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 Post subject: KravMaga
PostPosted: Fri Jul 16, 1999 5:13 am 
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Posts: 106
Location: Andover,MA
I find this post very interesting for a couple of reasons.

First I want to say I have no problem with "self defence courses" as opposed to "classical martial Arts". When you get down to the nitty gritty there really not much different from each other. People say the problem with MA is that it's bogged down with to much Kata. Where as self-defence course deals with the practical situation working with drills rather than deal with kata. But isn't Kata just another drill so one can practice their technique? A punch is a punch and a kick is a kick weather you're doing it in line as a drill or doing it at home during Seisan. One might say that in a self-defence course one only practices the practical application of a movement. Isn't that just Bunki? To make a self defense course a "course" you have to do things in repetition, be it certain drills or certain applications, that's how a person learns. This repetition becomes common place to the style. In a hundred years from now things like Jeet kun do or Krav Maga will be considered classical styles.

The only problem I have with some of these self-defence courses is that they brag about how fast you can learn to defend your-self. "Take my six week intensive course and you'll never know fear AGAIN!!!" I'm sorry but I have a hard time believing this. If you want to learn to defend yourself it takes a long time to learn how to do it. Then it takes constant work so you can remember how to if ever the time comes and you need to use it. These six week, learn quick courses reminds me of trying to learn an entire semester of biology the night before the big exam. You might remember enough to get through the test but a week later forget it, it's gone.

To sum it all up, as long as your serious about what you study, then call it what you want. Classical MA or Self-Defense, it's all the same, except the classical names have been around longer.


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 Post subject: KravMaga
PostPosted: Fri Jul 16, 1999 5:46 am 
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Location: Mount Dora, Florida
I agree that a few modern fads may, in a hunded years, become 'classics'. However, I suspect that many of the newer 'traditional' styles won't make the test of time, along with TaeBo and a few hundred other health/fitness fads.


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 Post subject: KravMaga
PostPosted: Fri Jul 16, 1999 8:44 pm 
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Posts: 123
Doc:

Point well taken, however I don't believe your analysis considers the motivation behind the art. A painter uses a paint brush to paint, this does not make his art evil. He then chooses to gouge out the eyes of an unsuspecting victim with it. It was the artist who was evil, not the art.

With that said, consider that the paint brush was never designed to kill a human being, but the self-defense techniques of the martial arts were designed to kill. Whether the artist has chosen beauty or destruction, the tools were still created to maim and kill. The inherent dark nature of true self defense, to me, nullifies anything that could be considered art.

I understand that the martial arts can be very much an art. It is the times that we forget the beauty and focus on how we can use these techniques to damage an assailant that the art has left. A system like Krav Maga has no art because they solely focus on this.

As you stated previously, and as one can discern from Tolsoy's eloquent writings, opinions are opinions. Everyone has their own personal inflections and opinions are not intended as fact, agree with me or don't.

I decided on this the first time I broke someone's nose (I was 9 years old) and as his mix of tears and blood showered the asphalt I realized that I could never find beauty in destruction.

-Collin


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 Post subject: KravMaga
PostPosted: Fri Jul 16, 1999 9:19 pm 
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Joined: Sat Nov 28, 1998 6:01 am
Posts: 2431
Location: MARSHFIELD, MA. USA
Well, get out your flammenwerfers.

I think all these "aerobic" and "eclectic" systems should be looked at and analyzed.

On of my students takes her regular Tae Bo class at the gym where we also run our little dojo.

She indicates it is a good workout and "helps her Karate"---as long as she doesn't forget the difference, I don't have to explain it to her.

Marksmanship is a bit of an art, and could be made more so if it were not sliding down the politically incorrect scale.

I'm sure you are all aware that postion, stance, breathing and control are important in marksmanship.

So my Karate helps my marksmanship.

Well, that's not so bad.

J.

------------------


[This message has been edited by JOHN THURSTON (edited 07-16-99).]


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 Post subject: KravMaga
PostPosted: Sat Jul 17, 1999 12:05 am 
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Joined: Thu May 06, 1999 6:01 am
Posts: 288
Location: Randolph Ma USA
Tracey makes a good point here regarding the intergrating of other concepts into what we teach. Yes, we are teaching fighting (and much more) and i believe that we should expand upon our knowledge and share it with our students.

The problem that i see in "some" instructors is that they don't look into anything other than what their style teaches. Kind of like tunnel vision. "Empty your cup" a saying that implies i cannot give you more knowledge if you are full of your own ideas and views.
Cross trainning is important to help compliment what you already know. Even if it only familiarizes you with how other systems work.

Scaramouche; in regards to the gun issue. Yes, many people cannot obtain guns do to restrictions etc. etc. and i did not mean to imply that they should go get a gun as an alternative. The statement previously made was one of sarcasim. Certainly a gun is the "last" thing that many people should be running around with for many reasons.


Raffi points out that many black belts walk through trainning at a level where techniques would never be effective. This is very true. It bothers me when i see lack of intensity or enthusiasim in an advanced students. For some of them it may just be excersize or some other form of gratification. Or may it be that they just cannot step up their level? I don't know and try not to be judgemental although difficult at times. Lacking spirit is like an empty cup. Nothing there to taste. I have been fotunate that most of the people i have been around generate spirit.

I believe that we should keep our traditional styles taught in their intended manor, expand on our knowledge with other systems and continue to train as karateka's and/or whatever other titles one wishes to use. The effectiveness of what we study will obviously depend upon the "individuals" abilty.

------------------
Gary S.


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 Post subject: KravMaga
PostPosted: Sun Jul 18, 1999 9:33 am 
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Joined: Thu Jan 21, 1999 6:01 am
Posts: 100
Location: LA, CA, USA
Collin Warder said...

"I don't feel that things with lethal potential can at all be called an art."

So the Japanese warriors who lived when their country was still wracked by civil wars by civil wars were not martial artists? Miamoto Musashi was not a martial artist? Kenjutsu is not a martial art?

You know, Don Draeger, the martial artist and respected writer on Asian fighting arts only considered those arts meant to actually train warriors for the activity of war to truly be martial (i.e., related to war) arts. While I consider his definition a too narrow for my personal taste, I find it even more hard to accept a definition of "martial arts" that excludes the fighting methods practiced by the samurai.

"ARTS like the traditional karate-do's and kung fu's are truly arts. There is much, much
more to them than simply self defense."

There is much more to real war arts than real self defense too. Logistics is a vital part of war. Leadership skills are vital, as is a respect for tradition, loyalty, and esprit de corps, among other things. There is also much more to styles focused on self defense (at least as I've seen) than just self defense. There is discipline, perseverance, conquering fear (or at least learning to live with it), learning to understand the nature of one's mortality (at least if you study knives), at least in some schools a greater respect and appreciation for life (since you are often reminded of its fragile nature), skills, and other "inner" qualities.

"I think I do not need to go into the depth of the beauty of well performed katas, nor do I need to discuss the spiritual insight that these arts provide."

Actually, I wouldn't mind another thread focusing on the "spiritual insights" you refer to. I wonder if they are any greater that the insights one might get elsewhere. Also, despite pr, I suspect that there is a very substantial (no fingers pointed here, so take no offense) number of skilled martial artists who are some combination of proud, stubborn, arrogant, narrow-minded, or otherwise not very spiritual. Certainly even my limited observations of, for example, the political infighting between different factions of the Wing Chun/Wing Tsun/Ving Tsun/etc and the various often mutually hostile styles of Aikido make me wonder how spiritual are even high ranking practicioners of arts you accept as "martial arts." Could at least some of these "spiritual insights" simply be a refection of someone's ego?

"If you take away these things, and move strictly to self defense, then you have lost the art. Again I state that maiming and killing is not art, at least not where I come from."

There is a difference between the art, and it s application. If I learn to swing a sword in a graceful and powerful manner, and in a manner which could easily kill, but I never kill, can I not be practicing an art?

Self defense techniques are designed to maim and kill.

Many self defense techniques are not designed to maim or to kill. I know a number of ways to pin someone (once they are down) that do not require me to maim or kill my target. Even chokes don't have to kill. Part of the skill involved in learning self defense applications can be (and is where I train) learning to control the amount of force one uses. Once again, there is a difference between the art (using my dictionary's "(any) other skill" definition) and the application.

"Techniques held within katas are expressed in ways such that the realities of the techniques and the situations in which they are to be applied are often hidden from the practioner.There is much beauty in this."

From what I have seen not all the styles you label as arts have these hidden applications. As far as I've seen, a Wing Chun eye jab is an eye jab, and the few dummy forms I have learned (and Bruce Lee did get some of his dummy forms straight out of Wing Chun) are pretty straightforward in respect to letting the practicioner realize what they are doing. Such a practicioner may be able to alter applications (i.e., be creative and modify techniques) if they choose, but as I understand it there are no "hidden techniques" concealed there by their creator(s).

"Curiously, what do you find beautiful about this training?"

-Collin

This is an interesting question. I find many forms of movement beautiful, even many which are not part of something that is generally considered part of an art. For example, I do not follow sports, but I like to watch the downhill skiing in the Olympics, because when it is done well, I find it breathtakingly beautiful. I am not a football fan, but when I have seen a game (I've probably watched fewer than a dozen football games in my entire life) and see a great run, where the ball is carried far down the field, and the runner skillfully avoids tackles and scores, I find such movement beautiful.

I can find a skilled surfer's performance beautiful, though I don't surf, and dislike even getting into salt water. The grace and control of his movement, and his moving in harmony with the violent waves is to me an incredible and admirable visual treat. Wayne Gretsky played beautiful hockey, and I had the pleasure of seeing him live a few times. He was quick, smooth, subtly powerful, and had what seemed perfect timing and a perfect sense of distance.

I suppose that I'd say I find many sorts of movement done by a very highly skilled practicioner beautiful. For example, when I see a martial artist's hands or weapons move so fast that I can barely see them, and perhaps so fast that I can't even tell for certain what was done unless the action is repeated more slowly, and this action is done smooothly, and with precision, I find such movement beautiful. When I see incredible talent in movement that relects real mastery, I see it as a thing of beauty.

Scaramouche


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 Post subject: KravMaga
PostPosted: Tue Jul 27, 1999 8:49 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jul 27, 1999 6:01 am
Posts: 3
Location: Bridgewater, MA USA
Folks,
This is nothing new here. I 'Josh Wiseman/ a couple of you may rember me from the 99 Uechi tournament' have been training and teching true reality fighting out of Joe Pomfrets Uechi academy in Bridgewater, Ma. The next feasible question should be crudentials, the bases are covered. I would be more than happy to have any of you in the class for an evening as a guest. About buying a patent product to teach on the east coast, why? There are more than enough people with the resources already united under the same roof. Lets pool our knowledge. This is no joke, anybody who would like to sit down and discuss this seriously please call me at the bridgewater academy. 508-697-5533.


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 Post subject: KravMaga
PostPosted: Tue Jul 27, 1999 9:36 pm 
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Joined: Thu Sep 24, 1998 6:01 am
Posts: 468
Location: Marlboro,MA US
Afternoon Josh,

I would love to come visit your dojo. Maybe after camp I can through some guys in the car and we can come a visiting??

thanks for the invite...
tracy


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 Post subject: KravMaga
PostPosted: Wed Jul 28, 1999 6:22 pm 
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Posts: 3
Location: Bridgewater, MA USA
Mr. Rose,
"That sounds great."
Finances keep me out of this years camp, but i hope to see you soon.

R/S
Josh Wiseman


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 Post subject: KravMaga
PostPosted: Wed Aug 04, 1999 6:55 pm 
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Joined: Wed Aug 04, 1999 6:01 am
Posts: 21
Location: Rochester, NY, USA
What seems to keep coming up with this thread is a general impression that traditional arts don't teach one to fight in the real world. Personally, I refuse to believe this because I can't see any way these arts would have survived if they did not. Until roughly the twentieth century, martial arts weren't practiced recreationally, as they are now. They were closely guarded by communities of various ethnic backgrounds, so their methods wouldn't be common knowledge and would remain effective fighting techniques. In the example of karate, the kata interpretations most widely disseminated suggest techniques that are ridiculous. My point is that since kata is arguably the core of the art, and is descended from individuals whose fighting credentials are indisputable, they must contain effective techniques. Before one can interpret kata, one must already be able to fight. Therefore, to say that traditional martial arts are less effective is to say less about the arts themselves (as immortalized in kata) and more about our understanding of them.


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 Post subject: KravMaga
PostPosted: Thu Aug 05, 1999 4:00 am 
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Joined: Thu Nov 19, 1998 6:01 am
Posts: 55
Location: Portsmouth,NH,US
Beautifully phrased, Sacco. Nice to read your posts, by the way.
My .02 worth:
Some of the fuel for this discussion seems to be the dualistic, either-or impression some of the posts convey. Realistically speaking, I see it in more of a "both-and" light. What I learn about other martial arts or self defense strategies informs my Uechi practice, and vice versa. I have no conflict with that.
michael


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 Post subject: KravMaga
PostPosted: Thu Aug 05, 1999 4:10 pm 
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Joined: Thu Jan 21, 1999 6:01 am
Posts: 100
Location: LA, CA, USA
First off, I'm writing to some degree from a devil's advocate position, and also as an historian in training who is very interested in the sources of information people employ to support their beliefs.

Sacco said...
"What seems to keep coming up with this thread is a general impression that traditional arts don't teach one to fight in the real world. Personally, I refuse to believe this because I can't see any way these arts would have survived if they did not. Until roughly the twentieth century, martial arts weren't practiced recreationally, as they are now. They were closely guarded by communities of various ethnic backgrounds, so their methods wouldn't be common knowledge and would remain effective fighting techniques."

Well, are not many "traditional" arts very recent in origin, and didn't a good number originate in societies that were pretty peaceful internally? In Don Drager's excellent history of the Japanese arts he describes how the old war arts (mostly weapons based) that originated before 1600 became less popular and that the government instead encouraged arts such as judo, kendo, and karate. The classical war arts were overwhelmingly weapons based, and the new "traditional" ones tended to be much less so. So, as I understand it, many traditional arts originated in an atmosphere of social order, and generally focused on building character, developing a sense of common national identity and obedience to authority, sport, and other things besides pure combat. How badly did the average Japanese (or Okinawan) after the 1600s really need these post civil war budo arts for day to day survival?

"In the example of karate, the kata interpretations most widely disseminated suggest techniques that are ridiculous. My point is that since kata is arguably the core of the art, and is descended from individuals whose fighting credentials are indisputable, they must contain effective techniques."

How far back can you document theses katas, and prove that they existed? I know that there are at least several European fencing manuals that have survived since the Renaissance, and from which one can learn at least a fair amount about how Englishmen, Germans, Spaniards, Italians, and others were training and fighting. Do such sources exist which document the use of katas as training methods, especially for empty handed combat? Are their ancient scrolls or books that illustrate and thoroughly explain how katas were done (if they were done) several centuries ago? Do these ancient katas look just like the ones that are done today? If these katas can not be documented, and their history only known through folklore, can anyone honestly and confidently claim that they were used by "individuals whose fighting credential are indisputable?"

"Before one can interpret kata, one must already be able to fight."

Does this mean that people who already know how to fight don't need katas? If this is true, why would anyone associate katas with fighting?

"Therefore, to say that traditional martial arts are less effective is to say less about the arts themselves (as immortalized in kata) and more about our understanding of them."

Well, I'm interested in hearing your answers, and learning about your sources of historical knowledge. Hit me with your understanding!

Scaramouche


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 Post subject: KravMaga
PostPosted: Fri Aug 06, 1999 12:54 am 
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Location: Rochester, NY, USA
Okay, you definitely have a point. In response, (or riposte, if you will) I'd like to begin by pointing out that Japan is a bit of an exception in it's creation of the "-do" arts, by removing the most damaging techniques and changing the training methods to reflect more philosophical aims. In the interest of this distinction, I'd like to exchange the word 'classical' for the word 'traditional'. The classical japanese arts, in particular jujitsu, remained secretive, and were shared with small groups. In Wally Jay's book, "Small Circle Jujitsu", he notes that one of his instructors was the dismay of the Japanese community in Hawaii for teaching gaijin.

As for the roots of kata...several martial arts historians/elder statesmen have traced various okinawan kata back to Chinese roots using the name, a translation of the name, or characteristic movements of the kata, to show a certain historical evolution. The most notable example of this is Patrick McCarthy's translation of the Bubishi, but there's also a book called "Zen Shaolin Karate" by an English gentleman whose name escapes me which is also quite good.

Why would you use kata if you already knew how to fight? For the exact reason masters like Gichin Funakoshi, Chojun Miyagi, and Tatsuo Shimabuku always cited: visualization. Most okinawa fighting arts are based on some form of pressure point fighting which requires a detailed knowledge of anatomy as well as the ability to hit very exact targets with precision. Since such techniques really can't be practiced on an opponent with any longevity, solo visualization becomes an excellent choice. In the words of modern medical science, kata is kinesthetic neural self-programming.


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 Post subject: KravMaga
PostPosted: Fri Aug 06, 1999 1:32 am 
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There are many benefits to the assiduous practice of kata!

In addition to the “visualization” as proffered by Sacco, we have the programming of “pathways” to the target, muscle memory, if you will, but with a view to extreme knockdown power if the katas are the children of the natural triggers of the body under the “chemical cocktail”! Some katas are a joke; then again some are not! People who watched Renshi Peter Blackman and Kyoshi Hachidan Art Rabesa in their test last Saturday night told me they felt the impact of their movements across the floor and could imagine being knocked down by the waves of power!

The greatest value of cultivating powerful execution of kata is in instilling the suitable automatic body mechanics to be able to strike a powerful blow without conscious thought !

In my experience, the strongest fighters, with few exceptions, both in make believe [sparring] or real fighting [self defense]
Were always the strongest kata performers! Gary Khoury sensei is a prime example!

This thread is now locked due to its lenght!

Feel free to continue with part two!

------------------
Van Canna


[This message has been edited by Van Canna (edited 08-05-99).]


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