I’m old enough to remember a time when the term “martial arts” meant someone was learning a system to help them survive the worst of combat conditions. I’m, also, old enough to have seen that change. Today, depending on who you ask, the term “martial arts” means different things, but it’s not always been that way. In the beginning (of nearly all systems of martial arts) communities were very integrated in their understanding of their need – not want or entertainment – for self-defense. They were living in a time and place where at any given point in time, they may be attacked by an invading tribe, army, etc. and murdered, raped, or, otherwise, harmed. The need to live their lives in a way that meant they could effectively and efficiently defend themselves and their neighbors from these attackers; therefore, they worked together to develop means of empowering themselves and their families and neighbors to life.
Over time, as people have disengaged from their own communities due to a perceived idea of security without self-defense (e.g., “We’ve evolved since then…” mentality, or “it will never happen to me” mentality), people began seeking entertainment and applied themselves less to self-development. These forms of entertainment (e.g., boxing, kickboxing and various “mixed martial arts” sports like the UFC and Bellator) became the audience’s understanding of what martial arts is; because, this was their only understanding of “experienced fighters” or “trained fighting”. Consequently, a growing number in our communities is lacking the very basic skills necessary to defend themselves, their families, and members of their communities from invaders – despite the growing threats in the world.
You see: What these sports-fans and many of the fighters who take part in these sporting events don’t understand is that real combat is much different than what these fighters train for in their sports-arena. For example: How many of you think Mayweather would have beat McGregor had they been able to fight under the rules of the UFC? I don’t. Yet, in the boxing arena Mayweather proved to be the smarter, stronger and wiser fighter, winning hands-down. The same is true of the UFC/Bellator industries, too.
When we look at the evolution of the UFC, for example, we see people gravitate toward a certain training regimen in order to gain on the current means of combat within the construct of ever-changing rules of the UFC. What this means is that they pick and choose from various combat systems what they can use in that arena to succeed in that arena. When they’re forced to fight without rules and officials, they find that they’re ill-equipped to defend themselves – much less those around them. Just look at this video as an example:
There are a lot of things we can take away from these developments, such as but not limited to:
~ The arrogance infesting our society via these sporting venues is dangerous;
~ The disengaging members of our communities are weakening our communities;
~ There is more to combat than sports training; and,
~ The original meaning of martial arts is the same.
Given that, we need to come back to an understanding of what martial arts is and call sports-fighting what it is: a sporting competition. Acknowledging our limitations, as such, isn’t a disgrace; rather, it is an opportunity for our communities to come together and empower one another for defense – that is a sustainable life from invaders’ oppression (e.g., those who would want to rape or murder or otherwise harm you, your family or your neighbors). Deluding ourselves won’t sustain our community or secure our right to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness; it does just the opposite.
Before I finish this allow me to share a short story with you. I was, recently, at an event where I was demonstrating how a Kung Fu balance and breathing drill could practically be used in combat. The idea wasn’t to say, “Anytime this happens do this.” Rather, it was to demonstrate how the principles of combat can defend our “self” from a number of other things seeking to do us harm. That was understood by everyone there except one person, who blurted out: “Let’s see you do that against an MMA fighter.” This young man, in his twenties, was, himself, competing in amateur MMA fighting (much like you see in the UFC and Bellator), and had been for years. I asked this young man to step up. When he did I repeated the move, allowing him to express his intention in response. When he did, I stepped back and put him in a neck-break. (Of course I didn’t really break his neck, but he knew what my intentions were if I had to use that move.)
Do you know what his response was?
“You can’t do that!”
Do you know what my response was/is?
Yes. I can. And did. And, if you tell me that you’d do less when standing next to your son or daughter or wife or loved ones when confronted by attackers – with or without weapons – you’re a liar or incapable.
Real combat is ugly, and it’s not fair. There are no rules, no predetermined space for you to defend yourself, no official to protect you if things get “out of hand”, no one to check for weapons before the fight, etc. Quite the opposite. In fact, did you know that in the state of Indiana over 60% of violent crimes involved a weapon of some sort?
Folks, if you’re not training for these types of situations, you won’t be ready for them; neither will your family, friends, neighbors, etc.
Empower yourself to life!™
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