No one ever became a proficient street fighter without a good grounding in what have become known in the Western World as the Martial Arts; but anyone who relied solely on Martial Art techniques for street fighting could fare rather badly.
Martial Arts arc considered to be an art. Disciples spend a lifetime pursuing that particular art which destiny or skeletal specifications dictated. In China the Martial Arts were based on animal spirits such as a monkey for his small stature and speed, or the bear for his strength and large size.
As the Martial Arts spread, so the styles diversified. Spiritual essence was tempered with Zen wisdom. Stances evolved and blows developed into linear and sharp or circular and flowing, mostly dependent on how the attacker was perceived. Within a short time the Martial Arts had spread right across the Orient and diversified from the Akidoist. who trained in the art of unarmed defence from attack without sustaining or inflicting injury, to the Samurai Warrior whose sworn intent was to draw blood once his sword had been charged with sunlight.
Although the Arts had developed and diversified they were still effective because they were well taught and well adapted to their fighting circumstances. However, by the early 1970's. and inspired by a crop of low budget, badly dubbed martial artist films which depicted small men performing incredible feats of gymnastics, the Western World was marketing "Kung Fu". Despite being a rather corrupted and condensed version of one of the 'True Ways" it inevitably became popular.
Soon there were franchiscd Karate Schools and Black Belts everywhere. But what these artists had learned was a sport. A sport which could form the basis of a very useful street defence but a sport which could lead followers into a false sense of security and subsequent batterings.
So often you will hear the martial artist say ... M1 lost because he didn't fight fairly../'. Fighting fairly doesn't really matter when losing means getting beaten.
If you have learned a little of one system then great, but don't rely on it completely. What you will encounter in the Dojo. randori or kojo is nothing like street fighting. Street fighting can be a lot less polite and prearranged.
Judoists wear special suits (called kis) which have lapels and belts to assist gripping and throwing. - but what of the street attacker? This assailant is unlikely to be easily grasped or thrown and in judo if you can't throw em there's not a lot else left to do: except maybe learn a few techniques from some other disciplines.
Most courses will not teach the student any worthwhile routines for some months into the study and even these will probably be largely useless in real life. • What" I hear you say... "USELESS?"
Yes! ... Most Martial Arts arc designed for combat against an opponent who is fighting with the same style and technique. Kicks are blockcd ... punches are deflected and everyone says "look how well those two can defend themselves..." Mostly it was scripted from the training, whereas all real fighting is inspiration combined with skill. Life in the street is somewhat different and to win you have to be adaptable.
Incidentally, if anyone ever tries a roundhouse kick on you don't miss the wide open shots available to you. Either kick their knee sideways... ouch... splintering sounds... or go for those rather exposed balls...argh !
One particularly beneficial point about the Western Martial Arts is that they instil character and discipline in the student. They can by nature be quite testing in both character and ability and would be worth pursuing for these moral codes alone. Considered as condensed courses to useful training a wise student would do well to achieve a wide grounding in several diverse disciplines.
With a working knowledge of blocks, strikes, kicks, throws, grappling and groundwork the student would be far better equipped to cope with a REAL street fight than the devoted disciple of Kwang-Jcngo; sold to him as the "One Way". Remember that street fighting is a combination of as many different techniques as you can manage, all focused into its own brand of mayhem.
If you plan to follow a martial sport then the following list may help you select a suitable starting point.
There arc at least 400 disciplines claiming to be "Martial Arts" but here are a few of the more widely available and acceptable:
• Akido - means "the way of fundamental harmony within the spirit of the universe" and encompasses the essential principle of the unarmed disarming of an armed opponent without causing injury to cither party.
• Amis, Kali. Escrima - arc of Filipino origin and gaining in popularity in the UK. They contains many concepts from Akido but include more contact.
• Bojutsu - combat with bamboo staffs.
• Hapkido - one of the most adaptable Korean karate styles with a balance of throws, locks, hand work and kicking.
• Judo • is about throwing and groundwork, both of which can be useful in street fighting.
• Okinawan - The home of Japanese karate which includes weapon use and applied defence skills.
• Shotokan • more fluid and free than Tackwondo and aligned to speed and strength.
• Tackwondo - a very popular Korean style of karate although more rigid in its training and application than Shotokan. It is a strength sport relying on power blocks and strikes which oppose force rather than redirecting it. It is not really suitable for weaker framed people.
• Tang Soo Do - a less rigid Korean karate style with emphasis on hand techniques and throws. Chuck Norm is a Tang Soo Do exponent which may explain his penchant for high spinning kicks which look so good on the screen • where they belong!
These are just a small sample of many martial aits. If you actually took the trouble to read the definitions then you will have realised the stated differences arc as subtle as those between Peking and Cantonese cuisine.
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