Martial Arts Styles aren’t Different
Martial Arts Styles look different, but at heart…they really aren’t!
I hate to tell you this about martial arts styles, but Karate is Taekwondo is Kung Fu is hapkido is aikido…
And when the bozo proudly proclaims that his Martial Art System is best, that his is the deadliest martial arts styles…he is really just demonstrating his ignorance.
You don’t believe me? Read on, friend.
The Martial Arts are composed of certain manifestations of Energy arranged in certain geometries. For instance:
Explosions-the rapid outflow of Energy
Ridges-the sustaining of Energy within the body
Harmony-moving at the same time and in the same direction.
Flow-trajectory (relates to Time)
Geometry-a dot describing trajectory (line to circle)
Well, that’s about it. That’s all there is to the Martial Arts.
Seems like a tragedy to decribe a life’s product in such a few words, doesn’t it. Perhaps I should mention one other thing.
Art-creation of beautiful things.
Now we have something worth a few million lifetimes.
So how are all these different martial arts creations the same?
Simple. The problem they solve is the same. Potentially harmful Force is directed at you. You must analyze and handle the Force and Flow involved. There is no worthwhile Art which does not have this. If it doesn’t have this then it is a dance, or worse (if it is proposed as a Martial Art), it is a lie.
So all Arts spring from the same problem and seeking of solutions for that problem. The only real difference is in the geometry selected. Let’s consider a couple of examples.
Karate has a high block.
In Kung Fu one also has a High Block.
What’s the difference?
Well, it might be something as simple as hand configuration.
In Karate there is a straight line from fingers to elbows. There are no curves in the ‘Knife.’
In Kung Fu the wrist is bent so that the palm is outward. The ‘Knife’ is curved.
This difference between martial arts styles might mean something significant. It might mean the choice of blocking with the wrist or the bone at the base of the palm.
On the other hand, there might be no significance, because for the High Block from each Art to work it must rely on a Stance which empowers the Tan Tien to generate the Power to make the technique work.
And what we are asking here is not which Martial Art Method has the best technique because they are both valid and they are both rooted in the concepts of Physics…explosion of Energy, rigidity of tool, and so on.
No, what we are asking is which is prettier a rose or a daisy?
Or…which do you prefer, chocolate or vanilla?
Or…do you like Kung Fu or Karate?
And if you understand what I am saying here you will understand that which Martial Art Style you do is based more on what you want to do, than on any perceived superiority of one Art over another.
So, let’s take something hard.
How is Karate the Art of Aikido?
Karate has a High Block.
In Aikido you have to move your arm through the High Block position on your way to a complete circle.
Does Karate end the circle too soon? Or does Aikido do the circle to long? What does it matter as long as you understand the similarity and are not trapped into truncating your knowledge by thinking they are different?
The real difference between Karate and Aikido does not come from the geometry behind the technique, it comes from the angle of the Geometry as it is applied.
In Karate you move against your opponent, thus creating Force to Force. In Aikido you move with your opponent, thus creating Flow to Force. But it is the same arm position and motion.
What’s the difference? Footwork.
In Karate you position yourself and grip the ground.
In Aikido you walk around.
Take any Karate move and do it with the Aikido Two Step and you will find Aikido.
Take any Aikido move and plant yourself firmly and you will find Karate.
And that truth will hold true through the Martial Arts.
Pa Kua can find Karate by stopping the circle and facing the opponent and meeting Force to Force.
Karate can find Pa Kua by doing Forms on the eight steps of the circle.
Brush Knee in Tai Chi is a Low block and a Palm Thrust.
The only real difference, be it Karate or Tai Chi, or Pa Kua, or the Art of Wat Ful Do, is defining whether the solution to the problem is Force or Flow. Then you simply decipher the fact of lines vs circles, Force vs Flow, or footwork.
At this point I am going to tell you an anecdote, and then I am going to tell you my little secret for how I did what I did.
I met a fellow who was very accomplished in a different Art. We talked honestly and developed a liking for each other. We decided to trade Arts.
Over the months I taught him Karate. He learned the Techniques and Forms, though he did have a struggle with the concept of Focus in a linear fashion.
When he taught me I had no trouble with the Concept of Focus in a curved fashion. In fact, I learned what he had to teach in a matter of days.
Get it? Months vs days. I am not talking about one person being better than another here, and I am not talking about one Art being better than another, I have too much respect for my friend to dishonor him so. No. I am talking about speed of learning. I could learn faster than him. He was a little surprised, to say the least. Then I told him how I did it, and he found that his speed of learning was increasing. And after I tell you my little secret you may find that your speed of learning accelerates, also.
The secret is this: there are only ten arm positions.
I have mentioned this in passing in previous articles, and I was curious whether anybody would look and discover them. If you have done so then please move to the head of the class.
The ten arm positions, speaking from the Karate viewpoint, are based on the four basic blocks.
Low Block Middle Block High Block Palm Block
When the Four Blocks are combined there are only ten combinations.
Low/Low Middle/Middle High/High
Palm/Palm Low/Middle Low/High
Low/Palm Middle/High Middle/Palm
That’s all there is to this matter of martial arts styles comparison.
Actually, I view these combinations like the numbers 1-10. Any time I am taught a Form I simply remember the sequence of numbers.
Any time I want to learn an Art I simply watch for the basic footwork, lock (into my mind) the particular geometry of Energy used, and remember sequences.
At first it is difficult to think like this, but eventually it becomes easier. It is really a matter of practice.
And this fighting method can be applied to stances, foot patterns and whole sequences of Forms. There is one other thing you should know, however, if you want to learn how to learn like this.
You must not fight the logic of the individual Martial Art.
Remember, each Art will have a concept of Force/Flow, and will describe that concept from a general footwork. (You can breakdown the footwork geometrically, too!) If you can relax and accept it you will find that whatever Art you practice will suddenly start doing you. Accept the geometry, even if it is different from your previous learnings, and the Art will do you.
To go a bit further in this particular of accepting the logic of an Art…know that there are six general ways to approach any of the Ten Arm Positions. There are three axis in geometry, these are X, Y and Z. Or, there is up and down, side to side, forward or back. Because the arm is connected to the body you will find that there is a curve in the straight line, (wax on/wax off, for those of you in the know), and vice versa. And while six approaches to any arm position in ten combinations may seem a lot, it isn’t. If you just relax and concentrate on locking the Force/Flow concept of the specific Art in your head you will find that the Art you are studying tends to manifest itself, and the geometries into the Arm positions will suddenly occur.
Of course this last concept may not be as easy as it appears if your Art has become a catchbasket for all the concepts of all Arts. Can you define your Art’s basics so this does not occur? Can you throw away, or at least reorganize your concepts, so your individual Arts separate and become simpler?
Let me sum up the points of this article for you.
1) Energy manifests on certain Geometric lines and curves.
2) Each Art is different in flavor.
3) All Arts are the same by virtue of only having Ten Main Arm Positions.
4) Arts create differences of Flow and Force more by Footwork than by any other means, which will keep intact the concept of the Ten Arm Positions as they relate to the logic of Force/Flow.
5) There are six trajectories into any single Arm Position.
6) If you relax and understand any Art’s Force/Flow concept, and relate it to footwork and Arm Positions, any Art will become incredibly easy to absorb.
Before I conclude let me offer you a couple of problems to solve.
Can you tell me what Footwork each Art proposes?
Can you tell me what Force/Flow Concept each Art proposes?
Answer those two questions and you will be surprised at how your Art suddenly expands.
To conclude, please forgive me if I seem to have wandered a bit in this article, it is because what we are doing, learning how to absorb whole Arts by thinking in certain concepts, has vast ramifications. It is akin to learning how to speak a whole language.
And why not? Music has it’s language. Dance has it’s language. And the Martial Arts has it’s own language. What I have done here is told you how to actually learn the language, instead of just memorizing a few words. Learn the language and you won’t simply be a tourist in the Land of the Martial Arts.
If you liked what you read here about Martial Arts Styles you should probably check out the Matrix Karate page, which you can find in the menu under Courses.
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Couldn’t agree more with this posting, good job. It took me a while to see that too and I was one of those bozos lol but not believing in the deadliest style thing though. Martial arts are all the same, specially for Russian sambo and braziliain jiu jitsu, and judo, they are all the same style, same techniques same positioning, etc etc I think people fall more for the hype and the culture of the art and see it as different than other styles of its field. I guess the ONLY style that could be considered different though is muay thai when it comes to the kicks, as its the only style that doesn’t use snapping from me chambered kicks. and they also incorporate a lot more range of elbows unique to muay thai that’s not found in karate and other styles, so that’s one and only thing. but good posting man.
Do you or have you done Mauy Thai?
snapping from knee****
What about BJJ or wrestling that don’t have blocks or strikes. I think martial arts is a study of body marcanics
Not 10 blocks some arts have ducks and weaving or closing the distance not are all the same but have some similarities.