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Stop Calling Traditional Martial Arts Fake • Martial Arts Explored

Stop Calling Traditional Martial Arts Fake • Martial Arts Explored

What Are Fantasy Based Martial Arts
(Let’s Separate Traditional Martial Arts From Fantasy Based Martial Arts) As in many areas of life, there is a big divide
in the martial arts world. Often this division is made between Traditional
Martial Arts and Modern Martial Arts or Combat Sports. I’ve recently made a whole video about how
I personally define Traditional Martial Arts and what problems I witness in the way it
is structured, yet I can not disagree that the term Traditional Martial Arts is still
confusing when debating the world of martial arts. For this reason in this Martial Arts Explored
episode, I decided to make a video getting down to the roots of what creates this division
and why we should stop calling Traditional Martial Arts fake by clarifying the difference
between “Traditional Martial Arts” and “Fantasy Based Martial Arts” – to better
address and articulate the problem in the search for a solution. First of all I wanted to share that the first
time I personally heard the definition Fantasy Based Martial Arts was when I met Matt Thornton,
a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu black belt who has founded a global organization known as Straight Blast
Gym or – SBG. Decades ago Coach Matt Thornton used to be
a practitioner and instructor in Jeet Kun Do, a martial art initially created by Bruce
Lee with the vision to create and efficient martial art that included and combined techniques
from various martial arts. Unfortunately, it seems that over the years,
especially after the passing of Bruce Lee, the community of Jeet Kun Do started to focus
less on functionality and more on simply incorporating various martial arts techniques, without testing
it in live sparring to see whether it is functional. Coach Matt was able to perceive this flaw
and he coined a few terms which explained the existing issue very well. First of all he introduced the concept of
Aliveness in martial arts, referring to the fact, that if the techniques are practiced
in prearranged patterns with a cooperating partner who does not offer “alive” resistance,
trying to counter the technique by various means – then the martial art is following
quote on quote “dead patterns”, which do not develop absolutely necessary abilities
when dealing with an attacker who is really aiming to harm or defeat you. With no live resistance, AKA Aliveness – there
is no way to really distinguish techniques which are functional, while martial arts who
pressure test their techniques constantly, such as in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu when grappling
or Muay Thai when sparring – end up mastering and polishing techniques and approaches which
are highly effective – thus making them as Matt Thornton would call them: “Functional
Martial Arts”. Meanwhile the martial arts which follow the
so called “dead patterns” tend to believe that their techniques work just because it
“looks” effective or because their instructors told their students that it works, which eventually
leads this belief to become a fantasy, thus creating the final term coined by coach Thornton,
which is – “Fantasy Based Martial Arts”. When looking into online debates on Martial
Arts forums, Traditional Martial Arts often get criticized and looked down upon as unrealistic
or sometimes are simply called fake, and I have to admit that I have been guilty of making
this claim as well. While I have defined in a number of my videos
that my definition of “Traditional Martial Arts” is that of martial arts which rely
heavily on tradition, still this term does not necessarily fully address the issues which
people are actually trying to point out when criticizing Traditional Martial Arts. That issue is when certain martial arts claim
to be effective in actual fighting, while many times the reality is quite far from it. It is common that the martial arts which make
this unrealistic claim without actually pressure testing – fall into the category of Traditional
Martial Arts, thus many martial artists or combat sports practitioners tend to call Traditional
Martial Arts fake – yet to be fair – not all Traditional Martial Arts lack pressure testing
as in for example Judo, while also some modern martial arts systems such as the Russian Systema
or some so called “reality based self defense systems” suffer from the same condition. This is why I would like to encourage all
viewers watching this video in these debates to consider the term “Fantasy Based Martial
Arts” or “FBMA” to better define and point out the problem instead. In order to fully employ it to use, I would
like to further explore it in detail on what it exactly is. As most of you know my main martial arts experience
for many years consisted of Aikido, which is by many categorized as both a traditional
martial art and also a “fake martial arts”, and I personally believe it is done for good
reasons. While Aikido online is heavily criticized
for being ineffective, as I explained in one of my videos called: “Why Aikido is Disliked
by BJJ and MMA Practitioners”, the criticism is actually not because Aikido is a traditional
martial art and not even primarily because it is not effective as a means of fighting
or self defense, but mainly because most Aikido people believe and fondly claim that it is
effective. And I personally know how that works very
well. For many years I also believed that it does
work, until I eventually tried to test it under actual, live pressure of sparring and
grappling, where a decade of my Aikido training did not work at all. In this case it would be easy, and I believe,
correct to say that for years I was living in a fantasy, believing that my Aikido was
functional, yet what made it mostly a fantasy, was the fact that I was believing that I would
be able to manage myself in a fight or a self defense situation, believing in it only based
on hearsay and stories, without any actual evidence or pressure testing. I find this phenomenon to be best explained
by what is known as the “Dunning and Kruger Effect”. This phenomenon was defined by social psychologists
David Dunning and Justin Kruger initially by a study called “Unskilled and Unaware of
It: How Difficulties in Recognizing One’s Own Incompetence Lead to Inflated Self-Assessments”,
which explored the criminal case of McArthur Wheeler, who robbed banks while his face was
covered with lemon juice, which he believed would make it invisible to the surveillance
cameras. This belief was based on his misunderstanding
of the chemical properties of lemon juice as an invisible ink. To further understand how this phenomenon
works, Dunning and Kruger later released another study called “Why People Fail to Recognize
Their Own Incompetence”, which pointed out that this phenomenon derives from the person’s
ignorance of a given activity’s standards of performance. To put it more simply, if I have no education
in singing and no understanding in what criteria of singing exists, I may as well come to conclusion
that my singing is good, just because it appears good to me, or if for example my best friend
who is also uneducated in singing would also say it is good and I would come to a conclusion
that it is enough information to define my singing as great. As crazy as this sounds, it happens all the
time and there are many recorded cases such as where terrible singers come to qualifications
of singing shows as “American Idol” and misperform horribly, in the end being surprised
that the judges did not like their singing, since they personally believe their singing
is amazing. At first, it seems that these bad singers
are simply crazy, but as Dunning and Kruger explain, it is actually all based on the lack
of that individual to understand the activity’s standards of performance, or to realize where
he or she actually stands in the ability to really perform. Unfortunately, this is exactly what happens
in martial arts too. If we take my personal story as an example,
before stepping into the ring with an MMA fighter to spar, I have never really sparred
with an experienced fighter. At best I had a few sparring matches with
my friends, who knew little of fighting themselves and while I barely made my Aikido work against
them, compiled with all the stories my instructors told me of how Aikido would naturally come
into use when I would be really attacked or that it is designed to defend against an untrained
attacker, I believed that I could handle myself at least to some degree. If you know my story, you also know that after
rolling with a BJJ blue belt and eventually sparring with an MMA fighter, I realized that
there is almost nothing that I could apply from my 13 years of training Aikido, when
dealing with actual fighting pressure. In other words I knew nothing about the criteria
which makes a person capable of dealing with an actual, unwilling opponent, or to say it
even more simply – I knew nothing about real fighting or grappling, and having no understanding
of what real fighting and grappling is – it was easy for me to believe that I am good
enough at it, since I had nothing in my mind to compare or assess it with. And trust me, this was not a unique case. This same story happens all over the world,
year after year in fantasy based martial arts. To avoid repeating this story, I sincerely
hope that anyone listening to this video will look at themselves and will ask – how do I
really know what fighting is? Why do I think I am capable of fighting or
defending myself? What is the evidence of my ability in this
particular field? And is it not really limited in only performing
choreographed movements together with a cooperative partner or fighting only under a very limited
set of rules, against a minimum amount of resistance or factors such as for example
punches only to the core area. As I’ve spoken in other episodes – there
is nothing wrong in practicing a martial art which is not effective as long as there is
complete honesty and understanding of it’s limitations. The problem arises when there is a belief,
or in other words a fantasy of unrealistic assessment of practitioner’s abilities in
a desired field, such as fighting or self defense. And if you look closely enough you will see
that this fantasy is not equal in all traditional martial arts, which makes it unfair to flag
them all under the same category. Judo makes a perfect example, as it is usually
considered a traditional martial art, yet it is difficult to deny its effectiveness
in its own field and the level of pressure testing under its given rules. Different Karate and Taekwondo styles also
offer different levels of sparring and pressure. And while it would probably be fair to say
that more traditional martial arts tend to be fantasy based than combat sports, at the
same time, once more it would be unfair to put them all in the same box, while also creating
further confusion and difficulties in expressing and discussing exactly what the critique is
being directed at, while broadly generalizing and calling Traditional Martial Arts fake. With sincere intent and hope to aid people
who have trouble in defining whether their martial art is really delivering what it promises
and with the intent to aid every person who is trying to explain to someone of what actually
the problem with some martial arts is, once more I am suggesting to exchange the term
Traditional Martial Arts to a more specific term – Fantasy Based Martial Arts, or FBMA
when discussing about this specific subject. And with the hopes to do so successfully,
I am offering a list of items that define or show a strong tendency in a martial art
to be an FBMA: The lack of sparring or pressure testing
Sparring or pressure testing under very specific, limites set of rules, with very low levels
of resistance or pressure Heavy reliance on a cooperative partner
Strong investment in constant repetition of choreographed movements
The use of the term self defense without the ability to define what are the essential aspects
of self defense such as detection, avoidance and deterrence. Instead heavy reliance on “what ifs scenarios”
and endless, not pressure tested response techniques
The claim that the martial art would beat a striker or grappler, without ever willing
to actually prove it Reliance on various excuses and justifications
why this martial art is not pressure tested Lack of evidence of the effectiveness of the
martial art on any level, including recorded footage of its success in fighting or self
defense scenarios The claim that this martial art is designed
to work against untrained attackers, without ever pressure testing it against untrained
opponents, even with safety measures such as full contact armor
Mystification of certain aspects of the martial art, using such terms as Ki, Chi or prana
Refusal to test the martial art against martial artists of other schools or styles
Claims that there are secret or special techniques, known only to the school In the end, if you look at the Fantasy Based
Martial Arts list, while some aspects of them do apply in some Traditional Martial Arts,
yet again it shows that a Traditional Martial Art is not necessarily an FBMA. Yet again, I want to admit that I was guilty
of making that claim or being vague enough when using the term Traditional Martial Arts
myself, yet I hope this episode of Martial Arts Explored will bring clarity not only
in my own further explorations, but also in various discussions and the explorations of
each individual martial artist. Let me know in the comments if you feel I’ve
missed valuable points to the definition of Fantasy Based Martial Arts. Also, do you personally think the FBMA term
may be beneficial in discussions relating to this subject? If you liked this Martial Arts Explored episode
make sure to check other episodes by clicking here. And subscribe to the Martial Arts Journey
channel to know when the next episode is out. Until then, I wish you to question the hell
out of yourself.

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38 thoughts on “Stop Calling Traditional Martial Arts Fake • Martial Arts Explored

  1. With this new Martial Arts Explored episode I invite everyone who would like to translate its subtitles so that more people could benefit from this subject. If you have the time, ability and interest here is the link to the official YouTube translating panel:–o&ref=share
    Thank you in advance to everyone joining this initiative!

  2. 90% of traditional martial art are completely fake, they sell their style as self defense and it is not self defense. I have a friend that I have been training Muay Thai with for years, he has a friend that asked if which was better for self defense for his son, Muay Thai or TKD my friend tried to tell him Muay Thai or BJJ would be much better than TKD but the guy did not listen and his son trained in TKD for 5 years and got a black belt and was recently confronted by a bully in his class, the kid tried to use TKD to defend his self, but the out of shape bully beat the hell out of him,
    the father went back to the TKD school and asked the instructor what he has been paying him for for the last 5 years? The guy had no good answer! FAKE FAKE FAKE! It is what it is.

  3. Are we currently watching bjj transition into a "Traditional MA" seems there's currently a divide between Self Defense Gracie style and Sport based Bjj. It will be interesting to see if it survives or suffers the same fate as JKD. What do you think?

  4. One of the teachers in my school was a professional practitioner of Sanda boxing, he's even been to various competitions. Then he switched to our style of Wing Tsun (a mix of Wing Tsun and modern fighting sports). That might be a proof of the effectiveness of a style.

  5. Tma are not necessarily fake you can be traditional but still functional certainly with cross training and real life resistance I think the truth is that they could be more limited rather than fake it's important to fill in the gaps and take what works for yourself

  6. Rokas, I propose "Demonstration- based martial arts. " These arts are 100% effective within their own microcosm, and designed for performances before an audience, on the stage or screen.

  7. In my view, the origin of the term "traditional" as applied to martial arts is best understood as meaning that the techniques are "sacred" (in a functional sense). The techniques derive from an exalted master, and should never be questioned or changed.

    In many ways, a style like BJJ is very traditional–it wears gis, has formal rankings, many BJJ schools, including mine, bow into class, and so on. And yet, BJJ is never considered a traditional martial art. I think it's that, because while BJJ does pay some degree of homage to its founders, it's constantly and intentionally evolving.

    Compare this with, say, many styles of kung fu, who already "know" they have all the correct answers because it came from a godlike ancestor figure, at least godlike in their mythology, and therefore nothing needs to be tested, eliminated, improved, or added.

  8. I've studied Hapkido for 24 years, have a 5th Dan in Jinjungkwan Hapkido, and have no illusion that almost 100% of what is taught beyond red belt is better left to the movies. Some fluff exists within the color belt curriculum, as well, but what I accept as effective self- defense against both trained and untrained opponents lies therein. No need to test – and thus, pay- for black belt rank. Unnecessary.
    It is fun to train, though, and within the company of guys I've gotten to know well over the years.

  9. I am a practitioner of Chinese Kenpo, a traditional martial art, and in my specific club we do regular sparring, as well as sparing multiple attackers and competitive point-based sparring when competitions are coming up. And while modern martial artists and practitioners of MMA/kickboxing etc. may say it’s an inefficient martial art, have used a variety of self defence techniques that I have been taught in street fights, but I do sometimes question certain techniques that I’m taught since we don’t really practice the specific scenarios in sparring.

  10. As far as words definitions and terminology goes it can definantly get preaty ambigious in nature and even though I would be reluctant to call brand Aikido as "Fake" I would certainly understand why someone would want to call it fake especially considering how ineffective and unrealistic it.Perhaps the question whether or not whether Aikido is truely fake depends on how its marketed.

  11. I train Shotokan a traditional martial art yet I spar all the time and adapt what I have learn to make it effective. I also do point competition which is totally different. I know I am lacking on the ground and need to study BJJ and maybe judo as well. My style is not fake but not complete either. In the end it was why Bruce discredited his own system. Because it conformed up to that point and he still wanted to evolve. As for fake I guess that depends on your definition and how you really want to test it. In a real fight, in MMA, so many variables. Any I avoid calling any martial art fake unless I know why you are studying it.

  12. Using FBMA seems like a semantic thing but it's a start. There's FBMA in competitive bjj as well as many has pointed out. You should make a video on that like how Thornton started criticizing JKD.

  13. Ever feel like your aikido training has helped you learn MMA? I find my hapkido training has helped me learn bjj among other styles much more easily.

    I mostly want to focus on self defense, but I find people who train in for sport tend to work harder, and have tend to have more realistic expectations of self defense. That being said, I find that researching violence and having athlete to resist my techniques does a lot to help, but I'm also trying to get people interested in training for self defense, even if it's just for funzies.

  14. As far as olympic point karate I think that it's wonderful that it does have a limited amount of preasure testing and it's not like I would never be willing to give it a try and I think in a self defense situation it's definantly way better than nothing and certianly way better than Aikido however I still wouldn't put too much faith in it when it comes to a self defense situation or an MMA fight.

  15. Wow amazing video m8, the only difference between traditional martial arts and new ones are effectiveness, most traditional ones use more weapons and we're developed around it since at that time they're used at Waring states, but in effectiveness I still would say for modern world the new ones are better.
    But throwing them away is wrong rather we could just save it as a tradition to condition the body!( The example I'm taking is the karipayuthey or something is actually done to condition body and has more weapon based techniques than physical combat and to those who say it'll defeat easily other martial arts…. I don't wanna argue on that because my luv for boxing and a friend of mine has learned it and said it's more like a ritual to condition body and to give flexibility and to train ppl more on weapon based combat like sword and stick fighting.)

    Thanks for not being biased man again I can't thank u enough because the last and few other video,the chats were on 🔥😂😂 😂

  16. A problem I constantly see is that many martial arts are functional in some settings, and fantasy in others.
    BJJ is a functional martial art at many times, but it loses functionality in large group fighting (because going to the ground is more dangerous when there are more people around). Thinking that you could use BJJ as effectively as it works in a cave in a gang streetfight setting is fantasy. To quote many MMA folks, you fight like you train. If you train 1v1, no weapons, cage fights, then you may be functional in those settings. The further you move from that (5v5, weapons, open air/ability to flee), the less sure you can be that your martial arts will work.
    Thus, it is fantasy to think that you will be effective in those circumstances.

    Edit: as a side note, I don't think that means those arts are "bad." They're just limited to certain circumstances, which is fine so long as you recognize that/are okay with that.
    For example, I study HEMA and Kendo. I know my swordsmanship is not useful if I don't have a sword, and I accept that it won't keep me safe if I'm unarmed. I'm totally fine with that, but it'd be fantasy to think otherwise.

  17. you think it would be possible to get the mma guy you went up against in your video when you did aikido? i want to see how you would progress against him now

  18. I seen that picture of Starlight Glimmer.Is this guy a closet brony or something like that? Not that it's really any of anybodies business nor is it any of my business however that is a preaty nice picture of Starlight Glimmer. Friendship may be magic but Aikido for self defense is straight up bull shit however it may in fact help you make friends.

  19. Aikido is mainly about wrist locks. If you sparred against someone with boxing gloves on, how would you apply your Aikido techniques? I'm not saying, as you have experienced it yourself, that Aikido is effective against someone who resists but try to be a little more fair to it. Small bone breaks and wrist locks are disallowed in MMA matches. Aikido might not work in sport combat, where the two face each other and circle around, but might work in a quick self-defense fight where you apply a technique on an attacker.

  20. Traditional martial arts are about understanding the lineage therefore you can navigate future deviations in the practice. Additionally styles are all based on the rules for competition and those rules filter out the techniques the practitioners… practice. Knowing that, it's not hard once understanding: history ideology and concepts of the style to see why they would or would not just take techniques from other styles to appease rule sets. That's a thing I learned from traditional martial arts.

  21. I disagree. Most of the the "traditional" martial arts are indeed fake and deserve to be called fake, since they abandoned their "martial" aspect. They are art, but they are not martial. Oh btw, the term "martial arts" is not related to "traditional budo" or anything like that, since it's actually a latin term that has been used way before todays asian martial arts were properly known in the west.

  22. I enjoy your vídeos and breakdown. Would like to know your thoughts on MMA's transition into a sport rather than a combat style and how it affects practioners perspectives on handling real life situations. Case in point, while training I would notice individuals believing they could handle any real life situation while ignoring that street conflicts don't have a rule set. My experience comes from my years in military law enforcement and how we would have to subdue individuals. Background of myself, I transitioned from boxing into grappling and eventually MMA for a few years in my earlier to late 20s. I understand my limitations due to my lack of training to the last couple of years; hence, my inquiry.

  23. FBMA is definitely a mindset that will bring together a lot of traditional martial artists claiming to have better "effectiveness" than others. Thanks Rokas for your constant work in providing good elements to the réflexion.

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