Martial Arts Questions

Discussion in 'Research' started by Aurelian, Feb 19, 2012.

  1. Aurelian

    Aurelian Journeyman

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    Ok this thread is for research on Martial Arts and the Like. Ask me any questions you want regarding hand to hand combat. My specialty is Karate and its roots but I have a wide knowledge base on both Ancient Martial Arts and Modern Martial Arts. So ask away.
    Aurelian
     
  2. Ravana

    Ravana Istari

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    Ever go up against anybody trained in silat?
     
  3. Aurelian

    Aurelian Journeyman

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    No they're aren't Many Silat places around where I am and on top of that I don't do much tournament fighting.
     
  4. Devor

    Devor Fiery Keeper of the Hat Moderator

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    From what I've read, Mixed Martial Arts does a great job of showing which techniques are genuinely effective in one-on-one unarmed combat. But if you're unarmed, and your opponent has a sword or another weapon, which martial art form would be the go-to for that situation?

    I looked a little, and I saw a lot of claims about several forms having gone centuries of development without really being tested in combat, so as a writer I'm having trouble figuring out which ones I should be looking at as an effective choice to base a character's fighting style off of.
     
  5. Ravana

    Ravana Istari

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    It used to. Then they went and added rules. Screwed the whole thing up. :(

    It's still closer than anything else you're likely to find televised—in the U.S., anyway—but if you really want to get a good sense of styles and techniques in an "even" comparison, locate tapes of the UFC back when the tournament numbers were still in the single digits.

    The second part of your question goes to the reason I brought up silat. It remained—remains—a combat art; it's only been in the past couple decades, as far as I'm aware, that anybody even tried to derive a "sport" from it (there are competition forms now). While trying to decide if one art is "better" than another is like trying to decide if one swordmaking style is "better" than another ( :rolleyes: )—and while I suspect any practitioner of any art will tell you he'd rather not go up against an armed man hand-to-hand if he has a choice—if you YouTube silat training films, you'll probably notice some differences in technique and emphasis from most of what you're accustomed to seeing from the usual sport/TV/Hollywood fare. Such as teaching you to hit the guy three or four times after he's down to finish him off. And if I'd meant "knock him out," I would have said that.

    There are (no surprise) hundreds of variations; the term silat should show up as the basis for most of the names. The most commonly seen name variant is pentjak or pencak silat (same thing, depending on who's writing it)—which is, however, also a blanket name, not that of a specific style.

    Ever since discovering it, I've had a hard time being impressed by much else. Don't get me wrong: I'm no good at hand-to-hand in any form. Too slow—and speed can count for a lot. And a superior fighter will tend to beat an inferior one, regardless of form. But all else being equal, I know who I'd rather have with me in a dark alley. (Okay, I'd rather have the one carrying the Uzi with me. That's beside the point.… :p )

    Choice two would probably be a rikishi: sumo's another one of those things you really have to watch a bit of before you understand just how effective it can be. That's in an alley, though; in open space, against a swordsman… not so much. (Actually, in an alley fight, I'd take someone with Spetznaz training over either of these. Maybe even over the guy with the Uzi.)

    For your purposes, I'd look at styles that taught the use of swords in the first place, as they're the ones most likely to teach you what to do if you lose yours, or were designed as adjuncts to swordfighting, such as savate. After that… escrima; perhaps hapkido.

    Muay thai is another style that has been used up to modern days as a combat style—and its "sport" practice, until recently, lost none of its viciousness (few sport arts teach you to strike with the elbow, for example: muay thai has nine formalized elbow strikes; it also teaches to kick with the shin rather than the foot). Its popularity among MMA practitioners is indicative of their opinion of the form, for what that's worth. Possibly not as useful against an armed opponent as some other forms, but it was originally developed to be used by disarmed soldiers, so hard to be sure.

    Then there's always drunken style kung fu.… ;) While I'm normally loath to suggest using movies as a source, Tiger Claws contains what I'd consider some overall solid sequences, very much "real" rather than "cinematic" martial arts—apart from perhaps some aspects of the climactic battle—which is probably why the movie didn't do so well at the box office; one of the highlights for me was the inclusion of one of the best exhibitions of drunken style I've seen (sadly, however, performed as kata, not in combat).
     
    Devor likes this.
  6. Devor

    Devor Fiery Keeper of the Hat Moderator

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    Thanks, Ravana, that one's going to take me some time to research and dissect. It probably also saved me a lot of time on other martial arts (or from giving up and resorting to guesswork). Thanks again.
     
  7. Ravana

    Ravana Istari

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    Quite welcome. Any time.

    While it's difficult to get any good notion of how martial arts work from a book, I can recommend The Complete Martial Arts by Paul Crompton as a good starting point. It is as detailed as a "survey" work can be, includes the history of each art as well as techniques, weapons taught, and so on, and has some very good photographic "sequences" which allow you to visualize the action involved. "Complete" must, of course, be taken with a grain of salt: no book will be able to cover the thousands of style variants that exist in the world; it does, however, include more than two dozen different major categories, from karate and judo, to escrima and pentjak silat, to sumo, iaido and ninjutsu. Not sure if it's still in print, but Amazon has used copies from under $10.

    By the way, if you're ever in the market for something visually–and athletically–impressive, as well as an art strongly associated with weapons, look into wushu: a formalized, "martial athletics" version deriving from kung fu. (Here, the Crompton book fails completely to capture the visual aspect; that's okay, there's plenty on YouTube.) I suspect that the formalized style may not be as useful in actual combat as some others might… on the other hand, watching some of these people do their stuff, you'll wonder how you'd ever be able to get close enough to them to tag them in the first place, so maybe it would, too.

    Here's a sample. If nothing else, watching them handle sharp objects without injuring themselves is impressive:

    beijing wushu team 2 - YouTube

    Or these. Yes, they're "choreographed"; on the other hand, consider how accurate the guy in the first one has to be to not hit his opponent, then decide if you'd want to face him when he was trying to hit you.… :eek: The second is a bit fragmented, but also includes slo-mo versions of some of the full-speed stuff they show… which, given the speed of the full-speed action, is most helpful.

    Amazing Choreographed Fight Scene - YouTube
    Amazing Choreographed Fight / 10th China Games. Duilian - YouTube

    I'd still take silat in a real fight. But it is impressive to see what the human body is capable of, without the aid of cinematic effects.…

    -

    Edit: another one good for "visually spectacular" is capoeira–a Brazilian form: a combat art stylized into dance so that it could be practiced by slaves in front of their colonial masters (much as the Japanese lower classes adapted peasant tools such as the rice flail into weapons such as the nunchaku). Stylized or not, it was at any rate effective enough to command the respect of the Portuguese. Unlike wushu (as far as I can tell), it has enjoyed some success in MMA rings.

    This–from a movie–is eye candy of the first degree. Think of it as an exhibition–apart from the slo-mo (and the fact that they keep missing each other), there is nothing cinematic about it. Well, not about the moves: the setting is why I chose this rather than something performed on a mat. ;)

    Capoeira vs Muay Thai - YouTube
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 11, 2017
  8. SeverinR

    SeverinR Valar Lord

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    Bruce Lee's philosophy was if it works use it, if it doesn't forget it. (No traditional techniques) I have not studied Jeet Kune Do, so I don't know how well it followed that principle.

    In the movies; imo praying mantis, drunken or monkey style are all impressive to see even if choreographed, they still amaze me that they look so random or chaotic, but are effective. How well in a real world situation, I don't know.
     
  9. JCFarnham

    JCFarnham Dark Lord

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    The deception techniques involved in drunken styles have always impressed me. Like... acting like your falling backwards accidentally, while simultaneously avoiding a punch and getting in some form of low strike in the process.

    Unfortunately I've only seen that one Jackie Chan film.
     
  10. Ravana

    Ravana Istari

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    I would say more that he refused to be bound by traditional techniques—or, probably more accurately, by styles: he borrowed from anywhere that offered something useful, and didn't bother retaining anything that wasn't. He continued to use, and teach, those techniques that were useful. As far as I know, jeet kune do maintains that overall philosophy, though of course it's made a selection of those techniques it regards as useful as a basis for training… you do have to start somewhere.

    That having been said, one of my favorite stories about Lee concerned a time when someone handed him one of a pair of escrima sticks, faced him with the other, and asked Lee what move he would use to disarm him.…

    Lee flicked his wrist and whacked the other guy across the knuckles. :D

    Sometimes, it really is that simple.



    SeverinR, JCF: Yeah, that's what I like about them, too. If you can't figure out what your opponent is going to do next, or even where he's going to be next, you'll definitely have a harder time fighting him. The challenge for the practitioner is not to get so caught up doing the fancy/"style" stuff you miss it when the other guy goes to rap your knuckles—or your head, since you probably won't have a stick in your hand. Monkey style, in particular, strikes me as using up a lot of energy with its bouncing around: were I facing someone using it, I'd just stand there until he wore himself out or finally decided to attack, whichever.

    Which is what I like about silat: it has a very convincing economy to its moves. This is also why it will never capture the Western cinema world's attention… most of the time, it seems its practitioners need to go out of their way to be even remotely showy. Kinda like fencing: if you're going for the Errol Flynn movie effect, you've got to make your moves broad and deliberately aim at the other guy's sword… whereas real fencing passes tend to last a second or two, and you rarely even see the blows that land.

    Whether the showier styles work or not, they are fun to watch, though. ;)
     
  11. Hans

    Hans Mystagogue

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    I've done a little research on the historical style of pankration. Have you any idea, how that would compare to modern martial art styles?
    Some sources tell it was acceptable, just bad style, to kill an opponent. So I take it, pankration was not just for show.
     
  12. Kit

    Kit Scribal Lord

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    Have studied some Mantis. It is *weird*, it took me years to feel like I was even beginning to get a grasp on the type of energy it uses. It is unlike anything else. Just to confuse you further, it has about a bajillion subsets- many of which are vastly different from one another. One of the main reasons it is effective is that it does things the opponent- even if the opponent is a skilled martial artist- doesn't expect.

    Monkey: likewise uses the unexpected. The reason for the theatrics is to distract you, make you uncomfortable, trap you in an OODA loop. While you're standing there wondering "Is this guy mentally deficient?" suddenly he clobbers you. There are shrieks built into the kata. I like the style, but my teachers were unhappy with my unwillingness to shriek.
     
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2012
  13. Ravana

    Ravana Istari

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    Far from it. Pankration is still practiced; for those not familiar, it is similar to a combination of boxing and wrestling–is, in fact, the ancestor of both Western sports. Looks a fair bit like much of the now-regulated MMA I've seen. Though it also includes some moves unsanctioned by either of its descendants. Combine that with the considerably less effective protective gear a couple of millennia ago, and, yeah, I'm sure people died. On the other hand, modern boxing and wrestling have their occasional fatalities as well, if probably less frequent ones.

    Right (about both styles, and even more so about drunken styles)–but neither mantis nor monkey is likely to be distracting against anyone aware of the possibility. Which is why I'd stand and wait my opponent, at least where monkey is involved: all that energy spent on distraction is going to be pretty much meaningless once he closes distance. Mantis is more deceptive than monkey as far as its close-in moves, at least from what I've seen… and puts far greater emphasis on precision and speed, both of which can give even small deceptive motions greater impact, just as feinting with a fencing foil does.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 11, 2017
  14. Kit

    Kit Scribal Lord

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    I don't know what you've seen, which may be vastly different from what I've seen. I would argue that both styles (all styles, in fact) emphasize precision and speed. The main differences between them, in my experience, is that 1)each has a unique set of characteristic techniques, stances, and strikes, and 2)the "energy" is different. When I say "energy" in this context, I am mostly referring to the way the power flows from technique to technique, and between the combatants.

    In the tradition that I train in, Monkey is a subset of Tiger. Tiger (simplified) is brute strength, straightforward bang crash rip. Likewise Monkey (theatrics aside) is a vicious and rough bastid.... a chimpanzee can rip a human limb from limb. I'm a Tiger stylist, so this energy was fairly intuitive for me.

    Mantis (of which I've trained mainly two subsets, the one I describe here is a Northern Mantis variant) is very different. It (again, simplified) utilizes a lot of torquing energies in which you use a hook-like grasp to catch a piece of your opponent and yank hir into your strike, or twist hir into a fall or throw, or wrench hir into joint locks. Mantis also likes to catch hold of you while you're retracting your strike and let you use your own energy to pull the Mantid's strike right into yourself (with a little extra oomph, just as a bonus!)
    The strikes aren't just crash bang, they rebound back into the next strike like (as one of my teachers describes it) a paddle-ball. The strikes are no less HARD, mind you, the dynamics are just different. If this is not understandable, well, like I said, it took me about three years of trying before I even started to get the taste of what it was supposed to be like. At this point I would call myself barely competant in that style of Northern Mantis, and only if I'm focussing really, really hard. ;)

    Another major difference between Tiger/Monkey and Mantis is that Tiger (GRRRRR!) charges right in and rips you to shreds. Mantis likes to wait for an opportunity- many of its best techniques involve reactions to something *YOU* tried to do to it. There's a funny story in my former school about one of my teachers. He was taking a test and sparring a more senior student. They both decided to work out of Mantis, so they both took up a Northern Mantis Seven Stars guard stance and stood there facing off. And stood there. And stood there. And stood there. Finally one of the masters said, "Okay, we all have to fly home on Monday- somebody has to attack now!" :)

    YMMV as always.
     
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2012
  15. Kit

    Kit Scribal Lord

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    Running.

    Seriously, unless you're cornered, you're a fool to try to use *any* martial art to go up against someone with a weapon.

    If you're desperate enough to have to pile in, your options are to **TRY** to 1)disarm the opponent as quickly as possible, 2)strike at the opponent's head or centerline and land a good enough hit to rock him so that you can disarm or flee, while doing your best to avoid getting hit with the weapon, or 3)Stay out of ideal range of the weapon until you can disarm, strike center or flee. For instance, If he's got a baseball bat, you want to be pressed right up against him at smooching distance, where he can't use the weapon very effectively.
     
  16. Stari Bogovi

    Stari Bogovi Apprentice

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    It was an event in the ancient Olympics. Finger-breaking was an accepted move, IIRC. I heard one story about how after a long extended bout of grappling, one guy finally submitted. That was when they found out his opponent had died. He tapped out to a dead guy!
     
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