Friday, January 28, 2011

Practical Experience Vs. Theory

The debate over practical experience and theory goes on and on in martial arts. Combat sports provide a way for martial artists to experiment and learn what will work in a real confrontation. We now have the reality self defense experts telling us that sport fighting does not prepare you for real fighting. Now of course combat sports have rules (like no eye gauging, fish hooking, biting, hair pulling etc.) and the self defense expert will have you believe that he can teach you to do these "dirty" fighting techniques under pressure. But the truth is, that by training and competing against a noncompliant opponent with full force is the only way to develop that ability. In the martial arts world of combat sports, we have full contact competition where you apply a skill set to it's full potential. Let's use MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) as an example. In this sport you can throw punches, kicks, knees, elbows, throws, takedowns, and apply joint locks and chokes. You have to be in shape, you have to be well rounded and you have to deal with pressure and stress. You have to be able to fight through fatigue and pain. You have to condition your mind to always look for a way to win even when your losing. The problems I see with those who argue  that "Well, it's not real and in a real fight this and that will happen", is that, first of all they don't have any real fighting experience (real or sport) and secondly they will never fight in any combat sporting event. They want to hide behind their theories instead of entering the lab and testing them. The so called reality defense expert, self protection experts and traditional martial artists who never fight, have never gone into a boxing gym, a judo school, or a ju jitsu school and trained with guys who knock people out, throw people on their heads, and twist limbs day in and day out. When you seek out an instructor to teach you how to fight, ask them how many people have they knocked out before you give them your money to show you how to punch or kick.

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