But you already knew that, didn't you?
Today, I'm writing a simple topic with a simple answer.
"Does the kind of martial arts you see with lots of flips and stuff that wins major competitions actually stand up on it's own?"
Answer: No the fuck it doesn't.
Seriously, if I see another video proclaiming someone to be a phenomenal martial artist because he can backflip in place or free-run off the side of a building or run up a wall and do a backflip, I will eat my face off. Flips and fancy footwork are all well and good, but I'll tell you a bit of a story.
During the interim summer between my senior year of high school and college, I finished my training in Tae Kwon Do to test for my blue belt. I studied under a 2nd Degree black belt and would be tested by my Master later on that week. I got a lot of personal time in during weekdays because no one would show up but me at lunch time. Master Kaida, a 6th degree and the dojo master, would train me and we'd work on fundamental stuff.
-How to stand correctly so you couldn't be pushed over.
-How to pivot and move to deliver a mass of momentum behind every blow you throw.
-How to ensure that you can find someone's weakness quickly.
-How to make your own defense rock-solid so that you can keep going no matter the amount of punishment you can take.
After one particular session, I asked him while cleaning myself up that very question at the top. He looked at me, grinned, and said, "I'll counter with a question of my own. Tell me, how accurate do you think you can really be with a kick if your head is upside-down and backwards when you throw it?" The man had a valid point, but continued.
"Yes, you see that kind of thing win competitions, but keep in mind that they are simply doing forms, series of moves. A true fighter keeps to his principles and defenses. He will not let the enemy have anything at all to take advantage of...but rather will force the enemy to open his own defenses to break yours. That's when you nail them."
When I sparred for my blue belt (against 2 people at the same time), I actually got the chance to see what he meant. Another member of the dojo had a chip on his shoulder about me and cheerfully volunteered to beat me into submission. As he tried to black belt his fist into my face with increasingly strange moves, I remembered what my master had taught me.
And when he least expected it, I put Mr. Flashypants on the ground with one hit to the solar plexus.
I was awarded my blue belt to great applause and a grudging acceptance from the show-off that I had trashed him soundly.
So why do I bring this up?
Never, under any circumstances, believe that just because someone is flashy or being a spectacle, that they are automatically better than you at it. Chances are, you could beat them at their own game if you tried and kept to a very very classic ideal.
"Keep It Simple, Stupid."
I rest my case. I wish I could remember more of my training, but I cannot since it was over ten years ago...
Maybe I'll look up a dojo nearby and see if it's worth it to get back in.
I know I have the inner fortitude to make it.
7 years, 7 months ago
30 Apr 2011 18:00 CEST