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Subject: Classical vs NonClassical martial arts
Replies: 0 Views: 532

scra 21.10.12 - 11:59am
So many masters and sifus, nowadays
trying to cut corners and gets there the
easy way. Their excuse I do non-classical
martial arts. Usually, it's an excuse for
pure laziness and not wanting to do the
hard work necessary to turn a martial art
into a survival art.
But take a look at the really good so-
called 'non-classical' martial artists, those
who have seemed to have found the way
and have long since given up their
classical part. Their background is usually
steeped in the classical martial arts such
as tai chi marital arts. Bruce Lee is the
prime example of this. No one, of his
students has ever risen to his level of
proficiency and inventiveness. It is my
opinion that only Danny Inosanto has
ever come close, and he has a classical
arnis background, and you can't get any
more classical than arnis! Larry Hartsell
has a classical wrestling background. I
have seen some of the first Bruce Lee
students who are now into their fifties,
but who also do not look very well, over
weight, poor skin tone etc. They look like
old men. They write articles saying they
can still take on the best of them with
one punch etc, but they look so sick!
Whereas Danny Inosanto still looks very
fit and healthy. Who gives one hair off of
one rat's b*m if they can still punch at 55
years old! What really matters is if their
martial art has kept them healthy with a
good life and whether they are able to
help others to a good long healthy life.
The tai chi martial arts is supposed to be
an integrated system of self-defence and
healing. And I guess we have to look back
to the days when our martial art was
really our family's and our survival art.
When we would not only have to fight
one person in a pub fight or do 'battle'
against someone in the ring with rules
and regulations, that's not fighting, we
would have to fight wars! The head of the
family, usually the male, would not know
if his family would even be there when he
returned while his family would not know
if he was coming back that evening. Such
is the way of the beginning of the Yang
Family Taiji in China, known as the most
feared fighters in all of China and yet,
people nowadays call tai chi martial arts a
dance! Of course, now, we do not have
life threatening situations every day of
our lives, but the art remains the same
and there is no difference between the
internal systems for health as for the
fighting art, it's the same energy. In fact,
when I give seminars, some people like to
break it up into one day for healing and
the other day for fighting. However, those
who only attend for one day depending
upon their preference, really miss out for
not attending the other day, because the
healing and martial arts cannot be broken
apart. This is how it used to be, and this is
how it should be now.
And isn't self healing the most important!
Proper tai chi martial arts causes one to
be able to simply beat one's opponents
by out living them! And a style of only
punches and kicks is unable to do this,
whereas classical styles are. No style? Of
course Bruce Lee had a style, a number of
classical styles in fact. Tai chi martial arts
was one of these. These are his basics. It
is my opinion that Bruce Lee, if he lived,
would have taken his students back to his
beginnings and taught how he knew and
not what he knew. And this is what I
think about the classical martial arts,
whether they be Karate, tai chi martial
arts, Kung-fu, T.K.D. etc, the basics are all
contained in the classical forms and katas
of these martial arts. This is where we
learn the 'body management', so
important in turning a basic classical style
into a street survival system. You cannot
take the classical movements from a form
or kata and make up physical reasons for
their being; they are not there for that.
Try and use technique from a form or kata
in a real survival situation and you lose. A
good martial art does not teach
technique, but rather teaches the mind
through movement and the body.
The so called 'non-classical' stylists who
have never done a classical style, always
say the same things like not wishing to
waste time in doing so many movements
that seem to have no meaning. They also
say that rather than do kata, why not do
the actual techniques from the forms
with a partner. Here, the non-classical
person has lost the whole idea of kata
and stems from he or her simply not
knowing the real meaning of kata. We
don't do it to learn techniques! We do it
to learn internal body/mind movement. It
has nothing to do with learning
techniques. If your internal mind does
not have it then you do not have it, and
we do not learn 'internal work' from doing
attack/defence situations with a partner.
The survival skills come much later when
we learn all about 'the no mind state,
eagle vision, reptile brain, and fa-jing'.
Here, we make use of our own natural
movements, different in every body/
mind. For instance, someone's most
natural movement to a simple attack from
the front may be to throw up his or her
hands in front of the face. So here we
turn this movement into a more
devastating fa-jing/dim-mak strike, and
eventually, this movement, which was
always this person's most natural
movement, becomes the sub-conscious
movement to any type of frontal attack by
If you don't have the basics, then you've
got nothing! And the classic forms from
tai chi martial arts and katas are your
basics, they teach you how to move. It's
not the fact that we learn really low
stances and exaggerated movements so
that we can then use them to fight. It's
far from that; we do these katas which
involve much discipline, so that we are
able not to use them when some real
trouble is coming our way. If you see a
classical martial artist in a serious scr*p,
who simply knocks someone's head off
and leaves, then this is a martial artist
who has done the basics. However, if you
see a martial artist who goes into some
sort of stance and on guard position, low
stances etc, and who gets his head
knocked off, then this is the classical
martial artist who has never taken his
basics beyond basics.
As we become more and more advanced
in our survival skills, we tend to use less
and less techniques, rather preferring to
stick with the tried and proven one or
two in order to survive. But it's the years
of classical work that gives us this ability.
In a real situation, and I don't mean the
odd drunk at a pub, a half of an inch step,
balanced, here or there can mean the
difference in life or death.
So, doing the katas or forms day in, day
out, does not teach us how to fight using
those forms from tai chi martial arts or
katas, but rather, it teaches us how to
survive, using much simpler techniques
while always keeping the upper position
of hands and feet, balance wise.
On the other hand you'll get people who
go to a few or many lessons at their local
Karate or kung fu club and then brag that
they know the martial arts. This is the
other side of the coin, these people, some
who have been studying for 30 years
even, do not know the martial arts,
because they have not learned to take
their martial art into a survival realm. A
martial artist will always make a better
street fighter, provided he has taken his
art to a higher level of survival and is
aware that all the forms and katas in the
world, only, will not cause him to be able
to fight. He has to learn how to fight, as
well as learning his martial art.
On the other hand, someone who has
only learnt from a few books or who has
taken a few lessons from a number of
different teachers and watched a few
Bruce Lee movies will also never learn
about survival.
It's the classical martial arts such as tai chi
martial arts that teach us the psychology
of the fight. The difference between
winning and losing is 50% mind and 50%
body. If you do not have complete control
over your own body and mind then you
have not got it. And you can't get this
control watching a few Van Dam movies
or learning a few high kicks and fast
punches. You have to do the work
pertinent to the survival skills you are
trying to hone.
Look at what happens in a fight or an
attack. If you could slow down the action,
you would see footwork and handwork. If
you take a look at any good kata or form,
you will see this exact foot and handwork,
only exaggerated and slowed down. This
is to teach the mind how to tell the body
how to move. When you are into a real
fighting situation, this will naturally speed
up and you will naturally use those same
postures, footwork and handwork that
you so painstakingly worked upon for the
best part of ten or twenty years. You
don't think about it of course, it's all
there. Just like learning to shoot a bow, at
first you are all hands, but slowly, the
bow becomes a part of you and your body
and mind merge as a whole unit, and you
finally are able to hit the target many feet
away sub-consciously. It's the same with
the katas and forms; we do not learn
them to learn technique, but rather sub-
conscious mind and body movement.
One does not have to practice the forms
and katas for evermore, only until those
movements have become subconscious
do you have to practice your katas. In this
way, when you are involved in a fight,
does your art become so called non-
classical? I am one of the most non-
classical martial artists or survival artists
ever when it comes to fighting. But my
whole background is in the classical tai chi
martial arts, it is the arduous, hours of
practice in my early years that holds me
in good stead nowadays when I perhaps
do not have time to practice three of four
forms every day. Now, I prefer to spend
that time with my children, playing music,
painting, writing, teaching them about
what I have learnt, along with their
normal schooling as we teach our own
anyway. But isn't it the irony, we spend
all of this time becoming good at survival
and just when we are getting there, we no
longer wish to do it! We grow up and our
minds mature, we want to keep out of
the way of trouble and avoid like the
plague, fighting, so perhaps we do the
martial arts, to not do the martial arts! *

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