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Thread: Martial Arts Studies: Disrupting Disciplinary Boundaries by Paul Bowman

  1. #1
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    Martial Arts Studies: Disrupting Disciplinary Boundaries by Paul Bowman

    I really enjoyed this. Anyone else read it yet?

    This is from the same Paul Bowman mentioned in my recent interview, Ben Judkins And Jon Nielson on THE CREATION OF WING CHUN (PART 2), and in our thread on the documentary I Am Bruce Lee
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
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    Well, lemme tell ya about it...

    ...or better yet, let's hear it straight from the author: Read Paul Bowman on MARTIAL ARTS STUDIES Part 1 by Gene Ching.
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
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    Part 2

    Read Paul Bowman on MARTIAL ARTS STUDIES Part 2 by Gene Ching.

    Anyone engage this book yet beyond me? It's well worth your attention.
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
    Support our forum by getting your gear at MartialArtSmart

  4. #4
    I'm kind of tired of all the navel gazing in traditional gong fu. The bottom line is this, any style can teach you to fight but you have to practice the fighting or it will never work. Your training should be at a minimum 30% sparring time, a minimum.

    Yes there are tons of false ideas about origins and reasons behind what we do, but it's up to individuals to worry if they care enough to sort that out or not. I'm sure the guy's book is cool but I don't know that it makes anyone better at being a martial artist to mine all this stuff.

    Martial studies as an accredited educational field of study also just seems like a way to call yourself an expert in something you don't actually do. It's like learning how to fix cars and never having had to open the hood of one.

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    Quote Originally Posted by GeneChing View Post
    Read Paul Bowman on MARTIAL ARTS STUDIES Part 2 by Gene Ching.

    Anyone engage this book yet beyond me? It's well worth your attention.
    Quote Originally Posted by Orion Paximus View Post
    The bottom line is this, any style can teach you to fight but you have to practice the fighting or it will never work.
    From part 2:

    The idea of the “traditional” martial arts changing tends to make a lot of people nervous. But the truth is that these systems are always adapting themselves to their environments. They have changed, often in important ways, in every generation. The real question is how well they are doing it. When people ask me whether the traditional Chinese martial arts are dying, I tell them no, they are evolving.
    Not directly addressing the idea of scholarly study, but in many ways CMA are devolving rather than evolving with respect to original martial purpose.

    CMA are "evolving" in response to evolutionary pressures that encourage superficial understanding and mcdojo-ism(invented a new word ).

    That's partly why I've been critical of blatant technical flaws as discussed in the Marco Polo thread.

    Maybe CMA isn't dying, but it does suffer from the cancer of pseudo-fu whether in popular media or elsewhere.

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    Quote Originally Posted by -N- View Post
    CMA are "evolving" in response to evolutionary pressures that encourage superficial understanding and mcdojo-ism(invented a new word ).
    Maybe someone should do a scholarly study on the evolutionary pressures that lead to fake kf.

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    Quote Originally Posted by -N- View Post
    Maybe someone should do a scholarly study on the evolutionary pressures that lead to fake kf.
    Performance of stylized/exaggerated CMA movements is not a new phenomenon and didn't begin with the movies. There were ancient 'sword dances', and Chinese opera has been around for centuries. And don't forget the street performers who hawked medicine. The idea of much of CMA becoming too dance-like and non-functional, and then certain people developing systems seeking to remedy that, has occurred off and on many times over the centuries. Often, in times of peace, or when gunpowder/firearms supplanted the importance of traditional weapons on the battlefield, some martial practices were seen as obsolete and devolved into showmanship.

    In other instances, the original practical aspects of CMA were discouraged or prohibited by authorities, at least openly, leading to such things as modern wushu, although history has earlier precedents.

    Even though similar issues have occurred in other countries' MA, such as what occurred in much of Japanese Jujutsu in the late 1800s (which led Kano to develop Kano Jujutsu/Judo, emphasizing more live training), the CMA seem the most prone to flowery, fanciful interpretations of MA movements for performance purposes.
    Last edited by Jimbo; 12-16-2015 at 08:18 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jimbo View Post
    Performance of stylized/exaggerated CMA movements is not a new phenomenon and didn't begin with the movies.

    [...] the CMA seem the most prone to flowery, fanciful interpretations of MA movements for performance purposes.
    Good points.

    I don't even have a problem with exaggerated movements as part of artistic performance or as a tool to teach or introduce a body mechanics concept.

    The de-evolution is really bad when the movements are incorrect or misinterpreted and then propagated as representative of the system.

    Then you start getting all the problems with "kf doesn't work".

    No, you don't feint by doing a Mantis claw to the top of the head. You don't do an elbow break using the back of the Mantis claw. You don't use Mantis claws for doing iron bridge.

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    Quote Originally Posted by -N- View Post
    Good points.

    I don't even have a problem with exaggerated movements as part of artistic performance or as a tool to teach or introduce a body mechanics concept.

    The de-evolution is really bad when the movements are incorrect or misinterpreted and then propagated as representative of the system.

    Then you start getting all the problems with "kf doesn't work".

    No, you don't feint by doing a Mantis claw to the top of the head. You don't do an elbow break using the back of the Mantis claw. You don't use Mantis claws for doing iron bridge.
    Agreed about the way (northern) Mantis is misrepresented in media as overusing the Mantis claw. IMO, Mantis might be the most misrepresented style, technically, onscreen. It's portrayed as almost exclusively Mantis claw.

    Several years ago, there was a TV documentary about animal Kung Fu systems, either on Animal Planet or Discovery. At one point, the show's host visited a CA wushu school to experience sparring against Mantis style. His opponent, a petite female wushu performer, had her hands in the Mantis hook/claw position the entire time, and did slappy, pokey movements at him. He seemed (at least onscreen) to be impressed with 'how fast Mantis style is'. But in truth, she hadn't used any real Tanglang quan/Mantis skills whatsoever. She was trying more to look like the insect than using even basic Mantis principles, which she most likely did not know. But I imagine the producers would feel that the wushu Mantis makes for better TV than the real thing would. Either that, or they weren't aware of traditional Mantis at all.

    Edit to add:
    Unfortunately, it's demonstrations like the one mentioned above that further make Mantis and CMA is in general look weak and ineffective, even more than in the movies, because they're supposed to be representing the real thing.
    Last edited by Jimbo; 12-16-2015 at 01:05 PM.

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    There's many reasons why ineffective or "flowery" martial arts exist.

    First, the obvious - they are not trained realistically to be used for the act of fighting and rather, they express physicality, flexibility, speed etc. Attributes and athletics.

    Second, the fraudulent - they are put forward by those who desire acknowledgement as alphas when they really aren't that and systems are designed to always keep your students from excelling beyond you.

    Third- some just don't know better and genuinely believe in what they are doing.

    Authentic and genuine martial arts will subject you to a much different methodology and Kung Fu is indeed one of them. You basically need to find someone who actually does know how to teach the ways of applying under pressure, how to learn under pressure, how to train the required skills without wasted time and effort.

    Kung Fu classes get stripped down somewhat when they are taught with an eye towards actually using the skills to kick some ass.
    Kung Fu is good for you.

  11. #11
    the complete list of reasons that kung fu is not effective today

    boxer rebellion
    -almost the entire fighting kung fu community died in the rebellion
    -destruction of the fighting community led to breakdown of unwritten codes of conduct and self regulation. anyone opening a school HAD to fight
    -rejects and fringe members of the community took over in the power vacuum (yang style tai chi, wong fei hong hung ga, etc)

    deliberate acts
    -the chinatown chinese teachers of the first wave taught white students wrong on purpose out of racism/distrust
    -for the second kung fu wave (je li movie craze in 1980s) traditional kung fu lineages on the mainland still hold grudge against city chinese, foreigners, the government and taught them wrong on purpose. ultra traditional lineages with direct ties to white lotus refuse contact with outsiders completely (taizu changquan, hongquan, luohan quan, meihuaquan etc)
    - the revival of kung fu in 1850, 1920, and 1980 in china were all for the purpose of nationalism and the chance of a good teacher teaching outside china was and is exceedingly rare

    cultural hijacking
    -in the bruce lee and jet li period many sociopathic business savvy people realized teaching kung fu was a very easy source of income (chinatown kung fu boom, dengfeng shaolin factory etc) who were not qualified to teach
    -position of power attracts psychopaths who focus on bullying and abuse rituals over actual combat, mentally defective people who were attracted to concept of fantastical power, lazy people and autistic people who were bullied (push hands, centerline, iron palm etc)

    -chinese concept of teacher/student father/son relationship is difficult to understand and is distorted as master/slave dominate/submission relationship, teacher and student cannot form bond to build lasting tradition
    Last edited by bawang; 12-17-2015 at 03:20 AM.

    25th generation inner door disciple of Chen Style Practical Wombat Method
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  12. #12
    important key reasons that real shaolin kung fu will never be taught outsiders


    majority of atrocities committed by missionaries and colonial armies were done near shandong, henan and hebei. many traditional lineages hold deep grudge against westerners (smashing buddha statues, molesting children, killing random people etc)

    the worst areas affected by the man made famine were henan hebei where people had to resort to cannibalism yet the crops were sent to feed the cities. for this reason no middle class and above city chinese will ever be taught real shaolin kung fu.


    after the liberation monks were forced to have sex with nuns in front of people, marry prostitutes, beaten or killed. shaolin temple sacred areas were used as artilery range. suddenly 20 years later officials and business investers want to rebuild shaolin temple for jet li movie, acting very warm and friendly. (for reference 9/11 happened almost 20 years ago) for this reason no dengfeng school teaches the real shaolin kung fu.

    chen xiaowangs father was killed over a horse, and taichi is the poster child of main land post liberation kung fu. the scars run deep.




    the truth is real combat kung fu exists. it is not special. it is not unique, it is not complicated. but for some chinese kung fu masters they hold on tight to it because it is all they have. it is not important to know real kung fu and we have no right to demand real kung fu. real kung fu will never be taught to you, and it is alright.
    Last edited by bawang; 12-17-2015 at 04:15 AM.

    25th generation inner door disciple of Chen Style Practical Wombat Method
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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by bawang View Post
    the complete list of reasons that kung fu is not effective today
    Quote Originally Posted by bawang View Post
    important key reasons that real shaolin kung fu will never be taught outsiders
    Your PhD will be arriving shortly.

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    Thumbs up

    Not much more can be said after Bawang has spoken!

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    Time for a drink. 'Dance of the DRUNKEN MANTIS' : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8v7KK3ZWWSk

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