Sunday, November 13, 2016
In theory, MAs are a path to self knowledge. I seriously doubt it, very seriously. I fact, I don't much believe the "Do" part in most martial arts. CAN it be used for such? Oh, sure. But if you think that someone who's raced the Dakkar doesn't know himself, hasn't reached a maturity in "Do" that many martial artists only imagine, then you're seriously off track. Marathon runners have more Zen than most high level dans. Solo mountain climbers risk their lives with samurai abandon. And so on. In non physical endeavors, painters, tea masters... And most of those don't add a "Do" to their name and end up with something useful after several hours of practice. Martial artists don't. Many (both of those espousing "reality training" and those following the "Do") can't even defend themselves from a wet paper bag. So , neither spiritual neither practical. What's missing? That self-knowledge, maybe? I just saw a video of a Kaju instructor. And I kept thinking... "Well, not quite. She doesn't quite decide what principle of movement she wants to use and keeps wandering around... Moves too much... Well, if she polishes that, then she could be..." And then I found an interview. 6th dan, director of two branches in a federation. She's not going to get better. Not if she's reached all that at that level of practice and shows, smiling and satisfied, in the interview. Now, she's an easy target, obvious. But... How many times do martial artists fall into that? A senpai commented to me some years ago that some character flaws were easier in the veryest of "Do" schools, because you wouldn't be hit back. In boxing, however, being a cretin had consequences. For starters, most instructors wouldn't risk you. So, are MA good for self knowledge? Only as good as you allow them to be. As you invest on them to be. It doesn't come for free. And, sadly, possibly the majority of those who approach the MA want a free lunch. No such thing, guys. Which is, of course, why most of those go away. Still many remain. And they reach a teaching certificate. Sigh... You can only guess at the quality of their instruction, and what loops their pupils will have to go through if they want to surpass the master (and they'll better). Take care.
Wednesday, November 2, 2016
I was watching a documentary yester night (The Bladed Hand). While the opinions in the doc have some strong pitfalls, it's a worthy one, interesting. Would NOT train under some of these people if they paid me for it, but the rest...? Man, they're good. Now, I think the teaching value of survival is mostly forgotten, and might help explain why the previous generations is so damn good. And I still think that the teaching proficiency itself of many (some of them legendary) teachers needs some work, but there's one thing FMA have that other arts don't emphasize as much. The doc, at one point, basically says "FMA training has taken over cinema; if you've seen a fight, it's 90% sure it's FMA". Then it sort of extrapolates from there to MA training. I disagree. If anything's taken over MA it's boxing. But... But the fact is that FMA have some interesting things in them. People get really attached to FMA drills, for example. You'll find people in every corner doing hubud or sombrada. Sometimes with no sense at all, no matter how you measure it. I think that's often a mistake. The idea of drills isn't. In fact, a lot of arts have them. I can only speak for Japanese arts, but there are such drills there. Unending, partnered, fluid drills... that most instructors forget as soon as they grab the plane back to the West. And I've been wondering, of late (since before this particular video), how to use the idea of circular, neverending drills in Kaju. Call it sombrada on techniques or hubud on our own "blocks", the idea is there, and it's really accessible. Why isn't it used? Why is most dynamic training I'm seeing a toeing into Boxing waters or some weird ideas on barroom brawls instead of a way to dynamize what you are already training. Take care.