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 Post subject: Re: European Martial Arts? PostPosted: 2011-10-28 04:28am
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Shroom Man 777 wrote:
The question is, do they do physical drills to commune with god? Is the act of methodologically swinging a sword or punching a fist regarded in the Western knightly orders in the same way as how in the Eastern martial monk orders the movement of body enhances circulation and energy and spiritual shit and is some kind of mind-calming meditative and spiritually centering act?

I don't know about the religulo-martial aspects of Western knightly orders, aside from "it is a holy task to stab Muslims in the face". Do they have anything at all remotely like the meditative physio-religulous aspects of tai chi or yoga, or some kind of "religious meditative prayer-calisthenics"?


I think this ties in to what I said earlier. To simplify, I'd say that for Western knightly orders, God was an overarching purpose behind everything. Even the pragmatic knight would see little point in questioning the existence of God. This meant there was no need to put spirituality into movements and whatnot, because the ultimate goal was still the defense of Christendom, to fight as well as you were able in accordance with God's will. Or something.

(I'm a bit tired, so bear with me if I muddle a phrase or two.)



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 Post subject: Re: European Martial Arts? PostPosted: 2011-10-28 07:28am
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^This.

Christianity has the believe that everything happens because God has a plan for you. Your task is to do whatever you can to be as good as possible in the task you are put into.

If a Templar/Hospitaliter/Malteser Knight was practising his sword wielding, he did it in order to improve his impact on God's plan.
If he was running or lifting weights, he did it to improve the body that god bestowed onto him, in order to be in his best possible shape to fulfil God's plan.
When he was praying for hours for God to show him the plan, or to lend him strength and let him be brave, he wanted that in order to fulfil God's plan.

It is not unthinkable that he was reciting prayers during training and felt he was doing religious duty, and felt the eye of God resting benevolent on him while he was doing so.

Correct me if that's wrong, but as far as I know, the Asian world used less of an concept of "almighty God guiding everything" than "Gods do what they want, we do what we want, and our Ancestors are watching over us". Asian religions have a system where man can improve himself to gain something akin godhood due exercise/meditation/enlightening.

In Europe, you could usually only hope to NOT land in hell, as you were born a sinner, and in the best case, God had a huge plan for you that made you a Saint (= someone with a bit better living in the afterlife than the average dead person in heaven). You couldn't even become an Angel.

So while Asian monks used prayer and exercise to improve their body and maybe become the next Bhudda, European monks just followed the rules and what they perceived as God's plan the best they could, in order to not piss off God more than he already was (because they were born as sinners, already, and only his mercy could save them.)



The Greeks are somewhat undependable allies when it comes to keeping promises. I am sure the fleet of 300 galleys they promised will turn out to be 3 guys in an oversized cooking pot. (Thanas, revealing the plans for German world domination)

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 Post subject: Re: European Martial Arts? PostPosted: 2011-10-28 04:01pm
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It's also worth noting that western boxing was much more of a "martial art" from it's reappearance in Italy during the High Middle Ages up through the first part of the 19th century. There was a fair amount of stand-up grappling and throwing, and even usage of weapons. A "boxing match" could easily incorporate a round of fencing to first blood and/or a round of fighting with staffs. Noted teachers had small numbers of students, fighters would travel to challenge one another, and wealthy patrons would stage fights. It turned into much more of a recognizable sport in the 19th century, becoming what is commonly known as "bare-knuckle boxing" today, and evolved into it's current form around the turn of the 20th.

On the flipside, Southeast Asian boxing (Muay Thai and it's relatives) seems to my limited knowledge to have been much less hidebound than most traditional Asian martial arts. For example, it had no real problem assimilating Western punching techniques when exposed to them, nor in adopting modern paraphernalia like gloves, a boxing ring with ropes, etcetera.

It's tempting to put this down to Muay having been an explicitly military fighting style that evolved into a sport without ever holding as much spiritual significance as some traditional styles, and there's probably a lot of truth in that. Military service and serious, organized, full-contact competition are venues where there is no room for bullshit or mysticism not grounded in reality. You can't fool anyone in regards to your magical chi powers when you're expected to routinely stand in front of a crowd and display your full prowess against a trained fighter who wants to beat the shit out of you.

Anyway, ramble over. I just like this topic.

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 Post subject: Re: European Martial Arts? PostPosted: 2011-10-28 10:17pm
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In asia it seems that tradition is a value of its own, regardless of whether the tradition itself is useful or not.


Tradition would have probably helped to prevent the spread of Mcdojos and bullshido claims.

An interesting thing about Judo is that the traditionalists are really traditionalists. For someone who really believes that judo is a way of life, not just a way to impose your will on someone, the idea that you'd use your judo skills to beat people up in say, MMA is unacceptable. Jigoro Kano, the founder of judo, probably would have considered that not in the spirit of judo, since one of his principles was kita kyoei - mutual benefit and welfare. Everything you do is meant to benefit you and the other person. Safety is paramount, a lot of the techniques are built around keeping your opponent safe. If you knock down those safety walls that tradition has built in and purposely try to punch the other guy in the head, the claim is that you destroy kita kyoei.

These people take it to heart to refrain from drinking too much, not take steroids (as opposed to say, BJJ where taking that sort of stuff isn't regulated), refrain from sexual excess, etc etc.

Tradition is also why you bow to your sensei, why there's a picture of the founder in your dojo, why you take off your shoes, why you wear gis, why you call the techniques by foreign names etc etc. Tradition is what makes martial arts, an art. Obviously some people don't want that, they just want no-frills combat training. In which case, your best bet is to look at the military and see what they're doing. Different strokes for different people.

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 Post subject: Re: European Martial Arts? PostPosted: 2011-10-29 02:03am
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Interesting thing about how the West tended to integrate aspects of other martial arts into MMA. Doing a bit of research it seems that Asians also had the same idea with Wushu although initially it started out just as a means to regulate the practice of traditional Chinese martial arts.

From the article Wushu seems to have two components, one practicing forms, which one can argue is an art, and another component comprising of combat which combines "full-contact kickboxing, which include punches and kicks, wrestling, takedowns, throws, sweeps, kick catches, and in some competitions, even elbow and knee strikes", derived by studying traditional Kung Fu and modern combat fighting techniques.

Among notable Wushu competitors included Jet Li (who won the National Wushu Champion of China title five times) and Donnie Yen.



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 Post subject: Re: European Martial Arts? PostPosted: 2011-10-30 08:47pm
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Tradition is also why you bow to your sensei, why there's a picture of the founder in your dojo, why you take off your shoes, why you wear gis, why you call the techniques by foreign names etc etc. Tradition is what makes martial arts, an art. Obviously some people don't want that, they just want no-frills combat training. In which case, your best bet is to look at the military and see what they're doing. Different strokes for different people.


In fairness, that is just one part of what makes it an art. Efforts to revive lost western martial arts (such as the ARMA, and various much more formal Scholas in europe, where they are more numerous), dont have a lot of the tradition. Sure, they refer to their stances in middle-high german, or Italian, but in training they may or may not wear traditional gear. Lets be honest, arming jacks, chainmail etc can be rather expensive. So instead, they wear fencing gear



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 Post subject: Re: European Martial Arts? PostPosted: 2011-10-31 09:02am
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Shroom Man 777 wrote:
H'okay, shifting aside from the "why is this like this in Europe" to "why is it like that in Asia", why is it like that in Asia with all the varieties of styles and techniques?
Uhm, that is begging the question. For being so huge and with such a large population Asia has very few martial arts styles. This is why you hear more about them and they have a much larger name recognition. How many schools of 太极拳 are there? Something like five or six major, and some dozen variations on each. That is nothing for a martial art with a ~500 year history.
That is the effect of traditionalism, confusius style.
Compare that to what happened to Karate when it became popular in the US (see Hongi's McDojo reference).
Shroom Man 777 wrote:
Also, I wouldn't be quick to discount the whole chi/ki/qi concept. Yes, it might not be as applicable in actual physical combat, but that chi thing is basically some kind of catchall terminology for "momentum" or "motion" or "circulation" and I think to those ancient Chinese guys, it actually might have more in depth and sensible meaning than the "lol energy field" translation most people use.
Why would you feel the need to point that out? However what I was and still is discounting is, as I said, its claims of which we are all familiar. See the example of Falun Dafa as an extreme of this.
It doesn't matter what the ancient chinese guys thought they meant when they used the term, what matters is how the term is used today, and most commonly its refered to as a supernatural force. I've so far never heard or talked to a practitioner who mention ki seriously without putting supernatural claims to it. Its simply that those who want to use it in a correct way use other terms instead like momentum because qi/ki/chi is poisoned by pop culture.
Shroom Man 777 wrote:
And then there's also the totally non-spiritual assbeating side of it.
If you take the old martial arts then even the assbeating side of it has a spritiual side. You should use these techniques against this sort of enemy. This technique during spring, this during summer, etc. Which gets in the way of the actual assbeating aspect of it. For instance what made Bruce Lee famous was that he cherry picked without paying homage to the spirits.

Shroom Man 777 wrote:
I think a lot of the whole derision comes from Western misunderstanding of these concepts, and the fact that a lot of those teachers who came to the West ended up espousing bullshit to gain attention. The West's exposure to Asian martial arts came during the 70s during the whole New Age wave, right? Plus sensationalism and all that stuff.
Nope, the west didn't misunderstand. Instead they listened exactly to what was being said. That's the whole base of the 'new age'. See the Falun Dafa reference above.
But for a more concrete example I give you the boxer rebellion and "ki can stop bullets".

Shroom Man 777 wrote:
there really isn't much difference between the actual techniques of Eastern and Western martial arts.
Since this: "Nobody hears much of European martial arts, at least I don't." is how you started the conversation I will simply tell you that that is not the case. Unless you mix in india, which has been the gateway for both directions and has had a huge impact itself on ancient martial arts.

Shroom Man 777 wrote:
So, part of it is because Asians applied martial arts to medicinal purposes and religious purposes. You don't see medieval Western physicians prescribe Greek wrestling to people in need of exercise or physical therapy, and you don't see priests or nuns do physical drills to commune with god.
LaCroix covered some of this, but this is just wrong. Up to the point of modern western doctors proscribing tai chi to pensioners, because that gets them off their ancient fat buts and actually excercise a bit instead of just sitting in front of the tellies.
But yes taking up "fighting" classes has been recommended for hundreds of years by medics in the west, because its an addictive form of excercise. Fencing for instance was all the rave (old meaning) amongst the better folk before tennis and golf came along.
Then look at the cossacks for religious parts of the fighting style etc.

The main difference remains in the approach to tradition and tech.
Shroom Man 777 wrote:
The question is, do they do physical drills to commune with god? Is the act of methodologically swinging a sword or punching a fist regarded in the Western knightly orders in the same way as how in the Eastern martial monk orders the movement of body enhances circulation and energy and spiritual shit and is some kind of mind-calming meditative and spiritually centering act?
I don't know about the religulo-martial aspects of Western knightly orders, aside from "it is a holy task to stab Muslims in the face". Do they have anything at all remotely like the meditative physio-religulous aspects of tai chi or yoga, or some kind of "religious meditative prayer-calisthenics"?
Yes, yes, yes and yes. Not with the same lingo though. The calming effect and the endorphin rush would be the same. The superstitious influence is the same, look at the knights vs saladin for some really stupifying examples.
Even the weapon of choice - the sword - would have religious meaning. But still, even if the sword was the holy weapon of choice, you still bring a mace, a lance and a hammer in the field because they are effective tools. Their counterparts the samurai for instance was reduced to the rubbish heap of history because they refused to change tools. The knight just gradually evolved away.
So as I said in my first post - a more barbaric/practical approach.

hongi wrote:
Tradition is also why you bow to your sensei, why there's a picture of the founder in your dojo, why you take off your shoes, why you wear gis, why you call the techniques by foreign names etc etc. Tradition is what makes martial arts, an art.
Here I'd disagree in principle although I get what you are driving at. By your unique definition of art only that which you yourself deem worthy would qualify, when the term itself is pretty much all inclusive. That makes it a very pretty but still high horse that you are sitting on.
Bowing to the sensei is respect, not art. The army does the same vs its trainers.
Picture of the founder is tradition, not art. Would you think Visual Studio programming would be more artful if one had Gates on the wall?
Calling stuff by foreign names is either just pretentious or practical depending on use.
etc
What you describe is ritual - something which is key to concentration and muscle memory - but ritual is not the defining factor of art in martial art. You will find as much and more rituals surrounding hockey for instance.Lots of MMA gyms have those rituals that you describe and more (except the gi which is verboten).

Instead if I don't misremember the "art" in martial arts is indicative of the skill involved.

@Alyrium Denryle
By comparison chainmail is cheap nowadays when you can get them from poland etc. You can get a historically correct aluminum chainmail for half the price an ordinary iron chainmail "t-shirt" used to cost you a decade ago. The internet is your best friend you know.

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 Post subject: Re: European Martial Arts? PostPosted: 2011-10-31 11:55am
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Here I'd disagree in principle although I get what you are driving at. By your unique definition of art only that which you yourself deem worthy would qualify, when the term itself is pretty much all inclusive. That makes it a very pretty but still high horse that you are sitting on.
I didn't give a definition of art.

Quote:
Bowing to the sensei is respect, not art. The army does the same vs its trainers.
Picture of the founder is tradition, not art. Would you think Visual Studio programming would be more artful if one had Gates on the wall?
Calling stuff by foreign names is either just pretentious or practical depending on use.
etc
What you describe is ritual - something which is key to concentration and muscle memory - but ritual is not the defining factor of art in martial art. You will find as much and more rituals surrounding hockey for instance.Lots of MMA gyms have those rituals that you describe and more (except the gi which is verboten).
I call it art because I find there is something more than practicality involved. There is aesthetics. In my opinion, a martial art is a codified system of behaving, moving, fighting, sometimes even living. I imagine if you reconstructed the martial art used by Hospitallers, you would find that a large part of it involved praying.

Respect in the Western world does not involve bowing. The only reason that Western martial artists bow on their knees or from their waist is because that manner of showing respect was imported from the East. This is why I consider it art. You are agreeing to adopt the customs and methods of a tradition, like a cubist is implictly working within the tradition of Picasso and others.

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Instead if I don't misremember the "art" in martial arts is indicative of the skill involved.
That may be so. But the term martial arts is a human imposed judgement is somewhat arbitrary anyway. I haven't heard of people calling modern day infantrymen martial artists, even though they undoubtedly do martial stuff with guns and do so with great skill.

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 Post subject: Re: European Martial Arts? PostPosted: 2011-10-31 12:50pm
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@Alyrium Denryle
By comparison chainmail is cheap nowadays when you can get them from poland etc. You can get a historically correct aluminum chainmail for half the price an ordinary iron chainmail "t-shirt" used to cost you a decade ago. The internet is your best friend you know.


This is true, but outside outright medieval re-enactment (in the same sense that americans re-enact the civil war IE. not the SCA), chainmail is not that practical for training purposes unless someone is rather advanced and has moved up to trying to reconstruct the techniques to use when an opponent is armored. I can get a combat grade suit of full chain, that weighs 30 kg, gets hot, and has the weight on the shoulders, for around 600 USD, not including the gambeson and suitable protection for my precious precious eyes. I can get fencing gear that will provide suitable protection against "training strength" hits and protects my eyes for around 200 USD.

And once you move up to practicing with armor, most manuscripts deal with plate armors, and you are not getting a decent set of late 14th-mid 15th century plate armor that fits properly for less than 3000 USD...



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 Post subject: Re: European Martial Arts? PostPosted: 2011-10-31 01:25pm
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I call it art because I find there is something more than practicality involved. There is aesthetics. In my opinion, a martial art is a codified system of behaving, moving, fighting, sometimes even living. I imagine if you reconstructed the martial art used by Hospitallers, you would find that a large part of it involved praying.


Yes, it did. Though you are discounting the etymology of the word "art" which is derived from the latin word artus which means "work of art; practical skill; a business, craft". When the western martial arts were called the "arts of mars", that literally meant the "craft or practical skill of killing", and the term "martial art" just does not translate directly from the various asian languages.

In europe, the skills taught to kill were secular, and separate from the religious tradition in the general culture even if some of the weapons such as swords had attached religious symbolism. The skills they taught that would allow you to bring an opponent to the ground and drive a dagger into his eye-socket did not have mystical meaning at all. Contrast this to asia where mysticism permeated everything they touched. Techniques were named, but they were clearly to assist in memory, and did not have any weird thematic elements like structuring an entire fighting system around heavily stylized movements of a preying mantis. These names were either just numbers like you would use in a drill, or were named very simply. For example, The Guard of the Hawk, is a high guard with the blade held vertically above the head. The Ox is a guard with the blade held pointed toward your opponent at eye-level (like the horns of said ox) etc. Movements were described in cute little rhyming couplets to help you learn said movements when reading through an illustrated training manual.



Or when watching them demonstrated on Youtube by germans...



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 Post subject: Re: European Martial Arts? PostPosted: 2011-10-31 04:14pm
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@hongi

I don't think that we are really in disagreement and I'd hate for this to turn into a vs, so just tell me to stop if you don't care for the conversation...

hongi wrote:
Quote:
By your unique definition of art only that which you yourself deem worthy would qualify, when the term itself is pretty much all inclusive.
I didn't give a definition of art.

You did, you said "Tradition is what makes martial arts, an art." and you even gave lots of specific examples with a heavy bias. This clearly painted a picture (real or illusional) of what you consider "proper" martial arts. Even your misunderstanding of the key word art gives a clear indication of that specific bias. Especially when compared to my link which is all the styles currently recognized as martial arts by its world organization.
Now your sensei etc might tell you that your system is better than others because it teaches a way of life. But from my point of view would be that you'd be better of with a philosophy which didn't include the necessity of training in violence as a part of how to correctly behave in the world.
Regardless of intentions etc martial arts will of course be misused. Especially when you teach it to the young. This makes it very hard to claim superiority because your form of martial training includes a philosophy.

Out of curiosity how do you view Yoshihiro Akiyama?
hongi wrote:
In my opinion, a martial art is a codified system of behaving, moving, fighting, sometimes even living. I imagine if you reconstructed the martial art used by Hospitallers, you would find that a large part of it involved praying.

In that case, then again you show a personal spin on the term that is not shared by the majority of martial arts practitioners. Now of course the hospitalers would pray a lot in their lifestyle, but that doesn't make their training more or less an art. By modern standards their style of training was brutish, barbaric etc. While we don't know if its true there are muslim texts describing hospitalers "practicing" on conquered villages, to the point of giving local boys wooden shields and swords and then start killing them. But that may be all propagande. But
I'd even argue from their texts that they seperated what they had to do in the field, from their faith. In that they often apologized for their necessary behavior vs the enemy.
hongi wrote:
Respect in the Western world does not involve bowing.

Here again I think your data is incorrect. Bowing have been an essential part of european feudalism up until the 1950s. Including bowing to teachers. Heck even my elderly gym teacher expected me to bow before class, and that had nothing to do with martial arts. I would be very suprised if yuro martial artists from rome onwards did not bow as part of showing respect both towards other combatants and their teachers/masters...
hongi wrote:
The only reason that Western martial artists bow on their knees or from their waist is because that manner of showing respect was imported from the East. This is why I consider it art. You are agreeing to adopt the customs and methods of a tradition, like a cubist is implictly working within the tradition of Picasso and others.

This shows a clear snobbish attitude vs what you know little about.
While I do fully agree that west imported a lot and incorporated another lot, bowing is not one of those things. What did change was the style of the bow.
hongi wrote:
Quote:
Instead if I don't misremember the "art" in martial arts is indicative of the skill involved.
That may be so. But the term martial arts is a human imposed judgement is somewhat arbitrary anyway. I haven't heard of people calling modern day infantrymen martial artists, even though they undoubtedly do martial stuff with guns and do so with great skill.


Lots of military hand-to-hand combat training systems are indeed called martial arts. While you are quite right that ordinary military firearms training isn't included.



@Alyrium Denryle
Oh, agreed on the fencing equip, again a yuro practical approach. See a lot of such stuff covered by gambesons in big fights.

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 Post subject: Re: European Martial Arts? PostPosted: 2011-10-31 05:25pm
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In that case, then again you show a personal spin on the term that is not shared by the majority of martial arts practitioners. Now of course the hospitalers would pray a lot in their lifestyle, but that doesn't make their training more or less an art. By modern standards their style of training was brutish, barbaric etc. While we don't know if its true there are muslim texts describing hospitalers "practicing" on conquered villages, to the point of giving local boys wooden shields and swords and then start killing them. But that may be all propagande


The templars may have done that, but the Hospitaliers did not, as I am aware. These are the people who ran hospitals that treated the sick and wounded regardless of faith. Yes, they wanted christian control of the holy land, but they did not generally mistreat muslims (outside sacking a city, I am not sure how they behaved in that eventuality).

Quote:
Here again I think your data is incorrect. Bowing have been an essential part of european feudalism up until the 1950s. Including bowing to teachers. Heck even my elderly gym teacher expected me to bow before class, and that had nothing to do with martial arts. I would be very suprised if yuro martial artists from rome onwards did not bow as part of showing respect both towards other combatants and their teachers/masters...


They most certainly do. There is a bow or salute before any fencing match, and that has been in place for centuries.



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 Post subject: Re: European Martial Arts? PostPosted: 2011-10-31 05:51pm
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@Alyrium Denryle
My mistake if that is so, I could have easily confused the two.

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 Post subject: Re: European Martial Arts? PostPosted: 2011-10-31 06:18pm
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@Alyrium Denryle
My mistake if that is so, I could have easily confused the two.


I am, at present, checking to make sure I am correct on that one. They were certainly Crazy, like the other religious orders were, but not as nuts as templars given their roots as defenders of the sick...



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 Post subject: Re: European Martial Arts? PostPosted: 2011-10-31 06:19pm
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Alyrium Denryle wrote:
Quote:
I call it art because I find there is something more than practicality involved. There is aesthetics. In my opinion, a martial art is a codified system of behaving, moving, fighting, sometimes even living. I imagine if you reconstructed the martial art used by Hospitallers, you would find that a large part of it involved praying.


Yes, it did. Though you are discounting the etymology of the word "art" which is derived from the latin word artus which means "work of art; practical skill; a business, craft". When the western martial arts were called the "arts of mars", that literally meant the "craft or practical skill of killing", and the term "martial art" just does not translate directly from the various asian languages.
I don't know when the term martial arts first started getting used and in what sense it was meant. But I can easily make the term stretch to cover what EMA do. Words are funny like that. Art actually comes from the Latin word ars. But ars doesn't just mean practical skill, it can have a broader definition of body of knowledge. You can talk about ars grammatica, theories on grammar. ars gymnastica, gymnastics. artes martiales, the ways of warfare. You can easily see how the EMA encompass a body of knowledge about combat.

But etymologising doesn't really mean anything. Wushu literally means discipline of war, probably matching the term 'martial art' morpheme to morpheme. I'm not going to say that wushu now means 'practical skill of killing'.

Also, why call EMA martial arts at all if it's a Western term being applied to Eastern concepts?

Alyrium Denryle wrote:
In europe, the skills taught to kill were secular, and separate from the religious tradition in the general culture even if some of the weapons such as swords had attached religious symbolism. The skills they taught that would allow you to bring an opponent to the ground and drive a dagger into his eye-socket did not have mystical meaning at all. Contrast this to asia where mysticism permeated everything they touched. Techniques were named, but they were clearly to assist in memory, and did not have any weird thematic elements like structuring an entire fighting system around heavily stylized movements of a preying mantis. These names were either just numbers like you would use in a drill, or were named very simply. For example, The Guard of the Hawk, is a high guard with the blade held vertically above the head. The Ox is a guard with the blade held pointed toward your opponent at eye-level (like the horns of said ox) etc. Movements were described in cute little rhyming couplets to help you learn said movements when reading through an illustrated training manual.

Or when watching them demonstrated on Youtube by germans...
What do you know of EMA? I'm not trying to be offensive. Have you ever seen someone fight in praying mantis style? Ever met a practitioner? If not, how do you know it's mystical? What do you know about it other than the fact that it imitates the style of an animal? I think the most important question should be whether it works or not. If it works, then it doesn't matter how ridiculous it looks or where it gets its inspiration from.

Sure, a concept of qi exists. So did the concept of humors in the West. Medicine was 'mystical' in that sense. The only reason why martial arts has incorporated aspects of religion or philosophy is because its practitioners are alive, they believe in religion and philosophies, and so they incorporate what they believe into what they practice. And the cultural milleu of Buddhism, Confucianism, Shinto, Daoism, it never went away. Whereas in the West, people either stopped being Christians or the whole Christiandom thing went away. If you went back in time to the medieval ages when many WMA, unarmed and armed, were alive, WMA would have incorporated some hokey bullshit as well because 1) the martial artists were devout Christians 2) Christianity was still the predominant way of life. I say some bullshit, because even the EMA don't do this to the extent that you seem to imply. Read Eastern manuals on fighting. If they don't talk about how the Buddha guides your fist to the opponent's face, then I don't think you're justified in calling it mystical.

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 Post subject: Re: European Martial Arts? PostPosted: 2011-10-31 07:29pm
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Alyrium Denryle wrote:
The templars may have done that, but the Hospitaliers did not, as I am aware. These are the people who ran hospitals that treated the sick and wounded regardless of faith. Yes, they wanted christian control of the holy land, but they did not generally mistreat muslims (outside sacking a city, I am not sure how they behaved in that eventuality).
I don't know about their treatment of Muslims, although I think I remember reading somewhere that they did treat Muslim in their hospitals. But the Hospitallers pretty quickly branched out to a military role, protecting pilgrims and defending the state.

Alyrium Denryle wrote:
Here again I think your data is incorrect. Bowing have been an essential part of european feudalism up until the 1950s. Including bowing to teachers. Heck even my elderly gym teacher expected me to bow before class, and that had nothing to do with martial arts. I would be very suprised if yuro martial artists from rome onwards did not bow as part of showing respect both towards other combatants and their teachers/masters...
I didn't say that it has never been a part of Western culture. And it's still true. Bowing is not a part of showing respect in Western culture outside of very, very limited contexts or else I'd be doing it a lot more. As it is, I only bow when I meet other Koreans who are strangers. In fact, some people seem to get offended if they're expected to bow in places like Japan or Korea.

Alyrium Denryle wrote:
They most certainly do. There is a bow or salute before any fencing match, and that has been in place for centuries.
I had no idea about fencing. That's a good example. Do martial artists bow in HEMA? But outside of fencing, I don't know about Western martial arts bowing. In boxing, they strike hands. Savate, there's a sort of salute. Everywhere else, shaking hands I guess.

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 Post subject: Re: European Martial Arts? PostPosted: 2011-10-31 08:18pm
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The treatment of Muslims during the crusades and under the regimes of the various military orders is quite the complex issue, considering there were muslim troops fighting with crusaders and the blend of cultures that did develop in the area. Most templar "atrocities" are a bit overblown anyway. It is true they were the most fanatic ones but they never reached the level of "must kill all infidels". People focus way too much on their military arm and forget that they were the first multinational corporation, being leading traders with the muslim world and the first large bank in history.



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 Post subject: Re: European Martial Arts? PostPosted: 2011-10-31 08:38pm
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I don't know when the term martial arts first started getting used and in what sense it was meant.


Ancient Rome

Quote:
But I can easily make the term stretch to cover what EMA do.


I am not saying you cant. What I am saying is that you cannot redefine it to exclude western martial arts as they were practiced when the term was first coined, because said western martial arts do not embody a full and complete way of life, complete with aesthetics that you think typifies an art. That would be silly. Instead, the necessary and sufficient condition for being considered a martial art is that you learn a standardized set of techniques to kill or injure people using your body or an extension thereof the killing power of which comes from your body's power. Anything else you put on top of that, is extra.

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Have you ever seen someone fight in praying mantis style? Ever met a practitioner? If not, how do you know it's mystical?


A bit, no, and because the rest of traditional kung fu incorporates elements of mysticism common in asian mythology/religion/philosophy (they integrated all that stuff rather well, to the point that you cannot tell the difference). They also went about it in the opposite direction the europeans did. The entire system stylizes the movements of an (admittedly awesome) angry insect, and applies that to killing. Nothing wrong with that, it is just not as... efficient.

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If they don't talk about how the Buddha guides your fist to the opponent's face, then I don't think you're justified in calling it mystical.


Eastern mysticism does not operate like that. Their mysticism focuses on directing internal energy and finding internal serenity etc (please dont make me outline every eastern religion, you get the point). Their martial arts incorporate these elements. Western martial arts do not even include Jesus inside the drills.

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Sure, a concept of qi exists.


As undefined mystic energy

Quote:
So did the concept of humors in the West.


As drainable bodily fluids. Thus not mystic. Just wrong.

Quote:
Whereas in the West, people either stopped being Christians or the whole Christiandom thing went away. If you went back in time to the medieval ages when many WMA, unarmed and armed, were alive, WMA would have incorporated some hokey bullshit as well


No.... go read some manuals (there are translations if you dont speak middle-high german). You wont find Jesus in them. If hokey shit was included, it was not part of their drills, but personal. In Asia, they worked mysticism relating to qi into attack forms, seeking to concentrate qi into a single point to cause damage over and above what they could physically exert. When religion gets involved in the West, it has nothing to do with the fighting skills themselves. They do not develop parrying drills reliant upon the holy spirit inhabiting their sword. Instead, it is the Lord granting them courage etc and exists in parallel to their fighting skills

Asia: Mysticism incorporated into the skill of murder
Europe: Mysticism and religion exist in parallel to the skill of murder.

or you can look at it another way:

Asia: Martial arts are incorporated wholesale into asian religion and philosophy
Europe: Martial arts are strictly the skill of killing, and are not incorporated with philosophies like chivalry and christianity. What you do with your mace has nothing to do with Jesus or Chivalry. What you do before battle, and what you do after battle is over, that is where chivalry and jesus come in.



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 Post subject: Re: European Martial Arts? PostPosted: 2011-10-31 10:25pm
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Ancient Rome
Got a citation for that?

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As undefined mystic energy
Undefined? Chinese philosophers and doctors wrote rather a lot on medicine. Chinese doctors thought of qi in the same way as Western/Muslim doctors thought of humors. Namely that is it exists and that there are ways to manipulate it physically.

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As drainable bodily fluids. Thus not mystic. Just wrong.
Why isn't it mystic?

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What I am saying is that you cannot redefine it to exclude western martial arts as they were practiced when the term was first coined, because said western martial arts do not embody a full and complete way of life, complete with aesthetics that you think typifies an art. That would be silly. Instead, the necessary and sufficient condition for being considered a martial art is that you learn a standardized set of techniques to kill or injure people using your body or an extension thereof the killing power of which comes from your body's power. Anything else you put on top of that, is extra.
I don't want to exclude WMA. What I don't want is EMA excluded from the definition. That's what I've been trying to say. WMA are closer to EMA than you think and talking about EMA as if they're one thing is just futile. I mean the idea that they're all tradition based? This last century has seen more martial arts develop than ever! Granted, they all claim to be traditional, but that's because they want legitimacy. No one wants to train in a martial art that's a couple of decades old and was copied pretty much from somewhere else.

It's great that WMA are getting more attention, but it doesn't make you a big man to beat up on the EMA.

Quote:
A bit, no, and because the rest of traditional kung fu incorporates elements of mysticism common in asian mythology/religion/philosophy (they integrated all that stuff rather well, to the point that you cannot tell the difference). They also went about it in the opposite direction the europeans did. The entire system stylizes the movements of an (admittedly awesome) angry insect, and applies that to killing. Nothing wrong with that, it is just not as... efficient.
And you know this because you're a l33t martial artist. I mean come on. I would never say such a thing about a martial art that I've seen a bit of.

Quote:
Eastern mysticism does not operate like that. Their mysticism focuses on directing internal energy and finding internal serenity etc (please dont make me outline every eastern religion, you get the point). Their martial arts incorporate these elements. Western martial arts do not even include Jesus inside the drills.
You've never done Taekwondo have you? Judo? Seriously, how many Eastern martial arts do you have experience with? I feel like a broken record, but EMA is not what you think it is. I have never, ever, ever experienced 'directing internal energy' and 'finding internal serenity' in those two martial arts. Maybe there's some of that in tai-chi, but tai-chi is vastly misunderstood as well. You only deal with that sort of thing if you look at tai-chi from a philosophical point of view.


Last edited by hongi on 2011-10-31 10:28pm, edited 2 times in total.
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 Post subject: Re: European Martial Arts? PostPosted: 2011-10-31 10:27pm
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Alyrium, of course christianity had an influence about how you were supposed to conduct yourself in a battle, as does the chivalric code. You are simply flat wrong about this. See for example the criticism the swiss received for their use of pikes and weaponry, the criticism the genoese took for using their crossbowmen the way they did, or the criticism Henry V received for slaughtering surrendered nobles at Agincourt.



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 Post subject: Re: European Martial Arts? PostPosted: 2011-11-01 08:46am
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Alyrium Denryle wrote:
Spoonist wrote:
@Alyrium Denryle
My mistake if that is so, I could have easily confused the two.


I am, at present, checking to make sure I am correct on that one. They were certainly Crazy, like the other religious orders were, but not as nuts as templars given their roots as defenders of the sick...


Hospitallers where founded as group of men attatched to a hospital but following the First Crusade eveoled into a military order. First based in Rhodes (Where they where eventually driven out by the Ottomans) and then in Malta as a vassal of the Kingdom of Sicily.

In the 16th-17th Century they where engaged in anti-piracy duties around the Medd.

Most of my knowledge is from the Wiki page on them but I do have a book at home that looks at them, as well as other orders and muslim factions, but mainly during the crusading period.

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 Post subject: Re: European Martial Arts? PostPosted: 2011-11-01 10:18am
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@Hongi

I don't know how should I take your responding to aly even up to attributing my quotes to him?



By EMA and WMA I'm going to assume you mean eastern and western martial arts. If that is not the case please

correct me.

hongi wrote:
Also, why call EMA martial arts at all if it's a Western term being applied to Eastern concepts?

Because our dialog is in english? If we had used my local language we'd be discussing "fighting sports"

instead.
hongi wrote:
1 What do you know of EMA?
2 I'm not trying to be offensive.
3 Have you ever seen someone fight in praying mantis style?
4 Ever met a practitioner?
5 If not, how do you know it's mystical?
6 What do you know about it other than the fact that it imitates the style of an animal?
7 I think the most important question should be whether it works or not. If it works, then it doesn't matter how

ridiculous it looks or where it gets its inspiration from.
Lets see here...
1 Lots. But I'd like to know more.
2 You are trying to be belittling, whether we find that offensive or ironic is another matter.
3 Yes.
4 Yes, plenty. We have a local shaolin temple, I've met them and others both in social events and when they have

been demonstrating and teaching.
5 It has mystical components, especially wushu. There is very little competition, testing or double blind studies... Still it makes lots of claims.
6 What do you want to know?
7 Mantis only "works" when comparing to lesser training. When comparing to similar level of training in other

schools it is not a top contender. You are missing something key which most miss when it comes to evolutionary forces.

You only have to be competitive enough to spread. Then if it gets lots of practitioners it survives on that alone. If "works" and effectiveness truly was something key to martial arts we would see lots of them dissapear when faced with each other - they don't instead they seem to multiply. So "works" is not a key factor. If we did have real death matches that would change but thankfully we do not.
Also read up on what happened when Gong fu tried to prove themselves first in muay thai, then in K1, etc. Versus competitions is not in Gong fu favor.
However because of their mysticism and rituals they attract a huge crowd through that alone. Also the slow part of Tai ji attracts a completely different crowd than other martial arts.
Personnally for instance I would not select a martial art based on its effectiveness, that doesnt even make the top ten. Availability, fun, nice people, nice dojo, etc would come long before if it "works" or not. 剣道 is fun for instance, it is ridicolously outmatched by competitive fencing and you can't carry a bokken on a night out.
hongi wrote:
Whereas in the West, people either stopped being Christians or the whole Christiandom thing went away.
Again incorrect data. Yuros are just as superstitious as the rest of humanity. Just because the flavor of religion have changed doesn't mean that its gone. You mentined new age, etc. Ironically asian/indian superstition is gaining in yuro.
hongi wrote:
If they don't talk about how the Buddha guides your fist to the opponent's face, then I don't think you're justified in calling it mystical.
??? It is sufficient that they mention supernatural ki. Like shroom did.
hongi wrote:
I didn't say that it has never been a part of Western culture.
No, you falsely claimed that "The only reason that Western martial artists bow on their knees or from their waist is because that manner of showing respect was imported from the East. This is why I consider it art."
Something which is much worse beacuase of its implications. Care to retract?
hongi wrote:
As it is, I only bow when I meet other Koreans who are strangers. In fact, some people seem to get offended if they're expected to bow in places like Japan or Korea.
This has nothing to do with martial arts, where the tradition has remained. As well as theatre, ballroom dancing etc. You are again trying to dodge a false claim.
Alyrium Denryle wrote:
that you learn a standardized set of techniques to kill or injure people using your body or an extension thereof
isn't injury a bit harsh? Wrestling or aikido is aiming for submission or points.
Alyrium Denryle wrote:
As drainable bodily fluids. Thus not mystic. Just wrong.
Humors did have mysticism in it, a key point being that it only affected sinners or sin.
hongi wrote:
Chinese philosophers and doctors wrote rather a lot on medicine. Chinese doctors thought of qi in the same way as Western/Muslim doctors thought of humors. Namely that is it exists and that there are ways to manipulate it physically.
The point is that EMA still use it. Plus humors was not incorporated into how one would fight. So comparing the two in this specific context is flawed.
hongi wrote:
No one wants to train in a martial art that's a couple of decades old and was copied pretty much from somewhere else.
MMA, Israeli Krav Maga, fillippo modern Arnis, etc, how many more do you need? That you even wrote that sentence is a clear indication on how strong traditionalism is where you train.
hongi wrote:
but it doesn't make you a big man to beat up on the EMA.
Who is beating up on EMA?
hongi wrote:
And you know this because you're a l33t martial artist. I mean come on. I would never say such a thing about a martial art that I've seen a bit of.
Uhm, you did a very similar thing in more than one post showing clearly that you think that EMA influenced WMA, but miss how much they have gone back and forth, plus india and americas etc.
And if this is about mantis then you are way out of line, in that case style is more than substance, see my earlier ref.
It never could have been a top contender because its theme limits its execution. Moves that does not fit the theme were not included, so you'd have to train several of the 'styles' to get a better arsenal.


@Thanas re pope etc
Your examples are all large scale which are influenced by politics. Instead they clearly show that tech was used even when prohibited by the religion of choice. A very practical approach. A similar approach that the emperor of japan used vs the samurai class.

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 Post subject: Re: European Martial Arts? PostPosted: 2011-11-01 12:39pm
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Spoonist wrote:
@Thanas re pope etc
Your examples are all large scale which are influenced by politics. Instead they clearly show that tech was used even when prohibited by the religion of choice. A very practical approach. A similar approach that the emperor of japan used vs the samurai class.


It shows that christianity had an impact. Just because people ignored the pope at some point does not automatically devalue the impact of christianity and the chivalric code (something you conveniently skipped over) nor does it automatically make the criticism based on that of some actions null and void. Likewise, people breaking the chivalric code several times lead to those people being declared outright dead, like what happened to breton mercenaries when they were caught after battle.



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 Post subject: Re: European Martial Arts? PostPosted: 2011-11-01 04:59pm
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@Thanas
Me I think that culture plays a huge impact in all wars/conflict and thus on the everyday aspects of those martial arts, regardless of whether its religion, bushido, chivalry, etc or economic or social factors like slave trade, human sacrifice or ransoms to give some obvious examples.

But I'm curious, do you disagree with the whole premise or just with the details?
As in do you agree or disagree that when comparing martial arts, it seems that mysticism has throughout the centuries played a bigger role in eastern asian schools than it has in western european ones?
Do you see a historic deviation where I do not, as in they where more similar before the renaissance or somesuch?

To me it seems abundantly clear that heavy competition drives a more practical approach to how/which technique is used and if one looks on the development of Gong fu compared to Judo its clear which will have more fantastic elements to it and which one eventually boils down to fewer and fewer but more refined techniques.

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 Post subject: Re: European Martial Arts? PostPosted: 2011-11-01 05:14pm
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I am only disagreeing on Alyriums assertion that christianity or the chivalric code played no role in medieval warfare or the development thereof.

Alyrium Denryle wrote:
Europe: Martial arts are strictly the skill of killing, and are not incorporated with philosophies like chivalry and christianity. What you do with your mace has nothing to do with Jesus or Chivalry. What you do before battle, and what you do after battle is over, that is where chivalry and jesus come in.


I am not qualified enough to speak on Asian culture so I will not comment on it.



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A decision must be made in the life of every nation at the very moment when the grasp of the enemy is at its throat. Then, it seems that the only way to survive is to use the means of the enemy, to rest survival upon what is expedient, to look the other way. Well, the answer to that is 'survival as what'? A country isn't a rock. It's not an extension of one's self. It's what it stands for. It's what it stands for when standing for something is the most difficult! - Chief Judge Haywood

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