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A Reductionist Approach to Fitness?

This is a guest post from fellow scotsman, martial artist and trainer Alwyn Cosgrove. Alwyn may have crossed over to the darkside by moving to the politically correct US, but he still doesn’t mind his P’s and Q’s when it comes to talking about the state of the fitness industry.

Read on…

Wednesday, June 25, 2008 A Reductionist Approach to Fitness?

In 1993 the ultimate fighting championship was created.

The initial concept was to determine which martial art – under a no holds barred scenario was superior.

It was karate vs judo vs wrestling vs boxing etc.

Fast forward 15 years…..

We no longer talk about martial art styles — we talk about MIXED martial arts. It’s a mainstream term.

We no longer use the term ‘style’ to describe a fighter — we say “he has good stand-up” or a “good ground game”.

Because martial arts have evolved and have embraced a totality.

Styles were a reductionist approach.

A strong guy went to wrestling. A good striker went to kickboxing etc….

But a holistic or total approach to fighting was always superior. And it’s a mixed system.

Bruce Lee advocated this (he died in 1973)……

“Absorb what is useful, reject what is useless”.

“Accept no way as the way, accept no limitation as limitation”

Here we are, 35 years later and the martial arts world has embraced that ideology completely.

But the fitness world is still arguing about which method is better – powerlifting vs olympic lifting, aerobics vs bodybuilding…

We need to evolve from this reductionist approach…


Wild Geese any cause but our own

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