I recently read an article on Bullshido (every time I hear that title, I laugh a little) called Five Hard Truths About Martial Arts That You Don’t Want To Believe.
The author basically says these five things (I’m paraphrasing):
You are terrible, even if you don’t know it.
You are an amateur and the difference between an amateur and a pro is the difference between, to quote Mark Twain, “between lightning and a lightning bug.”
Getting good at Martial Arts takes far more work than you are putting in
Amateurs don’t spend enough time to get really good.
You are out of shape, and no amount of technique will make up for your poor diet
Most of us eat poorly and have no cardio.
Size and Strength matter
You’re weak and you’re tired and you will gas out fast.
To learn to fight, you need to fight….a lot
You must spar (at least).
I’m not sure why everything has to be so extreme with these guys at Bullshido. I appreciate their creed and their search to separate the shit from the shinola in fight instruction. This is despite the fact that by doing Wing Chun (the worst, according them), not sparring every session (capital crime), and being a part-time fight student (apparently a complete waste of time) I am the bottom of the barrel in their eyes.
Let me just say this.
There over 7 billion people on earth. 318 million of them are in the US. Almost 39 million of them are in California. And a million of them are with ten miles of where I’m sitting.
I’m pretty sure that I can win a fight against more than 95 percent of them. Probably better than 98%. This is sort of a trick statement. Half are women (some women could mess me up, just not most of them, due to size and other factors). Half of those left are kids or senior citizens. I’m bigger than average and in better shape than average. Plus I train to fight.
OK, I will lose against Jon Jones or Michael Bisbing or even Miesha Tate or Amanda Nunes! There is no shortage of people who could likely beat me in a fight.
But everything I do in training is like a small weight on the scales balancing my capabilities against those of my hypothetical opponents. Meanwhile, I am enjoying a social activity, getting exercise, developing my balance and eye hand coordination, etc, etc.
I don’t get these all or nothing arguments! Its like the politics in the last 20 or 30 years. Politics used to be about the subtleties and nuances of the very complicated world we live in — now its black and white cartoons of reality with smack talking and name calling, with no room for intelligent assessment of the problems and the issues.
This is the same thing. Should I just quit if I can’t be one of the top 99.999999999%? The argument doesn’t make any sense!
I mean, I get it — he’s making a point and pushing buttons. I do it sometimes myself (Top 5 Reasons Wing Chun Doesn’t Work, for instance). But you are way more likely to have to defend yourself against some road raging mid-thirties aging ex-high school football player at a fender bender on Saturday night or in a club at 1 AM than you are to have to throw down against a world class athlete!
Everything you do to get yourself in better shape and to develop some skills will help in that scenario. Even if your fight turns out to be trying to save your life against some maniac on a stabbing rampage (like in Germany recently) or a home invasion, if you have done some mental preparation and some training, you will way be better off.
The main thing you need is to make the promise to yourself that you will do whatever it takes to protect yourself and your loved ones. Of course, if you can get away, run!
But if you are trapped, a drop of true rage combined with a cold-blooded remorseless attack (careless of your own personal-safety) can do wonders. Just remember — people who start fights in bars and who break into houses are often not world-class athletes. If you can’t get away, don’t roll over for them. Fight back! If you turn it up to 110%, you might be surprised at what happens.