• Welcome to the Fantasy Writing Forums. Register Now to join us!

Looks like I won't be able to write my martial arts story afterall :(

A. E. Lowan

Forum Mom
Leadership
But how would you write it if you never experienced it? So many told me I need the experience. I will do my research but I can't find any teen match tournaments with kung fu, even karate :(
In the 90's we barely had internet, much less the constant stream of video from personal cell phones that we have today. Imagine a world lit only by fire, and then take YouTube away. :p You're going to have a hell of a time trying to find videos of tournaments from then because most of them are on VHS in someone's attic somewhere. Even as late as 2001, we were making most, if not all, recordings on tape. Digital music was just making its introduction to the world (I miss Napster some days.) and digital video was only for the wealthy and it sucked.

I've got a long history of violence, but I've never killed anyone. Doesn't stop me from writing about bloody murder. I've never been a man. Doesn't stop me from having male characters. I've never been a POC. Doesn't stop me from having characters of color.

So, what do we do when we've never ridden a dragon? We simulate experiences. I've done many, many experiments to get the feel for what I'm writing about. I've stabbed a t-shirt filled with colored water balloons to death. I've ridden roller coasters. I watch a stunning amount of YouTube and my reference library bends the shelves. We're writers. We do homework for a living. You don't need to have done the actual activity itself - though it doesn't hurt - to write about it. Just do your homework, maybe take some classes if you're able, definitely buy some books, and you'll learn something about your story and about yourself.
 

WonderingSword5

Troubadour
You're going to have a hell of a time trying to find videos of tournaments from then because most of them are on VHS in someone's attic somewhere.

Looks like it's going to be near impossible for me to find any footage from back then of any tournament matches. I found some showing some what looked like sparring matches with small crowds, nothing at the level of tourneys. I'll have to make some of it up then as a fictional tournament :(

We're writers. We do homework for a living. You don't need to have done the actual activity itself - though it doesn't hurt - to write about it. Just do your homework, maybe take some classes if you're able, definitely buy some books, and you'll learn something about your story and about yourself.

Best I can do is make some of it up and combine it with the research and videos I find on tournaments today, which is similar to kumites or I can base it off of something like sanda and say it was around at that time for kids/teens. I don't have the budget to participate in any of these events or schools and observing would be difficult given the covid situation.

I'm gonna have to use my imagination mixed with real events :(
 
I'm gonna have to use my imagination mixed with real events :(

Oi, buddy Sword, shouldn't be sad at having to use your imagination. I consider that one of the best parts of doing this sort of thing. Use it and do your will upon your new world that's kind of like ours but with other cool things in it. Sure, the real world stuff is gonna take a bit but that's just what we do. Chin up if you can. They may not have been with you, but clearly this forum is and willing to help, so you aren't alone in it.

Who knows, maybe running around yelling 'Faaaalcon punch!' might help.
 

Steerpike

Felis amatus
Moderator
I really want to, I just want it to be authentic :(

May I ask why? I don't see a problem in wanting to use authentic real-world rules in a fantasy story but you're certainly not bound by them. If you're at the point where it's either not write the story or come up with your own rules that may adhere as closely as you can to the real-world, but with the freedom to deviate from them if and when you see fit, then I am in favor of the second option.
 

Miles Lacey

Maester
I checked this out and this might be useful for my story. Would an event like this make sense as a tournament back in the 90's with kids/teens in it? I couldn't find any footage in the 90's, only more recent matches that took part a couple years ago and I don't see any teens.

Would this work if I used the same concept but instead of karate, I made it kung fu/wushu instead?

What i would suggest is that you look at the more obscure Japanese martial arts or perhaps some of the lesser known martial arts from that part of the world. That way, you can choose the martial art that would best serve the needs of your story and the characters in it rather than reducing the characters to little more than martial arts eye candy with kickass moves.
 

WonderingSword5

Troubadour
Oi, buddy Sword, shouldn't be sad at having to use your imagination. I consider that one of the best parts of doing this sort of thing.

I love the creativity of using my imagination, I just wish some would just accept that but there will be plenty who will point out that my story is no good because of the mistakes that would never happen in an actual tournament match, like that move would disqualify or deduct a point off. Or that technique is not used in that style, even when I'm trying to make it a mix of different traditional styles :(

Chin up if you can. They may not have been with you, but clearly this forum is and willing to help, so you aren't alone in it.

Thank you. Everyone in this forum has been very helpful and understanding and I really appreciate all of it :)

May I ask why? I don't see a problem in wanting to use authentic real-world rules in a fantasy story but you're certainly not bound by them. If you're at the point where it's either not write the story or come up with your own rules that may adhere as closely as you can to the real-world, but with the freedom to deviate from them if and when you see fit, then I am in favor of the second option.

It's because when I got opinions from others on the martial website and another writing site, they told me I can't just make up the rules and moves I want for a martial art style and tournament, even if I base some of it on real rules and settings, just add my own to it a bit more. So if I take some tournament rules used in kumite karate matches, make it a huge crowd like you'd see in the taekwondo Olympics and make the style kung fu, like wushu or something similar to it, keep the contact level closer to kyokushin karate and kickboxing but not full contact. Then I'd add in my MC who inherited his fantasy powers. And then I get told "not believable enough, rules like this in a tourney would never happen, it would be banned", even if I just say the tournament took place out of the States? Tell me if I'm doing something wrong and I'll correct it :(
 

WonderingSword5

Troubadour
What i would suggest is that you look at the more obscure Japanese martial arts or perhaps some of the lesser known martial arts from that part of the world. That way, you can choose the martial art that would best serve the needs of your story and the characters in it rather than reducing the characters to little more than martial arts eye candy with kickass moves.

I did, I found things like kendo, kyokushin from Japan. Sanda and other various styles from China, tang soo do from Korea. If I based it on lets say sanda, with teens/kids fighting in this tournament that took place mid to late 90's somewhere in the States, can it be believable? Or I just make it wushu kung fu and make the same rules used in kumite competitions?
 

Miles Lacey

Maester
I did, I found things like kendo, kyokushin from Japan. Sanda and other various styles from China, tang soo do from Korea. If I based it on lets say sanda, with teens/kids fighting in this tournament that took place mid to late 90's somewhere in the States, can it be believable? Or I just make it wushu kung fu and make the same rules used in kumite competitions?

There are martial arts which have emerged in the United States that are based on those from East Asia. I have only listed those that were created either in, or before, 1990:

American Kenpo
Chun Kuk Do (also known as the Chuck Norris Way as he founded it)
Combat Hapkido
Danzan Ryu
Jailhouse Rock (used in U.S prisons by inmates)
Jeet Kune Do (Bruce Lee created this one)
Kajukenbo (a fusion of numerous martial arts created in 1947)
Kickboxing (not to be confused with the Thai kickboxing)
Small Circle Jujitsu (this was developed for martial arts schools)

For more information check this out: List of American Martial Arts Styles - Black Belt Wiki

Those who talk about what is, or isn't, "realistic" would do well to learn some history of martial arts. Many martial arts were the product of combining various martial arts to form a new one, factions who broke away from karate or other martial arts because they didn't like certain aspects of those martial arts and others were simply invented by celebrities like Chuck Norris and Bruce Lee.
 
Last edited:

Steerpike

Felis amatus
Moderator
It's because when I got opinions from others on the martial website and another writing site, they told me I can't just make up the rules and moves I want for a martial art style and tournament, even if I base some of it on real rules and settings, just add my own to it a bit more. So if I take some tournament rules used in kumite karate matches, make it a huge crowd like you'd see in the taekwondo Olympics and make the style kung fu, like wushu or something similar to it, keep the contact level closer to kyokushin karate and kickboxing but not full contact. Then I'd add in my MC who inherited his fantasy powers. And then I get told "not believable enough, rules like this in a tourney would never happen, it would be banned", even if I just say the tournament took place out of the States? Tell me if I'm doing something wrong and I'll correct it :(

Yeah...intercourse that. Completely misses the point of this being a work of fantasy.
 
I have one word for you WS5...quidditch.

Stupidest game in the entire history of pointlessness, but now it's a thing.

Your invention could be the next quidditch.
 

CupofJoe

Myth Weaver
There are martial arts which have emerged in the United States that are based on those from East Asia. I have only listed those that were created either in, or before, 1990:

American Kenpo
Chun Kuk Do (also known as the Chuck Norris Way as he founded it)
Combat Hapkido
Danzan Ryu
Jailhouse Rock (used in U.S prisons by inmates)
Jeet Kune Do (Bruce Lee created this one)
Kajukenbo (a fusion of numerous martial arts created in 1947)
Kickboxing (not to be confused with the Thai kickboxing)
Small Circle Jujitsu (this was developed for martial arts schools)

For more information check this out: List of American Martial Arts Styles - Black Belt Wiki

Those who talk about what is, or isn't, "realistic" would do well to learn some history of martial arts. Many martial arts were the product of combining various martial arts to form a new one, factions who broke away from karate or other martial arts because they didn't like certain aspects of those martial arts and others were simply invented by celebrities like Chuck Norris and Bruce Lee.
One of my favourite Martial Arts [to look at - far to frail to try any now...] is Capoeira from Brazil [but with African origins]. The Slaves weren't allowed weapons of any kind so they developed a dance style martial art. If you didn't know it was a MA you could almost see it as modern street dance with its sweeping moves and use of momentum.
 

Tigerseye

Acolyte
I'm sorry you had such a horrible experience. It's obvious they don't know the first thing about writing as it's pretty much a given that authors use consultants whenever their own expertise fail them. The world of fiction would be a much blander place if we only stuck to our own limited experiences.

Rather than asking on forums is it possible to go to a more direct source? Are there any martial arts classes or places that hold tournaments in your area? If so, you could try and see if any of the instructors can answer your questions. Someone who teaches martial arts may be more open to discussing these things with a novice, or point you in the right direction to get the answers you seek. Just an idea.

The best advice I can give is to just simply write your story. I understand martial arts and the competitions are a major part of this book but if the main driving point of the plot is character growth than you can write these parts and fill in the gaps later. For example your MC is about to enter his first competitive match. You can write about the nerves and anticipation in the lead up to the fight and then just skip a line and write something along the lines of:
(fight happens here - look up details later)

or something more descriptive like:

'Fight begins, MC scores a few good points at the beginning and feels confident but soon discovers that he is outmatched and suffers a humiliating defeat. '

You can get the story down and fill in the technical stuff later. You may discover while writing that something other than martial arts can work, or that a different setting fits the story better. In any case, please do not let these gatekeeping bullies discourage you from writing your story.
 
In my opinion, you should stop asking for permission to write and just write. No one can give you permission to write. That's not how writing works. Writing simply means you sit down at a keyboard and type away (or pen or dictation or whatever). And unless you live in a totalitarian nation which forbids this kind of activity no one can tell you that you can't do so. There is no magical council of author-overseers who decree who can write what and who can't.

So, just write your story.

In the same way, it's pointless to worry about what other people will think about your story. If it's your first novel you're working on, then the chances are very, very high that very, very few people will ever read it. Yes, there are success stories where the first novel of an author became a best-seller. But those are usually novels which took years and dozens of re-writes to get perfect, and they are in the vast minority. For the rest of us, especially if you self-publish, having 100 sales is already a nice milestone for a first book.

So don't worry about your book going viral because the martial arts community thinks it's bad. That's not how the world works. If enough people read it to make discussions about the martial arts in it go viral, then that means the writing itself is good enough for a lot of people to read it. Otherwise, the most you will get it people telling their friends not to read the book, which is already a win over simply no-one reading the book.

So, stop asking for permission. Just write your book. Once it's done, edit your book. Once that's done, give it to someone else to read and ask for their opinion. Do that a few times and edit your book again based on that feedback. Once you've done that, write the next book or publish this one.
 

A. E. Lowan

Forum Mom
Leadership
Okay, I'm going to ask the question that's been burning in my mind for the past couple of days...

Why the 90's?
 

WonderingSword5

Troubadour
There are martial arts which have emerged in the United States that are based on those from East Asia. I have only listed those that were created either in, or before, 1990:

American Kenpo
Chun Kuk Do (also known as the Chuck Norris Way as he founded it)
Combat Hapkido
Danzan Ryu
Jailhouse Rock (used in U.S prisons by inmates)
Jeet Kune Do (Bruce Lee created this one)
Kajukenbo (a fusion of numerous martial arts created in 1947)
Kickboxing (not to be confused with the Thai kickboxing)
Small Circle Jujitsu (this was developed for martial arts schools)

For more information check this out: List of American Martial Arts Styles - Black Belt Wiki

Those who talk about what is, or isn't, "realistic" would do well to learn some history of martial arts. Many martial arts were the product of combining various martial arts to form a new one, factions who broke away from karate or other martial arts because they didn't like certain aspects of those martial arts and others were simply invented by celebrities like Chuck Norris and Bruce Lee.

I really like this. I'm thinking what I would like to do is make up my own system/rules tournament that existed back in the 90's up to 2000, when it shut down, where the MC went to as a kid in his youth. How does it sound if I made the rules and settings similar to kumite/taekwondo tournaments, allow the styles to be more diverse where kung fu, taekwondo and karate styles are all welcome, witch strikes, kicks and throws/takedowns like in judo, which many martial art styles already have in them, to score an extra point (this is practically kenpo or Chun Kuk Do basically). The uniforms would all be black gi's or my MC's school would of had black and red gi's, another school/team with red, one team is blue, one yellow, etc... with the gi's looking similar to kajukenbo uniforms. No punches to the face, which would be a penalty and could lead to disqualification. And there I have it, my own made up system and tournament for my story, with my MC's bad school having it's own made up style based off of real ones, since each instructor brought different styles to the school, i.e ...the army vet, kung fu chain owner, a karate expert, etc..

Am I doing good so far? The martial art website and the other writing site would not like this at all :(
 

WonderingSword5

Troubadour
Your invention could be the next quidditch.

Yes! Like this. So why are so many giving me such a tough time with this? I'm not referring to anyone on this site as everyone here has been helpful and very thoughtful of understanding.

I'm sorry you had such a horrible experience. It's obvious they don't know the first thing about writing as it's pretty much a given that authors use consultants whenever their own expertise fail them. The world of fiction would be a much blander place if we only stuck to our own limited experiences.

Thank you. Not every author has to live that exact experience, even if it was a minor experience, otherwise we would not be able to create any ideas if we all had to base our own exact experience on each of our novels right?

Rather than asking on forums is it possible to go to a more direct source? Are there any martial arts classes or places that hold tournaments in your area? If so, you could try and see if any of the instructors can answer your questions. Someone who teaches martial arts may be more open to discussing these things with a novice, or point you in the right direction to get the answers you seek. Just an idea.

I tried, it's very difficult, given the covid situation and I don;t have the budget right now either way as martial arts is very expensive :( but I do have some experience as a kid.

I'm sorry you had such a horrible experience. It's obvious they don't know the first thing about writing as it's pretty much a given that authors use consultants whenever their own expertise fail them. The world of fiction would be a much blander place if we only stuck to our own limited experiences.

Rather than asking on forums is it possible to go to a more direct source? Are there any martial arts classes or places that hold tournaments in your area? If so, you could try and see if any of the instructors can answer your questions. Someone who teaches martial arts may be more open to discussing these things with a novice, or point you in the right direction to get the answers you seek. Just an idea.

The best advice I can give is to just simply write your story. I understand martial arts and the competitions are a major part of this book but if the main driving point of the plot is character growth than you can write these parts and fill in the gaps later. For example your MC is about to enter his first competitive match. You can write about the nerves and anticipation in the lead up to the fight and then just skip a line and write something along the lines of:
(fight happens here - look up details later)

or something more descriptive like:

'Fight begins, MC scores a few good points at the beginning and feels confident but soon discovers that he is outmatched and suffers a humiliating defeat. '

You can get the story down and fill in the technical stuff later. You may discover while writing that something other than martial arts can work, or that a different setting fits the story better. In any case, please do not let these gatekeeping bullies discourage you from writing your story.

Exactly what this is! The characters and their arcs will be the driving point of the story. why so many on those other sites are getting all heated up over it, I can't figure out why.
 

WonderingSword5

Troubadour
In my opinion, you should stop asking for permission to write and just write. No one can give you permission to write. That's not how writing works. Writing simply means you sit down at a keyboard and type away (or pen or dictation or whatever). And unless you live in a totalitarian nation which forbids this kind of activity no one can tell you that you can't do so. There is no magical council of author-overseers who decree who can write what and who can't.

So, just write your story.

In the same way, it's pointless to worry about what other people will think about your story. If it's your first novel you're working on, then the chances are very, very high that very, very few people will ever read it. Yes, there are success stories where the first novel of an author became a best-seller. But those are usually novels which took years and dozens of re-writes to get perfect, and they are in the vast minority. For the rest of us, especially if you self-publish, having 100 sales is already a nice milestone for a first book.

So don't worry about your book going viral because the martial arts community thinks it's bad. That's not how the world works. If enough people read it to make discussions about the martial arts in it go viral, then that means the writing itself is good enough for a lot of people to read it. Otherwise, the most you will get it people telling their friends not to read the book, which is already a win over simply no-one reading the book.

So, stop asking for permission. Just write your book. Once it's done, edit your book. Once that's done, give it to someone else to read and ask for their opinion. Do that a few times and edit your book again based on that feedback. Once you've done that, write the next book or publish this one.

I'm going to do it! I really appreciate the encouragement I'm receiving from everyone here, who seems to understand where I'm coming from, I hope to get feedback on here when I get some chapters out :)

Okay, I'm going to ask the question that's been burning in my mind for the past couple of days...

Why the 90's?

The 90's would be when the MC's bad school opened. the MC's teacher was an army vet in the 80's up until the end of the Gulf War, where he had a hold of this super secret drug that plays a role in the tournament and school, which the bad vet teams up with the bad kung fu owner of the chain schools. Things go wrong and the school is shut down in 2000. MC had tried different popular styles throughout that time which is all pre covid, then as time goes by into the future 20 years later, the bad teacher and bad company with the drugs plays a new sinister role, and the MC's powers are revealed.
 

WonderingSword5

Troubadour
If you explained any of this to the real life dojo you were proposing to use, I'm beginning to see why they were so upset.

It's ok I can change the premise if it's too disturbing and make it a different story :(

Can you tell me what's the bad parts about it?
And I wouldn't base it on any real dojo. I'd make up my own for the story.

And I didn't explain any of this on the martial arts forums. I mentioned the part about creating my own martial arts tournament set in the past and they told me I can't because I never experienced a tournament myself and the martial art system would be disqualified for mixing in different styles.

The part about the drugs I was going to say they turned it into done kind of incense for meditation for the students. It sounds disturbing I know. Simple, I will change it to something new :(
 
Last edited:
I'm not saying don't do it - far from it.

I was just wondering if you'd told the dojo you were planning to refer to their tournaments back in the 90s and add to that a major drug scandal. I could see how that would make them twitchy.
 
Top