The lies of Martial Arts

I can call myself a martial artist again. After almost a year an a half of waiting, I finally joined Tae Kwon Do school that I decided on so long ago. I went to their training session today and talked to Master DiBella and we are going to talk about what belt level I can be at after a month. His school is not about buying your black belt on installments like in any McDojo, it is about training hard in a traditional school.

Martial arts like everything goes through cycles. I am sure many people wanted to join a Karate dojo after the Karate Kid movie in the 80s, too bad so many people do not realize that is not about finding the right school but the Mr Miyagi.

I watched UFC 81 with Chimpotle and some of his buddies and loved watching the fights. Today talking to Master DiBella the word fad came into the conversation. With MMA becoming very popular, more and more gyms are trying to promote this kind of classes and training. However, this is not for everyone and like Tae Bo, I consider it a little dangerous.

I obviously have not problem with the UFC, but I do have a problem with the people that use it as a new fad to take people’s money. It is sad to hear in the radio how a new gym just open and it will train you in MMA. Sorry folks, but this is a lie, you can master one discipline and then train in another, but to be truly a master and a good teacher you need to stick to one. I can already hear the, my master has a black belt on every art out there. To that I say, yes, that can be true, but he should only be considered a true master in one of them.

All martial arts can be broken and studied, even divided into groups based on where the emphasis is. However, they all have their own personality and like with people, you have to get to know them for a while to really know what they are about. Every school will also have its own identity developed by the master that runs it

Full contact sparring and grappling is more dangerous than it looks on TV. Those guys that enter the ring, well most of them, train very hard and are used to taking punches and being locked in positions that the body is not really made for. They are self defense techniques used developed for real life combat and should not be though of as a game. To have someone tell you any different is irresponsible.

People like Lituenant X try to tell people that Martial Arts are not ancient, but just a manipulation of history to make money. They can teach you in just one top secret marine tested DVD everything you need to know about defending yourself and you become the ultimate fighting machine.

What it really comes down to with Martial Arts is training. If you train for years on an specific art, you will gain a level of expertise and your muscles and body will accommodate for that. Experience cannot be replaced by watching some bozo on TV. A good teacher will correct your movements, over and over until they see you have achieved the correct level of competency, then they will teach you the next level up. It is simple, and like with everything else in life, there are really no shortcuts.

8 Responses to The lies of Martial Arts

  1. Good post. Having been in kung-fu for almost two years now, I realize that I’ve only scratched the surface. I joke around with my classmates that in only 10 more years I will be considered a Novice!!! =)

    They really do take a lifetime of dedication and as Bruce Lee said,

    “I’m not a master. I’m a student-master, meaning that I have the knowledge of a master and the expertise of a master, but I’m still learning. So I’m a student-master. I don’t believe in the word ‘master.’ I consider the master as such when they close the casket.”

  2. Let’s hear it for muscle memory!

  3. Nice comment Mark, most people remember Bruce Lee only for his film legacy. His philosophical side was really interesting.

    Logtar, glad you found a school to your liking. They appear to be everywhere and they can’t ALL be that good. I promised myself a couple years back that I would take up Tae Kwon Do if I ever lost enough weight to be safe doing so. Kinda bummed that I haven’t yet.

  4. Nuke, maybe start with Tai Chi or something slightly less intense and then move on to something like TKD??

    As Logtar has stated in previous threads, the teacher is the most important part.

  5. I have been reading up a little in Tai Chi. Might be a possibility. It always makes me think of old former hippies in loose clothing (probably too much TV) but it is interesting.

    Logtar, I got your e-mail and am thinking (hard to do at work lol).

  6. “Full contact sparring and grappling is more dangerous than it looks on TV.”

    i am dating an MMA fighter. he’s been into various martial arts since childhood. in the last few years he’s gotten into MMA and has even fought former UFC guys.

    those choke holds? way more complicated and dangerous than they look. i was put into a very relaxed and simple version of a kimura lock by my heavyweight, its all about the hip twist.

    also, he’s quite the athlete. when he’s in training and not drinking any beer or eating pizza ;) his body is amazingly trained and he has a whole different type of strength from all the grappling. i am fascinated by the sport of MMA.

  7. Welcome back to martial arts my friend, it looks like you’re finding your way home. Keep us updated on your progress.

    A couple items on MMA: By definition, it’s “Mixed Martial Arts”. This doesn’t necessarily mean that one will go train in every combative art out there, as much as it’s pairing fighters from other styles.

    Interestingly enough, what we thought we learned in the early 90s is that some styles dominate others. However, recent events clearly reinforce the fact that solid fundamentals and hard training puts the destiny of the outcome into the practitioner’s hands more so than the style itself.

    Sadly, the prime-time MMA environment has the “talk smack” overtones applied to it to boost sales. This type of behavior may have been acceptable to the average actor in the Wrestling community, but it directly contradicts the core integrity and values of the martial arts society.

    Anyway, a martial artist can/should have roots in their specific fundamental art. For you, it’s probably TKD. However, don’t limit yourself to just that. The primary reasons many arts haven’t changed for centuries is because it was taught in secrecy or outlawed, the unpractical distance between artists of other styles, language barriers, and so on. For example, Karate wasn’t introduced into Japan from Okinawa until the 1920s by Funakoshi; a mere 2 decades before hitting the streets in the United States. In short, embrace the past, but be willing to transcend. Train hard my friend.

    -Eric

    PS: Sorry, I don’t know any Korean, but I was on Seoul on a couple connecting flights – does that count?

  8. I think that MMA is responsible for the decline of the purity of many lineages of martial arts. You can no longer find schools that teach tradition judo or jujitsu. Karate was kind of a victim as well. Fortunately my style, kung fu, was unaffected. I found a school that teaches traditional white crate kung fu and I couldnt be happier. It saddens me to think of all those who go to MMA schools and learn all these locks and how to hit but totally neglect the internal side of martial arts. Every system has some philosophy and way of viewing life, and most have an internal side whether its chi or something else. MMA teaches how to take someone out. I’ll pass, and I hope this fad goes away.

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