Western Vs Eastern Martial Arts

I would like to give my opinion on the subject of Western (European, North American) and Eastern (Asian, Pacific) martial arts.

First of all I don’t necessarily think that either is better than the other in general.

The eastern practitioners often codified their martial arts and thus were better able to hand them down to later generations. The World War II CQC methodology of Fairbairn was based on the atemi waza found in Jiu Jitsu where he attained the level of 5th dan. He stripped close combat down to these very basic striking methods that we see today.

The martial arts of the west had their high level methods which can be found in the study of the ancient Greek fighting art known as Eleftheri Pali which means ruthless combat or anything goes. Scenes depicting this system can be found on ancient pottery and show lethal strikes to the throat and groin. Later the more sportive Pancration came about which was practiced for the Olympic games. In later times, Dans la rue Savate (street savate) was created in France. I trained some of the personal bodyguards of French Prime Minister Jaques Chirac in 1995. They were versed in Savate as well as Jiu Jitsu and various forms of Karate. Most of their training centered on how to stop or incapacitate or kill a would be assassin. What happened was that in simplifying their training the end result resembled basic CQC which is similar to the beginning program of Guided Chaos. It seems that when men who have to fight for a living develop a system of fighting it all starts to look the same. Simplicity is king. The street or combat Savate that was demonstrated to me was very effective. Mostly low kicks, knees and hard style boxing and side of hand strike combinations were used. These guys trained every day like their life depended on it.

One exercise that they practiced to develop strong punching power was to perform up to 3 sets of 20 dips with various amounts of weight around their waists from 30 kilos to 60 kilos. They felt that having strong triceps and shoulders would allow them to maximize their punching power. I demonstrated Guided Chaos dropping energy for them by having three of them line up in front of me locked in a strong stance. I placed my right fist on the first man’s shoulder and dropped while moving my fist about 3 inches into the first man causing him to fall into the next and the next one fell into the 3rd one. This gave them something to think about. I showed F.C., their top fighter, how to do it and he has practiced it for quite a while and I believe that he teaches this to his men even today. Dropping Energy is a more sophisticated version of the “drop punch” that American boxer Jack Dempsey created and later was used accidentally by Muhammad Ali when he knocked out Sonny Liston. Dropping Energy uses some principles somewhat similar to “cold power” in tai chi and other internal Asian systems. By employing dropping energy with CQC striking we have a good melding of eastern and western technique.

Guided Chaos’ close combat is similar to and is actually based on Fairbairn’s methodology. The deeper concepts or principles are what sets Guided Chaos apart from all other martial arts. Yes there is some of all martial arts in Guided Chaos as there is some Guided Chaos in all other martial arts. Developing the principles of looseness, sensitivity, balance, body unity and adaptability through the Guided Chaos drills is paramount in developing strikes and neck breaks and seriously violent ground tactics. Remember, there is no memorizing one move to counter another move per se. At the speed of a serious life and death encounter you cannot access a mental library of responses to particular attacks fast enough to work. The simplistic method of most Close Combatives at least gives one a fighting chance especially when you “attack the attacker” (a term created by Brad Steiner). Attacking the attacker clogs up your attacker’s plan. He does not know what you are doing to him. You are causing him to deal with chaotic motion. High speed and simplicity is what carries the day here. Until a person can integrate the deeper principles of Guided Chaos, this allows one to have at least a fighting chance.

When teaching stick fighting I base much of it on medieval European and modern sword fighting. I enjoy working with the medieval broad sword. Here some of the greatest techniques of weapons fighting were developed by the medieval knights, monks and others of the time. It is very exciting. Remember that in the first encounters with the Japanese Samurai the Italian and Spanish swordsmen used to regularly defeat the Japanese in duels. Of course the rapier with it’s basket hand protector (along with superior footwork) came in handy. I also use the catch as catch can fighting method of my father and uncles which was based on Native American systems (which are themselves very old) using the tomahawk. Later I incorporated the concepts of sensitivity as well as all the other principles of Guided Chaos into cane/stick fighting which eclipsed most of what is taught today. All of the Guided Chaos principles can easily be used in any weapons system.

There is so much more that I could share with you on the subject of Eastern vs. Western. A good blend is best in my opinion.