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#1
Old 09-28-2007, 09:34 PM
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Martial Arts: "Bullshido" and "McDojos"

I've developed an interest in martial arts, and through researching different styles on the internet I've come to learn of the prevalence of "Bullshido" and the "McDojo". It strikes me as an sad yet fascinating phenomenon. It really seems to be a minefield out there for the discriminating, prospective student.

Which martial arts are most susceptible to the bullshido/McDojo phenomenon, and why? In a general sense, on a scale of 1-10, how much bullshido is there in:

Tae Kwon Do:

Kung Fu:

Karate:

Ninjutsu:

Judo:

Jujutsu:

Aikido:

Hapkido:

Kenjutsu:

Brasilian Jujutsu:

Muay Thai:

I'm most interested in Kenjutsu. It looks like a beautiful and elegant disipline, and I find Samurai and katana lore/history intriguing. However, it must be hard to find a good kenjutsu school. Your thoughts?
#2
Old 09-28-2007, 09:59 PM
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This is based solely off my own experience in martial arts around Vancouver.

Tae Kwon Do: 9

Kung Fu: 5

Karate: 9

Ninjutsu: Haven't personally visited one.

Judo:3

Jujutsu: 4

Aikido: 5

Hapkido: 6

Kenjutsu: No idea, haven't personally visited one

Brasilian Jujutsu: 3

Muay Thai: 2

I wouldn't really advise picking a martial art based solely on this kind of data though - you won't be guaranteed to get a good gym, and you may end up learning a style you're not keen on.

What interests you about martial arts? Do you want an opportunity to compete eventually? Is it for personal safety? Which style you pick has a lot to do with what you plan on doing with it. And, depending on what your reasoning is, you may not want to leave boxing off the list.

Most gyms in North America that I've seen offer an introductory class. If I were you, I'd visit at least a handful of them before I settled into one.
#3
Old 09-28-2007, 10:00 PM
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One more thing regarding muay thai: a lot of kick boxing gyms claim to be muay thai kick boxing and aren't. If you were to add kick boxing to the list, it'd be around an 8 I think.
#4
Old 09-28-2007, 10:02 PM
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That guy makes some good points but it sounds like he mostly has an axe to grind with ATA. He says that he's got "15 years experience" and was a "12 year old black belt", so let's suppose he took 3 years to hit that level at a McDojo, that makes him a 24 year old grumpy dude. Just keep that in the back of your mind. A lot of his "warning signs" put a "Dude, WTF" look on my face.

Reading his points, he's very much of the opinion that a real legit martial art is all about practical self-defense and not much else. While that's certainly a valid way to train it's not what everyone is into - some people might want to learn traditional weapons styles within kung fu, or competitive TKD or kendo or something, and so following that guy's advice and avoiding schools that don't do lots of grappling wouldn't help them much.

IMHO (since we're here), take some time to figure out what style and what approach you are into, do your reading, talk to people who are into that art, and go check out some local schools. I've never seen a school that wasn't happy to have a prospective student observe, and most places will give you your first class for free. See if the instructors are good teachers, what's the student community like, how's the overall tone, is it a good fit for what you want to learn?
#5
Old 09-28-2007, 10:54 PM
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I hope this isn't a hijack. It's somewhat related, anyway.

I've been thinking about studying a martial art. I'd like to learn something useful in a practical way, and improve my fitness at the same time (middle-aged, active guy here).

Some friends have recommended Krav Maga to me. Any opinions?
#6
Old 09-28-2007, 11:36 PM
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Thanks for the input so far.

I stated earlier that I am primarily interested in kenjutsu, but with its apparent rarity, that might be a pipe dream.

For my second choice I would want to study a martial art that offered physical and mental conditioning and offered real and effective techniques for self defense. I would be interested in strikes and blocks, locks, holds, throws, ground work, etc.. Did I just describe two or three arts? I doubt any one single art teaches all of that effectively.....

Also, I'm not scared of working hard and busting my ass. It's the only way, really. I don't mind getting hurt as long as it's not permanent. I'm also not too worried about superficial awards like belt promotions. I'm not a guy who needs to earn a black belt in 3 years, or whatever. I just want the goods, without any fluff.
#7
Old 09-29-2007, 01:18 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shamozzle
Thanks for the input so far.

I stated earlier that I am primarily interested in kenjutsu, but with its apparent rarity, that might be a pipe dream.

For my second choice I would want to study a martial art that offered physical and mental conditioning and offered real and effective techniques for self defense. I would be interested in strikes and blocks, locks, holds, throws, ground work, etc.. Did I just describe two or three arts? I doubt any one single art teaches all of that effectively.....

Also, I'm not scared of working hard and busting my ass. It's the only way, really. I don't mind getting hurt as long as it's not permanent. I'm also not too worried about superficial awards like belt promotions. I'm not a guy who needs to earn a black belt in 3 years, or whatever. I just want the goods, without any fluff.
Depends on where you are, I guess. Around here there are a few places that teach kendo, kenjutsu, iaijutsu and related arts.

If you're interested in really learning how to defend yourself I will actually go with one of that guy's recommendations, namely find a school that does a lot of full-contact work, whether it's sparring with pads or wrestling or whatever. I am convinced that if you haven't applied your techniques against an actively resisting opponent you haven't truly learned to defend yourself. That's one of the reasons that I enjoyed judo and BJJ, by their very nature you spend a lot of time practicing live with someone who is not cooperating, and because there isn't any striking (and there is a safe way to deal with submission holds like chokes and locks) you can go pretty much full-on during practice. That also makes for a great workout.

I don't know if there's one particular style that includes everything. There are arts like Krav Maga that are built pretty much from the ground up for self defense; I know that I've seen schools around here offering general MMA (mixed martial arts) training, which includes boxing, muay thai and no-gi grappling.
#8
Old 09-29-2007, 01:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shamozzle
Thanks for the input so far.

I stated earlier that I am primarily interested in kenjutsu, but with its apparent rarity, that might be a pipe dream.

For my second choice I would want to study a martial art that offered physical and mental conditioning and offered real and effective techniques for self defense. I would be interested in strikes and blocks, locks, holds, throws, ground work, etc.. Did I just describe two or three arts? I doubt any one single art teaches all of that effectively.....

Also, I'm not scared of working hard and busting my ass. It's the only way, really. I don't mind getting hurt as long as it's not permanent. I'm also not too worried about superficial awards like belt promotions. I'm not a guy who needs to earn a black belt in 3 years, or whatever. I just want the goods, without any fluff.
Shamoozle
Can't help you with the Kenjutsu. In truth, I've never even seen a Kenjutsu dojo.
For the rest of what you want I would recommend Ju Jutsu. It has everything you're looking for although body types can make it a pain.
The Kali is good if you like weapons, sticks, knives, and short-swords. There is also an empty-handed portion of the curriculum that is taught last. The empty-handed part of Kali is a lot like Ju Jutsu. Check around Fillipino communities for this but beware of bullshit artists.
FWIW, I have a first dan in Ju Jutsu and a ranking more-or-less equivalent to a brown belt in Kali.

Hope this helps.

Testy
#9
Old 09-29-2007, 02:17 AM
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Pick a martial art, then find a good place to learn it. Trying to pick a martial art based on it's potential for being taught incorrectly, is just not the way to start.

Are you interested in evasive non-striking moves? Do you want to learn how to deliver an effective strike? Are practical hand to hand combat techniques going to benefit you the most?

Define why you want to learn such a thing. Sport? Ass-kicking? Discipline? Self defense?

Where are your strengths? Are you tall, muscular, quick, dexterous, limber, able to walk on bamboo reeds?

How committed are you? How much are you willing to pay/sacrifice for this?

These are all important questions. Answer them before you just choose a discipline based on how many potential "McDojos" there might be for any given art.
















If I may be a hypocrite for a moment... good luck finding a legal/useful ninjitsu Dojo. The traditional killing art is banned in some states, and poorly imitated in others. Standard "Karate" and Tae Kwon Do, as well as Kung Fu in some forms tend to get really watered down in the US. Even some of the better venues only provide an "ok" martial art IMO. YMMV.

I wonder if anyone still teaches Jeet Kun Do?
#10
Old 09-29-2007, 05:25 AM
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Saintly Loser, I don't know anything about Krav Maga, but Aikido is extremely good for endurance. The stretching routine also tends to be extremely comprehensive. The main downside, though, is a very shallow learning curve: in my experience it takes between two and five years for most people to grow confident and experienced enough for it to be a reasonable method of self-defense.
#11
Old 09-29-2007, 06:44 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Testy
ShamoozleThe Kali is good if you like weapons, sticks, knives, and short-swords. There is also an empty-handed portion of the curriculum that is taught last.
It depends on the school. I studied Kamatuuran Kali for a while, and plan to start again soon. They throw a little bit of everything at you and see what sticks, and then try to make more stuff stick. There's also a hybrid art called Kajukenbo that has a similar philosophy, although they concentrate mostly on unarmed techniques.
#12
Old 09-29-2007, 07:58 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sturmhauke
It depends on the school. I studied Kamatuuran Kali for a while, and plan to start again soon. They throw a little bit of everything at you and see what sticks, and then try to make more stuff stick. There's also a hybrid art called Kajukenbo that has a similar philosophy, although they concentrate mostly on unarmed techniques.
sturmhake

Thanks for that, I hadn't heard of Kamatuuran Kali. Probably lots of things in that category.
I started with one stick, then went to two and after that it was short-bladed cutting weapons and combinations. This was followed by the empty-handed portions. Frankly we didn't get into the short-sword that much. It was fun, but not really all that useful and mostly recapped the stick techniques.
The empty handed parts were somewhat similar to Ju Jutsu, lots of locks, trips, throws, chokeholds and breaks. Not so much striking with the hands though.
I always enjoyed Kali because it was so informal. Uniforms were optional, not too much bowing, more or less the same rules as the Dope, Don't be a jerk. It was refreshing after the Ju Jutsu classes.
I've got to get some more good rattan. Last week I ran out of good sticks and smashed part of a set made of Kamagong wood. That stuff's too beautiful to actually use.

Shamoozle
If you want something that is good for kicking butt and that keeps you in great shape, try Thai boxing. You get whacked a lot which hurts, so if you have a problem with that it might not be your best bet. OTOH, it works VERY well for random violence. As someone up-thread mentioned, don't accept kick-boxing as a substitute for Thai boxing. If you're going to get whipped-on and exhausted you may as well get your money's worth and actual Thai boxing is waaaay better than kick boxing.
Also, keep an eye on how the instructor teaches. When he demos something to a student, does he do it slowly and properly, or does he try to put them through the mat? I've had one instructor (British, full-contact professional) do this to me and it was a very long year. I also didn't learn as much as I should have.

Regards

Testy
#13
Old 09-29-2007, 08:02 AM
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Shamozzle

I forgot to add something. I'd give up on the Ninjutsu part of things. There really isn't any good way to tell if what he's teaching is actually some sort of Ninja technique or just something he saw on television. The whole Ninja thing is way overblown and there is some doubt about whether there is anything that could rightfully be called Ninjutsu.

Regards

Testy
#14
Old 09-29-2007, 09:02 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shamozzle

For my second choice I would want to study a martial art that offered physical and mental conditioning and offered real and effective techniques for self defense. I would be interested in strikes and blocks, locks, holds, throws, ground work, etc.. Did I just describe two or three arts? I doubt any one single art teaches all of that effectively.....
For the above I would recommend trying Yoshinkan (or Yoshokai) Aikido, if you can find a dojo that teaches it. Like all forms of Aikido it uses strikes, locks, throws etc, but unlike most forms of Aikido it is much more immediately effective as a means of self defence (indeed it is taught to the Tokyo Police for this purpose).
#15
Old 09-29-2007, 10:13 AM
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Kenpo is all self defense. In the Tracy's kenpo system there's only a handful of weapons katas and all of the self defense moves up to 1st black are open-hand (although they say all of the moves are designed with the idea that you can do them with a weapon in hand).

Al Tracy himself is NOT a fan of sparring - says it teaches you to hit lighter and ignore the knees, which is true - but most Tracy's Kenpo dojos will incorporate it into their schedules because that's what people want. I've sparred plenty in my school.

There is no ground work in the beginning stages of Tracy's Kenpo. Not sure if there are any (I'm only 1st black) as you go along. You really need to be kickass if you plan on not getting to the ground in a fight...Judo gives you amazing ground technique, tho.

So, from what I've seen, for pure self-defense, Kenpo is all that.
#16
Old 09-29-2007, 01:00 PM
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If you're really interested in finding something "legit," I would reccomend emailing a martial arts instructor at the nearest major university. I took a tae kwon do class in college from a first class guy who competed at a national level. He told us that basically anyone can set up shop and claim whatever they want just because of the lack of a governing force in the states... which is where I'm assuming you are.

He told us to check in with him if we wanted to know if the person had any credentials. Many large universities have kinesiology programs that include martial arts. It seems like they could givve you some reccomendations of good local places.
#17
Old 09-29-2007, 01:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shamozzle
... I stated earlier that I am primarily interested in kenjutsu, but with its apparent rarity, that might be a pipe dream. ...
Have you looked here, Kendo America?

CMC fnord!
#18
Old 09-29-2007, 07:17 PM
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Thanks again, everyone, for the advice.

I have thought about kendo, but I've read on this forum and others that many found it unenjoyable, so I'm kind of turned off by it.
#19
Old 09-29-2007, 08:14 PM
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Kendo is Japanese sport fencing. It bears about as much resemblance to a real katana fight as European sport fencing does to a real rapier fight - very little. I'm not saying that they're worthless, just that they're not oriented towards actual combat.
#20
Old 09-29-2007, 08:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sturmhauke
Kendo is Japanese sport fencing. It bears about as much resemblance to a real katana fight as European sport fencing does to a real rapier fight - very little. I'm not saying that they're worthless, just that they're not oriented towards actual combat.
Agreed. If you want to learn real katana technique, I suggest iaido. I've been starting to get into this, as well as tameshigiri (practice cutting) recently. Good info here.
#21
Old 09-29-2007, 08:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Testy
sturmhake

Thanks for that, I hadn't heard of Kamatuuran Kali. Probably lots of things in that category.
It's an offshoot of Villabrille-Largusa Kali. Kamatuuran is pretty small, maybe a few dozen students.
#22
Old 09-30-2007, 03:13 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sturmhauke
It's an offshoot of Villabrille-Largusa Kali. Kamatuuran is pretty small, maybe a few dozen students.
Sturmhake

OK, now Villabrille I've certainly heard of although I had no idea there was an offshoot.
And let me second what you said about Kendo. I took a few lessons once, just to see what it was like. In all honesty I had a great time wailing away at people with the shinai but it has the same relationship to martial arts as tennis.
As a funny aside, the Kendo instructor (an elderly Japanese man) was majorly peeved when I tried using some of the Kali blocks and counters. He informed me that "Kendo is a Japanese gentleman's sport and what you just did was more appropriate in an alley!" I think that was my last lesson and I turned in my shinai.

Regards

Testy
#23
Old 09-30-2007, 09:17 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Omi no Kami
Saintly Loser, I don't know anything about Krav Maga, but Aikido is extremely good for endurance. The stretching routine also tends to be extremely comprehensive. The main downside, though, is a very shallow learning curve: in my experience it takes between two and five years for most people to grow confident and experienced enough for it to be a reasonable method of self-defense.
Thanks for the tip. I'll look into Aikido. The learning curve doesn't bother me -- it's not like my life is such that I have a pressing need to acquire self-defense skills. Just seemed like a two-birds-with-one-stone thing -- fitness and a useful (well, hopefully never, but just in case) skill.
#24
Old 09-30-2007, 10:27 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Omi no Kami
The main downside, though, is a very shallow learning curve: in my experience it takes between two and five years for most people to grow confident and experienced enough for it to be a reasonable method of self-defense.
I'm sorry, do you mean a steep learning curve? I felt reasonably confident in Tae Kwon Do after three sessions a week for about a year. I haven't done it in years, but it's my first instinct whenever I'm thinking self-defense. I only ever got as far as green belt, but I still know I'm going to be more prepared to defend myself than someone who had no martial arts training whatsoever. I've managed to retain pretty good basic form and basic moves even without practicing for years.

Aikido, on the other hand, kicked my fucking ass. I didn't get too far with it at all, but I got far enough to know it was way harder (for me, anyways) than Tae Kwon Do. It requires an incredible level of endurance and accuracy. Also, for those who like their martial arts pretty, watching two people spar in Aikido is like watching a beautiful choreographed dance. I find it fascinating just to watch, and it's much more suitable for my nonviolent/non-aggressive peace-lovin' pacifist self.

I do martial arts for the discipline, the exercise, and the challenge. When I return to it, I'll be returning to Aikido. My favorite thing about it is what I perceive to be an incredibly steep learning curve--you will not be bored for a very, very long time.
#25
Old 09-30-2007, 09:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Valgard
That guy makes some good points but it sounds like he mostly has an axe to grind with ATA. He says that he's got "15 years experience" and was a "12 year old black belt", so let's suppose he took 3 years to hit that level at a McDojo, that makes him a 24 year old grumpy dude. Just keep that in the back of your mind. A lot of his "warning signs" put a "Dude, WTF" look on my face.
As they did mine. I've been in the ATA for 20 years, as well as having trained in another style. It's amusing in some ways to read these "ATA sux" posts from people. The majority of them are from people who couldn't hack it in the ATA.

Quote:
Reading his points, he's very much of the opinion that a real legit martial art is all about practical self-defense and not much else. While that's certainly a valid way to train it's not what everyone is into - some people might want to learn traditional weapons styles within kung fu, or competitive TKD or kendo or something, and so following that guy's advice and avoiding schools that don't do lots of grappling wouldn't help them much.

IMHO (since we're here), take some time to figure out what style and what approach you are into, do your reading, talk to people who are into that art, and go check out some local schools. I've never seen a school that wasn't happy to have a prospective student observe, and most places will give you your first class for free. See if the instructors are good teachers, what's the student community like, how's the overall tone, is it a good fit for what you want to learn?
Agreed. If a school is not willing to let you observe classes or let you try classes for a while, there is a problem. I'll give anyone 30 days free instruction at the drop of a hat. That way, they can make a better informed decision as to whether they want to continue training with me.
#26
Old 09-30-2007, 11:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dnooman
I wonder if anyone still teaches Jeet Kun Do?
There's a Jeet Kun Do dojo in my hometown that's been there for well over 20 years now.
#27
Old 10-01-2007, 10:36 AM
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Originally Posted by Saintly Loser
Some friends have recommended Krav Maga to me. Any opinions?
Krav maga is an explosive style, based on quickness. From a physical fitness point of view, expect an aerobic workout. For combative techniques, IMnshO krav maga is more direct and brutal than classic styles.
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#28
Old 10-01-2007, 10:46 AM
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I had a lot more fun working out in a boxing gym than I ever did in TKD or Aikido. If I was going to do that kind of stuff again, I'd probably look for a MMA gym or something

Those kinds of martial arts attract a lot of really lame dudes. The kind of dudes who would get serious about emailing realultimatepower.

Who's looking for an external source of discipline?

Even if your dojo isn't practicing Bullshido, I think its hard to tell the difference. I practiced with a serious, sincere Aikido instructor, but when I look back, I can't believe I listened to the shit he had to say. . .harmony with nature? Energy flows? Gimme a break.

Last edited by Trunk; 10-01-2007 at 10:46 AM.
#29
Old 10-01-2007, 11:01 AM
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In general, you want to avoid places that have:
  • long-term or expensive locked-in contracts
  • regular belt test schedules where you take the test on their timetable instead of yours
  • places that purport to teach several arts under one roof unless there are different instructors for each
  • a high teacher/student ratio

Those are all signs of a place that's more oriented toward making money than teaching you. Also, unless you specifically want to compete in sport fighting, avoid places with lots of pretty trophies. Trophies are nice, but all that means is that the teacher or the students have competed in a lot of tournaments where points were counted and rules against hurting people were followed.

If you want more practically-oriented martial arts, look for places that don't have a lot of competition trophies in the window. Competition is all about the sport aspect. They may teach you how to score points, but not how to fight. Those two goals overlap a bit, but not a whole hell of a lot.

The individual teacher is the most important element of learning any martial art. In my opinion, the teacher is more important than the style. If you've got a good teacher, you can seriously learn some practical self defense from something as dance-like as Tai Chi. First hand screening is the only real way to tell whether the school is going to be good or not.

Tae Kwon Do
High potential for BS, but you can find good instructors. Most likely the good ones will be Korean immigrants or people who have trained in Korea. Most US-only guys will have trained in sport fighting. Not necessarily true, but in general this will be the case.

Kung Fu
Aside from noting that I've seen some very nice movement in different forms of Kung Fu, I don't have much experience with this set of arts. There are TONS of different schools and approaches, and I'm probably only aware of about half of them. Quality is probably like anything else, total grab-bag of good and bad. You'll have to screen on an individual basis, or find a local recommendation from someone you trust.

Karate
Like TKD, can be made kid-friendly and thus has high potential for crap teaching. Here, Japanese ties don't necessarily mean quality as Karate ranges from no- to light-contact in some ryŻ to hard-core bruising and bloody noses sparring. No way to know what you're going to get unless you do some research on the school's tradition and/or go to the school and see for yourself.

Ninjutsu
As related in this thread, there are some real headcases in the Bujinkan, but in general, all caveats being taken into consideration, a Bujinkan dojo is going to be decent. It's where I started out. If you've got one in your area, try to get an outside opinion on it from one of the other solid dojo, like Jack Hoban's place. He trains with Hatsumi-sensei regularly and I've personally worked with him. He's a good, no-nonsense, grounded guy.

Other than Bujinkan, I wouldn't consider any school in the US to be teaching something even remotely related to Ninjutsu, and truthfully, the vast majority of the curriculum of the Bujinkan have nothing to do with it. There are a couple of KoryŻ (old tradition) schools in Japan that teach Ninjutsu, but you'd have to make a serious commitment to living and training here before they'd even consider you. Most likely not even then.

Judo
Sportified, but some good stuff there. Will kick your ass into shape. Judo guys usually get into incredible condition for competition. One thing I don't like about modern sport Judo is that they sometimes deliberately take falls badly in an attempt to keep their opponents from getting points for a clean throw. That's counterproductive when the whole point of learning ukemi is supposed to be learning how to get thrown without being hurt.

Jujutsu
In general, harder, more practical form of Judo, with the inclusion of sport-unfriendly locks and throws that have been left out of the modern Judo curriculum. Also teaches kicks and punches. Some schools might even teach pressure points. A good choice for relatively practical fighting style, but with the recent popularity of Brasilian Jujutsu due to MMF, your chances of finding anything not unduly influenced by the Gracies is low.

Brasilian Jujutsu
Some stuff is more practical and harder edged, some is not so good, from what I've seen. For better or worse, this style has made its name from MMF competitions. Problem is, that means they focus on "dominating the opponent." That means rolling around on the ground getting dirty.

Sometimes that's a good thing; ground fighting is something schools are often weak at, and it can be very important. In your typical shitty neighborhood with broken glass and other crap on the sidewalk, dealing with a guy who might be just a diversion for a group mugging, domination fighting is probably not the way to go. In a bar, giving the guy's buddies free kicks at your kidneys and head while you're tied up on the floor with the belligerent drunk is a good way to end up in the hospital pissing blood, or puking and brain-damaged from a serious concussion.

I guess you can tell that I don't like their focus too much, though I do think they have some good points.

Aikido
Most styles are very soft. Depends on the school though. Some very good stuff in there, but takes a lot of practice to get good enough to be practical, again depending on the training style. Great for learning ukemi (breakfalls and rolls) for learning joint locks, and can be great for learning how to smoothly receive attacks so that you remain in a good position without getting hurt and without having to do hard-style blocking. Some very similar movement and techniques in my early training has saved my ass a few times.

Hapkido
I know next to nothing about this, even though Japanese martial arts is my main thing. Sorry.

Kenjutsu/Iaijutsu
I'm studying this at a very small local school. By small I mean me and about 2 or 3 regular students. Even the locals barely know it exists.

Your chances of finding a reputable school State-side are pretty low. Schools that teach Kenjutsu or Iaijutsu (usually a bit of both) are part of the KoryŻ, and that means that it takes a lot more of a commitment on the student's part than most martial arts. A good teacher will be competent in Japanese, and will almost certainly have lived and trained in Japan for several years. One way to know if he's legit is to ask about the history. He will probably tell you more than you ever wanted to know about it, while pulling out reams of scrolls and books for documentation, showing you pictures of gravestones, etc.

There's usually not a lot of anything but sword work at one of these schools, maybe a few hand to hand techniques. You will probably be doing a lot of solitary kata for form practice, and probably doing it to the point of annoyance. We do some cutting and receiving practice with wooden swords, but not near enough for my taste. My practical-oriented early teaching makes me impatient with traditional Japanese methods sometimes.

Then again, if you want practical, you probably won't be into learning how to hit people with a three-foot razor blade; that's been more or less obsolete for the last few centuries. If you do want to learn sword work, go for one of the Western martial arts schools that have been growing lately. I'd frankly like to learn some of that. Check out ARMA or one of the other organizations for local schools.

Muay Thai
This can be some some hardcore training. The conditioning is going to be almost as painful as learning how to hit and get hit. I've only met a couple of guys who did this. They said that the first few months were hell.

On the other hand, the payoff is that you will learn how to take hits, protect yourself from serious damage, and keep fighting. The prospect of getting hurt a bit won't make you hesitate, and you'll be used to dealing with real fight-like conditions, so you probably won't freeze up in shock in an attack.

Krav Maga
I don't have personal experience with this other than some very limited cross-training with a guy from Israel who did this at the same time he was involved in the Bujinkan. From what I talked about with him and what I've seen from some demonstration videos, it shares some aspects of the newer practical fighting schools that have appeared in the US recently in that they often seem to emphasize using natural reactions to deal with attacks. Again, you should probably look for guys who have gone to the source, training in Israel or with people who do.
#30
Old 10-01-2007, 03:16 PM
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I'd agree with most of what's already been said, with maybe the caveats that some (but not all) sport fighters with a lot of trophies on display also know how to seriously hurt you, and that some instructors training multiple styles actually do know their stuff. At the school I used to train at in Houston, the instructor taught classes in Jeet Kune Do, Kali, submission grappling, Brazillian Jiu-Jitsu, MMA, and Muay Thai, and really was competent to teach them all. You just have to be careful to check their lineage and see if they know what they're talking about, although a guy who claimed to teach thirty-something arts (some do) would still raise an eyebrow.

Some of the stuff listed in the article I'd tend to agree with, and some I think he's overstated. For example, one of his red flags that says a school is "100% McDojo, without question" is an instructor who claims to be a grandmaster/9th degree or higher that is under 50. Okay, I agree that most grandmasters are old far...uh, dignified gentlemen of a certain age, but then on the other hand you've got someone like John "Pit Master" Hackleman, Chuck Liddell's trainer, who was promoted to 10th degree by Grandmaster Walter Godin at the age of 41 in 2000. That's unusually young, but he's got unusually good credentials. He goes by "John" instead of "Grandmaster," and you'd have to ask him or research to find out what his rank actually is, because he hangs his hat on his accomplishments instead of his rank. He also has over 200 students including some children at his school, "the Pit," but despite his rank and the number of students he has I don't think a lot a folks would call the Pit a McDojo.

As far as which arts have a tendancy towards Bullshido/McDojoism, I've always been of the opinion that you're going to find some of that sort of thing in any art. Tae Kwon Do has a perhaps undeserved reputation for it, but I think that's largely due to the fact that it's the most prevalent art in the U.S. More instructors probably means more opportunity to run into a bad one. That doesn't mean there aren't quality martial artists teaching TKD, though.

Which martial art should you study and which should you avoid? I've always felt like that was kind of like telling them what to name their kid, or maybe more accurately which new car to buy. Figure out what you're looking for, "test drive" a few, and appraise them as objectively as you can. What are you looking for? Do you want to practice something fun and graceful? Get into shape and win some trophies? Compete in the ring? Roll around on the ground choking people? Avoid other people sweating on you if at all possible? Learn no-nonsense self defense even if you have to get knocked around a little? The key is to figure out what you want and find someone who can not only get you there, but who you're comfortable with and enjoy practicing with, because you're making a pretty hefty long term commitment of your time and energy. You may have, say, a top ranked Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt instructor in your town, but if you find his personality too gruff, his classes too rough, hate rolling around on the ground, and think his practice space too smelly, you're not going to want to go. Find an art or a couple of arts that appeal to you, and look around you area for someone qualified to teach it that you are comfortable learning from.
#31
Old 10-01-2007, 03:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trunk
Even if your dojo isn't practicing Bullshido, I think its hard to tell the difference. I practiced with a serious, sincere Aikido instructor, but when I look back, I can't believe I listened to the shit he had to say. . .harmony with nature? Energy flows? Gimme a break.
That sort of thing is very common in Asian martial arts. It's just part of the culture. Some of it is woo-woo bullshit, but some of it is just a different way of describing things that you could also model with physics and kinesiology. For instance, I had an instructor tell me once that I had a blockage in my shoulder that prevented energy flow to my hand when I was attempting a punch. It sounds like crap, until you realize that a solid punch starts in your feet. You push off the ground, rotate your hip and torso forward, and then your arm throws the punch. If your shoulder or any other joints or muscles are stiff, you will lose kinetic energy and your punch will be less powerful.
#32
Old 10-01-2007, 04:03 PM
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There have been a few comments about TKD being subject to a lot McDojo-ism. I really wouldn't know if that's true in the US as I don't live there. I did take TKD for a couple of months out of curiosity. In the particular dojo I attended there was an older Korean man that owned the place. I forget his ranking but in order to advance any more he had to go to Korea and submit his own addition to the art. A kata, I think.
The guy that actually gave most of the lessons was also Korean and looked like he'd been built specifically for kicking people's butts. Occasionally, the older guy would give a lesson and it was a whole different animal from the younger man.
I was busted once for doing something in a sparring match that was definitely not a TKD move and the younger guy got quite peevish about it. The older man had no problems at all with what I did.
I asked him about that later and he said that when he was learning this in Korea, sparring was much more important than now and that examinations were only given once each year. The result of that was that when you were sparring for rank you didn't want to leave a doubt in anyone's mind who won the round.

Oh, and before I forget, let me second sleel's point about the Muay Thai being big on conditioning. I have NEVER been that tired in my life. I believe that in Thailand they won't even let you in the ring if you're over 35.

Regards

Testy
#33
Old 10-01-2007, 04:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by olivesmarch4th
I'm sorry, do you mean a steep learning curve? I felt reasonably confident in Tae Kwon Do after three sessions a week for about a year. I haven't done it in years, but it's my first instinct whenever I'm thinking self-defense. I only ever got as far as green belt, but I still know I'm going to be more prepared to defend myself than someone who had no martial arts training whatsoever. I've managed to retain pretty good basic form and basic moves even without practicing for years.

Aikido, on the other hand, kicked my fucking ass. I didn't get too far with it at all, but I got far enough to know it was way harder (for me, anyways) than Tae Kwon Do. It requires an incredible level of endurance and accuracy. Also, for those who like their martial arts pretty, watching two people spar in Aikido is like watching a beautiful choreographed dance. I find it fascinating just to watch, and it's much more suitable for my nonviolent/non-aggressive peace-lovin' pacifist self.

I do martial arts for the discipline, the exercise, and the challenge. When I return to it, I'll be returning to Aikido. My favorite thing about it is what I perceive to be an incredibly steep learning curve--you will not be bored for a very, very long time.
Pardon, yes; I seem to have have steep and shallow mixed up. In my experience it's really, really hard in the beginning, and I always try to mention that up front: a lot of people tend to get discouraged, especially since it doesn't tend to feel like you're making much progress. (Personally, in my own mind I was as clumsy and disorganized after two years of practice as I was on the first night. It wasn't until the instructor started having me work with new students that I realized how much I'd improved.)

Also, no matter what martial art you do, stretch even on your non-training days! Make sure that you know the stretches well, and have another student or the instructor correct your form on any new stretches or warmup routines that you learn in the class, but in general your body will be a lot happier if your dojo's stretching routine becomes a regular thing.
#34
Old 10-01-2007, 04:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Testy
Oh, and before I forget, let me second sleel's point about the Muay Thai being big on conditioning. I have NEVER been that tired in my life. I believe that in Thailand they won't even let you in the ring if you're over 35.
My understanding is that they'll let you into the ring, but most 35 year old Thaiboxers can barely get into the ring. Thaiboxers start very young and fight as often as every two weeks, the result being that most retire by their mid-to-late twenties due to the physical demands and punishment.
#35
Old 10-01-2007, 04:22 PM
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Check out college courses. They're often open to the public for a suitable fee (which is often the same as students pay) and the instructors generally know what they're doing.

I also don't like the dumping on karate here. A good karate studio is easy to find; it's just that bad ones are easy to find, too.

Lastly, no, there are no actual ninjutsu teachers around, and if there were, they wouldn't teach you. Unless you plan to learn how to break intlo a samurai house, assassinate the occupants, and escape with your honrless hide, you really shouldn't be looking for one. The teahcers there most likely DO know some martial arts, but it's not ninjutsu. That ignoble profession had very, very little to do with combat, and was mostly a collection of dirty-dealing, spying, forgery, scouting, survival, and otherwise screwing with people you didn't like. The combat training was quite commonplace, and if anything, was inferior to a non-ninja samurai (yes, ninja were samurai, too). Non-ninja samurai did not spend much time learning or practicing the arts of deceit, and in fact most spent a grotesque amount of time training in combat. A ninja was probably much inferior.
#36
Old 10-01-2007, 06:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smiling bandit
That ignoble profession had very, very little to do with combat, and was mostly a collection of dirty-dealing, spying, forgery, scouting, survival, and otherwise screwing with people you didn't like.
Lies!! All lies of the pirate-biased media, pushing their pro-pirate agenda!
#37
Old 10-01-2007, 07:15 PM
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Hapkido-- If you can find a 'Just Hapkido', school, I would recommend it. But they are very very rare.

I spent a year attending a school I had joined for the Hapkido, and was quite annoyed to discover that it was pretty much just a TKD school, with a tiny smidgen of Hapkido. I was very frustrated with this, especially when I figured out that he pretty much gave out belts, regardless of ability.

I did Kuk Sool Won for several years, in my early 20's, and I really really liked that. Lots of Hapkido base, with some more Chinese influenced forms. Hapkido and Kuk Sool Won come from the same branch of KMA. If there was a KSW school close enough to me, I would probably start again, if only to get my belt and get back in shape....
#38
Old 10-01-2007, 07:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Testy
ShamoozleFor the rest of what you want I would recommend Ju Jutsu.
I took "street style hapkido" for a couple of years. I loved my instructor and my class, which was a serious workout and taught me some hard-core self-defense techniques, everything we did was applicable to real-world self-defense. I remember when I moved out of the area asking my instructor a similar question--how do I find an instructor to teach me something useful? I knew I wasn't likely to find a martial arts studio teaching street-style hapkido, so how do I choose another style?
What he told me was that it didn't much matter what style I chose, with the exceptions that TKD is largely stylized and not terribly useful for real-world fighting, and to avoid Judo and Ju-Jitsu as students have an insanely high rate of joint injury in training.
#39
Old 10-02-2007, 01:27 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pravnik
My understanding is that they'll let you into the ring, but most 35 year old Thaiboxers can barely get into the ring. Thaiboxers start very young and fight as often as every two weeks, the result being that most retire by their mid-to-late twenties due to the physical demands and punishment.
pravnil

You've got a serious point about the damage. My wife was Thai and her father was a big fan of Muay Thai. I've only met maybe two ex-Boxers that had their brains in an unscrambles state.
We had one in Saudi for a few years. He was a short-order cook at a local hotel. He said his coach told him to leave and do something else before he wound-up stupid. He was a bantam-weight and used to hit me almost completely at will. Training is odd. They teach a few things but most of the rest of it is sparring and whipping-up on a heavy bag until your leg won't come off the ground anymore. Then you do the other leg.

Regards

Testy
#40
Old 10-02-2007, 01:39 AM
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Originally Posted by NajaNivea
I took "street style hapkido" for a couple of years. I loved my instructor and my class, which was a serious workout and taught me some hard-core self-defense techniques, everything we did was applicable to real-world self-defense. I remember when I moved out of the area asking my instructor a similar question--how do I find an instructor to teach me something useful? I knew I wasn't likely to find a martial arts studio teaching street-style hapkido, so how do I choose another style?
What he told me was that it didn't much matter what style I chose, with the exceptions that TKD is largely stylized and not terribly useful for real-world fighting, and to avoid Judo and Ju-Jitsu as students have an insanely high rate of joint injury in training.
NajaNivea
Well, he's got a point on the joint injury thing. REAL easy to do on some of those holds. I had my shoulder seriously messed-up once and had my wife rubbing Tiger Balm all over my aging carcass many times. Also, since I'm quite tall, the throws were difficult with a shorter sparring partner. Aside from those things, I really enjoyed it. Still, I think it was a very good art. There is a vast syllabus and responses to almost anything. I considered it very good for self-defense BUT it takes (a LOT) longer to learn than a straight self-defense course.
It definitely did NOT have the philosophy of doing minimal damage to your attacker, put the guy down and keep working on him until he stops trying to get up. If it were available I'd do it again.
I wish I knew more about Hapkido. I don't think I've ever met someone who practiced it. Sounds interesting.

Regards

Testy
#41
Old 10-02-2007, 02:00 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Testy
NajaNivea
It definitely did NOT have the philosophy of doing minimal damage to your attacker, put the guy down and keep working on him until he stops trying to get up. If it were available I'd do it again.
I wish I knew more about Hapkido. I don't think I've ever met someone who practiced it. Sounds interesting.

Regards

Testy
I don't have any idea how close to "pure" Hapkido this class was, he called it "street style Hapkido" which mainly meant that what he taught was taught with real-world application firmly in mind, with less regard for the stylistic aspect of martial arts forms. Anyway, that's a pretty succinct summary of the philosophy in the class I took, too. I loved it, my instructor was a 6th dan black belt with a PhD in philosophy. I always sort of imagined he could come into a room and make you dead before you knew he was there, but a very gentle, quiet sort of guy who took me seriously as a student even though I was uncoordinated and horrifically un-athletic. I feel like he handed me a sense of balance and taught me how to stay on my feet in any situation. I sure do miss that instruction.
#42
Old 10-02-2007, 10:10 AM
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We study a little Hapkido in an informal class I go to on the weekends. The class mixes both Kenpo and Hapkido. I tend to stay away from the Hapkido side because it is just no fun to practice - you are going to get your joints locked up. No fun!

Personally, I'd much rather get accidentally kicked in the face or something than have my wrist and elbow locked up with Hapkido. It hurts less.

But, that speaks a lot for Hapkido. If you can do it right, it's way effective. I've been trying to pepper it in to my Kenpo moves and it adds a whole other level to the effectiveness of the move. Instead of disabling the attacker on the 3rd or 4th step of a move with your brute force, you lock his joint on first contact and he's your bitch. THEN you go and take out his knee or whatever.
#43
Old 10-02-2007, 10:39 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Testy
pravnil

You've got a serious point about the damage. My wife was Thai and her father was a big fan of Muay Thai. I've only met maybe two ex-Boxers that had their brains in an unscrambles state.
We had one in Saudi for a few years. He was a short-order cook at a local hotel. He said his coach told him to leave and do something else before he wound-up stupid. He was a bantam-weight and used to hit me almost completely at will. Training is odd. They teach a few things but most of the rest of it is sparring and whipping-up on a heavy bag until your leg won't come off the ground anymore. Then you do the other leg.

Regards

Testy
That sounds about right. If you've got time for a good read right now, a guy named Sam Sheridan recently wrote a book about how he went to Thailand after he graduated Harvard to train Muay Thai under legendary Thaiboxer Apidej Sit-Hirun at Camp Fairtex. His description of the training regimen more or less says it's walking the razor's edge between peak conditioning and total body breakdown.

He also goes to Brazil to learn Jiu-Jitsu (and gets injured almost immediately), trains MMA with Pat Miletech in Iowa, and travels around to learn and write about Tai Chi and pro boxing. There's some stuff about dog fighting in the Phillipines that some readers might find distasteful (especially in light of recent events), but overall it's pretty entertaining. The title is "A Fighter's Heart: One Man's Journey Through the World of Fighting."
#44
Old 10-02-2007, 03:10 PM
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I train with my son at, of all places, the local YMCA. There is a very accomplished instructor there and it's a lot cheaper than most places, win/win. We study a MMA system that is Hapkido based, with an emphasis on real world fighting situations. We also do a lot of ground fighting and cross rank in JuJitsu, the reasoning being that even though it's much better to disable your opponent without going down to hard concrete covered in trash, in a real life fight 9 times out of 10 you do wind up down there and you better know what to do. We do lots of joint locking with an emphasis on pain compliance and disabling strikes, either to a joint or utilizing pressure points. Pressure points intrigue me greatly. The mythology behind them is not something I buy into totally, but they do work. I saw my instructor knock a guy out with a strike to the inside of his elbow of all places! He grabbed the guy by the wrist, controlling his strike and activating the PP in his wrist, and then landed a hard down and out strike to the inside of his elbow and the guy dropped like a gaffed cod. I just recently passed my blue belt test in Gaijun Ryu JuJutsu and it almost killed me, no McDojo there! This is what I wrote in my blog afterwards:

Quote:
Originally Posted by me
Well, I did it. It just about killed me though. Today I had my blue belt test in Gaijin Ryu Jujitsu. I was dying on the mat by the end, but the only way they were going to get me off of there was to drag me off. It damn near came to that too, but I made it. I was fine through the part of the test demonstrating technique and various specific grappling techniques, I was even Ok with not having a drink for 3 hours, but then Master Lee had us doing about 20 minutes of very hard cardio, at the end of which I was dizzy and disoriented (and probably dehydrating), followed immediately by 15 minutes of free grappling against 3 fresh black belts, the first of whom weighed 325 pounds. I did OK against Big Chris, he only tapped me out twice, but at the end of our 5 minutes, I couldn't catch my breath(you try having a 325 pound black belt lie on you for five minutes). Next up was Master Jimmy, one of my instructors, and he tore right into me. I was tapping left right and center. About three minutes in, he got me in a particularly fast arm bar and my left arm hyper extended. At this point I started to cry. Well not sob, sob cry, but tears were coming down my cheeks. Several of the purple belts that were keeping the various couples apart on the mat, and they were concerned. "Are you hurt?" "If you're hurt, you can stop". I got to my knees and growled at Master Jimmy "C'mon". He looked at me, troubled, and I said thru my tears "I'm not angry, but you're not getting me off this mat. C'mon". I was promptly tapped, tapped, tapped for my troubles, although I did manage to pass his guard and get top mount on him...until he promptly swept me and tapped me again. The third guy is all a blur to me, I'm not even sure I could pick who it was out of a lineup of the people at the test, suffice it to say that I spent that five minutes totally defensive, covering up when I could and being tapped out when I couldn't. Several of the purple belts were around me telling me to do this, do that, but at this point I couldn't have gotten Americana on an unconscious person with his arm bent at his side. Finally it was over. Master Lee called the five blue belt candidates to the mat and had us each stand and face the proctors in turn so they could give their final grades. Charlie was first, then me, then Tom, Collin and Quante. After that, Master Lee started to award the belts in the reverse order. Quante went up first and Master Lee tied his blue belt around his waist, then Collin, the Tom. Now it was my turn, but Master Lee called Charlie up. All I could think at that point was "I've failed". I went deep inside myself and gathered every last bit of fortitude I possessed to accept my failure. I closed my eyes and took deep, cleansing breaths, willing myself to get through it with class. I was going to bow to Master Lee, thank him for giving my the opportunity, tell him he would be seeing me at the next testing date in November. Then I was going to bow off the mat, leave the dojo and cry. My physical and emotional reserves were so shot at that point, I know that I would cry, I was girding myself not to do it until I had the opportunity to leave the dojo. I'd embarrassed myself by not succeeding, I wasn't going to start bawling on the mat.


Thankfully, Master Lee called me up, we bowed, and he said "Turn around and remove your belt". I'D DONE IT! He tied my new blue belt around my waist, bowed to me, I bowed to Master Dave, bowed, shook and hugged my sensei Master Matt, and staggered off as a blue belt. I promptly drank about 2 liters of water and just collapsed in the corner for ten minutes or so.

The best part of the day was yet to come, however. I felt like I had earned my belt, but not that I deserved it because I had performed so poorly in the free grappling. (I KNOW that's the object, but I'm telling you how I FELT). I started taking marshal arts about 8 months ago with my son. My son is 13 years old(I'm 40), and I was looking for something to do with him that would promote fitness, be fun and bring us closer together as he suffers from the disease known as "being a teenager". We study the MASTER system, a mixed marshal arts style based upon hapkido, but our instructor Master Matt is also an instructor in Gaijin Ryu Jujitsu, so we cross rank. Matthew(my son), has not progressed as quickly as I have (see "being a teenager"), but he has been doing a lot better lately. He wasn't ready to test today, but he came with me to watch. Mathew came over to me and gave me a big hug and told me "I'm proud of you dad". More than the belt, that made everything I'd gone through worth it.
From your statements in the OP and following, I think JuJitsu would be a good match for what you are looking for, but really any art taught by a competent instructor is going to offer a lot of benefits.

Last edited by Weirddave; 10-02-2007 at 03:11 PM.
#45
Old 10-02-2007, 07:46 PM
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Cool story, Weirddave. Always like hearing about people's belt test experiences.
#46
Old 10-03-2007, 01:47 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Weirddave
I train with my son at, of all places, the local YMCA. There is a very accomplished instructor there and it's a lot cheaper than most places, win/win. We study a MMA system that is Hapkido based, with an emphasis on real world fighting situations. We also do a lot of ground fighting and cross rank in JuJitsu, the reasoning being that even though it's much better to disable your opponent without going down to hard concrete covered in trash, in a real life fight 9 times out of 10 you do wind up down there and you better know what to do. We do lots of joint locking with an emphasis on pain compliance and disabling strikes, either to a joint or utilizing pressure points. Pressure points intrigue me greatly. The mythology behind them is not something I buy into totally, but they do work. I saw my instructor knock a guy out with a strike to the inside of his elbow of all places! He grabbed the guy by the wrist, controlling his strike and activating the PP in his wrist, and then landed a hard down and out strike to the inside of his elbow and the guy dropped like a gaffed cod. I just recently passed my blue belt test in Gaijun Ryu JuJutsu and it almost killed me, no McDojo there! This is what I wrote in my blog afterwards:

Give it a name, and get a decent corps of instructors behind it, and you will make a mint. I'd love to take that course. Aikido was great, but this is better.

My Aikido Sensei was awesome. He had MS or something similar, and was not able to stand without crutches. He could, and did, throw many a heavy guy to the ground wincing in pain. Then he taught the heavy guys' 120lb daughters to do the same to them. He would drop his crutches and lean against the wall and ask for students to choke him. If you only pretended to do it, he'd let you know that he wanted you to actually try to choke him to death. Once you made an effort, he'd have you on your stomach crying for mercy, and then he'd show you how to do what he did to you.

Having a "disabled" Sensei, really opened my eyes to Aikido. His legs were almost useless, but he could inflict pain in the smoothest manner imaginable, with seemingly little effort. Physics and physiology gave him a huge advantage. I probably learned more about momentum and center of gravity from him than I ever did in HS.

Maybe I was just impressed by the way that his technique worked. When attacked, he would shift his weight, engage a limb or evade the strike. He would then grasp whichever part of the opponent's person came into reach. In one fluid motion he would exhale softly, move which body part he wanted to be moved, and then hold his opponent in a very painful position until the situation was diffused.

We were often shown positions that would allow us to deliver strikes that were almost not defendable. However, we were taught that Aikido is defensive in nature, not based on strikes. Aikijitsu was referenced as the usage of Aikido, plus killing techniques. The part left to the imagination was what one could do with an opponent in a submission position.

That was really what I liked about Aikido. I liked being able to diffuse a situation (which is my preference), control the situation by force if I had to (without ever having delivered a strike), and strike a person already controlled if need be (I was NOT taught this, but it was inferred by many).
#47
Old 10-03-2007, 02:27 AM
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Originally Posted by pravnik
That sounds about right. If you've got time for a good read right now, a guy named Sam Sheridan recently wrote a book about how he went to Thailand after he graduated Harvard to train Muay Thai under legendary Thaiboxer Apidej Sit-Hirun at Camp Fairtex. His description of the training regimen more or less says it's walking the razor's edge between peak conditioning and total body breakdown.

He also goes to Brazil to learn Jiu-Jitsu (and gets injured almost immediately), trains MMA with Pat Miletech in Iowa, and travels around to learn and write about Tai Chi and pro boxing. There's some stuff about dog fighting in the Phillipines that some readers might find distasteful (especially in light of recent events), but overall it's pretty entertaining. The title is "A Fighter's Heart: One Man's Journey Through the World of Fighting."
pravnik
I'll look this up and thanks for the reference. The bit about being between breakdown and peak fitness is right. The guy I met over here was not competing of course but still kept up his training. I forget how many miles he ran every morning and how many hours he put in on the heavy bag but it was WAY more than you'd expect of someone if they were just keeping fit and not expecting to compete. The guy had the most amazingly dense musculature of anyone I've ever met.
We used to spar occasionally and as a 50 kilo bantam weight he could usually hold his own against me, a 105 kilo guy. Boxing with him was just a losing proposition. Locking him up could work but had to be done carefully or one could run into an elbow traveling at mach 1 or so.*S*
One martial art that never gets any respect is plain ol' boxing. These people can be very difficult to deal with as they do not lunge of allow their body weight to shift off of center.
Sorry, I'm not following the; "especially in light of recent events" part of your post. Has something happened in the PI?

Regards

Testy
#48
Old 10-03-2007, 02:38 AM
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Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: Saudi Arabia
Posts: 2,021
Quote:
Originally Posted by Trunk
I had a lot more fun working out in a boxing gym than I ever did in TKD or Aikido. If I was going to do that kind of stuff again, I'd probably look for a MMA gym or something

Those kinds of martial arts attract a lot of really lame dudes. The kind of dudes who would get serious about emailing realultimatepower.

Who's looking for an external source of discipline?

Even if your dojo isn't practicing Bullshido, I think its hard to tell the difference. I practiced with a serious, sincere Aikido instructor, but when I look back, I can't believe I listened to the shit he had to say. . .harmony with nature? Energy flows? Gimme a break.
Trunk
Yeah, boxing's fun and reasonably effective, too. Like you, I've bumped into a lot of bullshit artists here and there. A TKD instructor stopped just barely short of claiming he had the secret of eternal youth. Aikido has been known for the kind of stuff you're talking about since it was invented. I read once, (no cite, sorry) that about the time Aikido was being developed the concept of "chi" or "ki" was very popular in Japan and that part was added more-or-less as a marketing ploy. No idea whether this is true or not.
I never paid much attention to all that stuff myself. Martial arts are for hurting people and breaking things, full stop. I liked the Kali classes best because they didn't hassle you with that kind of stuff. A few aerobic exercises to warm up and then start breaking rattan. IIRC, we had to swear not to use opium. Not a real problem in Saudi. *S*

Regards

Testy
#49
Old 10-03-2007, 02:44 AM
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Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: Saudi Arabia
Posts: 2,021
Quote:
Originally Posted by dnooman
<SNIP>

We were often shown positions that would allow us to deliver strikes that were almost not defendable. However, we were taught that Aikido is defensive in nature, not based on strikes. Aikijitsu was referenced as the usage of Aikido, plus killing techniques. The part left to the imagination was what one could do with an opponent in a submission position.
That was really what I liked about Aikido. I liked being able to diffuse a situation (which is my preference), control the situation by force if I had to (without ever having delivered a strike), and strike a person already controlled if need be (I was NOT taught this, but it was inferred by many).
dnoonan
Aikido is an interesting art and I've seen a few demos that were amazing. OTOH, it takes a LONG time to reach the level of skill required to disarm attackers without hurting them. To me, that is close to the pinnacle of skill. In my own case, I never aspired to that level. If I'm attacked and can destroy the guy, that's adequate.

Regards

Testy
#50
Old 10-03-2007, 03:40 PM
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Join Date: May 2003
Location: NJ
Posts: 8,054
I'll go ahead and be the only one to speak out for non-eastern martial arts.

Western martial arts is a growing community and they offer a lot of variety from more well known stuff like Capoeira and Savate to 18th century dagger/wrestling to (my personal niche) medieval and renaissance European martial arts.

When it comes to historical European martial arts: It's fun, challenging, and you can't get more effective than using a system whose purpose was to kill your opponents rather than score points. I would definitely recommend looking into it if you have a decent study group/school nearby, which might be a challenge depending on where you are located.
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