What's up with the martial arts?
Why has martial arts been in such a crappy state for so long? Why did it take so long to realise that you have to train for the ground, and that your chamberd punches aren't going to work, and that you can't really fight by hopping around pretending to be a monkey? People used to fight, they always have. I assume that Chinese armies didn't charge at each other then bust out low bow stances and try and poke each other with mantis claws. So why are all the traditional styles full of this stuff?
* People are gullible and love to believe in things against the weight of evidence like magic, gods and evil spirits.
* What people used in battle was very different from what you are taught in Grandmaster Sifu's Monkey Love House of Kung Fu, and the people that spent thier time doing monkey kung fu never really fought.
* As for traditional Japanese styles, it seems that the use of the armour and weapons of the day meant that combat had to be done a specific way. While wrist locks and defense against wrist grabs may look silly today, back then it meant the difference between your enemy getting to his sword, or you getting to your own.
* Untill now, nobody thought that an evidence based approach to martial arts was possible, and had to wait for MMA to come along and show that it is. Scientific thinking is a relativly recent thing and it took a while for this idea to get into the martial arts and filter the wheat from the chaff.
* Cult-like attitudes and the pressure to not question the teachings and the masters. I guess in modern times people used the dojo as a little circle of power, money and hence had little interest in showing themselves to be less than they claimed. I see it alot in the Bujinkan as some sensei talk about doing this or that in a fight while having little to no sparring experiance. They genuinly belive that if they go and think about something in thier heads and it makes sense to them, then it must be true. This is not unique to bujinkan and seem to still be the norm for many traditional masters.
So I put it to you, why the stances, the chambered punches and kiai? Why was it there and why did it persist for so long when it is so obviously impractical and our modern counterparts do fine without that stuff?
Last edited by Virus; 1/15/2006 10:53am at .
Wel I think we would have to blame the Chinese for most of the stances thaught in Japanese Karate Dojo's descends from Chinese Ke_po and White Crane styles imported to the Island of Okinawa.I don't know of any Traditional Japanese Styles that use the Cat Stance or the back leaning stance.
I would assume it was the main idea, in china , to create simple unarmed/empty-hand fighting for the masses century's ago.
I hear you Kanukyokushin, but to me it would seem that if you wanted a simple method of unarmed self defence that most people could pick up then you would get them to throw a good jab, keep a guard up, some low kicks to the leg, a basic takedown or two and some positional strategy for the ground. If you had more time then some multiple opponent strategy and perhaps some foul tactics (rake, tear ect.) The chambering, "pressure point" chi strikes and crane stances sound to be unnecesary clutter if you want something simple that can be quicky picked up by most people.
I don't claim to be an expert on TMAs. There are many other proven members on this forum for this. But it is my opinion that many of what we see as less practical techniques (ie. stances and chambered punches) were really designed not so much for their combat value as it was for teaching attributes important for combat (ie. good balance, how to punch without breaking your own hand (which Tyson did in a streetfight a while back)).
I don't want to debate battlefield tactics. But as far as the kiai is concerned, this was probably an adaptation of battlefield tactics. Screaming and yelling before the clash was a tactic used by armies regardless of culture as a way to demoralise and distract your enemy.
OK, so people belived that such things provided supplimental attributes to combat. I think that's a good hypothesis. However that makes me wonder my they didn't just teach something like MMA then say "Ok, drop and hold this stance for 10 minutes everyday for extra balance." and be done with it.
it was probably easier to convince fat lazy slobs to condition themselves for balance or whatever by telling them that low stances were part of the kung fu, then making up some weird application, rather than tacking it on as an extra chore.
I think culture and the geographic differences has something to do with it also. This has been mentioned elsewhere but often in threads that degenerate into flaming. BJJ and Judo originated from the same source. But it is my belief that groundfighting was probably emphasized less in Judo is because there is less sand and more concrete in Tokyo. A well placed throw on the concrete is often enough to decisively swing the fight on the streets of Tokyo. A well placed hard throw on Copacabana beach probably did not affect a fight in the same way.
That is not to say that it is the only factor. Certainly, before MMA came on television, people did not have a chance to see how these different systems match up. That said, I often wonder what the win loss ratio between judo and BJJ in NHB fights would be if the fights were on concrete.
Last edited by Firebrand; 1/15/2006 11:29am at .
Or better still, lava. :icon_wink
Originally Posted by Firebrand
One of the worst things to happen to the martial arts was the concept of “Do” or way. Originally in Okinawa, Karate or Te Was a “Jitsu” Jujitsu to Judo Aikijitsu to Aikido, Kenjitsu to Kendo.
Nishime, A man I studied with for a while, said that Kendo uses the blunt sword. Kenjitsu uses the live sword. Karate-do uses the blunt fist; Karate-jitsu uses the live fist. There are few Karate masters still teaching Karate-jitsu.
It was explained to me this way:
In Japan, after the warring times, few Samurai actually really fought. The arts started becoming a “way” of enlightenment for Zen and less for the battle field. Bushido was turning into Budo. Techniques that were not really designed for the battle field, but were very complex and detailed became the pursuit. The arts were used for perfection of character. The Killing or warring aspects were relegated to concepts rather than the goal.
In Okinawa he said the same thing was happening. In fact he said that when Funikoshi introduced Shotokan he changed the Shorin-ryu for a very specific purpose. On top of that, he said Funikoshi was not the best karate man on the Island. There was a faction that wanted Motobu to take the art to Japan, but he was unrefined and Funikoshi came from a noble family so it was more proper to send him to the Emperor for the demonstration.
At any rate, Nishime stated that the Japanese had always been an Enemy to the Okinwan people and that the Satsuma clan had in fact subjugated the kingdom of Okinawa. This is no secret. He said that it was decided to teach karate is such a fashion as to build in “safety” measures in the event an Okinawan were to fight a Japanese karateka. As an example, he used the wide back stance. They added this stance to the Pinana and other “to be taught in Japan” kata to expose the front leg to attack.
He also talked about the “punch” the fist was to be rotated to “perpendicular” to the ground. In Karate-jitsu it only turns ¾ of the way. A “live” fist he said.
Kung-fu went through the same type of changes. No armies did not collide and poke at each other in horse stances, However, they did not meet and grapple to death either.
The biggest problem to day is that people that studied 3 years left their Dojos to open their own dojos. Their people left to open a now watered, watered down dojo. So forth and so on. Ad to this the fact that all these new “Masters” were qualifying their “Deadly arts” with Saturday afternoon point fighting tournaments where “hitting” to hard gets you disqualified, it is no wonder that the Brazilians, men living and fighting in a third world rough country came here and beat the **** out of every living thing.
The arts are balancing out in my opinion. The mcdojos will thrive, they always have. But the serious have had o evaluate what they do and humble themselves and adapt. Or believe their fantasy of “Deadly supremacy” and continue to teach crap.
The strikers in the past few years have caught up and can make a show in the cage. The grapplers are having to adjust by learning to strike better. It will work its self out in the long run.
Last edited by wagamichi; 1/15/2006 11:56am at .
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