For me there are more similarities between the civil fighting arts/ systems of self defense than most people consider or would like to admit. Greek Pankration, early bare knuckles fighting and karate all have a lot in common where fighting is concerned. Is it because the art of fighting originated in one place (China as most people claim thanks to David Carridine) then spread? No, its because the human body only moves in so many ways therefore no matter what culture you come from similarities will be present where similar combative demands exist. For instance here's a video of some Pankration techniques: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1a7eS6DfbLo&feature=related. Most if not all those techniques can be found in both karate and judo, not to mention other civil fighting arts.
I do agree with you overall, but not with the example given. Pankration has been lost for centuries now and the stuff shown is usually attributed to Jim Arvantis who calls what he does "Pankration" and admits that he basically took stuff from existing modern arts and recreated what he thought the art looked like. Here is a website that tries to recreate pankration based on the old writings and antiques that are found, notice while some similarities there are still some differences that we dont' see in many arts (notice the ready stance).
But, I do agree with the idea that there are only so many ways to punch/kick someone. There are only so many ways to bend/lock/twist a joint. Most of the stuff comes down to personal preferences that were codified and then stylized. Which to me is one of the myths of self-defense that studying "Style X" will make you a better fighter because it worked for the founder. The founder is not going to be in that dark alley that you thought you could cut through against better judgement, it is only you and the tools you bring with you that will get you out safely.
Another self-defense myth: When facing multiple attackers, realize that they are cowards and if you take out the biggest one first, the others will see that and run away. Does it happen? Yes, I have heard stories where that was the case. But, it is not a 100% rule at all and can get you hurt if you are applying all of your energy to one person and hoping that will break their spirits.
I agree the example provided isn"t the best. My comparison was based more on other sources than the video. Xenophon and Plato's dialogues come to mind, "The Martial Arts of Ancient Greece" by Kostas Dervenis & Nektarios Lykiardopoulas is another great read as well as is "Combat Sports in the Ancient World" by Michael B. Poliakoff. There's other books/sources avaliable as you so kindly pointed out. I do believe though that where Pankration and the Greek Martial Arts are concened and the relationship between battlefield and sport, there are some very good sources that paint a fairly clear picture of how the Greek fighting arts were practiced. Can we recreate them? Maybe a little, but not in whole because our culture today would consider someone getting killed in the boxing ring barbaric, while the Greeks, more than likely, would have considered it heroic.
Have a good day!
One of my favourite self defence myths (in addition to some great ones already mentioned):
“Attacks ALWAYS happen from this distance”:Being told that the only correct attack is one that is executed from, say, two steps away – e.g. in “good guy-bad guy/uke-nage” types of training or sparring- and only training for this. This is fine for some types of sport fighting, but to my mind not self defence. I think there is nothing wrong with training techniques from this distance, as long as they are also trained at closer distances for application. I think controlling space & distance should be trained, but it should be the responsibility of the person trying to defend himself, the attacker should not do it for them. To me, the attacker’s responsibility when it comes to distancing is to attack from a position where sincere, effective and realistic attacks are possible, not from where he is easiest to counter .The exception I guess are specific drills for specific distances. This is one that really bugs me; I usually avoid dojos that do this like the plague.
Anyways, this is just my opinion based on stuff I’ve seen and I would love to get some feedback on it.
I heard (from Mark Dawes) that the 3 warning myth was something that Roger Moore used to say as 'The Saint'. Not sure if it's true (the origin - I know the need to warn isn't true), but it would explain the number of people who've had it said to them somewhere down the line.
Reference bad teaching on blades - I think Jim Carey's sketch summed up perfectly some of the rubbish that is out there.
I think the myth (and no offence to the many good systems out there) that once you are a black belt you can handle yourself is one i dislike. A Black Belt is simply an acknowledgement that you have a level of proficiency in the basics of your system - and that does not necessarily have anything to do with competition or real fighting/threat avoidance.
I am enjoying all the Myths, I've added a link to one such PDF on Martial Arts Myths
I tend to tell my Students, in a street situation, "don't let anyone touch you, as there is no difference in 'FEEL' to a push, a punch or a stab with a knife until about 20 seconds after the event and that's too late".
I must contest, there are plenty of Self-Defence applications in the Jissen Based Kata of Ashihara and Enshin Karate. There's plenty of 'Grappling' too in the Kata.
Don't forget to register yourself, as a Deadly Weapon, at the Local Police station once you have become a Black Belt. Hehehehehe
Thanks for your posts
I must contest, there are plenty of Self-Defence applications in the Jissen Based Kata of Ashihara and Enshin Karate. [/quote]
But let's never forget that being shown applications and making them your own are two different things.
We all know people that will travel the world in search of new 'applications' but then go back to their normal sedentary training and forget them in a week, but be convinced they could pull them out of the bag to save the day in a crisis.
Deluded, and dangerously so.
[quote=Gary Chamberlain]We all know people that will travel the world in search of new 'applications' but then go back to their normal sedentary training and forget them in a week, but be convinced they could pull them out of the bag to save the day in a crisis.
Deluded, and dangerously so.[/quote]
That’s a very important point and one that frequently comes up at the seminars. It’s not about “knowing” a given technique, drill, application, etc. It’s about whether you can make it work or not. The analogy I give is that, “I know what a plane is for, but that does not make me a pilot”.
People need to know what “knowing something” is not enough. It needs to be endlessly drilled, endlessly refined and truly internalised if it is to be of any real value. Doing something once or twice and thinking they “have done that” or “know it” is, I agree, dangerously deluded.
All the best,
[/quote] Totally agree with you Gary, just doing a few techniques at self defence seminars will never be enough to give the skills needed to protect oneself, hence why we in Ashihara and Enshin hold application so importantly in our training. Another thing I do with my students is, I never say that any application they use to a particular combination is wrong as their application to me is making the kata their own
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