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Thread: Traditional (Ancient) Training methods and the martial arts

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    Default Traditional (Ancient) Training methods and the martial arts

    I thought as suggested to split this thread from the Dropping the Storm thread.

    Basically, is there any written proof of the training methods used whether by Greeks, Romans, Chinese or Africans that suggest their self-defense and combat techniques was trained by sparring?

    The oldest records (dating back around 7,000bc) in Africa show still shots of two people in various combat poses, but to my knowledge their is no discussion of how it was trained or the strategy/tactics that those poses were employed.
    "For he is God's servant to do you good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword for nothing. He is God's servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer."

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    Default Re: Traditional (Ancient) Training methods and the martial arts

    Hey punisher73! Great thread.I hope to help out here in a bit,I'm leaving to get in some training of my classes and in school rightaboutnow; hitcha when I'm back home.

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    Default Re: Traditional (Ancient) Training methods and the martial arts

    Let's have documented references instead of opinions, too, if that's okay.
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    Default Re: Traditional (Ancient) Training methods and the martial arts

    Burton Richardson, on one of his training videos on youtube commented on how much of the Zulu club work was taught from a sparring standpoint. Show the technique, practice it a couple of times to understand the technique, try it in freeplay. Is this proof that this is the way their forefathers practiced the art? No, but I guess I would be surprised to see why it would have changed. A couple of clips to see examples of technique and freeplay in action.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x_qgilAJi4U

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xwivJ5OyoNw

    With regard to truely ancient practices, Polybius talks about Scipio Africanus' training regime for his troops as:

    Scipio himself stayed a certain time in New Carthage and assiduously practised his fleet; and drew up the following scheme for his military Tribunes for training their men. The first day he ordered the men to go at the double for thirty stades in their full arms; and on the second all of them to rub down, clean, and thoroughly examine their whole equipments; on the third to rest and do nothing; on the fourth to have a sham fight, some with wooden swords covered with leather and with a button at the end, others with javelins also buttoned at the end; on the fifth the same march at the double as on the first. That there might be no lack of weapons for the practises, or for the real fighting, he took the greatest pains with the handicraftsmen.
    These were experienced legions, not new recruits, but I am hard pressed to interpret the "sham fight" as being something other than a squad or higher level sparring match. This is a very different description than Vegetius gives for the training of new recruits where he mentions various skills that all the soldiers were training in (like swimming) but describes early arms training as using heavy dummy shields and swords while working technique against a wooden pell.

    I'd like to hear of any references to how gladiators were trained, I can't believe that the professional top tier gladiators they just worked static techniques all day and never used a free play component in their training regimen.
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    Default Re: Traditional (Ancient) Training methods and the martial arts

    It might be worth noting that some of the warrior cultures you are discussing, including the gladiators, had far more opportunities to practice their skills in actual combat, whether or not they sparred in practice. Ball players engage in "practice games" prior to the start of the season, but during the season most skills practice is drill-based, because they are practicing the "game" on a frequent basis.

    Just a thought.
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    Default Re: Traditional (Ancient) Training methods and the martial arts

    Quote Originally Posted by J Ellis View Post
    It might be worth noting that some of the warrior cultures you are discussing, including the gladiators, had far more opportunities to practice their skills in actual combat, whether or not they sparred in practice. Ball players engage in "practice games" prior to the start of the season, but during the season most skills practice is drill-based, because they are practicing the "game" on a frequent basis.

    Just a thought.
    Agreed, but there has to be some element to get the initial skill set into the warrior/athlete, I think the question is did they use some element of sparring as part of that training regime.
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    Default Re: Traditional (Ancient) Training methods and the martial arts

    I think the real question is how much do we owe to these folks vs. what we have learned form the ancient Chinese, Japanese, Korean's and Okinawans? We can look at documents, wood carvings, paintings, etc. going back thousands of years. Some of the earliest wood carvings in existence are the Chinese practicing the Eight Pieces. I fully believe that all cultures practiced their own fighting methods during prehistoric periods but due to the sparse nature of any documentation and artifacts such theories are difficult if not impossible to prove.

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    Default Re: Traditional (Ancient) Training methods and the martial arts

    This thread is interesting and I will be able to contribute in some degree I believe as we pursue this matter.I'm a bit tired now so this post will be brief for the nonce: Sparring has been an integral aspect of African martial arts since time immemorial.Unfortunately,due to the great antiquity of African martial arts and the massive amounts of destruction caused by catastrophic climactic events during the building of ancient empires combined with the gigantic destruction unleashed by successive waves of conquerors and internecine warfare,much of the previously voluminous documentation was also destroyed.However,oral traditions (which have been steadily gaining in scientific acceptability over the last 2 decades) stringently confirm the sparring aspects of African martial arts and the tremendous skill of African warriors have been recorded by both our kith and kin as well as our enemies down to this very day.
    Quote Originally Posted by nelson View Post
    I think the real question is how much do we owe to these folks vs. what we have learned form the ancient Chinese, Japanese, Korean's and Okinawans? We can look at documents, wood carvings, paintings, etc. going back thousands of years. Some of the earliest wood carvings in existence are the Chinese practicing the Eight Pieces. I fully believe that all cultures practiced their own fighting methods during prehistoric periods but due to the sparse nature of any documentation and artifacts such theories are difficult if not impossible to prove.
    On this matter,I can be a bit more clear.The African martial arts in many ways are literally the font and source of Hindu Chinese Japanese Korean and the entire Oriental martial legacy.Furthermore,the very first recorded Buddha is Black and the ENTIRETY of the original doctrines of Buddhism are merely a branch of original African thought practice and philosophy (the Egyptian Mystery System).http://www.proudblackbuddhist.org/Go...age_Three.html This very clearly answers your questions about what you have to learn from African martial arts; the little that you do know and attribute to the wonderful Oriental masters in many respects was directly transmitted to them by the African masters of martial arts.That should explain to you and all of us the enormous debts that we all owe the African martial arts.But due to the incredible path of what would become modern day racism and supremacist thought,any and all areas of African major contribution were ignored,overlooked,coopted,or flat out lied about and swept under a rug.

    I will be able to cite sources more thoroughly tomorrow after class.The Hindus and the founders of civilization in the entire subcontinent of India (who themselves are originally without doubt African including the Dravidians and in many ways STILL racially African but more and more mixed over the millenia due to multiple settlers and invaders) Chinese and the other Orientals did what every other people in every other region of the world did too: they developed their root of martial art and adapted it as times changed.They created many indigenous martial arts as well.But the primary root of advanced martial arts in the Orient and the first martial arts in the world are African; no doubt whatsoever about that.In order to even have a civilization,you must have the martial art to defend it.Africa without any aid whatsoever from non-Africans developed the mighty Black civilizations which the Greeks would much later call Egypt (the name is an accident of history,drawn from the Greek name AIGYPTOS which is how they referred to the mighty Black Pharoah Menes,who was a very famous Pharoah at the time; Menes came thousands of years after Ptahseti ((Ethiopian)) and Ptahmerrian/Kemetian ((Egyptian)) civilization was already established; Pharoahnic Egypt in its inception and populace was nearly 100% Black until invasions many years later would change her racial character and these usurpers would--in the manner of conquerors of the period--assume the credit for ALL of the achievements of that civilization,even though they had nothing whatsoever to do with it) had similarly mighty and advanced martial arts as well.There is much documentation and oral tradition confirming this...but an honest and penetrating look at the root of martial arts and actual,truthful African history devoid of ridiculous White or Black supremacist doctrine will in many ways directly contradict many assumptions that many people here may have become comfortable with accepting as truth,but which may not at all be truthful or is reflective of a partial truth at best.
    Last edited by ATACX GYM; 03-11-2011 at 02:43 AM.

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    Default Re: Traditional (Ancient) Training methods and the martial arts

    "Those who control the present control the past" as some dead caucasion guy once said. You are free to draw or "channel" from any source that you wish as am I.

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    Default Re: Traditional (Ancient) Training methods and the martial arts

    Quote Originally Posted by nelson View Post
    "Those who control the present control the past" as some dead caucasion guy once said. You are free to draw or "channel" from any source that you wish as am I.
    There's a very sharp difference between "channeling" the past and "being accurate honest and truthful" about the past.I'm being the latter.You,I and anyone else are free to channel,be truthful,or whatever suits their fancy regarding most subjects.Like the Church did with Copernicus,you can repudiate the truth based upon previously held untrue positions due to whatever ideology or preference or ignorance or whatever that you wish; but in doing so you both condemn yourself as being irrationally biased against a particular position AND confirm the accuracy truth and honesty of the person giving the correct information about the subject in question. The information I shared is 100% accurate and has long withstood the test of time.I mean that without drawing any assumptions about your current perspective and without any personal disrespect to you or anyone here.

    But I have answered your question.You asked:"...how much do we owe to these folks vs. what we have learned form the ancient Chinese, Japanese, Korean's and Okinawans?" The answer? EVERYTHING.The Africans taught the Orientals and Asians.There ya are.

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    Default Re: Traditional (Ancient) Training methods and the martial arts

    Who did you say you are?

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    Default Re: Traditional (Ancient) Training methods and the martial arts

    Quote Originally Posted by nelson View Post
    Who did you say you are?

    My name is Ras.

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    Default Re: Traditional (Ancient) Training methods and the martial arts

    Cool! I'm Nelson Kari from Wisconsin. Bring your evidence forward for all of us to look over regarding your claims and I will be happy to examine it. Thanks!

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    Default Re: Traditional (Ancient) Training methods and the martial arts

    Quote Originally Posted by nelson View Post
    Cool! I'm Nelson Kari from Wisconsin. Bring your evidence forward for all of us to look over regarding your claims and I will be happy to examine it. Thanks!
    Mr. Kari, I saw a TV program about the martial arts back some time ago. In it, they started with China then traced back to India, Greece, then Africa. There were paintings or carvings depicting African warriors in battle, various fighting positions, and fortifications. I don't remember a lot of "facts" on the subject but, I found it interesting. I will look to see if I still have the video tape. There's my two cents...
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    Default Re: Traditional (Ancient) Training methods and the martial arts

    Quote Originally Posted by ATACX GYM View Post
    But I have answered your question.You asked:"...how much do we owe to these folks vs. what we have learned form the ancient Chinese, Japanese, Korean's and Okinawans?" The answer? EVERYTHING.The Africans taught the Orientals and Asians.There ya are.
    No.
    I completely disagree here.
    While there is absolutely proof that Africans studied and trained in martial arts long ago, there is absolutely no proof that said martial arts skills were moved to asia.
    You re making assumptions that just because you have some proof of a history of combat and martial arts, that it means it was the root of all martial arts and combat. That is a false assumption. the similar conditions theory is one that states that people are built the same, and only so many options are available to fight with. Unfortunately the entire martial arts and civilization that you refer to has long since died out, so the only actual proof is what they left behind in artwork.
    If there is further proof of anything then please share it with us I would be fascinated to read it and see, Amen Rah over on Kenponet has been spouting this nonsense for years and I looked into it after having a conversation with him as well, and like I said there is no proof of any transfer of knowledge, or teaching it to the east... Its to bad that the martial art did not survive I think it would be very interesting to see what an art that old would actually look like... if it would have stayed traditional to its roots, or changed with the times and become something all encompassing.

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    Default Re: Traditional (Ancient) Training methods and the martial arts

    I don't believe in a single source for martial arts. Human bodies are pretty much the same, some larger, some smaller on average, but does anyone believe that a armbar was developed in Country/Continent X and then spread across the world? Did some ancient martial artist develop the forehand inward downward diagonal strike and it revolutionized combat? Of course not, that strike (the #1 in most of the Filipino and European sword/club traditions) is completely natural, it was the first strike my then two-year old did when he picked up one of my sticks.

    Martial arts started when some guy told another guy in his tribe "hey Bob, this works pretty good when they try to hit you with a #1 (see above)." If you believe in a single source of human evolutionary development, and that it is based in Africa, then fine, I am good with crediting Africa with the source of all martial arts, since then they would be the source of all humans. But the age of images on a wall or vase don't prove migration or transmission of the martial arts, they are just documenting that they are there.

    Does anyone really believe that everyone in China was standing around clueless about fighting before Daruma/Bodhidarma came over from India and taught some monks who then later taught everyone else all the fighting "secrets?" The Chinese civilization had organized militaries and warrior traditions and codes 2000 years before Daruma came over from India, do we believe they didn't know how to swing a sword or poke a spear?
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    Default Re: Traditional (Ancient) Training methods and the martial arts

    well, given that current anthropological thought is that humanity first evolved in Africa and spread to the rest of the world from there, I guess you can find whatever truth you want in claiming that everything "originated" in Africa, since that is where people as a species originated. Of course you gotta cross your eyes and screw up your face and turn your head sideways in order to really accept such a broad brushstroke.

    People of all cultures across the globe has been fighting each other for as long as humanity has existed. They all have had warrior methods/martial arts/fighting techniques of one sort or another. Many things developed simultaneously and independently in different cultures. Many cultures shared methods and influenced each other. But trying to claim that African martial arts were the direct forebears of Asian martial arts is impossible to document and prove. Is it possible that it might be true? sure, but impossible to prove so it remains speculation. There's nothing wrong with making that speculation, and I am sure one could find proof to support it. It could be a very interesting exercise to analyze and compare methods, could be very enlightening and educational. But it's not enough proof to really prove it, and it remains as speculation.
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    Default Re: Traditional (Ancient) Training methods and the martial arts

    Quote Originally Posted by Blindside View Post
    I don't believe in a single source for martial arts. Human bodies are pretty much the same, some larger, some smaller on average, but does anyone believe that a armbar was developed in Country/Continent X and then spread across the world? Did some ancient martial artist develop the forehand inward downward diagonal strike and it revolutionized combat? Of course not, that strike (the #1 in most of the Filipino and European sword/club traditions) is completely natural, it was the first strike my then two-year old did when he picked up one of my sticks.

    Martial arts started when some guy told another guy in his tribe "hey Bob, this works pretty good when they try to hit you with a #1 (see above)." If you believe in a single source of human evolutionary development, and that it is based in Africa, then fine, I am good with crediting Africa with the source of all martial arts, since then they would be the source of all humans. But the age of images on a wall or vase don't prove migration or transmission of the martial arts, they are just documenting that they are there.

    Does anyone really believe that everyone in China was standing around clueless about fighting before Daruma/Bodhidarma came over from India and taught some monks who then later taught everyone else all the fighting "secrets?" The Chinese civilization had organized militaries and warrior traditions and codes 2000 years before Daruma came over from India, do we believe they didn't know how to swing a sword or poke a spear?
    I agree. Anywhere that there were people there have been fighting arts and self-defense arts to protect each other. The longer and larger the group of people became, the more sophisticated and in depth the knowledge became and due to the facts that joints only move in certain directions and the body can only move in certain directions with our two arms and legs, it stands to reason that there is going to be a LARGE amount of carryover.

    Also, looking at archaeological evidence, we see cultures that had no contact with each other at all (directly or indirectly) inventing things at about the same time to advance their culture.
    I think that thought processes work in much the same way and all cultures will arrive at the same ideas given around the same amount of time.
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    Default Re: Traditional (Ancient) Training methods and the martial arts

    I found the video but it is on VHS and I have no way to put it on youtube or here. Sorry.
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    Default Re: Traditional (Ancient) Training methods and the martial arts

    Regardless of where MA started it was truly systemized, developed and passed on to what we see today through Asia, not Africa. I think this is actually what is important. Call me insensitive, but personally I don't care what color people were 2000+ years ago.
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