Traditional Martial Arts vs the Movies (Part 1)

No traditional martial art, no matter what its origins, had fancy and ineffective moves. It was created for survival and for the quickest and deadliest moves for battle in that culture, terrain, and for the immediate enemy. Traditional martial arts training refers to training in a martial art that is rooted in the tenets set forth by the original master of the art. There were no triple somersaults, no throwing and spinning of weapons in the air, as this would cause instant death on the battlefield.

Traditional Martial Arts -vs- Commercial Martial Arts (part 1)
Sifu Och Wing Chun instructor with a wooden dummy
(muk yan jong)

For the personal goals of the student even a traditional martial art school that has minimal reality effective moves in it could still meet the needs of the student.  Especially if this student is wanting to learn slow paced techniques for stress management, fancy or flashy that have the  impression of traditional martial art.  These types of schools seek to boost confidence without the reality, pounding and harsh training related to the true intentions of their original traditional martial art.  I have no problem with martial art facilities that teach these techniques as everyone is not looking for reality or combat training.  Though I do take up an accord against ones that tell prospective students they teach self defense when in truth they hardly scratch the surface.  In order to get that student to join they tell them whatever they want to hear and show a few “effective movements”  though once the student joins they are taken for a ride.  This gives people the false confidence and the impression that they know and can use real life saving techniques where in reality these techniques could get them killed.  Thus honesty and respect are big concerns when it comes to practical application.

Original and traditional martial art instructors that show their arts original combative intent have not taken the road most traveled but rather have decided to make and teach you without compromise.  The main stream of commercialized techniques and skills taught in schools can string a student through hoops instead of practical application.

After talking with many instructors of various schools the conclusion most have come to is that they truly believe that the student couldn’t handle real training.  Many have even said that speaking about the harshness of a street fight, knife attack or rape situation would lose them more money than make them.  Thus they should be fed fancy moves, false confidence and almost no practical street purpose and weapons that fly in the air only to be caught and spun on wrists and fingers.

I wish to disagree with many of these practices and schools but unfortunately I have seen these schools fill there classes with hundreds of students.  None of these students ever asking or questioning the logic in this type of training.    Most people want easy answers and to be told they are hardcore.  No matter what your style, once you start to train students in the original arts intent, it is extremely hard to keep all those interested.

(photo from the Ip Man 2 movie featuring donnie yen)

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