Martial Arts for Old Guys

Gorilla.800.lbs wrote:

Paleo is not denying the importance of skill ourtight. I guess what he's trying to say is that shape comes before skill. To use your own remarks on the notions of continuum, I don't think you'd feel very confident about your abilities if you were able to do not 35, but, say, <20 pushups.

Let me make an example (based on a true story(tm)). You're standing in front of a 900lbs vending machine. You drop change into it, your snack starts to be pushed out - OH NO ! It's stuck halfway !

You keep punching the vending machine and kicking it (very loudly) and it's still stuck. The tremors aren't going in the right direction, and aren't strong enough to affect the stuck snack.

Then you figure it out. You put your hands on the very top of the machine, and lean forward, creating a straight line going from your toes through your knees into your hips, shoulders, elbows and hands.

Having created this skeletal lock, you channel your combined body power into the very top of the machine, cocking it back. Then you suddenly let go. The machine rocks back into place, creating the correct direction of the tremor that swings the snack toward you and down.

Victory !

Now, the amount of push-ups you do had nothing at all to do with your moving a 900lbs machine. It was internal skeletal alignment, combined body weight/power (similar to the one summoned when pushing a stalled car), and correct external positioning of the point where the power is _applied_.

Aikido teaches generating power through skeletal alignment and channeling of body weight, therefore the number of pushups, specifically, that a practitioner can do, is not very relevant. Of course, it always helps to be in good general shape.

shihonage wrote:
Gorilla.800.lbs wrote:

Paleo is not denying the importance of skill ourtight. I guess what he's trying to say is that shape comes before skill. To use your own remarks on the notions of continuum, I don't think you'd feel very confident about your abilities if you were able to do not 35, but, say, <20 pushups.

Let me make an example (based on a true story(tm)). You're standing in front of a 900lbs vending machine. You drop change into it, your snack starts to be pushed out - OH NO ! It's stuck halfway !

I know precisely of what you're talking about!

Gorilla.800.lbs wrote:
shihonage wrote:
Gorilla.800.lbs wrote:

Paleo is not denying the importance of skill ourtight. I guess what he's trying to say is that shape comes before skill. To use your own remarks on the notions of continuum, I don't think you'd feel very confident about your abilities if you were able to do not 35, but, say, <20 pushups.

Let me make an example (based on a true story(tm)). You're standing in front of a 900lbs vending machine. You drop change into it, your snack starts to be pushed out - OH NO ! It's stuck halfway !

I know precisely of what you're talking about!

So do I!

Yeah, Paleocon, I'm going to have to disagree with you. Everything I have ever learned in any art says: Skill trumps all. Take Gojo Ryu Akijujitsu - or stand up jujitsu as I like to call it. It's all about using larger muscle groups against smaller ones. My pectoral muscles will always win against your triceps, no matter how many tricep curls you can do. The biggest guys in the world get hammered by akido and jujitsu artists who are years past their physical prime. My jujitsu instructor was practically disabled with a bad back and a beer gut. A Muay Thai fighter would beat the ever living piss out of him, until he got a hold of 1 limb, then it was over. However, its not an art meant to counter Muay Thai, it was an art meant to counter bar brawls and close-in style attacks. Grab a Gojo Ryu artist and you get a bone broken, every time. Each move finished with a *mock* bone or joint break. It was an art meant to put you down one time, and keep you down.

Even in Muay Thai, look at Kru Bill. He can use very little momentum and strength but hit with devistating power - It's all about his use of perfect form that does it. Right now condition makes a big difference because we power thorough a lot of moves to make up for bad form. Perfect the form and the power required to pummel someone is a distant secondary.

Shoal07 wrote:

Yeah, Paleocon, I'm going to have to disagree with you. Everything I have ever learned in any art says: Skill trumps all. Take Gojo Ryu Akijujitsu - or stand up jujitsu as I like to call it. It's all about using larger muscle groups against smaller ones. My pectoral muscles will always win against your triceps, no matter how many tricep curls you can do. The biggest guys in the world get hammered by akido and jujitsu artists who are years past their physical prime. My jujitsu instructor was practically disabled with a bad back and a beer gut. A Muay Thai fighter would beat the ever living piss out of him, until he got a hold of 1 limb, then it was over. However, its not an art meant to counter Muay Thai, it was an art meant to counter bar brawls and close-in style attacks. Grab a Gojo Ryu artist and you get a bone broken, every time. Each move finished with a *mock* bone or joint break. It was an art meant to put you down one time, and keep you down.

Even in Muay Thai, look at Kru Bill. He can use very little momentum and strength but hit with devistating power - It's all about his use of perfect form that does it. Right now condition makes a big difference because we power thorough a lot of moves to make up for bad form. Perfect the form and the power required to pummel someone is a distant secondary.

You're smoking crack if you don't think Kru Bill is in much better shape than either of us. He may be skinny, but the muscles in his arms look like steel cables.

Paleocon wrote:
Shoal07 wrote:

Yeah, Paleocon, I'm going to have to disagree with you. Everything I have ever learned in any art says: Skill trumps all. Take Gojo Ryu Akijujitsu - or stand up jujitsu as I like to call it. It's all about using larger muscle groups against smaller ones. My pectoral muscles will always win against your triceps, no matter how many tricep curls you can do. The biggest guys in the world get hammered by akido and jujitsu artists who are years past their physical prime. My jujitsu instructor was practically disabled with a bad back and a beer gut. A Muay Thai fighter would beat the ever living piss out of him, until he got a hold of 1 limb, then it was over. However, its not an art meant to counter Muay Thai, it was an art meant to counter bar brawls and close-in style attacks. Grab a Gojo Ryu artist and you get a bone broken, every time. Each move finished with a *mock* bone or joint break. It was an art meant to put you down one time, and keep you down.

Even in Muay Thai, look at Kru Bill. He can use very little momentum and strength but hit with devistating power - It's all about his use of perfect form that does it. Right now condition makes a big difference because we power thorough a lot of moves to make up for bad form. Perfect the form and the power required to pummel someone is a distant secondary.

You're smoking crack if you don't think Kru Bill is in much better shape than either of us. He may be skinny, but the muscles in his arms look like steel cables.

I totally agree (and I knew you'd bring this up) that Kru Bill is in AWESOME shape. That wasn't my point. He's not using his incredible conditioning to knock you back when he's hitting at half speed, it's all proper technique. Think about where all the kick power is... Hips. What about punches... Hips. How exactly do I buff up my hips again?

I grew up with martial arts. I was taught my family's form of Wing Chun (Kung Fu) for most my childhood. Then I studied Shidokan Karate and TKD. I took a break after that but now am getting into BJJ, Muay Thai, and Krav Maga.

I enjoyed all these styles and each has their own merits. I'm really glad that I started with a softer form of Wing Chun (taught me balance and prepared me for everything else) TKD was probably the least "practical" (but most fun) But I studied at a school that focused on competition. Definitely the most flashy style. When people want to see something I usually just pull of some TKD kick or something. I just started Krav Maga but it seems to be the most "real life" form so far.

I started BJJ because I was totally outclassed by a BJJ practitioner once and decided I needed some ground skills. But I would never want to go to the ground in a real-life fight unless I had too.

I have respect of Aikido but it seemed to me that it works well against untrained opponents. I fought an Aikido practitioner and he had nothing against me but maybe he just needed more training.How would Aikido fair against trained fighters that understand the basics of balence and leverage techniques?

I can see how Aikido would have good real life practicality (not getting over engaged with opponents and being very fluid) and I would like to learn sometime but don't know any good schools in Chicago.

Over all I feel real life practicality of a MA is preparation and muscle memory. My friends are always surprised by my fighting skills. I don't look intimidating at all:
I’m a soft spoken, 5'7", a little chubby, Chinese guy. (working on the chubby part hence renewed interest in MA)

But in the end I've been in many fights/spars and been punch/kick/tackled many times. I am used to a fighting situation and my muscles still retain some memory. I don’t believe I fight in any particular style. I’ve never thought I should hit now or throw now. It just happens. When you have those instincts that’s where you get real life practically. Just like everything it kinda just comes down to practice.

So just pick something that you enjoy and practice.

Shoal07 wrote:

I totally agree (and I knew you'd bring this up) that Kru Bill is in AWESOME shape. That wasn't my point. He's not using his incredible conditioning to knock you back when he's hitting at half speed, it's all proper technique. Think about where all the kick power is... Hips. What about punches... Hips. How exactly do I buff up my hips again?

My point is that it is not at all coincidental that Kru Bill, Kru Mike, Kru Alvin, Asa, or any of the folks with great technique are also in MUCH better shape than either of us. The conditioning is a prerequisite for the skill -- not a substitute. You will never get that good until you are that fit. I imagine that is at least a significatn part of the logic behind the rounds in the level exams. If you can't demonstrate the ability to go two three minute rounds with a hostile opponent you can't hurt, you aren't demonstrating either the conditioning or the technique necessary to advance to instructor. Unless you can, in your own right, kick righteous buttocks, you really have no business teaching other folks.

It's not "hips" alone. It's an explosive rotation, to which the abdomen muscle group, quadriceps, and buttocks all contribute. You train those by doing squats, duck-walks, plyometrics, kicking drills, and crunches.

Besides, there is more to punching that throwing one mighty-loaded reverse punch or back-leg kicks. It's too slow. You cannot base you arsenal just on reverse punches and hope to overcome a non-compliant adversary. You have to know how to throw jabs and kick with the front leg, as well block and detangle, and create combinations, and move fast if you're facing multiple opponents.

It just plain requires a certain level of conditioning to throw a powerful face-level kick with a front leg, for example.

Gorilla.800.lbs wrote:

It's not "hips" alone. It's an explosive rotation, to which the abdomen muscle group, quadriceps, and buttocks all contribute. You train those by doing squats, duck-walks, plyometrics, kicking drills, and crunches.

Besides, there is more to punching that throwing one mighty-loaded reverse punch or back-leg kicks. It's too slow. You cannot base you arsenal just on reverse punches and hope to overcome a non-compliant adversary. You have to know how to throw jabs and kick with the front leg, as well block and detangle, and create combinations, and move fast if you're facing multiple opponents.

It just plain requires a certain level of conditioning to throw a powerful face-level kick with a front leg, for example.

Agreed 100%.

I also laugh at folks who say you can't use a high kick in a real fight. Folks who say that say it because they've never encountered someone capable of throwing a meaningful high kick. And trust me, there are many of us out there.

I believe most techniques require a certain amount of conditioning to perform. That is why I don't believe in self defense classes. It gives a couple techniques to an untrained individual who won't have ability to use in heat of the moment. It just gives them false confidence.

They don't have the muscle memory or the instincts to pull them off in a high stress situation. Using these techniques on a cooperative training partner they met on a Sat. afternoon and a real life opponent is a drastic difference.

Secret Asian Man wrote:

I have respect of Aikido but it seemed to me that it works well against untrained opponents. I fought an Aikido practitioner and he had nothing against me but maybe he just needed more training.How would Aikido fair against trained fighters that understand the basics of balence and leverage techniques?

If an Aikido practitioner wants to do well against trained fighters, they need to train with trained fighters.

Thankfully, people who have enough self-control to not be kicked out of a fighting school, and enough willpower to keep working out their body on regular basis, are not only in the minority compared to the rest of the population, but usually are secure enough in their ability (and finances) to not go around mugging or bullying innocent bystanders.

I can see how Aikido would have good real life practicality

That is the goal for most.

A few comments:

Martial arts for effectiveness or "usefulness" as self defense needs to be approached from an entirely different angle than martial arts as a physical/mental/spiritual endeavor. The majority of McDojos will put you at MORE risk in a street fight situation (HADOKEN!)
by giving you a false sense of security. The best styles to take if you want to focus on self defense are grappling styles. This boot-to-the-head nonsense might work on a drunken lout but the most effective and least dangerous (in regards to liability) method of handling a random street fight is taking it to the ground and submitting your opponent. When against multiple opponents in a street fight situation your best bet is to run.

Breakfalls are not "hard" in any sense of the word. Hapkido is definately "harsher" than Aikido but it is not a hard style. They both rely on the principle of using your opponents momentum and aggressiveness against them. Breakfalls are the ultimate in soft style and can be easily learned and practiced by people of any stature.

In regards to the age old "SKILLZ > MUSSELS" argument sad to say in most cases size wins. The rule of thumb is: All things being equal the larger person will win.

Of course things are rarely equal but a large, powerful musculature will go a long way towards making up for a lack of skill or speed.

imo, of course

~Taos

Secret Asian Man wrote:

I have respect of Aikido but it seemed to me that it works well against untrained opponents. I fought an Aikido practitioner and he had nothing against me but maybe he just needed more training.How would Aikido fair against trained fighters that understand the basics of balence and leverage techniques?

If an Aikido practitioner wants to do well against trained fighters, they need to train with trained fighters.

Thankfully, people who have enough self-control to not be kicked out of a fighting school, and enough willpower to keep working out their body on regular basis, are not only in the minority compared to the rest of the population, but usually are stable enough in their ability (and finances) to not go around mugging or bullying innocent bystanders.

I can see how Aikido would have good real life practicality

That is the goal for most.

Secret Asian Man wrote:

I believe most techniques require a certain amount of conditioning to perform. That is why I don't believe in self defense classes. It gives a couple techniques to an untrained individual who won't have ability to use in heat of the moment. It just gives them false confidence.

They don't have the muscle memory or the instincts to pull them off in a high stress situation. Using these techniques on a cooperative training partner they met on a Sat. afternoon and a real life opponent is a drastic difference.

That's why a good self-defense school doesn't employ cooperative training partners.

But yeah, you can't get anything out of a couple of classes in anything.

That's why a good self-defense school doesn't employ cooperative training partners.

Why is he swearing in front of ladies? (I won't even ask why is he swearing SO much?)

The rule of thumb is: All things being equal the larger person will win.

If wordsmythe was monitoring this thread, he'd already add "that's what she said!"

TheArtOfScience wrote:

This boot-to-the-head nonsense might work on a drunken lout but the most effective and least dangerous (in regards to liability) method of handling a random street fight is taking it to the ground and submitting your opponent. When against multiple opponents in a street fight situation your best bet is to run.

People don't square off in real life, point out their friends in a crowd, and say "those are my friends, beware !". Sure, this method works, but I wouldn't go into absolutes - it isn't "the most effective and least dangerous in regards to liability". Nothing is. Staying long enough to take someone to the ground in fact increases your chances of actually facing that liability as the cops (or friends) arrive. A shorter method may sacrifice "liability" but may also get you out faster, depending.

The most suitable application depends on the situation, environment and people involved.

If someone positioned themselves for a kick to the head, if you feel they're vulnerable to kicks, and if you're good at setting it up, then it could be the most effective way to stop them. If someone's positioned near a parked car, and you can bash their head into the hood with one movement, and run away, then THAT is the most effective.

If someone's grabbing your bag, and you jerk them into a store window and run like hell, then that was the most effective for the situation.

If you're holding a pool cue and they're swinging a baseball bat at you, then whatever-comes-out-of-that-under-andrenaline is the most effective.

The rule of thumb is: All things being equal the larger person will win.

Can't get any more obvious than that. On the other hand, two people being relatively equal in size, the person with higher skill will "win".

shihonage wrote:
TheArtOfScience wrote:

This boot-to-the-head nonsense might work on a drunken lout but the most effective and least dangerous (in regards to liability) method of handling a random street fight is taking it to the ground and submitting your opponent. When against multiple opponents in a street fight situation your best bet is to run.

People don't square off in real life, point out their friends in a crowd, and say "those are my friends, beware !". Sure, this method works, but I wouldn't go into absolutes - it isn't "the most effective and least dangerous in regards to liability". Nothing is. Staying long enough to take someone to the ground in fact increases your chances of actually facing that liability as the cops arrive. A shorter method may sacrifice "liability" but may also get you out faster, depending.

The most suitable application depends on the situation, environment and people involved.

If someone positioned themselves for a kick to the head, if you feel they're vulnerable to kicks, and if you're good at setting it up, then it could be the most effective way to stop them. If someone's positioned near a parked car, and you can bash their head into the hood with one movement, and run away, then THAT is the most effective.

If you're holding a pool cue and they're swinging a baseball bat at you, then whatever-comes-out-of-that is the most effective.

The rule of thumb is: All things being equal the larger person will win.

Can't get any more obvious than that. On the other hand, two people being relatively equal in size, the person with higher skill will "win".

Okay, now we've reached commonality.

This idea that grappling is the "be all" of martial arts is the fulfillment of Gandhi's proverb that "to the man with a hammer, the world appears to be a nail". I am fairly certain that even a seasoned BJJ practioner would have a hell of a time dealing with a Savate master who had enough room to move around.

I often ask the question "what is best: 1) a rifle, 2) a knife, or 3) a hand grenade?

The correct answer is "it depends". If he's 100 feet away, I'll take the rifle. If he jumps me in a phone booth, I'll take the knife. If he's hiding behind a brick wall, I'll take the hand grenade.

Learn to grapple, for sure, but don't think you can ignore striking, stand up clinch, or throws because you know how to wrestle once you're on the ground. Tougher men than any of us will ever be have been knocked out with a single punch.

Eh, well sure throwing someone through a plate glass window or bashing them in the skull with a blunt object might be the most efficacious given a particular situation and they will also land you in jail. I think that falls out of the realm of MA.

The point I was trying to make is that when you are engaging in fisticuffs with some random bad dude on the street (perhaps you are on your way to rescue the president!) grappling will have an advantage over striking. If your goal is to flee then the mystical art of "kickemintheballs-FU" works as well as anything.

I don't know that there is ever a situation in a street fight where trying to land a kick to the side of someone's head is a good idea. There is almost always going to be a way of attacking that is going to allow you to maintain better balance than trying to boot someone's temple. If you're going to kick in a streetfight then you want to be attacking the closest target the opponent presents to you which is likely going to be a knee or shin.

On the odd chance you do manage to land a forceful kick to someone's head you risk injuring the person pretty badly. Police won't look kindly on you giving someone a skull fracture or shattering their jaw because they tried to punch you over hitting on their girlfriend or something like that. Most street fights aren't one on one Thunderdome death matches so over application of force is something to be wary of. That's what I meant about liability. Applying a painful but relatively non-damaging joint lock is a way of taking the fight out of someone without rendering them retarded in the process.

I agree with you in that there is no "best" style for everything. That's as obvious as my equal skill bigger person wins statement. In your typical "schoolyard" fight grappling is, imo, the best skillset to have.

It's certainly a good skill set to have and an important one to boot. That said, if that is the only one you have against a trained fighter with a wider skill set and equal conditioning, you're in for a world of hurt.

If all you know is grappling and you're up against someone who can defend the running double, has good balance, can avoid the takedown, and has fists, knees, elbows, and kicks, you're in for a rude, painful surprise. Grappling is great, but you better be able to get him on the ground. And trust me, for anyone in my gym, that's not nearly as easy as you might think it is.

I go to see the Smokers fights down in VA occasionally and can tell you with authority that I've seen a pretty significant number of straight grapplers get their snail snot beat out of them going into the double only to eat a knee or get the business end of a sprawling A followed by a ground and pound.

Trust me. Learn it all.

TheArtOfScience wrote:

Eh, well sure throwing someone through a plate glass window or bashing them in the skull with a blunt object might be the most efficacious given a particular situation and they will also land you in jail. I think that falls out of the realm of MA.

The point I was trying to make is that when you are engaging in fisticuffs with some random bad dude on the street (perhaps you are on your way to rescue the president!) grappling will have an advantage over striking. If your goal is to flee then the mystical art of "kickemintheballs-FU" works as well as anything.

I don't know that there is ever a situation in a street fight where trying to land a kick to the side of someone's head is a good idea. There is almost always going to be a way of attacking that is going to allow you to maintain better balance than trying to boot someone's temple. If you're going to kick in a streetfight then you want to be attacking the closest target the opponent presents to you which is likely going to be a knee or shin.

On the odd chance you do manage to land a forceful kick to someone's head you risk injuring the person pretty badly. Police won't look kindly on you giving someone a skull fracture or shattering their jaw because they tried to punch you over hitting on their girlfriend or something like that. Most street fights aren't one on one Thunderdome death matches so over application of force is something to be wary of. That's what I meant about liability. Applying a painful but relatively non-damaging joint lock is a way of taking the fight out of someone without rendering them retarded in the process.

I agree with you in that there is no "best" style for everything. That's as obvious as my equal skill bigger person wins statement. In your typical "schoolyard" fight grappling is, imo, the best skillset to have.

You make many fixed assumptions about what is a real fight. You assume that it starts with squaring off, that you see it coming and can make threat level assessments, that there are no concealed weapons, that the opponent is right in front of you, that the environment is evenly leveled, outdoors, and non-obstructive to your goals, that you know what the opponent wants, that you would want to stay to completely immobilize and dominate the opponent, that police appear at every violent encounter instantly (if only !), and finally, that joint manipulation can only be used on the ground.

If you limit your thinking, then when the push comes to shove, you will find yourself trying to pull the situation together to fit your mindset, instead of adopting your mindset to the reality of what's happening in here and now. I don't need to point out the futility of the former.

I don't disagree with grappling being effective, but I disagree with the mindset of having a specific approach drilled into your head as a universal end-all. "First, I get him to the ground, then I pin him, then it ends". It cultivates tunnel vision, while one needs a soft focus.

EDIT: also, this thread has de-evolved from its original point, so I'm abandoning this particular path of conversation.

If self defense is one's goal, my first suggestions would be to learn to use and carry your equalizer of choice (preferably both a gun and knife).

TheArtOfScience wrote:

Applying a painful but relatively non-damaging joint lock is a way of taking the fight out of someone without rendering them retarded in the process.

There are two major problems with this line of thought:

  • You often have to give up a dominant position in order to apply said joint lock.
  • If he's even halfway serious about hurting you, you're going to have to break something before you convince him to quit (and even then he may not notice the break until after the fight).

The last time I was in a fight it was against a larger opponent and after I got mount (courtesy of a double leg trip) there was no way in heck that I was going to give up my position to attempt an armbar.

Eh, I agree it's going off topic and I concede your points. If you argue that you never know what's going to happen and you should be prepared for every eventuality well...then carry a gun.

I can only speak to my experience and I've been jumped a number of times as I grew up in a rather inhospitable environment. In almost all cases the fight turned into a wrestling match.

But to reinforce an earlier post of mine: Topic creator, check out Tai Chi as a great stepping stone into the MA, whatever your choice of styles may be.

Robear wrote:

words

That's all good and well if you're driven to be a competitive athlete, engaging in drawn-out encounters done under controlled conditions, with the same intent for "submission" on both sides.

I didn't think I was stepping on nerves; I had no intent to. All I said was that anyone who thinks that hard and soft motion should be considered as distinct specialties is going to end up surprised by the opposite of what they pick. Your experience mirrors the several years of soft styles I did, but does not address the dichotomy I was cautioning against. I was not referring to competition styles, but rather to practicality.

Regardless, I'm not going to sum up someone's position as "words".

As to Hapkido, there are several schools in the US that teach an older form of the style with no offensive motion, no kicks above the waist and a total focus on circular motion and taking the center. The curriculum is nearly identical to Daitoryu jujitsu, by first-hand comparison, through at least brown belt. So Hapkido does not have to be dominantly hard; if it is, you're probably looking at a post-1960 curriculum that's been meshed with other styles. (Not a bad thing, just not old school Hapkido.)

TheArtOfScience wrote:

But to reinforce an earlier post of mine: Topic creator, check out Tai Chi as a great stepping stone into the MA, whatever your choice of styles may be.

Why use stepping stones when he can jump right in with both feet? I:P

Well, I might as well through in my two cents.

If you're truly looking for a "martial art" my suggestion won't really apply, but if you're looking for truly effective self-defense, I would recommend Krav Maga.

It's practical, effective, and easy to learn. It incorporates many aspects of many different martial arts, and focuses on real-world applications.

I've been training in Krav Maga for 5 years and teaching for a year and a half. I would recommend Krav Maga to anyone looking to learn how to protect themselves.

Ah, late replies.

Robear wrote:

I was not referring to competition styles, but rather to practicality.

Your use of the phrase "best fighters I've seen" points otherwise. Either that, or you have a remarkable ability to be present during spontaneous real-life attacks that happen to a specific set of people you know

All I said was that anyone who thinks that hard and soft motion should be considered as distinct specialties is going to end up surprised by the opposite of what they pick. Your experience mirrors the several years of soft styles I did, but does not address the dichotomy I was cautioning against.

Daito Ryu and its child arts are all based around creating openings for centered Karate-like strikes to vulnerable points. I do believe it is invaluable for an average Aikido practitioner to get a dose of outside experience, however unlike you, I believe in augmentation of the core skill, instead of trying to develop two separate sets of core skills.

They blend. A strike that was dodged can continue into a lock, a failed lock can shift into a strike. Often they're meant to, as linked failsafes, limiting possible range of opponent response. Such are principles of continuous motion, backed by base footwork coordinating power transfer to advantageous points. You can strike someone with your whole body, channeling your weight into say, your shoulder. A fusion of principles of the core art is much more beneficial to overall effectiveness, rather than developing it as two separate skillsets - "Aikido skill" and "striking skill".

That's why I resent the typecasting of arts being "soft or hard", as it is a binary, simplistic model. When you're hit with concrete, a pool stick mangles your ribcage, or your shoulder gets popped, there's nothing soft about it. Cutting motion is at core of Aikido, channeled with proper power and leverage, through a weapon or emptyhand, and it can manifest as a strike, interception, or a throw, or all at once to varying degree.

Regardless, I'm not going to sum up someone's position as "words".

I merely did that not to quote your entire post.

I did quote another post in its entirety afterwards, but that's because I'm inconsistent.

MA debates are eerily similar to nerd debates on so many other subjects. "Pentjak Silat Crippled Mantis Mating Head Devouring style vs Tung So Do Flaming Poo Fist of Great Inconvenience style" is in many ways the equivalent of Picard vs Kirk.

Don't get me wrong, I'm a nerd for sci-fi AND martial arts.

The thing is that whenever someone posts "WHAT MA SHOULD I START?" it is proceeded by 20 posts of ***Insert my style here*** and then that turns into "my dad's style can beat your dad's style" MA nerd rage. (not necessarily saying that is what is happening here...at least not at the usual level of vitriol associated with those threads)

I recommend the topic creator purchase a copy of "Equilibrium" and study Christian Bale's Gun Fu technique and incorporate that with some Parkour for truly riveting cinema worthy ass-kickery. Well...ass-shootery as the case may be.

As to why should someone use a stepping stone instead of jumping straight in?

Because it is safer, healthier, and imo more effective. I think Tai Chi is perfect for a layman who wants to get in touch with their body and their latent potential energy. (not chi energy, kinetic energy) It teaches deep breathing, improves balance, and lays the fundamentals of form down. It is easy on the joints and for those who haven't been terribly active but want to be.

Sure you can build a house without a foundation but how long will it stand? Impatience is like...SO not zen, ya dig. Think of Tai Chi as running through Dagobah with yoda on your back. You need to do it or else Vader chops off your hammer as well as your hand. And the hammer is your penis. =(

~Taos

I'm 35 and just started doing an MMA class (that's boxing, MT, wrestling and BJJ). I describe it to those who look at me blanking when I say MMA as 'cagefighting'. I've only been doing it for about a month and I still hurt for a couple of days after each class.

I started doing it for two reasons. First to get into shape and that's working and second to better appreciate the sport, also working.

The problem with Tai Chi or any system that relies on the acceptance of supernatural mumbo jumbo like "chi" or "energy flows" is that acceptance of any of that crazy irrationality results in a shaky foundation at best and a completely unfounded sense of confidence as a default. If you want to learn balance and work on your core strength, you're better off with Pilates or working with a physical therapist. Leave the drunken swallow tail fist crap to the hippies.

When you divorce martial arts from the whole Eastern magical mystical mumbo jumbo (and most good martial artists I know do), the inescapable conclusion is that the serious martial artist is indistinguishable from a serious athlete. I suspect that the mumbo jumbo is largely marketing meant to make it appear that you can be an athlete without doing the work. And in that sense, martial arts appears to be the ONLY athletic pursuit where that line of thinking is generally regarded as gospel truth.

In basketball, you can have an encyclopedic knowledge of the mechanics of a jump shot. You can wrap it up in mystical mumbo jumbo about the nature of chi running up from your toes. You can even give out different colored belts for the successful completion of memorized drills involving the tossing of jump shots. But if you get stuffed every time you get anywhere near the basket, you suck.

The primary difference between practical martial arts and stuff like Tai Chi is that the practical ones are required to prove their efficacy. Tai Boxing has rather efficient laboratory for adjudicating the difference between sh1t and shinola. MMA and BJJ do as well. The UFC has enjoyed tremendous popularity largely because it, in part, answers the age old demand to "prove it". Tai Chi not only isn't inclined to do so, it assiduously avoids such demands for evidence for efficacy. And if that is the case, where is the proof it is any more efficacious than Pilates, Yoga, or ballroom dancing?