Whats In a Name?

Discussion in 'Off Topic Area' started by Bujin_Budoka, Aug 15, 2013.

  1. Bujin_Budoka

    Bujin_Budoka Valued Member

    "A rose by any other name would smell as sweet." Juliet

    What gives Karate, Kung Fu, Jujutsu, Escrima etc... it's name? Is it philosophy? Is it skill sets? Is it the approach in teaching said skill sets? Does the name imply methodology or genealogy? Hypothetically speaking, if I were to create my own system of martial arts how would I categorize it? Calling it Kung Fu or Jujutsu implies origin of content but the founders of such arts named it such in their own language to describe what the product was, not from where. Each name has a meaning in their own language e.g.(Karate-empty hand, Jujutsu-gentle art). Still in the hypothetical, if my influence comes from one the above mentioned arts, would it really matter what I called it?

    I'm sorry if this seems like a lot of questions, I am just trying to place my thought pattern in perspective.
  2. ap Oweyn

    ap Oweyn Ret. Supporter

    I'm struggling a bit to figure out precisely what you're asking. But since terminology in eskrima is a favourite topic of mine: What's in the name "eskrima"? A couple of things. Since it's adapted from the Spanish word "esgrima," it points to geneology stemming from the Spanish occupation of the Philippines, as does the term "arnis de mano" (another name for eskrima). Since "esgrima" is the Spanish word for "fencing," it also suggests some technical influence from Western fencing. (Although that's not necessarily true. "Chinese boxing," for instance, could suggest an influence by Western boxing. But, in actuality, I don't see much of that in practice.)

    As for what you were to name your hypothetical style, my thought is this: Names convey implications. So it really rather depends on the implications you're attempting to make. Using a Japanese term would imply a desire to be connected with a Japanese influence. Using a more culturally neutral term to the same practice might convey a desire to break away from that very same cultural influence.

    Depends on your goal. In this sense, I disagree with Shakespeare. What we name things DOES change our perception of them. If, instead of "rose," you called them "dung blossoms," I'll wager they'd be less popular as presents to loved ones.
  3. Hannibal

    Hannibal Cry HAVOC and let slip the Dogs of War!!! Supporter

    It's a good question -

    To me it is less about the name and more about what you are doing. If you are of the "rock 'em, sock 'em" approach then as long as you have efficiacy in what you do little else matters. This is why terms such as "combatives" and "RBSD" have arisen recently because they are safely generic. Even "MMA" could fit this, although that is more a ruleset that brings disciplines together rather than being an actual style. Back in the 80's & 90's we had "Freestyle" to refer to any non-sepcific discipline

    However, there are also some issues -

    If you are going to "invent" or "create" something then typically you have to have some base to start with. This is where the previous cultural "flavor" tends to assert itself. To Alfie Lewis "Freestyle" meant "Freestyle Karate". To me it meant something very different more akin to "Ju Jitsu"

    It also depends on what you mean by "influence" - too often you see people say "a combination of elements from karate, kung fu, Judo, Macrame and ice skating" without any further explanation or clarification. Usually people have not even TRAINED in the arts they are claiming to "mix"

    The question should be "Why do you need to change what you are doing?"
  4. aikiMac

    aikiMac aikido + boxing = very good Moderator Supporter

    The name also implies a characteristic way of doing things. I've messed around in escrima and aikido quite a bit. They have the same wrist locks, but the execution of the wrist locks is so different that someone who knows what he's doing on the mat can immediately tell the difference. I'll grant that at the end of the day a lock is a lock, a submission is a submission, a punch is a punch, and a kick is a kick, but watch how muay thai, karate, taekwondo, wing chun, and BJJ players attack and defend. There again, you will see distinct stylistic "flavors," for lack of better term. Whatever name you pick for your martial art will imply certain flavors. If you call your new art such-and-such karate, I will expect you and your students to move more like a karate person than anything else.
  5. Heraclius

    Heraclius BASILEVS Supporter

    When an art is first named, the name is a description, since people don't know what it's like. After that it becomes a category, connected to the original(or most popular) form of the art.

    Not enough MAs involve macrame. Just saying :p
  6. Bobby Gee

    Bobby Gee Valued Member

    unlikly a new martial art would get much credit with out looking ridiculous with mma being around. Wouldn't make sence.
  7. Dean Winchester

    Dean Winchester Valued Member

    That wouod depend on what the aims of the system were, wouldn't it?
  8. Bobby Gee

    Bobby Gee Valued Member

    Yeah maybe the art of sock and snooker ball
  9. ap Oweyn

    ap Oweyn Ret. Supporter

    That's not really true. I don't think that forming your own official style is an especially good idea (unless you have tons of experience to draw on). But MMA has absolutely nothing to do with it.
  10. Bujin_Budoka

    Bujin_Budoka Valued Member

    I don't see how mma would make a new art look ridiculous. MMA is good but lets not get ahead of ourselves here. It's comprised of TMA's at it's core. The difference is the approach and end goal.

    Back to the topic in question. To clear it up a bit more (hopefully) If I were to work joint locks and throws, add in a couple of punches and kicks, then give this art of mine a name. Would the name come from a category of techniques or the cultural philosophy? Traditional martial arts seem to be as much cultural preservation as a method to approach fighting. For instance Karate was originally translated as China Hand, but due to conflict it was changed to Empty Hand. The initial influence was Chinese, passed on to Okinawa and then Japan. so what makes Karate a Japanese art today? As in the average person would not connect Karate to Okinawa or China.
    I'm probably getting to deep in thought for my own good but I thought it would be a good conversation topic and I'd like to hear more thoughts than just mine.
  11. ap Oweyn

    ap Oweyn Ret. Supporter

    From where did you learn the techniques you're planning to teach?
  12. Bujin_Budoka

    Bujin_Budoka Valued Member

    I truly hope I am reading this the wrong way but I feel as though you're not seeing the forest for the trees with this question. With all due respect I am trying to understand your question, could you clarify the context in use with your question?:hat:
  13. Van Zandt

    Van Zandt Mr. High Kick

    My organisation uses the simple term "Full Contact Karate". Which is a helluva lot easier than "Part Anglo-American Hybrid, Part Kyokushin Derivative." But even then you get some folk asking, "What does full contact mean?"

    No. Really.
  14. Dean Winchester

    Dean Winchester Valued Member

    Do you punch them in response?
  15. Van Zandt

    Van Zandt Mr. High Kick

    Count your blessings the Mods have not yet responded to my petition to make use of that filthy "P" word against the ToS. :mad: :ban:
  16. Dean Winchester

    Dean Winchester Valued Member


    Do you Irish Dance them to death?
  17. Bujin_Budoka

    Bujin_Budoka Valued Member

    I would love to learn Irish Dancing!
  18. El Medico

    El Medico Valued Member

    It's pretty limited-even TKD uses arms and hands sometimes.:)

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