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The SF Martial Arts Thread

LA Guy

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@LA Guy you'll love this request ;)

What would you advise a recent father thinking of taking up judo or BJJ? (happy with either, I'll go with the stronger closer gym)

What is the injury rate like in either sports? How do you avoid the type that takes you out for days?

How do you pick a gym?

At what point do you know enough that you can teach your kids (or practice with them, at any rate) and is it a good idea? At what age can they start? Mix in a hitting art (e.g. TKD) or keep it pure to practice more hours per week?

I've always admired judo. It has a quiet and efficient global community, well run championships including olympics (the first olympian I heard about was a judoka), it gives me an excuse to visit Japan occasionally... OTOH there's some MMA guys in my extended family doing BJJ and it looks like a more recent version of the same, in terms of culture, plus fight bros. Curious to hear your thoughts.
If i can add my two cents...

I don't know what is (or was) your sport practice. I suppose you are in your late 30s ?
If you never practiced judo or jujutsu before, i would avoid if i were you - now i am not an expert.
The repetition of ukemi (falls) at a certain age is dangerous, especially if you never practiced. Or find an excellent teacher that will make you practice only ukemi for at least one year.

Kids. My 8 and a half years old son started Judo at 5. He is very good at it. I think it is an excellent background for later, whatever Martial arts you will practice. And it's the perfect age to learn to 'fall'. He is like a cat now.
He is beginning to learn Thai Boxing, but, on the contrary to judo, i think it is a passing fad.
I don't want to oblige him to nothing, but i hope he will continue Judo until the black belt level.

Aim. Kids again.
What is your aim ? Self defense or Michi, or both ?
To give you an example of both, one of my best friends was trained since his younger age by his father, who was a serious practitioner of Yoseikan Aikido (a 'realistic' form of Aiki that includes jujutsu and karate techniques). Then, in his teens, he was into Boxe Française (Savate) and kickboxing. Then he was a soldier, trained in close combat (and firearms obviously, he was a marsouin - French Marines), and later became a bodyguard. He went through an internal phase and practiced martial Qi Kong.
Then he discovered Eskrima. He was so crazy about it that he went to the Philippines for a few months to learn there.
He finally stayed 8 years there to practice - every day, and came back two years ago.
He trained his two kids since their younger age, first in Yoseikan, like his father trained him. He has a son and a daughter.
His son then trained in karate, and his daughter did a little kickboxing.
Since he came back, he is training his kids (now young adults) in Eskrima. He is actually learning knife fighting to his daughter, because he thinks it is the ONLY practice efficient for a girl in case of aggression, and that indeed the world is not a safe place...
 
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am55

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@LA Guy and anyone else with significant experience rolling with others. I've always wondered about some of these tiny historical figures, that could easily manage much larger, experienced fighters with just good technique. The best example I can think of is Kyuzo Mifune. To what extent is he actually avoiding getting thrown around, as opposed to respectful students being careful around the 70+yo sensei of senseis? Unlike aikido promotional videos, I mean, demonstrations, it looks like some of the throws are pretty hard and not entirely expected.

I'm not familiar with the art obviously, but it is odd that modern (IJF) judo is dominated by these huge, strong judoka (Teddy Riner probably the best example, go France! but still). Is it a case of the opposition having become sufficiently technical? In the same way that women's MMA caught up with Ronda eventually.
 

Piobaire

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Just a mention, my grandfather-in-law was a bonafide kendo master. He passed in the 1990s in in his late 80s and I was only able to meet him once. He was a small man, immigrant from Japan, and earned his living as a carpenter on the island of Hawaii. He was 8th or 9th dan, which to my limited knowledge, is as high as one can go.

When I met him, age 85, he was still vital and a tiny hurricane.
 

LA Guy

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am55

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Just a mention, my grandfather-in-law was a bonafide kendo master. He passed in the 1990s in in his late 80s and I was only able to meet him once. He was a small man, immigrant from Japan, and earned his living as a carpenter on the island of Hawaii. He was 8th or 9th dan, which to my limited knowledge, is as high as one can go.

When I met him, age 85, he was still vital and a tiny hurricane.
To be fair though most of that is written in your genes. My grandfather fought a number of France's wars starting aged 17 in Africa, including the second time against the Germans and quite some time in Indochina, smoked 2+ packets a day all his life, drank and otherwise lived life as you might imagine for a soldier of that period "to the full", well, he passed away a hair away from 90. A lot of people like him similarly lived very long lives, some over 100. Marcel Bigeard made it to 94. There is some selection to it, the genetically advantaged will do better in stressful situations and "survive" them (and in some cases claim that the stressful situation is the cause of their longevity).

What I've heard more often from long term martial artists (and infantry) is all the things they've broken or used up, and the health problems they get relatively early in retirement.

At some point, he said, "But really punch me - aikido assumes that you will overcommit". So I punched him hard, Anyone with a year of boxing, hell, a few months of boxing, is not going to leave his arm out there, head and shoulders way in front of the hip. Even if you over commit, there is only a split second to take advantage of that before everything is back in place.
Always interesting to read your posts now you have an outlet for them. Please keep adding if you find time... Do you count (modern, IJF or Kodokan) judo as a "soft art" then? Is the classification into soft/proper a function of the techniques, or the community? You point out yourself how fast JJ is evolving now there is a steady and strong flow of motivated talent towards it.

I hadn't heard "overcommit" before but knew the idea which we mentioned earlier upthread, where the sabreur scored his point fully stretching his body without his head going past his knee. Eventually it is all footwork with the strike almost a secondary to it, with managing distance and balance being where the game is played.

One way I improved a lot was to train (and do some matches) without protective clothing except the electric jacket and glove. Just a T shirt underneath. It stopped cuts but let everything else through, which was motivating when it came to learning to parry properly. Probably as far as you can go in a relatively safe and controlled sport to up the ante a bit. The Germans have their face slashing.
 

Piobaire

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I was more posting about him being one of the top ranked kendo dudes in the world than the fact he lived to a healthy, ripe old age. ;)
 

Clouseau

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Just a mention, my grandfather-in-law was a bonafide kendo master. He passed in the 1990s in in his late 80s and I was only able to meet him once. He was a small man, immigrant from Japan, and earned his living as a carpenter on the island of Hawaii. He was 8th or 9th dan, which to my limited knowledge, is as high as one can go.

When I met him, age 85, he was still vital and a tiny hurricane.
For at least thirty years, the kendo maximum dan level is limited to the 8th dan, and it's the hardest exam in Japan.
If you have the time, this documentary is very interesting :
Your grandfather in law, if he was indeed Kendo 9th dan, was probably one of the last, there were around 20 still alive in the 90s.
There were only 5 10th dan in the kendo history, the last one died in 1970 IIRC. The dan system was first adopted from judo, who took as a model the occidental military system at the end of the 19th century. Dan (段) just mean degree.

Parallel to the dan system there is a distinction system with three ranks : Renshi (starting at the 6th dan), Kyoshi, Hanshi.
So the highest rank possible today in Kendo is 8th dan, Hanshi. I think there is maybe one or two 9th dan still alive.

Kendo is very far from being a 'soft' art, concerning Aikido, i think it can be efficient, but what is 8 years in the practice of a traditional art ?… Apart maybe if you practice every day.
There are different branches of Aikido, some like the Yoshinkan or the Yoseikan are supposed to be more 'realistic', like the Daito Ryu Aiki Jujutsu, the old school from where Aikido comes.
 
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Piobaire

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Fascinating stuff; thanks for the post.
 

LA Guy

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Clouseau

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@LA Guy, in a traditional martial art like Aikido, complex, 8 years is nothing. Of course, as i said before, it also depends of the time you practice. Did your friend practiced Aikido every day for 8 years, and did he had a good teacher ? I mean, if he practiced once or twice a week with an average teacher, it's normal he was not able to deliver a single technique.

There are some techniques you can learn the basics in two years, mostly external techniques like kickboxing - Karate - Kung Fu, etc. It doesn't mean those disciplines are only external, but that you can learn some of the external aspects quite quickly and be able to deliver a blow. As you said, your friend still could punch and kick because he did some kickboxing, even if he was not able to use his Aiki, that is much more complicated.

Now, a traditional art like Aikido is a lifetime practice, a way, like Kendo. If you watched the Kendo documentary (i posted a link in my precedent post), IIRC, Ishida sensei said he wasn't able to deliver a correct Men-Uchi (face strike) before 20 years of practice. Of course he was able to strike Men before, but not one ultimate strike with true Ki-Ken-Tai no ichi.

I am also approaching the thirty years of practice, on the contrary of you though, i never practiced MMA or Kickboxing. Not my thing, but i respect it, as every martial art. My aim is probably not the same than yours, but i still think i can defend myself, but only if really necessary - as the ultimate goal is to avoid fighting.

I practiced Aikido sometime along the way. I was practicing Kendo at the same time. At the origin, Aikido was a complementary jujutsu method for swordsmen. I had the great chance to meet the late Hikitsuchi Michio, the only 'official' Aikido 10th dan, that he received from master Ueshiba. I had the chance to talk with him. He began to studied Kendo when he was 9 years old, and he started Aikido at 14, under master Ueshiba, that he never left until his death. His philosophy of Aikido was the same than the philosophy of Kendo : the ultimate strike, only one. he said that in Aikido or Kendo, the issue is decided at the instant of the encounter. It is an old samurai thing, a matter of life and death. Hikitshuchi sensei said that he had practiced so intensely that he became the sword.

HM.jpg



Hikitsuchi Sensei and I, in Asakusa, Tokyo, in 1995
Hikitsuchi.jpg
 

LA Guy

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Clouseau

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@LA Guy not everybody is a semi-professional fighter like you that steps regularly on the mat. I mean by that that maybe your friend's aikido would have worked better on someone less experienced than you ?

Finally we agree when you say a practitioner of a 'hard style' can be efficient in a couple of years on the contrary of a practitioner of a 'soft style'. Now it also depends at what age you start and of the level of your practice. I mentioned Hikitsuchi sensei who started Aikido at 14 and practiced all his life every single day, i suppose his techniques were effective at a young age, furthermore as he practiced other martial arts like Kendo or Yari-jutsu (lance) that included shiai (dueling). I was lucky enough to see him in a demonstration in the 90s, he was really impressive.

On another subject you mentioned Wing Chun, i am interested in this style and thought it was quite efficient, as it is supposed to be a synthesis of some of the most effective techniques of Southern Kung Fu ?
 

LA Guy

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Clouseau

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And now for something completely different (or maybe not, Military is Martial isn't it) ?
 

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