*originally posted in Facebook in August 10, 2010 - ask permission before reposting
Nowadays, there are so many martial arts schools popping out all over in many cities here in Canada and abroad. It is becoming a common sight or knowledge that most likely, there's a martial arts school just "around the corner" where you live. With the proliferation of martial arts schools it is normal to see that there will be frequent martial arts competitions "your school" will participate in.
TRADITIONAL vs NON-TRADITIONAL (SPORTS) TYPE - What's the difference?
The answer is ATTITUDE! - Nothing really changed between the traditional and non-traditional martial arts. Both "ways" are effective martial art techniques. The difference is in the attitude of both the instructor(s) and/or the student(s).
In the Traditional form, most martial arts practitioners (and instructors) are working out and/or learning a technique of martial arts without the intentions of competing. Even the instructors' teaching methods are designed for non-competitive encounters. What does this mean? Any punches, kicks, etc., are designed to bring down a threat instantly and that could mean a deadly or lethal execution of a punch, a kick, etc. In the traditional Shotokan way, it is called "one hit, one kill" or the "God Hand."
This lone principle (or mentality) of learning a martial art technique makes sense in a real world scenario when you are trying to defend yourself and/or your love ones from life-threatening situations. You do not wish to give a second chance to the person who will endanger your life or your love ones. You will "bring down" that threat right away. Eliminate the threat!
Coming from an "old school" of martial arts, this is what I learned. We do not compete a lot back then because it is dangerous for us to compete. We concentrate more on how we execute the proper punches, kicks, etc., and how forceful should those punches, kicks, etc., be.
SPORTS or NON-TRADITIONAL (a.k.a MODERN) MARTIAL ARTS
I wish to re-iterate that although sports and/or non-traditional martial arts is a "diluted" form of the traditional "way" of martial arts, I am not downplaying the importance of learning any martial arts in a non-traditional way. The important thing to remember is for the students to UNDERSTAND that there's more to it than competing in a sports martial arts tournament. Competitions can develop confidence, knowledge, and techniques. It will help the student to "know" if he/she is able to compete with the techniques he/she learned and apply it in a "controlled" environment.
One thing a student must understand is to not just concentrate and limit himself in competitions. Competing has its downside if you focus too much in it and do not understand that there's more to it than competitions.
In competitions, you are told not to punch the face. That alone is a very dangerous way to condition a martial arts student. Punching the face is very important in a real world scenario. Telling a student and conditioning a student to avoid punching a face "may" have a negative impact on the conditioning of a student when faced with real threats.
If you are conditioned to not punch the face and/or any vital parts of the opponent, it may become possible that you will avoid hitting those same vital parts of your real world opponents. The student might become reluctant to react... reluctant to kick the groin or throw a punch to the face and the outcome of this scenario will not be good. It may cost the student his life.
WHAT SHOULD A STUDENT DO?
Learn not to just look forward to competitions or tournaments. Concentrate on learning that there's more to it than sports competition. Martial Arts is not designed to be a sport when the founders of most if not all the martial arts techniques known today began. Martial Arts is meant to kill or to put it lightly, stop a threat.
You can still continue learnning non-traditional techniques of any martial arts but always keep in mind that you have to learn it and practice it properly. This is crucial so that if in the future and you are faced with a life-threatening situation, you will know what to do. You will know how to defend yourself properly.
PRACTICE THE PROPER FORMS
Practice to learn how to execute the proper stances, punches, kicks, etc. Knowing how to throw the proper punch, to kick the proper reverse/front kick, side kick, etc., will someday save your life. A poorly executed punch, and/or kick will cost you that brief/split second or moment to save you or your love ones one day. Remember, in the real world, there's the possibility that second attempts to throw another punch against a threat is unlikely.
I can speak from experience.
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*Chito holds a brown belt in the Shotokan and black belt in Sikaran techniques