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Thread: Jack of all trades master of none...

  1. #1
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    Jack of all trades master of none...

    We have all heard the saying before...

    I think you hear it on the traditional arts side more than anything.

    Of late we have got the whole MMA thing, then you have the JKD approach which I think in essence is the same thing.

    Which is basically take what is useful and works for you and add it to your tool kit. Is there anything wrong with this approach - I cant see one.

    Im of the opinion that once you have a bit of a base under your belt in training - get out and look at some other systems/styles etc.

    How else are you going to find weaknesses in what you do and evolve?

    I heard from a Wing Chun person a while ago - which was - Wing Chun works well on Wing Chun people. Not picking on this art, but just an example of the mind set.

    If you do get into trouble your going to react with what you have learnt right? Your not thinking ok im going to use my Kung Fu and then some BJJ and then some Silat weapons stuff etc etc.

    I think X-training is pretty much the norm these days.

    So what do you think, jack of all trades master of none or jack of all trades ready to deal with a range of different scenarios?

    Thoughts?

  2. #2
    Great post! Me, I think that the Masters of old were a little bit "Jack of all trades, Master of none" and I think Martial history confirms this.

    However, I'm not one for lets just mix it all up, it has to aim at a level or aspect not touched by your art or that is more advanced then that area of your art.

    Also one should be able to make it equate to those principles, concepts that drive one's art ... taking them even further forward.

    You area Traditional Ziranmen stylist correct? How do you think this approach impacts on that art? Have you applied to your art and how did you approach it?

    Ron Goninan
    China Fuzhou Zhenlan Crane Boxing Australia
    White Crane Research Institute Inc
    http://www.whitecranegongfu.info
    A seeker of the way

  3. #3
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    Actually, the issue with "jack of all trades master of none" is not what MMA and cross-training in MA is about.
    People seem to misunderstand that.
    A jack of all trades is a guy that is, for example, a plumber, welder, electrician, painter, etc and doesn't do any of them at a high level but does all of them "good enough" ( no one would confuse him as a professional at any of them).
    That is not what we see in cross training of MA.
    The equivalent that is done in MA would be a welder that not only does structural welding BUT does piping and high pressure and exotic metals and so forth.
    In MA when we train in more than one system or we cross-train systems it is, typically, because we are trying to complete our skill set in ONE thing, IE: Fighting.
    That is a very different thing then dabbling in various skill sets that are not directly related to fighting, which is what a "jack of all trades, master of none" entails.

    In other words, the TRADE of a MA is fighting so anything he does to complete and perfect that trade is part of the mastering process IN that trade.
    Psalms 144:1
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    He trains my hands for war, my fingers for battle !

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    I agree with Ronin,

    MA is all one trade, so you can't be a jack of all trades by training different MA.

    Secondly, the expression has little base anyway, many of the greatest men of all time were polymaths.

    Mastery is not over the art but over the self, and it transfers to every discipline.

    Beware the man of one book.

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by sanjuro_ronin View Post
    Actually, the issue with "jack of all trades master of none" is not what MMA and cross-training in MA is about.
    People seem to misunderstand that.
    A jack of all trades is a guy that is, for example, a plumber, welder, electrician, painter, etc and doesn't do any of them at a high level but does all of them "good enough" ( no one would confuse him as a professional at any of them).
    That is not what we see in cross training of MA.
    The equivalent that is done in MA would be a welder that not only does structural welding BUT does piping and high pressure and exotic metals and so forth.
    In MA when we train in more than one system or we cross-train systems it is, typically, because we are trying to complete our skill set in ONE thing, IE: Fighting.
    That is a very different thing then dabbling in various skill sets that are not directly related to fighting, which is what a "jack of all trades, master of none" entails.

    In other words, the TRADE of a MA is fighting so anything he does to complete and perfect that trade is part of the mastering process IN that trade.
    Very very very good post. Thank you. My faith in sanity is restored.

  6. #6
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    What about someone who is a master of their trade, a trade which happens to be being a "jack of all trades".

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by sanjuro_ronin View Post
    Actually, the issue with "jack of all trades master of none" is not what MMA and cross-training in MA is about.
    People seem to misunderstand that.
    A jack of all trades is a guy that is, for example, a plumber, welder, electrician, painter, etc and doesn't do any of them at a high level but does all of them "good enough" ( no one would confuse him as a professional at any of them).
    That is not what we see in cross training of MA.
    The equivalent that is done in MA would be a welder that not only does structural welding BUT does piping and high pressure and exotic metals and so forth.
    In MA when we train in more than one system or we cross-train systems it is, typically, because we are trying to complete our skill set in ONE thing, IE: Fighting.
    That is a very different thing then dabbling in various skill sets that are not directly related to fighting, which is what a "jack of all trades, master of none" entails.

    In other words, the TRADE of a MA is fighting so anything he does to complete and perfect that trade is part of the mastering process IN that trade.
    Great post -agree 100%, thanks SR!

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by sanjuro_ronin View Post
    Actually, the issue with "jack of all trades master of none" is not what MMA and cross-training in MA is about.
    People seem to misunderstand that.
    A jack of all trades is a guy that is, for example, a plumber, welder, electrician, painter, etc and doesn't do any of them at a high level but does all of them "good enough" ( no one would confuse him as a professional at any of them).
    That is not what we see in cross training of MA.
    The equivalent that is done in MA would be a welder that not only does structural welding BUT does piping and high pressure and exotic metals and so forth.
    In MA when we train in more than one system or we cross-train systems it is, typically, because we are trying to complete our skill set in ONE thing, IE: Fighting.
    That is a very different thing then dabbling in various skill sets that are not directly related to fighting, which is what a "jack of all trades, master of none" entails.

    In other words, the TRADE of a MA is fighting so anything he does to complete and perfect that trade is part of the mastering process IN that trade.
    I see your point and agree to an extent. I am not saying cross training is bad but based on what you said, MMA to me represents martial arts being done "good enough" at a high level. Is an MMA fighter truly a master of one style? For example you have a ju jitsu fighter vs a muy thai fighter. Ju jitsu rely on their ground game while Muy thai fighters are not trained for ground fighting. Throw a San da fighter in there and he will give both styles a run for their money. What it boils down to is fighting principles. It is why wing chun artists believe in wing chun and a few other straight traditional styles swear/believe by their fighting methods. Bruce Lee developed JKD based on fighting principles not so much cross training principles. I see MMA as an anything goes fighting style. I have been preaching when you reach a certain age the "best fighting style" debate goes away and you train in something that will keep you healthy.
    Last edited by Songshan; 03-13-2014 at 11:28 AM.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Songshan View Post
    I see your point and agree to an extent. I am not saying cross training is bad but based on what you said, MMA to me represents martial arts being done "good enough" at a high level. Is an MMA fighter truly a master of one style? For example you have a ju jitsu fighter vs a muy thai fighter. Ju jitsu rely on their ground game while Muy thai fighters are not trained for ground fighting. Throw a San da fighter in there and he will give both styles a run for their money. What it boils down to is fighting principles. It is why wing chun artists believe in wing chun and a few other traditional styles swear by thier fighting methods.
    MMA used to be simply a rule set, then it became a "Hodge podge" of techniques thrown together.
    Today MMA IS a system of MA.
    MMA done at a high level is no "good enough", anymore than boxing is "good enough" or judo is "good enough".
    In the past we had guys with a solid core base that added from other MA BUT join any MMA gym/school now and you will be doing MMA from the very start.
    Don't expect the Mixed Martial Artist to look like a Thai boxer doing BJJ or a BJJ doing boxing, NOPE, that is not what you will see.
    What you do see is techniques that are taught and trained for the MMA environment looking like MMA technqiues.
    No more "this boxing round kicks: for example, they are quite simply MMA round kicks now.
    Psalms 144:1
    Praise be my Lord my Rock,
    He trains my hands for war, my fingers for battle !

  10. #10
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    Ronin' post is spot on, but I think its a perspective thing.
    Forget style, you, a fighter, have your 'kit', you skills. What is a 'full' set? One that works.
    How many techniques do you need in your arsenal? <shrugs> Enough. Some guys can work you over with 2 or 3 good moves. Others, surprise you with unorthodox style. Others just ad-lib from a pool of skill.
    I believe it comes down to depth vs breadth, a few good skills that are of the highest percentage because you do them better than anybody else.
    This is where forms collectors come unstuck, (in terms of fighting) thinking that more moves is more skill. One reason Boxers are so tough, limited but effective material practiced relentlessly.
    Guangzhou Pak Mei Kung Fu School, Sydney Australia,
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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yum Cha View Post
    it comes down to depth vs breadth, ...This is where forms collectors come unstuck ...
    This is so true. When you apply your favor move, your opponent may respond with 10 different ways, you will need to know how to handle all those 10 situations. You may need to change your initial move into 10 different moves from there. When you look at MA from this angle, you truly don't have time to train your solo forms.
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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yum Cha View Post
    Ronin' post is spot on, but I think its a perspective thing.
    Forget style, you, a fighter, have your 'kit', you skills. What is a 'full' set? One that works.
    How many techniques do you need in your arsenal? <shrugs> Enough. Some guys can work you over with 2 or 3 good moves. Others, surprise you with unorthodox style. Others just ad-lib from a pool of skill.
    I believe it comes down to depth vs breadth, a few good skills that are of the highest percentage because you do them better than anybody else.
    This is where forms collectors come unstuck, (in terms of fighting) thinking that more moves is more skill. One reason Boxers are so tough, limited but effective material practiced relentlessly.
    Agreed.
    In the 35 years + that I have done MA and of the many systems I have trained, I have a repertoire of LOTS of moves and I mean LOTS.
    I use about a dozen of them.
    Psalms 144:1
    Praise be my Lord my Rock,
    He trains my hands for war, my fingers for battle !

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by sanjuro_ronin View Post
    Agreed.
    In the 35 years + that I have done MA and of the many systems I have trained, I have a repertoire of LOTS of moves and I mean LOTS.
    I use about a dozen of them.
    Mmm, but aren't you glad you had that repertoire to draw from? I mean, if you had started with someone teaching you those dozen, you wouldn't be satisfied they were the dozen you need until you had realised it for yourself by trying all the others.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by RenDaHai View Post
    Mmm, but aren't you glad you had that repertoire to draw from? I mean, if you had started with someone teaching you those dozen, you wouldn't be satisfied they were the dozen you need until you had realised it for yourself by trying all the others.
    Sure, it is a valid point that we tend to believe that "more is better" as opposed to "what is best, is best".
    That is a blind spot that many people have in MA.
    Psalms 144:1
    Praise be my Lord my Rock,
    He trains my hands for war, my fingers for battle !

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by YouKnowWho View Post
    This is so true. When you apply your favor move, your opponent may respond with 10 different ways, you will need to know how to handle all those 10 situations. You may need to change your initial move into 10 different moves from there. When you look at MA from this angle, you truly don't have time to train your solo forms.
    1 Whatever you do better or works for you is your trade.

    2 there is always the constant debate

    Honing in or mastering a few techniques

    VS

    Learning more and more techniques

    One is to understand fully the pros and cons or limits of a few techniques and cover weakness in the said techniques

    the other is to broaden and diversify

    3 right tool/techniques for the right job

    meaning it all depending on the opponent to determine what has to be done to excel over him.


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