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  1. #1
    Scott Larson's Avatar
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    What classifies the western approach?

    Mr. Ddlr suggested this be its own thread, so I created it.

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    DdlR's Avatar
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    Grazie.

    OK, re. the Western approach to MA in general: any discussion along these lines is going to be painting in fairly broad strokes. For example, we could characterize WMA as having a tradition of pragmatism over values such as spirituality and ancestral lineage, but there are innumerable exceptions to that "rule". There were strong associations between swordsmanship and Christianity (and non-Christian, or only nominally Christian) forms of mysticism during the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, and likewise a long European tradition of loyalty to past masters, etc. Even during the 19th and early 20th centuries, combat sports were touted as ways of building "manly character" beyond offering purely physical and competitive benefits.

    Obviously, as cultural sub-systems, all MAs are microcosms of their parent cultures; so the question might be, what are the defining characteristics of European culture, as expressed through WMA?

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    BaronVonDingDong's Avatar
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    Will boxing discussions go in here, or will they remain in the soon-to-be-renamed Strikestan?

  4. #4
    DdlR's Avatar
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    For practical purposes, I reckon threads on modern boxing should go into Strikestan and threads on the older styles (London Prize Ring, scientific "gentlemanly boxing" c1900, etc.) should go here.

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    BaronVonDingDong's Avatar
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    Excellent. Thanks for the clarification and I'm very much looking forward to this spiffing new forum.

  6. #6
    ChickenBeakFist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DdlR
    Grazie.

    OK, re. the Western approach to MA in general: any discussion along these lines is going to be painting in fairly broad strokes. For example, we could characterize WMA as having a tradition of pragmatism over values such as spirituality and ancestral lineage, but there are innumerable exceptions to that "rule". There were strong associations between swordsmanship and Christianity (and non-Christian, or only nominally Christian) forms of mysticism during the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, and likewise a long European tradition of loyalty to past masters, etc. Even during the 19th and early 20th centuries, combat sports were touted as ways of building "manly character" beyond offering purely physical and competitive benefits.

    Obviously, as cultural sub-systems, all MAs are microcosms of their parent cultures; so the question might be, what are the defining characteristics of European culture, as expressed through WMA?
    There has to be a cut-off somewhere. If we're going to define "Western" as "anything not Asian" and reach back to the dawn of time for examples the only common thread we're going to discover is "people like to think of new and imaginative ways of hurting other people."

    Otherwise every thread will inevitably descend into

    Bully A: "Blah blah blah is characterized by blah blah blah."

    Bully B: "Well not exactly, the people of Blah Blah Blah have been doing blah blah blah for thousands of years!"

    There's always a counter-example.

  7. #7
    DdlR's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChickenBeakFist
    There has to be a cut-off somewhere. If we're going to define "Western" as "anything not Asian" and reach back to the dawn of time for examples the only common thread we're going to discover is "people like to think of new and imaginative ways of hurting other people."

    Otherwise every thread will inevitably descend into

    Bully A: "Blah blah blah is characterized by blah blah blah."

    Bully B: "Well not exactly, the people of Blah Blah Blah have been doing blah blah blah for thousands of years!"

    There's always a counter-example.
    Yes, that was my point.

    Defining "Western" as "everything not Asian" would be a big mistake, as I mentioned in the other thread; the risk is that (as has happened on other boards) the WMA forum turns into a kind of miscellaneous file. As much as I like to encourage serious discussion on things like African martial arts, Native American or Middle Eastern styles, etc., you're right, there has to be a cut-off point.

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by ChickenBeakFist
    There has to be a cut-off somewhere. If we're going to define "Western" as "anything not Asian" and reach back to the dawn of time for examples the only common thread we're going to discover is "people like to think of new and imaginative ways of hurting other people."

    Otherwise every thread will inevitably descend into

    Bully A: "Blah blah blah is characterized by blah blah blah."

    Bully B: "Well not exactly, the people of Blah Blah Blah have been doing blah blah blah for thousands of years!"

    There's always a counter-example.
    ^^^Exactly^^^

    Defining--or even describing--a single "Western approach"?

    Holy ****. Umm...best of luck.

  9. #9
    DdlR's Avatar
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    ... hence my (leading) question, "what are the defining characteristics of European culture, as expressed through WMA?" As I said, any discussion along these lines is going to be painting in broad strokes, and any conclusions are liable to be rife with qualifiers and exceptions.

    For practical purposes I doubt that we need to come up with an answer, anyway. The sensible approach seems to be that in any cultural gray areas (Russian styles, Bartitsu, JKD, etc.) we'll just consider as "on topic" those threads that focus on the European aspects of those styles, with the obvious leeway required by in-depth discussion.

  10. #10
    EmetShamash's Avatar
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    So by 'western' we still mean European right?

    Russia is still in Europe right? I guess it could be considered in both Europe and Asia, but for our most practical purposes Russia gets to be European.

    Bartitsu, while not totally ancient, is still pretty old and English. That should totally stay.

    JKD has classical western elements, but is still a *modern* fight system (yet never completed blah blah) so I think that should stay in other forums.

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