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Thread: Science Vs Pseudoscience {Can you prove it?}

  1. #1

    Science Vs Pseudoscience {Can you prove it?}

    Science Vs Pseudoscience {Can you prove it?}

    Every once in a while I will meet a new instructor here for one reason or another. This time it was to learn a set of techniques from this under thirty year old Shaolin {Monk}? This teacher travels the world teaching. Ok so we [my wife and I} travel to his home town three hour bus ride, then with the teacher and his father another two hours in the car. As usual he spent most of the time telling me how everything I learned up to this point is all wrong and how he knows all the secrets. Me being the humble guy I am nod my head and add the occasional “yeah o really”.

    Now this has happened about twenty times since I have lived in the Songshan Shaolin Mountains. Every teacher swearing they have the secrets and all other know nothing. Some of these teachers are well known. Few are humble unfortunately almost none are real Buddhist in my opinion.

    Ok back to the story. I go to bed in a bad mood after listing to a guy almost half my age with a decade less of MA experience rant about how I know nothing even though he doesn’t know my Shifu and never saw me do so much as a single technique. At one point he says, when you meditate do you walk for thirty minutes first, I begin to answer he cuts me off midsentence to say “no all wrong”. I once had a teacher from Tagou do this to me when he asked me my teacher’s name and I open my mouth to answer before I say his name he cuts me off and says” he doesn’t know real kung fu”. Interesting maybe he can read minds.

    The next day we are out at five am hoping I can learn the set and be on my way, when the games begin. I knew they were coming but with a slight twist. I thought he would do the old {let me see you do a form} stop me mid-way and then tell me how the qi wasn’t in my toe and it’s all wrong. Instead he wants me to show him a qin na technique. He says { you said you studied qin na, do a technique and grabs my lapel. At this point in a split second I have to decide feed his ego some more or put up or shut. So instead of going along with his game, counter my technique he knows is coming and then go on about how great he is and I know nothing. I tested him. Instead of grabbing the gripping hand I knocked it off with a forearm block, stepped in with a forearm strike to the side of his neck following up with an elbow to his chin. The forearm block I used power, the forearm to the neck I made contact but didn’t use a lot of power. The elbow I placed in front of his jaw.

    Now he tells me no wrong [this is in Chinese of course he doesn’t speak English]. I say{ I hit you how is that wrong;] He says if I fell down it would be right. I say Yeah because I didn’t use power;} I then start to loss it when he insist I let him grab me again to prove his point. I step back gain distance and begin to lose my temper shouting I am here to learn….. not play your games. I walked away and left, let him loss face.

    My point in all this is can you prove it? He ranted for maybe three hours in the day and a half I knew him about all these secret qi points how everything I learned was wrong. How great he was bla blab la, yet when I didn’t react to his grab as expected he was taken by surprise he did nothing to defend it. Will a bad guy in the street attack you the way you tell him to? He should have been able to counter maybe even levitate with all the mystical theories and knowledge he has. There are two ways to prove all the mystical theories work. One their teacher and teacher’s teacher lived to be 150, or they are out winning ufc/mma or other fighting competitions. If not it is Pseudoscience. If you like it and it makes you happy fine, just don’t be a ***** about it or you might have to one day prove what you say is real.
    Last edited by wiz cool c; 01-17-2019 at 01:29 AM.

  2. #2
    Your story just goes to show that specific human personality types will ubiquously replicate themselves anywhere you go and in any country. There will always be pompous, arrogant, narcissistically entitled Kung Fu dilettantes spewing their doctrine to all that will listen. Real authentic martial arts come from the heart of a humble human being passing on their skills and knowledge with sincerity and love. And not necessarily to be found in the country of origin, although it is magical to visit the birth place of any art.

    That's a day and a half of your life with this dick that you will never get back. But...such is the state that we often endure in our quest for learning as Kung Fu guys and gals.

    I am of the belief that anything can work or not work under pressure. It depends on the parties involved and the moment. Even an untrained individual can be a hero. A firearm may or may not stop an enraged individual bent on your demise. As a field LEO for many years I can assist to this. The judging standard is statistically how often and consistantly will your product work over a period of time and by how many? One of my Sifu's once said "If you want to know how good a teacher is then look at his students".

    Living a healthy happy life into very old age is definitely an indicator that you're doing something right...or have super awesome genetics.
    Last edited by robertdreeben; 01-18-2019 at 03:05 AM.
    Buy the best and cry once!

  3. #3
    robertdreeben

    It taught me a valuable lesson actually. I am about to move back to the states and run my own school after doing MA for 36 years, 12 of those in China. Even with all this experience I still just see myself as a guy who trains in martial arts. A Shifu ok maybe a master, that term to me is ridiculous. This arrogant young man defiantly sees himself as a master and has some decent credentials. Still when push comes to shove and he wanted to play games I out smarted him and out maneuvered him. So like in the Last Dragon

  4. #4
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    wiz cool c:

    Unfortunately, I've encountered people like that in various MA. But for some reason, I've noticed that it seems particularly common in CMA. Prior to CMA, I trained in JMA, KMA, 'modern, Americanized' MA, kickboxing, and some FMA. And later, I also trained BJJ for a short while (admittedly, only a year). I've met great people in all, of course, but I've also met arrogant, smug people in many arts. However, I've encountered the most by far in CMA.

    No matter how long I've trained, I've always felt like just a practitioner, nothing more. I'll never put myself above another person. But I also will not discount my own experience, or allow someone to belittle me, or try to twist my words to use against me, either. There are many passive-aggressive types who believe they can get away with belittling others to make themselves look or feel bigger than they are, and count on the belief that the person will not call them out on it. For some reason, this very type seems especially prevalent in CMA. I'm not certain why that is, although I do have a theory that I won't discuss here.

    I've also experienced more instances of dishonesty from some CMAists than in any other MA category (i.e., trying or willing to 'screw you over').

    If this sounds like I'm dumping on CMA, well, I'm not. I'm merely speaking a truth. If I didn't love the CMA I've studied or experienced their true worth, I would have dropped it long ago. It's exactly BECAUSE I love it that I wish it weren't so. I've had great teachers and met many good friends through CMA. But one cannot deny the fact that there are also many arrogant, passive-aggressive and con-man types in the arts as well, who care nothing about uplifting others, their arts, or even themselves, for that matter. As I said, I love and respect the MA, just not all the people in them.
    Last edited by Jimbo; 01-18-2019 at 11:02 AM.

  5. #5
    Some good points there Jimbo. Thanks for sharing. I also have some theories on why so many insecure people in the CMA, but since you wont go there I wont either. Anyway thanks for the feedback.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by wiz cool c View Post
    ... unfortunately almost none are real Buddhist in my opinion.
    Just out of curiosity, how did you come to that conclusion? I enjoy studying and examining world religions, but in my experience, I’ve found Buddhism in China to be very difficult to define. Just interested to hear your experience and opinion on that.

  7. #7
    Politics, greed, corruption, all of the above. Still some great Kung Fu Students training all day everyday and living simple healthy lives up in the mountains.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by wiz cool c View Post
    Politics, greed, corruption, all of the above. Still some great Kung Fu Students training all day everyday and living simple healthy lives up in the mountains.
    This is in no way an attempt to challenge you or your claim, but for me to gain a better understanding of Buddhism in China. In my experience in China, the term "Buddhist" has become so vague that it's almost meaningless. The definition varies greatly depending on the individual you're speaking to. Lay Chinese Buddhists see worship in various deities as a source of great fortune (typically financial desires, though not necessarily greed). The Dalai Lama and Tibetan Buddhists seem to be very much active in politics. The vast majority of Buddhist Temples throughout mainland China (including the Shaolin Temple) are massive tourist traps. Some believe there are many gods. Some believe there are no gods. I have no idea what orthodox Buddhism in China is or whether that concept even exists.

  9. #9
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    It's all pseudoscience

    While I generally agree with this discussion, I do have a bone to pick with it. I've always had issues with any martial arts claim to being 'scientific'. It betrays a fundamental misunderstanding of the scientific method and a misuse of the term. You can't make predictions in the martial arts, which is a cornerstone of science. If you could, you might make a tidy fortune betting on MMA fights nowadays. While there are certainly some scientific experiments involving the martial arts (heck, my PhD thesis was martial, even though I never finished it ), to bandy about the term 'science' in the context of martial arts betrays a pop culture notion of what science really is.

    Quote Originally Posted by Gweilo_Fist View Post
    The vast majority of Buddhist Temples throughout mainland China (including the Shaolin Temple) are massive tourist traps.
    I visited the Vatican last August. By comparison, Shaolin Temple isn't even in the ballgame when it comes to massive tourist trap religious sites.

    Anyway, these are my little pet peeves. Carry on.
    Gene Ching
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  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by GeneChing View Post
    I visited the Vatican last August. By comparison, Shaolin Temple isn't even in the ballgame when it comes to massive tourist trap religious sites.
    Oh, I do not doubt your claim for a second. I wholly acknowledge that no religion is innocent of this practice. Having said that, my goal was not to discredit Buddhism, but rather to define it.

    For example, despite the fact that the Vatican is a huge tourist trap, you can examine all of the denominations and branches of Christianity (Protestant, Catholic, Eastern Orthodox) and even the offshoot branches like Mormonism, Jehovah's witness, etc. and despite all their different interpretations, you can still find a recognizable common theology that identifies them all under the Christian umbrella (E.G., The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, Jesus Christ died on the cross to atone for our sins, the Bible, baptism, etc.)

    Islam is the same thing. Sunni, Shia, Sufism are different branches of Islam but they all share the same theology of Allah, Muhammad, and the Quran.

    But when it comes to Buddhism, the differences among the branches and followers are so different and contradictory that I can't figure out what defines Buddhism in China.

  11. #11
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    Chinese Buddhism

    Quote Originally Posted by Gweilo_Fist View Post
    But when it comes to Buddhism, the differences among the branches and followers are so different and contradictory that I can't figure out what defines Buddhism in China.
    I feel ya. My flippant response would be that Daoism is even less defined. Such is the nature of a shamanic tradition. But I'd also argue that it was the influence of Daoism upon Buddhism that spawned Zen (or Chan if we're being strictly Chinese). Buddhism doesn't quite definitively formalize until it leaves India and China. You might say the Tibetan is defined, but that's so dependent upon the influence of their local pantheon of gods which mated with Buddhism; it's a completely unique take on the tradition. Once Buddhism and Zen gets to Japan, it gets super formal. Such is Japan, right?
    Gene Ching
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  12. #12
    In response to what is Buddhism and what is Chinese Buddhism, I can only respond with my own experience. Personally I have practiced and believed in Hinduism for the past 30 years. In Hinduism all the major religious are real and were sent down by the same Supreme person. They vary according to the time and mentality of the people they were sent down to guild. For example if a university professor has to for some reason say substitute a fifth grade class he will teach the students appropriately according to their level. Buddha came at a time when people were turning their backs on the Hindu Vedic scriptures, opening many slaughter houses and going in that direction. Now according to the Hindu belief Buddha was a partial incarnation of the big guy. He purposely camouflaged religion and one of his main goals was to give faithless people faith. The reason being if they had faith in buddha they were actually have faith in god indirectly.

    As far as the Chan Buddhism goes the best representative and example I have seen comes from my main Shifu. He is not a famous or rich teacher, does not promote himself to be the best master on the planet, but is a practicing Buddhist. He is always helping people, even when they offer little in return,he is patient ,tolerant and friendly, not hot headed and abrupt. He eats simple food and doesn't indulge in any vices that I know of.

    I know a girl that studies Buddhism in Taiwan and trains at Shaolin from time to time. She mentioned the Chan Buddhism isn't so much about studying scriptures as it is about meditation and experiencing a kind of emptiness or evenness. This evenness is very apparent in my Shifu in his day to day life. .
    Last edited by wiz cool c; 01-30-2019 at 02:08 AM.

  13. #13
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  14. #14
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    scripture of no scripture

    Quote Originally Posted by wiz cool c View Post
    I know a girl that studies Buddhism in Taiwan and trains at Shaolin from time to time. She mentioned the Chan Buddhism isn't so much about studying scriptures as it is about meditation and experiencing a kind of emptiness or evenness. This evenness is very apparent in my Shifu in his day to day life. .
    That's such a slippery slope. Sure Tamo preached enlightenment through chan, not necessarily derived from the sutras, but this easily falls into the same mindtrap as Bruce Lee's Jeet Kune Do and the denial of the 'classical mess'. Without that historical foundation, you can just make up anything and call it 'Buddhism'. It becomes more shamanic in nature, more like Daoism actually. It's also a rookie mistake as any serious practitioner knows.
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  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by wiz cool c View Post
    In Hinduism all the major religious are real and were sent down by the same Supreme person. They vary according to the time and mentality of the people they were sent down to guild. For example if a university professor has to for some reason say substitute a fifth grade class he will teach the students appropriately according to their level. Buddha came at a time when people were turning their backs on the Hindu Vedic scriptures, opening many slaughter houses and going in that direction. Now according to the Hindu belief Buddha was a partial incarnation of the big guy. He purposely camouflaged religion and one of his main goals was to give faithless people faith. The reason being if they had faith in buddha they were actually have faith in god indirectly.
    That's the Bhagavad-Gita, correct?
    In the Gita, doesn't Krishna also say that, even though everyone who worships other deities/religions are indirectly worshipping Krishna, they're all still doomed to fail because they're not worshiping Krishna directly? I've always found that part to be confusing about the Gita. It professes all religions are legitimate while at the same time it claims exclusivity to truth.
    Last edited by Gweilo_Fist; 01-30-2019 at 02:07 PM.

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