Traditional vs. modern
IntroMartial arts schools may be grouped into two main groups: traditional and modern.
Traditional martial arts schoolsTraditional schools mimic hand-to-hand combat training and are more like the original martial arts schools were prior to the 1960s. They offer raw, in-your-face training where you learn a real MARTIAL art, not a sport. You learn to defend yourself effectively, train to harden your body for the challenge, and train your mind to be to do whatever is necessary to survive an attack. You are taught what techniques work in self-defense situations, how to avoid these situations, how to escape these situations, how to use deadly force if necessary to protect your life or the lives of others, and how to develop the will and fortitude to use deadly force when necessary. You are taught that you are the only one that you can rely on to save you in a self-defense situation; there will be no police or Good Samaritans around to help.
These schools are not politically correct. They don’t care about the attacker’s background, motivations, social status, gender, race, religious beliefs, or whether the attacker feels he or she is morally or legally right in attacking you. Only one criteria is considered, the person is attacking you and could seriously injure or kill you if not stopped. You are taught how to legally defend yourself, but, you are also taught that, when your life is in danger, you do what you must do to stay alive, even if there may be legal or civil consequences for your actions later. There are numerous cases where a victim was merely pushed and fell, hit his or head, and died; you cannot be a wimp when your life is at risk.
Traditional schools stress and strictly adhere to the “do” or “the way” of the martial arts; which becomes a lifestyle for a lifetime. Traditional martial arts school instructors will get in your face and drive you to do more than you ever thought possible. They are tough, the training is tough, and, as a student, you must learn to be tough. Even when traditional schools have competitions with strict safety rules, the action is still hardcore and dangerous. When training, whining or excuses are no allowed, you just do it or leave. It takes many years of arduous training to earn a black belt and the testing is brutal; but, when you earn a black belt, everyone knows you are a BLACK BELT.
These schools are mostly for adults who are serious about self-defense and realistic training in the martial arts. Although some schools may offer classes for children where the training is toned down to fit their physical, mental, and emotional levels, the standards are still high and the classes are still very strict, and misconduct is not tolerated.
Some martial arts styles are like the traditional styles, but they are concerned mostly with full-contact or no-holds-barred fighting competitions. Even though these competitions are called no-holds-barred, there are still rules as to what is permitted. These styles are tough may be effective in competitions, but they are not traditional martial arts.
Traditional schools may be found in most martial arts styles, but they are scarce. The schools are usually small and have students who are dedicated totally to their martial arts and their training in their arts.
Modern martial arts schoolsModern martial arts schools teach sports that are based on the martial arts. An analogy is that traditional martial arts are like professional American football, while modern martial arts are like flag football where they teach you how to play the sport, score points, and win competitions without all the physical and mental demands of the real thing. The goal of modern martial arts is for you to become a team player and a competitor, and most of all—have fun.
Accommodations are made for everyone. These schools stress that they are a sport for children. All students are accepted and everyone who tries and pays will earn a black belt. It’s all about the team; one for all and all for one. The curriculum is basically the same for adults and children; the gritty facts of self-defense are seldom mentioned. Because rank is so freely given out, at some point, practically all the students in a school are black belts, even tiny 6 and 7-year-old children (they’re cute).
Modern martial arts training tends to be something you do for a while until you get the “black belt” to add to your “me” wall, and then you stop training and move on to the next new trend. Because of the commercialization and proliferation of these schools, the public perception of the martial arts has been watered down so much that people don’t consider it a combat-related fighting art, it’s just another sport.
There are variationsThere are variations among the martial arts schools, there are plenty of schools that are somewhere between purely traditional and purely modern. Some were planned to be that way, and some are in the process of transitioning from traditional to modern, so they are somewhere in between the two groups. For some schools, it’s a stretch to even consider what they teach to be a martial art. Anyone can wear a Navy uniform with all the medals and insignia and claim to be a SEAL, but it doesn’t take long before even nonmilitary people can tell the difference between a real SEAL and a pretend one.
People have different reasons for seeking a martial arts school, and there is one to fit practically any reason. Choose your school wisely; your life may depend on your choice.