Friday, December 14, 2012

What really is the ultimate goal of fighting?

One major problem in the martial arts world is to nail down a philosophy and ask what the goals are for martial arts.

The obvious goal in recent years has been self defense. The simple fact is that , martial arts is essential for this scenario.  perhaps one may choose a gun over hand to hand training.  But either which way, one is in a position where they are forced to fight.

But really it is not the first cause for fighting skill.  Cain killed abel out of murder and not self defense.  Probably using techniques acquired when hunting animals is another use.  So the ability to produce violence has several applications

Warring parties no doubt were first offensively minded before they became defensively minded.  Otherwise they would have no one to fight  ;)

So you really have to ask yourself why the violence?

Martial arts as a sport really could be seen back with the ancient greeks and even earlier.
In ancient times to parties would meet and produce to champion warriors to fight to the death. The reason for this was actually rather civilized.  The two nations were doing this to avoid a full scale war.  that way their wopuld only be one casuality.  Without a governing body this was the best possible solution.  This scenario is scene in the classic bout of david verses Goliath.
1 Samuel 17

Yet the modern fight sport is designed not decisions of War but instead for the sake of entertainment.  At whic point the only gain is money and fame.  These things can become intoxicating to the heart however. 1 Timothy 6:10
 For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.
also fame is worldliness 1 john 2:
16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.
17 And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.

So a christian fighter would need more reason than wealth and fame to participate.  Perhaps if his money were going to serve the Lord in ministry for instance.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Going the distance?

I just got done watching a classic Boxing bout between Rocky Marciano and and Joe Walcott. Joe Walcot out weighed Joe by at 20 lbs and was the then current heavyweight champion. And believe me even in the fuzzy film you could tell that Joe wasn't carrying an ounce of fat. In the first round Joe dominated Rocky and even knocked him down for a 5 count. For several rounds Joe looked impenetrable and didn't even blink at Marciano's shots. By the 12th round Marciano lays a no nonsense knock out punch to the tired champion; who then gives up the title. This begs the question how much attention should be paid to endurance? Karate has historically trained for the "one step" the instant knock out split second street fight in order to end a situation as quickly as possible. While kung fu was typically more of a marathon style. I don't know if there is a right answer and I am open to suggestion. Because on the street you might not want the variable of a long altercation. Yet perhaps the instant knock out is out of your grasp against a certain opponent.

Monday, August 13, 2012

My MMA sport: how I would make it.

Would I would want in this martial art sport is a chance for the martial artist to be not only creative but also a challenge to show their total skills on display.

half cage:As I will state below I do beleive we do not need to be limited by a full cage. But there has to be a scenarion where one can be trapped at some point.

platform drop:
In a real life situation the fact of a fall may make or break the scenario. what if you fall a distance? What if you fall on a very hard surface?

sumo start: In a fighting situation most of the time we do not start off with a great deal of space. What can psychologically prepare us for such an instant collision? This is essentially where the nature of the sucker punch comes from.

basic weapons:The big challenge hear would be whether this can be accomplished by non-lethal means. If it is actually going to kill people i wouldn't have it.
I am thinking about the following.
1. a bow(rubber padded)
2. a stick (rubber padded)
3. a rope/scarf
4. a spike (wood/rubber)
basically it is added a little bit of weight to make it more formidable than a small stick.
5. a shield (wood/plastic)

2 would be suspended over the cage. perhaps some form of lottery to determine which

stump: Or padded stool. This gives more creative scenarios in the fight.

uniforms: sambo ghee, lighter gloves (lighter than UFC). This will enable competitors with better grips for better slams. I want the gloves lighter to give them more variation with their strikes.

knock out: referee does a standing 8 count if free from the body. The referee may also check for signs of unconsciousness, also mangers may throw in the towel.
tap out: obviously this would be a tap of the hand or saying a phrase like "I give up!"
toss out: If one gets tossed off of the platform. the thrower must be able to stay on the platform simultaneously
DQ/throws the towel. If an opponent is disqualified or breaks the rules. or if the manager throws in the towel.

no rounds.

weight class competition would be available but also there will be an all weights division

judgeing is optional.
if so judges will be taking scor independently
a. striker judge
b. submission judge
c. position judge

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

MMA is it Ultimate?

Now in recent years the sports of mix martial arts have developed and there has been a lot of gain in the martial arts community.
Although the sport known as UFC has had a title that has caused some confusion. There has been some recent rememdy by emphasizing the title MMA or mixed martial arts over "ultimate fighting"

why it is not.
Ultimate fighting claims to integrate all martial arts. So wouldn't that make it ultimate?

one on one: MMA is designed as a sport and not for the streets. If you get in the guard and are in a two on one situation, you are in deep trouble. your arms and legs are trapped and a second opponent can pummel you to death.

no weapons: guns are always an obvious issue. only the best martial artist will handle guns from a short distance and we are forever vulnerable from long distance. Also mma doesn't train you to use a weapon. knives are more deadly in a grappling situation. if your opponent hides a blade, you are as good as dead.

Rounds and judges: The problems are obvious. In Real life you won't necessarily have a bell, to call time out. Also gives fighters the excuse not to learn escapes.

growing list of rules. You can't kick someone while they are down. You can't even headbutt!

Over time mma has turned more into a sport with less a chance to experiment with vastly different fighting styles. Today we can make a style made purely out of illegal holds in UFC. It is only jujitsus plus kick boxing.

Early on we had more of an ideal, but the only style really prepared for it was brazillian jujitsu. Now we have lost what could have been.
This does raise a question
What is the Ultimate ideal fighting?
That I will blog about later!

Friday, July 6, 2012

Sumo of my thoughts

I have been really thinking a lot of the art of sumo wrestling in recent times.
It was at one time more deadly than UFC where champions would fight to the death. Though now-a-days appears as an incomplete sport, much less a martial art.

pagan origins
Sumo like the many martial arts has a religious aspect to it. For instance the salt is a ritualt that emphasizes the white magic of cleansing the ring. As a christian i have to be on guard for deceptive spirits. God has already cleansed my temple and I do not need another spirit prevalent. This is one reason i am glad they are now practicing non-traditonal sumo.

stare down
On element in sumo wrestling that is not quite as prominent as in other sports is the stare down. Because the start of the match is agreed upon there could be minutes of time devoted to this action. While this psychological technique is not universal there are a lot of real life fights that involve psychology and the ability to intimidate an opponent.
In many instances, this could mean everything. I have a lot of experience with this in step can determine the difference of a knock down or being knocked down. It is all about timing and momentum.
In a street fight this principle applies with the "sucker punch". If you distract the person you have a split second where you can strike them unprotected.
This principle is undeveloped in the sports of Kick boxing and mma. after all the start is agreed to. Also there is space to put up your guard.

drop: The end of the sumo fight is significant for street fighting as well. it is with a fall. Now certainly many people can take a fall. However, on the streets a surface may not be easy to land on. what if the tumble is several feet? what if the surface is concrete? So here again we see an advantage in the sumo style.

girth and muscle: martial artists tend to emphasize a softer style, trying not to exert a great deal of energy. But sometimes we need to be prepared to engaged in the hard style of combat. In a street fight situation the element of surprise destroys our ability to concentrate. softstyles are honestly based in the use of concentration. I have seen many sports bouts with aikido practioners for instance where they either loose or become extremely sloppy because all of their skills were based off of their concentration.

pushing: a lot of times little is said outside of wrestling on the issue movement.many in the grappling world enamored with submissions have also left an understanding. when standing your balanace and position effect everything you do. a good shove can easily destablilize your opponent. So why not go for it?

so these are benefits to look for when researching ths sacred sport God bless :)

Monday, May 14, 2012

Thoughts on wrestling and clothing

One issue that has fascinated me this last year in my martial art studies is clothing.

We see this most implemented in the sport of judo. In this grappling art the Judo practioner has an extra thick, extra strong Ghee uniform for grappling and throwing.

As a wrestler I started off with the mentality to shy away from any extra appendages.

Yet more often than not in a real altercation clothes are involved.
now cloth may be weak and useless but it may also be useful for the purpose of strangling. If loose you may use your own as a weapon.(Indian martial arts have mastered this in the use of a scarf) And finally judo and on a smaller level sumo have mastered grabbing clothes as an anchor for a slam.(other styles of wrestling do this as well including the korean yudo and the mongolian boke. look around for ancient styles of wrestling, they would likely include a uniform.)

The reason you find greater slams in judo as compared to wrestling is because of this fact. A good grip can give you that leaverages need to send your opponent flying. in fact the better the slam in real life the quicker the fight could end.

Researching I found that cornish style wrestling is really amazing in this respect. wearing a medieval blouse the wrestlers slowly tug at the clothe until they achieve WWE style body slams!

I still think it is better(and less expensive! to grapple without clothes and master that first. But every advantage on the street is needed and it just can't hurt to improve your arsenal!

Monday, March 19, 2012

a punchers chance: thoughts on boxing

You know it can be one of the most deadly weapons of combat and so simple a baby does it.
The punch. Today I honestly don't have time to cover all hand techniques even the whole sport of boxing but I have a couple thoughts.
Boxing started as a greek event being a fight to the death on many occaisions so I count it as a Martial art.
originally gloves were used as metallic weapons.

In medeival Europe the discipline developed using techniques acquired from fencing.
The leading hand would be a sensor anticipating the first blow and respond with a jab.

a really good resource I found was on under the channel kilogulf59
It appears to be mostly dedicated to close quarters combat. but if you search for "bare knuck boxing" maybe ad "strategy" and it should come up.
This focuses on the boxing style of the 1800's what about the rules of the game that made this style so drastically different from the modernday sport?

Rules that change the outcome came in the form of round limits, gloves, even smal novelties such as vaseline. These would play in the role of changing the sport. Also, the old style of boxing was originally designed for street fighting. For instance the hands are lower in anticipation of kicks or a weapon.
Also in striking the top of the head can wound the hands. So the offense will naturally be aimed lower.

Now boxing has advantages over other training methods. The heavy contact leads to a high emphases on conditioning. Also it prepares a fighter for the scenario of fighting injured. Not to mention how to take an opponent down systematically and what combinations are most effective.
One blow that is somewhat unique to boxing is the uppercut. You really don't see much use in other arts except for maybe kick boxing, mma or possible football. (at least the way I played! ;) )
I think because of the emphases on planting your feet. It is limited in it's ability to adapt defesively. yet it is so effective offensive it really does make up for that.
They are the best in the world at bobbing and weaving. A lot of times in fight the emphases is on the block. However dodgeing a blow eliminates all injury.
Obviously boxing can be a much longer topic that i can give justice to. But in summary boxing is very valuable in working on hand strikes and conditioning through a fight. The limitations are obvious with the lack grappling and kicks. I encourage people to study bare knuckle more.
But you always stand the puncher's chance!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

a martial artists reaction to entertainment

The month or so ago I was helping a high school wrestling team train. We were going over moves, I started thinking about the world of sports entertainment. Many of the moves that you see in WWE are not legitamite moves, but instead they are exaggerations of what we see in armature wrestling. The real holds are less flashy or even barely visible.
Then I watched a jean Claude van dam movie. Honestly jean Claude looks less like a kick boxer and more like a ballerina!
Many martial artists get angry at the mention of sports entertainment.
They say "that's fake!" or "I could take him"

They feel as if they have had their fighting religions blasphemed!
But I feel that they have missed the old motto.
"imitation is the sincerest form of flattery."
any good salesman has to be use exaggeration to sell the product.
To advance any martial art, you wantto have more practitioners to make more competition.
and keep some teachers employed.
A former master instructor of mine remarked how sales would go up when movies like "the karate kid" or "tmnt" were popular.

For instance amature wrestling and even old pro-wrestling was way to Hard on Hulk Hogan for bringing theatrics to the squared circle. I think making the disconnect hurt the real sport from advancing.
Honestly I was a little "hulkamaniac" and yes that did inspire me to take up amature wrestling.

I think Kung fu people have been smart not to be critical of wushu and jackie chan. You need good advertisement.

This works in other areas too. like video rock and rollers with classical music. Rocky with boxing and the harlem globe trotters with basketball.

Every great cowboy needs a rodeo clown!

A christian understanding of chi

One issue of controversy for christians in martial arts specifically eastern martials arts is the concept of chi or ki. These martial arts based in zen Buddhist philosophy do not limited their art ot the physical realm but also include mystical or esoteric concepts.

So what is chi?(qui,ki)

"In traditional Chinese culture, qì (also chi or ch'i) is an active principle forming part of any living thing.[1][2][3] Qi is frequently translated as life energy, lifeforce, or energy flow. Qi is the central underlying principle in traditional Chinese medicine and martial arts. The literal translation of "qi" is breath, air, or gas." wikipedia "Qui"

After first researching this concept, a lightbulb went off in my head.

"Pneuma (πνεύμα) is an ancient Greek word for "breath," and in a religious context for "spirit" or "soul." It has various technical meanings for medical writers and philosophers of classical antiquity, particularly in regard to physiology, and is also used in Greek translations of the Hebrew Bible and in the Greek New Testament. In classical philosophy, it is distinguishable from psyche (ψυχή), which originally meant "breath of life", but is regularly translated as "spirit" or most often "soul".[1] wikipedia "pneuma"

spirt, energy, breath. These concepts are basically the same!
So can the Bible use the word spirit in terms of energy?

Joshua 5:1And it came to pass, when all the kings of the Amorites, which were on the side of Jordan westward, and all the kings of the Canaanites, which were by the sea, heard that the LORD had dried up the waters of Jordan from before the children of Israel, until we were passed over, that their heart melted, neither was there spirit in them any more, because of the children of Israel.
Here we spirit being used in the sense a depression or lack of energy.

Judges 15:19But God clave an hollow place that was in the jaw, and there came water thereout; and when he had drunk, his spirit came again, and he revived: wherefore he called the name thereof Enhakkore, which is in Lehi unto this day.
What is interesting about this verse is that Samsons life force/spirit is being renewed after a battle where the Holy Spirit empowered him to Kill
a thousand men with the jawbone of a mule.

2 Kings 2:9 And it came to pass, when they were gone over, that Elijah said unto Elisha, Ask what I shall do for thee, before I be taken away from thee. And Elisha said, I pray thee, let a double portion of thy spirit be upon me.

This a rather bizarre section. Because Elisha is asking for a double portion of Elijah's spirit. This sounds pantheistic. However the context shows the he is talking about inheritance. He gave up his inheritance in order to inherit Elijah's announcing. But basically Elisha ia asking for a double portion of his anointing. Elijah had a powerful quality to his spirit that Elisha stood to obtain.

Now this topic can split off into two other future topics. So I won't cover these points exhaustively.

First, is the fact that eastern philosophy(pantheism) is not incorrect as to the existence of chi, the Problem is that the east fails to understand God.

The confusion of God and nature is the source of pagan idolotry. The true God of the Bible is Holy, which means set apart. He transcends the universe.
But eastern mystics assume that the universe is god. God is worthy of glory honor worship and praise. It if it is not going to him as a person, then where is it going?
I have notticed some yoga instructors talk about taking in god as they breath. So idolatry is being conducted as they are building up their chi!
This is spiritually hazardous because idolatry can lead to the demonic.

Deuteronomy 32:17
17They sacrificed unto devils, not to God; to gods whom they knew not, to new gods that came newly up, whom your fathers feared not

So this is indeed spiritually dangerous. But I find a situation very similar to Paul in His meat sacrificed before idols discourse.

1 corinthians 8:1Now as touching things offered unto idols, we know that we all have knowledge. Knowledge puffeth up, but charity edifieth.
2And if any man think that he knoweth any thing, he knoweth nothing yet as he ought to know.
3But if any man love God, the same is known of him.
4As concerning therefore the eating of those things that are offered in sacrifice unto idols, we know that an idol is nothing in the world, and that there is none other God but one.
5For though there be that are called gods, whether in heaven or in earth, (as there be gods many, and lords many,)
6But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him.

So I don't have to resort to the errors of pantheism in order to take advantage of the truths regarding KI/chi

Now later in the passage Paul does warn about causing others to stumble with our knowledge. Should you as an instructer encourage non-christians to meditate in a zen buddhist fashion, just because you will not be commiting idolatry personally? That would not be wise. But if you know that the group you are in is christian and understands what you are doing, or you are alone there is no harm in it.
One apologist put it best,"It's not like they invented breathing!"

The second point is that the Bible tells us more about the human spirit. The human spirit is described more in terms of psychology and morality. When we build up our spirits we may want to put more emphases as martial artist upon our moral states as well. it is also good to meditate upon the gospels so that by finding the peace which passes all understanding we will be prepared for anything.

In Christ,


art, sport, science what?

I think a key issue in the conversation that we have been missing, at least in the mainstream is proper definitions.

What is a martial art?

I define it in the looses terms imaginable. where it is the practice of anything military in nature as a discipline. lets look at a dictionary.

mar·tial   /ˈmɑrʃəl/ Show Spelled[mahr-shuhl] Show IPA
1. inclined or disposed to war; warlike: The ancient Romans were a martial people.
2. of, suitable for, or associated with war or the armed forces: martial music.
3. characteristic of or befitting a warrior: a martial stride.

art1    /ɑrt/ Show Spelled[ahrt] Show IPA
1. the quality, production, expression, or realm, according to aesthetic principles, of what is beautiful, appealing, or of more than ordinary significance.
2. the class of objects subject to aesthetic criteria; works of art collectively, as paintings, sculptures, or drawings: a museum of art; an art collection.
3. a field, genre, or category of art: Dance is an art.
4. the fine arts collectively, often excluding architecture: art and architecture.
5. any field using the skills or techniques of art: advertising art; industrial art.

I think we could could combine martial with the 3rd definition and art with definition 1 and 3. fusing them int this...

An expression of warlike principles made appealing and benefitting the warrior with more than ordinary significance.
What about sports?

sport   /spɔrt, spoʊrt/ Show Spelled[spawrt, spohrt] Show IPA
1. an athletic activity requiring skill or physical prowess and often of a competitive nature, as racing, baseball, tennis, golf, bowling, wrestling, boxing, hunting, fishing, etc.
2. a particular form of this, especially in the out of doors.
3. diversion; recreation; pleasant pastime.
4. jest; fun; mirth; pleasantry: What he said in sport was taken seriously.
5. mockery; ridicule; derision: They made sport of him.

Basically I think it is obvious that the first definition is the subject.
I also find it consistent that a sport may be an expression of war like principles. These two concepts (sports and martial arts are can be the same and not the same)

They are the same when the expression of warlike principles is an atheletic activity. But if they are independent of this then they are not.

Some martial artists restrict the idea to hand to hand combat, or killing, or even restrict it to those who include eastern mysticism.

But I think this is a consistent meaning for martial arts.
For instance I understand american football to be a martial arts sport. many martial artist would laught at this. Yet they would revear bushido, which understands sitting down with a gigantic long bo as a martial art. As if we always have such a long bow and they would be ready if one of the new york Giants was attacking them from the side! LOL

Football should be defined as a matial arts sport because it primarily teaches you military skills in working with a team. secondly it teaches you fighting skills with a helmut and gives you some limited hand to hand techniques. Not to mention that the training prepares you for a fight.

But what of science?
sci·ence   /ˈsaɪəns/ Show Spelled[sahy-uhns] Show IPA
1. a branch of knowledge or study dealing with a body of facts or truths systematically arranged and showing the operation of general laws: the mathematical sciences.
2. systematic knowledge of the physical or material world gained through observation and experimentation.
3. any of the branches of natural or physical science.
4. systematized knowledge in general.
5. knowledge, as of facts or principles; knowledge gained by systematic study.

A lot of modern military groups like to think of their figting systems as a science. and of course muhammad ali would refer to boxing as a sweet science.
Science definitely has plenty of use in martial arts. basic priniciples of kinesthesiology and biology are of great use, as well as physics.

The difficulty with defining martial arts actually as a science in itself is the fact there is no truly solid empirical data. Fighting is an extremely subjective thing. If it could be a science it would be a very soft science. When you deal with fighting you have different environments, different attackers, different weapons, different defenders, different social circumstances. It is incredibly subjective and you can not ground very much in universal fact.

The best you can hope for is philosophical principles. Of course theology interacts with philosophy and so that's why I feel this blog should have some success! ;)

Thursday, February 23, 2012

a lil about myself

Hi my name is Matt Singleton

I am a Christian martial artist.
I am ordained minister with 2 theological degrees.
my martial arts back ground
A. I have a 1st degree black belt in tae kwon do. I have won first and second place in various sparring tournaments.
B. I am an accomplished amature wrestler. As a high school wrestler I won several tournaments in light heavyweight and heavyweight classes. I also helped train wrestlers in 3 different high schools.
C. I have a few years training in submission wrestling/mma. strictly practice. Yet I have been able to tap out several opponents from backgrounds such as brazillian jujitsu, ninjitsu, Lion's den, judo etc.
D. I also have some experience in tai chi, 5 animal shaolin kung fu, monkey style kung fu, kempo.
E. I have borrwed some techniques and studied a vast array of other arts. ( extensive library)

So in this blog I want to write my views on martial arts as well as add some insights into the worldview, philosophy and ethics of today's fighter. Feel free to comment!