Written by PMAF Founder, John Baisch
Okay, let’s be honest, there are a lot of martial art schools in the United States. Well over 30,000 in fact, all who claim to be “The Best.” So why would someone want to try out Paladin Martial Arts Federation? And what’s the big deal with some new style of martial arts called Gaia Chuan?
Let’s start first with our system Gaia Chuan, compared to some of the more recognized systems. They all, to one degree or another, address the different ranges of self-defense (fighting), however they each have, in general, a certain area in which they focus their training.
Most Karate styles focus on the upper body. Sure, they have kicking techniques, but, since their roots from Okinawa were influenced by a trade port and fishermen, they tend to focus on blocking & striking. Understandably, you do not want to kick too much when you are on a boat, nor do you want to be on one foot when you are faced with a charging Samurai wearing armor. The idea was to focus a solid strike with so much force that you could break through the armor, and the warrior wearing it. The fighting philosophy of “One Strike, One Kill” was the driving force for the farmers and fishermen to defend against armor clad warriors of the times. Gaia Chuan utilizes this philosophy as part of its upper body training through the translation of Power Striking principles.
As fewer people wore armor and the pace of combat reflected more of a need to defend against multiple bandits, later incarnations of Karate, like American Kenpo and Shorinji Kempo adopted philosophies from Chinese martial arts, relying more on Speed Striking than dedicating so much energy into an “all or nothing” defense. The use of dynamic speed and maneuverability became more practical for the type of enemy one would most likely face. Gaia Chuan embraces Speed Striking to allow its student to have the ability to flow from one target to the next, as fast as possible.
Kung Fu and similar styles across Asia and Indonesia adopt many forms of misdirection and using the opponent’s point of focus to work for them. Some by constant motion like the Silat styles, some by adopting the idea of mimicking animal’s movements. Many Kung Fu systems are famous for this, as well as systems from other regions like Burmese (Myanmar) Bando. Each animal, like the arts in general, maintain a focus of speed, power, grappling, or attacking certain targets.
The Monks and Gurus of these regional arts are a heavy influence for Gaia Chuan to find balance with all combat principles and philosophies. It is the idea that the student with the most tools at their disposal will be the one with the best ability to adapt.
Popular Korean systems like Taekwondo and Tangsoodo focus on kicking. Both are rooted through MooDukKwan (heavy Shotokan Karate influence) and the older Kwangs. Once the introduction of Northern Kung Fu kicking techniques reached Korea, Taekwondo and Tangsoodo adopted the fast and more efficient methods of footwork. To this day the martial art of Taekwondo has time and time again been recognized as having some of the most efficient and effective kicking techniques.
Grappling styles like Jujitsu (Jujuitsu, Jujutsu), Wrestling, Sambo, Chin Na, Brazilian Jujutsu, and many others, do just that, they grapple. In Japan, the predecessor of Jujitsu, Aikijujitsu, was the hand-to-hand fighting style of Bujitsu (Budo, Samurai). When wearing armor and fighting against another warrior wearing armor you don’t have many options for striking and kicking. So you grapple and defeat them by breaking their appendage or neck, maybe finishing them off with your tanto or short blade.
These days, statistics dictate that most fights go to the ground. This translates to choking out your opponent or submitting them in a joint lock. Grappling is an essential skill that Gaia Chuan embraces so students will be as effective as possible to ensure their safety.
Many martial arts are very focused on the “Infight,” or fighting at such a close reach that the leverage needed for kicking or punching at maximum effectiveness just isn’t their. This is the zone between Striking Range and Grappling. Chinese Wing Chun Kung Fu (Ving Tsun, Win Tsun) utilizes “trapping” methods to “knot up” an opponent. Thailand’s Muay Thai and Muay Boran, like Cambodia’s Bokator, have devastating use of the shins, knees, and elbows to defeat their opponents up close.
These are important tools used by Gaia Chuan students. The “Infight” is one of the riskiest ranges of fighting, especially if you are faced with multiple attackers and going to the ground is not a really good option.
Some martial arts are studies in the mechanics of the body. Aikido focuses on the flow of momentum and the redirection of that momentum. Aikido itself has roots from Jujitsu, Kenjitsu, and Sumo (yes, Sumo). They teach the use of leverage by manipulating the mechanics of the opponents’ body with the least amount of force possible. Korean Hapkido follows this base ideal, albeit with a more aggressive philosophy of using force during the process of manipulating the opponent momentum. Internal Chinese Systems like Pagua (Bakua, Pakua) use similar methods as well. The understanding of the “Flow” of motion is one of the key aspects that tie all the arts together, and therefore, a key element of Gaia Chuan.
While most schools have their own focus, some schools teach multiple systems to compensate where their core system lacks. All of the Mixed Martial Arts schools claim to have “Hand Picked the Best Techniques,” but the reality is that a practitioner of the martial arts should be able to find their own path in the arts. The student should find their own expression of fighting and self-defense, in the most effective way that only they can achieve as an individual. This is what Paladin Martial Arts Federation offers, and this is why you should train with us. Through Gaia Chuan, the student finds their most natural path in arts, by studying all the avenues of the martial arts as a whole.