I wanted to open this can of worms.

Why? Because there is so much written on the internet, that is either uninformed, biased, or the most dangerous for any martial artist – based off a blind spot.

Blind spots can be due to ignorance, but they are often self-imposed, I believe, from having a competitive mindset.

While on vacation a while back I attended a Brazilian Jujitsu martial arts class that stated in their materials; “We are not a school for competition, but rather for self-defense. (Our art) has been proven the best via numerous no-holds-barred fighting competitions.”

I chose not to address the inconsistencies in this statement with the instructor, but it illustrates the blind spot that many MMA and other competitive fighters have. Why say that you are training for “real” and then mention competition within the same sentence?

Many online antagonists (see bullshido.com for an example) put down every art known and threaten any practitioners of these arts to step into the ring to prove it to them. These folks choose to believe that fighting in the ring will prove their point. The problem with this attitude belongs to no one but the antagonists’.

Can I bring a gun in to the ring? A knife? How about a belt? Keys? Dirt? Boots?… A martial art that advertises that it is for self-defense MUST address the use of weapons, unconventional weapons, the element of surprise, multiple attackers, and the weight/size difference you are likely to experience in a self-defense situation. Competition, not even in the UFC will  address any of these. Huge blind spot!

I recently took a class with an experienced MMA fighter. He was strong, fit, fast, and rough. In the ring he would most likely “submit” me within a minute. But what he taught would have gotten him seriously injured or killed if he used any of those techniques shown on someone with a knife on his belt, or a set of keys in their hands. In a real fight, you don’t “submit”. You live or die.

That being said, I wish every martial artist the strength of ego to be realistic about what they know and don’t know, so that we can alter our training to meet our own goals as martial arts practitioners.

Not everyone wants to compete. Not everyone wants to learn how to disarm a gun-weilding attacker. And that’s OK.


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