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Katz's picture
Nothing new under the sun

Hey all!

I'm just reading this excellent book : How to be a spy

I was hoping to learn a couple things about self-defense, awareness, what have you... I haven't learned much that is very useful, but it's still a great book, very interesting, and providing insights about how things used to be during WW2.

Anyway, the reason I'm posting here is that on the section on close combat, they mention such things as "Do not kick above knee height", or "Never go to ground if you can help it". So yeah, the old japanese masters had it, they had it in '44, and I've read and heard it from pretty much every serious self-defense instructor I've gotten material from. It's probably got something to it, then ! :)

Take care.

Iain Abernethy
Iain Abernethy's picture

Anything is possible in the realms of fantasy … but as soon as you introduce reality, people quickly converge on what truly works. To me, it’s not surprising that we see such commonality between the various methods.

The line “nothing new under the sun” has it’s origins in the Bible:

“What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.” - Ecclesiastes 1:9

Which is very true when it comes to the fashions and trends in the martial arts! As the hugely influential martial arts historian Donn F. Draeger paraphrased it, “There is nothing new under the sun – Nothing, that is, except the very old.”

What has been “forgotten” seems new, but the truth is human beings have been fighting each other since time immemorial and very little is truly new.

All the best,


Joe @ GRKA
Joe @ GRKA's picture

Katz & Sensei Abernethy's comments make me smile: As I age, I have pronounced back and hip problems that more-or-less prohibit me from kicking much above groin or waist level - and, depending on the kick, even those are difficult. I can manage knee- and thigh-level kicks without a problem, though, and never feel like I can't hold my own for self defense. My focus points for kicks are just a bit lower than folks with a little more flexibility. I don't look at my limitations as a negative; they're just forced compliance with good martial arts strategy. :-)

chrishanson68's picture

I'm back!! Been a while since I posted here...life got in the way, got a little baby, and life changed fierce...but hey, just wanted to throw in my 2 cents worth.smiley

I totally agree with the statement above "nothing new under the sun"...bottom line, as long as we are human we will never change. Honestly, if you see the evolution of human kind, we haven't really evolved that much.  Our systems of inquiry, curiosity and self actualization has more or less been the same.  We, on the technological side have advanced, but really, in my opinion it has made us lazier! lol!  With a click or slide away from things, we can get instant gratification for practically anything we want and need.  As far as our "human-ness" goes, as long as we have a brain system with our neuroligical structures in tact, we will remain the same...that is...we are emotional beings, rational at times, but effected greatly by our emotions...fear, anger, greed, ego, insecurities etc.  From a martial perspective, as long as we have our limb system...accompanied by our bones and muscles....all martial art solutions will deal with the same human symptoms....that is solutions to problems concerning limb movement (and that accompanies weapons)....this to me is timeless....generation after generation we have been faced with violence....sure weapons have changed etc., but the reasons for our violence has been the same......nothing new under the sun!