© 2010 WWW.FIGHTINGMASTER.COM All rights reserved.

 

Rodrigo Medeiros

Favorite Submissions DVDs

 

The evolution of martial arts.

     
 

by our editor, Gus Fant.

 
     
 

More topics:

The Artist vs. the Beast

The 8 ranges of combat

Martial Arts As Preventive Medicine

 

Photo by Susumu Nagao

The Martial arts have evolved a lot during our century. In our day, martial arts practitioners have the ability to choose amongst hundreds of martial arts styles. It is not just that there are more kinds of martial arts available, but that even traditional martial arts have changed. 30 years ago martial arts were all about forms, katas and tradition.
Don’t get me wrong, I do not believe that tradition and forms are useless. I just do not believe that we should do everything the way it was done hundreds of years before. People have changed and the martial arts had to change as well.
The mindless dedication to styles, forms and fixed techniques is either a result of the Japanese military way of thinking or a result of racist ethnic tradition that characterized some martial arts. Tradition had to survive and pass on to younger generations at all cost. So forms and katas were discovered. Forms and katas were used to pass knowledge but I am afraid that most martial arts instructors use them without knowing their true meaning because in their days you just followed tradition; you were not allowed to question it.
In the old days a martial arts practitioner did not have books and training videos to consult. Everything he needed to know was in the forms. Also these forms are a way of practicing without the help of a fellow practitioner. You can practice forms in your house, all by yourself, without any training equipment.
The truth is that no matter how perfect a technique one has or how much one trains by himself, he will not be able to beat a kickboxer that trains with a partner and is able to “read” his opponent’s attacks and find openings in his defense and his rhythm.
One can argue that traditional martial artists would use their imagination to “fight” against an imaginary opponent. Even so, that is not the same as trying to fight against a live unpredictable opponent.
Sooner or later the traditional martial artist is faced with an inevitable truth: his defense is not perfect and he gets hit. His mind sticks to his wounds and he loses the fight. A boxer on the other hand, gets hit often but because of his fighting experience he just continues fighting. His mind does not stay with the hit but continues to attack and react.
When you step into a traditional martial arts school, you are very impressed by the whipping sound of karate uniforms worn by students when they punch or hit. They sound very powerful. The truth is that most of them lack any real power. A kickboxer hits the thai pads hundreds of times in just a training session so his punches and kicks are conditioned against a resisting and strong target. The only traditional martial artists that have true power in their attacks are the ones that use makiwaras in their training. Everybody else lacks any real power and may break his hand in a real confrontation.
I must admit that all martial arts have strengths and weaknesses. For example one can say that tae kwon do practitioners are vulnerable to boxing and wrestling attacks. The truth is that Tae kwon do practitioners are very dangerous if you underestimate them, especially when they wear shoes. A wrestler may argue that he is not afraid of them because he will initiate a false move, manage to grab them and take them to the ground. But some day he will just be unlucky and get kicked in the head by a slim tae kwon do guy that has long legs and explosive kicks.
The truth is that anyone can beat anyone depending on the conditions. A boxer once told me that the most dangerous attack is the one you least expect. I was watching a kickboxer sparring against a kung fu practitioner once. The kickboxer would prevail on most of the fight and so started to underestimate his opponent until the kung fu practitioner used a somewhat crazy move and hit him in the groin with an eagle claw attack. That was it. The fight ended.

Photo by Susumu Nagao

We can also consider the old question: Which is the most dangerous weapon, a hand grenade or a knife? One could argue that a hand grenade is more powerful. That is mostly true, but let’s say that you are fighting inside an elevator. Then the knife would be more useful.
The same applies to martial arts. All martial arts can be effective depending on the conditions. With that in mind, I do not want to accuse any styles, let’s just say that some martial arts styles are doing a great job proving to us that they are very effective while others are not. Jujitsu and kickboxing, for example, are effective and there is no doubt about it.
Mixed martial arts events have helped a lot in this area. In these events every fighter tests his martial arts style against other ones. That has caused a lot of changes. Karate practitioners learn to defend against a low kick and use more flexible blocking techniques. Jujitsu stylists also train in kickboxing to enhance their striking ability and to learn how to defend in the kicking range. Kickboxers learn how to take a fall and survive against groundfighters. This is evolution. We strongly believe that in 10 years, the martial arts scene will be very different.
In order to help our visitors enhance their fighting abilities, we will name some of the fighting arts that have drawn our attention.
 
There are 7 styles that are very effective in certain conditions:
  • Wing Tsun (for trapping and Chi sao)
  • Kickboxing (kicks, knees, elbows, boxing and the clinch)
  • Taekwondo (kicks)

  • Kyokushin Karate (open hand attacks in vital points)

  • Aikido (locks, distance control and redirecting force)

  • Jiu-jitsu (choke holds and overall grappling)

We would recommend that a fighter start training in Taekwondo, then kickboxing and then a grappling art. However if you already train in any of these arts, the others will complement your fighting ability perfectly.
 
 

More topics:

The Artist vs. the Beast

The 8 ranges of combat

Martial Arts As Preventive Medicine

 
     

© 2009 WWW.FIGHTINGMASTER.COM All rights reserved.