As with any business, the military is made up of many different positions, each important to the over-all team and mission(s) objective(s). In order for any mission to succeed, every individual in every team (and the teams involved in the mission) must do their part. There are those who specialize in various computer technologies, some in large equipment handling, some in chemistry, others in various, specific firearms, and others with a wider range of combat experience (e.g., hand-to-hand and weapons use). The list goes on and on.
Over the years I have listened to people (in many countries’ military) debate the best “martial art” to train in. What I have witnessed is that many come from a position of experience: previous combat experience, previous training experience with no combat experience, previous sports fighting experience with little other combat training, only basic training, etc. And, as an instructor at the Yost Wing Chun Kung Fu kwoon, I get asked to chime into these debates from time to time.
The problem with answering the underlying question of the debate – which martial art is the best for combat training – is that most martial arts schools are not organized and managed by the same quality of instructors, teachers, “masters”, whatever you want to call them as they used to be. You see: There are many schools being managed and with instructors who have no real combat experience. Their fighting experience is limited to isolationism sparring or worse (none at all), and most have no real weapons training. (The weapons training that they’ve received is either with impractical weapons or do not address real-life situations that empower them to gain access and utilize their weapon.) And, that goes for every martial art system out there (e.g., jujitsu, kenpo, wing chun, praying mantis, taekwondo, etc.).
Now, think about what the debate is asking for: the best martial art to use for combat training. This is a clear definition of goal for many, but not specific enough for a majority. Here’s what I mean: While we know that the people debating this aren’t asking for kickboxing, boxing or UFC-style fighting (i.e., sports fighting) training (they’re asking for combat training), they aren’t being specific to their “self” application in combat (e.g., will they be at a distance using a sniper rifle and be less likely to partake in hand-to-hand combat, or will they be in a large, armored vehicle, or will they be more likely to have to partake in hand-to-hand combat, or will they be utilized to disarm bombs, etc.?). For different people and disciplines, the answer may be different – not to mention the available schools and instructors to each person.
In general, those who partake in deep hand-to-hand combat (e.g., U.S. Army Rangers and U.S. Navy Seals) are learning Wing Chun Kung Fu, along with a few other systems written into the official training manual for all personnel. And, Wing Chun was made in response to military invasions and for military applications.
Before I go any farther, let’s consider something: The term “martial art”. I asked in another blog what it meant to readers. While that answer should be simple, it isn’t. Today, martial arts has been branded as a sporting event or sports fighting with more rules against than authorizations to engage opponents. I won’t go into that deeply here (you can read more on that subject by clicking here), but I want to define martial arts, specifically. According to every definition out there you will find that martial arts means some variant of the following: The expression or application of human creative skill and imagination appropriate to war; warlike.
If you clicked on the Wing Chun link above, you’ve read a brief about the culture that shaped that particular martial art (or kung fu). In its purest form Wing Chun was structured for war, making it a true martial art. However, as I’ve said before, not every school is organized, managed and instructed by someone with combat experience.
So, when considering which martial art will be best for your combat training, you must convince yourself – before you join any kwoon (or school) – that the school in your area will provide for your goals. I’ve placed a lot of links to give you more information. I’ll provide you one more on some warning signs to watch out for: click here. I hope all of this helps.
Empower yourself to life!™
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If you have a question or subject you’d like to see me address on my blog page, or if you have an interest in learning self-defense in or around Tallahassee, Florida, write to me at email@example.com.