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Taxonomy: Properly Categorizing the Types of Martial Arts

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    Taxonomy: Properly Categorizing the Types of Martial Arts

    I guess Taxonomy would be the right word for this.

    It's high time we hashed out the various types/classifications of Martial Arts, once and for all. Based on previous discussions, here is what I believe we've come to consensus on over the years:
    • Sportfighting Styles
    • Self Defense Styles
    • Historical Recreation Styles
    • Demonstration Styles
    • Health and Fitness Styles (?)
    Are we in agreement that these categories pretty much cover the scope of the Martial Arts effectively, or do we need to make adjustments/additions to the list?

    #2
    An alternate list of MA focuses:

    - Self-defense/professional use of force
    - Tradition/physical art/self-discipline
    - Spiritual/health
    - Sport/tournament
    - Demonstration
    Calm down, it's only ones and zeros.
    "Your calm and professional manner of response is really draining all the fun out of this. Can you reply more like Dr. Fagbot or something? Call me some names, mention some sand in my vagina or something of the sort. You can't expect me to come up with reasonable arguments man!" -- MaverickZ

    "Tom Kagan spins in his grave and the fucking guy isn't even dead yet." -- Snake Plissken

    My Bullshido fan club threads:
    Tom Kagan's a big hairy...
    Tom Kagan can lick my BALLS
    Tom Kagan teaches _ing __un and bigotry?
    Tom Kagan: Serious discussion here
    Lamokio asks the burning question is Tom Kagan a pussy or just cruising for some
    I'm Dave the gay Kickboxer from Manchester and I have the hots for Tom Kagan
    TOM KAGAN, OPEN ME, THE MKT ARE COMING FOR YOU ! ARE YOU MAN ENOUGH TO MEET ?
    ATTN TOM KAGAN
    World Dominator 'Kagan' in plot to lie about real Kung Fu and Martial Arts
    Tom Kagan just gave me my third negative rep in a day
    I am infatuated with Tom Kagan
    Tom Kagan is a fat balding white guy.

    Comment


      #3
      Dear Phrost
      For clarification purposes, would it be possible for you to include examples for each category, so we're all starting off on the same page, so to speak?
      Where there is only a choice between cowardice and violence, I would advise violence.

      Gandhi

      Comment


        #4
        • Sportfighting Styles: Kickboxing, Boxing, Wrestling
        • Self Defense Styles: Krav Maga, etc
        • Historical Recreation Styles: Iaido
        • Demonstration Styles: Wushu, XMA
        • Health and Fitness Styles (?): Tae Bo?

        Comment


          #5
          Originally posted by Phrost
          • Sportfighting Styles: Kickboxing, Boxing, Wrestling
          • Self Defense Styles: Krav Maga, etc
          • Historical Recreation Styles: Iaido
          • Demonstration Styles: Wushu, XMA
          • Health and Fitness Styles (?): Tae Bo?
          So, where would you put Shotokan, TKD, and the like?

          They'd fit in Tom's "Tradition/physical art/self-discipline" maybe. I'd drop the self-discipline, though. And the physical.

          Maybe your list needs a Traditional Martial Art bit?
          Last edited by sochin101; 3/28/2007 8:08am, .
          Where there is only a choice between cowardice and violence, I would advise violence.

          Gandhi

          Comment


            #6
            Perhaps Ontology would better describe what you are trying to do than Taxonomy?

            I like the categories that Phrost posted - with regard to Sochin's question, I think that some arts may be put in more than one category, so for example, TKD might be put under sportfighting, or demonstration styles.

            Also, I wonder if it would be helpful to have a scoring or ranking system, so that within each style, you could get an idea as to the "aliveness" of the training (i.e. a 5 point scale, BJJ would be sportfighting and self-defense, with 5 points on each...TKD would under sportfighting might be say a 2 while under demonstration it would be like a 4)

            Edit: with regard to the scaling system, people on Bullshido could vote to determine the scale...
            Last edited by weechey; 3/28/2007 8:47am, .

            Comment


              #7
              I think that cardio kickboxing and boxercise count as health and fitness styles.

              Comment


                #8
                Originally posted by weechey
                Perhaps Ontology would better describe what you are trying to do than Taxonomy?

                I like the categories that Phrost posted - with regard to Sochin's question, I think that some arts may be put in more than one category, so for example, TKD might be put under sportfighting, or demonstration styles.

                Also, I wonder if it would be helpful to have a scoring or ranking system, so that within each style, you could get an idea as to the "aliveness" of the training (i.e. a 5 point scale, BJJ would be sportfighting and self-defense, with 5 points on each...TKD would under sportfighting might be say a 2 while under demonstration it would be like a 4)

                Edit: with regard to the scaling system, people on Bullshido could vote to determine the scale...
                I suppose it depends on the purpose of the classification... if it's just for shits and gigles amongst the cognosenti, then we'd understand about the aliveness scale and how it related to another art, but if this was a project for the Bullshido.com consumer information doohickey, perhaps numbers and arts appearing in two places might add to the confusion of choosing a valid martial art.

                Something like Krav might get a 5 on self defence but a 1 on aliveness... something like full contact stick fighting is obviously going to get a 5 on aliveness, but might score low on SD because of the need to carry a stick around with you.
                An uninformed person might immediately assume (based on the scores) that Krav is better than whacking the shit out of someone with a stick full contact, and go and train with a Krav larper with plastic guns faking an Israeli accent.
                Where there is only a choice between cowardice and violence, I would advise violence.

                Gandhi

                Comment


                  #9
                  Perhaps it isn't the arts that need to be classified, and scored, but the schools themselves...the point has been made here several times that any style can be trained with aliveness...its just that some do it much more than others.

                  To allow for that variability, maybe individual schools should be evaluated on skill sets that we all agree define the different reasons people do martial arts. For example...
                  1. Striking
                  2. Grappling
                  3. Self Defense
                  4. Physical fitness
                  5. Acrobatic art
                  6.Historical re-creation

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Originally posted by sochin101
                    So, where would you put Shotokan, TKD, and the like?

                    They'd fit in Tom's "Tradition/physical art/self-discipline" maybe. I'd drop the self-discipline, though. And the physical.

                    Maybe your list needs a Traditional Martial Art bit?
                    I don't want to use "self discipline" because that's highly incidental and generally only used as a cop-out for people who have no intention of actually subjecting themselves to risk in their training.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Originally posted by weechey
                      Perhaps it isn't the arts that need to be classified, and scored, but the schools themselves...the point has been made here several times that any style can be trained with aliveness...its just that some do it much more than others.

                      To allow for that variability, maybe individual schools should be evaluated on skill sets that we all agree define the different reasons people do martial arts. For example...
                      1. Striking
                      2. Grappling
                      3. Self Defense
                      4. Physical fitness
                      5. Acrobatic art
                      6.Historical re-creation
                      We've already done that.

                      http://www.bullshido.net/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=83

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Originally posted by weechey
                        Perhaps it isn't the arts that need to be classified, and scored, but the schools themselves...the point has been made here several times that any style can be trained with aliveness...its just that some do it much more than others.

                        To allow for that variability, maybe individual schools should be evaluated on skill sets that we all agree define the different reasons people do martial arts. For example...
                        1. Striking
                        2. Grappling
                        3. Self Defense
                        4. Physical fitness
                        5. Acrobatic art
                        6.Historical re-creation
                        http://www.bullshido.net/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=83
                        Dojo reviews...
                        They're scored by people training there (primarily) so objectivity could be assumed to be questionable, but most of them seem pretty feasible.
                        Where there is only a choice between cowardice and violence, I would advise violence.

                        Gandhi

                        Comment


                          #13
                          whoops! thanks...just goes to show, all my good ideas are already thought of by someone else first :-)

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Originally posted by Phrost
                            • Sportfighting Styles
                            • Self Defense Styles
                            • Historical Recreation Styles
                            • Demonstration Styles
                            • Health and Fitness Styles (?)
                            I think those five categories are generally pretty accurate. Arts are generally focused on one of those five. (Not to say that one cannot, say, apply sportfighting knowledge to self defense, or become healthy doing a demonstration style.) I'd define them like this:
                            • Sportfighting Styles: Intended for competitive athletic events.
                            • Self Defense Styles: Intended for modern-day "real world" fighting, civilian or military.
                            • Historical Styles: Traditions from non-modern-day settings, which would probably fall under one of the other four categories in their native setting.)
                            • Demonstration Styles: Intended for aesthetic display.
                            • Health and Fitness Styles: Intended for mental/physical conditioning and relaxation.
                            For example, I would place Aikido under "Historical Styles". (I've taken the liberty of removing the term "recreation", since it sounds a bit awkward to my ear.) I'm reminded of someone's response when asked if aikido is "a self-defense art". He said, very insightfully, that it's best considered a self-defense tradition developed for a different place and time.

                            Of course, "Aikido" is such a catch-all that it's developed instructors/dojos/styles in many different categories. For example, Shodokan ("Tomiki Aikido") might (depending on how the individual practices it) be considered to have a Sportfighting focus, albeit with "Historical" influences. Similarly, I've heard that Shin Shin Toitsu ("Ki Society") is principally concerned with health and fitness, much as (most modern studies of) Tai Chi.

                            Outside my own art, I have less competence. But I'll take a few tries, just to start the discussion:
                            • Sportfighting Styles: BJJ, Boxing, Kendo, Muay Thai, Tae Kwon Do
                            • Self Defense Styles: Krav Maga, military arts (although that's distinct from civilian self-defense)
                            • Historical Styles: Aikido, Iaido, (Modern and classical/koryu) jujutsu, some Karate, various koryu (an enormous category, I know)
                            • Demonstration Styles: Wushu, Capoeira, some Tae Kwon Do
                            • Health and Fitness Styles: Shin Shin Toitsu Aikido (some schools?), Tai Chi
                            I'd hasten to add that it's more important what an art is listed as, than not listed as. As I noted above, an art meant for one thing may be sufficiently good at another. I'd also repeat that individuals, instructors, dojos, and sub-styles can have different foci than are usually associated with their art.
                            Last edited by PSanderson; 3/28/2007 12:14pm, . Reason: Clarified "Modern" note - I meant to say that I'm including gendai as well as koryu

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Two perplexing arts that I'm having trouble categorizing:

                              1) Hapkido, Aikido's wacky Korean cousin. I've seen this art presented as everything from civilian self-defense to sport to gymnastics-esque demo. It might, like many of the larger modern budo (aikido, karate, judo, etc.) have incarnations that could be classified as any of the above. But in the spirit of putting it solidly in one place...perhaps historical? If we believe that it's Daito-ryu jujutsu's descendant.

                              2) Kyudo: It's very old - very old - and definitely has a history as a primary art of the warrior class. However, it dropped out of relevancy very early (I think I heard 1400 or 1500 given once?), and became a sport competition or gambling showpiece. Its modern-era incarnation is decidedly and deliberately aesthetic, like tea ceremony. So despite being a very "historical" martial art in the literal sense of the word, in the specialized sense I used above, I would probably instead call it "demonstration".

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