Carlos

Martial Arts

67 posts in this topic

There are other MAs that one could say the same thing about.  I think it was in Mastering JuJitsu by Renzo Gracie and John Donaher there was a quote in there that was praising BJJ because "dubious metaphysical theories" are not inherent or part of the martial art.  It is just a MA, end of story.  Here are the principles, our reasoning behind the principles, and the techniques developed from them....but no Chakras, Chi, energy fields, gods, whatever :D 

Well, while there are Martial Arts who try to disassociate themselves from "dubious" and arbitrary metaphysical worldviews, I know of no other civilian martial art that embraces science and scientific principles more enthusiastically than Krav Maga.

Every move is supported by a profound understanding of human anatomy, reflexology, and the laws of mechanics. Defenses are designed not just to be effective, but to be easily retained - they are often chosen for their similarity to the body's natural reflexes - which makes it easier to learn Krav Maga quickly and retain it longer.

It is more comprehensive than any other martial art I know of, as it deals with any imaginable situation, including moves against guns, knives, sticks, and jumping from a moving vehicle. It deals with situations of surprise attack, including a chokehold from behind. It accomodates different body types with different techniques - so that a woman might learn a different set of moves than a larger, stronger man would.

Another important scientific principle is self-correction over time. I'm not an expert of martial arts in general, but Krav Maga is continuously updated, new drills are added, and techniques are fine-tuned to be more effective. My sense is that most other martial arts are traditional and static.

Finally - there is the simple ideology behind Krav Maga: Do whatever it takes to win with minimum damage to yourself. No self-crippling codes of honor or "fair play"; While most other martial arts avoid hitting some areas out of a misplaced sense of decency, Krav Maga specifically targets those areas of the body which are hardest to defend, and cause the maximum damage. (including the eyes, groin, etc.)

I was not suggesting that other martial arts have no legitimacy. Far from it. What I am suggesting is this: to the average person who seeks the fastest and most effective method of self-defense for practical reasons - Krav Maga is, to the best of my knowledge, the best choice.

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That is precisely the problem; there is no single "best choice," because there are many arts, systems, and programs that will accomplish the same goal in the same expedient manner.

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While most other martial arts avoid hitting some areas out of a misplaced sense of decency, Krav Maga specifically targets those areas of the body which are hardest to defend, and cause the maximum damage. (including the eyes, groin, etc.)

What are examples of "other martial arts" that "avoid hitting" some areas?

I have only a beginner's knowledge of Tae Kwon Do, one style of Kung-Fu, one version of JuJitsu, and a Grab-Arts program. In all these approaches, I was taught moves that could be, potentially, lethal. For instance, I can use a simple punch to the chest of a bad guy to stun, but always with the possibility that he might die.

Another example, from Jujitsu's judo moves (supposedly pure self-defense), is this: When you throw someone to "meet the ground," he might, if not trained in falling, land on his head or neck -- killing him, whether intentionally or not.

Never was I taught to set some areas as off limits. Most of all, I was taught that I have choice in the matter, to some extent. I can decide in each situation whether I should:

1. Turn and run before an attack.

2. Deflect an attack long enough to run.

3. Deflect an attack with enough violence to cripple the attacker, at least momentarily.

4. Deflect an attack and capture the attacker, keeping him under my control (for example, with a single finger bent back on one of his hands).

5. Use moves that can be intentionally, if not assuredly, deadly, such as a kick to the head or (conceivably) a punch to the carotid artery in the neck.

By the way, I was never taught that I must be passive until I am actually being attacked. No school I went to ever ruled out pre-emptive force. They didn't discuss it much, but neither did they rule it out.

Though none of the schools I attended taught students how to fall from moving vehicles (!), two (Jujitsu and the Grab-Arts program) did focus quite a bit on falling from a variety of positions.

My position, then, on the question of an "ultimate martial art" is that such do exist, but that only means that a particular art (coherent collection of techniques) is best suited to a particular individual's needs within his hierarchy of values. A computer programmer living in a bad neighborhood might choose one; a police officer, another; and a special-forces soldier, still another -- all setting and applying objective criteria to their own needs and situation.

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Rather than "ultimate" technique, it is probably fair to say that there are superior and inferior training methodologies.

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Phil,

Could you explain why you seem to have a disdain for using the word "ultimate". I think most people would be surprised to find out what exactly the word is defined as.

ultimate: 1) most remote in space or time: farthest 2) last in a progression : final 3) extreme, utmost 4) finally reckoned 5) fundamental, absolute, supreme 6) incapable of further analysis or division : elemental 7) maximum

Obviously some of the definitions do not fit what we are discussing. A couple of them do such as numbers 3 and 7.

extreme: ) very great or intense 2) very severe or drastic 3) going to great lengths or beyond normal limits 4) most remote 5) utmost

maximum: 1) the greatest quantity, value or degree 2) an upper limit allowed by authority 3) the largest of a set of numbers

utmost: 1) situated at the farthest or most distant point : extreme 2) of the greatest or highest degree, quantity, number or amount

These definitions should demonstrate that within context to a persons values a certain martial art can be ultimate. That is, it can be the extreme, utmost and maximum to them, attached to their choice of why they are learning a specific martial art.

Lastly, I would state that I agree with Burgess' statement about an "ultimate martial art" and that it must be tied to ones values. That is, why is one doing or learning a martial art and what value is one obtaining?

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I object to the term "ultimate" because I think martial performance depends much more on the individual than on the system. "Ultimate," to me, implies "undefeatable" or somehow superior in technique. There certainly are some systems whose techniques are more realistic and more efficient than others, but a skilled practitioner of one the latter will defeat an unskilled practitioner of one of the former in most cases.

I also object to "ultimate" because it implies a single martial art superior (by whatever criteria we choose to use) to others, when in fact there are several arts and systems whose practitioners perform equally well (on average) at any given tier of martial development and according to whatever criteria are used (though the groups will vary with those criteria). Hung Gar and Wing Chun aren't better or worse than each other when used by equally skilled practitioners; they are simply different and accomplish the same goals through different means (though they share many similarities as well).

One could easily argue, for example, that WWII Combatives as taught by Carl Cestari, combatives as taught by Kelly McCann, or even Combato, Defendu, or Defendo are as simple and as expedient as Krav Maga but more effective. We could make the same argument about, say, Contemporary Fighting Arts or Senshido -- or even pit these systems against one another. Who would be correct? Even some sort of contrived sporting event pitting practitioners against one another tells us more about the practitioners than about their styles, which does not even touch the previously voiced objections about whether a sporting competition is even an appropriate environment in which to evaluate the performance of a martial art not intended for sport. (By this I mean that one assumes the system is for self-defense, which is not a sport.)

There are certain universal principles -- on which no two practitioners of martial styles and systems are likely to agree on any given day -- to which any effective, efficient martial art or system should correspond, and many systems do so to varying degrees. Many people believe the system in which they train is the "ultimate" art, or they wouldn't be training in it. Barring absolutely ridiculous technique, however, any reasonably constructed system can and will work when applied by a determined practitioner.

There may indeed be some sort of Platonic Ultimate Martial Art, the Sun Source from which all lesser systems spring (if you're thinking, "Sinanju," we should talk :D), but I've not seen it, I don't know how anyone would determine it, and I doubt anyone's likely to prove their case for it anytime soon. There are skilled practitioners and there are systems better suited to some individuals than others. There is no single, perfect, "ultimate" system of which I'm aware, though.

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One problem I see is that some of these arts are designed, in part, to cripple (as in eye gouging) and kill. Once you set rules to limit the crippling and ban the killing, you have neutered those arts. Besides, such contests would not show how any one art is best, but that one individual is more effective under contest rules.

Contest rules don't apply on the street or in special-forces attacks.

But all of them require training in order to master the art, and none of that training (unless a person trains in the North Korean military? :D) involves actually deliberately permanently hurting or killing anyone. It ought to be possible to gauge the level of damage (up to death) that a contestant would have inflicted if they hadn't stopped short. Digitally recording and slow motion playback could be used to assist the referee(s) of the match.

If somebody in one art could be consistently touched in vital areas and/or consistently immobilized by somebody in another, to me that would be pretty good evidence that the competitor's technique is generally superior. It's one thing to say that art X provides a good offense/defense against the average attacker, and another to say that it can provide that against any attacker.

I mean, if you want "real world", the best unarmed martial artist would be at a decided disadvantage against most opponents armed with a ready-to-use machine gun, assuming the gunner didn't let him get too close or too far away.

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Phil,

If one ties their martial art to their speciic, DEFINED values, that is what will make it ultimate. To say somehting is an ultimate, it must first be viewed within the context of ultimate to what or whom. What does one want to accomplish, why and in what context? These questions must be answered before one can take the next step.

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I know Krav Maga was developed for the Israeli Army, but is that the only reason why some sites like www.kravmagainc.com display the Star of David? I ask because evandror has suggested that it has no connection "spiritual hogwash."

Can we take another approach: Invite Oakes and Carrie (free spirit) to tell us what benefits they are seeking in a martial art?

I used to want to join the military, but at this point I have no such plans. I want to use martial arts for self-defense and exercise. If those two goals conflict (i.e., one MA is good for exercise but less effective for self-defense), I would put self-defense as a priority.

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If one ties their martial art to their speciic, DEFINED values, that is what will make it ultimate. To say somehting is an ultimate, it must first be viewed within the context of ultimate to what or whom. What does one want to accomplish, why and in what context? These questions must be answered before one can take the next step.

I have no problem with that statement, but it means that the "ultimate" martial art changes from person to person. This renders the statement, "Martial Art X is the ultimate martial art," largely meaningless; it tells us only that the person making the statement has chosen an art that works best for him according to his values. This is why I object to the term "ultimate" in the first place -- because the term connotes some sort of absolute superiority. The more accurate statement would be, "Martial Art X works best for me."

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I know a man who has studied martial arts for decades, and was even a Taekwondo instructor. He discovered Wing Chun, and completely abandoned Taekwondo. He said it is in fact Wing Chun that is the best martial art purely for kicking butt, without any extra fancyness. In addition to the fact of studying martial arts since childhood, he's also now an auxiliary police officer, so I'm inclined to believe him. I often hear stories of how people enter the dojo where he trains, trying to be all cocky and bringing all kinds of mixed disciplines in order to prove their worth. They usually choose him as their guinea pig on which to show their mastery. After they go out to the street to "try things out", these men inevitably end up on the pavement in a minute or two.

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OliverComputing, I agree that a real fight can be ACCURATELY (not perfectly, accurately) modeled by sport fighting. Investigate the beginnings of the Ultimate Fighting Championships, this link has some decent info: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ultimate_Fighting_Championship

The original rules of UFC were no biting, no eye-gouging; the same rules of the ancient greek sport Pankration, which was a "free-for-all", combining wrestling and boxing.

NOTE: Pankration was used in the military by Alexander the Great, here is the story of how it happened:

"A third anecdote has to do with a fighter named Dioxippus, Olympic champion by default in 336 B. C. when no other pankratist dared meet him. Alexander the Great became Dioxippus' friend and sponsor, but the pankratist soon quarreled with a warrior named Coragus and the two were forced to meet in a duel to settle their differences. Coragus wore a full complement of Battle-armor and bore javelin, lance, and sword, while Dioxippus appeared pankration-style, nude and wearing a sheen of olive oil, and carrying nothing but a club. Coragus first hurled his javelin, which Dioxippus easily dodged, and then Alexander's warrior rushed his enemy with his spear. A blow from Dioxippus' club shattered the other's spear, whereupon Coragus tried to draw his sword from its scabbard, only to have Dioxippus grab the Macedonian's sword-arm with his left hand while with his right he threw Coragus off-balance and footswept him to the ground. The heavily-armored Coragus fell to the earth, helpless in his battle-dress, at which point Dioxippus completed his victory by placing his foot on his antagonist's neck. Unfortunately, this marvelous example of pankration's effectiveness as a combative system had a bad end. Alexander was so angry at the thought that Dioxippus had defeated one of his own warriors that he had the champion fighter framed for theft and forced to commit suicide as punishment."

Alexander adopted Pankration because of this and trained his soldiers in it. Some theories claim that when he conquered east, pankration influenced the area and planted the seeds of modern asian fighting arts.

So like I said earlier, I think what succeeds in sport fighting can have a good chance of succeeding in "real life situations". Because, if removing eye-gouging, biting and strikes to the throat neuters a martial art, I'm not too impressed with it in the first place as an effective combat system.

Here is a link to a realmedia or realplayer file that is the first 10 or so fights Royce Gracie (a BJJ master) fought in during the early Ultimate Fighting Championships during the time frame when the rules were: no biting, no eye-gouging.

You cannot play his wins off as being the work of a single great fighter instead of a good system, Royce is small fish compared to the other BJJ practitioners in the world and BJJ continues to hold a good record in Mixed-Martial Arts fighting.

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Depending on to whom you speak, Wing Chun is an effective, efficient infighting system, or an absurdly stylized art for pansies who get their clocks cleaned so regularly their nicknames are all wristwatch bands.

I spent two years training in Wing Chun and consider it a very good system, but it's no more or less effective for "kicking butt" than is the current system in which I train (Silat) or the other styles taught at the Wing Chun School where I studied (JKD and Hung Gar Kung Fu).

Everybody who trains in a system they love considers that system "the best [place further descriptors here]" and eveyone who knows an accomplished technician who studies Martial Art X is wowed by the efficacy of Martial Art X. This is again a function of the individual rather than the system. There are some arts I consider more efficient or more realistic than others, but no one of them has cornered the market on posterior percussion.

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"I have no problem with that statement, but it means that the "ultimate" martial art changes from person to person. This renders the statement, "Martial Art X is the ultimate martial art," largely meaningless;"

I think I mostly agree with what you are saying here Phil, I think most of the argument boils down to what we mean when we say "the ultimate".

When I hear "the ultimate" I think of something that cannot be improved upon, an absolute zenith of excellence. Because I regard MAs as EXTREMELY dynamic systems, I think that there will always be new MAs coming down the pipeline that surpass the old. Because of this, I can't imagine calling some MA "the ultimate MA".

To me, others in this argument are using "ultimate" or "the ultimate" in a sense that means more "really great" or "far superior", which would basically be what I'm saying.... *laughs* bleh I feel like we are arguing in circles :D

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Whoops! I forgot to actually paste the link when I said:

"Here is a link to a realmedia or realplayer file that is the first 10 or so fights Royce Gracie (a BJJ master) fought in during the early Ultimate Fighting Championships during the time frame when the rules were: no biting, no eye-gouging."

So let's give it a second shot :D *takes a deep breath*:

Here is a link to a realmedia or realplayer file that is the first 10 or so fights Royce Gracie (a BJJ master) fought in during the early Ultimate Fighting Championships during the time frame when the rules were: no biting, no eye-gouging:

Royce Gracie UFC High Light Video *click-click*

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I have no problem with that statement, but it means that the "ultimate" martial art changes from person to person.  This renders the statement, "Martial Art X is the ultimate martial art," largely meaningless;  it tells us only that the person making the statement has chosen an art that works best for him according to his values.  This is why I object to the term "ultimate" in the first place -- because the term connotes some sort of absolute superiority.  The more accurate statement would be, "Martial Art X works best for me."

True, but some values are objectively necessary to support human life, while others are optional. I consider self-defense to be necessary, at least for a man living in this crazy world.

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So do I. That doesn't make the art one does the "ultimate" martial art; it simply means one has taken responsibility for gaining and keeping that value. :D

Gratuitous Non-Ultimate Photo!

tunic-punch.jpg

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