IntroThe following are a few inconvenient truths about the martial arts. Some people may agree, and some may disagree, but the evidence speaks for itself if you just consider it, even though it may be inconvenient to do so.
Why these truths are inconvenientIf a martial arts school was to teach these truths to its students, the students might become disillusioned and stop coming to classes, and, more importantly, stop paying for classes. However, if a school is truthful with its students from the beginning, they may already know about these truths and will have accepted them, and probably, despite them, still be happy with the martial art they have chosen to practice. As with anything else, there are always exceptions, but exceptions do not mean these truths are not true.
May are physically superiorContrary to what movies and television would have us believe, a man will almost always beat a woman in a fight, no matter the size or skill level of the woman.
Men are naturally stronger, faster, quicker, and more aggressive than women. Therefore, most physical sports conduct separate competitions for men and women. Mentally and emotionally, women may be equal to, or arguably superior to men, but physically, men are superior. Yeah, there is always the argument that women can endure more pain since they must endure the pain of childbirth, but then women do not have to endure the pain of a kick to the testicles. A big man or woman will usually win over a woman regardless of her size or training and a big man will also usually win over a smaller or untrained man, which is why there are weight classes in competitions.
Hard is bestThe only effective empty hand self-defense uses basic hard block and strikes.
There are hundreds, if not thousands of martial art styles, each claiming to be the best or one of the best for self-defense. Most people do not have the time, money, or inclination to spend years learning to become effective at some martial art. They just want something that they can use that will be effective when defending themselves against an attacker. Instinctively, humans use their arms to block attacks and then punch and kick in counterattacks. This means that the instinctive motions of even an untrained person can be effective. Any martial art that trains students to be more effective using these motions will be the best martial art for self-dense. Any unnatural motions or motions that require extensive training or use intricate movements take too long to learn to be effective, and they must be constantly trained to maintain proficiency, which makes them practically useless. You may train in a martial art for many reasons, such as fitness, sport, competition, etc.; however, if you are training for self-defense, pick one that keeps it simple.
Martial arts are a waste of moneyMany martial arts are a waste of time and money.
Some people have the philosophy that anything is better than nothing. While it true that having one dollar is better than having no dollars; in practicality, you are not much better off than you were without the dollar. As stated above, humans know how to protect themselves instinctively; therefore, with no martial arts training whatsoever, they are still able to put up a good fight when attacked. Some martial arts teach a person to reject these instincts and fight their way, which many times are worse, or no better, than the instinctive way of fighting. Those that teach the so-called "death touch," mind control of the opponent, combat ki, etc. are certainly worthless and are a waste of time and money, and sometimes may waste something even more valuable to you, your life.
The martial artist makes the artWhat makes a martial art effective is the martial artist, not the martial art.
A practitioner of most any martial art who has trained hard, is in excellent physical condition, is tough mentally and physically, and has the will to win at all costs will be effective in a self-defense situation. Most any well-trained martial artist will be more effective in a self-defense situation than would be an average non-martial artist. The question is, "How much training is required before a person may be effective when using the martial art?" In some arts, a person with minimal training may be effective while in other arts, to be effective, a person needs extensive training, and even then, the techniques may only be effective under certain circumstances.
Modern martial arts are for kidsMost modern martial arts are sports for children, not fighting arts for adults to use to defend themselves.
Most all modern martial arts have mutated into sports that even children can play. Children and adults are taught the same techniques. This means one of two things, the techniques are so harmless that even children can do them, or we are teaching deadly techniques to children when the law says they are not responsible enough for their actions to drive, drink, vote, or enter into contracts.
A black belt is similar to a high school diplomaA black belt is equivalent to a high school diploma.
Just as with a high school diploma, if you do not quit, come to class the required number of times, receive at least the minimum score on most subjects, and pay your money, you will receive a black belt. In some organizations, you can receive a black belt without ever finishing, or being able to finish, the program, sort of like getting a GED. Just as you may be awarded an honorary diploma even if you didn’t complete the required material, you can also be awarded an honorary black belt without ever attending a class. A modern black belt is usually awarded as a reward for attending a certain number of classes and paying all the fees. To find real black belts, you must find small, traditional martial art schools that have strict standards that must be met no matter who you are or how long it takes.
MMA is a sportMixed martial arts (MMA) is neither mixed nor is it a martial art; it is a spectator sport.
The original concept of the mixed martial arts was based on the martial arts, but it has become just another contrived moneymaking sport where no conventional martial arts training is required.
At the beginning of MMA development, fighters were trained martial artists who fought no-holds-barred fights (although there were some rules to prevent life-threatening techniques, maiming, broken bones, etc.). Mixed martial arts meant that fighters who were trained in different martial arts fought each other to see how their different martial arts fared against each other in actual combat. Many times, what was at stake was the reputation of the martial art more than the ability of the fighters; therefore, many were fighting for their martial arts more than for themselves.
Some matches were very short (not enough action for spectators) and some were very long and boring for spectators (such as with the Royce Gracie hour-long hold-downs). Some matches were brutal and gory; so many states banned the matches, which led to changes in the rules to make the matches more palatable to the public. However, most of the rules changes came from a desire to make the fights more profitable, to both the promoters and the fighters.
As the sport became more popular, the rules became even more limiting, to the point that MMA is fast becoming like professional wrestling, except that contact is allowed.With limitations on which techniques can be used, limits on periods of inaction, use of gloves, time limits, etc., fighters are less susceptible to career altering injuries so they can fight more often. Fighting more often allows fighters to develop a base of fans, allows promoters to hold more fights, and allows fighters and promoters to make more money. Nowadays, most mixed martial artists have no formal martial arts training; they have only trained in MMA, which has now become a sport, such as sports taekwondo.
In the beginning, most of the MMA fighters had martial arts training and were testing their arts against each other; this is where the term "mixed" originated—different arts fighting against each other using some common rules for safety. Now the term supposedly means each fighter is using a mixture of different martial arts (nothing original here, every day a new martial art is "founded" that uses the "best" techniques from other arts). However, these "mixed" techniques are pretty much limited to wide swinging punches, some grappling, kicks to the thighs, and very few locks and chokes and strangles.
Martial arts by definition have a "martial" component (the fighting), and an "art" component (the way or the artistic). The martial component is composed of numerous, often intricate, difficult to use, techniques that take months, if not years, of training to perfect. MMA also takes years of hard training to perfect. The art component is where the fighting component takes on an almost spiritual aura in the quest for perfection of form. A martial art transforms fighting into an art form where artistic expression is paramount, and perfection of human character is the goal. The goal is not to just win the fight, but to win it majestically.
While boxing is called the "the art of boxing," by definition, boxing is not a martial art. It has the martial component where fighting skill is pursued but its only goal is to punch the opponent harder and more often than he or she can punch you; how well the punching is performed is of no concern as long as the result is the defeat of the opponent (how much can you give and how much can you take). When fighting, this is also the goal of MMA and of any martial art. However, boxing and the MMA have no art component. The perfection of technique is of no concern and is not trained. You will never see boxers or mixed martial artists compete against each other in artistic expression, as you see in pattern competition in the martial arts.
Therefore, the term mixed martial arts is deceiving. While the fighting makes it martial, there is no longer any mixed, and there is no art. Using the term "martial arts" in the name degrades actual martial arts. MMA is just another fighting sport.