Why can’t Johnny fight? (or, how Chinese martial arts went astray)

13 Jun

This morning, two things appeared on my FACEBOOK news feed. The first was a truly awful event that had been billed as “True 2 form” which attempted to make people “fight” as if they were in some sort of bad Shaw brothers kung fu movie. We should NOT be too hard on the students here, the real blame lies with the instructors and the organizers of this farce.

The second was a posting of proposed rules for yet another “single style only” so called fighting event. The very idea of it, that you only invite people who all do the same style and insist that they fight “in style”, makes me cringe. What happened to the days of the Lei Tai challenge, when a man issued an open challenge with almost no rules to prove he was best?

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These proposed rules included gems such as “No Non-(style name) techniques (such as) high whip leg/ turning kick is allowed…elbows to the head and body and also knees to the body are permitted, however knees to the head and legs will not be scored”. As someone who has not only trained and coached fighters, but also worked as a promoter, matchmaker and adviser to athletic commissions, I cringe at the idea of letting amateurs, particularly in an event that might attract the “hobbyist”, elbow the head.

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Of course, you can question the logic of so many of these rules. So what if the technique is somehow “not part of the style”? In the old days, when fighting was a serious business, the man who found a new technique so he could beat all the others was a martila arts genius, not the guy who got disqualified for not using his “style”. Are you concerned about protecting your fighters, who are all in your “style”, from outsiders? This reminds me of a meeting of the AAU Chinese martial arts division I attended when they first started. They wanted all sorts of rules to keep out Karate people, kickboxers and boxers. So, being who I am, I asked them “Aren’t Chinese martial arts more advanced and better than those methods?”. Everyone immediately agreed! So then I asked, “So then why are you worried? If you are really better, just beat them and prove it”. Everyone was silent then. I should add, this was going to be just “point fighting” with almost no contact. They claimed that AAU would not let them do “full contact”. This confused me as I had done AAU full contact Taekwondo, but no one seemed to be able to answer me.

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Here is a thought; if you have “outsiders” come to your event and those inside your style do not do well, or even get beat very badly, you have to consider WHY? In the short term, maybe your people did not train hard enough, maybe they did not train correctly, maybe the outsiders had more experience. But if in the long run it happens over and over again, you have to face the other considerations.

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Chinese martial arts are supposed to be superior to primitive Karate that is intended just for children (yes, that is sarcasm). Chinese martial arts isn’t supposed to be “just kickboxing” (whatever that means). We are even supposed to have “internal kung fu” which is even more powerful than just external. So, clearly, we should always be winning. Why are so few Chinese martial arts stylists even fighting? And why do people keep trying to make venues that isolate Chinese martial arts fighters from other fighting arts?

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Perhaps, and give me a little moment here, but perhaps if others consistently use techniques OTHER than those you use in your “style” and are victorious with them, there is a reason? If your techniques are better, more effective, then why aren’t those outsiders using them? Maybe they are just ignorant barbarians who can’t master or even understand those advanced techniques? But then, shouldn’t you be beating those ignorant barbarians with them?

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Just something to ponder….

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3 Responses to “Why can’t Johnny fight? (or, how Chinese martial arts went astray)”

  1. Larry D Escher September 15, 2016 at 4:42 am #

    Great job. As a former practical kung fu guy who fought in karate and tkd tourneys, I completely agree. Keep up the good work.

  2. Fight Arts March 4, 2017 at 1:22 pm #

    intersting

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Kung Fu’s “Missing Link”, pt II (True Kung Fu Tournaments) | Dean Chin's Jow Ga Kung Fu Federation - September 17, 2016

    […] folks over at New York Sanda have an article appropriately entitled “Why Can’t Johnny Fight?”  When you get a chance, I recommend you mosey over there and take a look at their […]

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