Video clip survey: How to define Martial Arts and Combat Sports?

Discussion in 'Off Topic Area' started by Martin Meyer, Jul 27, 2019.

  1. Martin Meyer

    Martin Meyer New Member

    As we go into details about the survey results here, I have to set a spoiler warning.
    Please read further only if you have participated in the study (see url in signature) or if you are totally sure you will never do.
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  2. Martin Meyer

    Martin Meyer New Member

    Here is my reply to Botta Dritta:

    1) No Referees? Not a Combat Sport. No possibility of /winning/losing directly against an opponent? Not a combat sport ....but wushu... see later..
    - As you can see in many street fight videos, there are unofficial referees separating the fighters when one of them visibly looses. The directness is a signature of martial arts if we state that at least two people have to be involved.

    2) Problems arise when there were performative instances. For example the lightsabre performance could have been Ludosport which is a lightsabre inspired combat sport. But in this instance I knew it was a performative demonstration prior to a FIE fencing championship so definitely not a competition. The Hakka like performance dance at the rugby game. Could be martial, i have no idea if what being shown were traditional systemic techniques but not a combat sport, unlike say capoeira where I know enough that what being shown are genuine techniques.
    - You are right that there are competitive and performative styles of light saber combat. I chose this video because it reminds of a "clean" Olympic setting like in fencing and doesn't look anything like weird cosplay.
    - I chose the Hakka performance as an example of war dances with the intention that if participants rate other performative activities (like the light saber combat video, the sword dance and tai chi) as martial arts, they should rate Hakka as martial art, too.

    3) Another performative one with asian women in long clothes and swords had me foxed. I couldn't see any referees but it could easily have been a wushu competition, so yes a somewhat a martial art it but it also could have been made up garbage. I couldn't tell. Similar to Pro wrestling: are they individuals who have a direct line to Catch Wrestling or are they just making stuff up? Again i know know enough.
    - Do you think that the existence of a referee is key for the definition of martial arts? Than how about capoeira, taiji and self-defense systems like bartitsu? Pro wrestling is a especially interesting because in some way it should work in a non-staged combat, or not?

    4) Olympic combat sport/bjj/mma all got somewhat a martial art and totally a combat sport, recognizing that the art may be truncated skill wise for safety and rule reasons, but totally a combat sport against a resisting opponent . Olympic pistol shooting had me though. It is a martial art? well technically like horse riding or archery or gunnery it is, and has a long history in europe, but it was marksmanship target hitting rather than against a resisting opponent....
    - When we categorize kyudo as a martial art, Olympic archery as well as Olympic gunnery have to been cateorized the same, right? Or do we have to wait a couple of centuries until it has a decent history...?

    5) Street Fights. Tricky. The man who fight crowd clearly used boxing or some combat sport derivative, but the police officer? I don't know enough about BJJ/Judo to know if he was just winging it or genuinely had skill. In these instances reading body language of a non stylised combat sport is key.
    - Both examples are interesting not only because the techniques are different. Also, the police officer himself makes the fight less streetfight-ish - which is weird. By the way: I think that you are the person with the highest degree of accuracy in watching the videos.

    6) Folk games were interesting. Turkish wrestling has a long long tradition of being a combat sport with rules and has enough elements to be considered a martial art, but shin kicking? Don't know enough weather it grew out of a folk traditions like singlestick/backhold wrestling. In the case of the woman twirling swords definitely not a combat sport, but to my knowledge there is no surviving Eastern European/cossack fighting system, unless its the last vestiges of a village folk system turned into a peformance.
    - You see that we are referencing to "undisputed" martial arts when it goes to categorize activities we don't know. But does this concept work? What differentiates Irish shin kicking from an mma fight where both fighters only apply low kicks?

    7) The animals grudgingly. Bull fighting is definitely not a Combat sport, as no-one has to my knowledge explained the bull the rules. But despite myself I had to grit my teeth and admit that bullfighting is somewhat a martial art. It has despite everything a long lived systemic training system, a series of cultural expectations relevant to developing the individual, and in the instances they don't pump the poor bull full of drugs, techniques against a live resisting opponent, including if I were to use fencing terminology, time thrusts and body displacement techniques. (this is gonna get me flamed i know it...)
    - I would say that Bull fighting is neither combat sport nor martial arts. I think that martial arts describe fights between humans. If you categorize bull fighting as a martial arts, (safari) hunting is a martial art, too.
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  3. Martin Meyer

    Martin Meyer New Member

    The problem here might be that nobody - neither the founder, pratitioner nor the observer - can estimate which techniques will work in a special combat situation. So, maybe the sword dance people are the most dangerous people on earth. Sounds outlandish? The please consider that before UFC 1, many people didn't believe that grappling techniques are actually important in fights.
    So, where is the border of MACS? Is a sniper duel in Iraq a martial art? When Kyudo is a martial art, Olympic archery has to be a martial art, too, right? Remembering the scene in Robin Hood when Kevin Costner and his fellows do a marksman tournament. Is this combat sport?
  4. Martin Meyer

    Martin Meyer New Member

    Dear you all, I forgot to mention that the research results have been published open source here. Thank you all for your participation!
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  5. SWC Sifu Ben

    SWC Sifu Ben I am the law

    Hey, nice to meet you bud. Hope you don't mind if I chime in.

    A sport is a regular construct with established parameters.
    A common game kids play is "bet I can make it to X thing before you" and take off running. That doesn't make "reaching X thing" a sport. It is a contest, but it is not widely practiced, socially sanctioned, and with regular, repeatable parameters.

    A fight is a contest; it is social violence. It pre-dates combat sports as socially sanctioned, regular, repeatable events with specific, defined parameters. Monkeys do it, goats do it, elephants do it. It's only when you regularly toss chickens or dogs or people into a ring with specific defined parameters that it ends up being a sport, and sometimes a morally indefensible one.

    The Hakka is a pre-combat ritual. In the West we might call it "putting on one's game face" or "psyching oneself up." That is not the same as skill displays.

    You need a structure and rules for something to be a contest. You need it to be regular for it to be a sport, and that regularity necessitates some kind of third party judgement. Martial arts is fighting skills, or fighting skill derived, and can be a contest or sport, but does not necessarily have to be.

    Some of it, because it originally came from legitimate wrestling, and you'd be hard pressed to separate it because often the guys who do pro wrestling did NCAA wrestling.

    I would call them martial arts, as they are the refinement of skills which apply to combat. So competitive pistol shooting would be a martial art as far as I'm concerned, however some people only want to apply that moniker to pre-gunpowder/non-gunpowder skills, which I think is largely because of their association to East Asian fighting. For example many people would call the sabre fighting which existed alongside firearms to be a martial art, but discount shooting as a martial art, and for many bayonet fighting is in a grey area. People wouldn't call WW1 machine gunnery a martial arts, but would call the trench fighting which ensued a martial art. Aerial dogfighting is clearly an art and martial. I'd call it a martial art. I'd say if it relates to combat, it is martial, therefore a martial art.

    That you're very unlikely to win a fight with only shin kicks. It would be more like the equivalent of having an MMA competition but using only spinning heel kicks to the ribs.

    Bull fighting is certainly a feat, rather than a sport. Although I would argue that hunting could be rightly classified as a martial art. The skills are what you use to hunt people too. Many good snipers for example, were simply good hunters who then ended up in the military. Obligatory Simo Häyhä mention.
  6. Martin Meyer

    Martin Meyer New Member

    Thank you for your thoughts, Ben.
    The problem to separate martial arts from combat sports is that not always fights are governed by officials, although unwritten rules exist even in civil combat. And like you said: There are some kinds of combat sports which are actually social violence. The overall question here is which degrees of violence are tolerated in sports. This depends on the respective society, its sports culture and experiences with violence. The dark ages of MMA are a good example for this.

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