Is Your Martial Art Bullshit?
Chances are…yeah, it is. From Aikido to Rex Kwon Do, Judo to Kenpo, Jiu Jitsu to I Hit You, what we consider to be “Martial Arts” today is, according the test I’m about to explain…more than likely BULLSHIT when compared to what it’s supposed to actually be.
Now don’t get me wrong. There are plenty of benefits one gets from practicing anything physical that requires a minimum degree of discipline. Some people break wooden boards, others crochet doilies. From fighting obesity to maintaining a positive vibe throughout your days, whole assortments of hobbies have been proven to provide all of those things and more.
But that’s not what the “Martial Arts” are at their core, are they? No, a simple gander at the words that make up the term has us starting off with a description that means, and therefore kind of requires, a relationship with “War”. Add the “Arts” component, and very easily we find ourselves at the actual meaning of the phrase, “The Expression of War”.
Truthfully, I could expound on this to a great detail. Looking at my “Warrior Continuum”, you’ll find many different levels for what the term “martial arts” represents in all its many permutations. That’s not the spirit of this article, however. Nope. Chances are you take a martial art and you’re here to see if you should give it back. Let’s check out my “test”…
The Martial Art Bullshit Detector
Question 1: Has anyone representing your style fought in a reality based situation? As in, has a practitioner of your art ever had a “real fight”?
Question 2: When they fight, do they use the techniques and moves of your art the way it’s practiced?
Question 3: Do they win?
Does your style actually fight, or are you a sport system? The reason for asking this may seem embarrassingly obvious, but how many folks these days ever remember to ask? I’d argue that most never develop a curiosity of their system’s relationship with reality until after they’ve become so proficient in their art they’ve already obligated themselves to defend it. Put more simply, most get good before they even know the worth of what they’ve become good at.
Now, don’t confuse this for a condemnation of martial arts with a sport attached to them, but let’s break down what exactly that is. A “sport attached to them”. As in, the art existed before a sportive application was created. As in, yes, we fought before the sport, or even, we fight aside from the sport. Either way, whether before points mattered or after, did your art dance on the floor of reality?
Do your fighters look like your fighters? Too many times we’ve seen an art’s “master” reduced to the flailing of a panicked little boy in the face of violent confrontation. Where is the technique? Where is their art’s technique? Imagine, if you will, an “expert” of the Japanese language, expected to converse with a native Japanese, begins speaking gibberish upon the meeting’s start. That is what I see with many art’s practitioners.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I can appreciate that there are all spectrum of skill levels in an art’s practitioners, but this is a test of the art, not the practitioner. The boxer throws punches. The wrestler shoots. “He” sucks? Well, show me the guy who doesn’t, and then we can move on to Question 3.
I can teach an art whereby I use wrists to attack bellies. Yep, I can create kata, templates, and strategies. Wrist to belly. Belly to wrist. I can send my best students to fight in the street. I can see them use my techniques, observe them following my “system”, but there would still be one question left unanswered. Against untrained adversaries, do they ever win? Of course, not every art wins every battle, but do these “wrist-belly fighters” EVER win? I would expect that they do not, and that is a problem.
The reason this is important is that it fulfills the most basic expectation for training at all. The spirit of what it is to be a martial artist is your training has prepared you to increase your probability of success in a fight. Why even train if it doesn’t?
So, there you have it. Is your martial art bullshit? It doesn’t matter to me if it is, because it is only my own training that I’m responsible for. Just don’t go looking for high fives on the battlefield if you’re little more than a cheerleader with a belt on.
Pressure to Power.