To Form or Not To Form and the Mystery of "Modern" MA

Matt Stone

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I know that the argument for and against forms practice is an ongoing hotly debated topic. I also know that there are a heck of a lot more instructors that don't know squat about forms than there are that do.

But.

Given the nature of forums like this one, why are so many MAists still anti-form in their orientation?

:confused: :confused: :confused:

Also, I was reading some posts elsewhere on MT and on other forums, and I really get a kick out of people that are either looking for or training in schools that claim their MA is teaching "real world" self defense... Like traditional arts never dealt with "real world" attacks? Then I hear about how these more modern arts are dealing with "modern knife attacks" and such... So, what, do people nowadays attack in totally unique ways that people a hundred years ago didn't know how to use?

These kinds of things really frustrate me... I can understand the difference between a traditional style that trains in traditional forms but never (for whatever reason) trains in actual hands on application of their techniques, and a traditional school that makes their students suck floor as a daily training drill. I can understand the difference between a school that only drills defenses against archaic weapons and one that teaches gun defenses (whether they are worth a ***** or not). But contrasting a "modern" school against a traditional school based on the factor of "modern" self defense techniques confuses me... people have been punching, kicking, stabbing and swinging clubs pretty much the same way since day one...

Anyone care to clarify these mysteries for me?

Gambarimasu.
:asian:
 
Originally posted by Yiliquan1
I know that the argument for and against forms practice is an ongoing hotly debated topic. I also know that there are a heck of a lot more instructors that don't know squat about forms than there are that do.

But.

Given the nature of forums like this one, why are so many MAists still anti-form in their orientation?

:confused: :confused: :confused:

Also, I was reading some posts elsewhere on MT and on other forums, and I really get a kick out of people that are either looking for or training in schools that claim their MA is teaching "real world" self defense... Like traditional arts never dealt with "real world" attacks? Then I hear about how these more modern arts are dealing with "modern knife attacks" and such... So, what, do people nowadays attack in totally unique ways that people a hundred years ago didn't know how to use?

These kinds of things really frustrate me... I can understand the difference between a traditional style that trains in traditional forms but never (for whatever reason) trains in actual hands on application of their techniques, and a traditional school that makes their students suck floor as a daily training drill. I can understand the difference between a school that only drills defenses against archaic weapons and one that teaches gun defenses (whether they are worth a ***** or not). But contrasting a "modern" school against a traditional school based on the factor of "modern" self defense techniques confuses me... people have been punching, kicking, stabbing and swinging clubs pretty much the same way since day one...

Anyone care to clarify these mysteries for me?

Gambarimasu.
:asian:

I think I am very fortunate to have found an instructor who has an extensive knowledge of the Kata we practice and breaks it down into self defence we can use. I kind of wonder about people who claim that other traditional arts don't teach real world stuff. I know that the people who developed the art I learn had to use it everyday to defend their land and families. How many modern arts can claim any such thing. I also believe that a kick is a kick, a punch is a punch and a stab is a stab so any defence that worked 100 years ago would still work now. Though I would be concerned if a school taught how to disarm a sword wielding attacker on a horse.

Just some thoughts
Cheers
Sammy
 
The average advertisement isn't going to be marketted to someone who is already a martial artist and KNOWS the difference between modern and tradtional (whether there is on at all, that is). It's generally marketted to people who don't have any prior experience (or maybe a little) because they for sure AREN'T training at the moment. To them, "modern" self defense is going to sound like a much better deal than "traditional" self defense because these days "modern" is such a buzzword and "traditional" implies ineffectiveness. Is that necessarily correct? No, not in the least. However, it does bring in much more business. Whether a MAist will know the difference or not is irrelevant, because the ads and slogans are geared towards the average person walking/driving past the window, because they need something that sounds dynamic and effective, and the use of the word "modern" these days somehow helps.

As far as forms are concerned, in my opinion they generally ARE useless because they aren't taught with ANY application from them. Rather, they're just taught because they have to be taught and once memorized they aren't expanded upon. In most schools I've seen, they dont even stress grace or fluidity of motion, which is the least of all things that forms could help. However, the applications and breakdowns of the forms taught are really even discussed in classes I've seen, likely due to the instructors own lack of understanding. Do I think forms are useless? No. Are they when their intended meaning and application (bunkai, correct?) isn't taught or even understood? For the most part, yes. Just my very limited experience in the matter.
 
Also, I was reading some posts elsewhere on MT and on other forums, and I really get a kick out of people that are either looking for or training in schools that claim their MA is teaching "real world" self defense... Like traditional arts never dealt with "real world" attacks? Then I hear about how these more modern arts are dealing with "modern knife attacks" and such... So, what, do people nowadays attack in totally unique ways that people a hundred years ago didn't know how to use?
well Yiliquan 1 your guess is as good as mine. I think forms training is vital coming from a taiji background the forms provide the basis of the art. It is through the forms that we learn correct alignment ans self discipline and body control etc etc they are also a method of 'training the self' on a mental level too. What I understand by modern schools is that they may primarily be based on 'sport' such as competition, point sparring etc or marketed as a fitness and weight loss tool.
I also believe that a kick is a kick, a punch is a punch and a stab is a stab so any defence that worked 100 years ago would still work now. Though I would be concerned if a school taught how to disarm a sword wielding attacker on a horse.
well Sammy I agree with you there...but you just never know when the how to disarm a sword wielding attacker on a horse.[/ might come in handy :D
Angu said
To them, "modern" self defense is going to sound like a much better deal than "traditional" self defense because these days "modern" is such a buzzword and "traditional" implies ineffectiveness.
yes thats true again a simple marketing tool, and also tradtional also conjures up images of a different kind of training that those looking for something to fit into their already busy days may not want. I think the term 'modern' gives a different dynamic to what is being taught, although deep down it may not be so much what is taught but just the way it is taught.
As far as forms are concerned, in my opinion they generally ARE useless because they aren't taught with ANY application from them. Rather, they're just taught because they have to be taught and once memorized they aren't expanded upon.
thats interesting because in taijiquan the form is the application....well a few applications actually. But you are right to a degree, even taiji is taught so badly that sometimes people never even get past the basic performance of the sequence......its a shame cos they are missing out the main part of the art...ie the body mechanics, the spirit etc...
 
The sad truth is that the reason so many martial artist see katas as useless.Is because there instructors can explain what there purpose is.They learnt them they do them and they teach them.But they dont realy understand what they were meant for.I learnt katas i dont use them but i learnt them.Also When they use the term modern.It is also to explain them not using katas.Modern martial arts arnt just sport oriented alot of them are Purly selfdefense.But in to many modern arts they forget what the martial arts was meant for to create peace and inforce it if nessacary.To many modern art schools are purly for the fight.And forget the intense sense of honor and respect that a martial artist should gain from an art.I myself teach a modern martial art I dont use katas but i work hard to teach my students to respect all things even your enemy.And to live your life with honor.Alot of people think that honor is hogwash.But if more people would try to regain the honor that was lost from the arts.And from everyday values the world would be alot better off.Anyways im on a rant ...Just my thoughts on modern arts and the term......
 
I understand the marketing aspect... I wasn't really addressing that, although the points made were valid and well worded. What I was talking about are the folks that are already engaged in martial arts practice. These are the folks that really turn my knob when they start ranting about how terrible forms are for training, and how "modern" their approach is to disassembling their opponent.

I would think that, given the amount of information to the contrary, that folks would do a little bit of simple math and realize that perhaps it isn't the forms that are bad, just the folks teaching them... Kind of like working with a computer, y'know? Sure, blame the machine all you want because it doesn't do what you want, but 9 times out of 10 the problem isn't the PC, just plain old user error. Simple analogy that I think is particularly poignant given this forum... :D So what do you do? Say computers are worthless and aren't worth the time and trouble, or do you learn how to use the damn thing? Again, simple math...

As for the "modern" approach, I think most folks have just swallowed their instructor's buzzwords and sell tactics so completely that they are either unwilling to let go (because they would feel cheated or betrayed somehow), or can't see the forest because there are too many trees blocking the view! I remember in one post a person claimed their approach was revolutionary and modern. When asked if people these days are punching and kicking in significantly different ways as compared to people from a hundred, two hundred or three hundred years ago, the goober actually said yes! Sorry, folks, but the human form is only capable of so many methods of movement, and armed or unarmed can only strike you so many ways. Given the finite nature of the interaction between two combatants, I doubt very highly that there is anything new under the sun that hasn't been done at least once before by someone long before we came along... "Modern" my tushie... :angry:

Sure, defenses against firearms are new innovations - they didn't have assault rifles and semi-auto pistols in the hands of teenagers when Funakoshi was teaching Shotokan for the first time, or when Chang San-feng was watching animals fight in the mountains. But that doesn't invalidate traditional systems in the slightest! In fact, it lends a certain amount of additional credibility to styles whose traditional techniques can, with only subtle modifications (more to address the nature of the weapon being defended against than the techniques used to neutralize the attacker) deal with such modern changes without making sweeping changes system-wide!

As for learning to deal with sword strikes from horseback - I learn the archaic defenses for the history of them, for their applicability to other weapons (i.e. baseball bat from the back of a bicycle or motorcycle), and for the skills such techniques develop beyond their obvious applications.

Anybody else have thoughts?

Gambarimasu.
:asian:
 
If people want to learn ancient weapon skills, fine by me. Its a performance art, no different than dancing, singing etc. Me, personally, I would rather go to the gun range and practice my shooting skills.

As for forms, I doubt people hundreds of years ago knew as much about the human anatomy and physiology as we do today. Today, we have modern bodybuilding workout routines and plyometric workout, that are unknown to people back then. Martial art is scientific training and conditioning. I find no mystic nor anything sacred about "tradition" . A punch may be a punch back then as it is a punch today. But knowing what happens when you throw a punch, allows you to improve on the effectiveness of the punch you throw. Just b/c it is said that things are done in certain ways traditionally, does not necessary mean they are at perfection. (For hundreds of years people thought the earth was flat too.) The last thing you want to be is to be constrained by tradition. It may be blasphemy to the traditionists, but that is the way things really are, they evolve.
 
well while knowledge and understanding may have developed along different lines I imagine that back in the 'old days' they knew every bit as much about anatomy and physiology, and developed training methods not only according to their understanding but also in keeping with their cultural needs. Its interesting that you would feel constrained by tradition, i feel that it is the attention paid to and understanding of the tradtional that enables you to evolve. Its like having some ground rules that enable you to have a basis for your development. What seems to be evident is that so many people have not paid any attention to the 'traditional ' and gone on to develop their own styles or simply teach the limited amount they have learned and further watered down a style until eventually no one has any real understanding of what they are doing.
If people want to learn ancient weapon skills, fine by me. Its a performance art, no different than dancing, singing etc. Me, personally, I would rather go to the gun range and practice my shooting skills.
I would sugest that it is just alittle bit more than a 'performance art'.....why would your shooting skills be any more valid than the skills developed by using a sword...unless of course shooting a gun is nothing more than pointing at a target and pulling a trigger.....there are plenty of benefits from training with a more ancient weapon, an appreciation of the complexities for a start.......but hey I like the tradtional aspect...what would I know.....
 
1. B/c we know more about how the human body functions and how it responds to training and conditioning now, then people hundreds of years ago did. So we are able to train and condition with great effect and less injury.

2. Just blindly following what was done traditionally is the greatest hindrance to innovation and improvement. There is nothing wrong to use the protocol as guidelines. But only as guidelines. Your objective is to understand why things are done in such and such way and for what purpose. Then you see if there are better ways of accomplish that purpose, given the new body of knowledge we have today. I realize this may sound arrogant unless you are a grandmaster of the art. Life is short, I got to go my own way, not dwell on becoming a gramdmaster, and hope for the best.

3. I am a firm believer in modern scientific approach to martial art conditioning and training, vs traditionalism. There are scientific ways to train and condition your muscles and reflexes. Bruce Lee was the one to pioneer this. But of course, times and things have both moved on since his death. We have a new set of training methodology today.

4. Regarding ancient weapons training, when was the last time some one used that in a real life situation? Do you think such skills would be any match against a good shooter (gun)? Knife and stick figthing skills are valuable. Exotic ancient weapon fighting skills? Performance art. Nothing wrong with learning them. It all depends on your goals. My purpose and goal is to prevail in combat.Hence I value efficiency and effectiveness. Others may simply enjoy learning and practicing the art for itself and find great rewards in exploring and understanding such lost art of the past. And I have nothing by respect for such devotion.


5. I have a hard time accepting the blindfaith that the founders of the arts have perfected everything and have everything covered. Far from that, I would think that they made as much mistakes as we do today. I did post graduate reseach work at one of the most advanced research centers in the States. What I saw was that Experts make mistakes just like everybody else. And they make tons of mistakes. The saving grace is they put in a lot of checkpoints in their work, to catch mistakes, to review and analyze and to improve on their mistakes. Martial art is scientific physical training and conditioning. Nothing else. People may want to assign moral code of behavior to the martial way of life. Fine by me. I am all for chivalry and galantry and honor. There is nothing holy or sacred or mystical about the traditional ways of martial arts. It is physical and mental training and conditioning.
 
Originally posted by KennethKu
1. B/c we know more about how the human body functions and how it responds to training and conditioning now, then people hundreds of years ago did. So we are able to train and condition with great effect and less injury.

Well, yes and no. There are a lot of things we do understand better now thanks to the advent of science and medical progress, but there are many things, training related things, that are just as valid now as they were when they were first done decades, centuries and longer ago.

2. Just blindly following what was done traditionally is the greatest hindrance to innovation and improvement. There is nothing wrong to use the protocol as guidelines. But only as guidelines. Your objective is to understand why things are done in such and such way and for what purpose. Then you see if there are better ways of accomplish that purpose, given the new body of knowledge we have today. I realize this may sound arrogant unless you are a grandmaster of the art. Life is short, I got to go my own way, not dwell on becoming a gramdmaster, and hope for the best.

Dead on the money, and as a steadfast traditionalist I wouldn't disagree with you for a minute. I think there is a misunderstanding due to the vast majority of schools being quack factories that traditional equals stupid. Doing what works is what allowed fighters once upon a time to survive to be able to pass on what they knew. What they knew then got passed on again (because it worked and had real life application), and again, and again. Eventually, because it had been around for so long, it was considered "traditional." Just because a person finds valid method, theory and application in something that has been done for a long time, doesn't mean they are hindered mentally by their attachment to those techniques. They know what works, and they keep it.

3. I am a firm believer in modern scientific approach to martial art conditioning and training, vs traditionalism. There are scientific ways to train and condition your muscles and reflexes. Bruce Lee was the one to pioneer this. But of course, times and things have both moved on since his death. We have a new set of training methodology today.

Up to this point, I am 100% with you. While reliance on "science" as a validation for anti-traditionalism is common, "science" is a buzzword in MA today that often has little to do with what is being taught or trained. "Science" is used as the measuring stick to qualify everything, and if there is a lack of "science" then whatever is being examined is tossed out the window. The problem is, however, that there are a lot of folks that fail to admit that the way many traditional styles evolved was through the scientific method - try it, see if it works, evaluate how it worked, try it again to see if the results can be replicated. If that ain't science, I don't know what is...

There are folks that use "science" as an excuse to throw out all that has gone before in favor of the flavor of the month technique. Those folks are deluded, and will simply continue to search and search, jumping from trend to trend without ever really understanding what is going on... As a firm traditionalist I continually examine and review what I know to see what works for me, since there are some techniques I am simply not built for, and some I can no longer apply due to age and injury. But I don't discard techniques and theories because they are old, nor do I absorb teachings based on their age - if it is crap, it is crap. If it is old crap, then it is old crap. In the end, crap is still crap, new or old.

4. Regarding ancient weapons training, when was the last time some one used that in a real life situation? Do you think such skills would be any match against a good shooter (gun)? Knife and stick figthing skills are valuable. Exotic ancient weapon fighting skills? Performance art. Nothing wrong with learning them. It all depends on your goals. My purpose and goal is to prevail in combat.Hence I value efficiency and effectiveness. Others may simply enjoy learning and practicing the art for itself and find great rewards in exploring and understanding such lost art of the past. And I have nothing by respect for such devotion.

Training in archaic weaponry does more than train you to use or defend against those weapons. Staff and spear have modern applications (brooms, rakes, hoes, etc.), and unarmed techniques are enhanced by their practice (i.e. joint locks, trapping, sensitivity, timing, distance, etc., are all enhanced by training with archaic weapons due to the nature of their use). Defenses against knife, club, machete, sword all stem from very similar roots. Baseball bats, lead pipes, chainsaws, crowbars all can be defended against through using similar techniques. Likewise, your garage becomes your arsenal when the universality of some weapons training becomes apparent. When does it become apparent? After you have done it! If you haven't spent time handling a sword or a stick, you don't realize that whipsticks, collabsable batons, rattan sticks, crowbars, rulers, rolled newspapers, school room pointers and other similar items can all be used in virtually the identical manner. It isn't performance art, but rather an archetypical training method that "trickles down" through other skills.

5. I have a hard time accepting the blindfaith that the founders of the arts have perfected everything and have everything covered. Far from that, I would think that they made as much mistakes as we do today. I did post graduate reseach work at one of the most advanced research centers in the States. What I saw was that Experts make mistakes just like everybody else. And they make tons of mistakes. The saving grace is they put in a lot of checkpoints in their work, to catch mistakes, to review and analyze and to improve on their mistakes. Martial art is scientific physical training and conditioning. Nothing else. People may want to assign moral code of behavior to the martial way of life. Fine by me. I am all for chivalry and galantry and honor. There is nothing holy or sacred or mystical about the traditional ways of martial arts. It is physical and mental training and conditioning.

Nor should you accept that someone a hundred years ago had perfected anything, no more so than someone today is necessarily better trained, informed or knowledgeable than someone a hundred years ago based solely on the progression of time. Just like you said, even experts make mistakes (my favorite saying in Japanese is "even monkeys fall from trees"). Rather, through individual training and experimentation, based on the tenets, theories and training methods handed down from prior generations that found such things effective, you should come to your own conclusions. Just like those checkpoints you talk about.

Sounds weird coming from a traditionalist? Sure. But there are some truths in the universe, and in the end if our eyes are open we will see them for what they are. Nothing holy, just effective and consistently true. And without the morality and codes of behavior (many of which were added in recent decades to teach to schoolkids, but that is another thread entirely), MAists are hard to differentiate from well-trained thugs...

Forms are useless without proper orientation and application training. Modern weapons are useless without proper orientation and application training. Basically everything we do, if we are doing it "for real" and not just to prance about interestingly in fancy PJs, boils down to proper orientation and application.

The metaphysical benefits of martial arts come not from hours of meditation while facing a wall, but from facing an opponent that is trying to rip your spleen out. Without the proper orientation and application training, all you develop is a neat way to do aerobics and shadow boxing, regardless of what art you study (modern or traditional).

End Rant (for now).

Gambarimasu.
:asian:
 
Tradition for traditions sake is worthless. Tradition to transmit useable science is practical. If a form is deemed impractical by a source, consider the source.

Kareem pointed out something clearly in an interview concerning training under Bruce Lee. Bruce told Kareem that practicing to use forward hip throws, being over 7 feet tall, was not practical. Bruce implied that he should learn how they work to be able to defend himself against them and have the knowledge to transmit to a future student, that was shorter, that could practically attack with them. One man's meat (practical/modern technique) is another man's poison (kata/outdated technique) and vice versa. So even if the "modern" stylist could understand the usefulness/hidden apps. in kata, he is then sometimes faced with the body type dilema that Mr. Lee could so easily explain away that more than likely he can't. This too then can sometimes point a convert back to poo pooing kata. If the modern "moves" were looked at close enough, he might see something familiar if he were patient with his kata. My own experience as an example; one night I was working with a group of Submission/MMA guys in the back of a club. I was passing the guard of my partner when he put one of his palms on the back of my head. I reared my head in resistance and he pressed the knuckles of his other hand into my trachea. Long story short, I tapped out. Something bugged me about that move in how it seemed familiar. I went back to my Do Jang the next day and practiced the hyung/kata Tabek. The tapout move, performed on me by my partner the night prior, is the final move in that form! It differed in that it is done in a standing position. I asked Submission guy later where he saw that technique and he said it was part of a few moves he learned from a MMA article that he drills. The wheel is being reinvented over and over and everyone wants to lay claim to the patent. If a kata practicioner has no understanding of his kata, after awhile those patents from MMAs/modern arts start looking damn real to him and the MMAs/modern arts guy knows no better either. I guess being happy with a full volume of encyclopedias is hard if you can't read. A ten page book with 1/4 of the same moves in pictures would be much more practical. Some people don't like taking the time even though the rewards could be greater than the short term payoff. I guess "be happy you understand what you do" is the best way I can say it.

Best regards,
white belt
 
Originally posted by white belt
The wheel is being reinvented over and over and everyone wants to lay claim to the patent.

I love it!!! I couldn't have said it better!

If a kata practicioner has no understanding of his kata, after awhile those patents from MMAs start looking damn real to him and the MMA guy knows no better either. I guess being happy with a full volume of encyclopedias is hard if you can't read. A ten page book with 1/4 of the same moves in pictures would be much more practical. Some people don't like taking the time even though the rewards could be greater than the short term payoff. I guess "be happy you understand what you do" is the best way I can say it.

Great comments... Nicely put. I suppose that is a very valid perspective, though at the same time I still wish that folks would realize the folly of some of the goofy things they are doing...

Gambarimasu.
:asian:
 
Matt, in all honesty, there is no one answer to your question as is becoming obvious by the various posts. Form or no forms. Modern vs. traditional. Some see traditional as ineffective. I personnally feel tradition gives me the opportunity to learn from what 100's or maybe 1000's of MA's before were able to learn. Much of what I have seen as Modern MA is just sloppy technique. Not all, just a lot of it. Examples, I'm a judoka, in the various Modern MA Grappling Styles, hip throws and such all end with tori following uke to the ground. Bad move in combat. Arm bars are snapped on, giving absolutely no chance for uke to surrender before getting a broken arm. Chokes are forced, brute strength techniques, not subtle. It does not take strength to apply a choke, it takes technique. Forms are used to preserve the essence of the art. They are vital, but only to a person who is interested in the art. Some people just want to become better fighters. If they are young and strong, have great endurance, then they can get away with less than perfect technique. Whether what they are studying will work for them when they are older is the question. some people reject forms because they are bored by the practice it takes to do them well. Others quite frankly have an ego problem, and don't want to learn. All questions are resolved in contests, if I win, I'm better and know better than you. This just isn't true. Witness the popularity of UFC and such, and the intensity of opinions they spawn. Enjoy the posts, and try to use the opinions presented as a learning tool in human behavior. That too is a part of MA.

Peace
Dennis
 
Forms are neither good nor bad.

What one does with a form is where the meat is.

In our system, we call forms the reference books that we can go to to find all of the applications within our system. Many techniques are layered in the movements...

However, if one doesn't look deep enough into the form, then one is missing tremendous amounts of valuable (read applicable) information. One is reciting the words of the book without understanding the meaning of the words (this is where self-promoted "senseis" do a disservice to an art...they teach what they don't truly understand and end up with disillusioned students who seek something with more meat on it).

For those who refuse to do forms...for whatever reason...you have chosen to leave the books on the shelf, unread...they are, for you, just kindling (which, if you are alone and cold might not be such a bad thing). Please don't burn the books...leave them for us traditionalists to read.

MMA sans forms are really "jitsu" type arts...and that's fine as long as you and your students understand that.

:asian:
chufeng
 
."Much of what I have seen as Modern MA is just sloppy technique. Not all, just a lot of it. Examples, I'm a judoka, in the various Modern MA Grappling Styles, hip throws and such all end with tori following uke to the ground. Bad move in combat. Arm bars are snapped on, giving absolutely no chance for uke to surrender before getting a broken arm. Chokes are forced, brute strength techniques, not subtle. It does not take strength to apply a choke, it takes technique.'-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
VERY GOOD! The same goes for the new standup arts as well! I sometimes call my practice "Kokon Ryu", loosely meaning traditional and modern style. The point is there is nothing wrong with new styles, but people bad mouth the old ways to make excuses for creating their own ways with little or minimal "real" training. To those like myself who have many years behind them in several arts, then the proof is in the pudding. Its OK to create something new, but we have to prove that it is effective or else its no better than the old ways that are supposedly ineffective. Actually the new systems are worse until proven to be better! I switched arts quite a bit, so its my fault that I had over 15 years in the arts before I got my black belt. But I developed an understanding that is priceless.
As to the forms, people get rank much faster today than when I was younger and that is probably why people don't understand the bunkai and classes are to short so they skip or spend little time with the bunkai. There would be no new ways without the old ways. The old ways are proven and time tested but they have just slowed down a bit recognizing that holding on to the past does have some value. The Okinawan arts are deep into the kata. When the Okinawan Te evolved into Goju and Shorin Ryu , it was from the travels to southern China and training Chuan Fa and bringing it back to Okinawa. I already said what they did, They Evolved! Most people dont fit the profile to practice MMA so it is foolish to practice that which you cant actually do! We can talk and philosophize all day long but the martial arts are about the martial techniques that we can actually use make work! Katas have their place in the traditional arts and the old stories of the great martial artist accomplishments before us are true! There are always going to be exceptions but the truth in point is the new systems dont have time on their side. One last point and Im going to use capitols not to shout but to emphasize my point.
10 YEARS AGO BRAZILIAN JIU JITSU JUMPED ONTO THE TOP OF THE MARTIAL ART WORLD PROVING THEIR ART ONE ON ONE! BUT TODAY WHO DO THEY SHARE THE TOP WITH? THE KARATE AND GUNG-FU GUYS WHO EVOLVED! MOST EVOLVED INTO KICKBOXING AND THEN TO MMA!! I DOUBT THAT ANY OF THE FIGHTERS OR TRAINERS OUT THERE WERE EVER 100% SELF TAUGHT!!
 
Originally posted by Abbax8
Matt, in all honesty, there is no one answer to your question as is becoming obvious by the various posts. Form or no forms. Modern vs. traditional. Some see traditional as ineffective. I personnally feel tradition gives me the opportunity to learn from what 100's or maybe 1000's of MA's before were able to learn. Much of what I have seen as Modern MA is just sloppy technique. Not all, just a lot of it. Examples, I'm a judoka, in the various Modern MA Grappling Styles, hip throws and such all end with tori following uke to the ground. Bad move in combat. Arm bars are snapped on, giving absolutely no chance for uke to surrender before getting a broken arm. Chokes are forced, brute strength techniques, not subtle. It does not take strength to apply a choke, it takes technique. Forms are used to preserve the essence of the art. They are vital, but only to a person who is interested in the art. Some people just want to become better fighters. If they are young and strong, have great endurance, then they can get away with less than perfect technique. Whether what they are studying will work for them when they are older is the question. some people reject forms because they are bored by the practice it takes to do them well. Others quite frankly have an ego problem, and don't want to learn. All questions are resolved in contests, if I win, I'm better and know better than you. This just isn't true. Witness the popularity of UFC and such, and the intensity of opinions they spawn. Enjoy the posts, and try to use the opinions presented as a learning tool in human behavior. That too is a part of MA.
Peace
Dennis

Very good post. I am humbled. :asian:
 
Originally posted by Yiliquan1
Up to this point, I am 100% with you. While reliance on "science" as a validation for anti-traditionalism is common, "science" is a buzzword in MA today that often has little to do with what is being taught or trained. "Science" is used as the measuring stick to qualify everything, and if there is a lack of "science" then whatever is being examined is tossed out the window. The problem is, however, that there are a lot of folks that fail to admit that the way many traditional styles evolved was through the scientific method - try it, see if it works, evaluate how it worked, try it again to see if the results can be replicated. If that ain't science, I don't know what is...

There are folks that use "science" as an excuse to throw out all that has gone before in favor of the flavor of the month technique. Those folks are deluded, and will simply continue to search and search, jumping from trend to trend without ever really understanding what is going on... As a firm traditionalist I continually examine and review what I know to see what works for me, since there are some techniques I am simply not built for, and some I can no longer apply due to age and injury. But I don't discard techniques and theories because they are old, nor do I absorb teachings based on their age - if it is crap, it is crap. If it is old crap, then it is old crap. In the end, crap is still crap, new or old.
Actually I agree with you 100%. I was referring to incorporating proven training methods used in the athlete field today. I couldn't care less about the latest hotest BS . Nor do I care about what some hot shots tout as the latest breakthrough. More BS are been pushed onto people in the name of fake science. We need data and proof ! Just b/c someone says so, won't cut it. Doesn't matter he is new or old. Like you put it, old crap or new crap are just crap all the same. Everything is subjected to review, reevaluation and verification.

My objection is to the failure to make use of the current body of knowledge accumulated in the athlete fields. There is no need to limit yourself to what is taught traditionally.

We are in total agreement here. Nothing pisses me off more than to see charlatans using half-baked fake science to sell themselves. Proof proof proof! We need data and proof! Talk is cheap.

I also have equal contempt for charlatans hiding behind 'traditions" to sell themselves.

Training in archaic weaponry does more than train you to use or defend against those weapons. Staff and spear have modern applications (brooms, rakes, hoes, etc.), and unarmed techniques are enhanced by their practice (i.e. joint locks, trapping, sensitivity, timing, distance, etc., are all enhanced by training with archaic weapons due to the nature of their use). Defenses against knife, club, machete, sword all stem from very similar roots. Baseball bats, lead pipes, chainsaws, crowbars all can be defended against through using similar techniques. Likewise, your garage becomes your arsenal when the universality of some weapons training becomes apparent. When does it become apparent? After you have done it! If you haven't spent time handling a sword or a stick, you don't realize that whipsticks, collabsable batons, rattan sticks, crowbars, rulers, rolled newspapers, school room pointers and other similar items can all be used in virtually the identical manner. It isn't performance art, but rather an archetypical training method that "trickles down" through other skills.
Ok. I concede to your view. Points well taken. But I have no interest in them and that is only a personal bias, not worth anything more. :) Eventhough a gun is the least preferred solution, it is unfortunately the most effective solution under the most desperate circumstances. But which is a better choice? To crack someone's head open with a crowbar or to shoot him? sad choice. But that is the reality when it comes to real application of weapons. Which brings another interesting question. I don't know how many people can really bring themselves to drawing blood with an edged weapon. People are all gungho about it when practicing. But when the chips are down, it would be a really sad time to find out if you have it in you to draw blood. I know people would say if threatened they could do it. May be they could , may be they couldn't. They wouldn't know until then. It would be a sad time to find out the truth when you are at the end of the rope.

Having said that, I think I have covered my *** earlier by stating that knife and stick fightings are valuable skills. :)

Nor should you accept that someone a hundred years ago had perfected anything, no more so than someone today is necessarily better trained, informed or knowledgeable than someone a hundred years ago based solely on the progression of time. Just like you said, even experts make mistakes (my favorite saying in Japanese is "even monkeys fall from trees"). Rather, through individual training and experimentation, based on the tenets, theories and training methods handed down from prior generations that found such things effective, you should come to your own conclusions. Just like those checkpoints you talk about.
I agree. No sir, one does not automatically accept anything as face value. Everything is subjected to evaluation. I just have a hard time with people taking me as being disrespectful when I question "traditions". Respect has nothing to do it. And neither is there any arrogance on my part. (Rudeness, may be...*sigh* )

Sounds weird coming from a traditionalist? Sure. But there are some truths in the universe, and in the end if our eyes are open we will see them for what they are. Nothing holy, just effective and consistently true. And without the morality and codes of behavior (many of which were added in recent decades to teach to schoolkids, but that is another thread entirely), MAists are hard to differentiate from well-trained thugs...

Forms are useless without proper orientation and application training. Modern weapons are useless without proper orientation and application training. Basically everything we do, if we are doing it "for real" and not just to prance about interestingly in fancy PJs, boils down to proper orientation and application.

The metaphysical benefits of martial arts come not from hours of meditation while facing a wall, but from facing an opponent that is trying to rip your spleen out. Without the proper orientation and application training, all you develop is a neat way to do aerobics and shadow boxing, regardless of what art you study (modern or traditional).

I don't disagree with most of this.

"....The metaphysical benefits of martial arts come not from hours of meditation while facing a wall, but from facing an opponent that is trying to rip your spleen out.... " Is this what I referred to in previous post as " train to prevail in combat" ? :)
 
Originally posted by KennethKu
"....The metaphysical benefits of martial arts come not from hours of meditation while facing a wall, but from facing an opponent that is trying to rip your spleen out.... " Is this what I referred to in previous post as " train to prevail in combat" ? :)

Well, not really. I meant it as a reply to your comment:

Martial art is scientific physical training and conditioning. Nothing else. People may want to assign moral code of behavior to the martial way of life. Fine by me. I am all for chivalry and galantry and honor. There is nothing holy or sacred or mystical about the traditional ways of martial arts. It is physical and mental training and conditioning.

The thing of it is that, for all their meditation and fluffy outfits, the new agey martial artists fail to ever develop the "attitude" that "real" martial artists can/do, that "attitude" we all want to develop and emulate... Not some make believe attitude, but that confidence and capability born from realistic training and being confronted with an opponent that isn't about to let you walk out of the training hall thinking you can do something you can't.

But your "training to prevail in combat" is what gives rise to the metaphysical benefits, that morality and behavioral standard that is so much a part of classical martial arts and the MAists that have achieved legendary status...

My entire point for starting this thread was to see if folks from both the "modern" and "traditional" sides of the fence could come to the realization that what we are all doing, on both sides, is really heading in the same direction... Though occasionally even the best schools from both camps are missing essential elements (the traditionalists sometimes lack contact, and the modernists sometimes lack sustaining history), their goals are really very similar... I learned this not by training exclusively in traditional arts, but by training with MT's own nbcdecon , the man responsible for my training in Modern Arnis. He has a very eclectic background (TKD, Modern Arnis, Sombo, BJJ), but we managed to not only find common ground, but to realize that our ultimate goals are really very similar...

Just my thoughts and my current pet peeve with the state of the martial arts union... Too much division, not enough realization... Same thing kind of goes for some religions - they all have the same base, the same documents/books, but they still ***** and gripe about their differences rather than focusing on their similarities.

Gambarimasu.
:asian:
 
Originally posted by Yiliquan1

The thing of it is that, for all their meditation and fluffy outfits, the new agey martial artists fail to ever develop the "attitude" that "real" martial artists can/do, that "attitude" we all want to develop and emulate... Not some make believe attitude, but that confidence and capability born from realistic training and being confronted with an opponent that isn't about to let you walk out of the training hall thinking you can do something you can't.

But your "training to prevail in combat" is what gives rise to the metaphysical benefits, that morality and behavioral standard that is so much a part of classical martial arts and the MAists that have achieved legendary status...

My entire point for starting this thread was to see if folks from both the "modern" and "traditional" sides of the fence could come to the realization that what we are all doing, on both sides, is really heading in the same direction... Though occasionally even the best schools from both camps are missing essential elements (the traditionalists sometimes lack contact, and the modernists sometimes lack sustaining history), their goals are really very similar... I learned this not by training exclusively in traditional arts, but by training with MT's own nbcdecon , the man responsible for my training in Modern Arnis. He has a very eclectic background (TKD, Modern Arnis, Sombo, BJJ), but we managed to not only find common ground, but to realize that our ultimate goals are really very similar...

Just my thoughts and my current pet peeve with the state of the martial arts union... Too much division, not enough realization... Same thing kind of goes for some religions - they all have the same base, the same documents/books, but they still ***** and gripe about their differences rather than focusing on their similarities.

Oh. Well, I don't know anything about this new age type of BS con-artists. I am only interested in incorporating modern bodybuilding and plyometric training methods into martial art training.

Interesting that you bring up about finding common ground. Scientific methods of training and conditioning can be used across different arts. Afterall, you are training and conditioning the same human body. My pet peeve is where practitioners hang on to the traditional methods in the name of "preserving the art". Well then that is fine by me if that is the goal. But if the goal is combat performance then you have to adopt new training methods and evolve. Everything must be open to evaluation and verification. It does not mean we toss everything old away and reinvent the wheel constantly.

People do feel strongly about "preserving the art as it was taught by our founder". To a large extent, I admire that. My personal view is that all things evolve for the better.

The martial art world will continue to splinter and quarel with each other as it has been since the begining of the art. It is human nature. I won't lose any sleep over it. It will be this same way long after we are all dead. :)
 

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