Critiquing Martial Art Clips

In today’s world the internet is full of video clips of everything one could imagine and the martial arts area has no shortage.  The comments that often are found are often unreadable as everyone thinks they are an expert and behind the computer screen in some remote part of the continent brutal critiques are common place.  We all know how it is.  I just thought I would offer some guidelines in watching martial art clips for the serious martial artist especially for the ones that study the Chinese Boxing arts and Internal studies.

For those who are not experienced and have no understanding of realistic martial arts you would not expect an accurate evaluation of the clip.  The majority of responders probably fit into this category.  For those who are serious here are some guidelines

1. Understand the problem of demonstrating realistic martial art.  The helper is normally there to help the instructor or practitioner demonstrate the merits of their art.  If the demonstrator wants to protect the helper from injury they cannot possibly really show realistic martial art.  If it is realistic then one of the two parties at least will be injured.  One should also understand that it would not necessarily take any skill to hurt a helper.  We have all seen people demonstrating out of control and injuring the person that was willing to be the helper.  It amazes me when the person commenting says things such as “that would never work in the real world” and “what if that person was fighting back”.  Well yes, someone would be hurt, but then you are not looking at what it looks like when it is in the realistic environment.  This simple understanding can allow one to look past the unrealistic demonstration and see if there is anything to glean from the demonstration.  By the way, there are many realistic demonstrations of fights on the internet (youtube etc.).  Good luck learning something about fighting skill from watching these adventures.

2. Sometimes the critique is given that the helper is faking the degree of force that is being applied.  That is an accurate critique in many cases.  Lets say we are not talking about the fakers that get “pointed at” and then shake and wobble and fall away many times without being touched.  Now this could be possible if there is a spiritual power being administered but to me that is another subject that can be discussed another time.  Again, for the serious Chinese Boxing student who wants to demonstrate various aspects of his art one tries to give a picture of what could happen without injuring the helper.  For example, suppose one wanted to demonstrate an interception or stop hit as an attacker moves forward.  Now if the technique is perfect and timing is right considerable impact may occur.  Now the impact may or may not knock someone out, so if there is a total plan in following up the hit, one may want to demonstrate in such a way to show the reaction if one was hit.  So if one uses a punch with the lead hand moving into the opponent…  surprising the opponent as to the distance …. then if the helper reacts as if he is colliding and jerks his head back a little bit the observer can understand that the collision of the stop hit has occurred and in many cases that gives the stop hitter a chance to launch an aggressive attack to try and defeat the opponent.  Now, one can holler fake, but the option is to injure the helper with the punch causing the type of reaction which would give the stop hitter a chance to launch his secondary attack.

3.  In an idea world, what should happen is that when one post a clip as a means of showing an art, it would be extremely helpful if an explanation would be presented explaining to the viewer what is being shown and what is not.  If one makes the proper claims and explains properly certainly there should be less complaints.

Ah, in a perfect world.  Probably not going to happen.  Just speaking for a lot of people.

j. cravens


One comment on “Critiquing Martial Art Clips

  1. Bill Helm says:

    Thanks James….good blog

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