Carlos

Martial Arts

67 posts in this topic

Hey people, this is Jordan and I greatly enjoy studying Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu;

I'm always curious to see if there are any other Objectivists or students of Objectivism that are seriously interested in any particular martial-art, whether it be Boxing, Sambo, Judo, etc.

If so, I thought it would be very interesting and enlightening for all of us to share what particular art we study, whether or not we enjoy it, what motivated us to pursue martial-arts or that particular martial-art in general and perhaps what goals or values we wish to obtain in studying it.

Based on the fact that this webpage exists: http://www.wetheliving.com/mailman/listinfo/whoopass I thought that surely there must be at least some Oists or Oist inclined thinkers on this forum that are involved in martial arts.

*DISLAIMER*: Let's keep this discussion steered away from arguing about superiority/inferiority of particular martial-arts, not because I'm unwilling to judge the value of one but simply because I have found it to be a waste of time :D

In closing I guess it would be comically pertinent to put a smiley down that looks like a ninja

:D

Reply away :D

PS: a random question for anyone that has read The Romantic Manifesto; is a Martial-Artist really an artist?... or should we call them Martial-Artisans :D

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Hi. Yes. I study Bruce Lee's "jeet kune do". His freestyle way is fascinating.

I started out as just a boxer, but now am interested in using the whole body as a weapon, and of course, defense.

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I studied American Kenpo Karate when I was a teenager. I don't participate in any martial arts at present, but self-defense is very important to me.

In the unlikely event someone broke into my home, they would be facing an arsenal of guns, knives, pepper spray, and even a saber.

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Me, too.

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I once studied Tae Kwon Do, but it has been many years since I've practiced it. That was long before I found Objectivism (not that that has anything to do with studying martial arts. For the record, I was rather into Zen Buddhism at the time :D. I got better... :D)

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I have never done Martial Arts, or any of the like, but would LOVE to, and plan on trying it.

I really like activities that include discipline of and awareness of the bodys' movements.

What different kinds of "defense arts" are out there, and what do they focus most on? I think I would like something that's more for the health of the body/defense as opposed to all out fight club style. :D

Any advice on where and how a beginner should start?

Thanks! ~ Carrie~

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One of my two closest friends -- who has a black belt in Tae-kwon-do -- laughs when she reminds me gently that I studied martial arts for two years and remained a white-belt the whole time. How did I do that? By serially studying in four different programs: Tae-kwon-do, grab arts (street, in an Indonesian kung-fu school), a little kung-fu (same school), and jujitsu.

Did I find it useful? Very. In my neighborhood, I won two and had a draw in my third and last encounter with street maggots. These "events" were just what I was told by instructors they would be: Very brief. One kick each ended the first two encounters, and, in the third encounter, one grab-and-throw led the maggot to land on one elbow, at which point he lost interest. (Unfortunately he hit me with a fist first, leaving a bloody eyebrow. That was the draw.)

I am 60 now. I stopped studying martial arts at 45 when medical problems began to plague me (arthritis, tendonitis, and others). Now that I am recovered, I still strike a stance occasionally and do a few punches and kicks, just for practice. I also know from experience that, if pressed, I can still do something -- if only a single kick, punch, elbow strike, or spear-hand to the eyes.

My favorite art was jujitsu: Great conditioning (as most martial arts are if taught properly), great builder of confidence in threatening situations, great for getting over fear of contact. The latter is especially important in jujitsu, where the approach to the aggressor is: You aren't close enough yet!

The most important thing I learned was to stay alert. I also experienced that state which some MAs describe as "mystical" but isn't: When you see a nearby threat, you become totally focussed, time seems to slow, and the trained subconscious takes over, while the conscious mind is serene and confident waiting for the aggressor's move that signals an attack.

P. S. -- Yes, martial art is fine as long as we remember that the word "art" labels different ideas, and the different ideas subsume different facts of reality. Steel making is an art, in one sense, just as making a sculpture in marble is also an art, in another sense.

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Carrie, based on your statement "What different kinds of "defense arts" are out there, and what do they focus most on? I think I would like something that's more for the health of the body/defense as opposed to all out fight club style.", I would strongly recommend that you investigate Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, it is a refinement of traditional japanese jiu-jitsu (or jujitsu) that occured in (surprise!) Brazil. Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is a martial art dedicated to grappling (joint-locks, chokes), specifically on the ground.

Jiu-Jitsu itself means (Correct me wherever you want Mr.Laughlin :D) "gentle way", it is an art that teaches an individual how to rationally defend against an opponent's attack using his aggression against himself. My favorite quote describing Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu/ju-jitsu so far would have to be by Jose Fraguas in "The Nature of the Art-Part 2" from Grappling magazine:

"Jiu-jitsu was developed as a self-defense art--not as an attacking method. the main emphasis of the art's structure is to protect and preserve the student's physical integrity. Jiu-Jitsu is a defensive art in nature."

Plus, based on the grappling nature of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu with respect to the guard position (http://bjj.org/techniques/intheguard/guardpass1/guard1.jpg), BJJ would be an excellent art for rape defense for women. A BJJ practitioner from this bottom position can execute a large variety of joint-locks and chokes that can seriously disable the strongest of aggressors (If I can get them to work on someone 70lbs heavier, you can do similar things as well :D)

One of the things that I love about BJJ is that an individual can finish a fight without ever injuring his opponent while remaining in complete control because of the very nature of grappling. A BJJ practitioner has such dominating and mind-full control on the ground that he can decide rationally what is the best way to finish the fight within the context of the specific situation.

The only serious criticism I can find against BJJ is that it is no good for defending against multiple attackers; I agree with this only in part. In such a case all one would have to do is use the standing self-defense techniques that have been learned in class (you usually cover self-defense a good bit) while perhaps employing some stand-up striking skills that can be picked up at many places (Jeet Kune Do, kickboxing, etc). But this is an entirely different discussion :D

Ideally, assuming we have all the time in the world to study martial-arts, one would want to be well rounded; perhaps study a purely grappling art in depth and a purely striking art in depth, then integrate the two to create a beautiful fighting system. To see such a thing in action, I direct you to watch the Pride Fighting Championships (http://www.pridefc.com/pride2004/12_about.htm) which is without a doubt my favorite sport.

Mr. Laughlin, I like your answer regarding “art/artisan” and will continue to think about it; frankly I need to read the Romantic Manifesto. A quote I like similar to this is by BJJ master Jean Jacque Machado-“anybody can fight, but not everybody is an artist”

Adriaticfish, what was your motivation to pursue Jeet Kune Do, not everyone wakes up in the morning and decides “I’m going to learn Jeet Kune Do” all of a sudden :D. Was it the art’s rejection of harmful tradition and dogmatism within martial-arts that attracted you, or the “study everything keep what works” philosophy? Please elaborate, I am curious.

Whooh, this was far too long-winded for my style, you all have a good night.

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P. S. -- Yes, martial art is fine as long as we remember that the word "art" labels different ideas, and the different ideas subsume different facts of reality. Steel making is an art, in one sense, just as making a sculpture in marble is also an art, in another sense.

And there is always "the art of non-contradictory identification," the most fundamental art of all.

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I studies Tae Kwon Do for nearly 4 years in High School. I enjoyed it and helped both my self esteem and knowledge that I could defend myself. I tried picking it up again in college, but the style was a bit different and I didn't have the mindset at the time to relearn.

Later on in my early 30's I studied Hapkido. I really liked it as well and found my flexibility came back very quickly. I only lasted about 6 months as the physical toll was too much for me with all the flipping, wrist breaks, and aggressive sparring.

I'm not sure if I'll ever get back into it.

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Any advice on where and how a beginner should start?

From one beginner (past) to another:

1. Make a short list of what you want (self-defense, physical conditioning, confidence building?) and put them in priority order.

2. Make a list of schools near you, regardless of their type. Going to a school should be very convenient because you should go several times a week, at least in the first few months.

3. Visit the schools, watch a beginner's class, and talk to an instructor.

4. Decide what style you are now -- "hard" or "soft" personality? In other words, are you a kitten or a lion now? Consider choosing the opposite style in martial arts: This might stretch your skills. This is not mandatory.

5. If you are wanting self-defense skills -- that is, defense against aggressive men -- make sure the school has aggressive male personalities. I wouldn't recommend going to an all-woman school if you are feeling threatened by some males on the street or elsewhere.

6. Remember that learning a martial art is like learning a language: lots of practice, preferably daily, over a long period of time.

7. Be prepared to accept and learn forms of respect toward your sensei (teacher) and fellow students. Whether you like them or not, you will be expected to always show respect and ... I don't have a word for this. It isn't humility, but it is recognizing that one is ignorant and needs to learn.

8. Be prepared to feel a little foolish at first. You will need to learn simple things like how to wear the uniform and how to tie a knot in your white belt. Approach it all with a spirit of adventure.

Best!

I hope that Mr. Jordan will correct or add to my list. His recommendation of BJJ sounds intriguing.

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What different kinds of "defense arts" are out there, and what do they focus most on?

A suggestion that is a really a homework assignment for you:

Make a list of martial arts schools near you, identified by name and the art(s) that they teach. Then show the list here in this thread. Perhaps you will receive comments here that will give you a general idea of each art.

Here are the ones I can think of, right off:

Kick-boxing

Judo

Jujitsu

Aikido

Karate (many types)

Kungfu (many types)

Boxing

Tae kwon do

Stick fighting (usually a sideline for another art)

Street arts, also called "grab arts" or other names

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You mean there are other martial arts besides fencing?  :D

Do you fence? I would like to learn to do so eventually.

I own an Italian duelling saber, the real killing sword the sport saber is derived from.

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Wow, I don't have a lot to add Mr.Laughlin, you made a good list there.

I only have one thing to say: patience, which ties in neatly with Mr.Laughlin’s statement:

“8. Be prepared to feel a little foolish at first. You will need to learn simple things like how to wear the uniform and how to tie a knot in your white belt.”

*laughs* here I am stressing patience and I've only been studying BJJ for a year and a half, that should be an indicator of its critical importance if I had to learn it so quickly!

But I guess, even more importantly: have fun! Martial-Arts should be fun and exciting, if after an appreciable duration time of patiently giving the art a try and you are still not having fun, then something is more than likely wrong.

If it isn’t fun it will be very difficult to find the motivation to learn and continue the art over a long period of time, so personal enjoyment is integral(this is why I particularly like BJJ; most academies are typically laid back atmospheres devoid of meaningless formalities where knowledge is dispensed in an Aristotelian manner).

Best wishes

Oh, on a random note Mr.Laughlin, you don't have to call me "Mr.Jordan" because both that I'm far too young and ignorant to have earned the rank of "Mr." and because my last name is not Jordan (Jordan is in fact my first name, Carlos E. Jordan is a made up name)

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... even more importantly: have fun!  Martial-Arts should be fun and exciting, if after an appreciable duration time of patiently giving the art a try and you are still not having fun, then something is more than likely wrong ...   

   

This is true.

I didn't care for my Kenpo instructor -- a macho showoff type -- and I eventually quit. There was a lot of tension in his classes and I couldn't enjoy learning.

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Patrick writes:

"Do you fence?"

Answer: Oh, yes. I started with saber back in '92. For the last year, though, I've been concentrating on epee. Great stuff.

Patrick also writes:

"I would like to learn to do so eventually."

Mariel Zagunis, 2004 Olympic gold medalist in Women's Saber, is from the Portland area and trained, I believe with theOregon Fencing Alliance. There are other fencing clubs in your area. Check with the U.S. Fencing Association.

Allez!

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... I started with saber back in '92. For the last year, though, I've been concentrating on epee. Great stuff.

I'd like to learn saber, once I have time.

Mariel Zagunis, 2004 Olympic gold medalist in Women's Saber, is from the Portland area and trained, I believe with theOregon Fencing Alliance. There are other fencing clubs in your area. Check with the U.S. Fencing Association.

Allez!

Thanks for the info, but I'm blowing this state once I graduate. I've got my eye on Southern California.

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Thanks for the info, but I'm blowing this state once I graduate. I've got my eye on Southern California.

Better fill out your passport application right away. We have a waiting list. :D

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I'll have my passport (or at least my grad school applications) ready a year in advance. :D

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If you're making a list of martial art styles, don't leave off Krav Maga. I enjoyed it quite a lot, but I traded it in for ballroom dance. I find I prefer dancing with pretty girls to fighting with guys. :D

There're a lot of differences between KM and traditional styles. For example, there're no katas. If you have a scale for martial arts, with the martial component (i.e., how effective it is in a street fight) at one end and the art component (i.e., the degree of focus on the precision of movements, the sporting nature of it, etc.) at the other, KM is almost 100% toward the former end of the spectrum. It is not a sporting martial art.

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Yeah, Katas annoyed me, fortunately I encounter none in BJJ. I don’t think there are any in the other grappling as well: Judo, Greco-Roman Wrestling, Sambo, though I am not 100% sure about Aikido.

I don’t blame you for opting for dancing, I think we would agree when I say women look much prettier than sweaty men in kimonos.

Just because a martial art is a "sporting martial art" does not mean that it is not a combat martial art; the two are not mutually exclusive.

Jigoro Kano, the founder of Judo, (I'm pretty sure he was the one that did this, someone correct me if wrong) found that by removing all of the dangerous moves of an art (eye-gouging, strikes to the throat, strikes to the groin, etc.) and leaving the "gentle" or "safe" moves one could then practice the said martial-art in a much more live and full-speed manner. Because of this, sport-competition can be created from the art.

(Unfortunately sometimes making people mentally categorize the said art as more of a sport than a combat art, for example, Judo, when this is anything but the truth. Just observe the success of Remco Pardoel in the early Ultimate Fighting Championships when the only rules were that of ancient Greek Pankration: no eye gouging, no biting, other than that anything goes. I don't see how anyone could say this does not at least partially reflect a live-combat setting.)

The result: students practicing a martial art made of "safe" moves develop devastating and deadly ability because they can practice and spar full speed day in-day out with very little fear of injury, resulting in a huge amount of experience that can both be gained rapidly and be applied successfully in a combat setting. This is why I particularly like BJJ. I will spar for literally hours straight with strong aggressive people without being hurt; when my opponent has successfully applied a joint-lock or choke all I have to do is submit by tapping-out and we stop immediately: no harm done.

I'm not saying this though trying to discredit Krav Maga, it obviously works and is very effective or else the Israel Defense Force would not use it. I'm just wanting to make sure that no one gets the idea that a martial art cannot both be a sport art and a combat art.

From reading some of Phil's material on Shorthand Emptyhand and on Bullshido's website I think he will disagree with me though.

Random question about fencing because I know nothing about it :D: when you train do you use wooden swords as would be done in Kendo where you just strike each other or do you use the rapiers with the little sensor on the end that buzzes when a hit is landed, or is this just done in competition?

Oh, mcvideo, if you are going to be that serious about fencing you need to get one of those canes when you get older that have a sword attached to the handle sheathed hidden-like within the shaft (but I think they are illegal :D)

If someone tried to mug you in the alley when you are an old man it would look exactly like when we got to see Yoda dish out punishment in Episode 2 for the first time…well, minus being a two foot tall green troll-thing with telekinesis (but the field of plastic surgery is making amazing advances).

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If someone tried to mug you in the alley when you are an old man it would look exactly like when we got to see Yoda dish out punishment in Episode 2 for the first time…well, minus being a two foot tall green troll-thing with telekinesis...

what, you haven't gotten that far yet? You have much to learn! :D

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Oh, I didn't want to brag, but, in BJJ, they won't let you graduate from Orange Belt until you can do a hand-stand with a green troll mounted on your feet while simultaneously stacking asymmetrically shaped rocks and making a droid hover around you; well--if you are in a semi-respectable academy that is.

"A great grappler become you will! hrprmmmahrr!"

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