Martial Arts "Exclusivity"
So often will you hear the debate about which martial art is the best. Maybe this one is better because they do this or this one is better because they do that. We're here to tell you that this is far from the case. Just because Jiu Jitsu focuses on ground fighting doesn't make it better than Taekwondo that focuses on kicks, and vice versa. Rather than focusing on the differences of different arts, we should be comparing mentalities of the arts and see how each art prefers to act to get the same job done.
"A Punch is Just a Punch, a Kick is Just a Kick"
This quote by Bruce Lee expresses simplicity in the arts, the ability to express at the maximum through the minimum. Most people will compare how different styles will throw, for example, a body jab instead of seeing it as just a body jab thrown differently. Why does one style not work if it is doing the same thing? A good example of this is traditional versus modern. A lot of traditional styles will throw a body jab by going into a squat position (typically a horse stance) to level themselves so they can hit the body. Modern martial arts will throw the body jab by moving their foot into a position where they can drop their body to level themselves so they can hit the body. It sounds the same, or at least similar, because it is. This goes for every technique in every martial art.
Very popular martial arts YouTuber Jesse Enkamp, also known as the "Karate Nerd" said; "Martial arts is like a mountain. There are so many different paths to make it to the top. The closer you get to the top, the more the different paths begin to merge. Eventually they all become the same as you reach the top." Jesse has a video titled "This Wing Chun Expert Changed My Karate" where he compares a form he has in karate to wing chun kung fu with instructor Kevin Lee. Almost every single move in his form was compared to another move in wing chun. The only differences were the mentality behind each application. At the end, Kevin Lee states, "Body mechanics is body mechanics. Movement(s) can be different, but the principal and the mechanics are always the same."
The only difference between martial arts is the mentality behind the style. Look at the Northern Shaolin kung fu system versus the Pak Mei (White Eyebrow) system. Northern Shaolin will teach you a more defensive approach to fight by utilizing a long guard to keep opponents away because it is a buddhist practice and they do not believe in killing. Pak Mei on the other hand is almost the complete opposite focusing on a tight guard to push forward and not let the opponent get a chance to breathe. At first glance the two styles look completely different, but if you really took the time to dissect each movement, they all become the same kind of moves just one is long range and the other is close range. Going into the wrestling arts we can look into Tai Chi and Brazilian Ju Jitsu.
Tai Chi is always being discredited of being a proper fighting art but it actually is. There will be another blog soon diving into the practice of Tai Chi. When you start to understand Tai Chi's martial application it turns into an amazing grappling art used to manipulate the opponents energy against them so you can either toss or trip the opponent with ease. The only difference between Tai Chi and other wrestling arts like Judo is that Tai Chi is purely reactive and defensive. When you look at BJJ they do everything on the floor. Their reason for practicing an art just for the floor is to have a failsafe method if striking doesn't work. But is the ground fighting really all that unique? If you were to just turn your head to make it look like they're standing up, it looks like normal wrestling. There have been multiple times in our Shuai Jiao class where Coach Steve Ventura will go over basic ground fighting and every student will say that it's just like doing Shuai Jiao but laying down.
Nothing Is Unique
In martial arts, nothing is unique but rather improved on. Going back to the mountain analogy from Jesse Enkamp, they all have the same end goal through different paths. You can even put it in the opposite perspective. Every art started from the same source but branched off into their own path. Martial arts is subjective and shouldn't be compared for the sake of proving what is better, but rather to learn from each other to see what aspects from each style one may like. If you're stuck on trying to figure out what is best, you missed the point of what martial arts is trying to teach you. Martial arts teaches you to be a better you, not better than others.
https://youtu.be/EflKW-7JHmE?si=9kJzU7RIMFibjrvo (Jesse Enkamp - This Wing Chun Expert Changed My Karate)
https://www.azquotes.com/quote/628342 (Bruce Lee Quote - "A punch is just a punch, a kick is just a kick)