Thursday, February 18, 2010

It's not what's there, it's what's missing - repost

[Repost from August 24, 2007 – Nathan]

Pat's post title What they take away isn't related to what I want to write about, but it gave me the idea, so credit due to Pat as my muse!
My thought: different arts aren't really defined by what they include, but by "what they take away." To expound on this thought, what is fighting? As Hock stated on his blog, it's everything from ICBMs, tactical/battlefield nukes, B-57s, gunships and artillery, machine guns, rifles, pistols, clubs, knives, then empty hand. Notice how much there is there? You can further take the subset of combat, empty hand, and include:
head butting
shoulder thrusts
open-hand strikes
hip checks
all the various kicks
ground grappling
takedowns, trips, sweeps, etc.
There's more, you're welcome to add to that list via comments, but the idea is the same. What differentiates styles is what they take away from that list.
Judo, for example, started out as what? Jujitsu. So did Aikido. What differentiates them from their ancestors? What they took away - much of the vicious striking and some of the grappling techniques were refined/modified.
The same is true of every other art, including karate (I always use lower-case to denote the generic Okinawan and Japanese striking arts and their derivatives, including TKD). What's taken away, in general, are many of the items on the lower list of grappling. Not all. Stylistically, some will include more or less than others on each list, but the formula is more or less correct.
Just a thought...


Bob Patterson said...

How do you feel about the ones that try to recombine the triad: striking, throwing, and grappling/locks?

This seems to be another trend that repeats itself throughout history - those that try to add. JKD seems to get credit for the idea but if you dig a little it's been done before.

Note Martial Arts Reporter's post about Han Moo Do (scroll down a few) or my post about Tajutsu.

Aaron Sher said...

This is a very good point. Even in weapons arts, aside from the obvious aspect of what weapon you're using, there are differences in the mode of weapon use in different arts. Look at aikido sword versus kenjutsu for a very clear example.

Colin Wee said...

I'm not sure that that was the thinking behind Karate. My take is that the Japanese needed a training methodology, a system to accomplish their national fitness goals. Out was born 'Karate for PE', and included an approach that could be easy to learn and teach. Colin

cooliehawk said...

@Colin Wee:

My take is that the Japanese needed a training methodology, a system to accomplish their national fitness goals. Out was born 'Karate for PE'

One thing to keep in mind is that, by Funakoshi's time, judo had already been an established part of the the Japanese PE curriculum for several decades, so there was little point in karate duplicating the same material.

Compare Olympic judo to pre-Olympic judo. The rules of Olympic judo stress throws over groundwork in order to distinguish judo from the wrestling that was already part of the Olympics.