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TMA UnderGround >> Reoccurring topic


2/6/05 9:23 PM
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bigbrando
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Edited: 06-Feb-05
Member Since: 10/15/2002
Posts: 305
 
I think that from reading a lot of thread on different boards, that there is a topic that everyone asks. I think it is a great topic for discussion and feel that beginners will always ask this question and will come up more and more as lines blur in the martial arts. When does traditional martial arts stop being called traditional? Aren't we all supposed to evolve with the times to keep it effective? Even some Chinese Kung Fu incorporated Mongolian Wrestling into their curriculum. Is this still Chinese Kung Fu? Thoughts and discussions about this?
2/7/05 12:53 PM
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Willybone
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Edited: 07-Feb-05
Member Since: 01/01/2001
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When does traditional martial arts stop being called traditional?
For me, it stops when they want it to stop.
Even relatively recent styles present themselves as traditional in approach and substance. While others, like BJJ, choose not to be called traditional, even though that style is older than some of the "traditional" schools.

I think of the label of traditional as indicative of the mindset in teaching and learning, and not one tied to actual dates.
2/7/05 2:00 PM
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Bunkou
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Edited: 07-Feb-05
Member Since: 12/16/2004
Posts: 44
Like the "traditional" family, styles are traditional if they resemble what we traditionally envision when we hear the term "martial arts." Generally: - uniforms and a ranking system (usually a rainbow of belts) - para-military style of instruction and discipline - teaches forms and a "right" way of doing a technique Once a style loses one of these, it's borderline, tipping in the direction of non-traditional. Once two are gone, it's no longer "traditional."
2/20/05 8:29 PM
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bigbrando
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Edited: 20-Feb-05
Member Since: 10/15/2002
Posts: 314
Bunkou but what if it's the opposite and "traditionally" there were no belts or uniforms and a style incorporates a ranking or belt system - does that make it any less traditional? Also for most Chinese martial arts when you think of uniform it is actually how Chinese people used to dress in the older days. Really they were wearing acceptable everyday wear. Shouldn't we do the same. everyday wear is commonly jeans and a t-shirt. Why can't that be our uniform for today? Willybone, that is an interesting insight. Would you care to elaborate? I'm trying to understand exactly what you mean.
2/21/05 5:11 PM
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Bunkou
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Edited: 21-Feb-05
Member Since: 12/16/2004
Posts: 68
First, let me ask you: who coined the phrase "traditional martial arts?"
2/22/05 12:16 AM
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bigbrando
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Edited: 22-Feb-05
Member Since: 10/15/2002
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Wasn't it Bruce? Isn't that when he was trying to break away from the "mold" of the traditional Wing Chun mindset and explore new things?
2/22/05 11:12 AM
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Willybone
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Edited: 22-Feb-05
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Willybone, that is an interesting insight. Would you care to elaborate? I'm trying to understand exactly what you mean.

I mean that an instructor or founder who chooses the label of "traditional" is saying something about what he THINKS his teaching is, even if it is not verifiably so. Many new styles are presented as traditional, even though the founder will tell you that he's invented the style. Likewise, a school that uses techniques with long histories and relatively clear origins can decide to deny the traditional label.
The difference, IMO, lies in whether the instructor feels he's carrying on a historically martial mindset, or if he's inventing and discovering a new path.
2/22/05 7:04 PM
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Bunkou
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Edited: 22-Feb-05
Member Since: 12/16/2004
Posts: 70
I believe Bruce used the term "classical," but it comes down to the same thing. "Traditional" is a word used NOT by TMAs, but by those trying to differentiate themselves. It's a marketing term, pure hype, used by those trying to sell something. Of course, some of us gladly embrace the title and welcome anything that separates us from the nonsense we see in many "modern" or "reality based" systems and forums. But sinces it's a marketing term, it's not something that can be truly defined. Why? Because it was never meant to. For example: muay thai is almost never referred to as a traditional MA, yet it predates almost every Japanese style and is steeped in tradition, including ceremonies and bowing. BJJ has belts and uniforms, and yet they are vociferous in their denial of being a TMA.

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