Chinese Martial Arts Thread

Discussion in 'Members' Club Room' started by solarz, May 10, 2017.

  1. solarz
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    solarz Senior Member

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    Inspired by the recent kerfuffle over the MMA vs Taichi "master" fight, I am reminded of something Jet Li said a few years back.

    During an interview, he was asked if Wushu was just performance art. He didn't even hesitate before answering: "Of course it is! We can't actually learn how to kill other people, because that's illegal!".

    Traditional Martial Arts have no incentive to actually teach people how to fight. Their business model is to sell mysticism and fantasy. Wushu students' aspirations are to star in kung fu movies, not become prize fighters.

    MMA actually makes money from competitive fighting. It is a sport, just like basketball or football, and people who learn MMA want to be good at competitive fighting.

    So the two disciplines exist in different spheres.

    I think the reason many people are disappointed at TMA is that TMA sells this fantasy that learning TMA gives you, for lack of a better term, superpowers. I mean, how else would you describe concepts like "internal strength"? But really, did we really need to see an MMA practitioner beat up a Taichi practitioner to realize that "qigong" is not real? I mean, doesn't that say more about ourselves than TMA?

    Traditional Martial Arts, like a lot of "traditional" stuff, is more about culture than utility. Traditional Chinese Medicine, for example, has the same issues. A lot of people believe in acupuncture. I think that's perfectly fine, so long as you still see a real doctor when you get sick!
     
  2. vesicles
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    vesicles Senior Member

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    Agreed 100%!

    Did you see the interview of the Taichi master after he was beaten by the MMA fighter? He kept saying that he couldn't use his inner "qi" because he didn't want to actually kill his opponent... What an idiot!!

    These so-called Traditional Martial Artists are literally con artists in every sense of the word. They fool people into believing that they have "superpower", then scam them for tuitions and fees for attending their schools.

    Another clip now widely circulating on the web is about a female Taichi master who claims to be able to hit someone remotely. Say you line yourself up with another guy. She would come in and hit the guy next to you. Nothing would happen to that guy, but you would be knocked to the ground 30 ft away. When she's showing this move with her "students", all their moves look so comical like in one of those cheap B-movies. then a journalist decides to try her "wrath". And guess what? Nothing happens. The journalist would stand there unscathed, not even moving... And her explanation? The journalist has not practiced Taichi, thus does not have the ability to "experience the awesomeness". I guess one way to beat these Taichi masters would be NOT to learn the technique... Just idiotic...
     
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  3. subotai1
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    subotai1 New Member
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    I agree with this up to a point. I have gone through a bunch of martial arts, but spent the last 20 years in KungFu and its various schools.

    I think the problem is more than being just performance art. And this is more than a Wushu problem. This problem permeates a lot of different martial arts. I think the other problem is that Martial Arts, especially in the US have become the domain of chain "diploma mills".

    There has been this aura in the US that to have a "black belt" is the greatest thing ever. So there are plenty of martial arts businesses in the US that will take your 9 year old, $10,000 and put him/her in a 2 year program to get them a black belt. At the end of that program they know a few words in an Asian language a little more respect and a few fancy martial arts dance moves.

    That's not how you learn combat skills in Martial Arts. Learning to use martial arts in a combat situation takes time and lots of it. It doesn't happen in 2 years or 5 years unless you are doing it 18 hours a day.

    It also requires a teacher that knows it as well. And at these diploma mills you have this agile person who never learned it either. They don't know why you learn the forms you do. They don't know how to break down a form in to its applicable elements. They don't know how to generate power from stance and ground up torque. They never lay hands on a student or even hit them so they get used to it.

    I firmly believe if you get a person taught in traditional KungFu or Karate, etc. that got hit during training and learned over time how to apply what they learned in combat, they would be the equal of anyone trained in MMA.
     
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  4. vesicles
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    vesicles Senior Member

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    Actual combat fighting involves very simple moves and endless practice to build muscle memory so that you don't even need to think when fighting for your life.

    When you see complex and fancy kicks and combinations, you know it's fake.

    In traditional Chinese story telling performance of Ping Shu (I am a huge fan of Ping Shu, by the way), you can tell the two distinct styles. In stories about ancient wars, like 3 kingdoms, the best warriors are typically those who are very strong. Like those who can lift up stone lion statues and use maces that weigh "hundreds of pounds". You can tell that the emphasis of combat fighting is squarely on simple moves that thrive on strength. And typically, fighting ends within 1-3 moves. In these stories, people who do fancy moves involving complex combinations of kicks and punches would be considered as circus performers. At most, these people would be assigned to assisnation jobs and would be considered unfit to get on battlefield.

    Yet, in Wuxia stories that involve supernatural "qi" and powers to flatten mountains, all the heroes use complex moves. For instance, a fighting style may include 36 basic combinations, which can be turned into 72 more combinations, which can then be turned into 108 combinations. And two fighters can exchange thousands of punches and kicks before the end.

    All mumble jumble. However, this is much more fun that a description of an actual combat, which ends within a few second and involves a lot of simple hacking and stabbing. All the fantasy stuff inspire people and people begin to imagine themselves doing fancy flying and kicking. before long, fantasy becomes fact and everybody begins to assume this is what actual fighting is about... just imagine everyone accepts Hogwart actually exists and Harry Potter is real...
     
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  5. PanAsian
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    PanAsian Senior Member

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    That last paragraph overreaches a lot. Acupuncture is one thing, "traditional Chinese medicine" encompasses a lot more such as herbal medicine and chiropractice, much of which is scientifically proven to work.

    There are also plenty of Chinese "traditional martial arts" that are about as handy and as much of a sport as any other "traditional" martial arts out there. "Qigong" is only one aspect of Taichi which is only one popularized (and thereby diluted) school of martial arts among many that have been applied to real fighting and credited for their influence by users in MMA or other applied fighting.

    I think a more accurate description of the situation is that there are a lot of innocent entertainers and devious scammers out there being misunderstood by and misleading towards a lot of ignorant people. Unfortunately there isn't enough, or accessible enough, of formal infrastructure or official knowledge base of these fields to allow a layperson to easily vet much.

    It is also a simple issue of common sense, obviously it is impossible to hit something or someone without physical contact or for one person to throw off ten bigger ones on top of them. For one the level of ignorance of people who believe this stuff is the real problem. How many and how genuinely people actually believe in this stuff is also in question, such as the cheeky, disinterested, or desperate going along with the pretense for their own reasons.

    On another note it appears you have a pattern of looking for things to attack tradition and culture with when the real problem obviously lies elsewhere.
     
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  6. vesicles
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    vesicles Senior Member

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    I'm sorry but I take offense of the last part. NONE of the Chinese medicine theory has been scientifically tested. And none of it can be scientifically tested because none of it has been shown to actually exist. NONE!!!
     
  7. PanAsian
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    PanAsian Senior Member

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    Wow, I take offense to that extreme statement, that's just your ignorance and prejudice then.
     
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  8. PanAsian
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    PanAsian Senior Member

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    Here's an interesting Hong Kong program on real martial arts that's part of a long series. This one's in Cantonese with traditional Chinese subtitles, don't know if there are any copies in English.

     
  9. vesicles
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    vesicles Senior Member

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    I apologize if I hurt your feelings. That's not what I intended.

    I'm not ignorant on Chinese medicine. My own maternal grandpa grew up in a family of doctors practicing Chinese medicine. In fact, his family had been practicing Chinese medicine and owning Chinese medicine pharmacies for centuries. In early 20th century, when my grandfather was born, his family owned about 200 Chinese medicine pharmacies in northern China. He was going to take over the control of all the branches in the northeastern China. That was until he decided to go to medical school and become a doctor at a western medicine hospital. You want to know why? Because none of the Chinese medicine theories made any sense to him when he was learning them. When he asked his elders, they just said "no one knows... just memorize them...". Eventually, he gave up and wanted to see what western medicine was like. And he found that he liked it.

    I grew up playing acupuncture needles and human models of acupuncture points and flow of "Qi" painted on them. I know Chinese medicine. My grandpa also had a complete collection of Li Shizhen's classic book on Chinese medicine recipes. The late editions of the books that you can buy at bookstores nowadays have many of the original recipes taken out. If you have a chance to read the original edition, you will find how ridiculous the book is.
     
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  10. subotai1
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    subotai1 New Member
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    You're throwing the baby out with the bathwater there. Acupuncture is increasingly being considered a viable technique, to the point that it's covered by insurance in the US. And this is after a lot of study.

    The recipes for traditional medicine are also being tested and a lot of it is found to have either known or new compounds in it. These are being synthesized and mapped to get down to the effective base.

    Granted there is also a lot of stuff in Chinese traditional medicine that is bunk. However, that is not atypical of a lot of very old civilizations or isolated populations that developed their own medicine over time. Much of what these cultures come up with is effective or perceived to be. And pharma and healthcare companies spend billions a year trying to uncover it.
     
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