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The SF Martial Arts Thread

LA Guy

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But will your daughters really face those kind of conditions in the future? A friend who had just returned from one of the "unofficial" African theatres was waiting for me downstairs my building, and as I approached from the (glass) door, I watched as, waiting, he was continuously scanning the car park, probably out of habit. In Singapore, where the worst thing that can happen to you is a mosquito bite, and even that is being taken care of by the government. Peace of mind is nice too...
I honestly have no idea, but my personal experience is that the world is not always a safe place, and that if you don't know how to carry yourself, that you can inadvertently become a victim. I do think that physical confidence rooted in a strong understanding of both one's abilities and limitations through having been rigorously tested brings a peace of mind that can't be bought any other way.

I think that this extends to other aspects of life as well. I encourage people to climb mountains, run marathons, get doctorates from places considered the best in the world, start businesses, whatever it is that a person thinks"well, I could do that if I tried" but have a dozen excuses as to why they haven't tried. If you've done it, and even if you haven't been spectacularly successful in the endeavor - which accounts for pretty much all of us - all uncertainty is removed, and no one can take that from you.

The people who walk around with the biggest chips on their shoulder, especially irl, are those who are often plagued with crippling self-doubt.
 

Clouseau

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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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@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.
I am not really a judo guy except that I practice it to round out my takedown game in BJJ, a sport where takedowns are definitely the weakest, least developed part of the game, but where I have access to a Olympic level judoika for trainign and advice. Any of my comments are strictly about BJJ, where I have a lot more experience, and know a lot more of the top tier guys.

First of all, I would say that the real old school guys still have it. A lot of them are not yet *that* old - in their late 50s to early 60s - Rickson, Pedro Sauer, Jean Jacques Machado. Those guys can train with world class guys and hold their own, and they are in general nowhere near the level of athleticism of the top tier competitors today. However, training is very different from competition.

In an all out competition, they are very unlikely to win - a few people have tried, but no one has succeeded. They lack the speed, strength and stamina of the younger competitors, the majority of who are in their 20s and early 30s.

There are probably a few reasons for this.

The first is that has jiujitsu has changed a lot since the 90s, Enzo Inoue famously demoted himself to purple belt when he restarted his practice because he said that jiujitsu had outgrown him and he felt like he knew as much as a modern purple belt. Of course, after under a year, he repromoted himself, so there's that. But I watch the old videos of Gracie challenges, and Brazilian jiujitsu has definitely developed considerably since then. The old masters have likewise confinued in their own practices, but no one learns as easily and as well in their 50s and beyond as they do in their teens and twenties.

The second is that jiujitsu and all martial arts are ultimately athletic endeavors, and everyone passes their athletic prime eventually. Jiujitsu actually takes this into account. Masters (over 30) matches are only 6 minutes long. The "adult" matches are 10 minutes, and 10 minutes is a very long time, and fatigue makes cowards of us all.

Thirdly and finally, the popularity of jiujitsu means that the athletic pool for jiujitsu is much higher than it was when I started phase one of my training (2000-2002), and even more than it was predating the 1990s, when the UFC introduced BJJ to the American and European audiences. A lot of the top competitors right now are only a year or three into their black belts, and they are wrecking guys who have won multiple world titles. There is a changing of the guard every so often, and each generation simply gets better - they are stronger, faster, better natural athletes. Even decades of training can't overcome that. The world champions of last year are now training the new breed of killer athletes.

Ultimately, and much to the chagrin of bullshit artists everywhere, martial arts are not magic. There is no death touch, and "soft" styles typically don't work, though they are quite beautiful. I have a friend, a high level aikidoika, who asked to test his aikido against me. I am a middling kickboxer, I think. I was a good kickboxer for MMA in the early 2000s, but there are tons of people who can kick my ass. He wasn't able to score a single technique on me over a 5 minute round, and was just being soundly pummelled, and I wasn't even really trying to hit him hard, just hard enough. 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. I suppose that aikido could work against a drunk who is bolo punching, but even then, there are better options. The next round, he did much better because he used his kickboxing, He is much more athletic than I am naturally, and had a couple of years of kickboxing under his belt. And close to 8 years of aikido at that time. So...

I'm weirdly about the same age as the second generation of competitors, and actually started before a few of them, and I sometimes wonder where I'd be right now if I'd continued my practice without a pause, instead of basically taking a nearly 15 year hiatus. I'd nearly assuredly be a black belt, but whether I would have been a world competition level black belt is a very different matter. I'm guessing that I'd have been pretty middle of the pack, based on my current motivation and natural ability, but who ever knows?

Re Rhonda - Rhonda was the first "good" MMA fighter, but she had some obvious flaws that her athleticism hid until it didn't anymore. I know people who trained with her, and despite all of the stories of how friendly and open she was, she was apparently very much the opposite - pretty much impossible to coach. Someone like that is not going to develop in their areas of weakness, and when she fought Holly, her weakness on the feet were quickly exposed. And then she was soundly smashed by Amanda Nunes, who apparently is very coachable, (she trains at ATT, where my coach is from), and who went from being a pretty middling fighter to the woman who KO'd Cyborg, a woman who was considered untouchable, and who didn't have the glaring issues that Rhonda had. Incidentally, during Rhonda's run, the UFC very carefully steered her clear of Cyborg, who undutibly would have murdered her.
 
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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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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.


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.
There are a variety of ways the terms "hard" and "soft" are used. I use the term "soft" to mean "internal", rather than to differentiate between the philosophy between techniques, since the latter way of delineating between the two becomes murky very quickly.

Some martial arts are nearly assuredly fraudulent - others are simply taught in a way that render them completely useless. I personally think that martial sport is nearly always, if not always, necessary as a check on the effectiveness of techniques and to help a martial artist grow in his craft. Martial sport is never going to be "realistic" - but to practice against a fully resisting opponent just as intent to defeat you is crucial. I've practiced and studied martial arts for three decades now, and that's my take home.

Otherwise, you might get a decent workout, but you are about as a martial artist as the people doing Cardio kickboxing down the street. Cool, but your reflexes and technique are not honed for combat.

@Clouseau - Eight years is a lot of time to study to not be able to execute a single technique on an opponent. Whether or not it's a long time in a lifetime of practice is an unrelated question.
 

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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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@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.

View attachment 1191076


Hikitsuchi Sensei and I, in Asakusa, Tokyo, in 1995
View attachment 1191078
I feel like your answer is a bit of a dodge. He trained 3x a week under someone who is purportedly very good.

However, you can train jiujitsu under someone who is good but not great, 2-3x a week, and within a couple of years, you'll definitely be able to implement some of your techniques against a fully resisting opponent of about your same strength, size, and fitness level, who have likewise been trained, and probably against a considerably larger opponent if that person doesn't have any combat training. You can become a semi-decent amateur boxer or wrestler in the same amount of time.

I simply can't fathom that one could have belief in one's style, if after 8 years of dedicated training (3x a week every week every year for eight years is dedicated by any reasonable definition), you can't implement a single technique on someone who knows nothing about your style, and is just throwing punches. Do you have to be 90 years old before you can deal with an attacker in a "real" situation? That sounds silly, at best.

The philosophy of a "hard" style as I've defined is is not that different from the traditional "soft" styles like aikido. The real difference, at least in my experience, is that "hard styles", where you get honest and often brutal feedback every time you get on the mats, you gradually perfect your technique, and can be 100% confident that you are improving. Frankly, I feel that this feedback is necessary for any martial artist. A karateka or wing chun practitioner who never actually "fights" is going to get murdered when he or she steps onto the mats with someone who has been fighting every day (or in the case of middle aged men like me, 3x a week - my body simply can't sustain more - on off days I do study technique and do solo drills.)

And just because your techniques are effective doesn't mean that they are perfect. It's not as though you have no technique, and then, suddenly, your technique is there, in a soft style. That defies all sorts of logic. No, technique becomes better and better with practice and study. Just today, I had to pull out all my tricks to beat a college level, competitive wrestler with under a year of training in jiujitsu, but probably 15 years in wrestling at a competitive level. My black belt instructor, using pretty much the same techniques, easily handled him. He is also more athletic than I am, and stronger, but he is not so many degrees more athletic or stronger. He is simply technically much more proficient, and I've been doing this for nearly 6 years compared to his 20.

Drilling, constant refinement of technique, and constant testing against a fully resisting opponent, are all, in my experience, key elements in developing as a martial artist.
 
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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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@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 Kung Fu ?
I fought as an amateur in 2000, and then had a short professional career between 2001-2002 - I quit because I had the epiphany, after a bad KO loss (I remember basically nothing from the second round of that fight), that a lifetime of blows to the head was not going to be great for my quality of life, and that my big brain was more likely to help me make a good living than my mediocre skills at fighting in a cage. These days, at 44, I train, and hopefully will make black belt in jiujitsu before I am say... 50, but I'm under no illusions that I've ever going to be a world class jiujitsu practitioner. Maybe my son, who is seven, and has been training since he was 5, or one of my daughters, if any of them are so inclined. If we are teaching them well at all, by the time my son hits puberty, he will not only have the ablity to move his body in a way that you can't learn as an adult, and he'll be growing into his grown man strength, having grappled and kickboxed since he was a small child. I told him that he'd have to take it easy on an old man.

I have trained with some UFC fighters, and can hold my own against some of them, at least acquit myself somewhat, but even the not great fighters in that organization are professional athletes who train constantly. My coach used to fight out of American Top Team, one of the premier MMA gyms in the US, and only he and a couple of our active pro fighters in our gym can regularly beat those guys. And then it's a real fight.

I think that it's worth noting that my friend and I started martial arts at roughly the same time, and that he was considerably more naturally athletic than was I. We just chose different paths, and at least from that, and some other exchanges, it seems that I had the much bigger pay off. I think that aikido is a very beautiful art, but that the practical use of it is highly limited. I think that at this point, it's very much like performance wushu. A lot of practitioners of performance wushu have publicly stated that what they do is not practical for realistic fighting, that they are artists, but not fighters. I think that this is a very healthy attitude. There are other reasons to practice a martial artist than becoming a skilled fighter. I do feel that the insistence of some traditional martial artists (hard and soft styles alike) that their styles, which are often completely untested in actual combat, are good for combat, to be foolish, at best. I'll end this post with a story about this.

It's possible that my friend's aikido could have worked against someone drunkenly punching him. However, he was studying diligently for close to a decade. To be able to maybe be able to subdue a drunk throwing a sloppy punch after 8 years of training seems to be a very low payoff. And, I mean, he was highly ranked as well by a very credible aikido federation, so it's not as though he wasn't properly credentialed, or that other practitioners thought that he was terrible.

Wing Chun is interesting. It's actually the martial art in which Bruce Lee started out. and my first Kung Fu sifu actually learned at the same school. However, both my own master and Bruce Lee diverged from it as they found that some of the techniques were simply not applicable, and included elements of western boxing and Thai boxing into their styles. I think that Wing Chun is an interesting art, but again, I will insist that if it is practiced without being tested, it will deviate from its martial roots.

I'm definitely not against traditional martial arts - I hold a decent dan level in Shotokan, and also hold a decent ranking in Kenpo. I am very much against any statement of efficacy that a practitioner will not back up in combat. My attitudes is very much "Don't tell me, show me."

Which brings us to my story. I was a not great blue belt in jiujitsu when a "ninja" challenged me to a match in a dojo. I tripped him to the ground, and then took his back, and sank in a rear naked choke. Even as a relative beginner (about 1.5 years in), it took well under a minute to do all of this. He tapped out, as he'd been instructed to do. I thought that that was the end of that. But then he told me "I tapped out because I didn't want to hurt you. In a real life situation, I would have gouged your eyes." So I told him... Okay, let's try that. We reset into the rear naked choke position, and then I said "Okay, so, you are going to go for my eyes, and I am going to either choke you unconscious, or maybe break your trachea, and then your neck."
Him: "Wait, what?"
Me: "Well, if you try to even touch my eyes, do you think that I'm going to release this choke? No, I'm going to hide my head behind yours, where I will get more leverage our neck anyway, and I am going to squeeze harder, and maybe twist as well, and not with just my arms, but with the full strength of my torso and hips, which are fully controlling yours."

He immediately decided that maybe we should defer the test to another day. The martial arts world is unfortunately full of charlatans. I think that the old school dojo storms (which never happen any more) would keep people a lot more honest.
 

Clouseau

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

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