I am the "Western Martial Arts" guy here, at least ostensibly.
Although I have studied the MA for a very long time, I would be the the last one to suggest that in the Eastern Martial Arts were "superior' totally.
One of the attractions of the eastern approach is its quality of offering to people a venue in which the young, old, very old, the adolescent, the talented and the low talented etc. etc. can be all taught and continue to train in a positive way within a 'system' that mandates a minimun amount of respect for all those who participate.
I do not know what prompted, therefore, a suggestion that the West was somehow de facto inferior in developing a martial way.
I am surprised, a bit, to have a heated canonball thrown at me in this respect, so to speak.
I especially enjoyed the clip of the Portuguese fighting when the Short Sword (or so it appeared) was shown.
The short sword was the main weapon of the Legions until at least the 2nd century AD.
The Gladius Hispansiensus, without immediate research the point, has its origins, as I am sure you are well aware, in the Iberian Peninsula.
Caesar, if you read some old postings, was held to prefer the Spanish Legions and this notion was stengthened in the relatively recent book "Caesar's Legion"---meaning the Legio X Fretensis.
If I recall, this Legion, at some point in the game, came to be recruited from central Spain.
I can research this in a more detailed fashion if you wish.
The Arab expansions, despite our concept of the Mameluke style sword wielding Horse soldier or, perhaps, Horse Archers (more a Persian and Parthian strength to be sure) were cored by infantry armed with a short sword.
The Principiate came to control as large a population as the contempary (to the Principiate) Chinese Empire and held sway over 100+ million people, allegedly, in a time when this was a very large number of people.
Not only that, but the Principiate held together a highly diverse number of creeds, races, religions, ethnicities, prior political entities etc. for around 200-300 years.
You will understand if I do not set forth an exact timeline since the Principiate evolved into an Imperial "Way" through the establishment of a parallel bureacracy to that of the Republic.
The latter slowly withered and died and thus the "Empire" was not established in a swift big bang, but a gradual destruction of Republican ways.
I would have to resort to several Atlases of World History at any point in time to determine exactly how MA and Military systems (East v West)compared at any given point. Clearly, however, also, the Mongols adn, if they qualify in your mind, the Turks pressed deeply into the "Western" and formerly Roman world in the Middle Ages.
It was often asked in the Indian subcontinent, as to why the "soldiers of the West fought better than those of the subcontinent".
The answer to that riddle is very complex.
But, although Indian Martial Arts and Military history are held by me, and most, in respect, as is the quality of the fighting men of the subcontinent, it is clear that from the Battle of Plessey until 1947, the Military arts of the West showed themselves superior.
Specifically, where do you wish me to begin?
I think that from my limited experience, it is the interwoven system of respect for all involved that appears to be the way, frankly, and in the marketing of same (oh how my friend on Okinawa would hate the use of that word here) that sold and endeared the Eastern Arts to so many in the West.
You don't have to be Muhammed Ali to win a Black Belt, and I am NOT going to sit here and tell you that myself as a 35 year man with a high rank of sorts at 62 is going to trounce any competent young or even middle aged boxer.
Graeco Roman boxing, it appears, began a certain self limitation in the number and types of techniques and in the times for which individuals could maintain a high level of respect and self respect as they aged.
My Sensei is 80.
He trained in Boxing as Sensei Fred noted.
I think he would be the last to maintain that he could handle a competent young and well trained boxer.
But, he is held in exteremly high regard.
Would even a boxing trainer at 80 be held in respect my friend?.
Sensei Van would have to be the one to talk about La Savate.
But the ----ah----manner in which that art is approached, maybe, that limited its long term adherents in number, not the efectiveness of La Savate techiques, I think.
Even in my own limited experience I found myself cast aside in the sports and fighting arenas.
No talent kids tend to get shunted aside.
In the Eastern way, as it happens, the person who appears to need the most help that often gets the most attention in a class.
Perseverance is paramount, not raw talent. Of course talent is more than a bit helpful.
Nor are the techniques of Western MA ignored in Karate classes.
My friend, who persevered in Uechi Karate, has found himself knowing that with his background in Graeco Roman Boxing and Wrestling mixed with Muy Thai, Gracie Jiu Jistsu and a UFC kind of approach, that he at his age, was a formidable opponent to almost all.
So, if you are looking for someone to agree with you, I would say, ok, what you say is true. but-------
La Canne appears more than a little effective.
"All Enlightenment Gratefully Accepted"
Last edited by JOHN THURSTON on Mon Nov 26, 2007 3:45 pm, edited 2 times in total.