Thread: Defining an Art

  1. #1

    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Ju d'oh!

    Defining an Art

    Well, I recently had a thought that seemed apropriate for this particular part of Bullshido...

    A lot of Martial Arts (Or at least the Asian ones) seem to have developed more coherently during the 1800's and 1900's

    By this I mean they started defining themselves more easily, such as X now looks different from Y, and both are COMPLETELY different from Z when they all came from A's influence.

    They started down their own developmental paths and began looking different...Right?

    Anyway, my question is: What happened during this time that would have that particular influence on Martial Arts? (European Imperialism?)

    Stupid question? Maybe:5dunce:

    Worth a discussion?...You be the judge.

  2. #2

    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    It's a system of inbreeding when things begin to visibly diverge. What I mean is that a group breaks away or diverges, and the lack of serious outside competition creates an isolated environment allows for pecularities.

    Think of it as martial arts darwinism ... lol

    The more isolated the martial art, the more divergent it gets. Chinese MAs are prime example. There's probably a greater variation amoung them then anywhere in the world. Part of this is due to the population base of course. But the secrecy (isolation) and the lack of national open competion plays a definate role. Compare this to the more "open" japanse MAs, especially thes ones that hold regular open competitions.

    We actually see the inverse happening now. More and more martial arts are starting to look more similar. Partly this is due to the greater open competitions we have at the international level, partly due to the spreading of knowledge via internet, videos, books and travelling.

    evolution ...

    god i want sushi =(
    totoro-san ... world sushi munching champion ...

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    WMA (various)
    I think this is a process that's going on all the time, and always has been -- there are always martial artists who want to do their own thing and found their own schools or styles based on their own personal ideas of what's important, and sometimes these ideas, whether good or bad, are pretty weird when judged from the perspective of the parent system. (For a sampling of some the worst of the modern examples, look no further than the Martial Arts BS Forum.)

    I suspect that the reason that the systems which are, say, 50-150 years old tend to stand out in the public eye is that the newer ones are too new to have wide recognition yet and most of the older ones have died or been absorbed into younger systems.

  4. #4

    Join Date
    May 2006
    no-gi BJJ
    The reason was probably the fact that Japan enjoyed a prolonged period of relative peace. Open warfare was replaced by duelling.

    Now there was time for endless theorizing and limiting your art(which is what you do when you define what it is and more importantly what it isnīt.

    War tends to bring out the "whatever works" mentality.


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