Myths, superstition, respect & mind control...

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Myths, superstition, respect & mind control...

Postby gmattson » Mon Sep 05, 2005 11:30 am

I began this thread after reading Jim's last post in another thread:
These older Sifu accepted these challenges because they could! They truly did have skills and were not afraid to 'be tested.' Try that these days on one of these cream puff 'masters' and I bet they block with their face...or run away crying for help...


First, let me point out that I am a huge fan of any senior martial artist, be they modern or historical figures. My comments are designed to open up a dialog, based on my personal experiences and travels throughout Asia and the West (relating to this subject) and not an attempt to insult or diminish the skills or reputation of any martial artist.

Let me "jump start" the thread by saying that most people doing the "challenging" (fighters are also people) are handicapped by their own lack of confidence, and the "master's" reputation. The "master" has a huge advantage because he controls the mind of the challenger far more than the challenger or "master" realizes.

Think about how some modern "masters" are able to "knock out" their challengers-in-demonstrations, without even touching them, and how the verbal build-up prior to the knockout, along with the other staged preliminaries add to the master's "advantages".

Project some of this "hype" and "mind control" to the challenges of old and you get insight into where I'm going with this thread.

What do you think about this whole subject of certain old (and generally dead) martial art superstars?

Were they just a little above average fighters, when compared to other fighters of the time or do you believe that they actually deserved the "superhuman" status given to them by their students?
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Re: Myths, superstition, respect & mind control...

Postby JimHawkins » Mon Sep 05, 2005 12:56 pm

gmattson wrote:Let me "jump start" the thread by saying that most people doing the "challenging" (fighters are also people) are handicapped by their own lack of confidence, and the "master's" reputation. The "master" has a huge advantage because he controls the mind of the challenger far more than the challenger or "master" realizes.


Not so sure. There are many 'kung-fu accounts' of folks going around to schools and beating folks up until they get to the last place where THEY get whooped and then they become a student of said butt whooper.. Sound like a kung-fu movie? Well this was how some conducted themselves, such as Wong. He was known for being a big fat pain in the butt and constantly challenging "Masters" to fights. I met the man, this is just his personality...

gmattson wrote:What do you think about this whole subject of certain old (and generally dead) martial art superstars?

Were they just a little above average fighters, when compared to other fighters of the time or do you believe that they actually deserved the "superhuman" status given to them by their students?


Now can we quantify "how good he was" or "how good" these other folks were? Not really, they're gone, though seeing other family members like Bruce Lee, working with Wong and still other very talented family members one does get a clue.

But the key is this attribute sought after by many kung-fu people, this, "Show me or shut up" and that kung-fu fighting nature, the desire to seek out martial skill, was and still is the main thrust and nature of kung-fu culture.

These systems focus on combat skill not forms. They focus on functionality over form, on actual advanced fighting skills, system concepts and in general combat practicality. Among those with combat training and a desire to grow there must be a willingness to ask, to test and yes compare through the 'challenge' to find some measure of truth. I mean if you tell me you have a better mouse trap then I will expect to see it catch some mice before I go invest money in it.....so did they :)
Last edited by JimHawkins on Mon Sep 05, 2005 1:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Guest » Mon Sep 05, 2005 1:21 pm

What mind control? The people who blindly follow others are mindless automatons.
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Postby CANDANeh » Mon Sep 05, 2005 1:23 pm

Knowing who (your well respected master) your going "up against" can I think set you up for the knock out. Basically almost like hypnosis, self induced and in someways as GEM pointed out...staged by the preliminaries. When we were young children many of us thought our dads for example could do anything...think back :wink:
In the past I`m sure many felt the same about thier Sifu and no reason to believe otherwise, thier (sifu) confidence level must have been high as well so this confidence projected certainly could be felt by others not even directly under the "masters" control.
All those in position of training others who have students respect have some advantage I do believe, no stretch to say that in the right environment mind control can be applied.
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Interesting thoughts so far...

Postby gmattson » Mon Sep 05, 2005 1:36 pm

However... Tony:

What mind control? The people who blindly follow others are mindless automatons.


Perhaps you missed the point I was trying to make. Using the term "mind control" in the context I used it, was an attempt to capture that "something" that charismatic individuals possess and project, to others.

Tony Robbins and many TV "born again" preachers have it. I wouldn't go so far as to say anyone who gets trapped within these individuals "projections" are "mindless automatons".

To some extent, we all are capable of being sucked into other people's reputation, whether real or hype. This is not to say that at some point someone will come along and not be "sucked in", but most will not even be aware that they are victims.
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Postby Guest » Mon Sep 05, 2005 1:43 pm

George, I've never been one to have heros. Yes, there are people I respect, and owe a great deal too, but I create myself. What makes me different then all these other people? Self reliance? Pride? Honor? Loneliness?
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Re: Myths, superstition, respect & mind control...

Postby JimHawkins » Mon Sep 05, 2005 2:09 pm

Lots more on this topic to talk about but going back to this.

gmattson wrote:What do you think about this whole subject of certain old (and generally dead) martial art superstars?


George for me it's like this:

It all depends on your prospective.. I sought out a 'hero' in Bruce, I had read up and read up more and things just kept coming back to Bruce for me in my research in the 80s. So I decided that I wanted to follow his path, experience what he had.. My goal however was to fight better and at that time, when you are young, well you look at the whole thing differently.

So I found the 'connection' the closest thing to what Bruce had done and I trained with someone who was classmates with Bruce. As good luck would have it...the school was run exactly as had Ip ran the school in the old days, the same method and structure and material and social dynamics.

Anyway back to the 'Superstar' thing:

Not sure what it really means but if it means exceptional skill then yes I think that there can be little doubt that Ip had such skill. This I glean from seeing and experiencing amazing feats of skill from his direct descendants, modern day folks who probably didn't train as long or as hard as did Ip, yet still had the ability to apply the system with amazing skill in different situations and a joyful willingness to give any visitor from anywhere a go in the school and always look good doing so says a hell of a lot.

For me seeing the skills, experiencing the brilliance of the system's progression and skills myself and seeing good results from all concerned is more than enough proof. The old man, while perhaps not invincible at 4' 11" tall, was IMNSHO indeed a highly skilled master in his time and most worthy of this “SS” status.. :)

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Last edited by JimHawkins on Mon Sep 05, 2005 2:30 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Postby MikeK » Mon Sep 05, 2005 2:24 pm

I agree George. I think in the orient the veneration of the old and a past reputation account for much of the prowess given to elderly masters. But some have replaced physical prowess with smarts.

What do you think about this whole subject of certain old (and generally dead) martial art superstars?

Were they just a little above average fighters, when compared to other fighters of the time or do you believe that they actually deserved the "superhuman" status given to them by their students?


I don't give much thought to the supposed prowess of any dead master unless they have a verified fight record, have film of them performing their techniques (not just kata or forms), photos of same, or have written down explicitly what they were doing. I'm much more into what living people are doing, and I'd bet bet dollars to doughnuts if the old masters were effective they were doing what the modern guys are now doing.
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Re: Myths, superstition, respect & mind control...

Postby Oldfist » Mon Sep 05, 2005 2:30 pm

gmattson wrote:I began this thread after reading Jim's last post in another thread:
These older Sifu accepted these challenges because they could! They truly did have skills and were not afraid to 'be tested.' Try that these days on one of these cream puff 'masters' and I bet they block with their face...or run away crying for help...

<snip>
What do you think about this whole subject of certain old (and generally dead) martial art superstars?

Were they just a little above average fighters, when compared to other fighters of the time or do you believe that they actually deserved the "superhuman" status given to them by their students?


At best they were only locally superior fighters, however not demonstrably in any sense globally superior fighters. This is interesting history, but does border on mythology when and if it generates too much cult worship.

That was then and this now. I think the current globally demonstrable masters that take challenge matches for a living are mma prize fighters at the top of their game, such as Chuck Liddell.

Here is a great overview of the evolution of mma fighting:
http://www.absoluteastronomy.com/encycl ... l_arts.htm

Here are a couple of bios of Chuck:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chuck_Liddell#Biography

http://www.mmareview.com/mmareview-prof ... iddell.htm

When asked, "What art do you study most?"

Chuck replied, "Everything's balanced. Grappling, Jiu Jitsu, kick boxing. I still train in Kempo."

Beyond Chuck's many years of mma training, I think there are other gifts Chuck has that make him a master fighter and these include a natural intuitive timing and striking ability, and he is a great natural athlete.
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Champion or Master ?

Postby Asteer » Mon Sep 05, 2005 3:56 pm

I wonder if it isn't important to distinguish between the idea of a Champion and that of a Master? If you take the venue of professional sports as an example, one can bring to mind a myriad of champions, athletes who can "play the game" at an astounding level and who have the power to sway the outcome of the contest. However, only a handful of athletes come to mind when you seek to identify those with a true "mind for the game," those athletes who just have a deep understanding of the game and seem to almost have a sixth sense for it because of that. For me, names like Larry Bird and Wayne Gretsky come to mind. These athletes with a true "mind for the game" are what I consider the masters of their sports.

I think that Masters are necessarily Champions, I am not sure that the reverse is true. I also think that it is the Masters who have the capacity to turn around and guide others to become true champions and masters in their own right. What I am trying to say is that "being" a master goes much deeper than winning fights or scoring goals. It is understanding intimately, and thoroughly, how winning is acheived and being able to pass that down.
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Postby jorvik » Mon Sep 05, 2005 7:12 pm

you can make some strange paralells. A brave soldier and a Suicide bomber :D .who is the braver.
same in Ma's a young fit Thai boxer or an old highly skilled master.......I know where Jim is coming from ....although I don't think a lot of folks do.
I'll give an example. some silat styles fight from the floor....as soon as the fight starts they hit the ground.but they don't want to wrestle and they know all the attacks that somebody can throw at them and all the counters :lol: :lol: ........now imagine fighting one of these guys, what would you do? he has deliberatly put himself in an apparantly ridiculous situation...yet one that he is highly skilled at.....and you are not. he knows you will try and kick him.if you punch him you go off balance :roll: .........and that is exactly why he has gone there. There are other examples BJJ their strength is in ground wrestling..that is what Chineses masters do they have a certain area where they are highly skilled and they go for that....with Wing Chun it's sticking hands and sensitivity and aggression.......although that's a bit of an understatement :lol:
now with karate sometimes it's just kicking and punching and no strategy :wink:
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Postby MikeK » Tue Sep 06, 2005 12:57 am

I'll give an example. some silat styles fight from the floor....as soon as the fight starts they hit the ground.but they don't want to wrestle and they know all the attacks that somebody can throw at them and all the counters Laughing Laughing ........now imagine fighting one of these guys, what would you do?
Shoot him.
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Postby Rick Wilson » Tue Sep 06, 2005 5:05 pm

Not sure we are all on George’s page.

There is a phenomenon that usually happens “in” a dojo (I had not thought of it outside the dojo in the manner George has) we call “Sensei-itis.”

Basically the students have worked with the Sensei long enough to know a few things.

They know the Sensei is pretty good.

They know the Sensei can make things work.

So they tend to “submit” in a demonstration faster than anyone truly resisting.

(Please note that I am NOT saying that when a teacher is demonstrating something the subject should resist. That IS how they could get hurt.)

We see this very dramatically in Aikido where the students look like they LEAP into the throws. The truth (should be) is that they know how painful resistance is so they minimize it by going with the throw very dramatically.

Now extend this to a student facing off against the teacher. Some of this may carry over to make the teacher more successful.

George (I think) has carried this over to a person facing a well known fighting master. Would this “respect” inhibit their ability to fight back as they would against an unknown person?

I am not sure if this is where George was going but I can see a parallel reasoning between the two.

For instance: You are facing Jim Maloney.

Now anyone in Uechi knows of Jim’s fighting ability and how fast he can move and how hard he can hit.

Where is your “mind set” at that moment?

Would it be the same as someone accosting you in a bar?

It SHOULD be, but would it be?

Now think about the fact that trying to build your reputation as a fighter you decide to walk into Jim’s dojo and issue a challenge.

Would there be some of that “awe’ of the master that would inhibit your ability?

I don’t know myself I am just throwing this out there. :D

Addendum:

Neil Dunnigan related a story about a guy walking into Jim’s dojo in Nova Scotia and announcing: “I am a TKD Black Belt from Montreal and karate F&*^% *****!”

Neil said Jim went from the front of the dojo to the entrance in an instant and he didn’t think guy touch one step on his way out (they were on the second floor).

So now, having seen that or heard that story: Where would your mind set be? 8O :lol:
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Postby Asteer » Tue Sep 06, 2005 5:27 pm

Never having seen it happen, I would nonetheless expect that most people who go around issuing challenges are probably pretty cocky and self-confident. So I am not sure how much the reputation of the master would come into play. An irreverant young fighter who going around challenging sensei is more likely to disdain an old master than fear him...
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Postby Rick Wilson » Tue Sep 06, 2005 5:38 pm

Asteer: Good point.
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