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Taekwon-Do Founder Dies

By Toranaga in Culture
Mon Jun 24, 2002 at 09:40:49 PM EST
Tags: Culture (all tags)
Culture

The founder of Taekwon-Do Gen. Choi Hong Hi died on June 15th in Pyongyon, North Korea, of stomach cancer. This article speaks shortly on some of the history of Taekwon-Do and the man who founded it.


In 1968 during a visit to Toronto's Park Jong Soo Institute. Gen. Choi explained what the name Taekwon-Do meant. "Taekwon-Do means three things. Tae means kicking, jumping, smashing with the feet; kwon means hand, strike, punch; Do means art."(1) The "Do" part of the name was particularily stressed. Taekwon-Do required gentlemanship, justice, respect for elders, obedience for parents and loyalty to country. Taekwon-Do has always been purely for self-defence.

On April 11th ,1955 the martial art which Gen. Choi had been working on was officially named Taekwon-Do. Later in 1966 Gen. Choi founded the International Taekwon-Do Federation(ITF) unfortunately soon after he gathered the unwanted attention of South Korean military ruler Park Chung Hee. Park wanted access to Taekwon-Do as added muscle in his dictatorship. Gen. Choi had to choose between life in prison or surrender to the dictator's wishes. Eventually Gen. Choi found a third option and escaped to Canada where he lived in Mississauga, Ontario. Gen. Choi eventually detailed Taekwon-Do's 3,200 fundamental moves in a 15-volume encyclopedia that took twelve years to complete. Gen. Choi travelled the world to promote his sport and when approaching death was deeply happy and satisfied that 50 million people in 150 countries around the world practice the sport. I found a couple of obituaries on Gen. Choi Hong Hi the last couple of days and I thought it might be interesting to learn a bit about the founder of Taekwon-Do.

1. Toronto Star - Monday, June 24th 2002 (Peter Edwards)

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Poll
Which Martial Art Have You Practiced?
o Karate 19%
o Kung Fu 12%
o Taekwon-Do 21%
o Kickboxing 3%
o Other 42%

Votes: 114
Results | Other Polls

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o Taekwon-Do
o Also by Toranaga


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Taekwon-Do Founder Dies | 91 comments (70 topical, 21 editorial, 0 hidden)
missing poll option (2.88 / 9) (#1)
by tps12 on Mon Jun 24, 2002 at 05:04:15 PM EST

Tae-Bo

heh (5.00 / 4) (#51)
by Andy P on Mon Jun 24, 2002 at 11:48:02 PM EST

Ah yes, Tae-Bo, the Ancient Art of the 40 year old housewife.  

[ Parent ]
What was he doing in North Korea? (3.40 / 5) (#3)
by Ludwig on Mon Jun 24, 2002 at 05:14:19 PM EST

It's neither a tourist hotspot nor a medical Mecca.

Also: what's the difference between Taekwon-Do and karate/jujitsu/thumb-wrestling/other poll options?

Differences (5.00 / 3) (#24)
by Osiris on Mon Jun 24, 2002 at 05:55:48 PM EST

Karate is of Okinawan extraction, though the modern trappings (white uniforms, belts, etc) are of Japanese extraction by way of judo.  It is a hard striking style

Taekwondo is a unification of many Korean styles, similar to karate in many ways, and also uses Japanese style visual bits.

Jujutsu is a grappling and locking style, originally Japanese.  Judo is descended from it, and adds wrestling and a sport scoring system.

Kung Fu refers to one of a variety of Chinese styles, more correctly called "Chuan Fa".  Some Kung Fu styles are known for their use of many and exotic weapons.

Thumb wrestling is an ancient, revered style, practiced by the Uigher people of the asian steppes, before it came down to us in the modern west in its bastardized "I declare a thumb war" version.  I weep for the loss of tradition this represents.

[ Parent ]

Kung-Fu (3.50 / 2) (#60)
by Corwin on Tue Jun 25, 2002 at 01:32:15 AM EST

For those who may not know, Kung Fu (more appropriately Gung Fu) actually means "Hard work". I'm not sure how it came to be associated with Chinese martial arts, as in the past I believe it had been used to refer to any person doing a hard task, such as a farmer out all day in the rice fields.

Sure, extensive training in the martial arts is certainly "Gung Fu" but it isn't the only thing.

---
I'm in search of myself. Have you seen me anywhere?
[ Parent ]
lol (none / 0) (#46)
by rss on Mon Jun 24, 2002 at 10:56:15 PM EST

unfortunately he's born in korea. and karate is the oldest form of martial art and its derived from kalaripayattu an ancient martial art practiced in south india. the buddhist monks who came to india to learn more about buddhism learnt this from indian sages.



[ Parent ]

Do, Justsu, etc. (4.00 / 3) (#5)
by bgalehouse on Mon Jun 24, 2002 at 05:16:01 PM EST

What makes a traditional Japanese do art is not a focus on self-defense, it is a focus on perfecting the self. (I'm assuming that the do suffix is the same Japanese do suffix that we see in, say, Aikido and Judo) Also, much of modern tae kwon do, like modern Judo, is a sport which makes it less a traditional do or jutsu art. I think that this aspect of it deserves mention. Purists think it is very important to to separate these distinctions.

Do/jutsu (4.00 / 1) (#12)
by Osiris on Mon Jun 24, 2002 at 05:26:30 PM EST

It is the same suffix.  Korean has many words in common with Japanese, a result of thousands of years of cross-culturalization, and 35 years of occupation at the beginning of this century.

I have trained with shotokan schools which are devoted almost entirely to tournament-style sport, and taekwondo schools which are extremely traditional in their focus.  In these kinds of cases, I don't think you can say the style itself is a sport.  There are sport taekwondo associations, including the ITF and WTF, but that doesn't really define the entire style.

[ Parent ]

I suppose that I could have been more explicit (4.00 / 2) (#20)
by bgalehouse on Mon Jun 24, 2002 at 05:39:37 PM EST

I was just trying to point out that a significant number of tae kwon do schools are sport oriented. Certainly, I've taken no surveys about how big a fraction this is. All of the demonstrations that I have seen for tae kwon do schools have seemed to be this way. But, whether this is a vocal minority or majority isn't something that I was trying to comment on.

Similarly, I didn't mean to prejudge all of judo. However, the judo that I have personally seen, has been competition oriented. Again, I think that is fair to say that a significant fraction of modern judo is a sport.

[ Parent ]

Judo (4.00 / 1) (#22)
by Osiris on Mon Jun 24, 2002 at 05:46:42 PM EST

Judo was designed explicitly as a sport- Dr Kano modified moves from jujutsu to be safer, and added more wrestling type maneuvers, to make a sport which could safely be taught to children.  It's not pre-judging to say that it is performing well as he designed it :)

[ Parent ]
I've heard otherwise (none / 0) (#55)
by bgalehouse on Tue Jun 25, 2002 at 12:40:08 AM EST

Kendo was originally a traditional do art but became a sport, or at least was often practiced as a sport starting near the end of the Edo period. See Draeger for discussion.

I have been told by reasonably experienced Judoka that a similar thing happened to Judo, especially with the advent of it as an Olympic sport. For example, the self-defense forms which were originally part of the system have fell into disuse, at least in some dojo. However, I'm not enough of a Judoka to be an expert on this myself.

That said, I certainly agree that part of the original creation of Judo was in making it safer to practice. Full speed rondorii is an important part of modern Judo, pretty much universally. This is not the case for jujitsu, especially at lower ranks, largely for safety reasons.

[ Parent ]

Do/Jutsu (none / 0) (#59)
by Corwin on Tue Jun 25, 2002 at 01:27:26 AM EST

Broadly speaking, and I can't stress how broad this is, the do suffix is fairly new, as in post-World-War II. (Do schools did exist well before this, but not nearly as much as now) After the Japanese surrendered the Americans banned the practice of all martial arts, and this lasted for about a decade or so. When the ban was lifted most schools, fearing that they would be shut down if they appeared too violent, shifted their focus from being an art of lethal self-defense to a more philosophical pursuit or restructured it to be more sporting.

Hence Judo (which, again broadly speaking) is a less lethal jujutsu, and kendo which bears little resemblance to the kenjutsu of the feudal-age samurai.

---
I'm in search of myself. Have you seen me anywhere?
[ Parent ]
I took (4.00 / 1) (#17)
by tokage on Mon Jun 24, 2002 at 05:36:12 PM EST

Aikido for about 5 years. A lot of fun. That died somehow, along with everything else I used to do. Maybe I should take it up again.

I always play / Russian roulette in my head / It's 17 black, or 29 red

that died (none / 0) (#88)
by streetlawyer on Tue Jun 25, 2002 at 07:18:05 PM EST

Funnily enough "that died" is more or less a complete abridged history of the use of aikido in real-life situations. The subtitle would be "If only he'd grabbed my wrist, I'd have moidered him"

--
Just because things have been nonergodic so far, doesn't mean that they'll be nonergodic forever
[ Parent ]
Not really.. (none / 0) (#91)
by tokage on Sat Jun 29, 2002 at 02:36:04 PM EST

Any form of an attacker coming at you is what you need to react properly. Fist, feet, knives, any form of hand to hand weapons. A really skilled practitioner is a sight to behold. One of the ideas of Aikdo is to be able to defend yourself from several attackers at the same time.

I'm not going to argue at the more novice levels, taking something in the tae kwon do area isn't going to have a distinct advantage. When you're not very skilled at something, it's better to be attacking than be reactive, sometimes..

Most people don't take aikido to a very high level where it becomes instinctive, which is when it(and most fighting arts) are their most effective..

I always play / Russian roulette in my head / It's 17 black, or 29 red
[ Parent ]

poll option (3.50 / 2) (#21)
by zephc on Mon Jun 24, 2002 at 05:40:11 PM EST

Wing Chun, which is sorta a kung fu style. Not to be confused with Wang Chung =]

Vaguely off topic. (2.71 / 7) (#27)
by eLuddite on Mon Jun 24, 2002 at 06:21:21 PM EST

You take your 10th dan black belt in Dances with Zephyrs or whatever, and a decent club boxer will punch the shit out of him every single time. I have identified two problems with the so-called martial arts.

First, the training. Martial artists spend waaay too much time communing with the spirit world and performing frilly frou-frou katas. This is not very difficult: a fighter must train to stay on his feet, to punch you in the nose, and to absorb repeated punches to the head and body without crumpling to the ground. The latter is so important as to deserve an extra long sentence for emphasis: You cannot fight if agility, reflexes, balance, and presence of mind abondon you whenever someone grazes your chain; and you must acquire this unnatural skill through the practiced neglect of your instincts to cower on the ground with your hands covering your ears. In other words, you have to train exactly not like a yoga chi judo mumble rumble fish.

This is why boxers have ugly mugs and hollywood actors practice martial arts.

Second, martial arts have poor economy of motion. Compared to punching, kicking is slow. Period. Boxers develop such incredibly fast fists, reflexes and agility that attempting to swing your leg in an eight foot slow arc is asking for someone to deftly step inside and perform rhinoplasty on your face. This is why kickboxing matches look like boxing matches between inexpert boxers.

---
God hates human rights.

Ever watch UFC? (4.00 / 2) (#29)
by jmzero on Mon Jun 24, 2002 at 06:28:04 PM EST

I agree that kicks are generally ineffective.  You're never going to land a head kick to a competent, standing opponent (or at least it's not a good idea to try).

However, repeated kicks to the lower legs seems to be particularly effective - and kicking low can often be done without exposure to much in the way of grappling risk.

.
"Let's not stir that bag of worms." - my lovely wife
[ Parent ]

I must disagree (4.50 / 2) (#45)
by {ice}blueplazma on Mon Jun 24, 2002 at 10:51:06 PM EST

No offense, but have you ever seen a high ranking black belt fight? I have, I'm a low ranking black belt (first degree) in Soo Bahk Do. I caught a kick in the face that nearly knocked out a few teeth. Fortunately I was fast enought to only get a bloody nose. When used in a combonation kicks are devastating. If you just watch TV you don't know what a real martial artist can do, you need to see it. I'm not telling you any black belt could kick someone, but high ranking black belts are perfectly capable of it.

"Denise, I've been begging you for the kind of love that Donny and Smitty have, but you won't let me do it, not even once!"
--Jimmy Fallon
[ Parent ]
I'm sure it's possible (none / 0) (#74)
by jmzero on Tue Jun 25, 2002 at 10:14:09 AM EST

But I don't think head kicks are a viable strategy in an actual fight.  Find one example of a good, successful headkick in UFC (to a standing opponent), and I'll change my mind.  I've seen hundreds that weren't, and they were usually disastrous.  Even the best kickers never ventured as high as the waist.

Headkicks represent too much of a commitment in terms of time and position when the opponent has the option of a takedown.  What happens if he ducks and goes for a grapple?  The fight is over.  You started off from such an imbalanced position, you're going to get choked out before you hit the ground.

That said, I suppose a head kick would be possible if the opponent was caught doing something silly himself, or if the opponent was unskilled or offbalance.  In this case, I'm sure a headkick can be impressive, and can inflict serious damage.

I'm sure they're also a very viable option in many martial arts, where the rules and scoring make the experience very different from an actual fight.
.
"Let's not stir that bag of worms." - my lovely wife
[ Parent ]

How about 3 examples... (5.00 / 3) (#81)
by tdismukes on Tue Jun 25, 2002 at 03:40:49 PM EST

Pete Williams knocking out Mark Coleman with a muay thai style round kick to the head.

Pat Miletich knocking out Shonie Carter with a muay thai style round kick to the head.

Gilbert Yvel knocking out Gary Goodrich with a muay thai style round kick to the head. (Okay, that was Pride, not UFC. Pretty much the same rules though.)

I actually agree with you about head kicks not being a good option in most circumstances, but I was able to think of 3 examples off the top of my head, so I thought I'd set the record straight. The art of NHB fighting has evolved considerably from the early days of the UFC. If you haven't watched it recently, it's back on pay-per-view, you should check it out.

[ Parent ]

Interesting... (none / 0) (#82)
by jmzero on Tue Jun 25, 2002 at 04:00:53 PM EST

I indeed haven't watched for a while, and it sounds from your examples as though head kicks have become possible, if not commonplace.

Interesting - I'll have to get a couple tapes.   Good to hear that the styles haven't stagnated (which they were starting to a few years ago).
.
"Let's not stir that bag of worms." - my lovely wife
[ Parent ]

Not stagnating but ... (5.00 / 1) (#83)
by tdismukes on Tue Jun 25, 2002 at 04:15:27 PM EST

Styles are becoming more similar, as all the fighters are learning what does and doesn't work. One reason fighters can take the chance of kicking high is that they've all learned counters to takedowns. They've also all learned how to fight on the ground if they do get taken down. They've also all learned to box and to low-kick, which works to set up the occasional high kick.

The art as a collective whole continues to evolve, but there's no more historical "style-vs-style" as in "boxing-vs-judo." Now it's personal "style-vs-style" as in "Ali the dancer vs. Foreman the slugger".

[ Parent ]

UFC and Boxing in the same breath... (5.00 / 3) (#75)
by Phelan on Tue Jun 25, 2002 at 10:29:33 AM EST

One might recall way back at the beginning of the UFC...#4 I think it was. There was some punk-mouthed boxer, talking the same smack we hear from eLuddite. You know the drill: "Martial artists are wussies, they don't train to fight, they can't take a punch I'm here to clean house and show these kids how a boxer does it."

And wouldn't you know it, this bad mamma jamma boxer loses to who? Steve Jennum, regarded by some as one of the most undeserving of the UFC champions. He lost how? Oh yeah, he did a typical fatal boxing maneuver: He clinched. Next thing you know, Steve hip threw him like a sack of potatoes, pounded his face a bit, and then arm barred him into submission.

Oh, the shame boxers worldwide must have felt that day.

[ Parent ]

You have a point through association (4.66 / 3) (#32)
by Toranaga on Mon Jun 24, 2002 at 06:49:59 PM EST

Since you are generalizing to the point of laughter let me just prepare you for the real flames that the more experienced martial artists will turn on you. Your point about economy of motion is valid. Kicking is slow, but if your idea of kicking in martial arts is the crane kick from "Karate Kid" or a long beginner's roundhouse then you unfortunately have no idea what you are talking about. You can be the toughest,quickest boxer out there, but any martial artist worth his salt would be a fool to box with the boxer. Most likely it would end up with grappling of some sort and I am sure that the boxer would be at a disadvantage at this point. All the more reason to be competent in multiple disciplines I would say. Bruce Lee had a problem with economy of motion in kung fu. If we were to take your "kata" argument(I use the term losely - argument that is) Bruce believed there were too many set positions which led to Bruce Lee's form of martial arts "Jeet Kune Do". Don't let this phase you though, I would be interested to see you go up to some martial artists and test your theories.

[ Parent ]
whatever (3.50 / 2) (#34)
by eLuddite on Mon Jun 24, 2002 at 07:17:47 PM EST

Don't let this phase you though, I would be interested to see you go up to some martial artists and test your theories.

Such big talk.

I am not generalizing to the point of laughter. It is not an exaggeration to point out that someone can and usually does become a black belt without ever getting hit in the face. The simple fact of the matter is martial arts does not emphasise combat in realistic training or practice. Your challenge is laughable; I know first hand what a boxer can do to a black belt in under 10 seconds flat. Whereas a competent boxer is always lethal by temperament, fitness and skill, an active black belt can be a pudgy little ballerina for all the difference it makes to his status as a martial artist.

Granted, some guys are natural born born killers and the type of formal training they undergo makes little difference to the fact that they can batter Mike Tyson in a street fight. Inside a ring, I would argue that these guys are better served learning to box precisely because, in your words, "your point about economy of motion is valid."

---
God hates human rights.
[ Parent ]

What colour is the sky in your universe? (4.33 / 3) (#35)
by Tatarigami on Mon Jun 24, 2002 at 07:25:45 PM EST

It is not an exaggeration to point out that someone can and usually does become a black belt without ever getting hit in the face.

Really? What style is that, then? I'm curious because I've often reflected while waiting for the stars to clear after getting hit in the face that there has to be an easier way to get my black belt.

My current tally of martial arts-related injuries: three. But only one of them permanent, so I guess I'm ahead of the game...

The simple fact of the matter is martial arts does not emphasise combat in realistic training or practice.

You are wrong.

You fail to differentiate between non-contact, light-contact and full-contact sparring. Even boxers train with equipment, they don't just hit each other all the time.

Whereas a competent boxer is always lethal by temperament, fitness and skill, an active black belt can be a pudgy little ballerina for all the difference it makes to his status as a martial artist.

Overgeneralisation? Nope, no overgeneralisation here at all. Nothing to see, movie along.

[ Parent ]
In my universe... (3.00 / 1) (#36)
by eLuddite on Mon Jun 24, 2002 at 07:52:41 PM EST

boxers do one thing: they fight. After a while, they get really good at it.

Overgeneralisation? Nope, no overgeneralisation here at all.

It's an admitted generalization; but generalizations wouldnt be generalizations if they were usually false. Believe what you want, but there's a reason professional contact martial art associations mandate kicks in the rules: given a choice, most fighters would prefer to win their match.

---
God hates human rights.
[ Parent ]

You didn't mention the colour (3.00 / 1) (#38)
by Tatarigami on Mon Jun 24, 2002 at 08:14:34 PM EST

boxers do one thing: they fight. After a while, they get really good at it.

Not true, serious boxers train frequently and hard. Light bag, heavy bag, ropes, sparring, weights... if you don't do all that, you may call yourself a boxer but the truth is you're just a brawler. In a serious boxing match, you'd get taken apart in seconds -- no-one wins on raw talent alone.

It's an admitted generalization; but generalizations wouldnt be generalizations if they were usually false.

For that to be true, it would have to make sense. Aside from Sammo Hung, how many overweight martial artists can you think of? And how many of them reached the level they're at through 'frou frou' katas instead of hard training?

Believe what you want,

Thanks, I will.

but there's a reason professional contact martial art associations mandate kicks in the rules: given a choice, most fighters would prefer to win their match.

Well, I agree with you there. Kicking is an effective technique, which is why boxing-style martial arts use it, and grappling styles at least include methods of countering it. Traditional western boxing doesn't, because it's a sport, played according to strict rules which are universally enforced.

But weren't you saying earlier that kicks are too slow to be a useful technique? That seems like a bit of a turnaround.

[ Parent ]
What is it with you and the sky? (none / 0) (#40)
by eLuddite on Mon Jun 24, 2002 at 09:14:18 PM EST

Do you spend a lot of time contemplating it on your back?

Not true, serious boxers [train to fight]

Yeppers.

For that to be true, it would have to make sense. Aside from Sammo Hung, how many overweight martial artists can you think of?

Only someone with martial dexterity, lightning fast reflexes and expert timing would interpret the generalization "boxers are better fighters than martial artists" strictly according to fighting weight. Yes, very well, as you wish: competitive fighters are not competitive if they're overweight. OK? OK! So much for that strawman.

Nevertheless, the vast majority of black belts are not professional fighters, and nothing in the training or practice of these black belts mandates the degree of fitness and pugilist skills expected of an average club boxer (I think it's eminently fair to compare a black belt to an an active club fighter.) As a result, there is nothing unusual about a dojo of pudgy ballerinas doing breathing exercises and contemplating their mystique.

What I'm trying to say is, and if I may be so bold as to invoke kuro5hin's favorite razor, if you want to learn how to beat people up, you dont learn a "style", you learn to box. I wont belabor the scientific reasons I've already written up in minutely detailed, objective fashion.

Well, I agree with you there. Kicking is an effective technique,

You misunderstood; if it were an effective technique, it wouldnt need to be mandated in the rules.

---
God hates human rights.
[ Parent ]

It's called 'sarcasm' (4.00 / 2) (#43)
by Tatarigami on Mon Jun 24, 2002 at 10:04:55 PM EST

Yes, very well, as you wish: competitive fighters are not competitive if they're overweight. OK? OK! So much for that strawman.

Hmm. Perhaps you should re-read your own posts before replying to mine. I was responding to your assertion that there's nothing preventing a 'pudgy little ballerina' from becoming a black belt.

Nevertheless, the vast majority of black belts are not professional fighters,

True enough. Our local Tae Kwon Do federation considers anything lower than 5th (6th?) dan to be 'amateur' and therefore entitled to take part in international competition. Above that threshold you're professional (whether or not you actually teach) and disqualified from competing.

As a result, there is nothing unusual about a dojo of pudgy ballerinas doing breathing exercises and contemplating their mystique.

False. Are you sure you're not confusing a martial arts class with a prenatal class? I suppose there's no mandate preventing you from becoming a concert pianist without knowing how to play, but just try it. If you study martial arts seriously (and you have to study seriously to achieve your black belt) you will be fit. Simple as that.

What I'm trying to say is, and if I may be so bold as to invoke kuro5hin's favorite razor, if you want to learn how to beat people up, you dont learn a "style",

I think you're confused about what a style is. In Karate, your style is punching and kicking. In Judo, your style is grappling and throwing. It's not style as in what prevents you from wearing bellbottom trousers and orange shirts with ruffles.

I wont belabor the scientific reasons I've already written up in minutely detailed, objective fashion.

Fair enough. Then I won't point out that you haven't been scientific or detailed or objective.

You misunderstood; if it were an effective technique, it wouldnt need to be mandated in the rules.

You're confused again, the rules apply to what kind of kicks are okay or not okay -- eg. a kick in the chest is okay. A kick in the crotch isn't, regardless of how effective it is.

[ Parent ]
You continue to misunderstand. (none / 0) (#49)
by eLuddite on Mon Jun 24, 2002 at 11:27:59 PM EST

The rules mandate kicking because if they did not, fights would devolve into "boxing" matches. This is a consequence of the kick's ineffectiveness. Combatants are required to launch kicks a minimum number of times per round in order to sustain the pretense of martial art. Would you pay to watch two second-string boxers stumble around the ring? And yet, you'd train to become one...

JUST KIDDING!

If you study martial arts seriously (and you have to study seriously to achieve your black belt) you will be fit. Simple as that.

True to the extent it applies to chess, golf and bowling. I'm amused to learn that everyone less than 5th dan is a competitive fighter. That isnt remotely true, of course, but it does emphasize our disagreement over the meaning of fighter. Every martial artist is a fighter, it's right there in the name in case anyone missed the sales pitch, but it's still a vale of bollocks to equate black belts, of whom I've known a few, with competent boxers. Nota Bene: a boxer is someone who boxes; I have boxed, but I am not longer a boxer. In comparison, a martial artist is "tenured;" black belts can be complete duffers, and very often are.

Nothing you can say will erase the experience of every dojo I have ever visited.

---
God hates human rights.
[ Parent ]

Maybe so (none / 0) (#50)
by Tatarigami on Mon Jun 24, 2002 at 11:39:31 PM EST

Combatants are required to launch kicks a minimum number of times per round in order to sustain the pretense of martial art.

Not by any rules I've ever fought under. In fact, the rules applied at the last club I studied through had nothing to say about rounds, either. The fight started, and continued until it finished.

Of course, to us it was training, not a display.

Me: If you study martial arts seriously (and you have to study seriously to achieve your black belt) you will be fit. Simple as that.

You: True to the extent it applies to chess, golf and bowling.

Are you trolling me? You've stopped making sense.

[ Parent ]
Is it blue? Is it blue?!? (5.00 / 1) (#47)
by Hobbes2100 on Mon Jun 24, 2002 at 11:11:59 PM EST

Nevertheless, the vast majority of black belts are not professional fighters, and nothing in the training or practice of these black belts mandates the degree of fitness and pugilist skills expected of an average club boxer (I think it's eminently fair to compare a black belt to an an active club fighter.)

Just to interject: I think what you say is true, but it has a much different primary cause ... simply put, there are FAR MORE "black" belts then there are club boxers. Even small podunk towns have a local karate club ... but few have gyms. Go to a city: probably a 10 - to - 1 boxing gym to "dojo" ratio (maybe worse).

So, simply by a larger population I'm expecting a larger variance in the product ... some MAists are phenomenal, some are 12 years olds that look cute to their parents.

This hasn't quite become a "boxing is a better art then [insert martial art here]" thread that we can all see on rec.martial-arts. I'll just throw out two things: 1) consider a hard-core Muay Thai kickboxer. These guys are no body fat, hard as hell, and their kicks are fast, low, and hard to see. Their elbows and knees are hard and fast; they train as hard as you could ask anyone ... I think they would pass your fighting test ... then again, they don't get "black" belts.

2) I've trained many arts (including some boxing work) and I've seen individuals in each of them that are just plain scary. I've sometimes imagined a battle royal of the different individuals (with different arts) and it's kind of a fun picture. Point is, I fundamentally belive that any art can yield a successful fighter. It does depend on how your train. Thus, it isn't fair to compare a club fighter with a black belt ... precisely b/c as your said, there are pretty specific things the club fighter must do to get there ..... "black" belts might just pay a testing fee every three months for five years.

Regards,
Mark
Sed quis custodiet ipsos custodes? --Iuvenalis
But who will guard the guardians themselves? -- Juvenal
[ Parent ]

Lame overgeneralization [n/t] (none / 0) (#33)
by Spendocrat on Mon Jun 24, 2002 at 07:16:47 PM EST



[ Parent ]
Atlantic black belt syndrome (5.00 / 1) (#39)
by caine on Mon Jun 24, 2002 at 08:59:20 PM EST

What you're refering to sounds like the martial arts that's taught by the "Atlantic black belt"-group, i.e people from asia that magically goes from for example blue belt to black belt during the flight to the U.S.

There's a lot of unserious, flimsy-flamsy martial arts schools, where you can gain black belt in 3 years or something equally silly. Those who have gotten their training there obviously won't be very good.

However, there are many good martial arts schools from various styles, with good training and sparring. I've trained several martial arts during my years. Some were more suited to me than others and some were more heavy on fighting than others. Training a style with a lot of sparring and streetfighting will make you a good fighter.

And despite what you seem to think, boxers doesn't spend all that much time actually fighting. The most important ability for a boxer is endurance. In fact, most martial arts focused on actually being a good fighter (where I for example wouldn't include ITF Tae-kwon-do) will spend much more time on fighting than boxing. In a real fight and without gloves, one or a few punches and kicks can severly hurt or even kill a person. It's not that important that you can fight for 30 minutes as it is to not get hit and being able to deliver deadly blows.

And in the end, the one way to get really good at fighting effectively is actually fighting with people, preferably with people who are actually out to hurt you. This is however quite dangerous and not seen as very favorable with todays society, so full-contact sparring is about the best you can get.

--

[ Parent ]

i wont disagree but here's the thing (none / 0) (#44)
by eLuddite on Mon Jun 24, 2002 at 10:14:49 PM EST

And despite what you seem to think, boxers doesn't spend all that much time actually fighting.

I did the Tae Kwon Do thing when I was a kid and Bruce Lee was the world's most dangerous man in the movies. I trained with adults in a reputable gym. I remember this one time someone cut their knuckles on the punching bag. I boxed in highschool and college. It was the most curious thing. We spent so much time hitting each other, we had to buy boxing gloves.

In a real fight and without gloves, ...

boxers arent at a disadvantage to martial artists. Why would they be? In a real fight without gloves, I've seen a boxer put a man into a coma.

---
God hates human rights.
[ Parent ]

Bleeding knuckles and comas (4.00 / 2) (#73)
by caine on Tue Jun 25, 2002 at 09:25:17 AM EST

I don't really see why it would be interesting if someone would cut their knuckles on the punching bag? I've walked away bloody many times from it. What was your point? Anyway, when your hands get stronger, and you can do push ups on eh.."panther claw", don't really know what to call it, it's basically if you just fold in the outmost part of the fingers, you can hit with the hand like that and you do more damage than a normal fist (smaller area, same force, yadda yadda). This also enables you do punch to more sensitive areas, such as crotch, throat, liver, spleen. A boxer simply cannot do these things.

Gloves...I have 16 ounces boxing gloves, which is basically the heaviest there is to buy. This is because if you do for example a spinning back hand punch, you're very likely to cause some serious damage. Unfortunately this is true even with gloves, so some caution is recommended. The thing is one of those punches from just someone normally trained hits as hards as a straight punch from Mr Tyson himself. A boxer simply aren't used to doing these things, and the reason they're not allowed to do them in a fight, is because they're too dangerous.

I've done some no-gloves full-contact sparring, and let me tell you that no matter who you are facing, a few punches will knock even a 100 kg guy out flat with no problem. However, you notice there more than ever that those extra 10 cm:s really count. I'd rather face Tyson than Lewis.

Putting a guy in coma isn't very hard even for an untrained guy. Just a matter who punches first (that's why you want to be really good at not getting hit). Once you've gotten one in, just keep bashing. A boxer would obviously be better than a normal person, and so is even more likely to put someone in a coma. What boxers have going for them is that they do only a few things, very good, namely straight punches with gloves to the face and stomach, and as someone else so nicely put it here on k5 - "basic wins". However a martial artist trained in street fighting, will have basics that are maximized without gloves and with dirty fighting, giving them the edge in a fight. They are so ingrained with where and how they should hit and block it goes on automatic and they're quite likely for example to hit to the face while doing a low kick at the crotch at the same time. A boxer simply isn't used to defending against this, and is very like to try a duck-away or a plain two-hands block. But sure, if you meet a boxer that's 20 cm:s taller and 30 kgs heavier, you can probably say bye bye.

--

[ Parent ]

Three words... (none / 0) (#48)
by br284 on Mon Jun 24, 2002 at 11:12:42 PM EST

... Jeet Kune Do.

Bruce Lee saw the same things that you did and created Jeet Kun Do as an answer to all of the kata and things in martial arts that would take away from raw fighting. Jeet Kune Do is direct and to the point, emphasizing power and speed while eliminating unnecessary movement.

Now, back to that boxer... I think someone in one of the traditional martial arts such as Tae Kwon Do would get beaten to a pulp. However, by combining Jeet Kune Do with something like Akido or Hapkido, you would have a fighter that would hand a boxer's ass to them in a heartbeat.

-Chris

[ Parent ]

Akido doesnt appear to model real fighting (none / 0) (#53)
by eLuddite on Tue Jun 25, 2002 at 12:00:11 AM EST

I sat in on an akido class. It was great fun to watch but I couldnt help thinking I was watching choreography. "Come at me with your arm extended just so, not too fast, and I'll flip you on the mat, spectacular like." Yeah right, as if I grew up without brothers.

---
God hates human rights.
[ Parent ]

Aikido isn't for fighting. (5.00 / 1) (#56)
by blixco on Tue Jun 25, 2002 at 12:54:33 AM EST

It isn't an effective fighting form, though the Founder would disagree, were his vessel still with us. After years of study, it *can* be, but there aren't any attacks. It's all defensive, and most of it is tough to remember when somone is swinging a baseball bat at your noggin. The training is a bit choreographed (except for black belt qualifying...those randoris are real). You can use some of the training in a real fight, but only to the extent that you'll learn how to move around the guy who's attacking you and not stumble.

I do use some of the joint locks at the start of a fight, but it always devolves to my forearm / elbow / knee / fist in their face / groin / throat / whatever. The one thing Aikido did give me (so far as practicality is concerned) is the ability to fight more than one person at a time. That's what the randori is all about.

I enjoyed Aikido more as a beautiful show of physics, a spiritual medium for my physical form, and as a way to learn how to think, breathe, and move. I've used Aikido more in driving my car than in fights.

True story: when I was 22 years old, a 40 year old Rugby coach kicked my ass in the parking lot of a bar. I broke his nose, I'm pretty sure I hyperextended his elbows, and I hit him many, many times...but he was drunk, huge, and angry. I ended up with broken ribs (damned things...you break 'em once, they never heal right), black eyes, my knee was fucked up, and he hit me hard enough in the 'nads to make me puke. I had been training in Aikido since the age of 15 at that point. Now, he had to go to the hospital and he did look worse than I did, but he won the fight. I hid under a car until the cops took him down.


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The root of the problem has been isolated.
[ Parent ]

I dig generalizations. (5.00 / 3) (#52)
by blixco on Mon Jun 24, 2002 at 11:49:43 PM EST

I'd have to say that kuro5hin is the most hostile location on the planet for any generalization, though. No one here gets the idea that you can cut broad strokes without slicing the individual effort, so to speak. Case in point: everyone who has a black belt on this board (or *any* belt, really) is going to be offended by your comment because they want to believe that they've been slighted.

That being said, let's look at fighting. In a street fight, where rules and form are out the window, the guy who can take a hit is one hundred times better off than the guy who can block a hit. If you've studied any fighting method at any level of speed or contact, you begin to realize that there are very few times when every single hit from every person attacking can be blocked in some effective manner. You'll get hit, I promise. When you get hit, what do you do? What does your training tell you? Nothing, typically.

Most people, regardless of training, start swinging wildly, falling over themselves to make contact, to connect and hit back. Or they run.

In 12 years of Aikido, I've had my nose broken three times, my shoulder dislocated, elbow hyperextended, jaw alignment thrown off, muscles pulled, and my ribs cracked. This from an art that simply does not work as self-defense. In my 4 years of boxing training, I've not been injured once.

However, in every single street fight I've been in where someone tried to use some form of martial art on me, I used a combination of my mass and forward momentum to knock them silly. Every single time. People don't get trained to fight for their lives in most dojos. People get trained to do the motions, learn their art, get in shape, and increase their confidence. But in a bar fight, with zero room to move and nothing to stop the fight until one of you goes "crunch," the best bet is: hit hard and fast, elbows and fists, into face, groin, and shins. Drops 'em like a rock, especially if they're in the "stance" of a typical, "I paid $1100.00 for this black belt" karate student.

Of course, there's the inverse. I did get my ass kicked once with some unknown martial art by a 4 foot tall Japanese girl. She was 12. I was 17. I still to this day don't know what she did, but I woke up with a bloody nose, a chipped tooth, and a new-found respect for the path of "not picking on her older brother."
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The root of the problem has been isolated.
[ Parent ]

You are so right. (5.00 / 3) (#54)
by eLuddite on Tue Jun 25, 2002 at 12:09:51 AM EST

The most dangerous person I know is simply fucking mental.

---
God hates human rights.
[ Parent ]

It was probably (5.00 / 2) (#64)
by Kasreyn on Tue Jun 25, 2002 at 04:45:27 AM EST

her brother hitting you on the back of the head with a brick while she kept you distracted. =P


-Kasreyn


"Extenuating circumstance to be mentioned on Judgement Day:
We never asked to be born in the first place."

R.I.P. Kurt. You will be missed.
[ Parent ]
Which is more dangerous... (none / 0) (#79)
by glauben on Tue Jun 25, 2002 at 02:49:41 PM EST

you state: "In 12 years of Aikido, I've had my nose broken three times, my shoulder dislocated, elbow hyperextended, jaw alignment thrown off, muscles pulled, and my ribs cracked. This from an art that simply does not work as self-defense. In my 4 years of boxing training, I've not been injured once." It would seem that the "martial art" is more effective! :) Forms are just one way to practice technique. That is generally coupled with: sparring (and yes, you learn to take a hit there), one-step sparring, individual technique refinement, etc... You get my point. Many practitioners will train by performing multiple kicks (3-4) so that when/if the time comes, kicks/techniques one and two will be superb. And while TKD is known for its high-flying kicks, it's the low, stable ones that are the meat and potatoes. Hapkido, also Korean, is also taught in many dojangs to complement TKD (i.e. throws, joint locks, low kicks). While I have never been in a street fight (fights with an older sister should count though), I did work in a college bar. I used my meat and potatoes techniques twice and came away unscathed. I did have the advantage of being sober, but a football player is still a football player. After that, patrons didn't challenge me when I asked them to leave - The best benefit of my Martial Arts training. Just my two cents glauben disclaimer - 1st Dan TKD; green belt Hapkido

[ Parent ]
Dangerous because... (5.00 / 2) (#86)
by tdismukes on Tue Jun 25, 2002 at 04:40:20 PM EST

In aikido training, you are expected to give your training partner your arm with a stylized, over-extended, non-deceptive attack and allow your partner to demonstrate the technique. Your partner then has the responsibility of demonstrating the technique with sufficient control so that you can perform a stylized aikido fall and avoid injury. If your partner screws up the control or you screw up the fall, you get injured. Unfortunately, in a real fight, the attacker is unlikely to give you his arm and allow you to demonstrate your technique - thus in a real fight aikido is difficult to perform because you don't actually get a chance to carry out your devastating techniques. Boxers are dangerous because they actually can pull off their techniques in a real fight.

Historical note - the founder of aikido, Morihei Ueshiba, was a legitimate badass, rough-and-tumble, street-fighter and professional mercenary in his youth. He founded aikido later in life as a way of putting aside strength and speed & blending with an attackers energy. At this point in his life, he was able to do that. His years of experience in life & death fights gave him the timing and awareness to send people flying just by getting out of the way at the right moment. Unfortunately, his students didn't have his life experience and so couldn't necessarily pull off his moves in a real fight. Ueshiba probably didn't care that much, because he was promoting aikido as a way of life rather than as a combat method. Bottom line - if you want to execute your aikido techniques in a real fight, better spend some years fighting hard in some other system first. On the other hand, if you have the good sense to stay out of fights and are getting some (non-martial) life benefit out of your aikido practice, why worry about it?

[ Parent ]

My point precisely. (none / 0) (#87)
by blixco on Tue Jun 25, 2002 at 04:44:21 PM EST

My point with the injruies list is that martial arts *are* dangerous, and *can* be used to injure. Thankfully, most dojos don't teach that way. My injuries came from being overzealous, from over-training, and (in one instance) from taking on someone who used a different form.

I've always used aspects of my martial arts training in fighting, but only aspects. It's always come down to who can hit harder, faster, and deal with being hit better. Kicking someone in the shins always works. I don't know why.

It's important to have the right ideas about goals going into a dojo. You can't have a combative attitude. You can't join up just to "whup some ass." It's up to the dojo, but the ones I've studied in have always been about the art, not about fighting.
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The root of the problem has been isolated.
[ Parent ]

I'm not going to fuel the "best war" but (5.00 / 2) (#57)
by willpost on Tue Jun 25, 2002 at 01:02:29 AM EST

Boxers tend to look for fights while martial artists tend to avoid fights. With current estimates of life expectancy it's possible to reach 80 years on average. That's 30 years of trying to break your body and another 50 years of regretting it.

[ Parent ]
Kick 'em in the nuts (none / 0) (#63)
by Djinh on Tue Jun 25, 2002 at 04:12:17 AM EST

Boxers?

Just kick 'em in the nuts.

Game over.

--
We are the Euro. Resistance is futile. All your dollars will be assimilated.
[ Parent ]

yeah, that's the way I beat Tyson... (none / 0) (#65)
by eLuddite on Tue Jun 25, 2002 at 04:50:39 AM EST

Seriously, if that was allowed they'd punch you below the belt before you got your foot off the ground.[1] Then kick you there to be sure, bite off your ear, and give you a charly horse for good measure.

[1] What are you going to do -- block? Blocking is a case in point. Why do martial artists spend years learning to block? You are not going to block a combination. This is why boxers learn to parry and deflect, something you master by fighting. Fighting is what boxers do. I get the sense people underestimate just how fast a determined, agressive boxer (redundant!) can cover distance without getting hurt.

---
God hates human rights.
[ Parent ]

The motivation behind learning a martial art (4.00 / 1) (#66)
by trailside on Tue Jun 25, 2002 at 04:53:38 AM EST

Many people take up a martial art not because they want to learn to beat the crap out of someone, or even to learn self defence, but simply to get some exercise or to meet people, or just have fun.

In my experience as a taekwon-do instructor, those are the types of people who stick with their training longer, put more into it and get more out of it. They're also able to deal with a bloody nose or a bruised rib without taking it personally.

Those that come into the dojang with heads full of Bruce Lee movies and "this-martial-art-is-better-than-that-martial-art" invariably haven't got the temperament to get to black belt. In fact I don't think I've ever seen someone like that get to 1st degree.

It tends to be overlooked that modern mainstream martial arts are first and foremost sports, and it takes a degree of luck or good judgement to find an instructor that will turn you into a good martial arts fighter at the right time, be that yellow belt, blue belt, 1st dan black, or 9th dan.

Ciaron.

[ Parent ]

Yes, I realize all that. (none / 0) (#68)
by eLuddite on Tue Jun 25, 2002 at 05:29:22 AM EST

Those that come into the dojang with heads full of Bruce Lee movies

Heh, that was me. I went as far as orange before I realized training and plotting for my brother's ignominious thrashing just excited him further.

---
God hates human rights.
[ Parent ]

Have you ever.. (none / 0) (#69)
by tonyenkiducx on Tue Jun 25, 2002 at 05:39:50 AM EST

..seen budokai? Or kick boxing? Those guys deliberately train to take punches and kicks, they dont bother even blocking or avoiding it a lot of the time. Id like to see any pure boxer other than a fly-weight doing that..


Tony.
I see a planet where love is foremost, where war is none existant. A planet of peace, and a planet of understanding. I see a planet called utopia. And I see us invading that planet, because they'd never expect it
[ Parent ]
False Dichotomy... (5.00 / 1) (#80)
by tdismukes on Tue Jun 25, 2002 at 03:22:29 PM EST

Boxing is a martial art (though not an asian one). So is wrestling. Any martial artist who trains for full-contact competition (typically boxers, wrestlers, muay thai kickboxers, bando practitioners, brazilian jujutsu stylists, shootfighters, kyokushinkai karate fighters, etc..) will have a huge advantage in a fight over someone who trains primarily with katas or light-contact sparring. However, the main target clientele for a commercial dojo are not in the market for training this intense - thus the incidence of black belts who can't fight all that well. The real dichotomy is between fighters and casual hobbyists. The kickboxing matches you cite with required kicks per round were a product of the now defunct PKA. Modern international rules kickboxing (such as K1) is based on muay thai and no kicks are required. Fighters use the kicks because they work. (Full disclosure - I just fought in my first muay thai competition two weeks ago. I knocked my opponent out in the third round using a combination of kicks, knees, and punches. Having more weapons available is just useful sometimes.) I suspect that General Choi came from a more hard-core training background than the "pay your dues for 2 years and get a black belt" ethos prevalent in todays american tae kwon do schools.

[ Parent ]
re: Vaguely off topic (none / 0) (#85)
by fedaykin on Tue Jun 25, 2002 at 04:34:57 PM EST

You are a troll, and unfortunatly i've taken the bait, but here goes......

"First, the training. Martial artists spend waaay too much time communing with the spirit world and performing frilly frou-frou katas. This is not very difficult: a fighter must train to stay on his feet, to punch you in the nose, and to absorb repeated punches to the head and body without crumpling to the ground. The latter is so important as to deserve an extra long sentence for emphasis: You cannot fight if agility, reflexes, balance, and presence of mind abondon you whenever someone grazes your chain; and you must acquire this unnatural skill through the practiced neglect of your instincts to cower on the ground with your hands covering your ears. In other words, you have to train exactly not like a yoga chi judo mumble rumble fish."

Obviously you've never seen a real martial artist fighting or training, have you? No, I don't mean Jet Li or Jackie Chan. As I am sure you realize, anything you have ever seen on TV is all show fighting. It's done to impress people, not to really fight. Even people who are actually fighters, like Bruce Lee was, do show fighting in the movies.

You complain about martial artist doing too much "communing with the spirit world and performing frilly frou-frou katas". A large part of *most* martial arts is the spiritual side. But what you are forgetting is that a tough mind is more important in a fight than a tough body. A person how knows how to stay calm and collected in a fight will always prevail over the hot headed, out of control fighter. The meditation and mental exercises that martial artists do is to prepare their minds for fighting.

The flip side, which you ignore, is the physical toughening good martial artists do. I know a guy who does shin toughening by taking a steel belted radial tire and partially burying it in the ground. Then he procedes to kick the tire until it's a mangled heap of steel and rubber. Some people have others take baseball bats and steel rebar and beat them with it for body toughening. Most martial artist, of course, are not this extreme, but there are some who are more. So, which do you think hurts more, a padded fist hitting you in the face, or a piece of one inch steel rebar to the stomach?

"Second, martial arts have poor economy of motion. Compared to punching, kicking is slow. Period. Boxers develop such incredibly fast fists, reflexes and agility that attempting to swing your leg in an eight foot slow arc is asking for someone to deftly step inside and perform rhinoplasty on your face. This is why kickboxing matches look like boxing matches between inexpert boxers."

Poor economy of motion? Are you joking? First, no martial art is 100% kicking. Good martial artists use their entire body as a weapon: Hands, feet, head, legs, everything! Only the uneducated person who's only experience with martial arts is a Jet Li flick would think that kicking is all, or even most of what a martial artist does.

Second, martial arts kicking is not slow. If you take a good martial artist, say a 4th Dan+ (in TKD), and they will be able to _block_ a boxers punches with their kicks. They probably wouldn't, but could. A fellow student does this to me sometimes when we spar. Why do you think kicks are used to often to disarm people with weapons? It does take a lot of effort and training to be able to kick fast, but so does being able to punch fast effectively.

Again, poor economy of motion? Martial arts is all about speed and agility! The best martial artists are always the ones with the most agility. Everything in martial arts depends on it. I personally spend the first hour or so of my training just on footwork! Even the basis of *power* is speed, not strength. One of the hardest hitters I know (a 2nd Dan) is about 6 foot and only 140lbs. He is not nearly as strong as I am (I can press almost twice as much), but he can hit 10 times harder than I can. (I know because I am all too often at the receiving end of his hits, heh)

I'll give you one thing, if you put a martial artist (even a really good one) in a boxing ring, and tell them to *box*, they'll most likely loose to the trained boxer. However, if you tell the same two people to just *fight*, the good martial artist is going to make a mockery of that boxer (unless said boxer actually knows how to fight like a martial artist), and even a descent martial artist will beat the boxer. Boxers do one thing really well, they can punch *really* fast and hard. That's great, but that type of specialization is not useful in a real fight against a trained opponent. A good martial artist has a massive selection of attacks, and knows how to determine and take advantage of their opponents weaknesses.

The closest example of this I can think of is one of my old Tae-Kwon-Do teachers. He's not a really big man, only about 5'8" 130lbs. He used to be a prison guard, and whenever there was trouble on a cell block (often with very large, very strong street figher types), he was the one sent in to get things under control. So here's a 5'8" 130lbs man taking out a 250lb+ hardened criminal with *ONE* kick (usualy to a leg). The end result was usually a very large man crying on the floor...

Anyway, I've expended to much time already, and I am too lazy to check my spelling so hopefully everything makes sense.

-Fedaykin

[ Parent ]
You learn well grasshopper (none / 0) (#89)
by gadicath on Thu Jun 27, 2002 at 01:17:33 AM EST

I'd just like to say nice troll.

[ Parent ]
McMartial Arts (and a side of fries...) (5.00 / 1) (#90)
by Phelan on Fri Jun 28, 2002 at 01:28:02 PM EST

While eLuddite is obviously a troll, his comments really do reflect the mindset of a not-insignificant percentage of the population. And, unfortunately, as with most decent trolls, there's enough kernel of truth in there to make it difficult to dismiss him completely out of hand. In the interest of disclosure, let me say that I've got a fair amount Kung Fu training, but I'm not really interested in disclosing how much (since I'm not really big on the whole bragging thing).

I want to try to talk about one of these generalizations in a more reasonable light, rather than the inflammatory rhetoric that they've been thus far presented with.

"Martial artists can't fight".

Unfortunately, this is sometimes true. Probably even more true than not. The logical problem is in the quality of comparison. eLuddite wishes to compare "decent" or "good" boxers with crappy martial artists. Unfortunately, at least in the US, there seem to be a whole lotta crappy martial artists out there. (There are crappy boxers, too..but on the whole, there are less boxers than claimed martial artists, so you hear less bragging from the 'crappy boxer' camp).

There's likely a great many reasons for this. We've all heard of the proverbial case of the kid who has made the specious claim to know martial arts to try to scare off bullies. I'd wager that in a lot of instances, the 'martial artist' was anything but. I also knew a kid who claimed to be a "golden gloves boxer" to try to scare an opponent, and got his ass handed to him on a platter. Does he prove that "boxes can't fight"? Of course not. Mostly, he proved that bragging about non-existing fighting prowess is a dumb tactic.

There are other reasons for martial artists who don't have good fighting prowess, such as the de-violencing of many martial arts into sports (such as much of judo), pretty exercises (many wu shu schools), or spiritual retreats (much like softer aikido). I wouldn't expect many schools of these styles to produce hard-core fighters. I also wouldn't expect to get a decent fighter out of a Tae Bo class, but you might be surprised at how many folks who take Tae Bo think it's a cool way to exercise AND learn a martial art. There are more of these than boxing schools, because boxing has a bad rap: It causes brain damage and ugly mugs. Few parents let their little angels come home bloodied and bruised, and presuambly a little more stupid, every week. Nobody really expects to get brain damaged from Tae Bo...what they really want is to develop a nice ass, and maybe to be able to brag about learning a martial art.

I think there's a big reason, though, that hasn't been touched on: Most martial arts students are kids. I don't have any hard numbers to back that up...but in the interests of expanding my knowledge, I *have* taken a little bit of a lot of styles: Wu shu, wah lum, aikido, '5 animals' style kung fu, kick boxing, tae kwon do, bushiban ninjitsu, kali, to name a few. I've been to an even greater number of schools (dojo/kwoon/what have you), looking for ones that fit my acceptability criteria. In every case, what I've seen is at least 80%-100% of the students are minors. I'm not raggin' on kids. I was one...and got into martial arts when I was one. But my serious devotion, study, and understanding didn't come about until I had matured...(not to mention not having to re-train a large majority of moves every time I had growth spurts). In a similar parallel: Lots of kids are forced to take piano/violin/whatever. Only a few of those kids (unless they are prodigies) ever really get good at it while they're kids. Very few also stick with it long enough to get good as adults.

Now, having taught martial arts classes, and having dealt with parents, it's a sure fact that if training is painful (as good training often can be), and training is hard work and not "fun and cool", his parents will likely pull him out of the class. If little Johnny doesn't keep getting belts and learning new stuff, soon he'll get bored, and leave the class. Anyone who teaches martial arts for a living, unless they have a good reputation and are able to command high prices are high numbers of students, has to make small sacrifices between quanitity of students, and quality of students. And lets face it..your average 7-14 year old sucks as a martial arts student. Their attention span sucks, and they're full of Hollywood-crafted pre-conceived notions about martial arts and trainng.

Part of the 'crappy martial artits' equation has to do with school dynamics: A lot of folks never make it through a full year of training. Far less make it through two. We (the instructors and 'hard core' students) would call this steady churn of transient students "tourists". They'd come to visit a while, and then go about their way. I've already given reasons why there are many more folks who go through a martial arts class this way than go through boxing lessons this way. Unfortuantely, many people have the expectation that they should be "good" at a martial art after a year or two. Heck, a first year piano student (to continue our analogy) isn't that great, and nobody's trying to hit you in the head whil you're playing (unless you really stink!). Many of those people call themselves "martial artists", even though a first-year piano student wouldn't be really qualified to call themselves a "pianist". And the same kind of folks that don't have the gumption to stick with training for years to get really good are also the same kinda folks who'll lie about how much training they've had. Heck, I've caught my own little brother telling his friends he's a black belt, when the most significant training he's had was being whupped by me and my older brother. When he gets whipped, as happens, cause he has a big mouth, he helps perpetuate the "black belt doesn't mean anything" concept.

[ Parent ]

You just think he's dead (2.25 / 4) (#28)
by jmzero on Mon Jun 24, 2002 at 06:22:01 PM EST

But really he survived the fall of that cliff.  

And when he comes back, he's going to be real mad and his chi is going to be totally on overload and his eyes are going to kind of be, like, glowing - but it'll totally look fake.
.
"Let's not stir that bag of worms." - my lovely wife

-1 wrong section (1.00 / 3) (#31)
by ShadowNode on Mon Jun 24, 2002 at 06:47:14 PM EST

Should be an "obituary".

Choi Hong Hi, Taekwon-Do Founder, Dead at 84 (5.00 / 1) (#41)
by Patrick Bateman on Mon Jun 24, 2002 at 09:26:27 PM EST

I just heard some sad news on talk radio...

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I have to return some videotapes.
[ Parent ]

Imagine (none / 0) (#58)
by lvogel on Tue Jun 25, 2002 at 01:05:53 AM EST

Being a great Korean martial arts instructor, only to have your avid pupil be Fat America...
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"When you're on the internet, nobody knows you're a dog!"

-a dog
Write In Vote (5.00 / 1) (#61)
by duxup on Tue Jun 25, 2002 at 02:02:10 AM EST

Joejitsu

Fans of the TV show News Radio might recognize that art.

Gen.? (1.00 / 1) (#67)
by Kasreyn on Tue Jun 25, 2002 at 05:17:10 AM EST

Assuming that is "General", abbreviated, may I ask what in hell he was general OF?

Surely not of anything Korean, what with being an exile. Did he land a job with whatever passes for a Department of Defense in Canada?


-Kasreyn


"Extenuating circumstance to be mentioned on Judgement Day:
We never asked to be born in the first place."

R.I.P. Kurt. You will be missed.
On the Martial Arts... (4.75 / 4) (#70)
by treefrog on Tue Jun 25, 2002 at 05:56:27 AM EST

I feel I should comment on several points that have been raised here. Before I start, let me state that yes, I have a 1st Dan (black belt) in Aikido. However, I also climb, sail, surf, etc etc. I'd also like to start by apologising for the rambing nature of this post. It is the morning after all, and I'm browsing K5 while having my breakfast :-)

OK, first off, what is all this shit about fights etc etc. In six or seven years of Aikido I have never once been in a fight. Quite frankly, if you go round looking for trouble, it will find you. How many professional boxers (Mike Tyson apart) do you read about in brawls. Very few. The nearest I came to a fight was in a bar in the Scily Isles, where a couple of locals decided that myself and a friend who was crewing the yacht with me were a gay couple. Their friends dissuaded them and apologised to us. But anyway, as Sun Tzu says:

"Thus the highest form of generalship is to balk the enemy's plans; the next best is to prevent the junction of the enemy's forces; the next in order is to attack the enemy's army in the field; and the worst policy of all is to besiege walled cities"

The superior matial artist avoids fights. Remember that Bruce Lee movie, "Enter the Dragon" I think, where he gets the other guy into the boat with his "Art of fighting without fighting". Precisely.

You may not be able to avoid a fight by making sure it doesn't take place, but the next best thing is to win it before it starts. Take the mind of your opponent. Make them believe you will be somewhere else than where you are, or doing something else. A lot of arts do this, from the simple feint (deadly when applied effectively) to something much more subtle. I was once called up in the Dojo by the Principal, who wished to demonstate some technique (I forget which) on me. He asked me to punch him in the face. I, being young, strong, fit, enthusastic (and stupid) did so. I'll never forget what happened next. He flinched. Yep, the bastard flinched. This took me completely by surprise, and the next thing I recall was it taking me three rolls and a lot of effort to stop moving about 30 feet down the mat.

If it comes to a no holds barred fight, then it all comes down to the quality of the training you have had, and how prepared you are to use it. If you have the strength of mind to remain calm, while wanting to really hurt someone, you probably will. But can you remain calm, and do you really want to hurt someone? If you can do both of these at the same time, you probably need help! There are many bad dojos out there. There are also many good ones. Bear in mind also that there are many variations of each art, practiced with different purposes in mind.

Take Aikido as an example (since it is an Art I am conversant with). Aiki-do may be distinguished from Aiki-jitsu. The difference is that a "do" is a way or path (i.e. a means of self improvement practiced through the vessel of a martial training), whereas a "jitsu" is a martial technique, i.e. straight fighting. Same basis (Ai-ki - in English harmony with spiri), different purpose, therefore different resulting form

Morehei Ueshiba (the Founder of Aikido) initially practised (amongst other things) an art known as Daito-ryu Aiki-jitsu. This is what one might describe as a very (ahem) forceful and effective street fighting technique. As he got older, and he developed Aikido, the emphasis changed. Those styles of Aikido which have come through the Founder's earliest pupils tend to be much more "street", whereas those which came from the later styles tend to be much more "ki" oriented (What eLuddite described as 10th Dan Dancing with Zephyrs - btw, the late Koechi Tohei (apologies if my spelling of this is wrong), who led the Ki Aikido movement, saw combat with the Japanese Army in WWII, so I think it is safe to say he could probably handle himself :-). So the style of the martial art you perform has a great deal to do with not only how it is taught, but what its purpose is.

Any well taught martial art (including boxing) will teach you discipline, respect, and not to go looking for trouble (there is always someone better out there). It will also do wonders for your fitness, and get you out from in front of that monitor. It may also be applicable in your wider life. I know that Sun Tzu is taught in many business schools, but I find that Aikido has done wonders for my ski-ing, and I certainly don't think I would have survived a couple of the big leads I have done (30m groundfall potential from the crux) without my martial arts training. Now if only I could get it to work on my bottom turn :-)

So to conclude. Why fight when you can avoid it? Don't dis the martial arts in general - it all depends on the quality and purpose of your training. Boxing is a martial art as well.

Best regards to you all, treefrog


Twin fin swallowtail fish. You don't see many of those these days - rare as gold dust Customs officer to Treefrog

Excellent points.... (none / 0) (#72)
by blixco on Tue Jun 25, 2002 at 09:15:57 AM EST

...but I *like* to fight. That puts me at odds with my dojo, and would seem to make me a nightmare training partner (you know the ones: usually young-ish, Asian, dark black sunglasses, quietly brooding in a corner until it's time to take the mat, then the wipe the floor with you and leave). However, when I'm on the mat, I'm the most gracious training partner out there. The goals of my Aikido training are very different than the goals I have for beating someone silly.

I'm not here to judge the moral merits of either path, or to even justify my position. But there are people out there who just really want to beat people up, and there's people like me who seem to attract them. The whole fighting thing depends on who you are, where you're from, and how you were taught to deal with agression.

Side note: I've run across quite a few people on this board who have taken Aikido. Seems to be fairly popular. Thus, a plug for my favorite dojo (though I only studied there briefly): if you're in the Denver area or have a summer to give up, check out Aikido Nippon Kan. Great place to study.
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The root of the problem has been isolated.
[ Parent ]

Well said... (none / 0) (#84)
by TunkeyMicket on Tue Jun 25, 2002 at 04:23:00 PM EST

I am a Sho-Dan in Aikido [and a Yon Kyu in Kotache, the art of short swords] and I'm working for my Sho-Dan in Karate [Bushin-Kai]. However, for some reason I have yet to get into a physical fight. Words are sometimes more powerful than actions, and there are numerous times where my reputation of taking martial arts preceeded me and stopped the fights before they started. I started Karate/Aikido as a way to get in shape, and boy did it work. Not only do you get in shape but you become very disciplined. Discipline has always been a big part of my family [can you say southern?] and will always be. Karate has taught me so much that there is no way I could repay my Sensei for his efforts. Now the times I haven't got in fights have sometimes ended in interesting situations. Once, in a Florida Walmart, I was walking down one of the toy aisles with my youngest brother. While passing this kid who appeared to be 17-18 [I was 17 at the time], I caught from the corner of my eye what looked to be a knife moving towards me. I snapped my head, saw the knife, parried his arm away and put him in a wrist lock. He started yelling and I hesitated for a second, normally I would have counter-attacked with a punch to the face or neck. Upon further examination the knife was a toy sword, much to my dismay. After about 30 minutes of explaining to the kid and his mother that he had frightened me and I had just reacted off of instincts, they finally let me go. My lil brother thought it was awesome, but quite honestly it scared the shit outta me.
--
Chris "TunkeyMicket" Watford
[ Parent ]
BAH (3.00 / 3) (#71)
by AmberEyes on Tue Jun 25, 2002 at 06:34:00 AM EST

I never liked him. He kept booting me in the head.

-Ed Gruberman


"But you [AmberEyes] have never admitted defeat your entire life, so why should you start now. It seems the only perfect human being since Jesus Christ himself is in our presence." -my Uncle Dean
Tae Kwon Leap (none / 0) (#76)
by sja8rd on Tue Jun 25, 2002 at 11:39:24 AM EST

MASTER: Tae Kwon Leap is not a path to a door, but a road leading forever towards the horizon.

EG: So like, what, an hour or so?

MASTER: No, no, we have not even begun upon the path. Ed Gruberman, you must learn patience.

EG: Yeah yeah yeah, patience. How long will that take?

MASTER: Time has no meaning. To a true student, a year is as a day.

EG: A YEAR??? I wanna beat people up right now! I got the pajamas! Yah yah yah hwoom!

[ Parent ]

Not that simple (none / 0) (#77)
by tmenezes on Tue Jun 25, 2002 at 11:40:54 AM EST

You state that kicks are much slower than punches, but you forget that they can be applied from a longer distance. Boxer don't expect a kick from the oponent so they keep shorter security distances while fighting. Also real kicks are not as you see in the movies. You'd be amazed to see how some martial artist can change a kick's direction in the last moment, and how quick they can deploy a kick, even to the face.

You must also not forget that boxing imposes very unrealistic constraints on a fight. You can't kick, you can't hit below waist, you wear thick gloves and you can't imobilize your oponent. Martial artist have a much wider range of tools under their hood.

Sad to see him go... (4.00 / 1) (#78)
by chewie on Tue Jun 25, 2002 at 02:46:02 PM EST

Having grown up in a Tae Kwon Do traditional school and trained under some of Gen. Choi's students, my Masters, I am sad to see him go. His influence in my life, though indirect as it may be, will never be forgotten. I am further disappointed by some of the "discussion" that this announcement has prompted. Alas, it's an open discussion community, so we have to take the cruft with the content.

Taekwon-Do Founder Dies | 91 comments (70 topical, 21 editorial, 0 hidden)
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