Points to Consider When Comparing Martial Arts.
The following is a guest blog by Alaric Dailey
A discussion with a co-worker caused me to have to explain some things, and address a couple of issues. I thought I’d share my thoughts.
The conversation started with him stating “I saw a documentary last night where they pitted Wing Chun against other arts and I was surprised at how poorly it did, especially against the grapplers”.
My response was as follows.
The big problem, more than ANYTHING is EGO. I hear people say “we don’t spar because we don’t teach sport karate” or “we only teach killing techniques” or “our punches are so powerful we can break your ribcage” or other various BS claims. They fall into the trap of “my style is best, and NO ONE can defeat my style”. This hubris leads them to not train with other styles, not visit other schools, not practice full contact. Thus when a real situation happens, and their magic technique doesn’t work, they don’t know what to do, or worse, when they get hit, they forget EVERYTHING they know.
As a side note, this is why Krav Maga doesn’t train pretty technique, all of their techniques are based on natural reactions, and gross movements that apply to many situations. These gross movements, are primal, requiring very little practice once mastered. Think of it this way, if you did martial arts when you were a kid, and haven’t practiced since you where 15, it is now 25+ years later, can you still do the form? The crazy flying kicks? No… but I bet you could still punch and break a board, or kick someone hard and solid in the groin, or blast someone in the head with an elbow, because these primal and easy to use skills don’t require constant practice.
In short if you want to be able to use what you know in a REAL situation, you need to know how it feels to get hit, how to deal with unexpected situations, how to adapt when people move in ways that your partners in class don’t etc. You need to know your movements to the point where they work without thinking, because in the panic of the situation, especially after getting hit, your adrenalin rush starts, your butt puckers up, your eyes shutdown, and you forget all but the most basic gross movements. This is true whether the response to being hit, is anger, panic or whatever, unless you have trained, and trained and trained and trained, and been hit, so you know how it feels, and know that you can take it and continue to fight.
All of this applies to my original statement in the following way, if a Wing Chun stylist, is convinced that they are the next Bruce Lee, and won’t practice hitting AND getting hit, and practice against other styles, they might be able to out do everyone in their school, but then a jiujitsu stylist is going to tie them in knots, a Judo-ka will toss them like a rag-doll, an Aikido-ka will toss them and put them in locks, but all martial artists can benefit from training with others. Go with an empty cup, learn, be quiet and listen rather than be ego driven, even if you disagree, even if they are doing the worst slop you have ever seen, you can at least be prepared for what others might do.
Thanks to Alaric. Good points, well thought out.
Check out The Ultimate Martial Arts Encyclopedia by Al Case.