Penn & Tellers BS Episode On Martial Arts!

…..Okay this show is one I have not seen before but basically the two magicians/comedians go out and try and debunk certain things and call it bullshit! Now in the past they have done the Bible as well as other things that people hold dear. This episode revolves around the Martial Arts. They went out and found a very strange Tai Chi teacher and a regular strip mall Karate instructor and also a reality self defense instructor and finally a guy by the name of Mark “Animal” MacYoung who is a self defense practitioner/instructor who on occasion rails against common martial arts practices. Now I found the episode interesting, witty and actually fun to watch. It really has no bearing on how I practice the Martial Sciences nor do what they call BS on are practices that I teach. What this episdoe does is in my opinion show that there are some very important things you need to do in regards to your personal protection skill sets. One you need to understand your local laws! I cannot emphasize this enough. You need to understand what you can and cannot do and how the legal system works. You need to definitely understand the concept of reasonable force and what you can do when attacked. This is really, really, really important! Two you need to understand that you need to be able to get away and avoid a violent confrontation if you can. Run away if you are able! If you cannot it usually is easier to give the would be robbers your money. (though it is an absolutely different story if they do not want money but some thing else) Tool usage is paramount in the real world and martial practitoiners that do not utilize modern tools need to take note and start practicing with them. A firearm, knife or impact tool can go a long way in increasing your chances in a violent situation. Finally people need to use common sense. If it does not look right, smell right or feel right then it probably isn’t! That and some times things that look flashy are really just gimmicks and tricks. Now while I do not agree with their end conclusion at least not based on a study that is slightly skewed to get their desired end result. The Martial Sciences geared toward personal protection skill sets definitely deliver and they also have those great things like attribute building, character, etc. Though truthfully you can gather that in many, many activities but you also have to remember that other activities cost money too. Still I found the show entertaining and enjoyable! So following are the links!!!

Note that there is quite a bit of swearing so in some measure this just may not be safe for your work environment!

See You On The Mats!

copyright Instinctive Response Training LLC 2009

Brian R. VanCise

Note: This Blog is opinion only and Instinctive Response Training LLC nor Brian R. VanCise is responsible for any third party actions taken.

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About Brian VanCise

Hi my name is Brian R. VanCise and my passion is the Martial Sciences. I have trained almost my entire life in the pursuit of martial excellence and I teach a world class curriculum in Las Vegas, Nevada. Contact us at: 702-326-3622
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8 Responses to Penn & Tellers BS Episode On Martial Arts!

  1. Tim says:

    That was entertaining and interesting….He did name it correctly as Tai Cheesy.

    I have trained taijiquan for many years (18) the my lineage is Chén Chángxīng > Yang Luchan > Yang Jian Hou > Yang Changfu > Tung Ying Chieh > My Sifu > Me (Sorry Lineage is a big deal in TCMA)

    All I can say about the Taiji bits is that it appears to be an extremist new agey western view of Taiji that is just plain wrong. I on the other hand have gotten slammed to the floor and joint locked on more than one occasion by my sifu. However I am more than willing to admit that a sifu with the background of my sifu is incredibly rare today and I tend to agree with Chen Xiaowang that said Taiji as a martial art is dead since there are so few that really know the martial arts of it as compared to those that don’t.

    Sorry I just needed to correct that bit, I am just so sick and tired of the New Age Tai Chi stuff. Fake Taiji stuff, combination of Taiji and some other unrelated art and calling it Taiji that I just can’t take it anymore.

  2. Brian VanCise says:

    Absolutley Tim,

    That lady was in no way a representative of good Tai Chi. You and I both know that good Taiji is fantastic! I think Penn & Teller tried to go out and find exactly the people they wanted too come to the conclusion that they desired.

  3. Tim says:

    I do belevie you are right.

    On a happier note, after months of not being able to train, due to injury, I am returing to training with my taiji sifu tonight.

  4. Brian VanCise says:

    That is great Tim! I look forward to my life getting back to normal in about a month. Then the serious training begins. Until then it is just maintenance work to keep the skills sharp!

  5. jks9199 says:

    That tai chee (don’t want to call spell it correctly to describe her practice!) was hippy-dippy garbage.

    I like Penn & Teller, and I like their overall message, which, I think, is reasonably summed up as “Don’t drink the cool-aid; think for yourself.” But the show is entertainment first, science/reporting a distant second. And they edit and shape the portrayal…

    That said, they make some very good points, which Brian brought out nicely. I just wish they’d balanced it a little better with a look at some more serious, more real, more effective martial science training…

    And that they’d looked at the bullshit of the commercially produced baby blackbelts… and the “martial arts as daycare” crap.

  6. Brian VanCise says:

    Hey jks9199,

    I agree completely with you. Mark MacYoung came off looking good. However Damian Ross came off looking sadistic and crazy which we both know he is probably not. I also imagine that he teaches with the law in mind though I do not of course know that for a fact. The point is that they wanted him to look sadistic and crazy and for the one lady to look really loopy and also for the Karate instructor to look well strip mallish, garish and daycarish. For entertainment purposes they definitely achieved their goals.

  7. Tim says:

    Thanks Brian

    Things went great last night in class

    I hope all goes well for you in Vegas and things are up and running and back to normal for you soon

  8. Nuno Pereira says:

    Hey there

    Just would like to share a link, wich you could share with your
    visitors, it’s http://www.martialartsvideos.tv , we have videos
    from all martial arts and it’s all free.

    Check it out, i’m sure you’ll like it

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