Tell me again why TCMA's aren't successful in combatsport

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

Re: Tell me again why TCMA's aren't successful in combatsport

Postby C.J.Wang on Wed May 14, 2008 6:58 pm

From history of the Kodokan, the founding of Judo by Jigoro Kano...

Kano had seen that many of the ju jitsu ryu had developed an appreciation for perfect form; for the aesthetic component of their movement art. This was a poison handed down from the most admired of the bujitsu, the swordsmen; the Kenjitsu who could not practice fully, because they could not make mistakes without crippling or fatal results. Because they could not make mistakes, and survive, they could not fully learn. Because they could not fully learn, they created a false world of form, which substituted for experience. Eventually it became Kendo, which, to restore vigor, nearly eliminated form (kata) entirely.

Disdaining "competition" as too dangerous, or even vulgar, many arts, during the waning twilight of the Tokugawa shogunate, had abandoned their martial spirit in favor of idealized movement forms. They convinced themselves that such perfection of movement reflected mastery of martial skills. Kano was not the first to see the fallacy of such an approach, which was simply rationalizing a way that eliminated, rather than preserved, the martial sweat, and agony, and ordeal that had characterized the training of men in the olden times; men who understood that perfection of movement held no advantages to the defeated, who were dead. Instead, they knew, above all, that martial spirit was strength, skill, conditioning, and above all, martial timing and ardor in the face of a determined adversary who gave no quarter and expected none. It was the development of "fudoshin" the immovable mind, that met all challenges and surprises with a state of composure but instant and devastating response

If I am not mistaken, the above quote comes from Tim Cartmell, who is in my opinion an excellent martial artist and teacher. He makes good points from his point of view and background as a BJJ pracitioner and someone who's actively inovled in competitions.

Just like in CMA, in Jujitsu there have been and always will be the so-called "form collectors" who are only interested in the aesthetic aspects of MA and believe that practicing the prearranged, fixed techniques makes them invincible. But dismissing "forms" as useless based on the poor performance of the form collectors runs the risk of being unknowingly partial. Bruce Lee also came up with a similar conclusion regarding the forms found in CMA and went on to create his own method. If he had the fourtune of meeting a truly skilled CMA master, he probably would have thought otherwise about the seemingly pointless form training. The same goes for Kano and jujitsu. Forms were meant to be performed and used to "hide secrets." They contain components that eventually lead practitioners to become formless if practiced correctly. In order to do so, you need knowledgable masters who can unlock the underlying aspects of forms. Otherwise, forms are just forms - a sequence of dead movements linked together.

I don't think that fighting samurai of the past disdained any form of resistant sparring. What they had problems with was the sporting mentality behind competition as I had pointed out in the earlier post.
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Re: Tell me again why TCMA's aren't successful in combatsport

Postby nianfong on Thu May 15, 2008 1:14 am

sigh and here we are again... teh deadly street skills vs the "combat sports"
the LEI TAI was the original MMA "combat sport".

this is a new forum, so I'll let this go a bit longer I suppose, but if it starts spiraling around to the same arguments over and over, it's going to BTDT.
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Re: Tell me again why TCMA's aren't successful in combatsport

Postby OldRed on Thu May 15, 2008 8:47 am

In traditional systems like the Praying Mantis and certain Hakka systems, there are movements found in the forms where you'd go low, slap the ground with the palms, and thrust the hands forward. When I asked the old-timers what those moves are for, they told me that the original application was to grab a handfull of sand, a pile of cow manure, a rock, or whatever's on the ground and throw it to the opponent's face; "Water Hand," an arm whipping move found in Fukien Whtie Crane system, was once used for throwing coins at the opponent with deadly power and accuracy; In the Bagua style I do, there is a self-defense technique (application of turning body palm ) passed down for generations where you'd move in high and low while piercing to the opponent's eyes, throat, and groin one time each. Once you manage to get pass his guard and touch one of those three areas, grab on and squeeze as tightly as possible for a split second before releasing and using your footwork to turn around and run off.

Can you see how this is different from sport fighting? It's not about who has the endurance to go for 10 rounds of kicking and punching or who is fast enough to take someone down to the floor and make him tap out in under a minute. Only thing that matters is survival.

I get what you're saying here. My point is that unless you're practicing those things often, with resistance and under pressure, then they are low percentage at best. I'm all for traditional CMA, but when it comes to survival I'm all for high percentage and easy to practice. Combat sports take those very things and focus on them. There's no way anyone is going to practice throwing sand and cow manure at their training partners on a regular basis (unless you have some really crazy training partners). As far as piercing eyes and groin, well, you better be dead on accurate...which means you need to be practicing it a Lot and should be able to pull it off in sparring. Anyway, I'm not here to convince anyone of anything, we all have our own approaches.
Last edited by OldRed on Thu May 15, 2008 8:49 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Tell me again why TCMA's aren't successful in combatsport

Postby JessOBrien on Thu May 15, 2008 10:42 am

I love these threads because I get to make my broken record plea for inclusiveness. There is room for training "Deadly" skills, sport skills and health skills within CMA. They have training for all that and more. That's the advantage of having unbroken lineages that go back hundreds of years. If you train it for sport, you can use it for sport. But if you train it for general exercise and just for getting a bit of movement in your day, then you can't use it for sport.

I know a woman who was literally crippled with arthritis. She learned Tai Chi and it utterly transformed her life. She says it saved her life. Fuck MMA & Self defense, this is something Vastly more important than any sport event. This is saving someone's life. Nothing is greater than that.

One of my grandteachers survived WWII fighting a running war with the Japanese, then landing in prison before exile. He said that Tai Chi saved his life. I don't think lifting weights, jogging and jumping rope, nor fighting resisting opponents would have provided the flexible strength that enabled him to survive one of the most brutal wars of the twentieth century. Fitness as we know it does not apply to famine, war and plague. However, IMA contains practices that are quite valuable in those circumstances.

One of my teachers used IMA techinques to fight under circumstances where maiming or death were distinct possiblities. His IMA techniques, including soft power, yielding and the awareness exercises that many would throw out because the are "impractical" helped him to survive some very serious confrontations where people got seriously injured and worse. He credited IMA training as giving him an edge that he never would have had otherwise even after years of external training and heavy sparring.

During the writing of the book I published, Nei Jia Quan, I met and talked to and trained with a number of exceptional martial artists. Each has a slightly different rationale for training. Some focused on sport, some on survival, some on energy, some on healing, some on inner awareness, some on spirituality, some on anatomy, etc... In the end it showed me that CMA is a wide study, and arguing that IMA is only one thing or the other is pointless. It's ALL that and more. You'll never get all of it. Pick the parts you love and focus on them, but recognize that others use these tools for distinctly different ends, and their training is every bit as authentic as yours. Who knows, someday your focus many change too..... :)

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Re: Tell me again why TCMA's aren't successful in combatsport

Postby CaliG on Thu May 15, 2008 11:23 am

Jesse and Omar brought up some good points.

Here in the bay area we have all kinds of CMA teachers and many more MA teachers.

Basically it comes down to who you choose as a teacher. If you want you can go to the white eyebrow school, join the hardcore wingchun guys or do sanshou in the east bay if you want to compete using CMA in combat sports.

On the other hand you can also go the way of doing qigong/meditation and then we have teachers who offer everything in between.

My advice to anyone who is looking for a teacher or is unhappy with their school's focus is to go somewhere else. It might take you 10 years but eventually you'll find what you're looking for even if it isn't CMA.

Personally I like combat sports because when you win or even just pull off a good move it is real and it is the closest and safest thing to a real fight. But combat sports doesn't have to be your main focus. I just see it as another training tool and in the end I train the way I do because I like it not because I want to make a name for myself or win trophies. I just like the martial arts that I do.
Last edited by CaliG on Thu May 15, 2008 11:32 am, edited 3 times in total.


Re: Tell me again why TCMA's aren't successful in combatsport

Postby cerebus on Thu May 15, 2008 11:26 am

A very good point Jess. Martial arts are not (or at least certainly do NOT have to be) an either/or proposition. I don't hink anyone here is saying "concentrate only on sport fighting" (I most CERTAINLY am not, myself). The idea is that what one gains from sport fighting only adds to, and does not detract from, one's skills. Certainly if one chooses to enter sport competition, their other training must take a back seat for a short time, but only until the competition is over.

Anyway, we all have our own opinions and experiences on the matter. In the long run, the most important thing the arts can do for any of us is to help us to live long, happy, healthy, productive lives, and hopefully help others to do the same...
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Re: Tell me again why TCMA's aren't successful in combatsport

Postby CaliG on Thu May 15, 2008 11:37 am

Anyway, we all have our own opinions and experiences on the matter. In the long run, the most important thing the arts can do for any of us is to help us to live long, happy, healthy, productive lives, and hopefully help others to do the same...

Thanks Troy you just summed up what I was trying to say.
Last edited by CaliG on Thu May 15, 2008 11:38 am, edited 1 time in total.



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