Groundhog Day

I often look and think about what people teach in the martial arts and I wonder whether it is going to make any difference in the real world.  This is not a criticism of any Instructor or style but the need for a reality check when it comes to self defence.  Then there is another side to this story!  Martial arts is a lifestyle, learning physical and mental skills, and accomplishing objectives.  Not all reasons for taking up martial arts are based on the sole purpose for self defence.

Nevertheless, Instructors need to be aware with presentation of their material when teaching students self defence.  Students will often believe, and not question, what is taught to them by their Instructor. The danger is there is no verification process which may lead students into a false sense of security.  How many martial artists, especially youngsters, at tournaments believe they can handle a real knife attack with skills on show at demos?  Think about the repercussions.

Techniques taught in the real world need to be validated from actual experience.   Richard Norton has quoted (a number of times), Benny ‘the Jet’ Urquidez, ‘what life experience do you validate your knowledge on?’  So the best person to learn knife defence is from somebody with experience on knife attacks.  The best person to learn, handling drunks, is from someobody who has worked the doors.  The list goes on.  If the Instructor lacks that experience then they need to hook up with someone who does, so they know exactly what they’re doing when teaching.

Martial artists need to be aware the purpose of training self defence skills and their limitations in the street.    Whilst many techniques, whether from karate, bjj, mma, judo, kung fu skills are not going to be readily useful, the purpose of training them is to get you right where you have to be in order to handle confrontations.  Everything you learn is your back-up artillery. 

Martial arts is about perfecting techniques and discovering new moves.  It would be a pretty ordinary world (martial arts) if we just stayed where we are unless you like the same thing every day as in that classic movie, Groundhog Day.  Generally, this sort of thing doesn’t normally happen today.  New techniques seem to be popping out of nowhere.  One particular junior BJJ student (plain sort of guy), tapped a number of very senior grades from his school by a never seen before triangle choke.  You never know what’s around the corner. 

Any great Kickboxer, Cage Fighter, Self Defence expert usually has a traditional background.  The latest UFC World Champion, is a Shotokan Karate stylist.  A lot of the things, in traditional training, seem a lot clearer when we get to where we want to be.  I wish I had some shares in Shotokan because every man, and his dog, is signing up.