Jul 1, 2007

My general view of the current martial art world.

The Asian martial arts craze that started two or three decades ago affected everyone and their grandmothers. Unfortunately, of all the people who looked to profit off of that craze and thus give the general public access to the world of fighting arts outside of say, boxing or wrestling, only a small percentage of people were qualified to do so. And yet, even the unskilled ones reaped thousands to millions of dollars teaching inexperienced Americans their watered and dumbed down overpriced "bullshido," mostly in the form of laughable but well advertised Karate and Tae Kwon Do schools run by skill less instructors who don't know a damn thing, give themselves extravagant made-up titles, and take themselves way too seriously.

But thank god for the media. Whether it was the 70's when Bruce Lee was trying to show people that Karate was not the end-all-be-all to martial arts, and being well rounded and staying in shape was the key to actually being a fighter, or '93, when the first UFC (and the next 3) debuted and showed legend Royce (pronounced 'Hoyce,' get it right, people) Gracie demolishing his opponents with just the basics of a strong ground game (It was literally: feint low kick, move in, clinch, mount and/or submit).

Grappling. (Brazillian) Ju Jitsu. Sambo. Wrestling. Judo. Something that was and still is taboo with many TMAers (traditional martial artists), and still a large proportion of them continue to make up for the fact that they wouldn't be able to last more a couple of seconds before succumbing to an elementary choke by making poor arguments against needing any sort of grappling skill as part of your skill set. (You'll get injured being on the ground- What if his friends join in- A ground game won't take care of multiple opponents- Grappling looks gay [I'm being serious]- My style has the 'anti-grapple'- I teach grappling [crappling] already- etc...) Unfortunately for them, some people actually have brains and can see why that POV isn't quite right.

a) They assume that all grapplers can't fight off the ground

b) For some odd reason, they think that groundfighters so retarded that wont at least try to get up and away when they see a large angry mob made up of his opponent's friends heading towards him if he's on the ground already

c) They think that they have a superior fighting style because they learn how to fend off multiple opponents; which they actually can't do. (HINT: If your current instructor, regardless of style, tells you that he can fend off a group of attackers at once reliably, call BS, and move on to another school.)

d) There's no such thing as a reliable 'anti-grapple.' Such techniques usually call for something along the lines of 'Lean forward, stop them, elbow to the spine, eye gouge, knee.' unfortunately, anyone who's been properly trained on how to execute a takedown of any kind for more than 10 minutes in the past (i'll post a video eventually) should be able to get the person down on the ground sometime before the elbow can be thrown.

Actually, that last part takes me to another valuable point: A large percentage of TMAers don't see the importance of what many call 'live training,' or having a 'non-compliant partner.' Hell, anyone can pull off the counter-takedown described in d) against someone moving slowly starting the takedown from 5 feet away. Against someone who can take down someone half-decently, even if you did manage to fire off that elbow, since you're already off balance by the time you're throwing it, it won't do any damage. So to all you ground-fearing folk, learn how to sprawl. Really. It's the least you can do. Of course, live training, regardless of style, is the best thing you can do. Even if your art doesn't consist of many moves, drilling them hard and against someone moving as aggressively as you will lead to much better success than an art where you learn hundreds of moves, but each one is not drilled properly. One of the greatest parts about groundfighting is that training is much easier to control, hence much better execution when needed. I think that's honestly the reason grappling is so dominant these days-- it is so much easier to get proficient at than striking ever will be.

Now, if i was some belted BJJ practitioner, some might just brush off everything here as pro-ground marketing bullcrap. However, here's the shocker: I'm freaking terrible at the ground game. I'm a striker and an ex- TKD black belt to boot. I enjoy having quick hands and feet and being able to duck and parry shots until I find an opening. I WANT TO STAY ON MY FEET. regardless, I find that having a ground game is absolutely imperative. so, regardless of what your sensei or sifu tells you about taking classes outside of his studio, try it out. If you can't find a school, I will do my best to find every great link to grappling/MMA and post it on this blog. I'm doing my best to rebuild my skills from base one, so if you're new to all this, i can be the slightly less blind mouse trying to navigate you through the equivalent of a real life confusing-as-hell Escher drawing we call fighting, just one step ahead of you.

Thank you for reading, and as my first link to the outside, please read the forums at
http://www.bullshido.net/
It's a great site, join, and do be careful about posting stupid crap. There be dragons.
As great of a resource that site is, if you post like a clueless ninja LARPer (you can go look up what that means.) you'll get your e-ass kicked around like a soccer ball by a bunch of angry, jaded, ex-BSMAers.

-y

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