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So this is a bit of an off shoot from another discussion but after I thought about it for a bit, I'd like to hear what everyone thinks about the philosophical line between what is viewed as good, average and bad escrima. This is a matter of opinion so there is no right or wrong answer, I just want to know what everybody else thinks. I'm also purposely leaving out what I believe as I don't want to unintentionally influence any one else's opinions. So here's the question:

Where do you draw the line between good, average and bad escrima and where do you feel you stand in relation to it?

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I think that any martial art technique you try at full speed and it works is good. If most practitioners cannot do it at full speed than its not that good. Of course you will have to have some time practicing and learning the technique.... but if you still can't do it maybe its the technique or the training method. at least that's how I feel about things and its my own opinion of course!

If two people fight, the person that wins has the best art at that particular time. 

I agree with that but we cant go around fighting everybody trying to see who has the best art. If that were the case San Diego and several other cities would be a blood bath.

 I'm not advocating that we go around starting fights Wesley, I'm just presenting a logical statement.  If you want to see who has the fastest car you can't tell by looking at it or talking about it, you have to race to see who has the fastest car. 

When I was very young I was studying Chinese martial arts and my teacher Grand Master Yu Yong Chu was teaching me the three sectional staff.  While I was training with it I asked him, "Can someone actually fight with this weapon?"  GM Yu said, "give it to me and we'll find out".  I paused for a second and then went on with my practice thinking to myself, boy that was a dumb question... 

Several years ago I had just completed teaching a private session in Eskrima and a friend introduced me to a guy that said that he trained with this person and that person in Eskrima and Bando Boxing. I said, that's awesome, and I reached into my stick bag and pulled out two sticks and gave him one of them and said let's spar.  He looked at me as if to say, what should I do with this thing?  I told him to do something or just stand there while I hit him.  After a minute or two of trying to spar with me he finally gave up and admitted that he wasn't experienced at Eskrima fighting.  I said, "would you like to try something else, empty hand or knife sparring?  He declined and went on about his way...

 Now will I spar or fight with anyone that comes along?  No, of course not... Each situation is different, for instance; yesterday while I was conducting a training session with some advanced students, a young guy walked up and asked if he could join in.  I sensed that there was something wrong with this individual by the way he approached the group so I said, you can watch today and perhaps you could come back another day if you like.  He practically begged me to let him join in so I let one of my senior students work with him a while.  The guy was playing around a little throwing jabs at my student so I intervened.  Then he wanted to play around with me so I asked him to leave.  So why didn't I spar with him?  Because the guy was either simple minded or he was on some sort of drugs and you can't just go around sparring or fighting everyone you come into contact with because what do you have to prove anyway? 

The bottom line is this, no matter what a person says or sees, determining whether or not someone's FMA system is good or bad depends on the outcome of a fight but fighting may not always be the best recourse for every situation.  

Your logic doesn't work out.  If a student of one art fights a Guro in another, and loses, does not mean the students studied art is any less effective.  Similarly, if I race a professional driver who is driving a Corvette while I'm driving a Bugatti (worlds fastest car) on the Nürburgring, I will obviously lose.  That doesn't mean the the Bugatti is slower or the worst of the two cars.  

You're missing the whole point. What is the purpose of the martial arts Mike? If you fight someone regardless of their art and you consider yourself a much better and more experienced martial artist and you get killed, isn't the point to survive? If I was fighting you I would have someone distract you and then I'd cave your skull in. A dead man can't convince me that they lost but their art was better...

I agree with Zach, with an explanation. I think the best Self-Defense art is one that is low attribute. IOW, you don't have to 'first, be Bruce Lee' to not get killed.

In a partner system, one is being held up but one's Tactical Girl-Friend comes up from the rear corner and stops the bad guy. Denial of line of sight, point-blank attacking. Low attribute, no skill or footwork required at that time.

You are describing tactical training versus martial arts training.  The two are independent of each other.  I may be a marksmen with a rifle but not know the first thing about entering and clearing a room.  They are two completely different levels of training.  

No I'm not, you're throwing a red herring argument.  In your first argument you compared different arts to cars, and which ever is the fastest wins.  Now, you are arguing a point where distraction is the key element not the art or system.  Of course if you distract someone long enough from a fair fight, and cave their skull in you win.  Well... I could always just use a pistol based on your argument and just end the fight if distraction is a valid form of winning.  Using your argument, yes you are correct, a dead man can't convince you that their art or system is better.  But, a person of greater skill can come convince you and win the fight.  Your argument is invalid in this case.  That's like saying since Bruce Lee is dead, JKD is no good.  There are plenty of incredible practitioners that can prove otherwise.  

You're still missing the point Mike. If you read my initial comment I said that if two people fight, the one that wins had the best art at that time not that they have the best martial art. And please explain what a fair fight is...

Well what if at that same time, other people are fighting somewhere else using the same arts/systems and the opposite happens?  It's all relative to your situation as you perceive it.  But not always a certainty or fact.  I think would have phrased that "then that was the best fighter at the time" - definitely not "the best art at the time."  That argument is technically a logical fallacy.  

A fair fight is comparing apples to apples.  Not apples and rocks to a grape.  The context of this question is "what is viewed as good, average and bad escrima?"  This implies we are comparing and critiquing different styles as in apples to apples.  If you want to compare one style of arnis/eskrima to someone getting their skull caved in because they used a tactical advantage, then go right ahead.  However, that was not the argument or question at hand.  It's pretty clear that anyone with a clear tactical advantage can win any fight - hence the term strategy, but those two things are not homogeneous.

Homogeneous? Mike, you sound so sagacious ;). I'm a simple guy but I like your argument. Woodstock GA is about four hours from my location maybe we could meet. I used to live in Alpharetta GA several years ago where I worked as a personal trainer at Lifetime Fitness. I wouldn't mind heading your way one of these weekends.

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