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  1. Cullion is offline
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    Everybody was Kung Fu fighting

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    Posted On:
    9/18/2009 8:00pm

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     Style: Tai Chi

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    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    Is this a reconstructionist movement for Irish Americans to have a sense of community around ?

    It sounds like somebody has been reconstructing this out of books and drawing on other MA training to me. It's kind of a coincidence that your family style looks just like the two styles you actually have in your field, no?
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  2. Cullion is offline
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    Everybody was Kung Fu fighting

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    Posted On:
    9/19/2009 3:04pm

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     Style: Tai Chi

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    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    To be clear, I'm the son of an Irish woman raised in Ireland until her twenties, raised in the UK myself, and have visited the Republic to stay with family. I never heard of this stuff until relatively recently (i.e. the 90s) . It's smacks of the same kind of reconstructionism going on with 'english' MA like 18th century backsword and pugilism, etc..

    When I look for references to it, there's some stuff of the sort you talk of (which all looks reconstructionist) going back to the 90s, and then before that there's a massive gap until the 18th century, and the stuff they talk about in those references was common to pretty much the whole of Western Europe.

    In conclusion, this is made up, basically. Real Irish people box, kickbox, play Judo and basically do all the same stuff Western Europeans with a bent for fighting and fighting sports did and do.

    There are however, a massive number of 'celtic twighlight fantasists' in North America. A massive number. And you all lap this stuff up. Look, Irish people were traditionally troublesome, difficult to lead, liked a beer and a fight just as the stereotypes indicate, but this 'family irish martial art' stuff is basically bullshit.

    Irish traveller barenuckle from the most gaelic speaking part of Ireland in the west is pretty much indistinguishable for the kind of barenuckle Londoners practiced 200 years ago.

    These martial arts clubs with 'traditional irish weapons' and 'special irish techniques' are delusional LARP clubs. Yes, really they are.

    Note: there's nothing wrong with reconstructionism. But label it as such.
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  3. DdlR is offline
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    Posted On:
    9/19/2009 3:14pm

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     Style: Bartitsu

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    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    I'm on the fence on this issue. Some people involved in modern Irish stick fighting are self-proclaimed reconstructionists, working from period sources which only just offer enough detail to reconstruct the basic style. The literary sources amount to just two brief chapters in books on general fencing/self defense, both written in the late 1800s, plus incidental references in Irish literature, court reports, etc.

    Others claim a lineal, family-based system, but I haven't seen any sort of documentation to support those claims. If one of them could prove their claims, that would be great; otherwise, the usual rules apply re. skepticism.
  4. Cullion is offline
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    Posted On:
    9/19/2009 3:17pm

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    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    I think the split is between honest reconstructonists and bullshitters.

    I think the dude claiming a family style in this thread is either an earnest believer in something a family member told him, or a bullshitter. It's telling that he describes his 'familly style' as being just like a mix of the asian arts he's studied though.

    The old stereotype of 'micks loving a scrap' is fulfilled by sloppy pre-Queensbury rules barenuckle. If you want to evidence, it's on youtube.

    I'd be ashamed if my ancestors had fought drunken brawls with a mix of silat and wing chun, because I don't want to be descended from faggots.

    My irish uncles boxed a bit, to a low, entry-level amateur standard but that's more training than a lot of modern kids in the UK get, and it was relatively widespread during their childhood.
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  5. lklawson is offline

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    Posted On:
    9/21/2009 9:25am


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    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    Quote Originally Posted by Cullion View Post
    In conclusion, this is made up, basically.
    I object to the turn of phrase "made up." This does not accurately reflect the meaning of "reconstruction." A reconstruction is an attempt to "resurrect" an art with no (known) living lineage from some given source material which is generally considered (more or less) "authentic."

    "Made up" is just inventing out of thin air or importing whole-cloth from unrelated sources and then renaming it.

    While I agree that there is a fair amount of reconstructionist endeavors in Irish Stickfighting, and there MAY, in fact, be some who claim living lineage which is actually "made up," but to conflate the two is misleading. Reconstructionists admit to the fact that it is reconstruction and cite sources and research. Liars do not.

    Now, as to whether or not those who claim a family system really do have a living lineage, the matter is rather murky. Most folk in the western tradition have never bothered to attempt a formal, written, documentation of a "family system" and why should they? What would be the point and how would the be at all beneficial to the family three generations ago? Ya think that some Irish gent in 1808 is sitting around and thinks to himself, "Ya know, we'd better document all of this, write it all down, illustrate a manual, and record lineage holders or some git in 2009 may have the gall to question the purity of our art!" Nah. He'd tell his great great great to hit you over the head with a stick and the shove it where the sun don't shine.

    Additionally, "family systems" in the western tradition tend to have a tradition of flat importing anything that seems to work in the modern context from whatever they come across and to "customize" the system for the person using it. It wouldn't be out of bounds to have some old school Jiu Jitsu slip into a "family system" if granddad trained in it while occupying Japan or great granddad picked up a smidge from basic training in WWI. Thus a person could claim a living lineage "family art" and be completely unaware of external influences to it.

    "Purity of Lineage" is an entirely modern concern as far as I can tell.

    That said, I will stipulate that the time is right for the irish stickfigting version of Comhrac Bas and it wouldn't surprise me much to find someone purporting a "family system" has done nothing more than lifted Hapkido Cane or something.

    Peace favor your sword,
    Kirk
  6. Cullion is offline
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    Posted On:
    9/21/2009 1:32pm

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     Style: Tai Chi

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    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    The main point is that is that these organised 'irish martial art' classes are largely a north american 'getting back to my 'oirish roots' thing, like New York St. Patrick's day parades. It's not really an Irish phenomenon.

    I don't care if people want to pretend bits of FMA and Wing Chun are 'irish martial arts', any more than I care if they want to drink beer that's been dyed green, but you ought to expect to look a bit silly doing it.
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  7. lklawson is offline

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    Posted On:
    9/21/2009 1:58pm


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    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    Quote Originally Posted by Cullion View Post
    I don't care if people want to pretend bits of FMA and Wing Chun
    And my point is that Reconstructions aren't this.

    Peace favor your sword,
    Kirk
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