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Iron Fist

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    Iron Fist

    I did notice that most people in this forum don't have high opinion of karate/tkd/kungfu. Main reasons for this seems to be the emphasis these traditional styles place on kata/form practice and their ineffectiveness against grapplers. My artcile is in defence of these tradition though I personally don't practice these style myself (mine is taijiquan and judo). I happen to be a Japanese living in u.k. and I thought I can provide an insight.

    Firstly, let me be the first to say that if all you do is kata practice and you tries to apply kata in a competition or real fighting, it will never work. Secondly, I did watch the video clip of match between a shotokan karateka and a grappler. It was pitiful.

    One thing I did notice about the old fashioned karate school back home and karate/tkd/kungfu schools in the West is that the Western schools rarely put emphasis on conditioning of fists and other part of the bodies. Instead, their empahsis seems to be on teaching kata which the beginner student say "wow, that's a cool move" and teaching them to do sparing which is quite fun for students.

    On the other hand, traditional karate school back home focused on conditioning of bodies with main focus on hands (after all, karate is called empty hand in Japanese). Sparing was sometimes non-existence for beginner(i.e. non black belt). The beginner's training was geared toward simple and boring exercise of repeatedly hitting wooden board covered by rope. You just kept punching left and righ repeatedly often until your fists start to bleed, then doing the same for a simple kick left and right again and again. Then you do blocking of such kick and punch by your arms so you can take such assults. The purpose of these exercises is to make karateka's empty hands and leg lethal so when he hit something, he break it. Then once that is achieved, you move into other form of conditioning such as repeatedly thrusting your finger into sand. Later, size of sand get bigger then you will swich to wooden chip and lastly stones so when karateka thrust his palm into someone's abdominal area, it will cause serious internal damage.

    I don't know about now because marital sports event became popular in Japan as well but when I was kid, you could easily identified karateka by simply looking at their knuckle because their knuckle was flater and had bruse from repeated abuse. If I have to choose to fight either 1)a guy who spend years learning lot of katas and 2) a guy who only know one way to punch and kick but he done this so many time over and over hitting tree that his low kick is likely to break your leg and his straight punch into your frontal skull could possibly cause death, I would certainly avoid 2) and pick 1). 1) is like someone who collect lot of guns for personal protection but somehow have forgotten to buy bullets. I would rather have one gun and lot of bullet.

    In old school, sparing was non contact, that is, you have to stop the punch or kick just before the impact. This was because any full competitive contact sparing among these people result in serious injury. Now a day, this has been replaced by point scoring system where the power of strike is not rewarded at all. Also because of this, stance of "so-called" full-contact practioner are very high so they can focus on agility. And variations of hand shape which was one of the main characteristics of karate as a style is completely ignored in these event. When was the last time you hear tkd practioner complaining about how their fist or arm hurt from repeated conditioning. You are more likely to hear about how their streching is going or how they did in sparing.

    Now let bring back the vidoe clip of shotokan karateka and grappler. Firstly, shotokan guy just stand there, his stance very high his knee not bent so he is just inviting the grappler to tackle him. Had this karateka trained in old karate school his stance should be more like old boxing stance geared toward power of punch and defence against tackle. Plus, if the grappler know how lethal the fists and legs of karateka are, I think it would be karateka which would be in offensive. As you know, if someone has a knife, charging and tackling the opponent is the least preferable option. And even if you manage to tackle him, you have to think about his elbow and knee.

    Now, I'm not trying to start flame by saying that old school karatekas kick ass of grapplers. But, I do believe that grapplers are weak against these style if and only if karateka/tkdist/KFist has been trained properly. More effective style for old fashioned karate/tkd would be traditional jujitu, aikido or hapkido which focus on lock, throw and joint manipulation with focus on evasion. Watch some Steven Segal's movies and see how he deal with knife attack. (I know SS is a prick and anything he did after Under Siege are shit but his techniques are decent).

    My view is that grappler are more effective against traditional jujitu/aikido/hapkido and jijitu/aikido/hapkido are effective against karate/tkd and karate/tkd are effective against grapplers. So it's a classic paper-rock-scissors. It is good thing that grapplers are kicking ass of modern karate and tkd because they are simply pointing out what these modern school lost.



    Edited by - vapour on March 15 2003 10:10:51

    Edited by - vapour on March 15 2003 10:15:27

    #2
    "Instead, their empahsis seems to be on teaching kata which the beginner student say "wow, that's a cool move" and teaching them to do sparing which is quite fun for students. "

    hey what sells?

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      #3
      Yeah, I've seen Okinawan Karate dojos train with some hard core body conditioning, which I'm all for.

      The problem is, in the United States at least, Karate is viewed by many the same way Soccer and Little League Baseball are: something to occupy your kids for a few hours a week so they don't end up smoking crack and getting themselves or someone pregnant at 12 years old.

      I don't see many parents allowing their children to punch a makiwara (sp?) board until their hands bleed, or allowing their instructor to punch the kid hard in the chest.

      Those schools that do beat the crap out of their students (within reason, heh), regardless of their student's ability to hang in a fight against a mixed martial artist, get a good chunk of my respect.

      For chrissake, it's a fighting art... not Asian Foot Tag.

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        #4
        Vapour you do Judo, enough said (you don't need much else necessarily, the fact you do Judo shows you don't really think that highly of Traditional Martial Arts, at least not with thie rgeneral ability to grapple, excepet you do "taijuan" which is actually a TMA i think...?)
        "Training = pain." - I said that.

        PizDoff when drunk: "I'm actually MOST pissed that my target for the evening got drink...then I gave her my Bullshido Canada hoodie like a gentleman because she was outside with not much on...did I mention she barfed twice when I got our jackets...steaming barf is kinda fascinating..." - PizDoff.

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          #5
          Oh, one more thing. I think how kungfu are responding to these grappler/MMA criticism sucks.

          Suddenly, they "re-discover" ancinent art of joint manipulation (ChinNa) and grappling (shisuou or whatever it called) and now, they are putting all of these thing together in competitive form know as sanshou. ChinNa and grappling was never a style in itself in chinese martial arts. It was more of names given to collection of side technique, just like some karate school or tkd has joint lock technique.

          Otherwise why every names of kungfu styles in Chinese has chuan (fist) at the end (e.g. taijichuan, xingyiquan and so on). It is far more productive to do aikido/hapkido to learn ChinNa, judo or BJJ to learn grappling, and if you want to compete "realistically", go to MMA events though I can't see how perticipating these events which effectively ban any dangerous punch or kick would improve your chose style of kung fu.

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            #6
            Vapour, thank you for the thoughtful article.
            It reminds me of the Wado-ryu school I attended in the sixties.

            Your points are well taken. For instance, how many karate schools have maki wara boards anymore? You could hear the pounding of the boards down the street from the dojo. Once I got into a confrontation on my way to class and I was all excited. During our informal warm ups before bowing in, I told one of the other black belts what had happened and a woman punching the boards turned and said "We're here to work out, not talk!" I don't see that kind of attitude a lot anymore.

            We have a new student from Europe in our class and he took a year or two of Shotokan, and then switched to Kyokushin. He said it went from finesse movements to brutal sparring with exhausting workouts. So some schools still do it. (not to put down Shotokan, as I've said before, Kenneth Funakoshi's dojo in Honolulu is tough)


            >>>Always walk on a bright, wide road. If you choose to live with your right posture, you don't have to go on a dark road or a malodorous place. Oyama
            "Preparing mentally, the most important thing is, if you aren't doing it for the love of it, then don't do it." - Benny Urquidez

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              #7
              "though I can't see how perticipating these events which effectively ban any dangerous punch or kick" They allow full_contact pucnhes to just about anyway apart from the groin...some allow shots to the back of the head some don't.
              "Training = pain." - I said that.

              PizDoff when drunk: "I'm actually MOST pissed that my target for the evening got drink...then I gave her my Bullshido Canada hoodie like a gentleman because she was outside with not much on...did I mention she barfed twice when I got our jackets...steaming barf is kinda fascinating..." - PizDoff.

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                #8
                Blade: that's tai chi to us white devils

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                  #9

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                    #10
                    "their children to punch a makiwara (sp?) board until "
                    i was gonna mention makiwara boards...

                    being Chinese I can say this...
                    "Otherwise why every names of kungfu styles in Chinese has chuan (fist) at the end (e.g. taijichuan, xingyiquan and so on). It "
                    the Kuen/chuan at the end meaning fist also means fighting empty handed, some styles are NOT referred at with the ending Kuen/chaun/quan


                    "During our informal warm ups before bowing in, I told one of the other black belts what had happened and a woman punching the boards turned and said "We're here to work out, not talk!" I don't see that kind of attitude a lot anymore."
                    that's called a bitch


                    ok let me read the article again and comment on it, i didn't have time before

                    --
                    Hard work, Patience, Dedication.
                    The more you sweat in training, the less you bleed later.
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                      #11
                      ok regarding hand conditioning....


                      i've heard stories of how the "old" way was to slap your hands on rice bags (rice is popular in China btw :) ) for conditioning, BUT the person's hand would become so calloused and rough that writing and other types of these minute activites with the hand were very difficult due to rough skin and the desensitized hand

                      So is the realistic for someone who still has to go to school the next day or work as a secretary?
                      Is it feasible in this capitalistic North American society? I don't think so.

                      --
                      Hard work, Patience, Dedication.
                      The more you sweat in training, the less you bleed later.
                      Surfing Facebook at work? Spread the good word by adding us on Facebook today! https://www.facebook.com/Bullshido

                      https://www.instagram.com/bullshido/

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                        #12
                        "though I can't see how perticipating these events which effectively ban any dangerous punch or kick" They allow full_contact pucnhes to just about anyway apart from the groin...some allow shots to the back of the head some don't.
                        True, but these events aren't bear fisted event unlike old-style-boxing, thai boxing or some kungfu competition held in Orient(SouthEast Asia mainly). And considering the insurance issue, there will never be a bearfisted event in the West or Japan unless one goes underground.

                        Boxing match have so many rounds because of the grove. In real fight, often, one clear hit in the face and you are out.(I once got punched in the face so I know what I'm talking about. :() But if one cannot get knockout from one single punch, best tactics is to cover you head and charge, take one or two hits and take the opponent to the ground and go for the submission. So MMA competition heavily favour the grappling tactics.

                        But why not. MMA practioners are doing particular form of combat system which focus on taking someone into the ground so their sparing should be desinged in that way. In Judo, one clear throw is a win. That is because in real fight, if you throw someone onto the ground, that is it. Even if the guy don't pass out, stamp him or kick his head which is easy.

                        But if you are karate/tkd/KungFu fighter why perticipate in MMA event whose main purpose is to train you to be a grappler while you spend awful lot of time to be a kick-boxer. Only thing you leanrn from this event is that it is better to be a grappler than kick boxer. The proper sparing rule for kick-boxing arts should be no grappling.

                        The restrictions are there not only to prevent injury but also to let people focus on particular skill which is fundamental to its art. So, in MMA, people wear grove and in Judo, you aren't allowed to hit and one clear throw is considered as a knockout and in karate/tkd competition, one clear punch or kick is a win because in real fight, that should have happended. But instead, lots of karate/tkd/kungfu practioners stop conditioning their fists. That is why they are getting their arse kicked.

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                          #13
                          >BUT the person's hand would become so calloused and rough that writing and other types of these minute activites with the hand were very difficult due to rough skin and the desensitized hand

                          Didn't a lot of older masters practice calligraphy? If this is true (and not just kungfu movie crap - I honestly don't know), that would seem to disagree with your analysis, wouldn't it?

                          At our school, we hit sand bags (and almost anything else in range :)) regularly, and I haven't noticed any fine motor issues as of yet (been doing it for six years).

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                            #14
                            MMA allows plenty of striking, and lots of stand-up guys do very good in MMA. They just have to learn to handle grapplers. Look at Chuck Liddel... or Vanderlei Silva. They both rock grapplers.

                            <Me> John, what do you know about Zen Buddhism? <John> *smacks me*
                            <John> I'd have to smack you sometime...
                            Katana, on 540 kicks: "Hang from a ceiling fan with both hands. Flail your feet out and ask people to walk into you as you hit their face."

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                              #15
                              That be cool to find a real school that basically made their students bodies into iron.

                              "A California man has been taken to court for stalking Anna Nicole Smith. The man has been charged with invasion of privacy, illegal trespassing, and having really bad taste."-Conan

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