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

  1. #16
    If we look at clinching and throwing and locking and striking as different trades, then Kung Fu fighters are seeking to be jacks of multiple trades.

    Especially once you add in weapons.

    In a sense, I think empty hand and weapons are almost two trades.

    The problem with forms collectors isn't that they have too much, it's that many of them focus on form without doing the isolated drilling necessary to understand that form. Their trade is learning forms, not mastering methods.

    For those of us who just love this stuff and will keep doing it over the years, it's inevitable to end up with techniques that one is familiar with, that one might put into the part of their toolbox that their go-to moves are in, but might not. Some moves we might be familiar with because people we know, with different body types, have used them to great effect. There are variations of techniques in the style that I do that are for throws on a bigger opponent, or smaller. It's good to know them, but, I'm pretty tall, the odds of me engaging someone that much taller than me are small, so I don't focus on them, but I know them.

    Thus, you cannot master all of your style, if the style includes techs that relate to different variations of height, etc. You can master what is core, and what is suitable for you, and you can be familiar with the rest. A box with short reach cannot master the style of a boxer with long reach, and vice versa. They can understand it and explain it to someone, but not master it.

    Additionally, being exposed to another style invariably makes some things from your core style make more sense. I don't believe you can master one style without exposure to the ideas of others, as all styles are formed based, to one degree or another, on common ideas about fighting amongst the contemporaries that made that style and the later individual's martial culture's that informed its adaptation.

  2. #17
    "Jack of all trades master of none, often better than a master of one."

  3. #18
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Quote Originally Posted by sanjuro_ronin View Post
    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.
    A necessary one even. No one ever feels they understand something unless they experience/realise it for themselves.

    The Dichotomy between the 'Seeker' and the 'Faithful' exists in all disciplines and is necessary.

    It is easy to see why;

    The 'Faithful' is not interested in the means, he is interested in the ends, in the utility. If he sees something work, he can follow it with faith and use it well, confident in his technique. He wants to be the champion, he does not care why a thing works he cares about how to use it.

    The 'Seeker' is not interested in a specific ends. If he sees something work he is not satisfied that it works, he wants to know WHY it works. He is grasping at the intangible thread of wisdom that weaves through all things and unites all arts. He has no utility in mind. So he will investigate many things.

    Ultimately the faithful will be more successful in their technique, perfected and confident in it, he will be a champion. The Seeker will not be so successful but he will be able to abstract his knowledge to other things and will be an excellent teacher.

    But it is not that we are all one or the other. We are simultaneously both. When I go to the doctor I am faithful and follow his prescription, if I were to investigate it i would fast become lost. But in Kung Fu I seek more information, I don't aspire to become a champion, if i did I would follow my teachers prescription without question and be confident in it. But I don't, I am interested in less easily stated aspects and so look for more. I don't think this will make me better at fighting, I do it because it is what fascinates me.

    The illusion, the mistake, is that either archetype alone is correct or necessary to an art.
    Last edited by RenDaHai; 03-14-2014 at 09:58 AM.

  4. #19
    jack of all trades, master of none, but master a few, and jack everyone.....
    Chan Tai San Book at

    Quote Originally Posted by taai gihk yahn View Post
    well, like LKFMDC - he's a genuine Kung Fu Hero™
    Quote Originally Posted by Taixuquan99 View Post
    As much as I get annoyed when it gets derailed by the array of strange angry people that hover around him like moths, his good posts are some of my favorites.
    Quote Originally Posted by Kellen Bassette View Post
    I think he goes into a cave to meditate and recharge his chi...and bite the heads off of bats, of course....

  5. #20
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Shell Beach, CA, USA
    Blog Entries
    Quote Originally Posted by lkfmdc View Post
    jack of all trades, master of none, but master a few, and jack everyone.....
    Agree with you 100% there. You don't need to be good at "single leg", but you have to have the knowledge to deal with it.
    Last edited by YouKnowWho; 03-15-2014 at 03:32 AM.

    More opinion -> more argument
    Less opinion -> less argument
    No opinion -> no argument

  6. #21
    Join Date
    May 2007
    The state that resembles a middle finger.
    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.
    "I fear not the man who practices a thousand different techniques, I fear the man whom practices one technique thousands upon thousands of times."

    words I live by.
    Originally posted by Bawang
    i had an old taichi lady talk smack behind my back. i mean comon man, come on. if it was 200 years ago,, mebbe i wouldve smacked her and took all her monehs.
    Originally posted by Bawang
    i am manly and strong. do not insult me cracker.

  7. #22
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    "Master of none, teach all for a price" seems to be an equally important problem.

  8. #23
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    36th Chamber
    8 punches
    5 kicks
    10 throws
    7 submissions

    You're a champ.
    He most honors my style who learns under it to destroy the teacher. -- Walt Whitman

    Quote Originally Posted by David Jamieson View Post
    As a mod, I don't have to explain myself to you.

  9. #24
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    I prefer: Jack of all trades, master of some. Thats how i see crosstraining. You need develop a true proficiency or "mastery" of your base system(s) along the way. This is how all the best warriors have always come out on top. Whether we are talking full scale strategic long term warfare, or a mma match, having your area(s) of expertise, coupled with at least standard knowledge of every aspect that can possibly be introduced into the battle you are in is a must for any professional.
    For whoso comes amongst many shall one day find that no one man is by so far the mightiest of all.

  10. #25
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Hong Kong
    Good topic. The question should be faced by a student with more than three years of training. That means sooner or later he needs to answer it.

    First of all IMHO, MMA is the jack of all trades and master of all, is the problem. It is difficult to achieve even from the words of MMA students. I regard the goal as mission impossible. Too many theories, techniques, and strategies to learn.
    So my goal is to be jack of most trades, master of them. These trades are categories of techniques most often used in real fight. Case in point, a MMA tournament session sometimes starts and ends with strikes on foot only.


    Hong Kong
    Last edited by SteveLau; 03-17-2014 at 12:36 AM.

  11. #26
    Black Tiger,

    Not going to answer my post?

    Ron Goninan
    China Fuzhou Zhenlan Crane Boxing Australia
    White Crane Research Institute Inc
    A seeker of the way

  12. #27
    Join Date
    Dec 1969
    Does the trade make you or are you an example of the trade?
    Populism is probably the most ineffective and meaningless form or method of change.
    It changes nothing. In the end, each individual has to ultimately lift themselves up, empower themselves and self actualize.
    The style you choose, the games you play, the clothes you wear, or the place you live are reflections of your choices and not of you.

    End result is, can you bring it? If you can't, you need to train more and really, it doesn't matter what you train, it matters that you train and that your method has a verifiable result.
    Otherwise you're just picking weeds that can't be eaten.
    Kung Fu is good for you.

  13. #28
    "jack of all trades master of none" is French for "I don't wanna learn ground fighting"
    Last edited by bawang; 03-22-2014 at 07:19 PM.

    25th generation inner door disciple of Chen Style Practical Wombat Method
    Officially certified by Ethiopian Orthodox patriarch Abune Mathias
    grandmaster instructor of Wombat Combat™®LLC Practical Wombat Method. international academy retreat

  14. #29
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Quote Originally Posted by bawang View Post
    "jack of all trades master of none" is French for "I don't wanna learn ground fighting"
    I would have thought that quite the contrary is true: i.e. that groundfighting is one of the essential 'trades' that people have to fake being experts at these days. In the 'CMA' world, it seems to be that you have to emphasise your 'traditional' training 'back in the day', and then transform that, somehow, into knowing MMA. Probably via some spurious chain of links that goes from sparring in your church hall kung fu class 'back in the day', which then becomes 'san da' - and the rest follows from that.

  15. #30
    Join Date
    Dec 1969
    CA, USA
    It would be pretty hard to 'fake' being an expert at ground fighting for very long these days.

    OTOH, nothing wrong with MAists broadening their horizons by seeking out legitimate instruction in whatever areas they may be deficient at.

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