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Scott Larson
2/11/2009 5:53pm,
Mr. Ddlr suggested this be its own thread, so I created it.

DdlR
2/11/2009 6:09pm,
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?

BaronVonDingDong
2/11/2009 6:16pm,
Will boxing discussions go in here, or will they remain in the soon-to-be-renamed Strikestan?

DdlR
2/11/2009 6:18pm,
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.

BaronVonDingDong
2/11/2009 6:19pm,
Excellent. Thanks for the clarification and I'm very much looking forward to this spiffing new forum.

ChickenBeakFist
2/11/2009 6:24pm,
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.

DdlR
2/11/2009 6:31pm,
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.

Vieux Normand
2/11/2009 6:35pm,
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.

DdlR
2/11/2009 6:43pm,
... 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.

EmetShamash
2/11/2009 8:55pm,
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.

jspeedy
2/11/2009 9:55pm,
I don't know nearly as much about wma as I do asain ma but i'm excited to learn more as the forum progresses. Seems to me most modern wma has a modern sport based approach w/ "kombat" applications. Which has many advantages over asn ma. 1st, I haven't heard the "my ma is to deadly to compete" argument from any wma as of yet= +1 for wma!

MMA which seems to have gained most of its popularity from the western hemisphere (including vale tudo ect.) is more accepting of other arts readily using what works, while other tma stick to dogmatic roots handed down for generation by those who haven't used the art in the same way as those who designed it.

Bottom line wma (at least modern wma) to seems like it's classified or at leat benefits by it's trial and error -use what works for sport & apply it to the street approach. My 2 cents!

DdlR
2/12/2009 2:37am,
Bartitsu, while not totally ancient, is still pretty old and English. That should totally stay.



I agree, but if we were to split hairs, although Bartitsu was founded in England, by an Englishman, major aspects of the art were Japanese (Shinden-Fudo Ryu jujitsu and a couple of other JJ styles). The proportions were probably 40% jujitsu, 30% French/Swiss stickfighting, 20% Barton-Wright's adaptations of scientific boxing and savate, and 10% "other" (European wrestling styles, generic street fighting tricks, etc.)

That said, we seem to be reaching the consensus that common sense should dictate which forum a particular style/topic should fit into.

Scott Larson
2/12/2009 8:35am,
I think its sad that WMA = critically thinking, and AMA = "do what the guy before you did, and don't ask questions"

If we're going by that logic, then my style is a WMA.

Lu Tze
2/12/2009 9:33am,
MMA which seems to have gained most of its popularity from the western hemisphere (including vale tudo ect.) is more accepting of other arts readily using what works, while other tma stick to dogmatic roots handed down for generation by those who haven't used the art in the same way as those who designed it.Not strictly true. They're pretty big on combat sports in Japan, MMA had a following there before most people in the US even knew what it was. And you really can't find a more pragmatic style than muay thai, as far as striking is concerned.

If anything, bullshit mysticism and adherence to "tradition" seems to be more pervasive in western practitioners of eastern martial arts, than in eastern martial arts themselves.

odysseus_dallas
2/12/2009 9:55am,
Not strictly true. They're pretty big on combat sports in Japan, MMA had a following there before most people in the US even knew what it was. And you really can't find a more pragmatic style than muay thai, as far as striking is concerned.

If anything, bullshit mysticism and adherence to "tradition" seems to be more pervasive in western practitioners of eastern martial arts, than in eastern martial arts themselves.

Bingo. Got there before I could.

Eastern Martial Arts as practiced by serious eastern martial artists can be some pretty badass stuff. But there's a lot of BS that was taught to Westerners on purpose. Shitty tactic, but I can't blame it totally.

A friend once went to Japan and asked a karateka how many belts they had. He merely replied "two, white and black".

Jack Rusher
2/12/2009 10:04am,
I think its sad that WMA = critically thinking, and AMA = "do what the guy before you did, and don't ask questions"

We've already moved past that. It looks like we're going with a "we'll know it when the moderator sees it" approach. And by moderator, I mean DdlR.