Wednesday, March 2, 2016

It Is All The Same

This concept, "it is all the same", has been on my mind lately.

I mentioned it in my post Chillax, as one of the lessons I learned while helping my teacher instruct students from tae kwon do and karate.

It is a foundation concept in my art, something that Professor used to say all the time.

"It is all the same" is how we connect the dots for people in other arts to learn Arnis quickly.  We relate what we are teaching to things that they already know.  It is not unusual to point out, "See,you already know this, you just didn't realize you did!"

I know, right?

Really, when you think about it, at a fundamental level, most martial arts systems have commonality.

There are, after all, only so many ways to move a human body.  Some of the details may be different - the angle of your fist in a punch, the striking surface you use in a kick, how "deep" some stances are - the basic mechanics are still the same.

This is also the true meaning behind "the weapon is the extension of the hand". While I do believe this saying is misunderstood (read more about my thoughts on that here), it's still a useful concept to understand how to apply things you already know to a new skill or technique.

The longer I study my art, and the more I learn about other arts, the more I find this to be true.

The debates we get into in the martial arts about style vs, style is all just nerding out over tiny details and strategic choices.  In the larger scheme of things, we have far more in common with each other across styles in every culture than we do in differences.

Sure, as you change plane or add in tools, the differences become greater (such as striking vs. grappling, empty hand vs. weapons), but I don't think it's so great that someone very skilled in one martial art can't be accelerated in learning a different one.  Lots of strikers are studying grappling (and vice-versa) and I'm sure you can tell the difference between someone with no martial arts experience vs. someone with experience, and how they will acquire concepts more quickly than a complete and utter newbie.

It's fun to explore those differences, as there are more than one way to solve a problem, and as a huge martial arts fangirl and geek, I love that stuff, I really do.

Oh, tell me something I don't know, buddy.

But in the end, it's all the same.

After all, we take our admittedly weapons-heavy system and teach it to empty hand and grappling martial artists all the time.  It's not a changing of a mindset - it's an expansion of a mindset.  You don't leave behind what you knew, you simply add on more to what you already know.

How have you noticed "it's all the same"?  Or do you think it isn't?  Either way, I want to know what you think!