- Sep 21, 2005
- Reaction score
- San Francisco
Most people who train martial arts have no interest in fighting, meaning they have no interest in being a competition champion or fighting in the local bar every weekend. Most reasonable folks would just like to get through life without engaging in violence. They appreciate the exercise and the mental engagement that it provides and the community, as well as having a distinct advantage in the unlikely event that someone tries to mug them or otherwise rough them up. And there is nothing wrong with that. And neither is this an admission that “we only train to defeat the untrained,” that little piece of nonsense that I am seeing bandied about lately.Crane - Thanks for your thoughtful and honest response. Your advice is right on the mark.
Interesting fact - TBH I myself was never a "fighter". I first came to martial arts in my late teens with very unrealistic expectations based on reading books and magazines, and watching movies and TV. I had done some wrestling and enjoyed it, but didn't like getting punched. Looking back, how I expected to really fight without getting hit ...a lot ...is a mystery to me now. To a certain degree I guess I was "looking for magic" too.
My first experience in Asian martial arts was with a complicated "five-animal" system that purported to be "true Shaolin kung-fu" but was in fact just re-branded kempo seeking to ride the Bruce Lee inspired kung-fu craze of the mid 70s. The instructor also threw in a hodge-podge of new age and so-called "internal" exercises. Magic. And I was pretty well sucked into it. I did learn a few decent kicks, punches and combinations, but 90% of what we trained was pretty useless and far too complicated to assimilate and apply.
Then I moved back to Arizona and found Wing Chun, and eventually I ended up training with my old Sifu. Unlike the stuff I learned before, I found his Wing Chun (Wing Tsun) relatively simple and direct, and I could make it work pretty well against my friends who were training other systems like TKD and Kempo.
So I got some validation. As long as I worked against friends, I did pretty well. I did not seek out people who really fought hard like boxers and kickboxers. Remember, this was before MMA. Muay Thai was rare, and BJJ was unknown. But deep down, I knew my limitations and tried to be honest about them.
In later years, as I started teaching, I was upfront with students about my limitations. If I had younger students that wanted to go harder than we did, I had a good friend who coached MMA, and besides that, we were training at space sub-let at a boxing gym. The head coach was a real stand-up guy.
Anyway, It's been a long journey, after putting a lot of time into WC, I'd like to see it continue ...but both as traditional Southern Chinese Boxing and as a real, evolving fighting art, not phony baloney magical BS. Of course I don't expect most practitioners will be "fighters" any more than I was. Heck most people at MMA and boxing gyms are not hard core fighters. I would just like to see WC work to stay an authentic and effective art.
By far, the majority of folks who train, meet this description. Ive been open about my own disinterest in fighting, both in watching it and participating. I feel no compulsion to justify it to anyone. Honestly, it feels less paranoid and more realistic and honest about the training.
If you still find value in it, keep doing it. What others think, those who want to cut it down, they don’t matter.