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Xuanlong Xian
4/23/2003 9:59am,
I think Choke's recent post on karate is very suggestive. Here's the substance of it:

"Karate fundamentally is a very sound martial art. But you can totally mess it up by cutting out the tradional conditioning (makiwara, rediculous sets of excercises, ect.), hard sparring, meditation, and repetive drilling of techniques.

I think saying Karate sucks is an incorrect statement.

Training only on tues/thurs, light aerobic excercises, kid orientated classes, light sparring, rediculous amount of time being spent on point sparring and kata are all MODERN trends in Karate.

Okinawans of antiquity weren't soccer moms or hobbyists they were farmers and fishermen developing a method of killing armoured katana wielding Samurai from Japan with there bare hands or with farming or fishing equipment. They didn't use flying backfists or snappy gi's or ki bolts to defeat their occupiers.

Where a lot of styles need to modernize I think Karate needs to retrogress back to the rigorous tradional methods of training. I think Karate being considered a stiff art comes from the lack of meditation and stretching that a lot of schools are falling into."

To which I'll add: if you look at any overall chronology of Karate/TKD/etc. in the USA, you'll see that the watering-down of rules and McDojoizing policies are VERY recent, literally less than 40 years old in most cases. This *hardly* qualifies McDojo styles as "Traditional"!

It is wrong to call certain styles "obsolete" as though humans' innate fighting abilities were improving over the centuries. Properly trained people could kick ass 1500 years ago as well as anyone can today. No-rules, effectively "NHB" matches were
ubiquitous in China (for instance) well into the 20th century, and this should make anyone skeptical that traditional Chinese styles weren't capable of dealing with those conditions. TMA haven't become "obsolete"; in most cases they've degenerated to the point where they're not recognizable as what they once were.

A more interesting question is the effectiveness of training strategies that differ from the modern sport standard. Not being an expert in any style, I can't personally vouch for the effectiveness of Shaolin or internal CMA methods (for instance), but the fact remains that (a) in their traditional forms, they are radically different from the modern sport standard in both theory and practice, and (b) they were found to yield results under fighting conditions no less rigorous than those today.

To me, this suggests that the knowledge of how to train and apply these styles has been lost to some degree. The surest sign of misunderstanding is when someone is expert in "pretty forms" but degenerates into bad kickboxing in a real fight. It's the fault of the instruction for not connecting form to application.

I confess my basic ignorance on such matters, and just want to spark some discussion with this.

Blad3
4/23/2003 4:20pm,
I think saying Karate sucks is an incorrect statement. Shidokan and Kyokushin are excellent.


No-rules, effectively "NHB" matches were
ubiquitous in China (for instance) well into the 20th century, and this should make anyone skeptical that traditional Chinese styles weren't capable of dealing with those conditions Yeah I',m sure they were, and contests still go on even today...



TMA haven't become "obsolete"; in most cases they've degenerated to the point where they're not recognizable as what they once were. Oh definitely...


To me, this suggests that the knowledge of how to train and apply these styles has been lost to some degree. The surest sign of misunderstanding is when someone is expert in "pretty forms" but degenerates into bad kickboxing in a real fight. It's the fault of the instruction for not connecting form to application. Definitely, I agree with this.

Shooter, Asia and Wastrel, as well as a few others are experts or at least quite knowlegable when it comes to CMA...


=====

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TaeBo_Master
4/23/2003 4:31pm,
Like Blade, I wholeheartedly agree with this. And in my opinion, this is the basis for the "It's the praciticioner, not the style" mantra. At least when I say it, I don't mean to imply that some people are just simply more capable than others, and that's that. Instead, that certain people have the mindset to push their training to that higher level of intensity, and to actively seek out knowledge that will help make them a more complete fighter.

blueskycomplex
4/23/2003 5:01pm,
Hmm..I've never heard the "It's the praciticioner, not the style" but into that light. It's an interesting perspective. I've seen people start out as pathetic, and end up great, so I guess there is some merit to that.

Punisher
4/23/2003 6:06pm,
"Okinawans of antiquity weren't soccer moms or hobbyists they were farmers and fishermen developing a method of killing armored katana wielding Samurai from Japan with there bare hands or with farming or fishing equipment. They didn't use flying backfists or snappy gi's or ki bolts to defeat their occupiers"

The whole "karate was used to fight samurai thing" is a nice story but is more and more being exposed as a myth. Little credible historical information exists about the history of most martial arts, karate in particular. The Okinawans did not use karate to drive the Japanese from their land using farm tools, and there are no historically documented cases of individual peasants punching through the armor of a samurai and ripping out his heart or anything like that. If the Okinawans really wanted to resist, they would be far better off making weapons in secret instead of trying to turn every day objects into them. There are just limits on what the body can do, sharpening a rock does not turn it into an anti-tank weapon.

I recently read that Okinawan nobles made up most of the practitioners of martial arts during the occupation and they were allowed to keep their land and weapons as long as they pledged their allegiance. Yeah the peasants got the short end of the stick, but how is that different than any other feudal system? If peasants did really practice karate, they probably did for more psychological reasons that actual combative ones. They got the ďfeelingĒ that they were doing something that might help them against their oppressors. Keeping it a secret not only gave them the feeling that they were slipping something by the samurai but actually prevented them from using it in open combat, being horribly defeated, thus bursting their bubble.

IndoChinese
4/23/2003 10:27pm,
ouch.

they dont call you Punisher for nothing.

TaeBo_Master
4/23/2003 10:46pm,
The actual history of Karate is not really the point of this thread. The point is that karate (for whatever reason it was developed) was much more potent in the past. Mainly due to much more intense training methods and probably to more skilled masters.

--A poor band player I was, but now I am crocodile king. --

The Wastrel
4/23/2003 11:13pm,
THIEF!!!

"I'm devastating, looking for some refreshment!"

Courtesy of flubtitles.com

Kail
4/23/2003 11:14pm,
By the preiod of occupation of Okinawa by the Japanese, armor wasn't an issue, nor was the idea of driving the Japanese, a numerically superior force already intrenched with the backing of a large government a good idea. The idea was to avoid the abuses of samurai stuck with occupational duty who had the feeling they were entitled to whatever they wanted, including abusing the locals just because they were armed. It wasn't about open warfare, unarmed or lightly armed, combat never is. Its about surviving random attacks by individuals out to do you harm just because they can. How many samurai would report back to their superiors if they got roughed up by an "inferiour" unarmed peasant, or one that beat their ass with a boat oar? Not a good way to save face.

Punisher, if the Okinawan nobles were allowed to keep their weapons, which I've yet to see any proof of, were they allowed to ware them in public? If they weren't, owing them, at a home, was about as useful in daily life and the pistol you didn't bring to the gun fight. Okinawan nobels made up the majority of the pracitioners because, like in every other feudal society, they had the time and reason to become highly skilled fighters. Farmers squeeking out an existance don't have the hours needed to become proficient fighters, nobles with time on their hands do, just like in Europe, just like in Japan. It wasn't about feeling good about themselves Punisher, not a hell of a lot of feel good mentality amoung the Okinawans in the past. Its more about living what amounts to the contested land between the two military powers of the region. If the Chinese weren't screwing with them, the Japanese were, after a while you fight back because your tired of being walked on.

Xian has a point, pretty well the same one I've made when speaking with others, and I've not found much to refrute it coming anyone with even a clue about what "traditional" means to most arts. Stripping away the changes in society that have bent and twisted most fighting arts far from their original course, and you'll find sweat, blood and tears involved in all good training. Tradition involves self policing a style and schools in your area. It means getting dirty in a fight and sometimes forgetting what Funikoshi{SP} said about no first attack.

TaeBo_Master
4/23/2003 11:20pm,
Thief? Whatever do you mean Wastrel?

--A poor band player I was, but now I am crocodile king. --

The Wastrel
4/23/2003 11:45pm,
I was the first one to steal a flubtitle for my sig!!

"I'm devastating, looking for some refreshment!"

Courtesy of flubtitles.com

The Wastrel
4/23/2003 11:46pm,
I sort of wrote an article on this guys.

"I'm devastating, looking for some refreshment!"

Courtesy of flubtitles.com

Punisher
4/24/2003 2:21am,
I donít mean to be rude or coarse, it just bothers me when people buy into the hype of martial arts. Stories of some ancient masterís unparalleled skill in combat or inhuman feats of agility or strength are probably just stories. I donít claim to be an expert on Okinawan history or culture, but at the very least the role of martial arts in that culture has been greatly exaggerated. The only time I hear about karate being an important part Okinawan life or culture, past or present, is when I talk to other martial artists. Whenever I look up general information about the culture of Okinawa, historical information about their art, dance, and music come up, but karate never does. Are they still trying to keep it a secret?

As for assumption that ancient martial arts practitioners had superior will, training methods, or skill when it comes to fight, I donít know about that and neither does anyone else. I donít know what training was like back them, or even if there actually was any training. Yes, methods of fighting have dated back to the being of time but karate only made the transition to Japan less than 100 years ago. Who knows what training was like or what the quality of it was before that happened?

Some things we have that act like a double-edged swords when comparing our typical lives versus that of ancient people is a high quality of life and a lot of free time. There is no denying that life back then was harder and people were probably generally tougher, but how much time did they have to train and how long did they have to live before something that we donít even have to worry about today killed them? It is really easy just to talk about how everything was better in the good old days, when in actually things werenít really any better just different.

One thing I found out that people generally do the minimum amount of work necessary to get by in any context. This was demonstrated at my martial art school when my instructor cut the amount of required material down hoping people would be able to focus on remaining material and gain a higher level of understanding. Almost no students benefited from this. The small hard working percentage got bored because there just wasnít enough new material provided and the majority just did enough to get same amount of skill they had before. They just worked less. Now we are slowly trying to add material back in. The only reason I can think of that might make martial artists of the past better than those of today was life was a lot tougher and all the pretenders ended up dead. That doesnít make them supermen. They were just doing what was necessary to survive.

Wastrel,
What article is that? I would like to read it.

The Wastrel
4/24/2003 8:18am,
"The Trouble With Traditional Martial Arts"

It's really just about how TMAs aren't really "T", and never have been.

"I'm devastating, looking for some refreshment!"

Courtesy of flubtitles.com

sanchin
4/24/2003 8:45am,
With only a very few exceptions, techniques and methods of training are evolving all the time. Sometimes they improve things, sometimes they make things worse, but as long as there a few people out there with sufficient knowledge to change things when a wrong turn has been made, TMA's should be alright. I bet that fifty years ago, the senior students were sitting around bemoaning how much harder things were when they first started....

SLJ
4/24/2003 8:59am,
You just need to look at Kyokushin to see that when trained properly Karate can be very good.



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