Tang Wei is About Generic Fighting Part 1
***Another Upfront Warning that this will be a bit long. ***
Every martial system has a focus, and it is the student’s job to make sure that the focus of a martial art is on what you are concerned with. Everyone will admit that specificity of training is a true principle and is required up until it would disqualify them from having you as a student. This is where the honest and dishonest teachers differentiate themselves. Some martial arts focus on fitness, some martial arts focus on sporting contests, some seem to have some strange pseudo focus on seemingly religious rituals of so called self-defense techniques, etc.
Tang Wei Martial Method is focused on generic fighting. While this seems straightforward it also requires qualification. It is about fighting in an unregulated free environment. It would not directly qualify nor prepare you for participation in sporting martial arts any more than sports martial arts would directly prepare you for fighting in war.
Teaching in the United States in modern times, people have come to think that because of how much there is on You tube and the internet, that they have seen it all. In the modern fray for gaining notoriety and reputation while simultaneously eliminating competition there is a lot of what I will deem “YouTube wars” going on where one group insinuates that another group is “false” while only they themselves are “true”. This is nothing new and seems to go on in nearly every facet of human competitive enterprise at some point.
You the potential consumer must make sure you are informed and that you have a frame of reference for selecting appropriate training because TRAINING MATTERS. At the end of the day your training creates your habits and habits are the only real variable you can change in the equation of a fight that has the CHANCE to affect future fighting outcomes. Your focus determines what you should look for. Informed analytic objectivity should then help you sift through what you find to get the best option for YOU. This article is written to help YOU the fellow student of combat to find what you want.
With You Tube and the internet you can basically always find AN example that backs up whatever you WANT to believe. In many cases this is only deepening convictions in beliefs that would not grow under common sense conditions. You must be careful at all times with self-deception because people have an UNCONSCIOUS desire to believe that what they are doing is the most meaningful. This desire and the bias it creates CANNOT be detected from asking yourself and searching your conscious thoughts to see if you are deceiving yourself. It can only be detected from objectively observing your OVERALL PATTERN of behavior and thoughts to determine the conclusions you are predisposed to make.
For example I have seen several videos recently on YouTube produced by Aperature Fight Focused where it insinuates that Muay Thai and Jiu Jitsu are essential and the best options for self-defense. Aperature is rather overtly against anything they would deem to be “Reality Based Self Defense” to a degree that I would call throwing the baby out with the dirty bathwater (which the people they call out in this video, would certainly count as the dirty bathwater of martial arts and I do appreciate the efforts to force them to evolve by aperature). First I would say that Thai Boxing and Grappling are like any other martial art where you don’t fight the style, you fight the man. In the Thai boxing video above I think that several excellent points are made and I think that Muay Thai has many indirect benefits to anyone as a fighter BECAUSE they teach many things that are inherently valuable to GENERIC FIGHTING. Jiu Jitsu and several grappling arts are also filled with many excellent skills that can translate to fighting.
The Thai Clip shows in the beginning flashes of Thai fights where people are knocked out by Punches and Kicks. The statement is that Muay Thai teaches strikes and kicks applicable in fighting, the insinuation is that Muay Thai owns the punches or kicks thrown. If you were to pull up clips of San Da/San Shou in China or Kyokushin Karate in Japan or MMA matches or Boxing Matches or Kick Boxing you would see something that would look indistinguishable from the Thai Hook Punch or San Da strikes etc. This is because NOBODY owns human movement. The only question is: does a person or group you are thinking of working with teach or understand the full spectrum of movement and the application of that movement.
The Jiu Jitsu clip similarly shows someone not using any grappling skills and attempting to eye gouge or get to a weapon with out in any way neutralizing the grappling hold. The statement is that you have to become a grappler to be able to deal with one. The insinuation is that Jiu Jitsu is the only form of grappling that works. (The existence of other options besides the main stream options will be discussed more in a later article).
While the world of martial arts styles is as broad as time itself, human movement is rather limited in terms of meaningful categorization. If you have a vicious hook punch for example and you learned it from boxing, or from Tang Wei or from Muay Thai or from Jiu Jitsu (which also can strike despite what some believe) then you have one and if you deliver it to an opponent who cannot withstand it then the results are natural. If you are taught powerful leveraged movements with balance breaking to be used standing and, on the ground, then you know how to grapple regardless of the “style” stamp that others want to brand on you for their own marketing purposes.
A prime example of marketing insinuation are articles that reference videos like this video where a rear blood choke is used and automatically attribute the choke to Jiu Jitsu as though prior to Jiu Jitsu there never existed the thought in a fight to wrap one’s arm around the opponent’s neck from behind and squeeze. In real fighting there is only what works and what does not. There really is no difference between a “jiu jitsu” choke that works and any other that works. (In fact if you watch this video where the man from the train is interviewed he says it way his first time attempting such a choke. It was instinctive and is for many. They fight was also won easily not by ANY style but by strategy and a set of overmatching attributes properly used in a specific situation)
I learned a blood choke in Chinese Qin Na first then later learned several useful pointers in Army Combatives learning the Jiu Jitsu formula and then later looked at my original notes to find that nearly the same pointers were written down there all along but missed because when I first learned it was over my head in terms of my comprehension. Nobody owns the choke, there are just those that understand it in the PRESENT better than others. Great minds often think alike.
I would be willing to bet that the vast majority of martial arts at some point were focused on successfully fighting on whatever they considered their battlefield. They all had people that were FOCUSED and it is the focus that keeps bull s$%^ away from their training and develops a system that works. The task of martial arts is much more significant that the general public often understands. It is about teaching a person to refine their habits to the point where they can prevail in fights where their natural attributes would otherwise have left them the natural inferior.
Good martial arts do not attempt to replace your fighting instincts with techniques and doctrine but rather work to enhance your instincts through the development of superior habits. All training is about habits, even physical conditioning is just creating new intrinsic physiological habits which usually are labeled as attributes. All is perishable. Thus there is the need to make it part of your lifestyle and thus the situation that gives rise to the cultural component that most martial arts carry.
The great danger to not training at all is that your survival rate when facing scenarios that you could otherwise avoid or prevail against drops near to zero. The great danger to training is indoctrination and its accompanying false sense of confidence and security which similarly drops survival rates as it will have you attempting INSANE strategies and tactics because you were taught that your system “is the best”. You have the danger of ignorance on the one side and arrogance (which is just “aggressive” ignorance) on the other.
Training is exciting because it shows you how to push your limits. Pushing your limits develops real self confidence but often can develop as many problems as it solved believe it or not. While it is true that limits are movable and are not fixed in many cases, when people have some early successes and it is coupled by a type of belief fanaticism of wishful thinking. In these cases the person often comes to conclude “limits are not real, they are only in my head”. This is a far cry from “limits are not always fixed, they need to be tested and challenged consistently and intelligently as you push them further and further”. Just because you push the territory of what you can do larger does not mean that the territory beyond YOUR personal limits does not continue to exist.
While I somewhat dislike math past a certain point I loved learning about statistics’ definition of “Type I and Type II” errors. Type I and Type II errors boil down to failing to believe in a true premise or incorrectly believing a false premise (probably have the order backwards there but you get the idea). In martial arts you really must stay self-aware to avoid making both types of errors.
With all this said, lets come to the point. You really must ask yourself what you are training to prepare yourself for and realize that specificity of training is important. How many people would want to solely weight train to prepare to run a 10K race or vice versa? How many people would want to only do weight training to prepare to play competitive rugby? While weights would certainly mix in well and yield indirect benefits by enhancing your attributes, isn’t going and playing rugby one of the best ways to prepare to play?
If you are training to win in an MMA competition or a Wrestling match, it would not make sense to only train in a combat martial art that use targeting primarily not allowed to be struck or grabbed in a match. Directness of Learning and specificity of training are universal principles. This prepares you for This, that prepares you for That. It is simply a natural mechanism which we do not really understand the how or why that allows us as human beings to get better at dealing with whatever we can consistently encounter. Training wholly relies on this natural mechanism.
Tang Wei is a good fit if you are wanting to prepare yourself for dealing with a criminal assault. It is as direct of a preparation as we are aware of, it embraces and works hard to cut the reality gap as short as possible while keeping you safe. You have to ask yourself how good a “combat” technique is if it can be trained full bore and no one gets hurt. Is it really a combat technique at that point?
While Tang Wei is a multi-source system that has influences from numerous martial arts including excellent contributions from sport focused martial arts, we remain focused on unregulated combat and thus adapt all skills we learn as needed to be applicable under those conditions. So while we are multi source, we teach the system as its own unique composite blended style. We are looking for the full spectrum of effective human movement for dealing with the type of fights that are UNAVOIDABLE like when you are ambushed with a knife, a gunman, a huge monster of a human being looking to choke the life out of you, a group of people swarming you, etc. We also do train for dealing with lower level combat scenarios like when you need to restrain someone. Different aspects of effective movement are needed in different scenarios.
We also recognize that in these scenarios there are NO full proof guaranteed answers, but there ARE movement habits and qualities that increase or decrease your chances of survival. We also recognize that in these type of fights there is the “fight before the fight” or the “battle of the mind” where strategy plays out and if you are unaware of this the deck is stacked so heavy that no amount of tactical proficiency can save you. If this is what you are looking for, we might be a good fit, if not, then there are a lot of others out there. The idea is for you to look specifically into the training being offered and to be an informed consumer who does not carry the notion that “all martial arts is the same”. It is all as unique as the places they come from the people who have developed it and of course at present the people you are learning from.
People are often looking for the “one thing”. What is the one thing that once I learn that then I am ready for everything? The bad news is that it does not exist. It is not Grappling by itself, it is not Striking or Kicking by themselves, it is not weapons work by themselves. The same way that a master carpenter would want more tools than a hammer and a nail, a serious martial artist wants the right tools for the right job. The good news is that if you are looking to understand the GENERIC SCENARIOS and the GENERIC FIGHTING skills needed to become more ready to deal with them then several modern schools have done the leg work of accumulating multiple skill sets under one roof which saves you years of searching and sifting.