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smoothz 01-25-2005 10:36 PM

I was at the gym tonight, and there was a tae kwon do class in progress. There's a matted area in the gym that lets an instructor teach classes there at different times of the day. As I was lifting, I was watching their form (as usual) to see how well the instructor teaches or how well the students pay attention. I came to the conclusion that it's about 50/50. I also feel that the instructor might not care enough about some of his students but just collects their money.

Now it seems that the past few years have seen a boom in documentaries, movies, classes, special aerobics, and dojos popping up like mushrooms. In one sense, that's a good thing because it's still an unknown type of 'activity' that has a lot of interesting history to it. On the other hand, I feel it dilutes and corrupts some true forms and allows the history of the art to be lost.

I've taken several different kinds of arts, and I judged that with what I know, my confidence level, and the fact that I take what I learn seriously, I can avoid most confrontations or protect myself or others. However, it seems that a lot of people I see practicing in dojos as I pass by their wide open windows are not taking it seriously or have really bad form and are not concentrating. I also know some people (very few) who get caught up in a new style or do it for fitness but don't stick with it.

It's a shame that some people who practice an art for just a few years think they have what it takes to teach a class. I have lived in many cities around the country and some parts of the world, and I have yet to find the elusive true master of any art that can teach not only the fighting style but also the history and respect that it deserves.

What do you guys think?

stu46 01-25-2005 11:53 PM

Although traditional martial arts (TMA) has deep history and tradition, it's not as practical as it used to be. From a self-defense point of view. Nowadays people are looking at a gun, issues are not settled the same, even when compared to 20 years ago. Also take in the account of mixed martial arts (MMA), you have a totally different breed of fighters. A person taking classes at a place that offeres wrestling, bjj, boxing, muay thai, will do better defending themself against an attacker than a karate/tae kwon do practitioner.

toykilla 01-26-2005 12:33 AM

Uh oh...

The problem here is we can no longer compare apples to apples.. There is a broad spectrum of martial arts going on now around the world. You are right, that martial arts schools are popping up left and right, seems they are becoming very, very common.

There are traditional schools that are very strict and teach very authentic techniques. Americans usually get turned off by these schools because they are very hard work (boot camp?) On the other hand... there are the easy schools who are there to make money.. They will make the classes easy and "meet your needs" as long as that pay check is coming in every month.

Then there are the schools who are just flat out lying.. They are teaching punching and kicking and calling it karate, tae kwon do or whatever else.

Then there are the tournament schools... "Point fighting". They aim to get trophies... Sure they work hard and probably have a fun time, but playing tag in a ring is not what i consider a martial art.

There are a few issues to consider:
1. americans typically do not know much about martial arts history / authenticity
2. americans want "matrix" style fighting.. lots of amazing looking moves

Thus a new breed of martial arts schools has been born. Give a demo showing some nice sweeping high kicks and you will have people signing up left and right.. Uh Oh.. you forgot to tell them it is going to take YEARS to be able to do what they see in the movies (also most movie fighting is not practical or efficient)

Americans want the easy street... They want to walk into a class 2 times a week for 1hour increments. They feel good about it and probably brag about taking karate to their friends over a few beers.

.. sorry if this was sporadic.. its late and i have alot of thoughts on this subject..(i study tang lang quan)

smoothz 01-26-2005 11:03 AM

Good points. I could still take someone out who has a gun using my hands if I had to. However, 99.9% of the ppl in this world probably would pee their pants. Of course, the situtation would have to be perfect, but it can be done. But yeah, times have changed and weapons seem to overshadow most confrontations.

I didn't realize that some schools do the point thing. Also, those high kicks ARE impractical and are all show. They were trying to do that last night at my gym. One guy with a red belt who was the oldest in the class was doing such weak ass kicks that I was embarrassed for him. If he can't do it, he's going to expose himself to a dangerous counterstrike. I just can't imagine the damage that could be done with the amount of time it takes to react to those long sweeping moves. That's what got me to thinking that the teacher didn't care.

When I was taking JJ, we shared the dojo with a karate class. Every now and then, the best and brightest from the karate class would 'spar' with us. It was no contest, seeing that they didn't know what to do once they were on the ground. But they were good at karate at least.

toykilla 01-26-2005 11:26 AM

Disarming someone with a weapon is very possible.. more so than most people think.. Typically, the person with the weapon "assumes" they have the upper hand and NEVER expect someone to attack them. When it does happen, they are caught by surprise and will most likely panic.

But of course if you are going to attack someone with a weapon you better have the skills and willpower to follow through.. If you start the attack, you had better finish it. That is something that is scary. Some people who think they are learning martial arts are really just getting great excercise and false confidence. If they were in a situation where they attempted to disarm someone without REALLY know what they are doing, then that would lead to certain disaster.

In our system we rarely kick, and never kick high.

lionkiller 01-26-2005 01:04 PM

I think I've p[osted this link here before.

I'm a BJJ guy, not much striking experience. Not disciplined enough to do the 'dance' of a traditional art. Americans don't have the att. span (or time)....I don't live in a monastery, work, etc. so I need something that's simple & works. I respect kung fu/tkd, karate, but I've seen these guys consistently beaten in the ground & pounders, bjj, etc.

What's great is that there are a lot of schools & styles available since this 'boom', & just about anybody can find a style and intensity level that suits them. I just did it to stay in shape, learn some tricks. I already have a lifestyle.

toykilla 01-26-2005 01:17 PM

not to knock BJJ, but its not a practical street fighting art (at least in my opinion).. Those guys get in the ring and lay on their backs getting pumelled for 20 minutes before winning some times.. This is not something i want to do int the streets especially if there are multiple attackers.

**edit.. what i really meant was.. it is not a good thinking to compare ring fighting to street fighting. Alot of kung fu techniques are lethal, and or are meant to destroy organs/bones/joints (not the same as joint locks).. this is pretty much no-go territory in the ring, but is fair game when your life is on the line (at least in Texas :irock: )

smoothz 01-26-2005 01:32 PM

:lol: Fair game in Texas...that's good.

I took 2 years of judo and 9 months of BJJ. At first I did it for fitness, but then I got into the history and liked the hands-on application.

That stuff in the ring for grappling is unreal! I can't believe a guy that thinks he's that good will let himself get pinned for that long without trying to squirm out. There are plenty of techniques when you're on the ground. I like choking when I'm on the bottom.

I used to spar in BJJ with a guy who had taken over 10 years of either kung fu or wing chung (boy, I hope I didn't say that wrong). That dude was badass and had certain pressure points down pat.

And no, I don't have the patience to learn all the katas of certain arts. I tend to stay away from those now. TKD was my first art I tried, and it left a bad taste in my mouth.

toykilla 01-26-2005 02:06 PM

Different arts fit different types of people (body types) as well. I do have the patience to stay with what i am diong for years and years untill i have become as good as i can possible be.. Its a challenge, but adds new levels to my overall lifestyle.

lionkiller 01-26-2005 06:11 PM

There are some real good BJJ street techniques. You will not see them on UFC. A LOT of fights end up on the ground....& I wouldn't want to be a striker on the ground...

I trained with a guy who studied pressure point an entire wall of MA books vids in his apt. He trained BJJ & Muay Thai....a very complementary combo.

In BJJ, they teach us to close the distance quickly, as most striking techniques are negated in a clutch...There are some (elbows/knees) exceptions.

Some of the street techniques we learned are straight up judo, others unique to BJJ.

Props to anyone with a school. Get out there & represent!

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