My first martial arts school was a traditional karate club. There I studied an art called Goju Ryu karate that originated in Okinawa. When you study a traditional martial art, you study one style where the techniques are taught in their original form.
A traditional martial art has geographic origins. For example, Aikido originated in Japan, Tae Kwon Do, Korea, Wing Chun, China, and Goju Ryu, Okinawa. Traditional arts also espouse a code of ethics and philosophy of training. When you sparred in class or tournaments, there were strict rules that had to be observed. In my Goju Ryu club, we wore a traditional uniform which consisted of a white pajama-like outfit with a colored belt around our waste to indicate our rank in the system.
While my first school was located in the Dominican Republic where the language spoken is Spanish, we held on to the traditions of our art by conducting the class in Okinawan. If you wanted to study a martial art in the 70’s you picked a style of karate or kung-fu and stayed with it. It was considered a big insult to your instructor to even think of training in another dojo or introducing a technique that did not belong in your style’s curriculum. Bottom line is that you studied the art and preserved its traditions.
Over the years, many martial artists, like me, decided to venture out and explore other styles. My reason was that I wanted to be well-rounded martial artist. Others believed that the traditional arts were impractical and unrealistic for the challenges of the modern day.
Many traditionalists like myself, developed their own eclectic styles by combining several traditional martial arts, along with body conditioning and even some military combat techniques. One of the goals of an eclectic martial art is develop practical street self-defense skills.
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