Thursday, January 17, 2013

Martial Arts Master in 6 Easy Lessons - or Mouse Clicks

I once asked my Sifu, Master Victor Parlati what it was like to be one of the first generation non-Chinese to learn Wing Chun Kung Fu in America ( of course with the exception of Bruce Lee's schools in the 1960's).  He noted it was "extremely difficult" to find any substantial information on Kung Fu, much less Wing Chun in the early 1970's.  

But today, in contrast there is now and overabundance of martial arts material available. Whether it be documentary, demonstrative, instructional or in the interest of entertainment --- it's everywhere in books, magazines and the most prolific of all, Internet clips.  

I feel compelled to note my opinion due to "ease" of accessibility and what I see to be a graying of the lines of what should be viewed as demonstrative or instructional...or entertainment for that matter.  

Media has been the greatest promoter of martial arts in modern times, but at the same time has become one of its worst aspects.  I say this due to the highly unrealistic, misinformed and even fantasy level perceptions and expectations people have of martial arts.  

Martial arts videos like martial arts books should NEVER be viewed as instructional.  They can and should be used as a compliment to what is being learned from a trained, competent and certified instructor.   It varies, but most videos or books deliberately omit or gloss over key details --- whether for reasons of being concise or to protect the integrity of the art.  Vital key information that renders all actions greatly ineffective without their understanding.  

Martial arts videos and books are greatly DEMONSTRATIVE in nature.  Not instructional.  In other words,  these are not to promote what you SHOULD DO but demonstrate what you COULD DO --- with the proper training and instruction.  

There are a fair share of "real fighting" clips that are accessible recently on the Internet.  "Wing Chun Vs. Karate Fighter",     Tae Kwon Do Vs.  Muay Thai,  Master X Vs. Master Y.   No doubt that these kinds of clips are compelling, (as it's rare for people to witness full on physical confrontations on a daily basis) but these clips should be taken with heavy perspective.  The biggest of all should be the measure of the individuals abilities not the systems themselves.  

Be wary of "keyboard commandos" who  relish anonymously trolling Internet video channels to express (often vulgar) negative comments in the interest of discrediting people and  to faux legitimize their own views of what is the "right way".  

People with a modicum of seriousness or respect for martial arts highly unlikely would waste time  or energy on something so unnecessarily disrespectful.   Such individuals are either quite likely still adolescents (if anything mentally) or individuals lacking any true sincerity about martial arts.  

The best martial arts perspective you will ever receive will be from the years of experience of your instructor and martial arts seniors.  Not the 5 minute experience of a YouTube clip.