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#133501 - 07/27/04 09:27 AM Standardized Martial Arts.
Anpadh Offline
Member

Registered: 04/19/04
Posts: 162
Loc: Fort Lauderdale, FL, USA
While discussing other topics, I was forced to do some research about Martial Arts, in general. I discovered, to my suprprise, that there is no standardized format to the teaching or learning of Martial Arts.

For instance, whether you get an M.S. in Math at Harvard or at Stanford or at Oxord or at the Sorbonne, basically, it has the same value as they all teach basically the same thing in more or less the same time. Everyone has to study real and imaginary numbers, statistics and probability and so on. This is not the case in MA.

I am not an expert in MA but common sense dictates that there can only be a limited number of physical skills necessary in any MA. A person has only a limited number of body parts and they all function in the same way, really, for everyone. While different MAs may focus on different things, why isn't there a place that allows one to learn the basics necessary to ANY martial art, the way one completes 12 years of school, to acquire the basic skills to study any discipline, in college? It seems to me that developing speed, power, agility/flexibility, and analytical skills would be the crucial skills required in any type of self-defense, physical or intellectual. Once one has these skills, it does not really matter what specific technique one uses to employ them.

For instance, if you have a graduate degree in math, you can be a math teacher, a philosopher, a computer programmer, etc. Each specific field would require an additional subset of skills but the basic math skills would be essential to all of them. So, again, my question is, why isn't there a standardized program that teaches such skills? At present, a black belt at one dojo may be completely meaningless at another. Having studied martial arts for 10 or 20 or 30 years is no indication of one's proficiency, as there are various types of MA and various types of teachers and dojos and so on. Such a situation would be unthinkable in almost any other field. For someone with a PhD in Physics at Yale, to be told that his degree is worthless in the Physics department at UCLA would be really strange!

Why isn't there some form of standardization equivalent (at least) to a high shool diploma or GED, in the martial arts?

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#133502 - 07/27/04 09:43 AM Re: Standardized Martial Arts.
DragonFire1134 Offline
Former Moderator

Registered: 08/25/03
Posts: 1479
Loc: Theodore (mobile), Alabama
Standardization within the martial arts??
HA, that will be the day.
How would they test for that? Based on what people know? Or what actualy works on a self defense basis? Should they pass more than one test, one based on knowledge of their art? One based on their fighting skills? It should cover all fighting ranges however.

I don't know...
I do think if they attempted to Standardize Martial Arts, it would bring even more controversy in some form or fashion.

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#133503 - 07/27/04 11:00 AM Re: Standardized Martial Arts.
JohnL Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 03/24/03
Posts: 4309
Loc: NY, NY, USA
Welcome to the conundrum that is the Martial Arts!!!
[IMG]http://www.fightingarts.com/forums/ubb/smile.gif[/IMG]

JohnL

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#133504 - 07/28/04 03:55 AM Re: Standardized Martial Arts.
Toudiyama Offline
Member

Registered: 04/14/03
Posts: 229
Loc: Zaandam, Netherlands
[QUOTE]Originally posted by Anpadh:

For instance, whether you get an M.S. in Math at Harvard or at Stanford or at Oxord or at the Sorbonne, basically, it has the same value as they all teach basically the same thing in more or less the same time. Everyone has to study real and imaginary numbers, statistics and probability and so on. This is not the case in MA.

[/QUOTE]

I beg to differ, if all would be of the same value, why would people prefer certain universities over others? Not just the students but in biz. you are more likely to get a job with Harvard, Oxford or Stanford Papers than with papers of some small university in New Mexico

Besides that, Martial Arts is a general term
Within styles, the standard is often there, everyone within the style knows what is required for a specific belt

Compare it to Psychology, there are different camps there

Math is an exact science, MA is not

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#133505 - 07/28/04 07:13 AM Re: Standardized Martial Arts.
DragonFire1134 Offline
Former Moderator

Registered: 08/25/03
Posts: 1479
Loc: Theodore (mobile), Alabama
[QUOTE]Originally posted by Anpadh:

For instance, whether you get an M.S. in Math at Harvard or at Stanford or at Oxord or at the Sorbonne, basically, it has the same value as they all teach basically the same thing in more or less the same time. Everyone has to study real and imaginary numbers, statistics and probability and so on. This is not the case in MA.

I am not an expert in MA but common sense dictates that there can only be a limited number of physical skills necessary in any MA. A person has only a limited number of body parts and they all function in the same way, really, for everyone. While different MAs may focus on different things, why isn't there a place that allows one to learn the basics necessary to ANY martial art, the way one completes 12 years of school, to acquire the basic skills to study any discipline, in college? It seems to me that developing speed, power, agility/flexibility, and analytical skills would be the crucial skills required in any type of self-defense, physical or intellectual. Once one has these skills, it does not really matter what specific technique one uses to employ them.
[/QUOTE]

I agree with you, really. Bruce Lee even made the following quote;

"Unless there are human being with three arms and four legs, unless we have another group of being on earth that are structurally different from us, there can be no different style of fighting."

"Why is that? Because we have 2 hands and 2 legs. The important thing is how can we use them to the maximum? In terms of paths (i.e., the geometry of your attacking limbs), they can be used in a straight line, curved line, up, round line. They might be slow but, depending on the circumstances, sometimes they may not be slow. And in terms of legs, you can kick up, straight -- same thing, right?"

"Physically then, you have to ask yourself "how can I become so very well coordinated? Well, that means you have to be an athlete; using jogging and all those basic ingredients, right?"


Martial arts IS a very broad, very general term. And while MA itself is not scientific, fighting however CAN BE. By being scientific I don't mean any more or any less predictable, but seriously, when you totally understand the way the human body works, and moves, you can then see an 'unpatternized pattern' in my opinion.

The basic ingredients mentioned above, such as flexibility, speed, power etc... are all VERY MUCH IMPORTANT TO THE MARTIAL ARTIST NO MATTER THEIR PERSONAL GOALS! Be it self defense, sport, money, etc...
And science has grasped hold of such things so that we now have a safer, more productive method of training these key ingredients.

I don't think we'll ever see martial arts standardized though, in order to do that, science would have to comb through each and every traditional princible (which is has done already for the most part) and throw out all the BS. And there would in fact be a lot of BS thrown out. Instead of evolving, traditionalist love living in the past.

I think what should be done, however, is have a standardized fitness and nutrition test for ALL MA instructors. So they can be onboard the scientific boat with the training aspect of their art. They will still teach their art, but the methods of training the skills would have to evolved into a much safer way.

It would still be up to the student to go out and search for themselves the answers of their questions.

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#133506 - 07/28/04 12:25 PM Re: Standardized Martial Arts.
Anonymous
Unregistered


Anpadh,
A meal at McDonald's can be enjoyable.
It is provided hot, fast and at a reasonable price.
Most people would not consider it art. The the franchise is successful primarily because of its "standardized" system.
As artists VanGogh and Rembrant both used brushes, pigment, and canvas. What they did with those tools was very different. Both are recognized as masters. They are recognized for their expression of their art, not their tools.

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#133507 - 07/28/04 02:27 PM Re: Standardized Martial Arts.
Ironfoot Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 06/10/04
Posts: 2682
Loc: St. Clair Shores, MI USA
Speaking of McDonalds, a NUTRITION test for all MA instructors?? I doubt CHEFS have to pass that. I teach karate, not even holistic health, which is much less scientific than the karate!

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#133508 - 07/28/04 02:51 PM Re: Standardized Martial Arts.
Ronin1966 Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 04/26/02
Posts: 3116
Loc: East Coast, United States
Hello Anpadh:

No, in a word.

There is generic standardization, in the following sense. By the end of a certain period, marked by the granting of the dan ranking, (ie. the Shodan, the black belt), in those Japanese/Okinawan art forms... one has a solid, fundamental, and basic foundation of knowledge and the ability to express same according to the individual(s) who said you had attained the rank.

One is not ready to engage in the practice of teaching. That is a seperate skill.

When one learns a language, or a skill, cooking, gardening, driving... are we ready to instantly teach those skills? Of course not. If we do, shall we have the same ability that the person who does so for a living possesses? Can we teach adults? Can you teach young children? There are different methods, techniques one must ingrain to teach different groups. The only way that is effectively possible is via EXPERIENCE at doing so.

In this manner, a skilled person, a smart person will understand the craft they are offering others. Done almost any other manner, and the instruction is haphazard, short term, and often tragically poor quality.

Time is required to gain such skills. Experience is an excellent teacher...
I can teach you many things, but prefer you learn them from those who have decades of experience showing others this information, having explored it themselves. Can I learn from a child genius, certainly. Will I choose to, not likely.... If the learning is done rapidly... IMO-fwiw it cannot be done deeply enough to learn it well. Martial arts unlike academia cannot be purely a mental comprehension... it is a intimately physical study.

Perhaps one reason there is no standard, is because the study itself is almost purely individualized. However long it takes to absorb the information to attain that level of comprehension varies. What one does with these "tools" have many different avenues... many outlets. Because there are so many possible variables, how could a single standard be written for it? Why would/SHOULD I care what a stranger thought of my given abilities, skills? Nice if they acknowledge them, but very little if they think less of me, or do not agree.

Does this help? I am not sure I am being especially clear today...
Jeff

[This message has been edited by Ronin1966 (edited 07-28-2004).]

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#133509 - 07/29/04 10:46 PM Re: Standardized Martial Arts.
Anonymous
Unregistered


I have seen this many times as Black Belts from different styles step on the mat in a BJJ or Judo class.

Same thing with skilled grapplers putting on the gloves for the first time to box.

Nice to be functional in all areas even if you have a favorite. This is rarely addressed in Traditional MA.

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#133510 - 07/30/04 10:14 AM Re: Standardized Martial Arts.
Anpadh Offline
Member

Registered: 04/19/04
Posts: 162
Loc: Fort Lauderdale, FL, USA
Toudiyana, you are focusing on the prestige value of different names. What I am saying is that you learn basically the same thing from various institutions that grant the same degree. You don't learn Quantum Physics or Platonic philosophy in Kindergarten. All KG classes teach students the same basic set of skills. Similarly all students in a particular discipline learn the same basic set of skills. Moreover, even math is not an exat science when you study it at extremely advanced levels. And even when you get a Psychology degree, there is a certain consenus as to what constitutes a psychology degree. You can't study geography and say you have a degree in psychology.

Oldman, even in an art form there are certain basic skills. If you want to paint, for instance, you have to know that there are only a few primary colors and other colors can be created by mixing these primary colors. You have to know when and how to use various types of brushes and canvases and so on. Van Gogh worked in a style known as Impressionism. He had a very pecific technique that can be and has been reproduced. Van Gogh's skill, of course, cannot be reproduced.

Ronin, you talk about a solid, fundamental and basic foundation of knowledge. I am asking for a clarification of exactly that. What constitutes "a solid, fundamental and basic foundation of knowledge'? Knowing a variety of kicks and punches? Breaking bricks? Telekinesis? Gymnastics?

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