Martial Arts Experiences Discussion Thread

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Martial Arts Experiences Discussion Thread

Postby James Y » Fri Aug 21, 2020 10:47 am

This thread could either generate lots of interesting discussion or die a quick death, depending on the number (or lack) of potential responses. The reason I’m starting it is that, IME, there are LOTS of people who have done at least a little martial arts training at one time or another in their lives, usually when young. I’d be interested to hear some others’ thoughts and experiences before I share.

Nobody needs to have been an advanced level martial artist, or a “lifer”.

Note: This thread is NOT about bashing other martial arts systems or others’ experiences, so if this thread goes anywhere, let’s keep it civil. I’m highlighting this because, as all too often happens, discussions of martial arts devolve into people bashing other arts as “impractical,” “ineffective,” etc., while referring to their own as “the best and most useful.” The discussions often become like political or religious arguments, and I want none of that here. There are no superior martial arts; only superior practitioners (in terms of their personal development/achievement in said art or arts). This I know from personal experience in having trained with and/or sparred against practitioners of numerous different systems over many years. We can say why one art or method worked better for us as individuals than another. If we open our minds, we can learn a lot from others’ experiences, observations, etc., even if their art(s) and experiences differ from our own.

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Re: Martial Arts Experiences Discussion Thread

Postby Naperville » Fri Aug 21, 2020 11:18 am

I've dabbled in many martial arts, say around 10 to 12 arts in total. I've studied Japanese, Korean, and Filipino arts. They all taught me something useful and I liked them all. I cannot say anything negative about any specific arts or instructors because I know these people and they know me.
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Re: Martial Arts Experiences Discussion Thread

Postby ladybug93 » Fri Aug 21, 2020 11:28 am

shotokan karate was my entire life for about five years when i was a teenager. i progressed quickly, but once i made it to black belt, my parents stopped paying. my shihan let me continue as long as i assisted in teaching, but i never felt right about it. around that time in my life, i also started going to church and being actively involved there, leaving less time for martial arts. i'd love to get back to it and get my kids involved, but i think it would be weird doing it less than full-on since that's the only way i know it. also, it would be insanely expensive for a family the size of mine and it's hard to find a legit dojo in most places.
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Re: Martial Arts Experiences Discussion Thread

Postby VooDooChild » Fri Aug 21, 2020 12:04 pm

Jiu Jitsu, Kenpo (Arguably the Tracy system, not the Parker system), A tiny bit of Krav Maga (actally got to train with some guys in the Israeli military but only briefly).

Im not really in a rush to get back into it. And if I did I would probably only do jiu jitsu. I would jump at a chance to do judo or fencing but absolutely nowhere near me does those.
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Re: Martial Arts Experiences Discussion Thread

Postby James Y » Fri Aug 21, 2020 3:29 pm

Thanks for sharing, guys.

I often wonder about the state of martial arts in most places nowadays. Even for many years before this pandemic, the martial arts in my area had mainly become centered on kids’ Karate and Tae Kwon Do classes, or MMA and related arts (Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and MuayThai) gyms that cater more to teens and young adults. Around here, I hadn’t seen many adult (30-something or older) “traditional” martial arts practitioners anymore.

When I was a kid (1970s into the early ‘80s), Karate, Judo and other martial arts classes were more adult-oriented, and if you were a kid over maybe 12 years old, you had to train with, and keep up with, the adults. If you couldn’t hack it, you could leave. Yes, I actually heard someone say that once. In the early places I trained at, I was one of the only kids, because most would leave before long. Unlike today, not all adults back then treated you like a kid. I remember some large, aggressive men hitting, kicking and sweeping me with little or no control. Maybe those types saw me as an easy target to practice moves they couldn’t yet pull off on some other adults. I hated it, but for some reason stuck with it, determined to one day get back at some of them. Which eventually started happening as I grew into my teens, LOL. I wouldn’t recommend this type of harsh training atmosphere for children today, but that’s the way things were back then where I trained. Luckily, I was never seriously injured beyond bruises and getting the wind knocked out on occasion. In hindsight, I’m grateful for the experience, because it taught me a lot about myself. It was a different time.

I’ll share something about the arts I trained in, in my next post.

Jim

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Re: Martial Arts Experiences Discussion Thread

Postby Beach Cricket » Fri Aug 21, 2020 3:42 pm

It was a great workout, and the philosophy was not aggression, it was a last resort- keep them at bay, and know that many moves will maim, or CAN potentially cause permanent injury to the other person.

Competing in tournaments taught me that many lame individuals cross to a different system and as they earn the lower belts in the new system, they are allowed to compete with less skilled people, and there's no requirement for them to mention that to anyone. It's can be dishonest like a scam. It's one way (for some guys) to kick butt, and pile up wins in competition.
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Re: Martial Arts Experiences Discussion Thread

Postby vivi » Fri Aug 21, 2020 5:08 pm

15 years exp here. Three styles of karate, wrestling, bjj, boxing, judo, and some muay thai. Even when I'm not enrolled in a program, like right now due to COVID19, I try to keep sharp on my heavy bag and muay thai style bag in my own gym. Its been a lifelong passion for me and I recommend anyone reading this find a local gym to train at after the pandemic. I have good things to say about the Hayastan program...they do a good job of teaching different styles under one roof.

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Re: Martial Arts Experiences Discussion Thread

Postby Naperville » Fri Aug 21, 2020 6:41 pm

vivi wrote:
Fri Aug 21, 2020 5:08 pm
15 years exp here. Three styles of karate, wrestling, bjj, boxing, judo, and some muay thai. Even when I'm not enrolled in a program, like right now due to COVID19, I try to keep sharp on my heavy bag and muay thai style bag in my own gym. Its been a lifelong passion for me and I recommend anyone reading this find a local gym to train at after the pandemic. I have good things to say about the Hayastan program...they do a good job of teaching different styles under one roof.
I'm looking to get back in to shape and sometime in 2020/2021 I'll be picking up a Muay Thai kickboxing bag and hanger system, shin pads, and gloves.
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Re: Martial Arts Experiences Discussion Thread

Postby vivi » Fri Aug 21, 2020 6:51 pm

Naperville wrote:
Fri Aug 21, 2020 6:41 pm
vivi wrote:
Fri Aug 21, 2020 5:08 pm
15 years exp here. Three styles of karate, wrestling, bjj, boxing, judo, and some muay thai. Even when I'm not enrolled in a program, like right now due to COVID19, I try to keep sharp on my heavy bag and muay thai style bag in my own gym. Its been a lifelong passion for me and I recommend anyone reading this find a local gym to train at after the pandemic. I have good things to say about the Hayastan program...they do a good job of teaching different styles under one roof.
I'm looking to get back in to shape and sometime in 2020/2021 I'll be picking up a Muay Thai kickboxing bag and hanger system, shin pads, and gloves.
The MT bags are nice because kicking them usually won't bang up your shins like a heavy bag. I don't use shin guards with mine but if your bones aren't used to the impact picking up a set is a good plan.

My heavy bag is pretty old and the bottom is rock hard. I'll do short unpadded shin conditioning sessions but for going hard on body and leg kicks the MT bag is nice.

Not sure your experience level but try to land with the shin and not the foot. Foot bruises take a while to heal....don't ask me how I know :p

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Re: Martial Arts Experiences Discussion Thread

Postby vivi » Fri Aug 21, 2020 6:59 pm

James Y wrote:
Fri Aug 21, 2020 3:29 pm
Thanks for sharing, guys.

I often wonder about the state of martial arts in most places nowadays. Even for many years before this pandemic, the martial arts in my area had mainly become centered on kids’ Karate and Tae Kwon Do classes, or MMA and related arts (Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and MuayThai) gyms that cater more to teens and young adults. Around here, I hadn’t seen many adult (30-something or older) “traditional” martial arts practitioners anymore.

When I was a kid (1970s into the early ‘80s), Karate, Judo and other martial arts classes were more adult-oriented, and if you were a kid over maybe 12 years old, you had to train with, and keep up with, the adults. If you couldn’t hack it, you could leave. Yes, I actually heard someone say that once. In the early places I trained at, I was one of the only kids, because most would leave before long. Unlike today, not all adults back then treated you like a kid. I remember some large, aggressive men hitting, kicking and sweeping me with little or no control. Maybe those types saw me as an easy target to practice moves they couldn’t yet pull off on some other adults. I hated it, but for some reason stuck with it, determined to one day get back at some of them. Which eventually started happening as I grew into my teens, LOL. I wouldn’t recommend this type of harsh training atmosphere for children today, but that’s the way things were back then where I trained. Luckily, I was never seriously injured beyond bruises and getting the wind knocked out on occasion. In hindsight, I’m grateful for the experience, because it taught me a lot about myself. It was a different time.

I’ll share something about the arts I trained in, in my next post.

Jim
I had a similar experience growing up. It was all karate and TKD schools with some traditional boxing gyms here and there. I stuck with different karate styles in my single digit years and teens, incorporated weapon training and judo around 12 years old, and wrestled in school.

As an adult I've enjoyed Muay Thai and MMA gyms a lot more. Their systems seem more based on what works in the real world. I've never seen a MT or MMA gym advocate for "chambering" a punch at the hip, for example, which is an atrocious habit for stand-up defense.

These days the adults I know that train (including some bellator pros I've sparred) are MMA, and karate seems geared towards kids around here. I'm not trying to say karate is bunk and only for kids - I learned a ton in my time in it. My kicks were immediately noticed when I joined my first MMA gym and even the competing ams / pros were impressed by my leg dexterity. MMA gyms aren't as likely to teach you a good axe kick, wheel kick, crescent kick, front leg side kicks etc. They stick do the basics - leg kicks, bodykicks, teeps and head kicks. Having a lightning fast front leg side kick takes a lot of MMA practicioners by surprise because they haven't trained defending it as much as the basics.

Grappling has really come into its own the past three decades. Back in my old Judo classes the only subs I remember really being drilled were basic arm bars and RNC's. I still remember the feeling of getting locked up in a leg triangle in my first BJJ class. Just from watching so much MMA I knew exactly what he was going for but I wasn't aware of how to defend it and ended up tapping.

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Re: Martial Arts Experiences Discussion Thread

Postby vivi » Fri Aug 21, 2020 7:15 pm

I had to dig this out for this thread. :D I was 8 or 9 I think.

Image

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Re: Martial Arts Experiences Discussion Thread

Postby James Y » Fri Aug 21, 2020 7:50 pm

Thanks, guys!

To vivi and Naperville:

I don’t know if you’ll find this info useful to you or not. If not, disregard it. Regarding conditioning the shins for kicking, there is a traditional herbal topical liniment used by many Chinese-style martial artists, called “dit da jow,” which is applied to the striking surface areas before and after impact training. In a nutshell, its purpose is to prevent stagnation and improve circulation, allowing faster recovery. Believe it or not, it also absorbs into the skin and enhances toughness and hardness of the boney surfaces. I don’t train my shins anymore, but have trained my forearms (radial and ulnar surfaces, and the muscular ridge on the backs of the forearms) with a device called the “Iron Arm conditioning hammer” regularly for years. The effect is the forearm equivalent to a Muay Thai fighter’s conditioned shins. When a beginner to the training, you must start off with very light impacts (taps), and over time you can increase the amount and force. It is vital to use dit da jow for this type of training, and to get it from a legitimate source. After many years, the best dit da jow formulas I’ve found I order from Plum Dragon Herbs, which has excellent, proven formulas. But you cannot apply the liniment to cut or broken skin; if that happens, you need to temporarily stop the impact training until it heals.

Some people might think dit da jow is nonsense or a waste of time, but that is a fallacy. If you have a legit formula, it works. I’ve been using dit da jow for years. It also prevents or helps speed the recovery of bruises, even some deep bruises. It not only enhances the effects of training, but just as important, it aids in preventing many of the physical problems that many martial artists develop over time from the effects of long-term impact training, which may not be evident when young. I also use the liniment on my hands while impact training/striking (fist/hammer fists and open palm surfaces). I’ve never developed problems in my hands/joints, either.

Jim
Last edited by James Y on Fri Aug 21, 2020 8:29 pm, edited 4 times in total.

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Re: Martial Arts Experiences Discussion Thread

Postby James Y » Fri Aug 21, 2020 8:17 pm

The arts I’ve studied since age 10 (starting in 1973) include:

Judo
Kenpo Karate (black belt)
Shito-ryu Karate
Tae Kwon Do (brown belt)
Kickboxing
Lung Ying (Southern Dragon style)
Tang Lang Quan (Northern Mantis style) *studied this in Taiwan
Choy Lee Fut (also spelled Choy Lay Fut, Choy Li Fut, etc.; 2nd-degree black sash)
Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (only trained it for a year)

In addition, I’ve had the pleasure to have sparred with and/or competed against practitioners of:
Boxing
Muay Thai
Kajukenbo
Shotokan Karate
Goju-ryu Karate
Tang Soo Do
Wing Chun
Bagua Zhang
Hung Gar
Baji Quan
Chen style Taiji (Tai Chi)
Sanshou (AKA Sanda; Chinese kickboxing combined with Shuai Jiao/Chinese wrestling)
...all of whom helped push me in my own experience and development.

The art I’ve made my base art is Choy Lee Fut. It’s my main preference, though I’ve kept and incorporated some things from the other arts I’ve studied that I’ve found effective over the past 45+ years.

Jim

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Re: Martial Arts Experiences Discussion Thread

Postby Naperville » Fri Aug 21, 2020 8:44 pm

James Y wrote:
Fri Aug 21, 2020 7:50 pm
Thanks, guys!

To vivi and Naperville....

“dit da jow”
When I get the bag, I'm going to need the family size dit-da-jow! :D

When I came back to Chicago, I use to go to the Chinese apothecary in Chinatown. I have all sorts of remedies in my pantry.
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Re: Martial Arts Experiences Discussion Thread

Postby kennethsime » Fri Aug 21, 2020 10:17 pm

I did Tae Kwon Do as a kid for 5 years or so, but I don't think I remember much.

Fun anecdote: I took a Tae Kwon Do class last year led by an Olympic Athlete. She was really impressed that I could kick quick, hard, and accurate. I guess the lessons were good for something after all.

Martial Arts are mostly a kids thing here, other than jiu-jitsu. BJJ is almost as popular as CrossFit here.
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Re: Martial Arts Experiences Discussion Thread

Postby Bloke » Sat Aug 22, 2020 12:01 am

vivi wrote:
Fri Aug 21, 2020 6:59 pm
My kicks were immediately noticed
Image
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Re: Martial Arts Experiences Discussion Thread

Postby James Y » Sat Aug 22, 2020 7:51 am

Bloke wrote:
Sat Aug 22, 2020 12:01 am
vivi wrote:
Fri Aug 21, 2020 6:59 pm
My kicks were immediately noticed
Image
😂. I was wondering when you would pop in and “Bloke” this thread!

If I’m not mistaken, that gif was taken from a video of martial arts movie auditions gone wrong.

Jim

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Re: Martial Arts Experiences Discussion Thread

Postby James Y » Sat Aug 22, 2020 9:01 am

kennethsime wrote:
Fri Aug 21, 2020 10:17 pm
I did Tae Kwon Do as a kid for 5 years or so, but I don't think I remember much.

Fun anecdote: I took a Tae Kwon Do class last year led by an Olympic Athlete. She was really impressed that I could kick quick, hard, and accurate. I guess the lessons were good for something after all.

Martial Arts are mostly a kids thing here, other than jiu-jitsu. BJJ is almost as popular as CrossFit here.
I suspect that martial arts in general started transitioning into a mostly kids’ activity sometime in the 1990s. Other than BJJ/MT/MMA, and possibly some Krav Maga, martial arts training seems to have lost popularity as a pursuit for adults. At least around here. Which is unfortunate, IMO. I think that kids training martial arts is a good thing. Unfortunately, when children become the main focus or, in many cases, the only focus, quality becomes watered down and standards drop out of necessity. Otherwise, a school risks losing its students.

I taught my own classes from 2002 to 2006, but I only taught adults. Some of them started becoming pretty good. Unfortunately, I never could attract any other students beyond a small core group. When it became no longer feasible for me to continue teaching, I recommended those who wanted to continue training to other active teachers who were classmates of mine in the same art (Choy Lee Fut).

Jim

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Re: Martial Arts Experiences Discussion Thread

Postby James Y » Sat Aug 22, 2020 10:30 am

The future of martial arts in Hong Kong are in even greater dire straits. The situation is so bad there that they have taken to 3D archiving to preserve Kung Fu systems. Martial arts have lost popularity not only in Hong Kong, but it was already starting to happen in Taiwan when I was still living there. I left Taiwan when I was 29; I’m 57 now. In Taiwan, much of it was because training martial arts will not benefit you financially, so it became considered a waste of time. Even though many people there were interested in qigong exercises, which also don’t benefit you financially, either.

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-hong ... SKBN14A0RQ

Unfortunately, this 3D archiving is only superficial. It seems to be only dealing with ‘forms’ movements. If someone were to learn strictly from 3D, and only forms movements at that, it would be extremely difficult to develop a thorough understanding of a given style. There is MUCH more to a system than ‘forms’. Only by developing and ingraining its basic skills and principles freely and under stress will it become second nature and a part of you. And only in that way can a martial art become effective for a practitioner. A martial art is far more than just movements. Like any practical fighting method, learning any martial art correctly requires lots of hands-on training with numerous partners, gradually working into pressure situations in training. Not so different from the so-called “modern” methods.

Learning a style by only studying its superficial forms movements is akin to never going to a boxing gym and learning to be a boxer by studying 3D movements of a pro boxer shadowboxing, without going through all the relevant training and experience that goes into becoming a boxer.

Also, a martial art’s form teaches you an idealized shape whose techniques must be adapted for fighting application. Form is stylized and teaches body awareness and movement discipline, but is only one aspect of actual training. In real-world use, the movements in application do not look like a Kung Fu movie; the principles are there, and a knowledgeable person can spot it, but it doesn’t look just like the movements in a form; it’s adapted. And how one ‘looks’ is not important; what is important is the ability to adapt and respond to the opponent/situation and be effective with it. This is where many so-called “traditional” martial arts are misinterpreted and misunderstood, including in the way many are taught. The practitioner is learning to fight in unconventional movement patterns that are unnatural, and must become properly ingrained until they become natural and second nature under pressure, against different types of opponents. This developmental period is difficult and no small feat under the best of circumstances.

Jim

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Re: Martial Arts Experiences Discussion Thread

Postby odomandr » Sat Aug 22, 2020 1:42 pm

MMA and BJJ has overtaken most martial arts I'm aware of. I used to see gyms packed with adults but not much any more. Locally we had a guy renting space from the YMCA and people drove from 2 hours away to attend. 4 nights a week and Saturday mornings. I would actually be interested if the cost were not as prohibitive
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