Revisiting the definition of "TMA"
A lot of confusion arises when people use the term traditional martial arts to describe a style. This is largely because many of the arts that are not considered to be TMA are, in fact, very traditional. Arts like wrestling, boxing and MT are steeped in tradition but are rarely included in the mental list of arts that is evoked by the mention of "TMA". So "traditional" is not really the defining factor of what people mean when they use "TMA".
It's tempting to make sport application the defining factor, with TMA being "non sport" and arts like wrestling and boxing being sport. However, you run into a lot of problmes there too. Certainly, according to that definition TKD and kyokushin would not be considered TMA. Unfortunately that definition causes confusion because TKD and Kyokushin often are included on the list of arts people consider to be TMA.
And therein lies the rub. We need a definition of TMA that conforms to the common usage of the term. That way we can understand what we mean by the term AND therefor limit the confusion that arises from use of the term (which isn't going away anytime soon). So, here's what I came up with.
Personally, I find that what most people REALLY mean when they refer to TMA are arts that have anachronistic training methods as a large part of their training methodology. Forms/kata; "ancient" training equipment (e.g. makiwara); a lack of modern safety gear; anachronistic workout clothing; outdated drills (e.g. one steps) etc. are things that you will find in "TMA". Not every TMA will have all these things, but they will have some of them and will have them as a large part of their training.
Using that definition, you tend to get arts to fall along the lines that most people usually mean when they use the term "TMA". Kyokushin, Tai Chi, Wing Chun, and Aikido are all TMA by that definition while boxing and wrestling are not. You still get some arts that are in a bit of a gray area, like Judo and TKD (TKD has a lot of modern influence in equipment, for example) but I think they still fall in the TMA camp (as most people think of them) according to my definition.
So, I proffer the term "Anachronistic Martial Arts" as being what most people really mean when they say "Traditional Martial Arts."
You've addressed how you would define those. Now the question is why would you? Do you find that you have a need for a higher level of classification than the individual styles (which themselves are separated into substyles)?
Why? The answer is simple. The term TMA is commonly used by people all over to describe various MA and what differentiates them. The problem is, and hence the confusion, that the term itself is vague and undefined. Since people use it, it behooves us to come up with a common definition for it that takes into account that common usage.
No offense, but you need to get out more, get a dog....
Originally Posted by Matt W.
I would say that martial arts have civil, competitive and skillset applications.
Civil: A recreational agenda favouring casual practice. Most "TMAs" emphasize this.
Competitive: A sporting agenda where the art's structure ultimately support competition, even if not everyone competes. Judo and Muay Thai are examples of arts with this as a primary emphasis.
Skillset: Practical techniques designed to be integrated into a mixed professional skillset. Police and military combatives are examples of this.
Once you look at it this way, the differences in practice are clear but at the same time, there's room for overlap. MCMAP uses competitive techniques, but the differences can be ascribed to a skillset emphasis, since it's designed to be integrated into having you or your buddy shoot your opponent. Police methods include standing controls that would never work in sport but have proven themselves as a useful part of the police skillset.
It's also important to note that my scheme here makes effectiveness a completely different issue, which I think is helpful. For instance, when it gets to things we might call "TMAs" we can see that the civil agenda doesn't really require effective, resistant training even though from a standpoint of practicality, it would be a good idea. So if you want effective civil arts, you need to find ways to make resistance fit that agenda. I think SBG's non-attribute training principle is a good example of this.
And yet, you bothered to make that worthless post. Hmmmmmm...
No offense, but you need to get out more, get a dog....
Eyebeams I find there is far, far too much crossover with arts in the catagories you listed for those to be definitive. Though I agree, effectiveness is something to be found on both sides of the aisle.
Was there anything you found inadequate about my definition of TMA?
I think this thread has a lot of merit. Frankly, I don't see much difference between the defining,"Traditional" aspects of "Traditional Martial Arts", and what Civil War re-enactors do on their weekends. It's escapism and role playing, unless you're raised as a member of that particular culture.
I'd feel just as goofy walking around in hakama as I would wearing feathers and moccasins.
This happened back in 1996 or so, when Yamasaki JJ gym in Rockville MD was brand new.
I used to train KF in a very "traditional" place. As an instructor I was not allowed to train at other gyms etc. But I wanted to see about this new grappling thing, started informally working out with guys at the NIH judo club, and went to buy a gi at the new Yamasaki place. My KF school had a MA equipment store and they were selling gis, but I couldn't "be seen" buying one for myself, that'd be suspicious....:)
So anyway, I'm chatting with Mario Yamasaki and kind of explaining him my situation and he just shakes his head in disbelief. I want to dissolve the tension and I say: "yeah, I know it sounds funny, but my sifu is REALLY traditional...". And Mr. Yamasaki says: "No I'M traditional!"
Yup, although I think there are plenty of clubs that you would think of as doing traditional asian MA which don't do dressing up.
Originally Posted by Phrost
A lot of TCMA clubs don't have any sort of uniform. I've seen photographs and film of people in Hong Kong in the 50s and 60s training kung fu in wifebeater vests and sweatpants.
I think of most of that as more of a McDojoism thing than a 'traditional' thing.
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