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Old 09-17-2008, 05:52 AM   #1
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Default Martial Arts and the unified Kung Fu theory

I use the term kung fu because to me it contains all that is as far as the martial arts universe. The Wikipedia explanation includes my concept by saying:

Kung fu can be used in a context without any martial arts whatsoever. Colloquially, kung fu (or gung fu) alludes to any individual accomplishment or cultivated skill obtained by long and hard work.
All arts are incomplete but complimentary. This is a bold statement, and not without exceptions, because some arts allow for the element of exploration once all the techniques are discovered. As a painter, one could learn every type of stroke and color and when that is achieved then they can really create some wonderful things. So it is with Kung Fu in so that once you have mastered what it means to perform physically, you then have the means to create to your own art be it based on body type, limitations, and or philosophy.

If you stay in one art long enough you will find yourself branching out to other arts because of interest alone. Other arts will show you the holes you have in your own art. Eventually one will develop their own mutt art and in my experience this is a normal thing for people who are dedicated to learning Kung Fu. It isnít sacrilegious in any way unless you have a strong cultural or emotional tie to your current art.

People who point at one art and call it imperfect are most likely blind to those imperfections of their own art. They all complement each other. Emotional attachment is unhealthy in the arts, and can lead to defeat during a fight. I have seen a few fights in which someone better qualified could have literally owned the fight but were so set on performing their favorite technique that they lost because the opponent wasnít playing by the rules that would have allowed it.

If you take ANY what if situation, you have literally countless combat answers to it. This art will say do this, while that art will say to that. None are all inclusive. I donít know how many times I have replaced a move for one I like better, to only go back to that move in another circumstance because it seemed to fit that event better than the new and improved way. Yet I still gained a new move which I use now also.

This whole process of branching out to other arts is what I call the unified kung fu theory. Everyone seems to be looking for that one art that has an answer to everything. Quick self defense arts donít take into account people who also study and use kung fu as it relies on surprise and the opponent who is unwary of how to effectively attack a person. Yet the more advanced arts rely on nearly unending dedication and have very few ďbasicĒ things to offer but for a foundation to build upon.

Were I to fight your basic thug, and then fight a seasoned fighter, my style would adjust and they would look like totally different fights, based on different methods because they are different systems. There is no ďone size fits allĒ system.

So if you want to be able to answer any combat situation with skill and effectiveness you will have to observe the various arts as no one art answers them with the same level of intensity or purpose than the philosophy of the system is prepared to answer. I have not yet met a great artist that hasnít done some exploring and adapting new techniques into their collection. The fundamentals are found in every art but the focus is different depending on the system.

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Old 09-17-2008, 02:47 PM   #2
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Default Re: Martial Arts and the unified Kung Fu theory

Interesting. Agreed on the branching out as part of artistic growth. I'm a painter and 3D artist (khepran.net), and over the years my love of art has lead me to study Muy Tai for a while as a teenager, poetry, music (was a bassist and background singer for a few local bands), and most recently, cinema.

Agreed also about sometimes 'forcing' a technique or style on a subject, because it's my favorite-at-the-time, when another creative solution would have served the purpose even better. Showing off often makes fools out of us.

One thing I remember a friend saying, something his Kung Fu teacher told him, which seems to apply to all arts, "Don't underestimate your opponent (or subject matter), and don't underestimate yourself"

Another quote I love dearly, from Lone Wolf and Cub book 2, the "Gateless Barrier" chapter:

"On the Great Way, there is no Gate, but a thousand paths to choose from. Find the Gate and you will walk alone between Heaven and Earth."
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