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KarateKen
White Belt
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Joined: 12 Nov 2021
Posts: 23
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Styles: Karate

PostPosted: Mon Jan 03, 2022 4:05 am    Post subject: Is it "Martial Arts" if it is non contact? Reply with quote

If a style of training, such as Tai Chi, does no contact at all, or minimal contact (no hitting or grabbing) is it still martial arts? I took a semester of Tai Chi in college and was told it was MA but we never really did anything other than forms.

If you are doing kickboxing combinations on the bag as a workout, but not actually sparring ever, is it still martial arts training or is it a workout?


To be clear I don't mean if you are in a Karate class and do Kata as one part of the training, I mean if you never really get hit or knocked down in anyway.
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bushido_man96
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Joined: 31 Mar 2006
Posts: 29324
Location: Hays, KS
Styles: Taekwondo, Combat Hapkido, Aikido, GRACIE

PostPosted: Mon Jan 03, 2022 1:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

There will be different answers to this one, I'm sure. I think in the long run, you have to get some kind of partner work in so that things can be tested against resistance. Otherwise, it's just theory.
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Zaine
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Joined: 31 Aug 2005
Posts: 1907
Location: Dallas, TX
Styles: Matsumura-Seito, Shobayashi-Ryu, Shudokan, Long Fist, American Street Karate, Southern Mantis, HEMA

PostPosted: Mon Jan 03, 2022 2:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think so. At it's root, martial arts is about defense and arose from a need to defend oneself. However, we don't live in a time where needing to defend ourselves on a potentially daily basis is very relevant anymore. The societies that we tend to live in today are far safer than those of our ancestors. A martial art is just a system of defense and attack. Practical application is generally included, even if there is not sparring. However, for me martial arts is about bettering yourself, physically and mentally, through training for martial application. As a personal thing, that training includes partner work and sparring, but it does not have to in my opinion.
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Wastelander
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Joined: 18 Oct 2010
Posts: 2627
Location: Phoenix, AZ
Styles: Shorin-Ryu, Shuri-Ryu, Judo, KishimotoDi

PostPosted: Tue Jan 04, 2022 7:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Different martial arts will place varying degrees of emphasis on both the "martial" and "art" portions of the term. Some tai chi is actually very hands-on and combative, although the majority may not be. If the origin of it is martial in nature, and it can still be trained in that manner, then the art is still a martial art, even if most people aren't training in it that way. At a certain point, though, I would say things become "martial-themed arts," such as XMA/tricking.
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sensei8
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Joined: 23 Feb 2008
Posts: 15768
Location: Las Vegas, NV
Styles: Shindokan Saitou-ryu [Shuri-te/Okinawa-te based]

PostPosted: Tue Jan 04, 2022 1:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

No!! Martial Arts without contact is akin to a swimming pool without water; empty.

Contact allows one to experience 'IT', whatever 'IT' might be in one's MA. However, a car is a car even if I never drive it in order to experience driving it; I can't deny that what I'm looking at is a car. I can appreciate the car's overall expression, yet, if all I do is look at it, then I'm missing out on experiencing its effectiveness, its ergonomic subtleness. If I don't drive the car, I might as well just get rid of it or take the tires off the car because it's not being applied as it should be.

Same thing to the MA. In Shindokan, we can't train in it without ever experiencing its effectiveness. Of course, during drills and/or solo training, there's little to no contact since that time is geared towards learning something new, of which, afterwards, contact is a very key element to training.

How do I even know what that car can or can't do unless I experience its abilities for myself?? I first have to become intimate with the car by sitting in it, and by handling its many features. This is akin to drilling in the MA.

Now that I've become far more familiar with the car, now, it's time to experience it. Taking it slow at first to get use to the feel of it, and then gradually, take it on the open highway for its full experience and effectiveness. Yet at the very same time, to not being reckless because the car must be respected, and if the cars power and effectiveness isn't respected, it'll reach up and smack you right upside your head.

The brakes and accelerator pedals and the turn signals and the mirrors are all vital elements to handle the car from point 'A' to point 'B' safely, and the most important element in handling this beast if common-sense. Same thing in the MA, common-sense must be embraced. In the MA, common-sense are our brakes and accelerator pedals, turn signals, and mirrors; know how to use them before your opponent smacks you right upside your noggin.

Drive and train safely, but contact IS a vital important element to training in the MA, if not, then swimming on dry land might be truer words after all.

Imho!!



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RW
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Joined: 07 Mar 2009
Posts: 424


PostPosted: Tue Jan 11, 2022 9:05 pm    Post subject: Re: Is it "Martial Arts" if it is non contact? Reply with quote

KarateKen wrote:
If a style of training, such as Tai Chi, does no contact at all, or minimal contact (no hitting or grabbing) is it still martial arts? I took a semester of Tai Chi in college and was told it was MA but we never really did anything other than forms.

If you are doing kickboxing combinations on the bag as a workout, but not actually sparring ever, is it still martial arts training or is it a workout?


To be clear I don't mean if you are in a Karate class and do Kata as one part of the training, I mean if you never really get hit or knocked down in anyway.


In my opinion, there are martial arts and then there is fighting. Many, of not most martial arts imply fighting, but not always. The other side of the coin, not all fighting is a martial art.

Picture a very classical kung fu practice where you learn very elaborate traditional forms and you can do amazingly difficult stances and strike (the air, that is) with power and crisp movements. Imagine this practitioner knows and perpetuates the knowledge of ancient kung fu forms that may be otherwise lost to time, and he also breaks boards and whatever, but no sparring, ever. In my opinion, this hypothetical person would be a martial artist, but not a fighter.

In the polar opposite, picture a street brawler, someone like Kimbo Slice (RIP). He was a true fighter, 100%. He was so tough, he could probably beat many true martial artists, even ones who actually spar full contact. But was he a martial artist? Not really, no, at least not until he tried to get into MMA.

There are plenty of non-contact martial arts out there, such as aikido, some forms of shorinji kempo, tai chi, etc. Are these complete martial arts? Quite the opposite. Are they even remotely sufficient for self defense? Not at all. Are they martial arts? Well... maybe not tai chi anymore, but something such as no-sparring wing chun, absolutely, in my opinion.
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RW
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 11, 2022 9:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Some additional thoughts, some styles of sparring or non-sparring contact do not necessarily teach people what it takes to defend oneself, or even enforce bad habits.

Picture those karate schools that have point sparring and nothing else, or WTF taekwondo style olympic sparring, or styles like aikido where a would-be attacker comes foward with a pre-arranged attack and depending on the style even waits for the counter-attack and plays along with it. Can this help anyone fighting? I think it may even enforce bad habits in some cases.

the kempo place I quit made a huge emphasis on having the uke come rrrreeeaaallllll clooosseeeee to hitting the tori in the face, like, an inch or less, full strength, pulling the punch at the last second. Special emphasis was made on having the tori avoid flinching or moving, they are supposed to wait for the punch, like statues. That was great for developing control on the uke side, but, is this a bad habit for the tori to have? If I see a fist coming at my face full force, i want to train myself to react so i can stop it or move my head out of the way. training over and over how to keep my face still and not flinch because "I am so tough" won't save me in a fight...
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tatsujin
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Joined: 12 Oct 2021
Posts: 162

Styles: Ryusei-ha Ryukyu Kempo Karate-jutsu

PostPosted: Tue Jan 11, 2022 10:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The general misunderstanding of what Taijiquan is as well as the inherent goals of the art is leads many people to come under the false impression of the effectiveness as a fighting art.

Keep in mind that Taijiquan (太極拳 - as well as Xingyiquan and Baguazhang, primarily) are neijia (內家) arts. That is, an internal art. So, from the very start, Taijiquan is more concerned about what is going on in the inside of the student's body than the outside. Therefore, it would literally take years before you get to free sparring (太極自由散手對打 or Taiji Zi You San Shou Dui Da) in the art. The ultimate aim of Taijiquan (in a nutshell, it can be a deep topic once you get into the weeds), is to generate relaxation in the body (song - 松 or fangsong - 放松) via the practicing of the jibengong (基本功) basic/fundamental exercises. From there, the goal is to build, store and then manipulate the qi in the body (and you cannot do that until you have achieved a decent level of song). Next, you are going to start working the 13 postures or powers of Taijiquan (十三式 shi san shi) that consist of 8 gates called peng (掤), lu (履), ji (擠), an (按), cai (採), lie (列), zhou (肘) and kao (靠). The five steps are advance 進步 (Jnb), retreat、退步 (tub), look to the right、左顧 (zuǒ g), gaze to the left、右盼 (yu pn) and central equilibrium 、中定 (zhōng dng). Once that is done, in most schools, you begin learning the form (24, 48, 72, 77, 108 postures, etc.). Then you start working on developing jin (勁) and expressing it dynamically (fajin - 發勁). To test your ability to demonstrate or express fajin (or ting jin, dou jin, cun jin, etc) is done by learning and doing push hands (tui shou 推手) which is a 2 person compliance based drill. And it goes on for a bit...but you get the idea.

Something like Ryukyu Kempo that I teach is the inverse to the above. Where Taijiquan is an internal art, Kempo is an external art (waijia - 外家). From night one, I am showing blocks, punches and kicks. Within a short amount of time, we are doing kata and pre-arranged sparring. Then, shortly after that...sparring. For a beginner that is going to be none to next to none when it comes to anything "internal". That will come way down the road (if at all).

So, the moral of the story? If you want to learn to fight FAST or quickly once you start learning said art, go for an external art. If physical confrontation is not your immediate concern (for whatever reason), but you also have an interest in quality of life as you get older, long life, mental acuity, etc. - go for an internal art.

Yes, before someone says it, I know that the breakdown and comments of the internal and external above is given from about a 10,000 foot level. But, it's late and I am old and tired.
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