Friday, October 5, 2012

Influence and Perspective

  I was reading another blogger's post on who the most influential martial artists have been. His criteria was fairly wide spread (over a couple of hundred years worth, LOL). Of course he attempted to incorporate every form and manor of martial art available also (too much, IMO).
  Surprisingly (at least to myself, LOL), Oyata wasn't listed. This person included numerous (obscure) Chinese martial artists, most of which I'd never heard of (which isn't necessarily surprising, I'm not involved to any great extent with Chinese martial arts).
  His #1 was the most surprising to me, it was Miyamoto Musashi (?), exactly why, I'm not entirely sure (despite what he stated/wrote, LOL). The next most influential, was Bruce Lee. It gives one the impression that his choices are based upon movie references.
  Though I might have agreed with his choice and placement (#2) of Bruce Lee, the Musashi reference was vague (at best). Lee influenced a great deal of How martial arts was being presented, sold and taught (at the time, early-mid “70's”). Disregarding his movie work, his lectures tended to point out the obvious flaws that were present in what was being taught by the majority of martial art styles. As for what was being taught (at the time), practitioner's techniques were influenced only moderately by his teachings.
  As for Musashi, his teachings may have influenced sword practitioner's, but his “Book of 5 Rings” (as with Bruce Lee's) only moderately influenced the average martial artist. Additionally, I would venture a guess that less than 40% of (all) martial artists could even identify who Musashi was.
  His other choices (beyond the Chinese one's, LOL) I could understand (the Gracie's, Itosu, Funikoshi), but when I do any search regarding martial arts today, It will always pull up something regarding kyusho/tuite.
  If one goes back 30-35yrs. Ago, there was NO mention of these subjects (by Anyone). Until Taika demonstrated them to the world, they were only mentioned as obscure teachings from a prior age (and only from those ancient instructors). Even from the (very) few who might have mentioned the subjects, it was always in reference to a Lost art/ability (and certainly not in any demonstrable form).
  Taika spent the first 15yrs. Of his presence in the United States (late 70's, early-mid 80's) demonstrating his art (of Tuite and Kyusho jitsu). After the first few years of his doing so, it seemed as if everybody had (suddenly, LOL) acquired this knowledge (though they all also claimed to of always known it, LOL).
  Now, you can't view any (martial arts) website that doesn't (at least) mention Kyusho or Tuite instruction. To myself, that is a major influence (on the martial arts community).
  Because that influence was so great (and impressive), it gave birth to numerous copy-cats. The majority of these individual's had attended some of Taika's seminars (and had acquired the introductory basics of the subjects application).
  The majority of these imitator's chose to alter/add-to Taika's teachings and included the Ki/Chi nonsense (which made it easier to provide reason's why it didn't work the way they claimed it should).
  Though some might place the Gracie's at a higher importance, personally I only view them as a “Fad” (that's quickly fading). What's taught (with any of the MMA type of nonsense) is mostly only (usable?) for young, strong males. For the average individual's instruction in/for self-defense, it's of limited to No use/value.
  As that writer pointed out (in his blog), what individual's view as being influential and/or important will vary between each individual. Being that my own focus is on Life/Self Protection, I would tend to lean towards the Kyusho/Tuite exposure as having had more influence (on the community as a whole).
At least when compared to a famous (though ancient) Japanese Swordsman.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I was also similarly perplexed by the author's selection of the most influential martial artists. I agree with your assessment of the influence that Taika, although unsaid, that he has had on martial arts. I had heard of pressure points from my earliest days in the martial arts beginning in the 1970's, but as you said there was no substance to it.

Remember the context in which today's martial arts are projected upon the general public and most mainstream martial artists and its not too surprising who the author selected.

Interesting topic.

Rainbow Joe