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#313870 - 01/10/07 12:41 PM Explain this.... please!
Ronin1966 Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 04/26/02
Posts: 3119
Loc: East Coast, United States
An old article described assorted tricks, stunts and gimmicks which were/are often presented as internal martial arts skills. Eg:

Bending a weapon held on the throat by walking into it
The unbendable arm
Bed of nails
Hot coal walking
Sledgehammer to the cement blocks held on chest

Now these are merely some of the more common stunts. Of the list above (or add your own) how do you EXPLAIN (debunk) the particular showmanship so it s not "magical". Nothing wrong with having a exciting demonstration, nothing wrong with a good show... but what do any of those (or similar demonstrations) have to do with genuine martial skill?

What would be a GOOD, clear demonstration of genuine martial skills? Help unravel the above demonstrations, or those others will hopefully suggest... Thoughts anybody...


#313871 - 01/10/07 01:43 PM Re: Explain this.... please! [Re: Ronin1966]
MattJ Offline
Free Rhinoplasty!

Registered: 11/25/04
Posts: 15634
Loc: York PA. USA
I do not know that much about tricks, as I never studied to do them. I do understand that both the "bed of nails" and the "sledgehammer" tricks take advantage of increased surface area to dissipate the shock of strikes. Ask someone to take the sledgehammer strike to the chest without the concrete block, or sit on a bed of one nail.

As for a good demo, how about the instructor sparring everyone there?
"In case you ever wondered what it's like to be knocked out, it's like waking up from a nightmare only to discover it wasn't a dream." -Forrest Griffin

#313872 - 01/11/07 09:54 AM Explain this.... please! [Re: MattJ]
Ronin1966 Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 04/26/02
Posts: 3119
Loc: East Coast, United States
Hello Matt:

<<I do understand that both the "bed of nails" and the "sledgehammer" tricks take advantage of increased surface area to dissipate the shock of strikes.


The barefoot coal walking being another similar ~melodrama~. The coals being hot, but provided you keep moving... or coat whether knowingly/otherwise the bottoms of your feet apparently does the trick. Now if you or I were to have stoaked those coals.... nobody would walk them voluntarily I think....

<<As for a good demo, how about the instructor sparring everyone there?

Hummmngh, provided the instructor is not "armed"... sure why not! "... ok for those of you left standing, I am giving you my card, those of you laying down for a little while your cards are lying beside you...."

The kids saw one the other night which was pretty gross, the hooking a heavy something to the fascia in your back and pulling obscenely heavy object a lengthy distance. Gross but nothing to do with genuine martial skill. Merely the resillance<sp.?> of the body's fascia as a contact point.

Surely there are other bizarre demonstrations which pass for internal/bone-fide martial skill???? Or may well demonstrate an signifigant martial skill??? What is/are they?


#313873 - 01/11/07 11:22 AM Re: Explain this.... please! [Re: Ronin1966]
KJ63 Offline

Registered: 08/16/06
Posts: 128
Loc: Midwestern U.S.
Yes I would agree and there are several others which exist on different levels:

Bending a weapon held on the throat by walking into it
The unbendable arm
Bed of nails
Hot coal walking
Sledgehammer to the cement blocks held on chest

We could also add to the list:
- Pulling large objects with various parts of their anatomy.

- Puncturing various parts of the body with sharp objects.

- No touch KO's. No MA application at all (let the flaming begin)

- Even pressure point KOs to a certain degree are done for effect, because the body is a little more unpredictable under high stress

(For the last 2 I should add that I was a DKI member, and received my 4th degree under Mr. Dillman)

- Braking of any kind. Maybe good for teaching focus or toughening the hands, but there is really no purpose for stacking multiple objects, especially if you’re going to use spacers to separate the objects. Back in my TKD days, I saw a kid break 10 boards. Then two minutes later he broke his hand attempting to break 3 of the same boards without spacers.

- driving nails through boards with hand, foot, etc.

Many of these things have some practical application in MA like teaching focus or to strike through an object, toughening areas of the body, overcoming fear, and so on; but many are over exaggerated and performed in such a flamboyant manor that they become nothing more than a show. Many of them take no extraordinary ability at all, and can be taught in a matter of minutes.
You must not fight too often with one enemy, or you will teach him all your art of war.

#313874 - 01/11/07 03:43 PM Re: Explain this.... please! [Re: KJ63]
Blackrainbow Offline

Registered: 09/14/06
Posts: 220
Loc: Brandon Fl.USA
Some of you might not have seen this and might find it useful.
You cannot defend against that which you do not understand

#313875 - 01/11/07 04:27 PM Re: Explain this.... please! [Re: Ronin1966]
cxt Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 09/11/03
Posts: 5844
Loc: USA
Various "stunts" to attract crowds (and hopefully students) have been around since day one of the martial arts.

Probbaly started when someone asked Og the caveman to "show me what you got " with his club.

Og thinks "well I can't just kill this silly jerk, his folks have the bear jerky consession--and I LOVE bear jerky...what to do...what to do...

So Og goes and smashs his club thu a big, thick dead branch-- to show the power of his swing and the strength of his clubbing technique.

All kidding aside, short of actually harming people, its hard for me to think of a "clear" demo--too many potential variables at work.

For my money a good demo would give the watchers a clear picture of what training is going to be like in that school---as well as what you might be able to do with it.

Edited by cxt (01/11/07 04:29 PM)
I did battle with ignorance today.......and ignorance won. Huey.

#313876 - 01/12/07 10:51 PM Explain this.... please! [Re: KJ63]
Ronin1966 Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 04/26/02
Posts: 3119
Loc: East Coast, United States
Hello KJ63:

<<- BrEaking of any kind.

If forced to watch breaking prefer suspended solely by a string... understand that as bone-fide skill. Or the object of choice in a stack of objects that too.... being skill, provided completely interchangable with any other identical object in the larger stack re: composition, treatment, etc.

<<- driving nails through boards with hand, foot, etc.

No clue why a hammer is not the APPROPRIATE tool do not understand the connection w/ martial skill myself. Bizarre feat, and unusual stunt...but why do I want to know this , spend time learning this... as a martial matter?


#313877 - 01/13/07 06:48 AM Re: Explain this.... please! [Re: Ronin1966]
eyrie Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 12/28/04
Posts: 3106
Loc: QLD, Australia

Edited by eyrie (01/13/07 06:54 AM)

#313878 - 01/13/07 08:34 AM Re: Explain this.... please! [Re: eyrie]
JKogas Offline

Registered: 01/25/03
Posts: 10818
Loc: North Carolina
....bear jerky concession, lol

I have seen the coal walking. It's been performed with a specific type of rock that doesn't conduct heat well. The bottom of the rock gets very hot but the top where you're actually walking doesn't get that hot at all.


#313879 - 01/13/07 09:13 AM Re: Explain this.... please! [Re: JKogas]
schanne Offline
breaks things

Registered: 02/18/04
Posts: 4370
Loc: Woodbury NJ
I can explain all the trick but most of you already are aware of how they are preformed. Yes they are tricks but are fun to watch by the average lamen.

To make it more interesting they should:
1. Shorten, the bending rod to 4 feet!
2. Bed of nails, use less nails and spread them out!
3. Fire walking, use real charcoal!
4. Sledgehammer trick, use only one slab of concrete!

Truthfully I don't see to much of it anymore, we use to do all that stuff in the 70's during demonstrations in parks, local fairs and fund raisers. The public ate it up and it was a lot of fun to preform. Now that the general public has been saturated with MA for the last 30 years the show is old. Demostrations are still a valuable part of promoting your dojo. There is nothing wrong with putting on a great demonstration showing all aspects of your art and throwing in some showmanship to "Wow the crowd".

The rocks that are used for "fire walking" are Lava rock, very porous and full of air......................

Edited by schanne (01/13/07 09:15 AM)
The way of the warrior does not include other ways... Miyamoto Musashi Schanne

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