There seems to be much confusion today as what function or purpose particular Martial Arts have. Now if you are completely unaware or uneducated as to what Martial Arts are best for what purpose you have in mind, you are a potential victim for the fraudulent Martial Arts Merchants. Sadly, most instructors are bias, greedy, or not realistic, or kidding themselves as to the limitations of their style. Generally speaking, there are only 4 types of Martial Art or they are a combination of the 4;
-Sport Martial Arts like Judo, Tae Kwon Do, some forms of Karate & Kendo, etc...
-Reality Based Martial Arts like Krav Maga, Systema, Keysi, Defendo, Fast Defense, etc...
-Traditional Martial Arts such Aikido, Japanese Jui Juitsu, Wing Chun, Iaido, Ninjutsu, etc...
-Extreme Martial Arts that are non traditional and hybrid mixtures of gymnastics, Parkour, & Martial Arts.
For Example: I teach Commando Krav Maga, Centre Axis Re-lock, and a striking class that is a mixture of Savate and Muay Thai. None of these styles would be good in an Extreme Martial Arts competition. For those who don't know what Extreme Martial Arts are, they are a generally a mixture of pretty Martial Art Kicks, gymnastics & Parkour, they may involve the use of flashy weapons such as bo staff, nanchucks, chinese swords, sticks of some sort, techniques from Tae Kwon Do, Karate or Kung Fu.
Generally speaking, everything impractical, but pretty. These type of Martial Arts are usually seen in movies like Ong Bak, Mortal Kombat, Ninja Assassins, etc.. This type of training is not much different then training in ballet, tumbling, or some type of gymnastic. It is horrible for self defense and anyone who says or thinks other wise is either after your money, or has zero idea of what real self defense is. It is created for the sole purpose of Kata and forums competition.
Traditional Martial Arts are much like a religion, they generally keep the same syllabus and choreography for the sake of tradition. They tend to be focused on dogma, and do very little outside the box. There can be some aspect of sport or self defense in these Arts. But it's primary mandate is the purity of the style. These Martial Arts tend to have very big followings much like organized religion. The have grand masters, and an elite group that governs them. They are very political, corrupt, and dogmatic. They are not all bad, and teach some good fundamentals of balance, coordination, flexibility, discipline, and respect.
Reality based Martial Arts focus on dealing with real violence. Most of them are Military Arts now being taught in the private sector. This is where Krav Maga and Lotar come from. Some of the top brass in the Military, now retired, make a handsome living teaching in the private sector and starting their own organizations.
This is the fastest growing sector in Martial Arts, and many different organizations are mud slinging it out over the web to get the consumers money. But the reality is most of the top guys came from the same place. They came up through the ranks together. They were friends once upon a time and now greed has set them apart, and they hate each other now. These Martial Arts have smaller, and less loyal followers. Consumers take them for a quicker end result. Meaning they want tangible fighting skill sooner. Once the student in their mind feels they have become proficient, they may stop coming to class. The thinking is much more free and encouraged.
They are however much more political despite saying otherwise. They can be much more greedy and opportunistic. Certification (to teach) tends to be handed out more easily (depending on if you are in shape enough to pass the instructor course) and most importantly have the money. These styles tend to be suplimentry, to the instructors previous style. It is hard to find a very knowledgable purest. They tend to prey upon the traditional Martial Artist who realizes they don't know shit about reality based self defense (usually black belts pay for the course after getting punched out or have a real curiosity) and the fees tend to be really steep and tuition is asked for annually. As much as they all claim to be really different, they tend to be all very similiar.
As for Sport Martial Arts such as Judo, Kumate Karate, Tae Kwon Do Sparring, Kendo, MMA, and the like, they are for the entertainment value much like Extreme Martial Arts. They have very limited capability for real self defense. There have been 2 cases in Calgary, Alberta where MMA fighters were needlessly stabbed to death, and from what I have heard and read, it most likely could have been prevented with a little knowledge of reality based training.
Sport Martial Arts are only good for self defense if you are fortunate enough to only fight one person, encounter no weapons, and or have a relatively fair match up assuming the opponent has a sense of Queens Berry like rules about them. As you can see, that is about 4 things you need to line up to use Sport Martial Art for self defense. Kick-Boxing like sports, MMA, Judo, Tae Kwon Do, Kendo, and the like all need a ref. In reality, there is no ref to sanction the other party for a dirty move.
Unfortunately, most instructors are not honest about the limitations of what they teach, or they are ignorant as to what self defense is all about. The primary target for fraudulent claims of Martial Arts merchants are women, followed by teens and adolescents. Most women prefer to study Traditional or Sport Martial Arts, as reality based Martial Arts are harder to find, as well as they prefer the most popular and palatable Arts to study. Reality based Martial Arts can be unpleasant for women to study as it really does address violence. Not all, but most women prefer a softer Martial Art to study. Generally, it takes a very special woman to study a reality based system.
When choosing a Martial Art, you must be honest as to what your objectives are, as the truth is that if self defense is a consideration, you should really consider a reality based system. Conversely, if you want flash and to make it in the movies some day, you should look into Extreme Martial Arts. If you seek glory and want trophies, Sport Martial Arts are for you. If you want an Art for Arts sake, and want something that gives you rank, may compliment your spiritual beliefs, or help you meditate, then a Traditional Martial Art is more suited for you.
These are just basic guidelines to bear in mind as the consumer in this industry usually is mislead or misinformed.
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