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Old 04-03-2012, 07:22 PM   #1
notdrock
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Politics, the Death of Martial Arts?

This is about Martial Arts as a whole...

I wanted to bring this up because I recently read two books by my old teacher that quite frankly made me feel quite betrayed by the world of martial arts. The betrayal came not so much from being taught something that just wasn't grounded, but betrayed in the sense that many teachers and students are practicing modified, more aesthetic versions of arts that miss (and probably very severely miss) usefulness for war-time, and believe what they do is "true" and "real" with no actual grounded evidence. The problem is, no-one can say anything because it would be taboo to question the "authorities". God knows how many students are being taught modified arts that have next to no martial value, yet whole-heartedly believe they are. Quite frankly, that is both dangerous and a lie, and will lead to people getting hurt or even killed. This goes from local schools all the way up to "internationally acclaimed" teachers.

The way I see it, unless a person is willing to admit what he's learning or teaching is far removed form the source material to such a degree it probably doesn't work (and give the choice to the student to decide if he still wants to learn it), meaning he or she would have to challenge their own egos, can we say that martial arts is all but dead?

A student is considered rude to ask such things, and many teachers would deem it insulting to be questioned. It'd have even worse repercussions through international organizations as with any institution, teachers are often buddy-buddy and even go to the degree of having "inner-circles" that only the most worthy may be considered invitation to.

Seriously, no wonder we're in a bad state of affairs.

Last edited by notdrock : 04-03-2012 at 07:26 PM.
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Old 04-03-2012, 09:18 PM   #2
HL1978
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Talking Re: Politics, the Death of Martial Arts?

I think you raised two issues here, which may or not be connected. I would generally agree that the further an art goes away from the source material, or at the very least, fairly grounded attacks or a pressure testing environment, the more "wackyness" intrudes. This could be for any multitude of reasons, and is in no way unique to aikido. The results of which can range from clear misunderstandings to potentially outright dangerous interpretations. I am not trying to make the aliveness argument here as this occurs even in arts with full contact free sparring.

Politics on the other hand, causes all sorts of issues. By and large, outside of my experience in ZNKR affiliated arts, I have largely stayed away from politics in martial arts mostly due to the fact that I have been a member of dojos which have minimal affiliations with other dojos. Sure it may provide access to a large amount of teaching resources, but it allows for little reinterpetation or further development of the art, as it relies on consensus among the anointed bishops. I think Rob Redmond has probably written much more on this particular subject in a manner far more eloquent than myself.

Now when you have these two issues working together, it can lead to a fundamental misunderstanding of portions of an arts curriculum, again not unique to aikido as I have experienced it in other arts.
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Old 04-03-2012, 09:55 PM   #3
robin_jet_alt
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Re: Politics, the Death of Martial Arts?

Well, I agree with you about your major point. I've encountered a lot of people who refuse to consider other ways of doing techniques simply because "it is not the way things are done". I prefer to try a lot of different methods and work out the pros and cons for myself. At the very least, I want to know why things work.
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Old 04-03-2012, 11:26 PM   #4
Aikironin21
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Re: Politics, the Death of Martial Arts?

Politics has watered down many systems. The public has changed as the schools have changed too. Here in the US I don' t think you can push students to the brink the way my Kaj sigun used to. He is a first generation student of Professor Emperado. His classes are not the grinders they were years ago. I remember leaving bumped and bruised and barely able to walk the next day. I was actually afraid of going back last year. I think Sigun likes having me back, bringing some of the old school back.

In a time where schools are competing for students, why would you maintain a class that was physically demanding to the point of failure, when the public wants as easy as possible. Add to that, the fact that the techniques that are high percentage effective, are usually the ugly ducklings or plain, and the low percentage techniques are the flashy ones that look cool in movies, and you have an environment where, in order to keep students coming through the door, you spend more time selling yourself than teaching grounded techniques, which are almost universal across many systems, and for the most part boring. Look at Aikido. How many are super excited, to work on Ikkyo, when they could be practicing Irimi Nage? Since, all other techniques, can be got from Ikkyo, wouldn't Ikkyo seem the most practical thing to practice? Yet, if given a choice, most Aikidoka would rather practice Irimi Nage, because it is flashier and Seagal makes it look cool in movies. I have seen this in Kaj too where the earlier learned techniques never really improve. They stagnate as the requirements are learned for promotion. The technique is technically correct, but the practicality of actual application is never obtained. The usefulness plateaus as it is no longer practiced for the sake of learning the new material.

So what we have is a student pool that wants quick rewards with little effort, and organizations, transforming to meet that need. Like when people hear I train in Aikido, and they tell me of a brother or cousin who has been training for a year or two and is a Shodan.
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Old 04-04-2012, 02:48 AM   #5
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Re: Politics, the Death of Martial Arts?

Quote:
Larry Robinson wrote: View Post
Politics has watered down many systems. The public has changed as the schools have changed too. Here in the US I don' t think you can push students to the brink the way my Kaj sigun used to. He is a first generation student of Professor Emperado. His classes are not the grinders they were years ago. I remember leaving bumped and bruised and barely able to walk the next day. I was actually afraid of going back last year. I think Sigun likes having me back, bringing some of the old school back.

In a time where schools are competing for students, why would you maintain a class that was physically demanding to the point of failure, when the public wants as easy as possible. Add to that, the fact that the techniques that are high percentage effective, are usually the ugly ducklings or plain, and the low percentage techniques are the flashy ones that look cool in movies, and you have an environment where, in order to keep students coming through the door, you spend more time selling yourself than teaching grounded techniques, which are almost universal across many systems, and for the most part boring. Look at Aikido. How many are super excited, to work on Ikkyo, when they could be practicing Irimi Nage? Since, all other techniques, can be got from Ikkyo, wouldn't Ikkyo seem the most practical thing to practice? Yet, if given a choice, most Aikidoka would rather practice Irimi Nage, because it is flashier and Seagal makes it look cool in movies. I have seen this in Kaj too where the earlier learned techniques never really improve. They stagnate as the requirements are learned for promotion. The technique is technically correct, but the practicality of actual application is never obtained. The usefulness plateaus as it is no longer practiced for the sake of learning the new material.

So what we have is a student pool that wants quick rewards with little effort, and organizations, transforming to meet that need. Like when people hear I train in Aikido, and they tell me of a brother or cousin who has been training for a year or two and is a Shodan.
Agree in principle with a lot of this but think 'Politics' is a very broad label that is conveniently over used.

Is Financial viability the same as Politics? Not talking 'professional' instructors but non profit Aikido clubs who's target is survival only. Some consideration for Finance is essential - without it ...there won't be a club. So in a pyramid of needs this has to be first base.

Now regarding technique selection...some instructors are progressive, looking to evolve and improve, Others don't challenge themselves or their students. Most are a bit of both. For most instructors they operate a 1 to many relationship and provide a lesson that has to meet a wide range of objectives and skill levels - Is this diversity "politics? " ....Is a refusal to continuously improve "Politics" or perhaps some kind of 'my cup is full' ego thing?

in my personal experience I've run a large dojo for a number of years....and have had a number of fall outs with people.

The reasons are multiple but include bullying, lack of ambition, co-instructors forming cliques of students that wish to perform social aikido, students that think they should be the teacher...all sorts of things that you get when you have a lot of people and an open door policy.

On one occasion I also fell out with someone due to my own pig headedness...but only once.

I aspire to be better than my teachers, I'll select the best instruction I can get to and take it...and I bring that back to the dojo. What I won't do is tolerate behaviour that puts the dojo at risk or makes it a worse place to train in.

So I'll continue to fall out with anyone that jeapordizes the future of the dojo.

But I also work within a team, I'm not unregulated or all powerful ...far from it. I include myself in the high standards that I expect from my students. I validate my techniques by training, outside the dojo as well as inside, outside of Aikido too.

I channel this experience back in as improvement.

Anyway the upshot of this insistence on standards is that the bullies leave, those that want to play Aikido leave, those that think they should be teachers when they are not ready leave. Not necessarily immediately ...but so far this is the case since they realise I will not compromise standards and am within a team of instructors that think the same way.

Now - when these people turn up at other dojos they are asked why they left.

The answer is never that 'I bullied people' , 'I tried to dictate what the club did' or anything like that ....It is alway "politics...I left because of politics'.

So for me Politics is too convenient an answer - the death of martial arts is more likely to be due to the weakness of people and failure to aspire to keep improving and providing a training environment to foster this. In short a lack of beginners mind and true commitment to lifetime training.

As usual - I'll expect that to the unknowing outsider there are those that will say what give you the right to choose the standards and the rules.

My answer is validation - I continue to train with the best I can, I preserve the traditions transmitted by my instructors ...and when something better comes along its embraced. But everything is validated through training. I also encourage my fellow instuctors & students to do the same.My longevity and experiences also give me the right, when someone better is around then I've no qualms about accepting their seniority.

When someone worse comes around and tries to dictate then I am not so obliging.

I have made mistakes of course, I once asked someone not to return to training after a heated exchange of emails ...it was the right result in the end as their future actions spiralled in a bad way...but at the time I could have handled it better...but just delayed the inevitable.

So not claiming to be perfect by any stretch !

Anyway - Happy Easter to those that celebrate it.

D
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Old 04-04-2012, 10:37 AM   #6
kfa4303
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Re: Politics, the Death of Martial Arts?

Nonsense, who said you can't/shouldn't challenge authority and why did you listen to them? Quite frankly, that's your problem not there's. All martial artists are human and therefore flawed. Everyone makes mistakes, even Nobel Prize winners and Aikido sensei. Besides, if you really want to be the baddest dude (dudette) on the block, be a Navy Seal. Simple as that. They're in the death dealing business everyday and the best in the world at it, so if that's what you want, that's where you need to go.
I'm a scientist personally. I don't accept a single thing anyone tells me at face value and neither should you, or anyone else. If Issac Newton himself said "2 + 2 = 5", I can and would stand up and call him out if front of god and everybody and so should you. Not because I want to be right, but because he's is plainly and demonstrably wrong, and misinformation is not only useless, it's dangerous. Oh, and if your mother says she loves you, check your sources. If she really said it then you have nothing to worry about, and if she didn't well now you have the truth and you know that your previous "source" is unreliable, and therefore to be ignored or treated with suspicion. Need further proof? What's rule number one of medicine? Get a second opinion! Why, because everyone (even really smart doctors) can be wrong, and often are.
In fact, there is really only one response to any claim or assertion anyone makes at any time; "Prove it." If you have magic ki power and can knock me off my feet from across the room, fine, prove it. If you think thus and such technique is best in a given situation, fine, prove it. So Bigfoot and the Loch Ness Minster live in your backyard, fine, prove it. If you've built a longer lasting light bulb, or better mouse trap, fine, prove it. If you think I'm wrong, please allow me to prove it. It's quite simple really. I find that these two simple words will generally separate the wheat from the chaff very quickly. If they don't have the courage to put their own ideas and suggestions to the test, then you probably shouldn't be listening to them.
It's odd too because having studied several other arts for years, I only find this sort of mindless acceptance of information, authority and orthodoxy from martial artists. Classical/Jazz musicians are constantly asking new questions and trying to approach the music from new angles, sculptors are always seeking out new materials and setting for their works, scientists stand on the shoulders of giants to give us all an ever larger and expanding vista of thought and knowledge. I suppose it's a combination of hierarchical, military mindset inherent in all "martial arts" and a lack of rational inquiry that is generally lacking in most Oriental philosophies. Not to mention the even moire misguided fallacy that the "Eastern Way" is some how superior to the "Western Way", which aside from being little more that thinly veiled racism is again plainly and demonstrably false. I mean none of you are running down the the pharmacy to get rhino horn, or tiger bones are you? And please tell me you don't go for any of the other sucker bets like "Reiki", homeopathy and/or acupuncture flim-fllam. (S.C.A.M. =Supplemental, Complimentary, Alternative Medicines) ("A fool and his money are soon parted", indeed.) Ah, no matter, when push comes to shove, you'll all come see me in the "evil" Western hospital. Never mind the fact that Japanese, whom we all seem to fetishize so very much for some inexplicable reason, are the longest lived people on Earth, I believe, and they don't bother with any of that S.C.A.M. non-sense. Nope, they have nice, shiny, Western-style medicine and it works great, thank you very much. They'll leave all the hokum to their mainland cousins, who unfortunately have no other choices.
Of course, the greatest irony of all is that O Sensei was one of the all-time great iconoclasts in martial arts history and we're all better for it. He certainly didn't sit back and just idly accept everything at face value. On the contrary, he saw that there might be better/different ways to achieve a given goal and then endeavored to find them using good 'ol trial and error (i.e. experimentation), and rightly so.
In the same vein, I suppose, also try to find additional supporting evidence for ALL claims whenever possible. If my sensei says "abc" about a given technique, and I can find others who have said the same/similar thing, then I can put some stock in it. However, if my sensei says one thing, and I've not heard anything similar from others of similar experience, then I tend to put it on the back burner. It doesn't make it wrong, but it does raise an eyebrow, or two. When I find information that directly contradicts what I've been taught I will generally ask my own teachers for their reasons and then decide for myself, allowing always for the fact that both parties could in fact be wrong (Mythbusters motto : "Failure is always an option!") Again, if your teacher (in any area of study) cannot offer you a well-reasoned, intelligent response to your question and justification for their own actions, then you probably need a new teacher. "Just because.", or "Because I said so.", or "That's how I was taught", is the oldest and lamest cop out of all time, and is a sure sign your teacher is a nincompoop. I mean if someone told you that you had to do the hokey-pokey to start your car every morning, you wouldn't believe them simply because they said so (I hope). It's one of the world's oldest logical fallacies; the argument from authority.
To help combat this, scientists offer up their reasons and explanations for observed events every day in peer-reviewed journals. They put there claims and assertions up for public ridicule and willingly ask people to find fault with their conclusions and/or methodologies. If only more Aikidoka and Sensei were so brave, but alas most are not. Instead, they simply stay in their own little echo chamber and reinforce their own world view and grow little if any as a result. I think that's why we should all be encouraged to go to seminars and actively seek out instructors who will challenge our previously held notions. If our old ideas and methodologies are sound, they'll stand up to any scrutiny you can throw at them (2 + 2 = 4; always has been, always will be no matter how much you try to make it otherwise.). On the other hand, if they can't well then it might be time to look for some new strategies.

Caveat Emptor!........especially when it comes to martial arts "experts".

"Sacred cows make the best hamburger." --Mark Twain
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Old 04-04-2012, 11:12 AM   #7
lbb
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Re: Politics, the Death of Martial Arts?

"Betrayed by the world of martial arts"? Insofar as such a thing as "the world of martial arts" even exists, what makes you feel that it made you some kind of promise or guarantee? Perhaps it's your own expectations, rather than any promises made to you, that have played you false.
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Old 04-04-2012, 11:46 AM   #8
Kevin Leavitt
 
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Re: Politics, the Death of Martial Arts?

There are good dojos out there. People tend to gravitate to what they want to do. Folks that want to train hard and be held to a high degree of accountability tend to find each other and train together.

Also caveat emptor comes to mind.

I hate org politics. I never get involved, I like to train and enjoy my practice. They are there, sure...I just don't play the game.

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Old 04-04-2012, 12:21 PM   #9
jackie adams
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Re: Politics, the Death of Martial Arts?

Quote:
Luke Hobbs wrote: View Post
This is about Martial Arts as a whole...

I wanted to bring this up because I recently read two books by my old teacher that quite frankly made me feel quite betrayed by the world of martial arts. The betrayal came not so much from being taught something that just wasn't grounded, but betrayed in the sense that many teachers and students are practicing modified, more aesthetic versions of arts that miss (and probably very severely miss) usefulness for war-time, and believe what they do is "true" and "real" with no actual grounded evidence. The problem is, no-one can say anything because it would be taboo to question the "authorities". God knows how many students are being taught modified arts that have next to no martial value, yet whole-heartedly believe they are. Quite frankly, that is both dangerous and a lie, and will lead to people getting hurt or even killed. This goes from local schools all the way up to "internationally acclaimed" teachers.

The way I see it, unless a person is willing to admit what he's learning or teaching is far removed form the source material to such a degree it probably doesn't work (and give the choice to the student to decide if he still wants to learn it), meaning he or she would have to challenge their own egos, can we say that martial arts is all but dead?

A student is considered rude to ask such things, and many teachers would deem it insulting to be questioned. It'd have even worse repercussions through international organizations as with any institution, teachers are often buddy-buddy and even go to the degree of having "inner-circles" that only the most worthy may be considered invitation to.

Seriously, no wonder we're in a bad state of affairs.
Hello everyone, I would hope my 2 cents will be a benefit to the discussion.

The first paragraph I can see being a problem when a student's expectations are different the directive and school ideology don't match. Often occurring overtime more often later than early on, does a student make such an awareness to the ideological differences. Yes, a conflict that often leaves student feeling betrayed is common. The old jaded student syndrome as I like to call it.

In the second and third paragraph touches on a pet peeve of mine. The assumption anyone can teach. Not everyone by default is a good teacher. Teaching, as it is my belief, is in itself an art. Altruism of a teacher is beneficial. Allowing the ego to get in the way of student learning isn't a sign of the best type of teacher. It hurts the student and the teacher. I think the art of teaching isn't stress well enough in the martial arts.

The third paragraph, if a teacher has good intentions and is looking out for the best interest of the students the issues in the third paragraph are not issues. They are handled differently then the ego ridden teacher with no understanding of what it really means to teach. Student resentment builds further against teachers with unhealthy egos. The Jaded Student Syndrome then become even more reinforced.

Life is yin and yang, we can't lay the onus only on the teacher for a Jade student, the student must take responsibility, understand they too have egos. There are students that are uncooperative, demanding acting with self entitlement, that bad mouth the teacher because they don't get what the want, when they want it.. Being fair and balanced, what I don't hear allot is teachers talking publicly, but privately, how some students are pain in the ass. There is two sides to every story, in all fairness.

Thank you everyone and have a great day.
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Old 04-04-2012, 02:15 PM   #10
Rupert Atkinson
 
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Re: Politics, the Death of Martial Arts?

It might just be me, but I have never viewed MMA as true martial arts, even though I recognise that many of them are very good at what they do. It's just that, what they do is not martial arts (even if it is more effective than certain martial arts - bizarre, I know). Like, if you are in a fight, is your aim to drag a guy to the ground and choke him out? Bruce Lee said the way you train is the way you fight...

In the beginning, MMA was truly mixed, as people learned separate martial arts and put them together. Over time, however, it has all morphed into it's own art that is really now a sport and its students really have no clue what the spearate arts are anymore - they just have the one paradigm. So, maybe MMA is, as the original poster said, Modified Martial Art. I suppose though, in the end, it's all JKD.

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Old 04-04-2012, 02:58 PM   #11
kfa4303
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Re: Politics, the Death of Martial Arts?

Quote:
Jackie Adams wrote: View Post
Hello everyone, I would hope my 2 cents will be a benefit to the discussion.

The first paragraph I can see being a problem when a student's expectations are different the directive and school ideology don't match. Often occurring overtime more often later than early on, does a student make such an awareness to the ideological differences. Yes, a conflict that often leaves student feeling betrayed is common. The old jaded student syndrome as I like to call it.

In the second and third paragraph touches on a pet peeve of mine. The assumption anyone can teach. Not everyone by default is a good teacher. Teaching, as it is my belief, is in itself an art. Altruism of a teacher is beneficial. Allowing the ego to get in the way of student learning isn't a sign of the best type of teacher. It hurts the student and the teacher. I think the art of teaching isn't stress well enough in the martial arts.

The third paragraph, if a teacher has good intentions and is looking out for the best interest of the students the issues in the third paragraph are not issues. They are handled differently then the ego ridden teacher with no understanding of what it really means to teach. Student resentment builds further against teachers with unhealthy egos. The Jaded Student Syndrome then become even more reinforced.

Life is yin and yang, we can't lay the onus only on the teacher for a Jade student, the student must take responsibility, understand they too have egos. There are students that are uncooperative, demanding acting with self entitlement, that bad mouth the teacher because they don't get what the want, when they want it.. Being fair and balanced, what I don't hear allot is teachers talking publicly, but privately, how some students are pain in the ass. There is two sides to every story, in all fairness.

Thank you everyone and have a great day.
"Not everyone by default is a good teacher. Teaching, as it is my belief, is in itself an art."

AMEN! Just look at pro-sports. Micheal Jordan was a great player and terrible coach/owner. Many other NBA coaches never did, never will play the game, but they can teach it like the dickens. Two completely different skill sets.

Some of my favorite teachers were not necessarily the greatest practitioners, or in very good physical shape for that matter, yet they were able to demonstrate and/or explain things in a way that got through to me and a wide variety of other people. No mean feat. It such a shame that the art of teaching is so poorly regarded in thins country nowadays. Just look at the way teachers get demonized and scapegoated on fiscal issues, etc...Only in America :/ You see similar things in academia too. Used to be that a Professor was truly a high honor and skill set to be admired and desired. Now all of the "professors" you're likely to come across are just guys and gals doing a bunch of their own research who and being more or less forced to teach to earn their keep......and it shows. No wonder students loose interest. Their teachers don't even want to be there. Meanwhile, great teachers who can/do have the drive and enthusiasm it takes are left on the sideline. Good grief :/
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Old 04-04-2012, 07:20 PM   #12
HL1978
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Re: Politics, the Death of Martial Arts?

MMA isn't politics free. There are certainly relationships between the promoters and various schools, and money of course influcenes things as well. While the ruleset may reduce shenanigans of some sort, it can also introduce new twists. This isn't unique to MMA, but is true of any ruleset.

kfa4303, the problem you may run into if you go "show up" some high level guy in the association is that you may get shunned, because you threaten their position. I think a number of the people here with an interest in IS may have had some experiences with that.
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Old 04-04-2012, 08:46 PM   #13
Walter Martindale
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Re: Politics, the Death of Martial Arts?

Quote:
Karl Arant wrote: View Post

You see similar things in academia too. Used to be that a Professor was truly a high honor and skill set to be admired and desired. Now all of the "professors" you're likely to come across are just guys and gals doing a bunch of their own research who and being more or less forced to teach to earn their keep......and it shows. No wonder students loose interest. Their teachers don't even want to be there. Meanwhile, great teachers who can/do have the drive and enthusiasm it takes are left on the sideline. Good grief

:/
This isn't new, actually - it was the case when I was doing my post grad work in the late 70s.
Cheers,
W
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Old 04-05-2012, 04:19 AM   #14
Kevin Leavitt
 
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Re: Politics, the Death of Martial Arts?

Quote:
Hunter Lonsberry wrote: View Post
MMA isn't politics free. There are certainly relationships between the promoters and various schools, and money of course influcenes things as well. While the ruleset may reduce shenanigans of some sort, it can also introduce new twists. This isn't unique to MMA, but is true of any ruleset.

kfa4303, the problem you may run into if you go "show up" some high level guy in the association is that you may get shunned, because you threaten their position. I think a number of the people here with an interest in IS may have had some experiences with that.
agreed....politics enter into everything. There is a difference between martial accountability and politics. you can have an art such as MMA or BJJ that have a high degree of martial accountability, and it can still have politics. I've seen some very competent individuals not get promoted simply because of politics.

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Old 04-05-2012, 04:26 AM   #15
Kevin Leavitt
 
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Re: Politics, the Death of Martial Arts?

Quote:
Rupert Atkinson wrote: View Post
It might just be me, but I have never viewed MMA as true martial arts, even though I recognise that many of them are very good at what they do. It's just that, what they do is not martial arts (even if it is more effective than certain martial arts - bizarre, I know). Like, if you are in a fight, is your aim to drag a guy to the ground and choke him out? Bruce Lee said the way you train is the way you fight...

In the beginning, MMA was truly mixed, as people learned separate martial arts and put them together. Over time, however, it has all morphed into it's own art that is really now a sport and its students really have no clue what the spearate arts are anymore - they just have the one paradigm. So, maybe MMA is, as the original poster said, Modified Martial Art. I suppose though, in the end, it's all JKD.
Not categorically true. In fact, you will find, IMO, a high number of folks in MMA that have come from other traditional backgrounds that certainly understand martial arts on many levels. In fact, I find that the degree of adaptability to be high. Many MMAers cross many arts and rule sets. For example, I compete in Judo, BJJ, have competed in TKD in the past, Karate, and also can adapt to the constraints of the "rules" within an Aikido dojo. In addition, I can adapt readily to the rule established on the modern battlefield.

I would agreee that MMA in many respects and in most commercial establishments have centered on an established rule set around UFC type rules and tend to focus there methodology on this set. Again, however, for the most part you still see alot of cross-leveling and adapation...more so than in most traditional martial arts that IMO have really LOST there abiltiy to relate to reality.

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Old 04-05-2012, 05:00 AM   #16
sakumeikan
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Re: Politics, the Death of Martial Arts?

Hi , all,
In my view there is no escape from politics in any martial art or in any walk of life.Everything is politics in my book.Even when you try and avoid politics this decision to avoid politics is still a statement of a political view.The abuse of political power for personal gain is widespread.Does anybody really believe that any Government really cares or considers the plebs?Our own MPs may well have some genuine people representing their constituences, but the top brass are generally out for number one.Cheers, Joe.
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Old 04-05-2012, 07:16 AM   #17
DH
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Re: Politics, the Death of Martial Arts?

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Rupert Atkinson wrote: View Post
It might just be me, but I have never viewed MMA as true martial arts, even though I recognise that many of them are very good at what they do. It's just that, what they do is not martial arts (even if it is more effective than certain martial arts - bizarre, I know). Like, if you are in a fight, is your aim to drag a guy to the ground and choke him out? Bruce Lee said the way you train is the way you fight...

In the beginning, MMA was truly mixed, as people learned separate martial arts and put them together. Over time, however, it has all morphed into it's own art that is really now a sport and its students really have no clue what the spearate arts are anymore - they just have the one paradigm. So, maybe MMA is, as the original poster said, Modified Martial Art. I suppose though, in the end, it's all JKD.
Well it's just a view but I consider MMA the highest form of martial arts.

As far as MMA being just a new sport... I disagree. Sure some younger people just jump into an MMA school, but most MMAers come out of or stay part of, more than one traditional discipline, like Wrestling, Judo, Bjj, Karate, MT, FMA, etc. It is worth noting that the founders of the great "traditions" were MMA'ers. I think were they to come back to life today they would have very little positive things to say about the hobbyist dilatants and the political machines that rule the martial arts today. For the most part the martial arts are no longer martial arts, and the majority of people in them are hardly capable fighters.

I could fashion a very small number of accomplished men who-were they free to express themselves in the old way- would virtually take apart and decimate the so called master level teachers from Asia. And they would not only NOT be thanked or lauded...they would be ridiculed for "harming" the tradition and political machine.

It is the minority of practitioners in the TMA who are in pursuit of martial veracity, and it cannot be had from one tradition. True skill and the sacrifices necessary to attain it, matters to just a fraction of practitioners. That is why many in the TMA continue to cut up the MMA. The truth -evident in the results displayed- is that most people in the TMA have no real interest in the challenge of expertise inherent in the pursuit of them. The reality is that rank, affiliation, physical and mental stimulation, social connections and fun are the chief pursuit of most in the arts.
Dan

Last edited by DH : 04-05-2012 at 07:18 AM.
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Old 04-05-2012, 11:41 AM   #18
sakumeikan
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Re: Politics, the Death of Martial Arts?

Quote:
Dan Harden wrote: View Post
Well it's just a view but I consider MMA the highest form of martial arts.

As far as MMA being just a new sport... I disagree. Sure some younger people just jump into an MMA school, but most MMAers come out of or stay part of, more than one traditional discipline, like Wrestling, Judo, Bjj, Karate, MT, FMA, etc. It is worth noting that the founders of the great "traditions" were MMA'ers. I think were they to come back to life today they would have very little positive things to say about the hobbyist dilatants and the political machines that rule the martial arts today. For the most part the martial arts are no longer martial arts, and the majority of people in them are hardly capable fighters.

I could fashion a very small number of accomplished men who-were they free to express themselves in the old way- would virtually take apart and decimate the so called master level teachers from Asia. And they would not only NOT be thanked or lauded...they would be ridiculed for "harming" the tradition and political machine.

It is the minority of practitioners in the TMA who are in pursuit of martial veracity, and it cannot be had from one tradition. True skill and the sacrifices necessary to attain it, matters to just a fraction of practitioners. That is why many in the TMA continue to cut up the MMA. The truth -evident in the results displayed- is that most people in the TMA have no real interest in the challenge of expertise inherent in the pursuit of them. The reality is that rank, affiliation, physical and mental stimulation, social connections and fun are the chief pursuit of most in the arts.
Dan
Dear Dan,
May I point out that some Aikidoka have engaged in other arts eg judo , Karate, Sumo , Kendo ,some have also weight trained?O Sensei himself studied various systems. My penny worth here.
Rik Ellis for example a MMA pro , see him on You Tube, gives credit to Aikido .He was taught by his father Henry Ellis who trained with Tadashi Abe, Kenshiro Abbe ,Chiba , Mochizuki. Noro and other Sensei . Cheers, Joe.
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Old 04-05-2012, 12:12 PM   #19
DH
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Re: Politics, the Death of Martial Arts?

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Joe Curran wrote: View Post
Dear Dan,
May I point out that some Aikidoka have engaged in other arts eg judo , Karate, Sumo , Kendo ,some have also weight trained?O Sensei himself studied various systems. My penny worth here.
Rik Ellis for example a MMA pro , see him on You Tube, gives credit to Aikido .He was taught by his father Henry Ellis who trained with Tadashi Abe, Kenshiro Abbe ,Chiba , Mochizuki. Noro and other Sensei . Cheers, Joe.
I don't see where we disagree Joe. I will go you one better. You say some Aikido-ka have cross trained? I know a ton of them.
So....
1. I advocated that cross training (MMA) is the highest order of Budo-or at least can be.
2. You advocated for the same.
And????

I also said this in the elbow power thread
Quote:
I would love to meet the Aikido or Daito ryu Shihan (who doesn't cross train) capable of withstanding what someone versed in IS...and...using it freestyle, could bring to a mat. I don't think they would stand a chance. But that's okay, there are other, standards in play-such as preserving a tradition. Not everyone got the chance to go out and experiment, explore and create. The good news is that todays budo is so open and friendly compared to the past, that everyone can meet and train. Innovators can share and traditionalists can share and both can have fun learning.
I think this might be one of the best times to do Budo.
There is place for us all, I don't see a mutual exlusivity. Moreover, all I see every month is people from many different styles appearing on a mat and laughing their butts off and training together.
Dan
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Old 04-05-2012, 12:18 PM   #20
kfa4303
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Re: Politics, the Death of Martial Arts?

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Walter Martindale wrote: View Post
This isn't new, actually - it was the case when I was doing my post grad work in the late 70s.
Cheers,
W
That's even more depressing :/ I guess it's all about the research these days, which is fine. You gotta have it, but that too is very different skill set from those of a good teacher. Not better or worse just different. I've been applying to medical school recently and one of the first things they try to get you to do is take on a PhD while you're also getting your MD, because you know that's not hard enough as it is. Not even a clinician can be clinician anymore. They too must play the "beg for funding so I can play the publish or parish game".

As per getting shunned by various and sundry organizations, that's fine. If they can't handle a little criticism/critique then they're probably not that great of an organization in the first place. Like I said, most scientists actually LIKE being disproved that means there's something more to learn. Their ego may bruised at fist, but in the long run it generally becomes a positive event. Of course, I'm not going to seek anyone to challenge their authority, but I won't "drink the Kool-aid" and nod my head in silent agreement either. That's not good for anyone. Besides, I wouldn't want to belong to a club that would have me for a member anyway

I know we don't have competition in Aikido and I'm generally glad about that and all it entails, but it does make it difficult to objectively test, refine, or verify certain aspects of various techniques in an open and honest manner........
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Old 04-05-2012, 12:30 PM   #21
lars beyer
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Re: Politics, the Death of Martial Arts?

Politics the end of Martial arts ....?
No.
Why ?
Because interacting with other people is defined by politics on a large and a small scale.

Cheers
Lars
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Old 04-05-2012, 05:57 PM   #22
Rupert Atkinson
 
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Smile Re: Politics, the Death of Martial Arts?

Quote:
Dan Harden wrote: View Post
Well it's just a view but I consider MMA the highest form of martial arts.
As far as MMA being just a new sport... I disagree. Sure some younger people just jump into an MMA school, but most MMAers come out of or stay part of, more than one traditional discipline, like Wrestling, Judo, Bjj, Karate, MT, FMA, etc. It is worth noting that the founders of the great "traditions" were MMA'ers. I think were they to come back to life today they would have very little positive things to say about the hobbyist dilatants and the political machines that rule the martial arts today. For the most part the martial arts are no longer martial arts, and the majority of people in them are hardly capable fighters.
Dan
Actually, I can't find myself disagreeing with you here. In fact, well said. If someone does MMA and a traditional art at the same time they will get a reality check in their traditional discipline and a martial sense check in their MMA training. For me, as a youngster, I did do several arts, and for a long time. I always stuck with Aikido and got my 'reality' elsewhere. And if I were young again, I'd probably mix it up with MMA. In fact, coaching my high school wrestling team the last 5 years has been quite an eye opener - I wish I had done that instead of the Judo I did when younger. And while I am at it - blatant plug - one of my boys recently got a gold medal in the NZ High School National Wrestling Championships :-D

Last edited by Rupert Atkinson : 04-05-2012 at 06:00 PM.

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Old 04-17-2012, 01:53 PM   #23
Robert Coons
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Re: Politics, the Death of Martial Arts?

I have a fairly simple rule to follow to make sure my arts aren't watered down.
If I take a student, if they want to test what I have before they decide to learn from me, they can fight with me. Usually with rules, sometimes with gloves. Various different platforms. If they want to punch and kick, we can do something similar to kickboxing, but I will use my stuff. If they want to wrestle, we do taiji push hands with takedowns. We could also combine those into a K-1 or Kyokushin format.
Point being, if you want to verify your skills, it is really important to have a criteria by which you judge those skills. I don't do aikido (yet), I do Chinese styles and have a bit of experience in modern Japanese and Okinawan styles. My take on it is that if you want to have experience fighting, you have to at least do something that closely approximates fighting.
I get beaten by people all the time, ditching the ego that disallows you to be beaten is a big part of progress in martial arts. This is the only honest way that I can say that I don't water down my martial arts practice. Because of the fact that I am willing to mix it up, I actually ended up becoming a little bit more skilful than i originally was.
My teachers also have open door policies.
My teacher in Shanghai will kickbox with anyone who walks in the door.
He is one of the only traditional teachers in his style (xinyilihequan) to be allowed by his lineage to have a private school in Shanghai. I think one of the reasons is because he is willing to physically verify what he does.

Having said all that, I don't know aikido from Adam, so basically, if I am talking out of my hat, let me know. I'm here to learn, not to say how its gonna be.
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Old 04-18-2012, 07:25 AM   #24
Alberto_Italiano
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Re: Politics, the Death of Martial Arts?

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Luke Hobbs wrote: View Post
This is about Martial Arts as a whole...

I wanted to bring this up because I recently read two books by my old teacher that quite frankly made me feel quite betrayed by the world of martial arts. The betrayal came not so much from being taught something that just wasn't grounded, but betrayed in the sense that many teachers and students are practicing modified, more aesthetic versions of arts that miss (and probably very severely miss) usefulness for war-time, and believe what they do is "true" and "real" with no actual grounded evidence. The problem is, no-one can say anything because it would be taboo to question the "authorities". God knows how many students are being taught modified arts that have next to no martial value, yet whole-heartedly believe they are. Quite frankly, that is both dangerous and a lie, and will lead to people getting hurt or even killed. This goes from local schools all the way up to "internationally acclaimed" teachers.

The way I see it, unless a person is willing to admit what he's learning or teaching is far removed form the source material to such a degree it probably doesn't work (and give the choice to the student to decide if he still wants to learn it), meaning he or she would have to challenge their own egos, can we say that martial arts is all but dead?

A student is considered rude to ask such things, and many teachers would deem it insulting to be questioned. It'd have even worse repercussions through international organizations as with any institution, teachers are often buddy-buddy and even go to the degree of having "inner-circles" that only the most worthy may be considered invitation to.

Seriously, no wonder we're in a bad state of affairs.
That Aikido is severly affected by a lack of martiality is a well known fact.
But the problem you so rightly mention is, in my personal perception, not something that should be ascribed to "politics" but to "economics": I believe that the lack of martiality is due either to the necessity or to the mere choice that too many dojos pursue of maximazing participation. This mere choice, whose purpose is that of maximizing income, is counter-martial already.

It is true that a similar desire may affect also other Martial Arts, and potentially any Martial Art - and indeed this is what happens.
However, in the case of Aikido being Aikido a purely "defensive" Art (you don't hit), whatever tendency to reduce martiality in order to increase participation is immediately furthered by the very same defensive nature of Aikido, and so in our dojos this counter-martial approach becomes more apparent and nearly endemic.

Also, keep in mind that most Aikido federations hold no competitions (only the notorious "demonstration", which by definition are depleted versions of martiality): the fact aikidokas have nearly never to deal with an adevsrary that will do anything s/he can to win, immediately puts them in the position of persons too prone to the self delusion they would have been doing something that in a real situation may save their lives - whereas the sad fact is that too often it is true the exact opposite; although, thanks to Heavens, most aikidokas will never happen to face a situation where facts shall take care of proving it.

In my opinion the only option is to arrange meetings, outside normal dojos, where a more martial approach can be pursued among those who may be interested although this has many disadvantages, firstly you have no insurance coverage and then you still need to put safety first. And this is another thing that works against martiality because most persons deem safety and martiality as opposites, whereas they are not because true martiality means attaining control under fire.

Last edited by Alberto_Italiano : 04-18-2012 at 07:29 AM.
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Old 04-18-2012, 08:10 AM   #25
Alberto_Italiano
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Re: Politics, the Death of Martial Arts?

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Karl Arant wrote: View Post
(...) Besides, if you really want to be the baddest dude (dudette) on the block, be a Navy Seal. Simple as that. (...)
All posts in this thread make sense to me.
Yours was very long but I managed to read it all (and anyway I'm at times a verbose guy as well lol).

But I would like to address this statement of yours, and I want to do this because your statement holds some remarkable truth,

Of course, it should be premised that if our only choice is that between being Seals or (I use one of your words) "dudettes", we're truly in dire straits because we're all bound to be dudettes then

However, my point is another.

Are you aware that those who are more acutely aware of how much Aikido lacks in martiality, may be exactly those who came to Aikido from another very martial path (not necessarily Seals, however a very martial sport or "art")?

In shorter words, and to follow your metaphor: a Seal would be precisely one of the type of persons that would realize immediately how unrealistic most of our Aikido is.
So, maybe the reason some "complain" derives not from the fact that they weren't Seals, but precisely that they were.

Combat (not referring to war scenarios here, anyway), once been in it, produces an incredibly strong nostalgia. Only who has been there, perhaps, may understand this and what I am speaking of. You're permanently changed.

You can rationalize how much as you want, but if you meet a guy with that type of nostalgia, he will simply insist with his (arguably futile) attempts to reproduce realism in the new scenario too, because having been there s/he is utterly unable to reconcile him/herself with fictional scenarios.
It's a psycholgical thing that gets ingrained in you, once you have been visited by realistic fights. It's like a rustled weapon and you hold it and cry over it remembering how great it was - and how useless it is now and how it is decaying, and yet you yearn all the time of a chance to revive it, to recover it, to be there once again...

So, when they cannot be "seals" anymore, they may happen to show up in one of our dojos, because they are driven by their nostalgia.

ps I'm no Seal and not even anything remotely close to that - just borrowing your metaphor for my thought/reply.

Last edited by Alberto_Italiano : 04-18-2012 at 08:18 AM.
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