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#187357 - 09/20/05 04:45 AM when is traditional not traditional.
trevek Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 05/15/05
Posts: 3337
Loc: Poland
OK, noting lots of apparent/ alleged friction between MMA and traditional arts I wanna throw a bone into the pit.

The writer Bruno Latour suggests "we have never been modern" because modernism is simply something we have traditionally done. By this he means that we have always tried to distance ourselves in some way from the past and show we are 'up-to-date'.

As this means that that modernity is a traditional practice it also means that 'tradition' itself is a modern practice. Basically, there are two poles, the supposed tradition which never changes and the supposed modernity which is always ahead. both are unreal in that everything changes while modernity is outmoded as soon as it occurs.

With this in mind, isn't MMA simply a recent expression of things people have already been doing for years? Therefore isn't it traditional in itself? I mean, all the recent hype about "cross-training"... how many people had trained in more than one art before they heard the term. Quite a few, I imagine.

Likewise, if we look at things like JKD. There are two main camps of JKD (I could be wrong). There is the one dedicated to the teachings of Bruce Lee and the (apparently) progressive one which is based around guys like Inosanto. (I don't mean to denigrate either group here. I don't aim to offend anyone in JKD, I use it only as an example).

In my limited experience of the 'Inosanto' style of JKD, there appear to be a number of core-arts which are used to teach JKD concepts. these seem to be Muay Thai, Kali/eskrima, silat and grappling (as well as several others).

Likewise, MMA in many quarters seems to have a strong focus on MT/BJJ combinations (obviously I am committing terrible generalisation here, forgive me).

My question is (AT LAST), when do these paths of MMA and JKD (amongst others) acually begin to be seen as "traditional" and begin to suffer the same solidification that many claim "traditional" arts suffer.
Could we not say already that BJJ/Gracie JJ is/are traditional (not to suggest they are 'solidified'>

If, as I understand members of the Gracie clan only fight BJJ, is this not now a 'traditional' system?

Traditional systems, likewise, will address the new challenges, as they have always done, and adapt to survive (arguably traditionalism is a new challenge for them too).

Any thoughts/comments?
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#187358 - 09/20/05 08:19 AM Re: when is traditional not traditional. [Re: trevek]
Caino Offline
Newbie

Registered: 09/15/05
Posts: 12
Loc: NSW, Australia
Interesting post,
I really don't think it matters if your doing a MMA or a traditional one, as long as it is open minded and effective.
I mean really, does it matter if what you do is modern or traditional if it saves your arse from a beating? Of course it doesn't. The problem is when people get a black belt out of a cerial box and start teaching crap that they don't understand, doesn't work, and are potentially more harmful to the students, than to any attacker they may face.
Unfortunately quite alot of these types of "styles" are slapped together and called a modern martial art. (Most of these could bearly be called a martial sport let alone an art).
This is where modern martial arts get a bad name.
Its really a matter of looking at what works, not where it came from.

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#187359 - 09/20/05 01:46 PM Re: when is traditional not traditional. [Re: Caino]
trevek Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 05/15/05
Posts: 3337
Loc: Poland
Thanks Caino, glad someone liked it
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#187360 - 09/20/05 01:59 PM Re: when is traditional not traditional. [Re: trevek]
UofM Shorin Ryu Offline
Resident Forum Breakdancer

Registered: 02/07/05
Posts: 981
I liked it. Even if I didn't understand half of it...

It would be interesting to see where this debate leads us to in 5 years. Perhaps a new wave of weapon only arts will merge to form a MWMA (Mixed Weapons Martial Arts), and they will have the same arguements as the MMA's do today. On that same note, in 5 years, MMA practicioners may need to defend their "traditional" arts against the newest fads out there. Maybe down the line, people will be bashing the "taditional" methods of MMA's claiming the same things that MMA's accuse TMA's of today...

I've only had experience in TMA's (wing chun, isshinryu, shorin-ryu, etc) but in essence, you could call me a MMA practicioner. Why? Because I take what works best for me from each of these arts and develop my "own Mixed Martial Art".

And keep in mind that I have made SEVERAL HUGE generalizations about MMA's, TMA's, and the corresponding people who practice their arts. Try not to let those generalizations get to you or assume I hate this or that.

Simply put, I'm for non-McDojo training, and against a total lack of training. Arts are just different chapters in the same book to me.


Edited by UofM Shorin Ryu (09/20/05 02:01 PM)
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#187361 - 09/20/05 02:25 PM Re: when is traditional not traditional. [Re: UofM Shorin Ryu]
trevek Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 05/15/05
Posts: 3337
Loc: Poland
Shorin, exactly my point.

I once asked a Freestyle Karate Champion called Alfie Lewis why he did Freestyle. he spoke about the problems of 'Traditional' arts not developing. The thing is he had trained in several trad arts. I asked about how his students would grade in Freestyle. He said he used a particular curriculum based on his knowledge. I asked if this would eventually become codified in itself (adopted by his students and members of his Freestyle association) and actually Freestyle would become a 'style'. He agreed such things were possible.

My point is, with everyone rushing to learn specific styles and combinations will they evolve into an accepted 'style' and, as you say, find themselves being attacked for being 'traditional' in years to come?
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#187362 - 09/20/05 03:33 PM Re: when is traditional not traditional. [Re: trevek]
hedkikr Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 02/28/05
Posts: 2827
Loc: Southern California, USA
Tev...

Although I don't disagree, you're starting w/ a false presumption:
"The writer Bruno Latour suggests "we have never been modern" because modernism is simply something we have traditionally done."

What he means is that we are constantly in a state of CHANGE so the process of change is a tradition.

A "traditional MA' is labeled so because it has been practiced in a prescribed way by a large population over an extended period of time. So too w/ any other practices: the way you celebrate Christmas, marriage ceremonies, what you do on a 1st date...
Things don't become traditional because we want to simply change it & do it differently. It may become traditional but only due to acceptance from the outside not promotion from the inside.

GJJ/BJJ have become traditional due to 60+ years of practice all over the world however it was not in 1980 Rio de Janeiro. All traditional arts began as either a family/clan art, monestary art or military art. Wide acceptance over time made them traditional.

True, MA-ists have cross trained for centuries however it can be argued that they kept the arts training separate (w/ the exception of Ninjutsu & monestary arts). They may have used a mixture of skills in real S-D situations but they learned & practiced in different schools. Now w/ MMA, all skills are learned & practiced all @ once. This can be compared to a dinner of steak w/ onions, baked potato & carrots vs a stew. Not good or bad, it just is. However you'll also note that grappling focused schools utilize special boxing coaches & striking focused schools utilize special grappling coaches. Not too different from an "old school" approach.

owari

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#187363 - 09/21/05 03:18 AM Re: when is traditional not traditional. [Re: hedkikr]
trevek Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 05/15/05
Posts: 3337
Loc: Poland
Hi Hedkikr,
you are right, I did turn Latour on his head a bit. However, are the so-called 'traditional' arts as 'traditional' and rigid as some people make out?

For instance, Shotokan didn't stop at Gichin Funakoshi. As I believe, his son did a lot of research and development by bringing in new techniques such as the roundhouse kick (I could be wrong). If you look at early photos of many arts we may see the stances have changed, maybe lowered or raised. Even more recent arts, like Chang Hon TKD are still developing (see sine waves).

I'd suggest that very often change and development DOES take place but strictly within the context of a 'traditional' framework.What we find is that these changes are often challenged and pioneered by members of the group. This can lead to a revision of the tradition or a split in the camp.

My point is, about the 'traditonalisation' of MMA etc, is the possible development of MMA as a 'style' which becomes codified because students who start with MMA, rather than one art as a base, is that eventually the myriad of different styles will just blur into one. MMA may become recognised as an independent style which, for example, owes its lineage to MT, JJ, boxing (although it could be others too).

As Shorin asks, will MMA be facing the same criticisms in a few years that 'trad' arts face now?
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See how well I block your punches with my jaw!!

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#187364 - 09/21/05 08:27 AM Re: when is traditional not traditional. [Re: trevek]
cxt Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 09/11/03
Posts: 5823
Loc: USA

Good post!

I always find it kinda funny in that the whole MMA thing got its start in a really "traditional" school of japanese judo.

The other thing worth noting is that if you compare English boxing with todays MMA--you have pretty much the same kinda matching, striking, kicking, grappleing etc.

Slowly,over the years boxing lost its kicking and grappling and its weapon use, then the rules were redsigned to make it "safer" which led to it becomeing very popular with wider ranges of people which led to its rules being redsigned again and again.

Fast forward a couple of 100 years ang you have to re-invent the wheel, so to speak, to develop MMA competitions.

My honest prediction is that it will follow the path of boxing.

In order to allow more folks to compete-in order to grow, the nature of the matchs will have to change.

Heck, the rules have already changed to make the matchs more "spectator friendly"--cause thats where the money comes from--no-one watchs, no ad dollars.



Edited by cxt (09/21/05 08:32 AM)
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#187365 - 09/21/05 03:59 PM Re: when is traditional not traditional. [Re: trevek]
tookien1 Offline
Member

Registered: 02/13/05
Posts: 299
Loc: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
I think traditional arts are just a name, an idea more then anything else. They may include religious, cultural beliefs or traditions held in their country. But behind it all, the fighting system is like a seperate entity from all the traditional stuff. Kung-fu Arts as an example, I think they are not traditional fighting systems, because unless a human evolves into having 4 arms and 3 legs, then the effectiveness of the art remains whether or not you like it. What does change in my opinion is the method of training which changes due to purpose (sport) which requires modification at that point. But then your going into a new realm of fighting (sport competition) which is more apparent than ever, but that sort of training kind of drains the word MA a bit, because MA were first invented with the purpose to kill your opponent and nothing else. The purpose has gone from, lets not train to kill our opponent, lets train to beat him up, knock his teeth out and "kick his ass". MMA is that art, it has been broken down categories of fighting, and it will remain a MMA until it is broken down further into less categories, then the MMA will become traditional. As far as I'm concerned its like this. You go to home depot and at the entrance you see a firewood on sale for 5 bucks. You could have gone to and chopped up some wood and saved the 5 bucks, but since you could acquire it more easily and quicly all with 5 bucks and 10 minutes of time, you have now saved your self the trouble of 1 hour of wood chopping. Thats just my example, and don't take me for a traditionalist in favor of traditional MA. This is just my opinion ofcourse.

tookien1

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#187366 - 09/21/05 10:25 PM Re: when is traditional not traditional. [Re: trevek]
Foolsgold Offline
Veteran

Registered: 09/02/04
Posts: 1635
Loc: South Lyon, MI, USA
Let's not forget that we travel at the speed of the internet now. Look at how long it took for Judo and Tae Kwon Do to become TMAs! (I'm speaking entirely of their present incarnations, not their roots.)

I'm thinking that at the speed information travels now, the point will quickly become moot.
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