A lot of people today talk about “mixed martial arts” as if the skills involved are a new creation. They dismiss “traditional martial arts” as being irrelevant and hidebound.
What are “traditional” martial arts? If “traditional” means dictatorial instructors who treat students like slaves, then I’ll go somewhere else.
If traditional means being dogmatic:- adhering to techniques that don’t work and never did, but insisting on them because “that’s how it’s always been done,” – then I agree with the MMA folks – I don’t need it.
If traditional means techniques designed for conditions that no longer exist, such as armored opponents wielding swords, then what’s the point? Historical research? I could watch the History Channel.
If traditional means learning forms but never practicing application because no one knows what the forms mean… (*shaking my head*)… life is too short.
As for prostrating to shrines, I’m sorry but I have my own religion.
On the other hand, if traditional means emphasizing respect, character and self-discipline, then count me in. If traditional means combat skills that work on the street and the battlefield (as opposed to the sports ring) then I’m all for it.
The human body is the human body. It hasn’t changed in the last 10,000 years. Fighting techniques developed millenia ago are just as effective today, and often more so as they have been refined over time.
Traditional martial arts ARE martial arts, period. Mixed martial arts are also traditional martial arts – the skills are simply cross-trained and mixed together. Traditional Jujitsu, Hapkido, Karate or whatever are just as relevant as they ever were. But the method of teaching must be flexible and adaptive, not stuck in the past.
One of things I love about Hapkido is its approach to weapons instruction: cane, belt, knife and staff or short stick. Classical weapons but still practical today.
Do you agree?
Wael Abdelgawad, Founder