Do All Martial Arts Need To Change or Die? • Martial Arts Journey

When taking a closer look at the world of
martial arts, especially that of traditional martial arts, you can come to a realization
that the world of these these practices is in a crises. While decades ago it was easier to make claims
about their functionality or promote a martial art through mysticism, these days with global
media, we are more and more often exposed to the lack of ability of many traditional
martial arts to perform in the realm of fighting, when faced against a practitioner of modern
functional martial arts and combat practices. With the rise and fame of UFC – many traditional
martial arts lost popularity and credibility, and while some UFC fighters do include part
of their traditional martial arts training – it’s often times just a small portion
of that particular practice, and very few fighters are capable of doing it well to begin
with. With all this on the table, we are left to
ask – do all martial arts need to evolve and if they don’t will some of them eventually
“die out”? Many times a traditional martial artist starts
to doubt the functionality of his martial art through exposure to live resistance sparring
and grappling, especially while faced with a partner who is experienced in live combat
practices and pressure testing. Most martial artists who then experience failure
applying their practice in these conditions, become inspired to modify their, often, long
trained practice, in order to be able to withstand a duel with a combat sports practitioner. The dilemma here, which appears soon enough,
is that the more this practitioner modifies his practice to make it efficient in this
realm, the more it starts to look like the functional practice it is going head to head
against, thus leaving this martial artist even more confused and asking – “so why
do I try to doing this, instead of just training the practice which I want to be good against.” This then often leads to an even bigger crises
or a complete dropping of the former practice for the new one. When these cases happen all over the world
to various practitioners of different martial arts – one comes to ask – is it worth modifying
this practice to begin with and if so, why should these arts exist at all if they are
so incomplete? Yet the answer here is actually very important. As a person who practiced Aikido dedicatedly
for 14 years, coming to these same questions, I know very well what it means to go through
this journey. Yet after intensively going through it for
more than a year, I came to a realization, which was probably there in front of me from
the very beginning. First of all, it is important to understand
and respect that martial arts, combat sports and self defense are three connected, yet
also very different realms. Actually even personal safety is an additional
realm beyond just pure, physical self defense. And each of these realms has its own benefits
and place in the world, or an individual’s journey. The problem arises when these three get mixed
up and different results are expected from the wrong realm. Many people become inspired to start martial
arts with the promise of self defense. Even many martial arts schools claim that
they teach self defense, often times without really understanding what true self defense
and personal safety consist of, and simply present complex motor skills which takes years
to master, and tried to convince the person that it’s just a matter of time (often times
many years) until he will become safer because of this training. This claim and belief is very wrong on many
levels. Yet it’s one more reason why the differences
between these four realms have to be addressed and made as public as possible. Yet not all people who come to martial arts,
come for self defense. In Japan – the country which brought a big
portion of the most well known martial arts to the world – most people consciously train
martial arts for what is called “genki” – a whole rounded sense of feeling good and
energetic, and have no interest whatsoever for the self defense aspect. Partly it may be due to their culture of respect,
etiquette and lack of random physical violence in the streets, yet many people in the West
come to martial arts for the same reasons, feeling the same way of simply searching for
a sense of good feeling. What is interesting here is that forcing these
people to train for the self defense aspect, or to do competition, may actually turn them
away, and such a person often ends up going from gym to gym, dojo to dojo, searching for
a martial art school where he will just have the opportunity to train for his personal
development. For this person a traditional martial art,
even lacking functionality in the combat sports or self defense realm, can be ideal – and
– for such a person, it is very important that such a practice would exist. As long as a school is honest about what it
offers and admits what it is not – it has an important role to play in the lives of
these people. That does not though deny the importance of
the self defense aspect. Yet anyone is free to learn the basics of
self defense and personal safety in a well organized, relatively short spanned specialized
course, and then to continue to wherever his interest leads him. To add to that, each traditional martial arts
instructor is also free to learn the extra curriculum of personal safety and defense
to offer to their students as a side course to their traditional aspect, while focusing
mainly on the benefits of the original practice itself without needing to change it to what
it is not. Personally, I am happy when a modified version
of a practice is offered for the better understanding of it’s functional application for combat
sports or personal safety and self defense. It is great to have that additional option. Yet it does not mean that the whole martial
art has to be sacrificed and changed completely for these aspects. As Bruce Lee famously said: “Absorb what
is useful, discard what is useless and add what is specifically your own” – the same
applies to the personal development aspect of martial arts. Not all traditions need to stay: for example
– such as extreme hierarchy, or the belief in mystical, outdated concepts, that limit
our critical thinking, yet there are many aspects to tradition and philosophy of these
practices, which can be beneficial for a modern person, not seeking to compete or defend himself. Also, while incredibly well developed functional
martial arts already exist, why should we try to reinvent the bicycle, to form another
functional practice out of a martial art, which is not designed to do that? Do all martial arts need to evolve? In a way yes, even the philosophical aspect
needs to be sometimes rephrased and reframed for the modern lifestyle. Yet does it mean all martial arts need to
become functional or capable of self defense? Not necessarily. Each of the four realms are beautiful and
amazing in its own right, as long as its sincere about its true value and limitations. Each person is free to choose what to practice,
and should not be criticized for his personal choice, as long as he is clear about his decision
and expectations. And each practice should not strive to become
the best representative of all realms, as a jack of all trades is a master of none. These are my realizations after intensively
exploring this subject for more than a year. What realizations did you come to? Do you agree with the message in this video? Let me know in the comments. If you liked the message, make sure to press
the like button and share this video with your martial arts community and friends. If you want more videos like this one – subscribe
to the Martial Arts Journey channel. This was Rokas and I wish you to own your

27 thoughts on “Do All Martial Arts Need To Change or Die? • Martial Arts Journey

  1. Do all martial arts need to evolve? Do you agree with the message of this video? Let me know in the comments. If you liked the message of the video, share it with your martial arts community and friends.

  2. I don't understand why people call karate, taekwondo and Kung Fu 'traditional' when boxing, Muay Thai and wrestling (the components of MMA) are way older; boxing and wrestling go back thousands of years and I'm sure Muay Thai is older than most martial arts.

  3. Love your take and am enjoying your journey. Had a very similar experience myself with a Taekwondo teacher that no one questioned and was shocked in my first full contact competition when I got beat very easily. Question to think about: if practising traditional martial arts for "genki" is a legitimate reason for them to continue existing, what distinguishes it from proper bullshit practices a la the fake martial arts of Frank Dux or Ashida Kim or George Dillman? If it's the claims of effectiveness, then what if George Dillman was upfront and said his stuff did not really work, would that legitimise his "martial art" to the level of Wing Chun? Or is it just age? The wish to not see something historical die out? Otherwise, why not practice practical martial arts for "genki"?

  4. correct me if i'm wrong, but i don't think there's a martial art that wasn't designed for combat (maybe aikido, but i'm not sure): they just changed their purpose and, by extension, training methods to the point where it was no longer important. so i think it makes sense to modify a martial art to work, since it probably did at some point and it would be kinda sad for the M.A. community to not change that. but i do agree that everyone has their own reasons for learining martial arts and shouldn't be jugded for learning whatever best alligns with those reasons.

  5. One particular combat sport with a lot sparring but does not prepare you better for a real fight is fencing. Due to its many rules, it evolved into a competely different thing that no longer simulates historical/traditional sword fighting at all

  6. I haven't watch this video and I'm not going to. But the answer the title question. Martial arts are no, martial skills yes. One is an art, more about expressing ones self, or practicing disaplin, or living history. The other is a skill ment to save your life, or end another's.

  7. Every move was made by the freedom of the human body so to answer your question it yes every move was made prefectly but the body expressing itself can not be stopped itself evolving every step every move every thought though freedom of body movement

  8. In karate we learn self defense our sensai pressures me because one time he put me against the wall with a rubber knife gave me a limited amout of time to react and when i did he got me than he explained how in knife fights you have to rract fast and carefully abd choose the right decision it could mean life or death and he said the right decision in a self defense situation is to stun the guy than run and he said no matter what you do in a fight your going to get hurt and if in a knife fight your going to get cut but he said get your non vital area cut like the four arms this is what in tought and he makes us resistant to punchs and kick by being kicked and punched hard

  9. Traditional Martial arts did evolve in other arts like BJJ and Muay Thai. It’s just that there is a culture of not asking questions in traditional martial arts which allows it to exist without being tested

  10. First of all Martial Arts should be Self discipline top priority. Self defense is just a bonus. That's why traditional Martial arts are still good but i think it has to evolve to compete in the market.

  11. Critical to this discussion is an understanding of what the term martial arts means. It did not originally mean "an artistic endeavor related to the martial." Rather, "art" was used by Renaissance era westerners who coined the term to mean "a systematic way of understanding" just as mathematics, history, and literature are liberal "arts". It was more akin to how we use the term "science" today, although to them it was not learned through the scientific method or hypothesis and experimentation, but through the other arts of geometry, anatomy, and music for an understanding of timing. So there were not multiple "martial arts" meaning styles of fighting or separate weapons but one art of learning combat or perhaps multiple arts that govern and inform the martial practice. There may be many styles or approaches to the martial art today, but there are not multiple martial arts. So, for a practice to be part of the martial art, it must be both martial, meaning practical in combat, and an art, meaning governed by undeniable laws and rules of nature and mathematics. Techniques in an art must work according to rational rules and if movements or techniques did not work, they were considered to be not part of the true art, false ideas. 1+1=3 is a demonstrably false teaching in the art of algebra and is therefore not of the art. Techniques in the martial arts, must work in actual combat given that the practitioner used them at the proper time and in the correct manner, or they are not part of the arts martial.

    Anything we call a martial art today, meaning an artistic endeavor related in some way (usually historically and culturally) to the martial practices of a given society, that does not work well in real combat is more properly termed something like an artistic movement system. It does not teach the arts governing the martial. In fact, many such systems teach false understandings of the arts of timing and geometry, which is why their techniques and their practitioners fail in combat. I'll bet the number one failing of such systems and the number one reason their techniques fail is an incorrect understanding of timing, and how much time it takes to do a movement in comparison with how much time your opponent has, plus a failing to account for human reaction time.

    I realize that modern English speakers by and large no longer really use this definition of art when they use the term, but I wish they would. It would make this discussion so much simpler. We could simply say that anything that doesn't work consistently in combat and doesn't teach proper timing, physiology, leverage and distancing, is not a style of the martial arts.

  12. Your chanel is great, but the problem with traditional martial arts is that if you train karate, wing chun, aikido two times a week for 1 hour and dont sparring, how can you fight a mma or sport combat that train every day 4 or more hours and every practice they test his skills?. If same one want to hurt you and your punch is fast and powerfull is not importan what martial art you do, you will hurt your oponent, sorry for my bad english

  13. traditional martail arts use to be good for example ju juitsu was the martail art of the samurai,and black belts use to be able to fight

  14. I wholeheartedly agree with the message in the video. It's about first figuring out why you want to learn martial arts, then find the right master to learn from after that. In regards to styles and their practicality in fighting, I think that most styles are viable from what I have seen. The key component in that type of training is incorporating sparring against a resisting opponent.

  15. Do All Martial Arts Need To Evolve?
    It's not the art, it's the individual…
    • Does the practitioner KNOW any one art, let alone multiple arts?
    • Then, knowing mentally, is the individual well-trained physically?
    • Does the individual have a mind-set appropriate to actually applying the art?
    • Lastly: most any martial art was originally designed for hand-to-hand combat, not sport; so how much of any art will one see in a sporting event? In a self-defense situation? (answer to both: little; for self-defense usually requires a quick win, so it won't likely last long; & sport rules necessitate the elimination of some of an art's best fight-ending moves, plus, the promoters often want to give the audience a show, or, they have an agenda to promote a particular art over others)

  16. I totally agree with you, very important statements you have here. I'm going to show the video anyone who will mistake martial arts to combat sports, or those to self defence or personal safety. Very nice statements, man.

  17. I know the story about how shaolin martial art was created.
    This martial art belongs the buddha religion and it's grandmaster is Đạt Ma sư tổ(in Vietnamese, i don't know in English).
    When Đạt Ma saw the buddhists' body were so weak due to the cold weather so they can't focus to train themself (other kind of training that is not martial, he taught them some (maybe) katas from India martial arts to heat themself up. After that, they see that they can use those stuffs to fight so they created a martial art from it.

    THE IMPORTANT THING is i think those buddhists were delusional, they failed as being a monk. Violence( even for defensive purpose) is opposite of what buddha taught them so they can control their "animal" use their "human" (or something relevant) as much as possible. In history, some monks burned themself for what they think is right, not fight back…and stuff.. I mean the martial techniques are not for what the monk originally is, shaolin martial art does not belong to the "shaolin" at all.

    This is just my opinion but although shaolin martial art is affective in the fight as some aspect. Their original is stupid and in some aspect was wrongly created.

    Hopefully my opinion is helpful. danke schön für deine attention.

  18. One historical example I can give is the French fighting style known as savate. Originally it was said this martial art was strictly a kicking style but when one of its famous fighters lost to boxing legend John Sullivan they started adding boxing techniques to the martial art. Karate itself is very different then when it was first practiced by westerners when they were first introduced to it. Boxing methods were also introduced which forced fighters to move when fighting, which is why some modern karate matches look very much like kickboxing. As for combat styles and self-defense in the opening of Rex Applegate's book "Kill or Be Killed" he understood (and other combat instructors of the time) that to learn a martial art took time but soldiers and police didn't have the time to become expert martial artists so he developed a system that took simple techniques that could be simply learned and applied. I agree with what is said here but I also see that change is always constant within the systems, and I believe by changing systems to be more combative there is a chance you can unintentionally create a different martial art.

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