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The buffet table approach...

There is a modern way of thinking in what people consider martial arts. A lot of it comes from the what people consider to be martial arts. If it doesn't look like karate or Shaolin gongfu, it is not the real thing. If it doesn't look like what Bruce Lee did, it is not the real deal. Bruce Lee is considered the father of MMA (mixed martial arts). Bruce Lee created his style Jeet Kuen Do out of a number of styles, but largely from Wing Chun, the style he learned from Ip Man. There's nothing wrong with this, as many styles were created by using elements from other systems, including Tai Chi.

What is worrying is the mindset. We now have people visiting different schools to learn a bit here and there. It's a free country and you may do what you like. Over the years, you find that you have not really learned much at all, just an eclectic bag of tricks or being a Jack of all trades, but master of none. So has one ever paid any school any real respect? Or are we treating other schools like a buffet table? Sure you're getting a full meal, but you're picking up all the things one like and forgetting the veg. Is this really learning and is it healthy? A good chef can whip up a complete meal out of various random items in the larder. But are you that chef? Please don't get me wrong, I do think it is a good idea to learn from other styles. However, it is important to respect the difference styles and that other people's cultures and traditions are not to be trivialised.

One should look at styles that suit your personality and invest time and energy into your training. Think about what one could gain from the training. Forget about fads, impressing your mates or going into the octagon. Real martial arts is a broad education and it should be both mentally and physically stimulating. If it is about blood and glory, then that's not martial arts. Oh well, Asian people know nothing about martial arts...

Thank you for reading my blog.

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