If you haven’t had a chance to check out his youtube page. I would highly recommend it. He bring a lot of balanced incite into  the world of martial arts.

 

Lack of Failure in Traditional Martial Arts How many people actually allow themselves to constantly fail in order to become better? And how can avoiding failure affect our martial arts training?

 

Hi, my name is Rokas and in this Martial Arts Journey video we will take a look at the Lack of Failure in Traditional Martial Arts and how it affects our development.

Before we begin though, I would like to define what I mean by saying Traditional Martial Arts, as there are a number of possible interpretations to it and discussing a subject while having different interpretations of the same term may lead to a lot of misunderstanding. I do not mean to say that I think other definitions to be wrong, but the one that I am about to share with you proved to be the most efficient to me personally when debating traditional martial arts and trying to understand the whole subject.

To me, traditional martial arts are martial arts which are heavily focused on tradition, rather than practicality as its primary goal. While not always – this focus on tradition is often related to various cultural aspects. To give some examples I’ll ask some questions. Why do most Japanese martial arts schools teach to sit on the knees? Is it because it’s the healthiest way to sit? Or is it because it’s part of the Japanese culture? Why do Bujinkan (often referred to as Ninjutsu) practitioners usually wear black Gis? Is it because black is more practical for being less visible while training? Or is it rather because it alludes to ninjutsu practitioners on certain occasions in the past prefering to wear black to disguise themselves? How about defending from a Japanese sword? Is it very likely to be attacked by one these days? Or is it trained because it was more likely to happen in Japanese culture 400 years ago?

There is a story of Jigoro Kano, founder of Judo, telling that he started decreasing the amount spent in newaza, grappling on the ground, because in his opinion, to quote him: “Humans were meant to walk, not crawl”, which is actually a representation of the Japanese cultural mentality. This mentality was passed on from generation to generation even till today, as newaza in Judo is more of a side, than primary focus. Yet the question is, is it so because it’s – quote on quote – not practical or less important, or is it because it’s part of the tradition? On the other hand the Gracie family started off training Judo, which back then was still more commonly known as Jiujitsu, yet Brazilians are infamous for not caring much for tradition and authority. They did not concern themselves with such beliefs as not “crawling on the ground” and while they kept a few, minor traditions, such as wearing the Gi (which has practical aspects too), they focused mostly on practicality and efficiency, which made Brazilian Jiu Jitsu one of the most widely recognized effective martial arts today. Many more examples could be given, but as you may see, traditional martial arts tend to have a high emphasis on preserving tradition and sometimes even sacrificing practically and efficiency to do so, often times doing so unknowingly.

To summarize, one definition of traditional martial arts may be closely related to the heavy investment of a particular martial art into traditions, such as Aikido, Bujinkan, Wing Chun, various styles of Kung Fu, Tae Kwon Do and more versus other practices which are more focused on practicality such as Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Wrestling, Muay Thai, Boxing and Kick Boxing. This is not to say that practices focused on efficiency do not have traditions or “limitations”, for example boxing focusing on striking only and neglecting wrestling or kicking. Yet it’s investment into traditions is much less significant than that of traditional martial arts. It is also interesting to point out, that the age of the martial art is not of greatest significance here. As for example Aikido, commonly referred to as a traditional martial art, being actually fairly young – officially established in 1942, compared to Brazilian Jiu Jitsu which is not referred to as a traditional martial art – having been developed around a similar time.

Now with all of that in mind, having a single definition of traditional martial arts for this discussion, we may start looking at how lack of failure may affect a traditional martial arts practitioner.