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  1. WingChun Lawyer is offline
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    Posted On:
    2/12/2007 11:48am

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     Style: Muay Thai, BJJ newbie.

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!

    Martial arts in Brazil: an overview.

    For those of you who are new to this site, hi - I am Francisco Santos, a 28 years old brazilian lawyer who was saved from Wing Chun by bullshido three years ago. I am also a judo purple belt, and I am currently studying both MT and BJJ (the latter only once a week, I have work to attend to); I also have a little experience in ITF TKD and Praying Mantis McDojos.

    I decided to create this thread to share with you guys - specially the non brazilian crowd, i.e., pretty much everyone here - my experiences with martial arts in Brazil, and with the martial artists associated with it.

    For the past two years I have been absent from this site, mostly because of work, but frankly, because it is annoying to speak about martial arts all day with people I will never have the chance to meet personally, much less spar with. So I have spent some time on orkut.com, a sort of myspace.com hugely popular here: I have joined endless debates on aikido and wing chun communities, I have been challenged by aikidokas and chunners, and I have lived to tell the tale (mostly because the challengers never agreed to meet me).

    I have also had some surprisingly good meetings with people from various martial arts here.

    That will suffice as an introduction, let´s get on to business. I will start with an actual overview, then say a little about every martial art I know of here, wether by practicing it, by sparring with practitioners, or by reading endless drama wars from practitioners who never rose up to the challenge of going to one of our mettings.



    The overview:



    Here we have pretty much anything, from too deadly to spar chunners to tree hugging aikidokas to Chuteboxe and Gracie Barra. Ninjas, too, if you look hard enough.

    Vale Tudo, Pride and other fighting competitions have left their marks, along with the Gracies and the pitboys: for good or evil, there IS a certain consensus that martial arts should involve some fighting, and that standing around all day imitating a tree won´t get you there. That is not to say that martial arts are highly regarded, though - we did have more than a few cases of fighters picking up fights in nightclubs and so on, and some deaths and serious injuries resulted from that.

    There was even talk of REGISTERING martial artists in order to increase criminal penalties in such instances, but fortunately nothing came out of it.

    Sure, sure, the too deadly is still present here, but it does tend to become somewhat isolated to small gyms, kwoons and dojos after all those vale tudo matches on the TV.

    Still, some arts are more feared than others. Kung fu is not taken seriously, boxing, MT, and BJJ are, but the general public can barely distinguish TKD from aikido; only judo is widely known, mainly because pretty much all boys whose parents can afford it are sent to the nearest dojo for some years, to get some exercise and to leave the aforementioned parents alone three afternoons a week.

    (we have a huge japanese colony here, and that should explain judo´s popularity)



    The arts:



    1) Judo

    This MA is still famous as a sport, and it gets respect from pretty much all the. No **** talkers here, judokas fight as they always did, and mostly they get along pretty well with BJJ players - in fact, most judokas I know of also crosstrain with BJJ, and the same applies to BJJ guys.

    As I said, this art is both respected as a fighting art and as a tool for keeping kids out of trouble i.e. it teaches discipline, respect, etc. Mostly this is true. No one here will think badly of you if you admit you practice judo.

    2) Aikido

    As bad as you can imagine. Aikido, as expected, is filled up with delusional people trying to imitate Ueshiba and pretending they are samurai, and they like to confuse philosphy and religion with fighting skills - and mostly they perfect the traditional aikido art o passive aggressiveness.

    BUT, there are some gyms where people fight. I met one guy online (sadly, from Rio, or I would have gone to his gym) who assured me that yes, they do spar, and yes, they are reviled for it by the rest of the aikido community: I have no evidence of that but the testimony of a kickboxer whom I know personally, and who went there to check the place out (and he said it is all true).

    Other than that, aikido is aikido. Oh, I was once challenged to a deathmatch by an aikidoka, but he refused to meet me when I said it should happen in a public place with a camera, go figure.

    3) Karate

    Some good surprises there, specially from the shotokan and the goju crowd. Some karatekas always show up at our meetings, and they do fight pretty well (two of them can even fight a bit on the ground, they claim they learned it by watching Pride videos).

    That said, both guys admitted their gyms are exceptions, and most karatekas (other than KK) do not spar at all. Yup, too deadly. Still, there is hope.

    4) Muay Thai/Kickboxing/BJJ/Boxing

    Those arts are regarded as, well, violent. People WILL pay some attention to you if you admit you do one of those, and you may be labelled a potential psychopath just for it.

    But still, they are what they are. Other than cardio kickboxing and some places where MT and boxing are taught to the brazilian equivalent of soccer moms, those are arts are taught well and throughly, as a rule; doing any of them here is generally a good idea.

    (that said, I do know Chuteboxe started its "Muay Thai" program by mixing boxing and taekwondo, but then again, who cares as long as they show results?)

    5) Krav Maga

    Those guys are even worse than the ninjas. Too deadly to spar with other people, too nasty to make a decent video, and up to their necks in political disputes and even lawsuits regarding the use of the brand name KM(tm).

    I am friends with a guy who has been doing this **** for five years, and he assures me that even though they do spar (after two years...) they are too deadly to spar with other people. He DID shake a bit when I asked him if they learn how to properly defend against a takedown.

    6) Ninjutsu

    Yes, it´s here. Nothing else need be said, it´s bujinkan and genbukan. No use trying to drag them to a meeting, they like to call BJJ and MT guys "brutes" and so on, like the aikidokas.

    7) Kung Fu

    Lots of mystical bullshit and mcdojoism, and plenty of people who like to imitate animals. On the other hand, there ARE sanshou people who like to imitate animals as well, so you can never know if the form faerie in front of you happens to be a fighter.

    In fact, there is a kung fu teacher who is quite an interesting figure in the brazilian kung fu scene. He calls himself Sifu Gabriel, he rans a school with over 1,000 students, he charges outrageous prices (about twice what my BJJ class costs), and he mostly teaches forms.

    ON THE OTHER HAND, he is honest about it. He tells everyone that asks that forms are useless in a fight, and he has a fighting team in his school (sanshou) which produces decent fighters (I sparred one of them, not bad), and that team is open to anyone who shows interest.

    And he is then first one to admit that the problem with kung fu is that potential fooers are not fighters, so he might as well make a profit off them with forms, exercise and stretching. I admit I admire that man´s honesty.

    8) Wing Chun

    Too deadly, just as KM, and almost as badly ridden with political disputes. The funny part is that many chunners prefer to hude behind the religious and moral side of the arte than behind the too deadly to spar dodge, which somehow sets them closer to aikido than to KM; all in all, this art is just as bad as you can imagine here.

    Nope, no chunners ever turned up for a meeting.





    Well, that´s all I can think about at the moment, if you guys have any doubts just ask and I´ll answer as well as I can.

    Oh, and here is a short video of one of our meetings. Don´t expect a slaughter, we weren´t trying to kill each other (I am the guy wearing a red shirt at 4:51).

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IBF_lcUTUO4
    That civilisation may not sink,
    Its great battle lost,
    Quiet the dog, tether the pony
    To a distant post;
    Our master Caesar is in the tent
    Where the maps are spread,
    His eyes fixed upon nothing,
    A hand under his head.


    - W.B. Yeats
  2. Sam Browning is online now

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    Posted On:
    2/12/2007 11:55am

    hall of famestaff
     

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    Thank you WCL:

    It sounds depressingly like the US but with more BJJ, and less soccer moms and TKD. BTW how is capaira perceived? Or did you export all of those artists to the US?
  3. WingChun Lawyer is offline
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    Posted On:
    2/12/2007 12:00pm

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     Style: Muay Thai, BJJ newbie.

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    Still got some capoeristas around, I´ll give you a discount if you buy a dozen...

    Capoeira is widely practiced as a dance, not as a martial art. I did practice MT with one capoeirista who told me there were capoeira meetings where actual fighting was acceptable, and sometimes people were hurt rather badly, but nothing as brutal as, say, a MT tournament.

    THAT SAID, capoeristas are usually poor people who live in bad parts of town and had plenty of opportunity to get into trouble, and who happen to be in excellent physical condition. I wouldn´t mess with a capoeirista if I could help it, not because of capoeira, but because the bastard would probably KO me with a chair in the back of the head or open up my belly with a pocketknife.
    That civilisation may not sink,
    Its great battle lost,
    Quiet the dog, tether the pony
    To a distant post;
    Our master Caesar is in the tent
    Where the maps are spread,
    His eyes fixed upon nothing,
    A hand under his head.


    - W.B. Yeats
  4. WingChun Lawyer is offline
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    Posted On:
    2/12/2007 12:02pm

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     Style: Muay Thai, BJJ newbie.

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    Oh, I forgot - some TKD people here really can fight, even with their stupid guard. I sparred some, not bad at all (which is to say, they kicked me around easily).

    In fact, some Kickboxing tournaments here were won by TKD people, but I am afraid I cannot find the links.
    That civilisation may not sink,
    Its great battle lost,
    Quiet the dog, tether the pony
    To a distant post;
    Our master Caesar is in the tent
    Where the maps are spread,
    His eyes fixed upon nothing,
    A hand under his head.


    - W.B. Yeats
  5. Phrost is offline
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    Posted On:
    2/12/2007 12:07pm

    Business Class Supporting Memberstaff
     Guy Who Pays the Bills and Gets the Death Threats Style: MMA (Retired)

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    Good stuff WCL. Thanks for the report.
  6. Epicurus is offline

    I'm grindin' 'till I'm tired...

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    Posted On:
    2/12/2007 12:10pm


     Style: Judo. Some BJJ/Kickboxing

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    Cool, I've always wondered what the martial arts scene is like in Brazil. I was surprised to hear there is lots of "bad" aikido, Wing Chun, and so forth over there. I imagined it was all muay thai gyms, boxing gyms, and the Gracie family wandering around giving BJJ lessons on the street in exchange for a cup of coffee. ;)

    I was impressed to hear that Judo is so big over there - awesome. Can't go wrong with Judo.

    It's a little depressing to know that the "we're too enlightened to spar"and "we're too deadly to spar" mentalities exist all over, but I suppose stupidity and denial are pretty universal human traits.

    P.S: Is english your first language? Your writing is excellent, like a native speaker's ; a hell of a lot better than my portugese...
    "[Fighting for Points] is doubtless very pretty, and invariably draws applause, but preferences should always be given to blows that do some business, to good straight hits that do something toward finishing the fight.
    A man who has carefully trained for brilliant tapping play, will find himself considerably out of it in case he is called upon to do any real work."
    -A.J. Newton, Boxing.
  7. Sam Browning is online now

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    Posted On:
    2/12/2007 12:18pm

    hall of famestaff
     

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    In the US we tend to imagine that every martial arts school in Brazil is a BJJ school with a big "G" hung outside.
  8. WingChun Lawyer is offline
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    Posted On:
    2/12/2007 12:22pm

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     Style: Muay Thai, BJJ newbie.

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    Quote Originally Posted by Epicurus
    Cool, I've always wondered what the martial arts scene is like in Brazil. I was surprised to hear there is lots of "bad" aikido, Wing Chun, and so forth over there. I imagined it was all muay thai gyms, boxing gyms, and the Gracie family wandering around giving BJJ lessons on the street in exchange for a cup of coffee. ;)

    I was impressed to hear that Judo is so big over there - awesome. Can't go wrong with Judo.

    It's a little depressing to know that the "we're too enlightened to spar"and "we're too deadly to spar" mentalities exist all over, but I suppose stupidity and denial are pretty universal human traits.

    P.S: Is english your first language? Your writing is excellent, like a native speaker's ; a hell of a lot better than my portugese...

    Well, the brazilian japanese colony is indeed HUGE, so it is no wonder that judo is so big. Here in São Paulo you can´t walk a couple of blocks without seeing at least one guy descended from japanese immigrants.

    As for martial bullshit, you should remember that brazilian aikido, ninjutsu, and wing chun came from the same people that gave you guys those arts - i.e. greedy bastards with good marketing skills and a get-rich-quick scheme in mind. Also, we too have martial nerds and delusional fans of Bruce Lee.

    English is not my first language, but thanks for the compliment.
    That civilisation may not sink,
    Its great battle lost,
    Quiet the dog, tether the pony
    To a distant post;
    Our master Caesar is in the tent
    Where the maps are spread,
    His eyes fixed upon nothing,
    A hand under his head.


    - W.B. Yeats
  9. fanger123 is offline

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    Posted On:
    2/12/2007 12:27pm


     

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    absolutely good read.

    thanks.
  10. WingChun Lawyer is offline
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    Posted On:
    2/12/2007 12:28pm

    supporting member
     Style: Muay Thai, BJJ newbie.

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    Quote Originally Posted by Samuel Browning
    In the US we tend to imagine that every martial arts school in Brazil is a BJJ school with a big "G" hung outside.
    Hah! I wasted two years and a half with shitty wing chun and delusional Praying Mantis, I only wish things were like that. I bet our ninjas could give your ninjas a run for their money in terms of sheer stupidity.

    But, as I said, the popularity of Vale Tudo matches had some effect, indeed. Also, people who have seen brawls will not believe meditating is such a good idea when it comes to learning fighting skills.

    I once saw a bujinkan training seminar in a public park - with all the stupidity THAT implies - and the passersby were discreetly laughing at the boys in black (specially because of the heat, and maybe the katanas and the Hatsumi picture in the altar had something to do with that as well). So there is still hope.
    That civilisation may not sink,
    Its great battle lost,
    Quiet the dog, tether the pony
    To a distant post;
    Our master Caesar is in the tent
    Where the maps are spread,
    His eyes fixed upon nothing,
    A hand under his head.


    - W.B. Yeats
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