"Martial arts has changed more in the last 20 years than the 2000 years before it"

Discussion in 'Koryu Bujutsu' started by Christianson, Jun 29, 2014.

  1. Christianson

    Christianson Valued Member

    In another thread, Chadderz mentioned the above quote. It seems like an interesting topic. Bluntly, I think the expressed opinion is wrong. I don't have the time tonight to write a proper reply, but I wanted to put something down for the sake of (hopefully) starting some discussion.

    To begin with, I'd say it's a comment mostly driven by ignorance of history. If you don't accept a division between martial arts and military tactics and methods (which is really a very late concept), it's manifestly wrong. Even accepting that separation, it's easy to find examples of martial arts that have changed dramatically. For example, in my school we practice sword techniques for both armoured and unarmored combat. They are vastly different. Motion, body posture, power application, range, tactics -- there is almost nothing that remains unchanged when going between the two. Historically, the transition from armoured to unarmored styles of techniques happened very rapidly, in the first couple of decades of the Tokugawa period.

    There's two points that come out of this for me. One Fusen touched on:
    Rapid changes in martial arts happen when you have rapid changes in circumstances. Pre-Tokugawa, if you were a young badass who wanted to make a reputation, you needed to take heads on the battlefield. Post-Tokugawa, those skills were useless, because reputation came from winning duels. Those duels weren't fought in armour, and if you failed to accommodate that reality into your techniques, then no (good) reputation for you. Similarly, MMA is driven by UFC and its successors.

    The other point is that everything seems much more significant when it happens to you. The changes between armoured and unarmored kenjutsu are huge to me, because I train them. To an outside perspective? Almost certainly not so much. So the question is: two hundred years from now, when it's the Pan-Galactic Supreme Lightsaber Tournaments where badasses try to make their reputations, are you really sure that people will be able to tell the difference between Chuck Norris and Joe Rogan?
  2. YouKnowWho

    YouKnowWho Valued Member

    "Martial arts has changed more in the last 20 years than the 2000 years before it"

    When boxers fight in boxing ring, and when wrestlers wrestle on the mat, they don't need to change anything.

    Because the MMA and cage fight, boxer start to learn the grappling art and wrestlers start to learn the striking art. During that process, they may find out that they have to change a lot of their old habit in order to be able to integrate the missing elements successfully. They have just realized that they have to evolve. All those just happened in the past 20 or 30 years.
  3. Pretty In Pink

    Pretty In Pink Moved on MAP 2017 Gold Award

    I think that perhaps you might be correct about neglecting the whole battlefield issue. Perhaps we can edit the quote for better discussion?

    "One on one unarmed combat has changed more in the last 20 years than the last 2000 years".

    Perhaps this is closer to what he meant when it comes to MMA changing things.
  4. raaeoh

    raaeoh never tell me the odds

    Personally I did not witness the full last 2000 years so I cannot comment beyond this. my style has evolved more in the last year than it has in 40 years
  5. Remi Lessore

    Remi Lessore Valued Member

    I'm no martial arts historian and even less an MMA technician, but haven't things come full circle?
    The Greeks had wrestling, and they had boxing, and they had Pankration. Is it very different from MMA? mind you, it probably falls outside the 2000 timeslot.
  6. Ben Gash CLF

    Ben Gash CLF Valued Member

    I don't know how true that necessarily is though. Arguably the biggest fundamentally new strategy that MMA gave us, the offensive guard, has become almost a thing of the past, for the most part rendered impotent by strategies from traditional grappling styles with new details factored in. Certainly standup in MMA regressed somewhat and only now are people starting to do stuff that was commonplace in the 70s
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2014
  7. Ben Gash CLF

    Ben Gash CLF Valued Member

    What makes you think that the rate of evolution wasn't just as rapid in the golden age of prizefighting, catch wrestling or the early days of the Kodokan?
  8. AussieJKDguy

    AussieJKDguy Valued Member

    I somewhat agree, Martial arts has changed from martial to sport mostly in the last 20years.

    People use to fight and die with there martial arts if it didnt work they were dead, Since the evoloution of weaponry ie: Guns martial arts was less effective and the majority that train now a days unless military or law enforcement will not use there martial arts in a live setting let alone a life and death situation.

    Martial arts was used for war now it is a sport such as MMA or self defence which in itself is the art of avoidance rather then testing of one's skill. So while we are more aware of biomechanics etc I believe it has lost its true "martial" way
  9. beer_belly

    beer_belly Valued Member

    The development of MMA probably feels like a period of huge change for people involved in it, but from the outside it looks like swings of fashion, strikers / grapplers / submission whatever within one sport that then sometimes interesects other related ones (through karate / thai boxing/ jujutsu / boxing schools adding MMA / cage fighting classes or cross training to their curriculums). But how many actual new techniques or training methods have been developed.

    In terms of proportion of global martial arts practitioners affected, the evolution of boxing in the 19th century was probably more radical, the codification and spread of Kodokan Judo probably more influential on training methods. The 20 years post WW2 developments in karate and its offshoots like TKD also springs to mind.

    From the perspective of a Japanese weapons practitioner with more than 20 years on the floor I find the changes in last 20 years to be fairly limited in both the gendai and koryu arts.
  10. Pretty In Pink

    Pretty In Pink Moved on MAP 2017 Gold Award

    Just to be clear everyone, I'm neither agreeing, nor disagreeing with the statement, I just thought that it would perhaps be a more accurate representation of Joe's thoughts. I'm not claiming it is correct or incorrect.

    True, however I would say that implementing it with wrestling and the way it's pressure tested is perhaps not revolutionary, but full circle. Like when the Samurai tested their skills against others in no rules contests. (They did that, right?)

    Again, I'm not agreeing or disagreeing, just playing Devils Advocate at best.

    They might have been. I would say that those arts were still in a more limited rule set, and that the calibre of martial artist/fighter has probably surpassed many of those with all the things that came from MMA.

    Also that in Catch Wrestling you have to grapple, and Prize fighting involved mostly hands, elbows and headbutts (clinch too?). Whereas MMA, you don't have to strike to beat a striker, and vice versa (although you'd have to be a good wrestler).

    Yes, you're absolutely right, MMA fighters are just pussyfooting around without testing themselves and aren't really learning anything about empty handed combat. :rolleyes:

    Yes, many martial arts were developed for war and self protection, Muay Thai being one of the oldest. However we have realised now that killing each other with our bare hands is a largely unnecessary act and is better done with guns. If you think there is a better way of testing yourself without risk of permanent damage please let me know, as I'd love to try it out.

    If you want martial arts on a battlefield go and join the army, I assure you the principles are still alive and well.

    Probably not many new methods, however it did dispel a lot of old ones that weren't as effective. It also destroyed a lot of myths and hocus pocus. To me it seems like the religious argument with atheists. The Master would say something and you wouldn't question them because it was gospel; they performed the secret touch on you and you felt the power and you'd collapse to your knees. Along came The Gracies and challenged everyone to see what work and to make a name for themselves. Low and behold the Dim Mak doesn't work, and it turns out karate masters can't really just kick someone in the head when they shoot for a double.

    Obviously not everyone trained like that, there was already shooto wrestling in Japan, and Brazil were having challenge matches all the time.

    I personally never believed in MMA when I started martial arts, unlike all those guys who watched the first UFC and knew. I was one of those guys who believed in the myths and "we're too deadly" stuff. What opened my eyes was when I first got into a fight and tried to wristlock someone. I think that there are still those people out there in droves, but people can only convince themselves for so long when evidence stares them in the face.
    Vince Millett likes this.
  11. AussieJKDguy

    AussieJKDguy Valued Member

  12. YouKnowWho

    YouKnowWho Valued Member

    I don't know when did boxing and wrestling were separated into 2 different sports during the ancient time. Today, we try to merge both arts back together. It may sound like a joke.
  13. AussieJKDguy

    AussieJKDguy Valued Member

    I take it your alluding to Pankration?
  14. YouKnowWho

    YouKnowWho Valued Member

    I'm not familiar with boxing and western wrestling history. But the Chinese wrestling had removed the striking art out and made it into "sport" during the ancient time. In the past 30 years, the striking art has been added back into the Chinese wrestling.
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2014
  15. boards

    boards Its all in the reflexes!

    Boxing and wrestling were already separate in Greece, they just also had a combined sport in Pancration.
    There is not much said about boxing between the fall of the Roman Empire and the 17th century, but it gets written about again from that time. There was a certain amount of wrestling involved in bare knuckle boxing but it doesn't seem to have been as detailed as catch wrestling or anything like that.

    Wrestling was progressively taken out of boxing as new rules were created, but wrestling seems to have existed separately from boxing as an entity since the early days of Greece.

    Here is a good thread for you to read about old school boxing
  16. Happy Feet Cotton Tail

    Happy Feet Cotton Tail Valued Member

    I hardly think guns are the only innovation to make empty handed fighting irrelevant. Since the first chimp ancestor raised a sharpened rock above his head we've been using weaponry rather than our bare hands when it comes to war.

    Pretty certain early forms of MMA had all of these things (though biting maybe not so because of risk of blood borne diseases) and they've never actually altered the way people fight in a major way. Granted head-butting changes some stuff in the guard etc but it's hardly the equivalent of the sky-falling in.

    Well if someone has good throwing skill and someone else doesn't.... who do you think is going to get chucked face first into the glass? ;)

    Incidentally I've rolled on a hardwood floor and on concrete before. Concrete only for a short time and hardwood for a good half hour or so, in the latter case I walked away with a couple more bruises than I would of had on mats but to be honest in neither case was it much of a problem.

    That makes a bit of an erroneous distinction between sport and training for war, no? Maybe someone else can fill me in but I'm pretty sure athletic and sporting activities are commonly used by tribal societies to train young men for battle and participation in things like boxing was/is, if I correctly recall, encouraged in the British army and others.
    [ame="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q4RPk02oxp0"]Ethiopian Suri Stick Fighting - Last Man Standing Part 6 - YouTube[/ame]

    Are there any complete records of these old school empty hand fighting techniques that can be traced to the battlefield era?

    Maybe I'm just dumb or naive but most of the arts that I have seen or heard of that definitely have been employed on the battlefield tend to revolve around weapons with hand to hand fighting being generally a very straightforward thing of "punch him, kick him, trip him, strangle him".
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2014
  17. Pretty In Pink

    Pretty In Pink Moved on MAP 2017 Gold Award

    Don't bring up the broken glass thing, that's so 90's.
  18. Hannibal

    Hannibal Cry HAVOC and let slip the Dogs of War!!! Supporter

    When you fight on concrete or asphalt you only tend to feel the results about 20 minutes later...up until then it is "game on"
  19. 47MartialMan

    47MartialMan Valued Member

    "Martial arts has changed more in the last 20 years than the 2000 years before it"

    Yes... We have MAP!!!!
  20. Mangosteen

    Mangosteen Hold strong not

    With the advent of globalisation and the travels of people in all industries (martial arts, strongman, engineering, technology) the world in general has progressed more in the last 100 to 150 years than the past 2000.

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