Why the Obsession over finding the "Best" Art?

drewtoby

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I can't help but wonder why people have gone as far as to rank arts based on "street effectiveness," "best for self defense," or overall effectiveness in the "real world." I ran across a few sites that have gone as far as describe/debate why certain arts are "better" than others. For example, HERE, HERE, and HERE. These are just a handful. I have heard people even go as far as to say "it is politically correct to say that there is no such thing as a best style, but..."

Why the endless debate over styles? When will people realize that the teacher, teaching method(s), practitioner, goals of training, time, and dedication will dictate the individual's ability, and not the style? Also, when will people wake up to the advantages/disadvantages ANY training method holds?

Sure, curriculums vary from art to art, but they should all give students the tools he or she needs. If not, then a good teacher will be more than willing to work ahead/outside of the curriculum to better prepare his or her students for whatever may come their way.

What is your take on this? Is discussion like this fueled by shallow views of the arts in question, by agenda, or lack of understanding?

Also, to take this all into context "real" self defense scenarios are fast, ugly, and unpredictable. Highly skilled masters of any art, training method, etc. can, and have, been killed before. It can happen to anyone.
 

Blindside

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So what you are saying is that you should feel perfectly comfortable taking any art, because all those variables that you mention, all are equally valid? Let me know how that performance wushu prepares you for being a corrections officer.
 

Buka

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I think the "Obsession over finding the Best Art" is one of those things that only exists on the internet. Sorta' like the Loch Ness Monster mentioned in news clips when they needed filler back in the sixties and seventies.
 

Kung Fu Wang

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When will people realize that the teacher, teaching method(s), practitioner, goals of training, time, and dedication will dictate the individual's ability, and not the style?
Every styles will have it's traditional training method.

Some styles start from

- forms and go into application.
- application and go into partner drills and solo drills.

When you are still working on your forms, others are already working on the mat with partners. Both methods may not make any difference after 30 years of training. It definitely makes a big difference within the first 3 years of training.
 

drop bear

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I Actually think some arts are better than others. There is a good reason I am crap at tkd. Because I don't train it. So there are obviously style specific skills.
 

hoshin1600

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i belive there are several questions and many answers to the OP. people seem to equate street effectiveness as a guide post to which arts are better than others. after all we are doing "martial arts". if you take out the applications of implied violence what you have left is a "martial dance". it is commonly thought that martial arts will make you an effective fighter, thus most arts are marketed and promoted as effective even when they are not intended to be. notice the claims of some areobic kickboxing saying "get in shape and learn to protect yourself". American society has made the judgement that to be a good art it must be effective for self defense. because of this there are few if any martial arts that will tell you that they are not effective in a street fight but its fun and has many other benefits. when you dig deeper into the question at hand it really is ridiculous. imagine fencing being debated over on which school is better. what is better for street application saber, foil or epee, but yet the katana guys say they are all useless. and yet we debate the points back and forth. i belive debate is good. in traditional Tibetan Buddhism they are taught debate. if you can not debate and defend your belief inteligently then you dont understand it.
however many dont understand this and get into the "i know you are but what am i...no way,, yes way,,no way,, yes way".
still others are fueled by ego and chest thumping to prove they are better than everyone else and on line there is no contact or method to resolve so it devolves into a grudge match of words.
if you look at the phychology of this it may often be the case that they are putting up an arguement based on their own insecurities and feel they need to validate their training, ability and choice of art.
but i digress...sometimes its just fun to argue about it.
 

K-man

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It was interesting to read in the first link that Krav Maga plateaus and that karate doesn't rate a mention. The second link likewise in that it lists Krav and one and two and doesn't rate karate at all. The third link I disregarded as I'm not sure it is really a credible answer to 'best art'.

Can I say that I think that the observation that Krav plateaus is subjective. I believe that ,depending on the instructor, Krav can be as simple as required or as complex as any other art. Then, ignoring Karate as a viable art for self defence is equally flawed. I would back my higher ranked karateka with the best of Krav because I teach similar, if not identical, techniques to both.
:asian:
 

ballen0351

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That's like asking why people like one sports team over another. We are all basically fans of our styles. Fan is short for fanatic. Just like my Ravens are going to crush the Browns this year my Goju is better then your ........
 
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D

drewtoby

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So what you are saying is that you should feel perfectly comfortable taking any art, because all those variables that you mention, all are equally valid? Let me know how that performance wushu prepares you for being a corrections officer.

What I am saying is that it depends on the trainer's goal. If the goal is performance, well that comes out to be a little more subjective, but there is still no way to prove that one style is better than another. The trainer and teacher make the difference in quality of performance, not style. If the goal is to prepare to be a correction's officer, then it is still almost the same.

Drop Bear, you are right about style specific skills. However, each style will have its own focus, so I see it evening out in the end for preparation for general goals, such as self defense. At higher levels, everything is similar anyways.

That being said, a specific goal such as becoming an officer will have a need for a specific skill set. Certain arts may lend better to this (especially in the lower ranks). But that is because teachers are generally more focused on certain aspects due to curriculum/federation/linage. However, a good teacher will help to counteract narrow focus (when it interferes with one's goals). Every art has elements that can work in a correction officer's setting.
 

EddieCyrax

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A lot of it relates to marketing as well.

Trying to bring people to their door.

"I'm a dealer/MA for the people"
 

drop bear

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What I am saying is that it depends on the trainer's goal. If the goal is performance, well that comes out to be a little more subjective, but there is still no way to prove that one style is better than another. The trainer and teacher make the difference in quality of performance, not style. If the goal is to prepare to be a correction's officer, then it is still almost the same.

Drop Bear, you are right about style specific skills. However, each style will have its own focus, so I see it evening out in the end for preparation for general goals, such as self defense. At higher levels, everything is similar anyways.

That being said, a specific goal such as becoming an officer will have a need for a specific skill set. Certain arts may lend better to this (especially in the lower ranks). But that is because teachers are generally more focused on certain aspects due to curriculum/federation/linage. However, a good teacher will help to counteract narrow focus (when it interferes with one's goals). Every art has elements that can work in a correction officer's setting.


If I train like a trojan under a specific system under the best instructor for that system. I am still relying on that system being any good. Same as any other endeavour. Swimming is not as good for running as running. Even if I go to the best coaches

I don't know why people start with the premise that all styles are achieving the same result. For the most part they don't even try to pretend to.

I do agree that best can be subjective.
 
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drewtoby

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If I train like a trojan under a specific system under the best instructor for that system. I am still relying on that system being any good. Same as any other endeavour. Swimming is not as good for running as running. Even if I go to the best coaches

I don't know why people start with the premise that all styles are achieving the same result. For the most part they don't even try to pretend to.

I do agree that best can be subjective.

The first part I agree with. However, what constitutes "good?" Even styles that are laughed at have certain effective elements, or at least elements that could be applied effectively towards other goals. Wouldn't a good teacher recognize this?

As for styles achieving the same result, I agree they generally do not. However, one can train for a certain result under just about any style. A lot comes down to training methodology and the teacher's competence. For example, one can train under haidong gumdo for weapon defense if taught to the end of achieving that goal AND the techniques are applied to other weapons besides swords. Same with applying strikes from swords to empty hand.

I guess what I am getting at is that styles lend themselves to certain ends, but this does not limit them to those ends.
 

Kung Fu Wang

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I Actually think some arts are better than others.

Let's say that some arts have advantage over the other.

If you train

- cross, how many times do you knock your opponent down in 1 year? If you are lucky, you may find a training partner who would allow you to knock him down. In one years, you may have developed 10 times knock down experience.
- single leg, how many times do you take your opponent down in 1 year? If you take your opponent down 30 times daily, in one year, you have developed 10,000 times take down experience.

Of course you will have more faith in your single leg than in you cross after 1 year.
 
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MJS

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I can't help but wonder why people have gone as far as to rank arts based on "street effectiveness," "best for self defense," or overall effectiveness in the "real world." I ran across a few sites that have gone as far as describe/debate why certain arts are "better" than others. For example, HERE, HERE, and HERE. These are just a handful. I have heard people even go as far as to say "it is politically correct to say that there is no such thing as a best style, but..."

Why the endless debate over styles? When will people realize that the teacher, teaching method(s), practitioner, goals of training, time, and dedication will dictate the individual's ability, and not the style? Also, when will people wake up to the advantages/disadvantages ANY training method holds?

Sure, curriculums vary from art to art, but they should all give students the tools he or she needs. If not, then a good teacher will be more than willing to work ahead/outside of the curriculum to better prepare his or her students for whatever may come their way.

What is your take on this? Is discussion like this fueled by shallow views of the arts in question, by agenda, or lack of understanding?

Also, to take this all into context "real" self defense scenarios are fast, ugly, and unpredictable. Highly skilled masters of any art, training method, etc. can, and have, been killed before. It can happen to anyone.

Videos promising to teach you the 'ultimate art' are nothing more than a gimmick, and sadly, many fall into that trap. Any art has the potential to be effective. Of course, how it's trained, and the teacher, usually play a big part in that. The endless debates...lol...yeah, they get tiresome and old. I look at it like this...I'm happy with what I've done and what I currently do. I'm happy with my teachers, but in the dojo and out. What I do works for me, and IMO, that's all that matters. :) If someone doesn't think what I do works, is effective, is a joke, etc, that's fine. I'm training for me, not someone else. :)
 

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