combat, conceal carry, crime, Indiana crime, kung fu, law enforcement, martial arts, military, self defense, Terre Haute

A Failure to Adapt


I, recently, met a young man, about thirty years of age, who had everything (and to everyone) in the world to brag about his Jiu Jitsu accomplishments against wrestlers, judo practitioners, and other Jiu Jitsu practitioners.  He went on and on about this and that rolling competition he’d been in and how he’d won all of them; after which, he stated it was proof that his Jiu Jitsu was the only effective means of self-defense available to anyone today.

During our discourse, I allowed him to demonstrate what he wanted in order to establish a baseline by which to communicate with him.  This took all of one demonstration, by the way, but it led to something very important.

The young man, while I stood upright and allowed him to do as he willed, took me to the ground, but before he could advance I got into a guard and asked: “You see this knife here?  What are you going to do when I allow you to come down here so I can cut you with it?”

The young man took two steps back, and stated, “I hate F***in’ knives.”

gray and black folding pocket knife
Photo by on

Curious, I pressed the issue (after all this was a “ten year student” of a local Jiu Jitsu instructor, here in Terre Haute, Indiana): “But, you don’t know, on the street, what anyone is carrying or able and willing to do.  Haven’t you dealt with this in class?  What would you do?”

He explained that his instructor teaches his students to run in each and every case a knife (or stick, he later added) was involved “because you can’t defend against them…. things happen too quickly”.

Allow me to use this example to point out three (of many) things (that I could):

  1. I turned to this young man, who happened to be about six feet closer to the door than I was, and asked him to run out the door.  As he turned to run, so did I.  After beating him to the door, I asked: “You’re not getting out that door!  Now, what are you going to do?”  You see:  If I still had that knife (or stick) I could have ran behind him and cut him up from behind (or beat him with the stick).  Sometimes you can’t run.
  2. Truth be told, this young man is not likely to know if someone is carrying a weapon until the person carrying it loses the weapon or decides to try and use it.  Blindly going to the ground, like he’d planned on doing, would have led him right into my guard and knife.  (If you’re wondering if we train to do such things, here at the Yost Wing Chun Kung Fu Academy, yes.  We do.)
  3. This young man assumed that kung fu (or any other martial art than he’s un-familiar with) doesn’t teach students how to deal with ground-fighters.  That assumption would have gotten him killed if the same scenario happened between us on the street.  Case in point:  We, here at my kwoon (i.e., school), just had a one year student beat a blue-belt in Jiu Jitsu in a fighting competition, where the Jiu Jitsu fighter could not – once – bring our first-year student to the ground.  (You know what they say about assuming things…….)

This all speaks to a need, of any fighter, to be adaptive – in mind and body.  Adaptability means one is able to flow with the relational-exchanges that are the fight.

people doing marathon
Photo by Snapwire on

There will never be one way every fight is fought.  No one intention expressed in every violent activity.  That is why the practitioner of any martial art should learn to be adaptive and ready for the worst of situations.  An example of such situations are those we touched on in this article: those you cannot run from.  After all, if you can run from everyone holding a knife or stick you can run from anyone seeking to do you harm – you don’t need to learn a martial art.  You could just take track and field…..  Although, I don’t recommend it.

Empower yourself to life!™

©2018 Yost Wing Chun Academy. All Rights Reserved.

3 thoughts on “A Failure to Adapt”

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