Clear thinking

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

Clear thinking

Postby Bhassler on Thu Apr 12, 2018 10:24 am

Most internet "discussions" revolve around individuals promoting their own opinions and/or agreeing with/refuting the opinions of others. Something that is often ignored is the process through which various viewpoints are formed. By better understanding how opinions are formed, we can clarify our own thinking, and through better thinking come up with better, more useful opinions.

Here's an article by Wim Demeere that illustrates clear thinking. The subject matter of the article is highly relevant, as well. I'm sure lots of people can and will disregard the entire article because they disagree with a particular example, but doing so misses the point, and is a textbook example of throwing out the baby with the bathwater.


Full article: http://www.wimsblog.com/2018/04/how-to- ... -training/
Excerpt
In many Filipino systems (Kali, Arnis, etc.) you learn weapons before learning unarmed techniques. Often, the stick is the weapon you start with (though lately it seems the knife is used a lot as well) and when you are proficient with it, then you learn the same techniques with other weapons and also how they translate into unarmed techniques. The idea is that you have the same movements in all of your techniques, regardless of which weapon you find yourself with, or when you lose your weapon.

There is a lot of validity to this approach. It makes for a structured and consistent learning experience, which speeds up your progress immensely. It also tends to avoid conflicts between the different parts of your brain when you are under adrenal stress, because you basically do the same thing all the time. So that’s the good news.

The bad news is that there is an inherent trap in this method.

You can avoid it if you train correctly and your teacher drills this into you, but Randy noticed this was getting lost. What he explained was that the stick is used as a “universal weapon” as it has the most similarities with the other weapons in the Filipino systems, like knife, machete, sword, axe, etc. You can indeed quickly learn to wield all of them by focusing on the similarities they share with the stick. As the stick is easier to control and more tolerant of mistakes, it makes sense to train with it first. However…

Randy then wrote what I use every day in my own training:

The differences between those weapons are just as important as the similarities.


This was an eye-opener for me and I’ve been working for decades to increase my understanding of how this concept applies to almost everything. Let’s first look closer at Filipino arts and then expand from there.

<snip>

One of the ways in which Filipino systems teach is by using numbered angles of attack. I covered that in part in my video on knife basics. If you practice those angles with a stick at first, you can quickly develop clean lines of attack. When you then transition to the small knife, things overall remain the same, but some aspects change:

  • You now have a point that penetrates the opponent’s body when stabbing with it.
  • You have an edge that can cut both you and your opponent.
  • Your range is shorter than with the stick.
These are the main differences I want to focus on, though there are others. So let’s look at them in more detail.


This is a big part of why I think it's basically useless to discuss something like "taiji" as if it were one thing, and different styles were merely different expressions of the same core art. The shenfa, approach, and goals differ radically between styles, enough so that I consider them entirely separate things. Yes, there are some similarities, but not necessarily more than between karate and wing chun and white crane, all of which are clearly different, despite a common ancestry. As Randy's Law states, "The differences are just as important as the similarities."

But that's not really the point. The point is that clear thinking and articulation are skills, and skills well worth spending the effort to develop.
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Re: Clear thinking

Postby KEND on Thu Apr 12, 2018 6:19 pm

I agree that clear thinking is often the last thing you expect in an MA forum. Opinions, often not experience based, quotes from the masters[feelgood without the 'how to' included], but seldom analysis
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Re: Clear thinking

Postby willie on Thu Apr 12, 2018 6:38 pm

KEND wrote:I agree that clear thinking is often the last thing you expect in an MA forum. Opinions, often not experience based, quotes from the masters[feelgood without the 'how to' included], but seldom analysis

Now that is a true plus one
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Re: Clear thinking

Postby willie on Thu Apr 12, 2018 6:39 pm

What I usually do is base my opinions on real experiences. I listen to what others have to say and then I try to match it up with experiences that were sort of similar that I have had myself.

A good example of this is Marvin asked if Chen Style would do well in a ground-and-pound situation. Some taiji people may assume that they are ground proof and some maybe a little bit more like me who know for sure that that is not the case. Having trained the ground and experienced that situation personally makes it possible for me to have a more valid opinion then someone who has not.

Another recent argument was about ninjutsu. People arguing over things that they have not personally seen for themselves. Bas Rutten is in a video making fun of ninjutsu, but what bas did not understand is that the exact same technique that he stated he would use to break the neck of a Ninjutsu practitioner was the exact same move that they were teaching in ninjutsu.
Last edited by willie on Thu Apr 12, 2018 6:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Clear thinking

Postby marvin8 on Fri Apr 13, 2018 12:13 am

willie wrote:What I usually do is base my opinions on real experiences. I listen to what others have to say and then I try to match it up with experiences that were sort of similar that I have had myself.

A good example of this is Marvin asked if Chen Style would do well in a ground-and-pound situation. Some taiji people may assume that they are ground proof and some maybe a little bit more like me who know for sure that that is not the case. Having trained the ground and experienced that situation personally makes it possible for me to have a more valid opinion then someone who has not.

Another recent argument was about ninjutsu. People arguing over things that they have not personally seen for themselves. Bas Rutten is in a video making fun of ninjutsu, but what bas did not understand is that the exact same technique that he stated he would use to break the neck of a Ninjutsu practitioner was the exact same move that they were teaching in ninjutsu.

No. You misunderstood. I did not ask that. It's obvious to me, Chen style does not do ground work. I was only asking your opinion based on your direct statement about Yang tai chi having to add chinese kickboxing. Then, I mentioned Chen Village also adds Sanda to their curriculum. Traditional Chen taiji should work under Xu's rules, since there are no gloves no ring, and no ground and pound. Regardless, I appreciate the complete, honest opinion you gave.
marvin8 wrote:It takes longer. But, Chen Village has traditional fighters that have trained since a young age. They have enough traditional fighters to choose from. Traditional Chen should work under Xu's rules (e.g., no gloves, ring, ground and pound, etc.) without having to add to it.


Regarding the topic, It's hard to comment since I don't understand the message entirely. In general, martial arts share a common goal of self-defense against a non-compliant opponent. So, MAists may share their opinions even though their methods and training may differ.
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Re: Clear thinking

Postby KEND on Fri Apr 13, 2018 11:48 am

The follow up to analysis is obviously testing[scientific method] if it doesn't work wishing will not make it work but modification by analysis might do so
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Re: Clear thinking

Postby Bhassler on Sun Apr 15, 2018 10:09 am

In an individual context, it comes down to understanding what you want out of your practice, and assessing your practice to see if it aligns with your goals and is effective in delivering the desired results. In the context of discussion, it's about being clear and concise enough to allow for productive conversation.

marvin8 wrote:In general, martial arts share a common goal of self-defense against a non-compliant opponent.


Just as an example:

First of all, martial arts do not necessarily share a common goal.
  • Kenjitsu is to kill people with a sword. Older classical ryu are built around a battlefield context, whereas newer schools focus on dueling. More contemporary interpretations are focused around personal and skill development for it's own sake
  • Sport styles focus on non-lethal competition
  • Many SE Asian styles focus on opportunistic street fighting/self-protection
  • Etc, etc, etc.
Even if there was a shared goal, historical and cultural context can play a big part in how those goals are manifest. For example, Japanese arts will assume different clothing/armor on an opponent as compared to an art coming out of the Philippines. This is another example of the differences being just as important as the similarities (think about grabbing clothing, striking targets, etc. in traditional Japanese Samurai attire vs. typical Philippino street clothes).

Beyond the construction of the art itself, individuals may have vastly different goals. A 120 lb. woman will have different goals than a 200 lb. bouncer at an expensive nightclub, even though both may study the same art. Beyond the differences is size/strength, the goals themselves are different. The bouncer needs to talk to and control drunk people without causing undue injury or doing something to wreck the vibe of the club. The woman, if attacked on the street, just needs to escape, and due to gender and size is most likely justified in using a much higher and more brutal level of force. If the bouncer uses what the woman needs to use, he's likely to end up unemployed and/or in jail. If the woman tries to restrain her opponent like the bouncer would do, things are likely to go badly. Both need to understand the legal ramifications of use of force for their particular situations, which are different.

Self-defense is itself a legal term. Depending on lifestyle, some people need to understand self-defense legally, and others need self-protection and to operate within cultural norms that are different than what the law prescribes (i.e. using a legally excessive amount of force to send a message that an individual is not to be fucked with).

Even something as seemingly straightforward as non-compliant can have a lot of variation. Judo randori is non-compliant, but in most cases does not come close to the level of intensity a determined MMA fighter will bring in a match. Beyond that, even a determined MMA fighter is not the same as someone who wants to injure or kill you on the street. To be sure, the MMA guy will have a lot of skills that can cross over, but the differences can be a big deal (sucker punches, hidden weapons, friends, etc.).

Is this level of semantic rigor necessary in this particular conversation? Maybe or maybe not, but if a conversation gets to a point where folks are talking across each other with no real understanding, it can be useful to apply a higher level or rigor just to get everyone talking about the same thing.
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Re: Clear thinking

Postby windwalker on Sun Apr 15, 2018 10:19 am

Bhassler wrote:In an individual context, it comes down to understanding what you want out of your practice, and assessing your practice to see if it aligns with your goals and is effective in delivering the desired results. In the context of discussion, it's about being clear and concise enough to allow for productive conversation..


Nice, along with your commentary very clear allowing for other points of view based on context.
The most important point to first ask themselves the main question of what one expects, wants and needs out their practice
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Re: Clear thinking

Postby wayne hansen on Sun Apr 15, 2018 11:20 am

If you wish to understand a life and death situation you must have someone trying to kill you
If you want to be constantly prepared you must have them trying to kill you all day everyday
If you want to understand how to kill you must kill them
All else is simulation
If you don't want to die or kill thousand of training partners you must find a reasonable substitute
All training is a substitute
You must work out if your method achieves the goals you desire
In the end we all loose the physical ability to use our art
You must workout what you gain by that training
Don't put power into the form let it naturally arise from the form
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Re: Clear thinking

Postby marvin8 on Sun Apr 15, 2018 4:12 pm

Bhassler wrote:In an individual context, it comes down to understanding what you want out of your practice, and assessing your practice to see if it aligns with your goals and is effective in delivering the desired results. In the context of discussion, it's about being clear and concise enough to allow for productive conversation.

marvin8 wrote:In general, martial arts share a common goal of self-defense against a non-compliant opponent.


Just as an example:

First of all, martial arts do not necessarily share a common goal.
  • Kenjitsu is to kill people with a sword. Older classical ryu are built around a battlefield context, whereas newer schools focus on dueling. More contemporary interpretations are focused around personal and skill development for it's own sake
  • Sport styles focus on non-lethal competition
  • Many SE Asian styles focus on opportunistic street fighting/self-protection
  • Etc, etc, etc.

I agree. It is understood that in "an individual context" individuals can have a variety of reasons and goals to study MAs, which may or may not include self-defense.

However by definition, martial arts do "necessarily share a common goal (not the only goal):" defending against a non-compliant opponent. All of your "styles" examples share this common goal.

A good discussion may help one see how these different "styles'" ideas, principles, strategies, etc. can benefit/fit in with one's practice, however different.

Bhassler wrote:Even if there was a shared goal, historical and cultural context can play a big part in how those goals are manifest. For example, Japanese arts will assume different clothing/armor on an opponent as compared to an art coming out of the Philippines. This is another example of the differences being just as important as the similarities (think about grabbing clothing, striking targets, etc. in traditional Japanese Samurai attire vs. typical Philippino street clothes).

Beyond the construction of the art itself, individuals may have vastly different goals. A 120 lb. woman will have different goals than a 200 lb. bouncer at an expensive nightclub, even though both may study the same art. Beyond the differences is size/strength, the goals themselves are different. The bouncer needs to talk to and control drunk people without causing undue injury or doing something to wreck the vibe of the club. The woman, if attacked on the street, just needs to escape, and due to gender and size is most likely justified in using a much higher and more brutal level of force. If the bouncer uses what the woman needs to use, he's likely to end up unemployed and/or in jail. If the woman tries to restrain her opponent like the bouncer would do, things are likely to go badly. Both need to understand the legal ramifications of use of force for their particular situations, which are different.

Self-defense is itself a legal term. Depending on lifestyle, some people need to understand self-defense legally, and others need self-protection and to operate within cultural norms that are different than what the law prescribes (i.e. using a legally excessive amount of force to send a message that an individual is not to be fucked with).

Even something as seemingly straightforward as non-compliant can have a lot of variation. Judo randori is non-compliant, but in most cases does not come close to the level of intensity a determined MMA fighter will bring in a match. Beyond that, even a determined MMA fighter is not the same as someone who wants to injure or kill you on the street. To be sure, the MMA guy will have a lot of skills that can cross over, but the differences can be a big deal (sucker punches, hidden weapons, friends, etc.).

An individual may use their martial art in different "attire, grabbing clothing, striking targets, physical attributes, venue rules, employment, legal ramifications, lifestyles, and have different goals." However, there still is a common goal: defending against a non-compliant opponent.

Bhassler wrote: (From OP) Most internet "discussions" revolve around individuals promoting their own opinions and/or agreeing with/refuting the opinions of others. Something that is often ignored is the process through which various viewpoints are formed. By better understanding how opinions are formed, we can clarify our own thinking, and through better thinking come up with better, more useful opinions. . . .

Is this level of semantic rigor necessary in this particular conversation? Maybe or maybe not, but if a conversation gets to a point where folks are talking across each other with no real understanding, it can be useful to apply a higher level or rigor just to get everyone talking about the same thing. . . .

I agree. Promoting, vagueness and claiming one's method is the only correct way without adequate explanation/proof (e.g., realistic videos) can lead to "a conversation that gets to a point where folks are talking across each other with no real understanding,"

I am not clear on your meaning. How are "opinions formed?" How does that understanding help one "come up with better, more useful opinions?"
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