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Tags arts , western , skepticism

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Old 12th July 2006, 04:44 AM   #1
arthwollipot
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Skepticism and Western Martial Arts

I found this article today on the website of the Association of Renaissance Martial Arts. It contains a plug for Randi and this site.

http://www.thearma.org/essays/Unbelief.htm
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Old 12th July 2006, 11:13 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by Gene Tausk
Still, this leads to an even larger question for those practitioners of WMA who lay claim to psychic powers: so what?

Do these powers aid in a fight?
Here's the kicker - James Randi's magic skills would help him in a fight. He would use slieght-of-hand to conceal his gun, and then shoot you.



Which magician was it that recently was mugged, and hid his wallet through soh?
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Old 12th July 2006, 11:51 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by Yahzi View Post
Which magician was it that recently was mugged, and hid his wallet through soh?
David Copperfield.
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Old 12th July 2006, 11:59 AM   #4
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Thaiboxerken to aisle #9, please.
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Old 12th July 2006, 12:08 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Yahzi View Post
Here's the kicker - James Randi's magic skills would help him in a fight. He would use slieght-of-hand to conceal his gun, and then shoot you.



Which magician was it that recently was mugged, and hid his wallet through soh?
How to defend yourself against a man armed with a banana.

http://www.jumpstation.ca/recroom/co...on/banana.html

I wonder what Sigfried & Roy would have done...

*and that concludes todays obscure Monty Python reference*
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Old 12th July 2006, 03:38 PM   #6
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The need for reconstruction of techniques solely from books is somewhat troublesome.
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Old 12th July 2006, 03:42 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by T'ai Chi View Post
The need for reconstruction of techniques solely from books is somewhat troublesome.
That's why you practice them, to see what is not apparent from the books. You also use other sources from the era to see how well some of the more prominent folks in the field did under certain circumstances.

Theories are developed, and discuessed. Sometimes egos get bruised, sometimes 'experts' makes some real boners.

This is a field where I have actually seen the progress in developing knowledge of technique.
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Old 13th July 2006, 05:37 AM   #8
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Absolutely true. Both points. Reconstruction from books is troublesome. Have a look at Tower Manuscript I.33 and see if you can get an idea of the style just from the pictures.

It takes a lot of work to interpret a fighting style simply from books. They have to be translated, for a start, since most of them are in old German or Italian. Even George Silver's Paradoxes of Defence is pretty hard to follow, and it's in English.

But people have been doing this for quite a while now. Stephen Hand and Paul Wagner spent five years working with I.33 to produce their book Medieval Sword and Shield, and it still has mistakes (particularly in the movements of falling under the sword and the position of Priest's Special Longpoint), as they have found out.

That doesn't mean that it isn't worth studying.
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Old 14th July 2006, 09:05 AM   #9
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Thanks for that article - it was an interesting read (likewise the site in general).
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Old 14th July 2006, 05:03 PM   #10
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I believe authentic Greek Hoplite tactics were "revived" in a similar way... by simple trial and error application of various records.

The human body hasn't changed over recent centuries, so what felt natural and right to a medieval swordsman or an ancient Greek hoplite will also feel natural and right to a modern man wielding the same weapons and carrying the same equipment.

-Andrew
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Old 17th July 2006, 03:34 AM   #11
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Well, there are a number of techniques that feel anything but "natural" and "right" when you're doing them, but which follow directly from the dynamics and physics of human motion.
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Old 17th July 2006, 04:05 AM   #12
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How true this is, I'm unsure but, I understand that many of the Japanese martial arts were sanitised following WW2, and that many of the more lethal techniques were discarded in the interests of good PR.

Certainly it's the case that the first Japanese masters to teach in Britain adapted their styles to prevent joint damage to their considerably taller students.

"Chi" was never mentioned at any of the clubs I attended but, the instructors possessed a superb knowledge of how the human body moves and can be manipulated (and damaged!), as well as the psychology of fighting. I'd call that martial science rather than art.
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Old 17th July 2006, 04:14 AM   #13
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The "art" in martial arts comes from the fact that a certain move or technique is never reliably going to be effective in every situation where it is applicable. You cannot follow a formula. You need to instantly judge the situation and adapt to the circumstances. If it were a science, you'd at least get consistent results.
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Old 20th July 2006, 09:24 PM   #14
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Actually, "Art" is mistranslated from the original term: Bujutsu, or, Warrior Skills.
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Old 21st July 2006, 04:29 AM   #15
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Quite possibly. But it's still an appropriate term in my opinion.
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Old 21st July 2006, 04:51 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by arthwollipot View Post
.....It takes a lot of work to interpret a fighting style simply from books.
It can't be done.

Quote:
They have to be translated
Translated?

They have to be practiced. Intensively.

Quote:
Stephen Hand and Paul Wagner spent five years working with I.33 to produce their book Medieval Sword and Shield, and it still has mistakes (particularly in the movements of falling under the sword and the position of Priest's Special Longpoint), as they have found out.
I suspect they have the Art of the Sword down pat, much more than any potential opponent that confronts them with a sword.

The problem is that there are damned few sword wielding opponents out there.

Quote:
That doesn't mean that it isn't worth studying.
True. If you have the time.

Frankly, I'd prefer studying the Art of the Firearm.

Jeff Cooper wrote the Art of the Rifle. It's a Bible for the Rifleman.

He's also a guru with a sidearm.

Once those 21st Century basics are mastered, swordplay is an obvious avenue.

Otherwise, why bother?
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Old 21st July 2006, 05:08 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by Huntster View Post
It can't be done.
Not the way it was actually done in the C15th, anyway. We're not using swords in earnest to actually kill or injure people. So what we do is quite different from what was taught in the C15th. The ARMA (the site I linked to), however, believes in replicating the techniques as closely as possible while still remaining safe. It's a different approach.

Originally Posted by Huntster View Post
They have to be practiced. Intensively.
Yes, and that is what kookbreaker mentioned above, which I agreed with. I was specifically referring to the books, while deliberately omitting the practice.

Originally Posted by Huntster View Post
I suspect they have the Art of the Sword down pat, much more than any potential opponent that confronts them with a sword.

The problem is that there are damned few sword wielding opponents out there.
Exactly. However, see here for a list of recent sword crimes.

Originally Posted by Huntster View Post
Frankly, I'd prefer studying the Art of the Firearm.
I personally hate guns. This is my choice. I absolutely detest them. A sword, despite its origin, is no longer a device which is used for the sole purpose of killing. It was once, but it isn't any more. Guns still hold that purpose. Sure, there are other possible uses for guns, like hunting (a practice which I also detest). And sport shooting - skeets and target shooting - like most sports, I say "why bother?"

Unless I choose to join the military (which I won't), I don't see any reason for me to learn how to kill someone. How to actually kill someone, that is. The swordplay I do (which is different from that of the ARMA) is all about pretending to kill people, and that's a completely different situation in my view.

Despite the fact that both the sword and the gun were invented for the sole purpose of killing people, technological advancements have made the sword lose that purpose, and therefore there is a world of difference to me between a sword and a gun.

Originally Posted by Huntster View Post
Otherwise, why bother?
That's a long answer, but part of it is that I am interested in history, and I am interested in teaching history (our group presents history lessons to schools, disguised as a bash-up). I also think it's good exercise, and a heck of a lot more fun that going to a gym.

I don't learn to use a sword in order to know how to kill people.
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Old 21st July 2006, 05:50 AM   #18
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I'm so pleased to find an honest series of answers to my questions on this board!

Thank you so very much! The honor you demonstrate here with your honesty is much appreciated.

Originally Posted by arthwollipot View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by Huntster :
They have to be practiced. Intensively.
Yes, and that is what kookbreaker mentioned above, which I agreed with. I was specifically referring to the books, while deliberately omitting the practice.
I attempted to train with the sword. I failed miserably.

It requires a lifetime of study.

Quote:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Huntster :
Frankly, I'd prefer studying the Art of the Firearm.
I personally hate guns. This is my choice. I absolutely detest them. A sword, despite its origin, is no longer a device which is used for the sole purpose of killing. It was once, but it isn't any more. Guns still hold that purpose. Sure, there are other possible uses for guns, like hunting (a practice which I also detest). And sport shooting - skeets and target shooting - like most sports, I say "why bother?"

Unless I choose to join the military (which I won't), I don't see any reason for me to learn how to kill someone. How to actually kill someone, that is. The swordplay I do (which is different from that of the ARMA) is all about pretending to kill people, and that's a completely different situation in my view.
Again, thanks for the honest post. I agree; the study of the firearm is a study of killing.

Quote:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Huntster :
Otherwise, why bother?
That's a long answer, but part of it is that I am interested in history, and I am interested in teaching history (our group presents history lessons to schools, disguised as a bash-up). I also think it's good exercise, and a heck of a lot more fun that going to a gym.

I don't learn to use a sword in order to know how to kill people.
You are a man of honor.

Thank you for this wonderful post.
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Old 21st July 2006, 05:54 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by Huntster View Post
You are a man of honor.

Thank you for this wonderful post.
Thank you. That makes me feel all fuzzy inside.
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Old 21st July 2006, 05:59 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by arthwollipot View Post
Thank you. That makes me feel all fuzzy inside.
It was my honor to recognize your honor!
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Old 21st July 2006, 06:54 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by Huntster View Post
Translated?

They have to be practiced. Intensively.
While this is certainly true, translation was the first problem that had to be overcome. Early attempts to translate in the 90's were earnest efforts but had laughable results.

Even with a scholar who understand the langauge and its use in that era you'll still have to go outside with the swords and ask "OK, what the heck did he mean by '....'?"
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