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 Unsupported "Facts" in martial arts history

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Jamie Clubb
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PostSubject: Unsupported "Facts" in martial arts history   Mon Aug 25, 2008 7:57 pm

Okay, I have used my week off work to make a serious effort to bash my book into some sort of shape. I have only realized that as joyous as it is to write it, the thing is a bit of a monster. I was well aware that the history of martial arts were a mess of myths. I have some good source material to cut through a good amount of the crap found in Asian martial arts history. The Bodhiddharma myth relating to the Shaolin Temple and the Wudang myth relating to Tai Chi's originas have been debunked loads of times with good hard solid evidence and research. However, it would appear that western martial art history also has a lot of unsupported stories that don't seem to lead anywhere.

I have uncovered two problems so far. Firstly "archaeological evidence” proving the existance of boxing in Northern Africa before the Sumerien carvings found in 3rd millenium BC. This is not something I am disputing, but everywhere I have looked whether on the 'net or in my several books on boxing there is nothing solid offered as to what this evidence actually is. Secondly, Bruce Lee. It is like heresey to question this man's ability in the mainstream martial arts community. He is protected like a god. I was only looking into his story regarding his fight with Wong Jack Man, where he said his wing chun let him down and it encouraged him to use more boxing when I found details on his amateur boxing record. I was googled this a little and found huge debates regarding whether any of these people he had defeated in boxing actually existed. There is no verifiable evidence whatsoever and the defences given are exactly in the same vein we have come to expect from conspiracy theorists etc. Angry and a misguided attitude regarding who should have the burden of proof.

Any help here?
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PostSubject: Re: Unsupported "Facts" in martial arts history   Mon Aug 25, 2008 9:12 pm

Extraordinary claims and all that....

Den.

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Jamie Clubb
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PostSubject: Re: Unsupported "Facts" in martial arts history   Tue Aug 26, 2008 11:03 am

I suppose so, but in this one I am not even really assuming the role of a "doubter".

I believe that formalized forms of boxing go back to pre-historical days. Primitive tribes today have organized forms of martial art or single combat such as wrestling. It seems very plausible and probable that boxing, in some form, did exist in 6000 BC in places like Ethiopia and maybe even before, but I haven't seen any evidence. Just the phrase "archaeological evidence" repeated again and again or just the accepted "fact" that it came from Africa. This is just not good enough. We know who discovered the Sumerien relief carvings and when. They can be seen and have been objectively dated back to around the 3rd millenium BC. However, I can't find anything displaying or even describing what this "archaelogical evidence".

As for Bruce Lee. Again, I loved reading his notes and listening to his interviews on the subject of martial arts. People like Dan Innosanto provide us with fantastic examples of what can be achieved through the freedom of cross-training. I am not disputing Lee's impact or his positive influences on the martial arts world and community. His ability, even from a solely athletic perspective, is also undeniably extraordinary. There is very good evidence to support this. However, with regards to his real fighting record all that seems to be provided is a list of matches with names of people who have never been mentioned since. Wong Jack Man's fight has witnesses with varying accounts and I think we can safely assume that certainly happened although its outcome is very dubious. Yet doesn't it seem odd that none of the named people Lee fought in a boxing tournament wouldn't have turned up at sometime to give their verdict on the great man, to tell their story. After all isn't that what everyone else has done who knew Lee even in passing? I want to find verifiable evidence of these bouts. I want them to be true. However, whenever they are ever questioned either in magazines or on the 'net you are just hit with a barrage of aggression that we have come to recognize in other "believers".
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