Archive for Discussion

Kennedy on “What is Martial Art” : RTD 018

Posted in Discussion Question, Martial Arts, Philosophy, Roundtable Discussion with tags , , , , , , , , , on January 17, 2013 by Combative Corner

TJ Kennedy 001

Bruce Lee said in his infamous television interview with Pierre Burton, that martial art is the expression of self. That, in my opinion, is what “art” is. When applied in a combative context, what component of the “self” is one expressing, exactly?

It is my opinion, that martial art can be defined as the following:

The articulation of one’s combative intent through the medium of human movement.

To have an objective in mind, and to achieve this objective using the only instrument one has – his or her body (and weapons, if present, as an extension of the body).

Each individual will articulate his or her movements differently, and will indeed choose different tools to perform different tasks. This is where individuality comes into play. Where the expression of self is seen. The differences in articulation are the result of differences in physiology, culture, personal ethics, etc.

The more one practices using their body to articulate combative intent, the more prolific and efficient they will become in their art. There will be a singularity – a cohesion of techniques and increased fluidity of movement.

That is the denotative meaning. However, there is a significant connotative interpretation of martial art that I’d like to discuss.

That is, the more one engages their mind to act in tandem with their body, the more centered and aware they can become. This union of mind and body can lead to expanded consciousness.

There is an ineffable quality to martial art. A difference in intent. A fighter will fight for status, for resources, etc. A true martial artist…..or warrior…..will fight to protect that which he or she values. Their motives may be love, justice, compassion, etc.

A “fighter” is a role, whereas “martial artist” is a way of life;

a state of being.

These are my thoughts on what “martial art” is. 

I welcome any comments.

T.J. Kennedy

Founder of the Hybrid Fighting Method

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Kuo on “What is Martial Art” : RTD 018

Posted in Day's Lesson, Discussion Question, Martial Arts, Philosophy with tags , , , , , on January 16, 2013 by mindbodykungfu

Kuo1

“Art” is one of those hard-to-define words which means different things to different people. Most people tend to think of the fine arts (painting, sculpture, dance, theater, etc) when “art” is brought up in conversation. In my opinion, art encompasses any endeavor which requires skill and is an expression of the artist. Both the fine arts and the martial arts require refined skills and are a creative expression of the artists.

Human nature has violent and physical aspects, so it only natural that there are art forms set in the context of fighting. What separates the martial “art” from mindless brawling is the systematization of the fighting such that the movements and principles of fighting can be trained without violence necessarily being the end goal. When such a systematization is present, the martial artists can train the craft of fighting and express the principles of a martial arts style in their movements. Watching martial artists who have mastered their craft is similar to watching the skillful movements of a dancer or an athlete competing at peak performance. By blending with an opponent’s attacks and weaving offense and defense, the martial artist is demonstrating a beautiful display of body movement and force interplay.

The practice of martial arts is a physical expression of the practitioner’s self. You can perceive actors performing with feeling, athletes competing with heart, and painters creating with vision. You can also tell the difference between martial practitioners moving with rote, reflexive patterns and the skillful artists moving with intent and dynamically adapting to their opponents. With skilled martial artists, the hours of deliberate practice shine through with efficient movements, powerful attacks, solid defense, clear perception of an opponent’s attacks, and an exquisite sense of timing and distance. The martial artist elevates fighting to a skilled craft.

Coming from a primarily Chinese martial arts background, I also believe another defining characteristic of martial arts is that they are a path to self-improvement. At the most basic level, martial arts training develops focus, discipline, physical conditioning, and camaraderie. However, the self-improvement to which I am referring is the (perhaps cliched) life-altering, fundamental truth-realizing types of change. To pursue a martial art to a high level–or any serious endeavor for that matter–one has to devote a lot of time and effort. That in and of itself cuts off a lot of other life possibilities since time and energy and unfortunately limited resources. While on the path to mastery, martial artists must ask themselves if the art is something they truly wish to pursue and what sacrifices they are willing to make to achieve their goal. They must determine who they are, who they want to be, and what they want out of life before they can commit to pursuing mastery of an art.

To reach high levels of proficiency with a martial art, the practitioner’s mental acuity must be elevated. Even in high level athletics, physical training is rarely the limiting factor; rather it is the mental game that defines the elite. The martial artist’s mind must be trained to maintain focus, develop a keen kinesthetic feel, and perceive the conditions in a fight. Martial artists must develop mental fortitude to deal with the inevitable roadblocks and setbacks on the path to mastery. To reach their full potential, martial artists need to delve into their own psyches to conquer the mental blocks that hold them back and remove the mental clutter that cloud the understanding of fundamental principles. It is in this process of looking inward that the martial artists realize themselves and grow as people.

A martial art is just like any other art form in that a martial art is a skilled pursuit which expresses aspects of life and humanity. The art can form bonds of friendship, help a person grow, and express beauty through skill. It just happens that the “art” is expressed in the context of fighting instead of the more traditional fine arts media.

Johnny Kuo

Mind Body Kungfu

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Lee on “What is Martial Art” : RTD 018

Posted in Discussion Question, Martial Arts, Philosophy with tags , , , , , , , , , , on January 15, 2013 by Combative Corner

Freddie Lee FMKRTD 018: Martial Art is the balanced integration of the body, mind, & spirit & its expression of it. Martial Art is the integration of Yin/Yang. Martial is Yang, Art is Yin. The balance is Martial Art. The imbalance is not Martial Art but rather a corrupted version of it. A balance is like walking on tight rope, it is easy to become unbalanced in which to fall. Those who are balanced correctly are representing harmony between the two forces of Yin/Yang. Yin/Yang goes by the philosophy of Tao. Martial Arts is the Tao. True Martial Arts must integrate the Physical, Mental, and Spiritual. Any lack of, is not Martial Art. Any and all combat sport is not Martial Art, it lacks the spiritual. Football, basketball, golf, tennis, etc. are not Martial Arts, it lacks the scientific development of combat, it lacks the spiritual understanding, and it lacks the complete physical development that is relevant to self-defense, sports is not Martial Arts.

Dancing is not Martial Arts, but it retains the creative/artistic qualities of Martial Arts. Michael Jackson was not a Martial Artist, but he clearly was an Artist. Mike Tyson was a Boxer, not a Martial Artist, he would more closely resemble a street fighter than a Martial Artist. Although Mohammed Ali was a professional Boxer, his inner spirit, his expression of compassion, his inner character in standing up against the Vietnam War, his gracefulness in the ring, made him resemble more of a Martial Artist rather than a street fighter. A Martial Artist does not fight for money, a Martial Artist will not hurt others for profit, a Martial Artist will find another way to make a living. A Martial Artist will not train others to become bullies, a Martial Artist will train others to become good, loving, and compassionate people within.

Martial Arts is not purely just self-defense. A soldier is not a Martial Artist, a Police Officer is not a Martial Artist. They are both in lack of the spiritual development, and they are clearly in lack of the artistic and creative aspects of what makes an Artist. They may possess or have knowledge on the most efficient way to kill, but they are not Martial Artists. In Martial Art, there is an aspect of creativity and self-expression that cannot be found in self-defense tactics alone. Self-Defense tactics is more scientific, it is not artistic. There is clearly a difference between self-defense and Martial Arts.

Martial Art requires an understanding of the Eastern way of living and being. Martial Art derives from the East, not from the West. In order for a Westerner to truly understand Martial Art, he must surrender his Ego and learn the ways of the East in which to create a balance between East and West. The Westerner is representing Yang, the East is representing Yin, the westerner who refuses to learn the ways of the East, cannot be a Martial Artist. He can be a soldier, he can be a fighter, he can be capable of defending himself in combat, but he is not a Martial Artist. The West teaches violence and effective ways of killing, the East teaches peace, love, and compassion, learning both ways creates the balance, creates the harmony.

Belt JiuJitsu Jiu-Jitsu GJJ White JTBBThe proud wearing of traditional uniforms that represent the culture of the East is important in Martial Arts. This shows the appreciation of the history, culture, and ways of the East. Uniforms play a significant role in society. We know who a Police Officer is when we see his uniform. The mailman has his uniform, the UPS driver has his uniform. The sales clerk has his uniform. The uniforms that you choose to wear will represent your understanding and appreciation of the Martial Arts. If you choose to wear no uniform, the Martial spirit is still within you but the public will not be able to identify you as a Martial Artist unless they already know what it means to be a Martial Artist. Combat Sport Fighters, Street Fighters, and thugs have their own uniforms that represent their ways. Martial Artist’s have uniforms that set themselves apart.

If it is not the uniform, it is also the way you move and the way you physically express yourself as a Martial Artist. A Martial Artist knows how to move like a dancer, most Fighters do not. A Martial Artist is graceful with his movements, most Fighters are not. A Martial Artist is peaceful with his expression, fighters are not, they are destructive. A Martial Artist will demonstrate his talents and abilities without having to hurt others, a Fighter will hurt another for a price. A Martial Artist has a good heart within and will not abuse his powers. A fighter is an immature child who is irresponsible with the powers that he possesses.

Martial Artist’s are found in all walks of life doing good for society. You will find Martial Artist’s that make a living as actors, fire fighters, Police Officers, soldiers, teachers, personal trainers, fitness instructors, nutritionalists, professors, doctors, dentists, service clerks, security guards, etc. You will find Martial Artists who take on professions that are contributing something positive to society. You will not find Martial Artists in Combat Sports, you will find fighters, boxers, wrestlers, bullies, and athletes, but not Martial Artists. It is not easy for talented Martial Artists to reach fame, as there are less and less professions available in the entertainment businesses that require the unique skills and talents of Martial Artists.

The invention of computer graphics and the use of stunt doubles has nearly eliminated the need for movie producers to hire Martial Artists for action roles. Martial Artist’s are left with occupations that are typically low-paying and do not provide the opportunities to reach worldwide fame. A Martial Artist in the real world is like the very talented and inspiring teacher that is known locally but not worldwide. Fighters are known worldwide and get paid much money because they are willing to hurt and destroy others for profit, similar to how a drug dealer can make much more money compared to a Police Officer or how a “porn star” or stripper can make significantly more money than a school teacher.

Martial Artists are becoming more extinct in the real world, just as many of these beautiful wildlife animals are becoming extinct because the human population has taken over the world and have used up all available resources. The humans move in, the wildlife disappears. Fighters are moving in & Martial Artists are disappearing, that is the reality of the situation. No more is the public idolizing Martial Artists like Bruce Lee & Jet Li. The public is now idolizing Fighters. Those who see and observe what is occurring can make a change for the better in which to represent the Martial Arts the way it is meant to be represented.

Sifu Freddie Lee

Founder & Owner
Tao of Freddie’s Modern Kung Fu

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Sexual Assault Prevention | Straw Dogs [2011]

Posted in Discussion Question, Safety, Self-Defense, Teaching Topic, Videos, Violence with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 10, 2012 by Combative Corner

Every so often a film comes around, like this remake of Sam Peckinpah’s 1971 film Straw Dogs, where the viewer witnesses a scene (of which the above clip is just a short sample of) that not only creates a great deal of uneasiness, but of shock and fear.

The Combative Corner would like to thank, Rener Gracie for responding promptly to our request for feedback.  As many of you know, Rener  just recently produced the dvd training series, Women Empowered.  T.J. Kennedy is a self-defense instructor, contributing writer and founder/head instructor of Hybrid Fighting Method Global.  Michael Joyce is also a self-defense instructor, founder/head writer for the Combative Corner and head instructor of the Outfoxxed Program (specializing in Women’s Safety).

RENER GRACIE : WOMEN EMPOWERED

1. Close the door, lock it, and call the police.
2. If he gets in, get out of the house and get help.
3. If he pins you and you can’t get away, feign compliance and then use the Triangle Choke (Lesson 10, Giant Killer Variation) to render him unconscious with your legs when the opportunity arises.

Overall, remaining calm, feigning compliance, saving energy and looking for the best window of escape will catch him off guard and give the best chance of success.

Most Common Mistake: Trying to use violent strikes to incapacitate him which will only burn energy and make him angrier. (click here)

T.J. KENNEDY : HFM GLOBAL

In my opinion, Kate’s character could have had a chance. I have never been in this particular type of situation, but I can say with confidence that she likely had a lot of fear to work through – which makes any physical task difficult.

The only real chance I see for her here is to cause some heavy trauma to high value targets (eg. knee to groin), maybe even using objects around her as improvised weapons (eg. the glass dish on the coffee table to his face). She may have been able to flee to another room (adjacent kitchen) to get more “fatal” implements such as a knife or scissors.

And then running, and if there was a functional vehicle outside to leave ASAP to either her husband or the authorities.

MICHAEL JOYCEOUTFOXXED PROGRAM

The situation presented above is a frightening one and similar to what many women envision.  When I ask my students to imagine this and play the scenario out in their head you can see a lot of things change: their posture, the way they breath, etc.

The first step is to prepare.  Women should seek a self-defense class that teaches realistic and practical means of avoidance, escape and defense… and moreso, they need to continue to hone these skills.  Secondly, beyond the knowledge & skillset that you may acquire in a class, men and women both should mentally prepare.  Do run-throughs of various scenarios whereby you enact your gameplan smoothly and successfully.  Don’t superimpose yourself in the role that Kate is playing, superimpose yourself in the actions that Kate should have been making.

But let’s say she didn’t do any of the above.  When her assailant braces the door with his foot, it is imperative that she braces with her foot as well (barefoot or not).  If there is a wall, pillar or something heavy that she can post against (to leverage her strength), you should always use it.  If the scenario then plays out that he tries to batter the door down with force, a well-timed opening of the door will have your opponent either off-balance or falling through the doorway, (possibly) leaving you a chance for escape.  I concur with T.J. about the knee to the groin (when he’s in close range), but she would either need to follow-up fast with an improvised weapon, run to a safe location (seek authorities), or finish the fight.  Still risky, especially as terrified and under-confident as she is in the film.

There are no guarantees, but the woman (or training student) must use her own judgement, be decisive and use 100% determination.  Rener is correct in saying that in situations of this nature, when you are going up against bigger, stronger opponents feigning compliance may open a larger window of opportunity than if you struggle and deplete your energy stores.  A well-executed triangle choke with the legs is a fair-good bet.  [future article on this later]  You should be confident in your technique however, which always boils down to training!  Keep training, and stay safe everyone!

IF YOU HAVE ANYTHING YOU’D LIKE TO ADD

(Please commit in the box below)

RELATED POST:  NEVER GET TIED UP | LOOK AT THE FILM “ZODIAC”

Roundtable Discussion 011: Notable Influences

Posted in Discussion Question, Roundtable Discussion with tags , , , , , , , , , , on May 29, 2011 by Combative Corner

“Who’s one person that has inspired/taught you in the martial art(s) and who may never be considered ‘well-known’?”

RONNIE YEE

This guy was just another student like myself, but he is Master Chen’s (Zhonghua) most senior disciple (seniority – not age).  Ronnie Yee lives and teaches in Regina, but was able to travel to our camp for Hunyuan World 2002.  I learned a lot from my time in Edmonton, but what really stood out was how easy it seemed for Ronnie to put complicated Taiji theory and concepts into a form that was more ‘palatable’ to our young minds.  He was a fellow wushu practitioner (so we had that background in common) as well as being a massage therapist.  He knew magic and played with some of the youngsters there (including myself- I love magic!) and introduced me to the rope dart… a weapon that is now my favorite to play and perform.  In just one weekend, Ronnie Yee had a pretty huge impact – and I feel very fortunate to be there at that date and time.  He didn’t MySpace, and he certainly doesn’t Facebook or Twitter (maybe one day in the future), but there is no doubt about it, he’s a fine martial artist and is somewhere working his “magic” ways on his students.

[Video]Ronnie pushing hands with Master Chen]

ARDEN COWHEARD

For me it is Arden Cowheard 6th Dan Kodokan Judo. He is almost 91 years old and still teaching. I still attend and teach there but Aikido and other arts are my true calling.  He opened his Dojo and heart to me. I grew up without a father but I had so many great father figures in my life and he is one that changed my life.
After my first class I never had to pay for a class from that point. But He knew my heart was into the study of Aikido. So I talked to him and said. ” Sensei, there is a very powerful Aikido teacher coming to topeka to teach for a weekend. May I go and train with him?”
He said ” Yes Robert!!! Go where your heart leads you.”  From that point I never left Aikido. I found my love. I still trained Karate and Judo. But without my Judo teach helping to raise me up and not holding me back he helped me to bloom into the person I am today.
He may not be well known. But he is a hero to me. A real Budoka. My family and countless others. Rei Sensei!!

GORD WOOD

He was my Krav Maga instructor in 2003, and he taught me how to teach kids martial arts. He taught me how to teach adult martial arts. He taught me how to be an excellent communicator. Above all, he was and remains to be an excellent friend. A finer man you would be hard-pressed to find.

[GORD WOOD’S WEBSITE]

MASTER SANG HO LEE

He was my very first martial arts instructor when I began Tae Kwon Do when I was 13. He started my martial arts career. As a teenager he not only instilled in me the confidence and self respect that made me the man I am today, he also helped me discover something that I seemed to be naturally good at. As someone who was never great at sports that was a big deal for me.

Master Lee taught me to never hold back when it came to my techniques or how hard I tried in class. He expected a lot from his students and never let us get away with doing things half way. He was a great instructor and I’ve shared stories of my time training with him with my students on more than one occasion.

MY FATHER

My father has taught me much about the ways of Tao and Buddha without saying a word, he just lives it. He goes on doing things without taking credit for all that he has accomplished. I was actually raised to live the Martial Way without even realizing it. I was born and raised living the Martial Way. My father will never be well-known because he has no desire to expose himself, he claims no titles, he is not a Martial Artist. He is a man of Gung Fu, but he does not realize it. He will never be “well-known” but if I am ever to be “well-known” then maybe my stories about him will be “well-known.”

GILLES BEAULIEU

My Karate teacher, Gilles Beaulieu, was my first martial arts teacher. Although he was teaching in a relatively small city, he still managed to have a thriving class for a while. I have memories of Gilles conditioning us by having us punch each other in the gut (which I don’t think is kosher anymore), running way more than I liked, and doing crazy things like 1000 crunches the day before I had a presidential fitness test at school. As a kid who was not in great shape and really hated the exercise conditioning, I still loved the class. Even though he was tough on us with the training, he was inspirational since he was doing all the work too and making it look easy. All the while, he maintained a positive energy, built up people’s confidence, and established a sense of community in the class.

WHO IS SOMEONE YOU ADMIRE ?

Our “Meditations On Violence”

Posted in Discussion Question, Products, REVIEWS, Violence with tags , , , , , , on January 20, 2011 by Combative Corner

A Comparison of Martial Arts Training & Real World Violence

Sgt. Rory Miller’s book (his website ), has been a popular read for those of us in the martial arts world.  Particularly those of us that teach self-protection and seek to understand the reality of violence (at least on an intellectual level) without having to seek the hazardous (potentially deadly) real-life experience of violence in-action.  While it is very true that many martial artist today (especially those teaching people how to survive) need a reality check.  Katas, technique, and even trying to condition ourselves for the “unknown” may be vain attempt to (as I put it) “feel comfortable in our own skin.”  While there are lots this book that I liked, there were some parts that I, still, am a little unsure about.  Below are three examples from the book that I would like there to be a discussion on. [click on the pic to find it on Amazon]

Please offer your comments below

(from pg. 6) –my comment in brackets

They (martial artists) teach self-defense and sparring and streetfighting and fitness and personal development, as if they are the same thing.  They aren’t even related.

[Not even related?]

(from pg. 66)

– When the physiology is kicked into higher, more animalistic ranges, the trained fighter is often unprepared. –

[Compared to an untrained fighter? Just because a trained fighter has “more to lose” I don’t personally believe (0r should I say, I’m not yet convinced) that an untrained person is “more” prepared.  I say this is highly individual.]

(from pg. 81)

-If you get an opportunity to leave, leave.  EVEN IF IT MEANS LEAVING YOUR FAMILY BEHIND.  Your information from the inside may make a huge difference in tactical operations.-

[To me, personally, leaving IS a good idea… if this is an episode of 24 and CTU has no leads.  The need to protect (especially in males) is software that cannot be overwritten (in most cases).]

What are your thoughts everyone?  The Lines are open….

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