Penn and Teller last night

Discussion in 'General Martial Arts Discussion' started by PHILBERT, Jun 25, 2010.

  1. Fish Of Doom

    Fish Of Doom Will : Mind : Motion Supporter

    3:55 = made of win




    he's like, the wing chun sifu from r'lyeh or something
  2. stephenk

    stephenk Valued Member

    I really enjoyed this episode. I tend to like pretty much everything Penn and Teller do, they're a breath of fresh air.

    I really don't mind if they demonstrate that the way most martial arts are taught is complete B.S., because, well, they are.

    The fact of the matter is that if a member of the general public were to try to find a martial arts school for themselves or family they are overwhelmingly likely to find schools like the ones that were on the program. I would rather they dismiss all martial arts as BS and asphyxiate the entire crappy McDojo and housewife woo-woo insanity industry.

    It's okay, I'll still be training when they take the last strip-mall 5 foot neon "Karate" sign down.

    We, as martial artists of (hopefully!) a higher caliber can become upset that this is true, or we can do our best to educate ourselves and, when appropriate and if you feel like it, the public about real martial arts.

    To be honest, I think that accepting this could be a powerful rhetorical technique in itself. Imagine two conversations with a friend after watching this show:


    Friend: So I really like P&T and they did this show on martial arts, you do Karate right? They said it was all BS!
    Me: They're so biased! They don't know what they're talking about!
    Friend: Gee, well they seem to do a lot of good blowing the whistle on Alternative Medicine that doesn't work and Alien Abduction and stuff like that. They seem to be genuinely smart guys.
    Me: But they didn't do their homework this time!

    The friend will most likely just stop talking about it and assume I'm just another dogmatic 'believer', in the worst sense of the word. Just like the old lady who swears her organs talk to her. The conversation will take a combative someone's right and someone's wrong character. Likely the friend will have learned nothing new, and will continue to have the opinion that all martial arts are BS.

    What about this:

    Friend: So I really like P&T and they did this show on martial arts, you do Karate right? They said it was alll BS!
    Me: Yeah, they're pretty much right. The martial arts industry is garbage.
    Friend: Well, I thought you do that Karate stuff too? You do it but you think it's garbage? I don't get it...
    Me: Well, P&T are right that the vast majority of people see this stuff as a buisness. And I don't do Karate, I do XXXX.....Really we prefer to train in YYY way. It's all really become perverted now to bilk soccer mom's into paying for expensive babysitting....etc...etc...We do x, y, z, for these reasons and stuff....yadda...yadda...yadda

    #2 is probably going to lead to a better, more interesting conversation where the other person might actually be interested in learning a more nuanced understanding of martial arts. #1 gets you branded a wacko - just like the rest of them (whether you are or not).

    I think Marc MacYoung (among others) does this sort of thing very well and I'm glad they gave him time on the show. To be honest, I identified with him much more than the supposed 'martial artists' - so I wasn't offended when they took it to "my students are really unpaid employees", "my organs talk to me", and "KILL KILL KILL!".
  3. Llamageddon

    Llamageddon MAP's weird cousin Supporter

    Look, the main thing is that none of this is new. It's always been the point to train and act with humility, right? Understand you have limitations, and know what they are. The moment you think you're invincible or think you have the upper hand you get complacent. Unfortunately the MA marketing machine (and from what I've seen, this is much stronger in the US than the UK - no disrespect intended on the legit schools) is very good at making people think little Timmy is going to be a killing machine who has reached enlightenment by the age of 7.

    I know full well if I **** someone off somehow, and they come up behind me with a bottle, I'm pretty much off to spend the rest of the night in A&E. However, if someone gets up in my face threatening me and showing the signs of a possible confrontation, I'd feel more confident and calmer about the situation precisely because I've done drills and know how to throw a few techniques (I also know to run away if I get the chance). I also know to keep it as simple and, if necessary, as effective as needs be. The higher the level of complexity, the higher chance I'm going to mess up and get my head caved in.

    Best technique if you can't run away? Knock the guys hands away, put your arm round him and buy him a pint!
  4. TheMadhoose

    TheMadhoose Carpe Jugulum

    I dont see what all the fuss is about. The show had comedic value and did highlight alot of bull involved in martial arts.
  5. Llamageddon

    Llamageddon MAP's weird cousin Supporter

    I guess for some people it's too close to home, or people rightly or wrongly want to blanket defend MA
  6. Fish Of Doom

    Fish Of Doom Will : Mind : Motion Supporter

    i think the problem is that it was quite clearly malicious. i found it stupid, tbh
  7. TheMadhoose

    TheMadhoose Carpe Jugulum

    The fact that its sparked people to feel the need to defend martial arts on a martial arts forum, says to me that penn & teller have struck on a tender spot.
  8. Polar Bear

    Polar Bear Moved on

    Most martial arts schools are mince, no doubt about it. Personally, anyone who teaches "self defense" I am very skeptical of.

    Karate man was pretty harmless. Actually, I didn't have a problem with the cleaning and teaching aspect. Learning to teach is a skill in itself, being given the opportunity to learn is no bad thing and gives you the skill to open your own group as some point. I paid to teach in my art and I certainly didn't lose out on the deal. Now I have my own group and am a qualified instructor.

    The Tai Chi woman was extreme but not miles away from loads of the fruit bats I met in the art.

    The reality guy, I have met tons of these nut balls. They are a conviction in waiting. Honestly, these guys are the REAL danger, they don't explain the law, they tell kids to do really stupid things. I was once in a class where an instructor said "If someone is shouting abuse at you, then you should attack them".

    Is my art deadly, absolutely; am I ever likely to use it, nope, unless there is a zombie apocalypse. I do it because I like it, first and foremost. The more effective it is the more I like it.

    The Bear.
  9. stephenk

    stephenk Valued Member

    P&T have malicious feelings towards BS. I wish more people did.
  10. illegalusername

    illegalusername Second Angriest Mapper

    Iä! Iä! Wingchun F'tagn!
  11. Mitlov

    Mitlov Shiny

    The problem was not that it highlighted bull in martial arts. The problem was that it asserted that that bull was all there was to martial arts.

    To bounce off stephenk's post above, the best possible conversation to have is:

    Friend: So I really like P&T and they did this show on martial arts, you do Karate right? They said it was all BS!
    Me: There are a lot of frauds out there in the martial arts. They did a good job of highlighting them. Unfortunately, they left the implication that the only people out there teaching martial arts are frauds, that every martial arts teacher is like one of the three they profiled, and that's not true.
  12. koyo

    koyo Passed away, but always remembered. RIP.

    OR..they are magicians NOTHING they say or do is true.
  13. Smitfire

    Smitfire Cactus Schlong

    How it left me is how I've felt for years now.
    In the middle. Neither one thing or the other.
    I like martial arts for all of the great things it can give a person and then shake my head at all the rubbish.
    I like self defence benefits without the paranoia and macho posturing in combats and a polo shirt.
    I like health benefits without the new age hippy chi crap.
    I like self development without self delusion.
    I like traditions that earn their place and that aren't kept for the sake of it.
    I really don't see why people have to be one thing or the other. Ditch the extremes from each faction and you have something in the middle that is genuinely unique, useful and life enhancing I feel.
  14. TheMadhoose

    TheMadhoose Carpe Jugulum

    I didnt have a problem with any of the programme its not as if its a radical idea that someone thinks martial arts are bull. The subjects on the show did kinda deserve it.
  15. 47MartialMan

    47MartialMan Valued Member

    Of course. I wouldnt like it if P&T started to mock my knitting class. :cool:
  16. 47MartialMan

    47MartialMan Valued Member

    A "Mental PP"?
  17. cx4

    cx4 Valued Member

    Thanks to the OP for letting us know about the show. Just watched it and found it to be a lot of fun. The financial breakdown of years of martial arts training vs just handing over your watch and wallet was a crack up. At this point I could hand over my car and not come close... And the guy killing the dummy was a riot...
  18. Shuto

    Shuto Valued Member

    I like that line a lot.

    PHILBERT Valued Member

    It's because they went out of the way to specifically highlight, misinform, distort facts, etc.

    As someone else pointed out, the crazy old hippie Tai Chi lady never said she taught Tai Chi as a martial art. Most people who do Tai Chi don't know it is a martial art. My stepfather certainly didn't and he did Tai Chi for years. I told him that it was Kung Fu and he didn't believe me. Most instructors don't teach combat application, merely the health benefit of it.

    However they act like all of Tai Chi is full of nut jobs.

    They completely overlooked the sport MMA aspect of it as well. I would have loved to of seen them walk into an MMA school and say "Martial arts sucks!" and see how fast they get choked out.
  20. stephenk

    stephenk Valued Member

    Martial arts has it's more than fair share of nutjobs...

    That's because the show is called BS. It's not called: "Hey, this stuff is great!"

    I just can't get upset about this show, to me it'd be like a Michelin stared restaurant getting upset at "Supersize Me".
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2010

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