Well, say I have read a lot on savate, gouren, pankration, quarterstaff, and english bare-knuckle fighting, and I also practice the techniques with some friends (I have a Kenpo and Wrestling background).
Does that make me a savate/quarterstaff/english bare-knuckle practitioner or does that just make me a European martial art enthusiast?
Last edited by krazy kaju; 8/13/2007 2:37pm at .
Are you asking at what point it's reasonable to call yourself a practitioner rather than an enthusiast?
Originally Posted by krazy kaju
Does it matter? I've looked into a lot of arts; there's the ones I focus on (Capo Ferro's rapier, Thomas Page's broadsword, Marozzo's dagger and 19thc./early 20thc. cane fighting systems) and the ones I work with because other people like them (Fiore, some 16thc. German wrestling, the Dardi school of swordplay and classical Italian duelling sabre for example). I've also spent considerable time in TMA, boxing, muay thai, some RBSD, modern knife work and getting into MMA. I don't really consider myself anything other than someone who likes to fight, a lot, with or without weapons.
Plent of historical material out there that is relevant; the body only moves so many ways. Cornish and catch wrestling might not be as technical or specialized as BJJ but they teach you some good grappling. Plenty of solid joint locks in Fiore's abrazare. MArozzo's dagger might not be much use against ultra-sharp modern knives but works great against a club, bottle, etc.
Just train in as many differetn things as A: you have time for and B: interest you.
So somebody that trains from books and instructional videos of BJJ would be considered a BJJ practitioner automatically?
Originally Posted by misanthropic777
I do wrestling, kenpo (but the classes are more like MT), and BJJ when I'm on vacation in Poland (it's not expensive like in the States), so I have a base for learning savate, pankration, and other uncommon arts.
However, I wouldn't jump to conclusions and call myself a full-fledged 'practitioner' of these European martial arts.
I would like to, but I would not be sure if it'd be fair or not.
The various people who historically research these either dead or rare arts have the right to call themselves 'masters' if they thoroughly study the original texts. But, as I've been saying, I don't think that the average person that studies from books/videos can say that they 'do' a certain MA.
For example, I have a bullshido friend who claims to be doing ninjitsu and wing chun kung fu. Of course, I've been trying to explain to him that these are pretty much worthless martial arts, but that's another topic. My friend doesn't train in any particular dojo (even though there is a reputable Wing Chun Do dojo in our town). So does that qualify him as a ninjitsu/wing chun practitioner or just as an enthusiast?
Or, say, if someone goes through Shotokan Karate katas, and studies the art, does that make them a Shotokan practitioner? I would suppose you'd have to go to a dojo.
Just some of my disorganized thoughts on the topic.
The difference is that BJJ is a living lineage, with instructors available. Most of the historical material we've been discussing are dead lineages and all we have to work with is the surviving texts. So, the people who are working with these have no choice but to work from books - preferably the original texts, or solid translations.
Originally Posted by krazy kaju
I have books on lots of different styles of martial arts. I don't think that just because I've read them and learned something about a particular style that I'm a practitioner - I need to find an instructor and work through it.
Originally Posted by krazy kaju
But if there are no instructors, because it's a dead lineage, then I will do what I can and understand that what I think is right now may not be what I think is right 6 months from now (this has happened many, many times).
One of the reasons Pete Kautz's book on Medieval dagger and wrestling is out of print is because he feels that the community's interpretation has moved far beyond where his understanding of the material was when he wrote it. This happens all the time with folks interpreting these dead arts - you can't really compare them to someone studying material with a living tradition and a direcct lineage to the founders.
Good explanation, misanthropic.
I rest my case.
What are some good resources on Fiore's abrazare?
I ran into some guys that were into this in Saarbrucken, Germany. It was during a festival and they had an area set aside where they were showing off different techniques. Kinda struck me as being similar to the civil war re-enactors that do it to try to experience "what it was like back then".
Introduction and some thoughts on WMA
Hello, everyone, I am new to this forum but not so new to martial arts in general. I study primarily weapons-based arts, and I devoted all of my training time a few years back to the interpretation and practice to Western Marital Arts.
Now, there have been a lot of statements in support and denigration of the WMA study on this thread and I thought I would try to clear up some misconceptions about it.
First of all, there are a LOT of costume wearing weirdos and geeks that want to pretend to do martial arts, but really just want to look like it. They hang out at Renn Faires and gravitate towards Western Martial Arts because it is something "new" in the sense that there are no standards and we are really just scratching the surface of the arts as we try to reconstruct them. There are just as many bozos and clowns in WMA as Eastern martial arts, and I could point out any dozen of them that make the serious reseachers and scholars look bad.
As far as Pete Kautz goes, I have never met him but I have followed his work and he is a serious researcher in the field. When I say "researcher" I mean it literally, because we are still moving forward with understanding the material, which comes to us from the 14th-17th centuries in the form of explicitly written instructional manuscripts, often times with accompanying images and drawings. Many researchers in this field come to it from other martial arts, and bring their perspective and insight with them, which is tremendously helpful in understanding the material we have to work with. As far as swords and weapons go, there are Classical Fencing Masters who are involved in working on the material. There are many others who have no martial background and no experience, but often think that they can just "figure it out" by looking at pictures and maybe translating the text. Then they run around like bad-asses, thinking they know some ultra-deadly art that nobody else does and pretending to teach it to others. I have even heard somebody tell me that since they have practiced Fiore's Abrazare for a year that they are way more prepared for a "real street fight" than some guy who spent 5 years training in karate (well, it may be true that the karate guy might suck but the Fiore guy will suck just as bad) because Fiore was a "deadly fighting art" without all the watered down BS. You can usually spot these guys pretty easily.
Nobody in the field of WMA, is really qualified to teach a dead art as a direct follower of that art, but somebody has to teach (and I would say that many people jumped into teaching students way too soon) and so the top respected researchers have their own schools and work on improving their skills and their interpretations all the time. You won't see anyone jumping into MMA billing themselves as "German Kampfringen" stylists anytime soon, if at all. I would hope someday that some athlete with enough skill can claim that he uses some German Medieval or Italian Abrazare (grappling) techniques in a major competition. That would be great, but honestly, if somebody gave you a BJJ manual with everything the Master wanted to teach you and you needed to know, how long would it take you to become good at it without his instruction? 20 years of dedicated work, trying to figure out all those little things that an instructor can show you but that can't really be imparted with text and images?
So there is a synopsis of WMA and it's state of affairs today. There are a lot of geeks in it, a lot of good martial artists, and a lot of in-between people. However it's really in an infancy period and anyone who pretends to be a badass because they practice it needs to be taken with a grain of salt.
Thanks nzeman, makes sense.