Join Date: May 2006
Location: New York City, New York
The problem with Kung Fu is that there is so much tradition. It's a good thing and a bad thing. The fact is, so many of the modern kung fu practitioners don't think outside of the box, they aren't constantly thinking about the application of their skills in a practical setting.
The problem with any martial art is almost never the style it self (though there are some exceptions thanks to this whole McDojo fad), it's the practitioners.
The Kung Fu practioners that I have fought have all been guys who just study their style for the sake of studying their style. When you do that, you forget about the biggest piece of the whole thing: this is about self defense.
A good fighter, in any style, knows that the be all and the end all is how effective the techniques are on the street. Guys like Bruce Lee knew that, and they made sure that they knew the reasoning behind every technique that they used. The rest, they threw out the window.
With traditional styles, the questioning of techniques is discouraged. There is cultural richness, and so it's easy to get lost in that culture and that flourish when you should be thinking about how the hell the technique is going to work when your in an alley at 3 AM.
MMA is just a simulation of a one-on-one streetfight, so if your first thought isn't "how does this work when I'm being attacked?" then you might as well not even step into a cage or a ring, because the other guy knows what moves will work when he attacks you.
Some Kung Fu guys believe in the culture of the style, and that's great. I will never talk down about the spirituality of martial arts, and it's something that I think alot of MMA fighters today are missing out on. However, I will say this:
When the styles were first founded, do you think that the guy said "I'm going to create a richer spiritual and cultural style."
There are only a handful of styles dedicated primarily to the study of peace and spirituality, Kung Fu is not one of them. This whole notion of culture has developed over time. It will do the same thing with Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and today's modern styles, and we can see the beginnings of that now.
The fact that all martial artists need to come to terms with is that you are only as good as your ability to defend your self. Kung Fu fighters, and many other styles, sometimes forget that.
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