My thoughts on "styles" and "systems"

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My thoughts on "styles" and "systems"

Post  David A Ross on Fri Apr 13, 2012 1:07 am

Always controversial, yup, that's me
http://nysanda.blog.com/2012/04/13/my-thoughts-on-style-or-system/

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David A Ross

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Re: My thoughts on "styles" and "systems"

Post  Eric_Koeppen on Fri Apr 13, 2012 12:17 pm

Tried to read this blog post, but only get a blank gray page- not even a 404 error.

EDIT:
Fixed now.
Good article.
In almost every style you should be learning to punch and kick before you ever learn a form; heck the first move in most forms IS a punch and/or a kick, so EVERY style should have quite a bit of "take my fist and smash your face".

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Re: My thoughts on "styles" and "systems"

Post  David A Ross on Sat Apr 14, 2012 12:21 am

The servers hosting my blog had some issues apparently....

At the risk of sounding like "at first a punch was just a punch, then blah blah, you know" ... reality is, the more time I spend the more I really dislike the artificial structures created by "tradition"

So much good stuff to learn and do, it so often gets buried in the nonsense

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Re: My thoughts on "styles" and "systems"

Post  Eric_Koeppen on Sat Apr 14, 2012 11:38 am

David A Ross wrote:The servers hosting my blog had some issues apparently....

At the risk of sounding like "at first a punch was just a punch, then blah blah, you know" ... reality is, the more time I spend the more I really dislike the artificial structures created by "tradition"

So much good stuff to learn and do, it so often gets buried in the nonsense

Oh I don't disagree with you there.
My buddy took maybe 4 years off from tcma to start working more modern stuff.
I helped him a tiny bit with his stand up, he trained some catch, he got to blue belt in bjj and judo, and he did kali for weapons.
At the end of 4 years, he wanted to go back to tcma, thinking he could bring a more modern approach to what he was teaching before.
Thing is, he's back to doing horse stance and stance transition forms as a method for teaching fighting footwork.
It's still early to say, but I'm not sure I agree with how he's going about it.

In fact, I see a lot more sense in your approach.
A lot of tcma was built from its foundations on a certain type of fighting (whether they want to admit it or not).
First you had shuai chiao - which should probably be the base you build on for almost every traditional chinese art.
Then you had lei tai fighting and private duels.
Sure you had stuff that involved weapons like the military and bodyguard/escort work, but there are going to be a lot fewer opportunities in this day and age to hack someone up with a kwando than back in the day.
I've never been a fan of "training for the street" - mostly because iron needs to be forged and unless you're getting in a TON of street fights, you're not going to have any way to stress test your style; it also seems to me to be unlikely that old styles were developed in such an environment of almost no use.

My point being that particular formats of stress-testing dictated the evolution various styles.
Sure, if you're scared of someone bull-rushing you off the lei tai platform - maybe you do want to have a 1000lb, rooted horse stance.
As far as private duels, nobody can say what really happened because of the whole concept of saving face.
Bareknuckle fighting has a certain look about it, bareknuckle boxing techniques look a lot more like tcma than modern gloved equivalents.
Claws & crazy fist formations are nice if you work them to the point of deforming your body.
Thing is, I'm not going to buy a huge side of beef every month to tear into with my tiger claws on the off chance that one time in my life, I'll have to scratch someone's nipples off; I'd rather just punch someone in the face.

These days you've got cage sports (mma), ring sports (sanda, muay thai, boxing), grappling competitions (wrestling, bjj, judo), and even a couple of "platform" competitions (sanshou, lei tai).
Lots of opportunities to stress-test your stuff to make sure it works when you need it to.
Each one of those formats has a lot of stress-tested techniques and strategies that are proven time and again, even in this day and age of video cameras.
Each one of those formats has a "delivery system" (I think that might be a SBG term) that's pretty basic and easy to pick up.
I'm more of a fan of keeping the "delivery system" and filling in the more advanced stuff with techniques & principles from your art that you can apply in that format.
Things like "keep your hands up" and "stay light on your feet for mobility" shouldn't be thrown away just because they're not in a form.
I don't think I've seen a fighter accepted by the traditional crowd as a traditional fighter who DIDN'T use that sort of "delivery system" (or something close); especially when gloves are involved.

I do yoga to help keep my joints healthy. A lot of it reminds me of forms. Yoga helps my fighting, but I do not fight with my yoga. The breathing exercises & joint mobility help a lot. Forms are similar and have the added benefit of adding in a little bit of work on proper mechanics. So I do like forms; but I hate the typical progression of:
Step 1: Learn the form
Step 2: Learn a couple basic apps
Step 3: ????
Step 4: Become a master fighter
Forms should be looked at as medicine for the fight training, not a replacement for fight training.
Makes you wonder why so many schools/styles decided to make that transition to where forms were the primary focus of training.
Did the current grand master just happen to catch his own master at the tail end of his career where he couldn't train the contact stuff?
Did the current grand master's master only focus on street performances?

There's way too much good stuff to learn that's actually directly applicable (but still very hard), there's no way I'd waste anybody's time making them "pay their dues" first.

*Sorry if this is regurgitating anything that's been said a million times*

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Re: My thoughts on "styles" and "systems"

Post  Paul Sacramento on Fri Apr 20, 2012 10:12 am

There is something that we tend to forget as to how a style or system comes into being:
The developer.
There comes a time in a MA life that he decided to "formalize" all HE has learned over the years in not only the formal setting ( if he ever had it and some TCMA masters didn't) but via the practical application in his/hers many fights.
So he puts down what works for HIM and perhaps passes it one to his students.
Some Masters where smart enough to know that they were exceptional and NOT to expect that from their students, so they developed their system in a way that not ONLY works for them but also for others. Other masters weren't that bright.
EX:
A master had the particular ability to destroy muscles and tendons by "squeezing", it was a genetic think, he had serious grip power ( think those guys that rip cards, bend wrenches and roll up frying pans) and as such he then choose an animal that was know for his "grip" and voila, tiger claw was created.
Of course not everyone was able to make the style work for them LIKE the master did because they didn't have his hand strength, so the master developed skills ( kungs) to help them develop their grip to their highest potential ( but still not legendary like his).
As more people trained and it was clear that Sifu was exceptional, more of his tales were told ( at times embellished) and we have what we have today.

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