Better than the Ancients?

Discussion on the three big Chinese internals, Yiquan, Bajiquan, Piguazhang and other similar styles.

Re: Better than the Ancients?

Postby Dmitri on Tue Mar 06, 2018 6:10 am

It's all about the need for it, i.e. how much time you actually spend training. The "ancients" were just humans. If anything, I would say we have a big advantage over them in the amount of accumulated knowledge and the immediacy of access to most of it, globally.
So if one were to train hard enough, they would be at least as good as anyone else in the past -- provided similarity in all other aspects/contributing factors, e.g. genetics, nutrition, etc. Consider how the various World and Olympic records have been consistently going up and up, over time.
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Re: Better than the Ancients?

Postby GrahamB on Tue Mar 06, 2018 6:13 am

What were your thoughts on the Hagakure?

"The Hagakure’s is an interpretation of how the samurai ought to live as envisioned after a hundred years of enforced peace. It cannot be considered to be representative of the ethos of the medieval warriors. And as the doctrine of a member of a warrior class in peacetime, it must be remembered that the Hagakure is one man’s vision. As a Buddhist monk surrounded by young samurai in search of a group identity, Yamamoto was scarcely going to wax on about the barbarism of the real samurai, assuming he even knew about it. He was attempting to help his young charges get on in life and raise their self-esteem at a time when the samurai class was in decline. This was a neo-Confucian period. The emphasis had gone from literature and the pratice of martial arts to manners and social decorum according to your position on the social hierarchy. In the Rules for the Military Families, martial practices were no longer emphasized. Martial arts was irrelevant. This was the context in which the Hagakure was written."

If that's true it kind of ruins the film Ghost Dog - lol
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Re: Better than the Ancients?

Postby jaime_g on Tue Mar 06, 2018 6:15 am

Dmitri wrote:It's all about the need for it, i.e. how much time you actually spend training. The "ancients" were just humans. If anything, I would say we have a big advantage over them in the amount of accumulated knowledge and the immediacy of access to most of it, globally.
So if one were to train hard enough, they would be at least as good as anyone else in the past -- provided similarity in all other aspects/contributing factors, e.g. genetics, nutrition, etc. Consider how the various World and Olympic records have been consistently going up and up, over time.


Modern olympics certainly have better drugs ;D
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Re: Better than the Ancients?

Postby Ian C. Kuzushi on Tue Mar 06, 2018 6:50 am

GrahamB wrote:What were your thoughts on the Hagakure?

"The Hagakure’s is an interpretation of how the samurai ought to live as envisioned after a hundred years of enforced peace. It cannot be considered to be representative of the ethos of the medieval warriors. And as the doctrine of a member of a warrior class in peacetime, it must be remembered that the Hagakure is one man’s vision. As a Buddhist monk surrounded by young samurai in search of a group identity, Yamamoto was scarcely going to wax on about the barbarism of the real samurai, assuming he even knew about it. He was attempting to help his young charges get on in life and raise their self-esteem at a time when the samurai class was in decline. This was a neo-Confucian period. The emphasis had gone from literature and the pratice of martial arts to manners and social decorum according to your position on the social hierarchy. In the Rules for the Military Families, martial practices were no longer emphasized. Martial arts was irrelevant. This was the context in which the Hagakure was written."

If that's true it kind of ruins the film Ghost Dog - lol


I expressed pretty much the same views on it about a year ago here when Greg brought it up:

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Re: Better than the Ancients?

Postby RobP3 on Tue Mar 06, 2018 7:40 am

MaartenSFS wrote:Because of this I believe that it is possible for us to become better fighters than those of the past - especially when it comes to weapon arts, as the ancients would have engaged in battle far less than we do now. I'd go as far as saying that in my relatively short time of studying swordsmanship that I've done more sword fighting than most would have in their entire lives.


Whaaat? How many battles have you been in? How many people have you killed with your sword? How many times have you fought for your life? Ever had to protect your village from raiders? Do you live in a place where everyone is routinely armed and their is little law and order? Does anyone care if you get stabbed up or is it just one of those things?

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Re: Better than the Ancients?

Postby RobP3 on Tue Mar 06, 2018 7:41 am

MaartenSFS wrote: If we took the best of all modern armed and unarmed martial arts, trained them as one art, using modern training equipment and science, and experimented for two or three generations that we'd have the upper hand for sure.


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Re: Better than the Ancients?

Postby cloudz on Tue Mar 06, 2018 8:58 am

After Sparta it was all down hill anyway.
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Re: Better than the Ancients?

Postby RobP3 on Tue Mar 06, 2018 9:43 am

cloudz wrote:After Sparta it was all down hill anyway.


;D

Seriously, even a generation or so ago people were fighting. Life in places like the East End docks was hard, there was always someone ready to take what you had. Some there were raised fighting, they lived and breathed it

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Re: Better than the Ancients?

Postby GrahamB on Tue Mar 06, 2018 9:45 am

Aint no fight club like Medieval Fight Club

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Re: Better than the Ancients?

Postby Steve James on Tue Mar 06, 2018 10:10 am

Imo, the Roman gladiators would make a better comparison. Pure speculation on my part, but I'd say that they practiced fighting (especially with weapons) daily. A Roman legionnaire might not be in battle as regularly.

Afa sword training, I don't know how many Chinese soldiers carried swords? I would agree with everyone who says that training with swords now is nothing like needing to depend on that weapon for protection, let alone like actually using it. Besides, for them, it was a matter of life and death. Nothing clarifies the issue like having someone who actually wants to hurt you standing in front of you.
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Re: Better than the Ancients?

Postby wayne hansen on Tue Mar 06, 2018 12:39 pm

It is like in rugby league
People compare players of today to past players
Today's players are full time professionals backed by science
Yet players in the past came from hard working class neighbourhoods,did hard physical labour and went to war.
No real comparison can made
I bet if those men were in today's game they would still raise to the top
Times change men don't
Speculation is just that if you weren't there you can't know
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Re: Better than the Ancients?

Postby GrahamB on Tue Mar 06, 2018 1:02 pm

I wonder if the ancient Romans used to sit around after an orgy, drinking wine and eating grapes having a debate about whether the sport wrestlers in the arena would beat one of the legionaries who had to use their shit for real on the battlefield?
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Re: Better than the Ancients?

Postby jaime_g on Tue Mar 06, 2018 1:47 pm

GrahamB wrote:I wonder if the ancient Romans used to sit around after an orgy, drinking wine and eating grapes having a debate about whether the sport wrestlers in the arena would beat one of the legionaries who had to use their shit for real on the battlefield?



An interesting thing is that many armidoctores and campidoctores in the roman army (fencing and unit fighting teachers) were former gladiators or praetorian bodyguards.

Legionaries also did mock battles...so, they did sparring in many ways.
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Re: Better than the Ancients?

Postby Steve James on Tue Mar 06, 2018 2:15 pm

The gladiators needed great health care because they were moneymakers.

I'm sure there were mock battles and even war games. I think the gladiators are better comparisons to contemporary martial artists than to soldiers. I.e., if we think about trying to compare skill levels.

I think soldiers in antiquity walked a lot more than they fought. I would argue that the success of the legionnaires or the Spartans lay in the unit cohesion and tactics, not just individual skill. A gladiator might be considerably more skilled in individual battle with a gladius than a legionnaire. But, my point was that a gladiator would probably be the equal of a modern athlete --when it came to using a sword.
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Re: Better than the Ancients?

Postby GrahamB on Tue Mar 06, 2018 3:27 pm

I think the gladiators were quite rotund - there was an article about this somewhere. They looked nothing like modern athletes. Turns out body fat is quite useful for protecting your organs from sharp weapons.
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