In many of the Western-world’s countries, martial arts have been diluted even redefined as a sports competition. The once combat martial art has been reduced to a useful lesson or two in how to fight within a set of sports-orientated rules in the minds of many. This leads to questions, debates, and other issues with the communities discussing martial arts. One such example is the question that gets asked many non- wrestling, judo or jiujitsu martial arts: How will you deal with a ground fighter?
The question, in and of itself, illustrates the poor condition many martial art systems find themselves. You see: The UFC and Bellator and the like aren’t doing anything new; they’re borrowing from existing systems to create a construct of competitive sports-fighting. That construct is observed as the sport that it is, each having its own set of unique rules and regulations as well as enforcement bodies to govern the behavior of people within the organization. Consequently, they never experience the free-will and diversity of street fighting or combat fighting (e.g., multiple attackers, weapons use, etc.).
That said: If a kwoon (Chinese for school or learning hall) wants to be a serious self-defense destination, it must deal with the mindset of the culture it exists or its students may find themselves. Failure to do so can lead to serious harm or worse. . . . .
This begs the martial art kwoon to return to its well-rounded roots; and in the process, empower its students for something greater than their opponents.
For example, many critics today believe that kung-fu is a “stand up” fighting system with no real ability to ground fight. However, this is not true. Nearly all of the kung-fu systems that I’ve learned (in my 40+ years in the martial arts) has taught some form of ground fighting. So, if that’s the case, what kind of ground fighting are these critics referring to?
Many base their decisions on the effectiveness of a martial art on their preconceived notions of that system. This is a dangerous assumption; one that can leave you ill-prepared to deal with the truth when faced with it.
For example, in my kwoon I teach stand-up techniques taught to judo, wrestling and jiujitsu practitioners that help them close the gap and get inside to grapple; then, I teach my students how to use their kung-fu to prevent that. (Besides many Chinese martial arts, I have studied several others over the years.) This includes the use of empty-hand and weapons tactics for survival in the worst of situations. Some one assuming kung-fu doesn’t teach ground fighting would be extremely surprised (or worse) if they forced their opponent to respond to their form of violence.
I demonstrated this to a small group of jiujitsu students one day (each had five to nine years of experience in their martial art system). When I allowed them to demonstrate their system, rolling into a guard, myself, in response, they were surprised I knew how to defend myself. They were further surprised to find a hidden weapon within my reach for use against them. They weren’t prepared, nor were they able to defend themselves. (Hopefully, it was a valuable lesson to them, and they’re working to overcome that – for their own sake.)
Folks, two of the main reasons debates like these happen (besides those already listed above) are ignorance and ego. People who can’t get out of their own way to live their own lives without arguing over their own ignorance with someone of equally lacking integrity. Don’t get drawn into it. Don’t be fooled by it. And, don’t do anything to be like someone else. Do you for you and those you’re responsible for.
Empower yourself to life!™
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