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Thread: How much is lost to saving face?

  1. #1
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    How much is lost to saving face?

    why is it hard to get a good sparring community, where martial artist can spar, fight, and exchange knowledge?
    aside from the competition world and business side of combat sports,
    why does it seem difficult to get fighters to work out real challenges? without the ego, and ugliness of school/style rivalry (I know 'dojo/kwoon challenges' got ugly in the past) ..isn't the martial art community mature enough to handle open challenging/sparring? or have people really been pacified beyond repair? or is a matter of saving face when it counts? because I know some people turn down challenges, not because they are afraid, want money, or are incapable, just for honor, they say. how is that honorable when we are all students?

    for instance if someone came to your school tomorrow and challenged it, most schools would turn it down, even for light sparring or a display of technique, master to master, you rarely or never see them do monthly style exchanges with other styles of schools of their own styles? is it really just ego or is it something about a code of honor among fighters that we dont know about?

    theres a nice scene in the Grandmaster (2013 version) where Ip Man is offered a cigarette by the "Brother in the South" of ('Gong Yutian') the Northern Master who gave Ip Man his fame during the "crack the cookie" fight.
    the Brother, in so many words, basically tells Ip that by offering him the cigarette, and Ip smoking it, that his work is done in the shadows, so the face of his family remains untainted.

    In retrospect, Ip Man was looking to see the 64 hands again, and the Daughter of Gong Yutian wouldnt show him again (after previously beating him) etc....

    my question is, how much of martial arts was realistically lost this way? and how much are great arts allowed to be misunderstood because the ones that know them just wont display them for the sake of display, or education.

    also, what was the Brother of Gongyutian trying to say, with the play on the elements? I kinda get it, from my perspective, where Im from if someone offers you a smoke, and you take it, you do somewhat give them the respect. What I dont get is why they wouldnt just exchange styles, if Ip Man is a respected martial artist, and is approaching as a student, what did the brother have to lose by sharing? How does a family lose face by sharing? Ip Man didnt say "kiss my feet and show me them 64 hands" lol....he was pretty humble about it, at least to my perception. I know there were standards back then, and still today, I might now understand, so thats why Im asking. thanks

    Amituofo
    "色即是空 , 空即是色 " ~ Buddha via Avalokitesvara
    Shaolin Meditator

  2. #2
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    Hey,Djuan. I think there is too much competitive spirit mixed with testosterone and unfortunately a percentage of sociopath-based tendencies to have any real "friendly community sparring" for the most part. The best sparring partner is someone you know well and can trust not to intentionally inflict injury on you or vice-versa.
    The "GrandMaster" one of my favorite movies, also the "Last Master" by the same director dealing with a story where a WingChun master travels to the north to establish a challenge to the Clans established there. Netflix library International section. * My take, or what I got out of the scene you mention in the Grandmaster movie is that the master who offered the cigarette to Ip Man, just as in his confrontation with the Baiji master with the razor was taking an opportunity to introduce himself to Ip Man as opposed to crossing paths in not-so-favorable circumstances. While lighting up he let's master Ip know that if he were a bit younger their meeting would require physical confrontation. As for the 64 hands, I think Ip Man was just trying to encourage his love interest and perfect sparring partner to keep on living, of course this plot content being highly fictional.
    Last edited by PalmStriker; 08-25-2019 at 08:41 PM.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by PalmStriker View Post
    Hey,Djuan. I think there is too much competitive spirit mixed with testosterone and unfortunately a percentage of sociopath-based tendencies to have any real "friendly community sparring" for the most part. The best sparring partner is someone you know well and can trust not to intentionally inflict injury on you or vice-versa.
    The "GrandMaster" one of my favorite movies, also the "Last Master" by the same director dealing with a story where a WingChun master travels to the north to establish a challenge to the Clans established there. Netflix library International section. * My take, or what I got out of the scene you mention in the Grandmaster movie is that the master who offered the cigarette to Ip Man, just as in his confrontation with the Baiji master with the razor was taking an opportunity to introduce himself to Ip Man as opposed to crossing paths in not-so-favorable circumstances. While lighting up he let's master Ip know that if he were a bit younger their meeting would require physical confrontation. As for the 64 hands, I think Ip Man was just trying to encourage his love interest and perfect sparring partner to keep on living, of course this plot content being highly fictional.
    AH , I understand. The deal with healthy sparring, is either lack of self control or lack of skill. Skilled people not wanting to control themselves, for any reason (like you said ego, hormones etc lol) or, unskilled fighters just not knowing how to dial it in for sparring. Its a task at first, and a skill all itself. its fun though, learning that "educational fighting" where you can go in with your partner and bring some heat and pain with out trying to kill or hurt each other. martial arts is no place for the ego, and if your practice isnt helping stabilize your hormones and regulate your emotions at will, wtf bro?
    I will keep wishing, granted you might be right about finding a good partner and sticking with em. I havent had a good sparring partner since my first school, and I wish for that guy to move out here, with his whole family lol wife kids n all, just so we can spar daily. I have had some good experiences, just not a steady sparring partner or community of martial artist who are all about Taolu plus application, its always either or.

    I've been to BJJ schools, they will roll all day, or a boxing gym, usually incorporates sparring daily, with their members, yet traditional arts schools, not so much. not with their members or outsiders. makes it seem watered down sometimes, no matter how you justify it. You wouldnt want to go to a football camp and never play with other people lol, you'd have to throw to, catch from, run from, tackle, block for, other people, which is how you learn the unspoken bonds of the game.

    Only in the most intimate environment, have I seen a "school" spar regularly, granted the school was private and held in the back of a Vietnamese Buddhist temple in the downtown of a major city, so you didnt have to worry so much about egos, or worried/afraid students or their parents because everyone was there by choice, and then selection.

    then I have the relic stories my uncles and even grandfather told me about in the 60's 70's and early 80's, backyard sparring communities, and inter-kwoon sparring/ style exchanging was VERY common in the bay area, I wish it would return. seems like a dream. lol

    about that scene, I think I get that too. I felt that scene , something about it, now that you mentioned it, it was the element of fire used by the brother to light Ip Mans cigarette, they both positioned their hands to take guard, and that WAS the "exchange", on the brothers terms. man thats some intense vibes. the weaving of that moment, the Gong brother knew what he was doing before he took out the cigarette lol.
    Thanks for the insight!

    Amituofo
    "色即是空 , 空即是色 " ~ Buddha via Avalokitesvara
    Shaolin Meditator

  4. #4
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    Djuan:

    PalmStriker makes a good point about oversized egos, testosterone and even sociopathic personalities in many MAists, to reliably have a general sparring community, for the most part.

    That said, out of all the teachers I had, there were three main ones that often gave us such opportunities. The first one was my Kenpo teacher. It wasn't uncommon for guests (or guest groups) from other schools and arts to drop by, and he would always invite them to join the sparring. And my teacher was always the first one to spar (at the time, he was in his early 30s to 40 years old). We were also lucky, because he had friends and students who were professional kickboxers and pro boxers who regularly sparred with us. It was a great learning experience.

    The second teacher I had like that was one of my Mantis teachers in Taiwan. He wasn't much older than I was, and he was in a position for his students and himself to prove ourselves to establish himself. He also had upper classmates from his various teachers, some of whom would bring their students and come 'exchange' with us. These other stylists included Bajiquan, Wing Chun, Hung Gar, Lei Tai/Sanshou, combative Taiji, Bagua, etc. In addition, some of my classmates had friends from different schools that a few of us would meet with one night a week at a remote, neutral spot at Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Park to spar with. It was kept friendly and under control, because there was some type of connection already.

    The third and last (but not in importance!) of my top instructors is my CLF Sifu. To prepare us for certain events, he would invite other schools of teachers he was friends with to bring their black and brown belts to spar with us, or he'd take us to visit their schools. It was always pre-arranged in advance. Mostly the other fighters were Kajukenbo and Kenpo, some of whom were also point fighters or pro kickboxers, and a few did both.

    The key point among all three teachers was that they had long-established networks of other teachers and MAists who were trusted enough to come in and spar, and be confident that things wouldn't spiral out of hand. If someone just walks in off the street and 'challenges' you, you have no idea who you're dealing with. If he gets hurt or fakes an injury, will your school be facing a lawsuit? Or what if a student is hurt? Is the challenger mentally stable? I remember my Kenpo teacher accepting a few blatant challenges from people coming in off the street, throwing a pair of gloves at them and then beating them handily, but not really injuring them. But that was back in the '70s into the early '80s. Things are different now.
    Last edited by Jimbo; 08-26-2019 at 09:46 AM.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jimbo View Post
    Djuan:

    PalmStriker makes a good point about oversized egos, testosterone and even sociopathic personalities in many MAists, to reliably have a general sparring community, for the most part.

    That said, out of all the teachers I had, there were three main ones that often gave us such opportunities. The first one was my Kenpo teacher. It wasn't uncommon for guests (or guest groups) from other schools and arts to drop by, and he would always invite them to join the sparring. And my teacher was always the first one to spar (at the time, he was in his early 30s to 40 years old). We were also lucky, because he had friends and students who were professional kickboxers and pro boxers who regularly sparred with us. It was a great learning experience.

    The second teacher I had like that was one of my Mantis teachers in Taiwan. He wasn't much older than I was, and he was in a position for his students and himself to prove ourselves to establish himself. He also had upper classmates from his various teachers, some of whom would bring their students and come 'exchange' with us. These other stylists included Bajiquan, Wing Chun, Hung Gar, Lei Tai/Sanshou, combative Taiji, Bagua, etc. In addition, some of my classmates had friends from different schools that a few of us would meet with one night a week at a remote, neutral spot at Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Park to spar with. It was kept friendly and under control, because there was some type of connection already.

    The third and last (but not in importance!) of my top instructors is my CLF Sifu. To prepare us for certain events, he would invite other schools of teachers he was friends with to bring their black and brown belts to spar with us, or he'd take us to visit their schools. It was always pre-arranged in advance. Mostly the other fighters were Kajukenbo and Kenpo, some of whom were also point fighters or pro kickboxers, and a few did both.

    The key point among all three teachers was that they had long-established networks of other teachers and MAists who were trusted enough to come in and spar, and be confident that things wouldn't spiral out of hand. If someone just walks in off the street and 'challenges you, you have no idea who you're dealing with. If he gets hurt or fakes an injury, will your school be facing a lawsuit? Or what if a student is hurt? Is the challenger mentally stable? I remember my Kenpo teacher accepting a few blatant challenges from people coming in off the street, throwing a pair of gloves at them and then beating them handily, but not really injuring them. But that was back in the '70s into the early '80s. Things are different now.
    This makes sense for today, to bring it about in preparation. Also to be under teachers with a strong network always makes up for being short handed in any measure. What I'm imagining is probably not likely to happen in these days unless the MA community gets a stroke of maturity/integrity. or dare I say, spiritual regard and emotional intelligence.

    I have to rant (lol ), that this is why Ch'an is beneficial to martial arts.....etc.....

    while everyone acts like we dont need any training outside of physical, to be a strong MA community, yet the greedy/competitive and brute force way of combat arts in modern times, is proving to be to gross for progress and is watering down the surface of it. and yes, there is that small, big chunk beneath the surface, which preserves a certain way. still, that should be the way for all, and thats another topic.

    has us at a point where we cant even walk into a MA school, give respect and take a lesson, or have a friendly sparring relationship, which in my opinion, should be the norm.
    how are MMA fighters shaping their styles?
    you have to study/fight with people from other systems, and be comfortable with what you have learned through application. That takes a great deal of respect and humility, and should come with your training. As any fighter knows its hard to train in any art to the level of real time application, so we should all have mutual respect based on that alone, just knowing we train.
    I will always give that respect to those training, especially those who teach. I wont diss anyone or turn away a challenge, and I dont claim to be an expert, or claim to be unteachable, to me the point its to keep growing.
    so....getting beat in practice is the best way to learn, I welcome those kind of beatings.
    in the name of learning and growth.

    Amituofo
    "色即是空 , 空即是色 " ~ Buddha via Avalokitesvara
    Shaolin Meditator

  6. #6
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    I agree, DJuan, that practitioners need to have experience fighting different styles outside of their own, and even different individuals within those styles. IMO, it's crucial during one's younger years/developmental stages. And yes, it's harder to do so with traditional MAists. I find some more 'modern/eclectic' systems like Kenpo or Kajukenbo are often more open to exchanging with outsiders than, say, many typical traditional CMA schools.

    Another thing I've found when I competed in some CMA tournaments years ago is that I encountered a number of CMA people who exuded a kind of snooty, passive-aggressive hostility, even if some of their teachers, at least by outward appearances, did not. These were often among students who did not partake in sparring competitions.

    A sense of elitism is not uncommon in MA in general, but seems especially prevalent among many CMA practitioners. "Our system/lineage/school is the best and only legitimate one." Which is kind of pathetic, because nowadays, MMA and BJJ are the kings of most sought-after MA, for young adults, anyway. Arguments of superior/inferior in MA are meaningless. And it's generally easier to become elitist if one is kept sheltered from facing outsiders.
    Last edited by Jimbo; 08-26-2019 at 05:03 PM.

  7. #7
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    weighing it out fairly

    Quote Originally Posted by Jimbo View Post
    I agree, DJuan, that practitioners need to have experience fighting different styles outside of their own, and even different individuals within those styles. IMO, it's crucial during one's younger years/developmental stages. And yes, it's harder to do so with traditional MAists. I find some more 'modern/eclectic' systems like Kenpo or Kajukenbo are often more open to exchanging with outsiders than, say, many typical traditional CMA schools.

    Another thing I've found when I competed in some CMA tournaments years ago is that I encountered a number of CMA people who exuded a kind of snooty, passive-aggressive hostility, even if some of their teachers, at least by outward appearances, did not. These were often among students who did not partake in sparring competitions.

    A sense of elitism is not uncommon in MA in general, but seems especially prevalent among many CMA practitioners. "Our system/lineage/school is the best and only legitimate one." Which is kind of pathetic, because nowadays, MMA and BJJ are the kings of most sought-after MA, for young adults, anyway. Arguments of superior/inferior in MA are meaningless. And it's generally easier to become elitist if one is kept sheltered from facing outsiders.
    makes total sense, then from that perspective, do you think it helps the general MA community?

    just for balance I will look at both sides; if you have something you want to keep a certain way without outside influence, then maybe you can play that way, its hard on the soul tho, and does corrupt a weak ego. so only the master with ultimate levels of sagacity can pull that "keep my style in the mountains" vibe off , in any time period, let alone today.
    we know todays average MAist is not a sage , nor interested in that level of inner peace. so what ultimately happens to these traditional styles, is they get watered down by explotiers, or just completley misunderstood, misrepresented and then lost in translation amid the new wave of fighting st

    so then to bring it up to speed, for today, wouldnt it be smarter to share, if all signs are pointing to MMA, putting your art out there, properly, not only is a noble gesture to the MA community, it ensures its ability to endure the times, and adapt, rather than become a mcdojo with relics locked in museums.

    Then I always have to remind myself the core of the community is putting the arts to use somehow, and thats why they cant share in an intimate way, so I understand that part, I'm speaking about general public MA schools that represent various traditional styles. they arent training assassins, per say, so they should be puttin up/out a proactive fight (one that keeps their art, and the MA community growing and thriving).

    I mean, unified MA (traditional/modern) must be in pretty shabby condition, if you can go on youtube and watch young MMA fighters beat up old guys that claim to be traditional masters, that means, the younger students and masters of these styles are THAT caught up in the "saving face" that they are actually allowing their school or style to lose face?

    with all the cards out, we can let time tell the truth, that style hoarding leads to the loss of some pretty magnificent fighting arts. we already lost a lot due to lack of recorded history and oral transmission leading the method of exchange from generation to generation. then we lost more to cultural and political destruction, thru the decades. now we have to deal with stubborn, or just unnecessarily haughty and stingy MAist, hiding away from the MA community. Most people probably think this is a dumb argument.....however, this is why we find ourselves traveling and researching the intricacies of style we PRACTICE, because so little was transmitted in a solid way.

    this probably applies to other things outside of MA, for all our sake I will insert the silence here to stop me from talking about it beyond the topic lol.

    and I greatly appreciate the perspectives and insights.

    Amituofo
    "色即是空 , 空即是色 " ~ Buddha via Avalokitesvara
    Shaolin Meditator

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