Sunday, July 19, 2009
why i don't really believe in chinese kung fu
i have been fortunate to have met some really amazing people in my life. and i've tried to learn all i could from them. martial arts has always been a part of my life, though i lack talent and skill in that area. i try to make up for that by being a hard working student.
but enough is enough. what my eyes (and bones) tell me is dishearting, but here it goes:
explain to me why, if kung fu is so good, NO ONE, NOT ONE competitor in the MMA uses it or has been able to use it successfully? yes, many have tried and many have died (figuratively of course). why is it that no one, no matter what system/systems they have studied fair any better in these matches than someone who has not studied them?
why is it that even arts like wing chun, though they look cool when two exponents doing the same thing are practicing together,are UNABLE to be used as they are practiced? these people too end up relying on some form of boxing and/or grappling.
i know very a good kung fu teacher who has answered this question well:
".....because when you practice, you practice in form, but when you fight, you must have no form"
excellent analysis. as a jazz musician i know this well. we practice etudes to learn how to swing, but when you're up on the bandstand you have to forget those etudes and just play.
but then, if the form is going to be forgotten anyway..... hope you see what i'm getting at.
also the concept of chi kung is very vague. i believe it has more to do with moving your body in a coordinated manner which includes the breath. but even weight lifters know this, so why go all mystical?
many would say that the reason these arts can't be used effectively is because the secrets of the arts have been lost to all but a few, and those few never choose to compete, so we never see the arts in their true glory.
again, those guys are like a UFO- heard of them, but not sure i've seen one.
also in taiwan, a lot of kung fu is connected to the temples, which are connected to the mafia or quasi-mafia type organizations. this i want no part of , not only because of the criminal element, but because this kind of stuff is retro-taiwan. modern, educated people don't run with gangs or go around establishing "turf". we spend our time at Starbucks reading and call the cops when shit goes down. or use pepper spray.
then again, a lot of teachers don't really want you to know anything, especially if you're a foriegner, no matter what they say to you. they will lead you on, teaching you just enough to keep you on the hook but never enough to really understand ,and they feel they haven't wasted your time because at least they taught you something.
and the foriegner gets dissed for learning it anyway, being called a kung fu freak. but when taiwanese learn it, it's ok.
also, i think a LOT of the forms in CKF are really anti-grappling moves or weapons related, and herein lies their real value, but there are tons of teachers still trying to get you to beleive that these moves can block a punch against a moving opponent. put a weapon in the hands of a person practicing these forms and they start to make sense. apply them to grab defenses and they make sense. but try to use the moves to block and you'll be blocking his punch with your FACE!!
personally speaking, i think most people would do better to learn how to box. or learning something modern like gracie jujitsu, or reality based things.
i am presently learning wing chun with a great teacher, but i have no desire to learn it all the way thru. i like the sticky hands and trapping and the concepts in it, but in the end, i will try to take from it what I, at my low talent end of it, can use.
that's my take on chinese martial arts.
Posted by lin at 8:21 AM