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Prototype
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 03, 2018 3:47 pm    Post subject: Pros and cons of Kung Fu visavi Karate and Taekwondo? Reply with quote

I am aware of the circular principles of a lot of Kung Fu styles and the emphasis of flow and coherency but beyond this, has Kung Fu training in your experience been a major difference (for better or worse) from the kicking and punching learned in Karate and Taekwondo?

Common criticism of Karate and Taekwondo is that the forms don't relate to the sparring, in that the patterns are sequences of moves intendent for self defence against a novice, wheras free sparring is the true test, since the Karateka faces a somewhat knowledgable opponent, albeit under major rule restrictions.
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MatsuShinshii
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Styles: Machimura Suidi Rokudan, Ryukyu Kenpo, Kobudo, Judo

PostPosted: Wed Jan 03, 2018 4:12 pm    Post subject: Re: Pros and cons of Kung Fu visavi Karate and Taekwondo? Reply with quote

Prototype wrote:
I am aware of the circular principles of a lot of Kung Fu styles and the emphasis of flow and coherency but beyond this, has Kung Fu training in your experience been a major difference (for better or worse) from the kicking and punching learned in Karate and Taekwondo?


Yes and no. I started my study of the arts in a style called Fu Jow Pai when I was a young lad so that experience was and was not a contrast to the styles of Karate that I took later. In some instances the differences were huge. The, what I call Japanized, Karate styles are very linear starting out and much more rigid. However some, what I call old school arts, are very similar in that they practice and teach the same concepts. This is due to the fact that they were influenced by the Chinese arts and that influence was still present.

Prototype wrote:
Common criticism of Karate and Taekwondo is that the forms don't relate to the sparring, in that the patterns are sequences of moves intendent for self defence against a novice, wheras free sparring is the true test, since the Karateka faces a somewhat knowledgable opponent, albeit under major rule restrictions.


The Kata are not related to sparring in terms of the meaning today. However it is very much related to fighting if taught as it was originally passed down.

The postures (not all but many) come from Quan Fa and represent combative/fighting applications. If one teaches the Kata with emphasis on the applications you will see that Quan Fa (Kung Fu/Gung Fu) and Todi (Karate) are not that different.

Now there are obvious differences in the way the techniques and applications are executed. This is due to the fact that Okinawan's are not Chinese and where first influenced by the indigenous art of Tii and Tegumi and also by Muay Boran.

Some use this to make the argument that there is a difference between the arts and that they are not related or where never influenced by the Chinese arts. I hear this a lot when it comes to Bai He Quan or White Crane.

However if a person studies (pick and art) for 20 years and then studies another art will the first art that they studied not influence the way that they execute the second art?

The argument in terms of modern Karate and Kata is valid. They are not taught in terms of actual fighting so there is no connection. However this is not indicative or factual of ALL Okinawan arts.

Sparring as you put it, in terms of today's standards is not IMHO a true test of fighting skills. In fact I think the Kata of modern arts have more in common with fighting than sparring. It develops bad habits. It is utilized at long distance instead of where 99% of all fights happen at close range. It teaches one to pull strikes and therefore ingrains muscle memory not conducive to ending fights or causing any damage. Etc, etc, etc.

Kumite (sparring) in today's terms is little more than a game of patty cakes.

I have never taken TKD so I can not speak to contrasts between it and Kung Fu.
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Prototype
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 03, 2018 9:18 pm    Post subject: Re: Pros and cons of Kung Fu visavi Karate and Taekwondo? Reply with quote

[quote="MatsuShinshii"]
wrote:

The postures (not all but many) come from Quan Fa and represent combative/fighting applications. .


Yes but the transitions are different in the parenthood Kung Fu forms. The criticism is that Karate katas lack flow. They are punch/kick stop with stiff transitions, whereas Kung fu forms have a stronger "interconnectedness" and a greater overall flow (perhaps footwork as well?).

I have had old VHS tapes of legit Kung Fu forms and they are definately more coherent

I still submit however that the shortcomings of Karate and TKD are the same as in Kung fu, no defence against boxing combinations, no head movement etc. None of that is learned in your katas and it's not drilled in free sparring either.

So if you clone a person and have each clone train Kung Fu and traditional Karate respectively and have him face a kickboxer, the odds are that the same achilles heal would manifest itself - no head movement, subpar defence to boxing.

So when people talk about kung fu vs Karate there are not fundamental differences in effectiveness IMO. The strenghts might be a bit different, but the weaknesses are pretty identical. Would you agree?
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singularity6
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 04, 2018 7:33 am    Post subject: Re: Pros and cons of Kung Fu visavi Karate and Taekwondo? Reply with quote

Prototype wrote:
MatsuShinshii wrote:
wrote:

The postures (not all but many) come from Quan Fa and represent combative/fighting applications. .


Yes but the transitions are different in the parenthood Kung Fu forms. The criticism is that Karate katas lack flow. They are punch/kick stop with stiff transitions, whereas Kung fu forms have a stronger "interconnectedness" and a greater overall flow (perhaps footwork as well?).

I have had old VHS tapes of legit Kung Fu forms and they are definately more coherent


When it comes to flow, I think that's part matter of opinion, and part matter of style. I've seen Karate forms that flow beautifully, and Tae Kwon Do forms that look rigid and dull. I've also seen Kung Fu forms that look like a mess of sloppy motions. This is all a matter of perspective.
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Last edited by singularity6 on Thu Jan 04, 2018 8:49 am; edited 1 time in total
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Prototype
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 04, 2018 8:21 am    Post subject: Re: Pros and cons of Kung Fu visavi Karate and Taekwondo? Reply with quote

[quote="singularity6"]
Prototype wrote:
MatsuShinshii wrote:
wrote:

The postures (not all but many) come from Quan Fa and represent combative/fighting applications. .


Yes but the transitions are different in the parenthood Kung Fu forms. The criticism is that Karate katas lack flow. They are punch/kick stop with stiff transitions, whereas Kung fu forms have a stronger "interconnectedness" and a greater overall flow (perhaps footwork as well?).

I have had old VHS tapes of legit Kung Fu forms and they are definately more coherent


When it comes to flow, I think that's part matter of opinion, and part matter of style. I've seen Karate forms that flow beautifully, and Tae Kwon Do forms that look rigid and dull. I've also seen Kung Fu forms that look like a mess of sloppy motions. This is all a matter of perspective.


Let's narrow it down to Japanese Karate, since this is what the overwhelming majority is exposed to.
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Spartacus Maximus
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 04, 2018 10:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Forms were always intended to be intimately related to drills with a partner and all other parts because they are but one part of a system. They were never meant to be taught separately from the other parts! The systems (karate, kung-fu or what have you) will not and cannot function and be learned effectively unless each part is trained and practised diligently with intent.

That and only that is where the problem lies: the way a great portion of kung-fu and karate systems are taught and practised! This is why so-called kumite looks nothing like the techniques one is meant to learn from studying forms and doing drills.

This is why sparring sessions ends up looking the same across the board despite the wide variety of techniques and principles supposed to be taught in the huge variety of karate and kung-fu “styles”.

The main reason is there are very few people who know and have been taught how to integrate forms, applications and drills effectively in the way these three aspects should be in order to develop applicable skills. Not knowing what or how, the majority just goes with what is popular which is, largely drawn from more or less intense competitions where functional and “legal” moves are relatively few compared to the potential of any given system or style.
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MatsuShinshii
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 04, 2018 3:56 pm    Post subject: Re: Pros and cons of Kung Fu visavi Karate and Taekwondo? Reply with quote

[quote="Prototype"]
MatsuShinshii wrote:
wrote:

The postures (not all but many) come from Quan Fa and represent combative/fighting applications. .


Yes but the transitions are different in the parenthood Kung Fu forms. The criticism is that Karate katas lack flow. They are punch/kick stop with stiff transitions, whereas Kung fu forms have a stronger "interconnectedness" and a greater overall flow (perhaps footwork as well?).

I have had old VHS tapes of legit Kung Fu forms and they are definately more coherent

I still submit however that the shortcomings of Karate and TKD are the same as in Kung fu, no defence against boxing combinations, no head movement etc. None of that is learned in your katas and it's not drilled in free sparring either.

So if you clone a person and have each clone train Kung Fu and traditional Karate respectively and have him face a kickboxer, the odds are that the same achilles heal would manifest itself - no head movement, subpar defence to boxing.

So when people talk about kung fu vs Karate there are not fundamental differences in effectiveness IMO. The strenghts might be a bit different, but the weaknesses are pretty identical. Would you agree?


I think your missing the point. The Kata as it is, is not what develops all of your fighting skills. At face value it teaches one to move, shift and transition. It teaches proper body alignment and body mechanics to generate power and maintain balance. But you do not learn how to fight on the face value of the Kata. This is where the Kata is broken down into it's individual postures, moves and techniques. These are taken and with a partner the applications that the postures represent are practiced.

Two person drills are the major means of learning the intricacies of the applications. This is where muscle memory, timing, distance, using your opponents force against them, learning proper off balancing techniques, brushing, trapping, throws, take downs, sweeps, joint manipulations, seizing, and all the elements of fighting are learned.

The art is contained within the Kata's applications not as the Kata is executed. You're looking strictly at the Kata as a means to learn to fight. The applications contained WITHIN the Kata are what teaches you the nuances of how to over come your opponent.

As far as flow goes. Again this is not the point. You are learning how to shift/transition from one stance to the next. Whether it "flows" to the observer or not doesn't matter. It is not to look fluid it's to teach the practitioner to move fluidly from one posture to the next. It's also intended to teach the practitioner how to move while executing techniques. However taking the Kata literally will not show you the art that the founders passed down to us. Remember the Kata was the primary means of passing the art down to their students and also the primary means by which their students learned to fight.

Yes Kung Fu looks more fluid. However they are not Okinawan and do not teach/pass on the art the same way. It's semantics. You can not compair one to the other as they are taught in totally different ways. This is the main reason some say that if Okinawan arts where influenced by Chinese arts they can't see it. If you look at the postures within the Hsing of the arts that influenced our founders you can see direct examples that are identical. But by just observing the execution of a Kata to a Hsing the observer see's the flow and not the actual techniques contained.

It's also very much in the fact that the Japanese take the Kata literally according to their translation of the meanings of the applications. Point in fact blocks, kicks, strikes. This is only a small part of the art. One of 8 separate elements.

As far as head movement goes, this is not something you are supposed to learn from the practice of Kata. This is something you learn in two person drills out of necessity. However not too many arts utilize this form of learning. Instead they rely on the three "K's".

Even with this you learn fairly quickly that if you do not move your head during Kumite you get hit. This I believe is a common sense thing that a student comes by naturally.

To say that the traditional practitioner would have an Achilles heal when facing off against a kick boxer... well I don't buy this. I am a traditional practitioner and have kick boxed. In the ring you find that you have similar strengths and weaknesses. The difference is if the Kcikboxer has never learned the art passed the strikes, blocks and kicks they are at the disadvantage. A boxer would have the same disadvantages.

My art is made up of many elements. Striking is only one of them.

We have the advantage of not only having the striking element (striking, punches, kicks) but also Tuidi (seizing, joint manipulations, dislocations, breaks, chokes), Muto (throws, takedowns, sweeps, off balancing techniques), Chi'gwa (fighting from the ground, not to be mistaken with ground fighting), Chibudi (targeting of nerves, veins, arteries, ligaments, tendons, and vital organs), Tii or Ti'gwa (targeting of weak area's of the body and dirty fighting tactics), Buki'gwa (use of or disarming of weapons), etc. This is not even touching on the minute elements of the art that are learned this is just the broader scope.

A kick boxer and boxer has a limited amount of knowledge to draw from outside of the ring where as the Karateka has an unlimited amount of knowledge to draw from and it's all contained within the Kata's applications.

Sorry for the novel. I got on my usual role.
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singularity6
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 05, 2018 9:41 am    Post subject: Re: Pros and cons of Kung Fu visavi Karate and Taekwondo? Reply with quote

[quote="Prototype"]
singularity6 wrote:
Prototype wrote:
MatsuShinshii wrote:
wrote:

The postures (not all but many) come from Quan Fa and represent combative/fighting applications. .


Yes but the transitions are different in the parenthood Kung Fu forms. The criticism is that Karate katas lack flow. They are punch/kick stop with stiff transitions, whereas Kung fu forms have a stronger "interconnectedness" and a greater overall flow (perhaps footwork as well?).

I have had old VHS tapes of legit Kung Fu forms and they are definately more coherent


When it comes to flow, I think that's part matter of opinion, and part matter of style. I've seen Karate forms that flow beautifully, and Tae Kwon Do forms that look rigid and dull. I've also seen Kung Fu forms that look like a mess of sloppy motions. This is all a matter of perspective.


Let's narrow it down to Japanese Karate, since this is what the overwhelming majority is exposed to.


I'm not sure that Japanese Karate has an overwhelming majority, here. Tae Kwon Do probably has a much larger footprint in the Western World than say Kung Fu. Ignoring it might defeat the purpose of the original post.
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MatsuShinshii
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 05, 2018 4:15 pm    Post subject: Re: Pros and cons of Kung Fu visavi Karate and Taekwondo? Reply with quote

[quote="singularity6"]
Prototype wrote:
singularity6 wrote:
Prototype wrote:
MatsuShinshii wrote:
wrote:

The postures (not all but many) come from Quan Fa and represent combative/fighting applications. .


Yes but the transitions are different in the parenthood Kung Fu forms. The criticism is that Karate katas lack flow. They are punch/kick stop with stiff transitions, whereas Kung fu forms have a stronger "interconnectedness" and a greater overall flow (perhaps footwork as well?).

I have had old VHS tapes of legit Kung Fu forms and they are definately more coherent


When it comes to flow, I think that's part matter of opinion, and part matter of style. I've seen Karate forms that flow beautifully, and Tae Kwon Do forms that look rigid and dull. I've also seen Kung Fu forms that look like a mess of sloppy motions. This is all a matter of perspective.


Let's narrow it down to Japanese Karate, since this is what the overwhelming majority is exposed to.


I'm not sure that Japanese Karate has an overwhelming majority, here. Tae Kwon Do probably has a much larger footprint in the Western World than say Kung Fu. Ignoring it might defeat the purpose of the original post.


I was referring to Okinawan vs Japanese practices. Most modern day Karate, even Okinawan, have been heavily influenced by the Japanese training methodology. There are very few that have maintained it's founders methodologies.

As I stated I know very little about TKD. The only exposure to it was when I took a Hapkido class out of interest and because a student said it had similarities to our Tuidi. To be honest that was as far as my interest went. A lot of high, jumping and spinning kicks is all I could say about it. I can certainly not comment in terms of it's similarities or differences from Kung Fu.
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Alan Armstrong
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 08, 2018 7:11 pm    Post subject: Re: Pros and cons of Kung Fu visavi Karate and Taekwondo? Reply with quote

Prototype wrote:
I am aware of the circular principles of a lot of Kung Fu styles and the emphasis of flow and coherency but beyond this, has Kung Fu training in your experience been a major difference (for better or worse) from the kicking and punching learned in Karate and Taekwondo?

Common criticism of Karate and Taekwondo is that the forms don't relate to the sparring, in that the patterns are sequences of moves intendent for self defence against a novice, wheras free sparring is the true test, since the Karateka faces a somewhat knowledgable opponent, albeit under major rule restrictions.


A few things worth considring , different body types are better suited to one style or another.

This should be something to taken into consideration when choosing a style.

A person's flexibility or lack of can also be a factor.

A slow moving person who practices in a fast paced style, isn't going to do as well.

Yet that same person practicing a style where strength and balance is predominant, they might shine.

As all styles have apparent differences that can work well for some and not others, depending on their body type.

Kung Fu wide circular blocking works, but perhaps far to slow against some experienced opponents.

What works for one person doesn't guarantee that it works for everyone.

Some people cannot fight, no matter the style they choose to practice, karate, Kung Fu and or TKD.

While others with no formal martial art training can be seriously dangerous contenders.
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