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#270832 - 07/11/06 03:21 PM Is the best really worth emulating?
Supremor Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 07/22/04
Posts: 2510
Loc: UK
Here's a question that came to me while I was watching some videos of top tournament competitors at world championships.

In martial arts competition, there are a number of rules which act as limiters to the fighting. These rules often make success more probable if a competitor uses certain tactics. For example, in point sparring (the name Bill Wallace comes to mind) one achieves more points for a head kick than for a body punch. Result: Competitors look for the head kick and become adept at delivering it. Speed is also a very important factor, since many point-sparring competitions are semi-contact. Result: Competitors become very fast. This is common to all sports- athletes train to have the attributes MOST suitable to the competition rules.

I was watching the ITF TKD world championships a few weeks ago, and what I saw was something quite unlike how I would choose to spar. Since the ITF is semi-contact continuous point-sparring at the world championships, the competitors all had a lightning quick first step and an ability to place their legs wherever they liked, then get out. Very few showed what I would call sound fighting sense- guard up, following through after the first hit, etc. I was a bit disappointed since I felt that it was not representative of ITF sparring at all, which I feel it has more similarities with kickboxing than anything else.

So, are the top competitors in any martial sport the people we should aspire to spar like in our own pursuit of "martial skill"(cringe-worthy phrase). Boxers are fantastic with their hands, and many ameteur boxers feel that if only they could throw punches like Julio Diaz then they'd be great fighters. Of course they miss the point that good punching alone is not sufficient.

So my question is this, should we hold the top tournament fighters in such high regard and try to emulate them, even though it may skew our own training away from more effective SD training. Is the idea of Bill Wallace or Lennox Lewis being an object of aspiration unfounded.

#270833 - 07/11/06 03:49 PM Re: Is the best really worth emulating? [Re: Supremor]
Mike_L Offline

Registered: 10/08/05
Posts: 420
Loc: Rio Rancho NM/Louisville KY (U...
I think you should follow your own path in martial arts. This is a good point, that competition fighting is different than self defense. But I think aspiration depends on what you are aspiring to be. If you aspire to become a skilled competition fighter in the since that Bill Wallace, Lennox Lewis, or another competition fighter is than it is well founded. But if you aspire to be a skilled martial artist, or self defense expert than maybe not. I think you just have to take things as they come. Train in competition fighting, and self defense, and aspire to be skilled in both.

This is a question I have asked myself many times. Inspiration comes in many forms, from masters, and white belts, sages, and fools. I would say emulate what you want yourself to become, and follow your own path.
"There is no such thing as Perfection... Only excellence"

#270834 - 07/12/06 12:05 AM Re: Is the best really worth emulating? [Re: Mike_L]
lineOfFire Offline

Registered: 01/26/06
Posts: 24
Loc: Upon Arrival
To emulate/copy, the fighter/fighters "you" consider the best, is what martial arts is all about. To take in "what works" and to eliminate "what does not." But, keep in mind, what works for others don't always work for you, unless, you drill those techniques over and over and over, even past the boredom stage.... if you really notice, those who are good are pretty much masters of their "basic" techniques.
It is easier to harm than it is to heal.

#270835 - 07/12/06 08:22 AM Re: Is the best really worth emulating? [Re: Supremor]
JohnL Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 03/24/03
Posts: 4309
Loc: NY, NY, USA
It depends upon what you want to acheive.

If you want to be a good point karate fighter, I suggest you go to watch the top point karate fighters and possibly train with them.


Because they're damn good at it.

They've looked at a sport, assessed the best methodology for winning at that sport, and undertaken training to acheive results in the sport they've chosen.

It's exactly the same with ITF, Muay Thai, MMA etc. They are sports with specific rules that govern the way you perform and the methodologies for success. There may be some cross fertilisation of techniques and attributes and techniques but generally the abilities are sport specific.

If you went to an athletics club and said you wanted to learn how to throw a javelin, they wouldn't start by teaching you how to throw a discuss and then try and translate your skills to javelin throwing. You might gain strength, flexibility in the shoulders, and explosive power generation from training for discuss throwing (Transfeable qualities) but you'd suck at javelin throwing.

The same applies to competetive MA's.

If you took a top MMA guy, let's say Tito Ortiz for sake of discussion, put him in a square against a point karate guy and said OK, point karate rules, go score on each other, Tito would e wiped away faster than he could jump on the fence of the Octagon.

Not because he's a bad MA, not because he doesn't know and employ MA techniques, but because his abilities are specific to what he does.

As such, before you try and emulate someone, you have to establish in your own mind what your goals and objectives are. There may be by-products of your training but you need to be specific as to what your overall objectives are.
John L

#270836 - 07/31/06 07:37 PM Re: Is the best really worth emulating? [Re: JohnL]
TeK9 Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 12/22/05
Posts: 2257
Loc: Northern California, USA
Very good post JohnL. Nicely explained.
"Poor is the pupil who
does not surpass his
master" - Leonardo Da


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