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Inconvenient truths


Here are a few inconvenient truths about the martial arts. Some people may agree that they are truths, and some may disagree and say they are just opinions, but the evidence speaks for itself if you just consider it, even though it may be inconvenient to do so. As with anything else, there are always exceptions, but exceptions do not mean these truths are not true.

Taekwondo is now just another sport

Traditional taekwondo had its roots in shotokan karate, a hard style that practiced the “way” of the warrior. Traditional taekwondo took the philosophies, methods, techniques, and patterns of shotokan and incorporated the techniques of the traditional Korean martial art of taekkyon to create taekwondo.
Modern taekwondo, the type popularized by WT (World Taekwondo), has evolved until it is no longer a martial art; it has become a commercialized sport, controlled by the Korean based WT. Everything about it is geared toward making it more popular as a sport, and thus more profitable for all involved, except for the students who pay exorbitant amounts of money to compete in the sport.

Schools that teach the traditional martial art of taekwondo and other traditional martial arts still exist, but they are difficult to find. The ITF (International Taekwondo Association), which fought WT for decades for control of worldwide taekwondo and lost, but it has begun to move toward the dark side and is becoming more of a competing sports organization.

As much as I have enjoyed taekwondo over the last 50 years, if asked to recommend a true warrior based martial art in which to train, I would have to say you should find a traditional karate school. They still exist, but they too are difficult to find. Since they are generally small schools, they need to be in high population areas so they can attract enough students to keep the school in operation, so they are difficult to find in small towns.

Men are physically superior to women

Contrary 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, especially those with physical contact, conduct separate competitions for men and women. Intellectually or 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 have to endure the pain of childbirth, but men are not strangers to pain; they have had to endure the pain of trauma to the testicles many times. 

A big man will usually win over a woman regardless of her size or training and he will also usually win over a smaller or untrained man, which is why there are weight classes in competitions. You don’t hear feminists complaining about women not being allowed to play on men’s professional sports teams, not being allowed to play in PGA tournaments, or not being allowed to fight men in boxing or MMA competitions.

Hard styles of martial arts are best

The only effective styles of empty hand self-defense are those that use basic hard blocks and strikes.
Instinctively, humans block attacks with their arms and then punch and kick in counterattacks. This has been ingrained in our DNA after millions of years of evolution. This means that the instinctive actions of an untrained person can be effective in many cases.

Any martial art that trains students to be more effective using these instinctive actions will be the best martial art for self-defense. Any unnatural actions 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. You may train in a martial art for many reasons, such as fitness, sport, competition, etc.; however, if you are training for self-defense, keep it simple.

Some martial arts are ineffective, and many are outright frauds

Some people have the philosophy that anything is better than nothing. While it is true that having one dollar is better than having no dollars; in practicality, you are not significantly 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 no better, and many times worse, than the instinctive way of fighting. Martial arts that practice the so-called "death touch," mind control of an opponent, combat ki, etc. are worthless and are a waste of time and money, and sometimes may waste something even more valuable to you, your life.

Modern science has found NO evidence that things such as ki, meridians, mind projection, feng shui, or other new age beliefs exist anywhere except in the minds of the people who practice them.

What makes a martial art effective is the martial artist, not the martial art

Almost any well-trained martial artist will be more effective in a self-defense situation than would the average person. Any martial artist who has trained extensively in any physical martial art and is in excellent physical condition, is tough mentally and physically, and has the will to do what it takes to win as a better chance of survival in a self-defense situation.

The question is, "How much training is required in a martial art before a person can be effective when using it?" In some martial arts, a person with minimal training may be effective, while in other martial arts, to be effective, a person needs extensive training, and even then, the techniques may only be effective under certain circumstances. The most effective martial artist is the best practitioner of almost any martial art, not the practitioner of a particular martial art.

Modern martial arts are for kids

Most modern martial arts have become sports for children, they are no longer fighting arts for adults to use to defend themselves. Most modern martial arts have mutated into sports that even children can play. Teens 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 legally drive, drink, vote, or enter into contracts.

Obtaining a black belt is easy

Just join a martial arts school and, if you do not quit, you come to a martial arts class the required number of times, you receive at least the minimum score on tests, and you 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, you just pay your money and pass watered-down tests and get a black belt, like getting a GED. Some people are awarded an honorary black belt even if they completed none of the requirements. 

A modern black belt is merely a reward for attendance and paying your fees. To find real black belts, you must find small, traditional martial art schools that have strict standards that must be met no matter how long it takes.

Mixed martial arts is neither mixed nor is it a martial art; it is a spectator sport

Mixed martial arts (MMA) is just another contrived money making sport.

At the beginning of MMA development, the fighters were trained martial artists who fought no-holds-barred fights (actually, there were rules, but they were there primarily to prevent life-threatening techniques, serious injuries, maiming, broken bones, etc.). The term 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.

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 martial arts fighting against each other while using some common safety rules. 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.

Now the term MMA supposedly means each fighter is using a mixture of different martial arts (certainly 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 a few locks and strangles.

During the early years, some matches ended too quickly (not enough action for spectators) and some lasted a long time (too boring for spectators), such as matches 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 changes in the rules came from a desire to make the fights more profitable, to both the promoters and the fighters.

With limitations on which techniques could be used, limits on periods of inaction, using a rounds system, use of gloves, time limits, etc., fighters were less susceptible to career-altering injuries so they could fight more often. Fighting more often allowed fighters to develop a base of fans, allowed promoters to hold more fights, and allowed fighters, promoters, trainers, etc. to make more money. Fighters developed characters and personas to which the public could relate. 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 boxing or sport taekwondo, where entertainment is foremost.

Martial arts by definition have a "martial" component (the fighting or the function), and an "art" component (the artistic or the form). The martial component is composed of numerous, often intricate, difficult to use, techniques that take months, if not years, of 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 the 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 art of boxing," 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. When fighting, this is also the goal of MMA and any martial art. However, boxing and 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.

Therefore, the term mixed martial arts is deceiving. While the fighting makes it martial, there is no mixed, and there is no art. Using the term "martial arts" in the name degrades actual martial arts.

Studying martial arts for self-defense is a waste of time and money

You don’t need to waste a lot of time and money to learn to effectively defend yourself.
There are many reasons why you should study martial arts and self-defense is one of them. If you only want to learn to defend yourself, you don’t need to study the martial arts to learn self-defense. Most people do not have the time, money, or inclination to spend years learning a martial art so they will be able to defend themselves against an attack when statistically, the chances of an attack ever happening are extremely low for the average person.

According to the 2019 edition of the FBI’s annual report “Crime in the United States,” a statistical compilation of crime the is reported voluntarily by law enforcement agencies that participate in the Bureau’s Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program, 1,203,808 violent crimes were reported by law enforcement in 2019.

The 2019 crime statistics for aggravated assaults were as follows:

Aggravated assaults accounted for 68.2 percent of the violent crimes reported. Therefore, about 821,000 aggravated assaults were committed.

Of the reported aggravated assaults:
  • Firearms were used in 7.6 percent of the cases.
  • Personal weapons, such as hands, fists, or feet, were used in 25.2 percent of the cases.
  • ·Knives or cutting instruments were used in 17.5 percent of the cases.
  • Other weapons were used in 29.8 percent of the cases.
The population of the United States in 2019 was about 328.2 million. Therefore, in 2019 the odds of being a victim of aggravated assault were about 1 in 410.

The following are the odds for some other bad things that could happen to you:
  • Heart disease and cancer: 1 in 7
  • Chronic lower respiratory disease: 1 in 27
  • Intentional self-harm: 1 in 97
  • Unintentional poisoning by and exposure to noxious substances: 1 in 103
  • Motor vehicle crash: 1 in 113
  • Fall: 1 in 133
So, you are paying thousands of dollars a year to train in martial arts and getting injured numerous times while doing it when the chances of you ever needing to use the training are 1 in 410. The chances of you dying in a motor vehicle accident are 1 in 113 and yet people don’t spend time and money to regularly train to avoid and deal with motor vehicle accidents.

For most people, the odds of needing self-defense are very low since they don’t put themselves in situations where it may be needed. The odds of you being injured in martial arts training in any given year are 1 in 1. It is reasonable to say that every person who trains in the martial arts will be injured at least once a year.

If you want to train in martial arts because you enjoy it and you can afford it, then go for it. If you are concerned about self-defense, take a self-defense course to learn some basic procedures and techniques. If you are concerned about being assaulted, don’t hang around people, places, and situations where it might occur and if you think an attack might occur, run! You can practice running for free.

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