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Friday, February 18, 2011

Inflated Ideas About Your Martial Art?

I really wanted to include some video here...

See, I was in Oklahoma City today, and coming out of one of my clients' driveways, I saw a vehicle that had a web address written across the back window, a web address for a martial arts club.

I am so trying to be circumspect and non-offensive here...

At any rate, I recognized the name of the system. I've read a little bit about it and the man who started teaching it in this country. Every time I've read anything about it, the websites touting it focused on its "brutality," "extreme efficiency," and so forth. It is not a "sport," or even a "martial art," they say, it is a "combat art." It is "well-rounded," not like Judo, which is just throwing, or Karate, which is just punching and kicking (so they say on these sites).

Well, naturally, I was curious, and I visited the OKC site. Same boilerplate material, so I went to YouTube, and sure enough, I found video from that very school. Some demonstrative material, and some material from someone's brown belt test.

Now, I am not trying to be hypercritical, nor do I want to make it sound as though I'm really in a position to judge things. God knows I'm no grandmaster...


I have seen a thing or two...

What I saw on those videos, frankly, was nothing that you wouldn't see in a lot of Americanized JuJutsu classes, or some American Kenpo classes. Not that this is necessarily bad. I'm just saying that I didn't see anything in those videos that would justify all the hype as regards the alleged exceptional brutality and efficiency of the system under discussion.

And one other thing: these people were clearly play-acting, that is, the attackers were visibly cooperating with the defender, to the point where I am confident that many of the techniques might well not have worked had the "attacker" been serious.

Now, you do want cooperation when you are starting to learn a technique. But eventually, at least sometimes, you want to see if you can actually make your techniques work on a resisting opponent, don't you? You do have to be careful. Some of these techniques can dislocate or break joints and so forth, and I'm not advocating that you backfist someone in the temple to make sure it works. But you don't want to always have your partner totally cooperating, either. That seems like a sure-fire way to acquire an inflated idea of your technique's effectiveness.

To sum up: most of us like to believe we practice the roughest, toughest form of self-defense known to mankind, or, if we don't already practice something, that's the stuff we'd like to seek out, right? But just because someone tells you that they practice badmammajamma-jutsu, the most "brutal, efficient, combat art" in the universe, don't necessarily make it so. You just might want to bring your capacity for objective thought to this subject.

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