what I start with, over time it will look more and more like what all the other Muay Thai fighters do.

Same as the "Sport karate" circuits. Doesn't matter if a person is Karate, TKD, Kung fu or anything else, the forms might look very different, but for the most part, they all fight basically the same.

Thats something I've heard before, and would agree with. As far as I can tell the concept of style exists only because of whatever restrictions are placed in training. The less restrictions there are, the less stylised it becomes.
A good example is what happened with the class Im in. Change it from restricted contact (ie Aikdio randori) to more thoroughy grabbing and grappling, and it starts to resemble judo instead.
And we're still using the same base techniques and all, its just the change in contact meant we had to adapt them.

Hehe I know that people will argue about this anyway. I was just hoping, that maybe, just maybe, people would be willing to debate the merits of specific training methods a little bit more rationally than they would the concept of style.
Im wrong aren't I? :D

A similar quote I heard on the subject is this "There's many paths to the top of the mountain, but as you near the peak they get a whole lot narrower"
 
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Shotgun Buddha

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Before this completely breaks down into another MMA vs. TMA debate, let me say that practice methods and techniques are only partially related. We could practice anything in a sports style in a non-sports context, using only compliant parteners, refusing full speed and full power bouts, eliminating competition etc. I don't know that it would innately change which styles are better or worse. I certainly hope for more hard-core practitioners of arts to come forward, because their take on their arts is ussually more interesting, however, we still have to realize that the art itself is hugely important in how effective we are.

I could get a video blackbelt from Ashida Kim, and it even if I started class with a required 500 consecutive hindu squats, it wouldn't change that what is taught doesn't stand up to pressure and is ineffectual as a fighting method. It would, however, give people thighs of steel.

That wouldn't be your training methods for the Ashida techniques though, that would be a seperate training exercise. The training methods would be how those technqiues are practiced.
For example are you practicing on your own in front of a mirror in slinky black silk ninja outfit?
Are you doing them slowly with a compliant uke who rolls gracefully with the move?
Or are you trying the move in free sparring against a muscle and tattoo coated he-hulk who is determined to wear your balls as ear-muffs?

Under the first and second, the style will be obvious. Under the third there will be less obvious style and more basic gross motor skills.
The less restrictions there are and the more pressure there is, the more "styles" begin to resemble each other.
 

Adept

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The less restrictions there are and the more pressure there is, the more "styles" begin to resemble each other.

If you haven't already, read Tao of Jeet Kune Do. This basic philosophy is a definate under-pinning of JKD, MMA and other styles that focus on the end result, and not the 'flash' that all-too-often comes with martial arts.
 
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Shotgun Buddha

Shotgun Buddha

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If you haven't already, read Tao of Jeet Kune Do. This basic philosophy is a definate under-pinning of JKD, MMA and other styles that focus on the end result, and not the 'flash' that all-too-often comes with martial arts.

Hehe, I have already, was one of first books I read when I began my career as a martial arts nerdling. :ultracool

Go Rin No Sho is pretty interesting too.
Art of War also good study.
Machiavelli's the Prince, always helpful.
Hagakure struck me as a tad silly.
Bubishi was also silly.
Currently on my booklist to track down is On Killing: The Psychological Cost of Learning to Kill In War and Society, by David Grossman I think.
Its meant to be amazing.
 

SFC JeffJ

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Hehe, I have already, was one of first books I read when I began my career as a martial arts nerdling. :ultracool

Go Rin No Sho is pretty interesting too.
Art of War also good study.
Machiavelli's the Prince, always helpful.
Hagakure struck me as a tad silly.
Bubishi was also silly.
Currently on my booklist to track down is On Killing: The Psychological Cost of Learning to Kill In War and Society, by David Grossman I think.
Its meant to be amazing.
I can't say enough good things about Grossman's book. It can really change your training methodologies. Hell, it changed how the Army and Marines train even.

Jeff
 

MJS

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Howdy there everyone. I was just wondering if anyone else agreed with me that it would be far more constructive debate wise if people stopped comparing styles, which generally turns into something of drunken hooker worthy cat fight, and instead got down to discussing and debating the training methods those styles use instead?
To my mind, the functionality of a style is determined not by what the base techniques, but instead by how those techniques are trained and drilled.

I've said many times, that both a MMA and a TMA can benefit from each other. There is something in every art, that someone can find usefull. I myself, have borrowed ideas, training methods, techniques, etc., from various arts, specifically worked them, and added them to my own training.

Mike
 

MJS

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I think this is exactly right. Legends of the Hwarang aside, both sport karate and Olympic-style TKD use a much greater variety of high kicks than their katas/hyungs display, and kicks play a much greater role in the sport practice than in the forms. If you're training for sport, you're going to emphasize high kicks and flash, because that's what sports practice dictates, that's how you score points. And if you're training for pavement, then you're going to bring to the foreground a very different set of skills, tactics and approaches to combat. Combat-oriented karate looks very different from sport TKD, but the contrast is probably parallel to that between combat-oriented TKD of the O'Neil variety vs sprort karate. Your choice of uses for your MA determines what you train and what you wind up doing in your MA practice.

Yes, thats a very good point. Unfortunately, not everyones sees it like that. Someone from a MMA background would look at TKD and think those kicks are never going to work in the ring. What they're forgetting, is that maybe, just maybe, the TKD stylist is not training for MMA. For the 'ring' that the TKD stylist will fight in, those kicks will work.

But Shotgun Buddha's and Andrew G.'s posts made me start (re)thinking why different martial arts train with the emphasis they do. Why, for example, are there so many dojangs with a sports-TKD-style emphasis? I've tended to put the blame for what I see as the devolution of TKD on the concerted Kukkiwon/WTF pressure in the direction of ring competion-based techniques, but it suddenly occurred to me that this might not be the whole story. Maybe I'm putting the cart before the horse... is it instead possible that MA schools wind up emphasizng certain kinds of training primarily because of the economics of the MA business, rather than the media market/sports industry complex? What I'm thinking about in particular is the effect of children's instruction on training orientations in MA. Interest in an MA may well spread from the sports angle, but training future Olympians isn't going to keep the vast majority of MA schools afloat. As a MA becomes more popular, studios which want to take advantage of that popularity to establish a viable business have to go with the demands of the market. And in the MAs, that---from what I've observed about the business side of things---seems to be instructing children. You obviously aren't going to train children the way you would train a class of committed adults. Parents aren't going to mind their children learning a kind of stylized sequence of blocks as the supposed interpretation of a kata/hyung, but you can't teach seven and eight year olds that the sequence can actually be taken to be a series of locks and vital point strikes culminating in a hammerfist blow targetting the attacker's carotid sinus. Itosu knew exactly what he was doing. Unlike things in Itosu's day, however, a lot of dedicated MA studios probably have a clientele primarily made up of children and preteens. That will almost certainly shift the training focus in these schools away from the effective but very nasty applications of MAs to what Master Terry Stoker, in another thread, has referred to as foot tag, of the kind we see in TKD and increasingly in sport karate.

Yes, marketing plays a big part IMO. If someone is offering the latest and greatest thing that came out, the business will most likely increase and depending on the age of the people in the class, the training is often geared towards them.
 
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Shotgun Buddha

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I've said many times, that both a MMA and a TMA can benefit from each other. There is something in every art, that someone can find usefull. I myself, have borrowed ideas, training methods, techniques, etc., from various arts, specifically worked them, and added them to my own training.

Mike

And thats really what I want to get down to. Discussing different training methods, so we can compare uses, see what works and what doesn't, and instead gear our training towards being effective rather than following style.
 
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