February 14, 2006

The Best Style!

Just to clarify before it becomes an issue - I will not be talking about what style I practice or who my teacher is, for several reasons. For one thing, I find that many people place too much importance in who someone's teacher is. This is important, of course, but having a good teacher doesn't guarantee that you yourself will be good as well. You need a good teacher and you need to practice a lot and you need some amount of talent. Instead of asking "who is your teacher?" I think it is much more productive to ask "how much do you practice, and what things do you practice?". But that doesn't always come across as "polite" so people don't do it. Oh well.

As for the style, I just want to avoid the tiresome old arguments about which style is best and for what reason. This doesn't mean that I adhere to some politically correct view that all styles are equal and just as valid as each other. All it means is that I'm tired of having the same argument over and over again. But for the record, all styles are not equal. Not even close. Some styles outright suck. Others are very, very good. Most fall somewhere in between.

A majority of arts out there are missing certain concepts, which makes them "incomplete" in my opinion. Now a lot of people try to justify this and say that their art is still complete by making the argument that the missing concept(s) isn't really necessary. Blah, blah, blah...the bottom line is, missing means missing. By definition, you can't be complete if you're missing something. Not liking this fact doesn't make it untrue. Others think that they are complete because they are simply unaware of even the existence of the concepts that they are missing. As ridiculous as this sounds, it does happen.

Now the real question is, are there any martial arts out there that contain all martial arts concepts? Yes, there are. But be aware that having a concept is no reflection to what level it is emphasized. So a complete art may have a certain concept, but an incomplete art may emphasize that concept much more. Even though there are complete arts out there, they are far and few in between, and they are almost never "commercial". This means they aren't big, they aren't part of large organizations or federations, and they don't always actively seek out students. You probably won't see them much at tournaments and even if you stumble across one, you may not realize it right away. Your first year or two in the art may seem just like any other one, until you start getting into the more advanced concepts. So how do you find one? Unfortunately, only by sheer luck and through connections. Maybe some time soon I will post just some of the concepts that all complete martial arts should have.

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