Street Reality Vs. "Other" Realities

People are beginning to shy away from the term "Martial Arts" when they are seriously discussing Close Quarter Combatives. I think this is a shame. I understand why it is happening and the roots of this attitude and shift has been brewing for over two decades. People who have insisted that their Sporting and "Self-Improvement" endeavors are suitable for Combat have basically made the words "Martial Arts" a couple of dirty words to alot of people.

People started calling their Martial Art, "Combat Martial Arts," and a plethora of other names to accentuate the fact that they were not merely teaching some traditional form of oriental fighting. The Mindset was totally different, sometimes tradition was thrown out the window, techniques were pared down to the most brutal and efficient that the particular style of martial art had to offer. The rest of what was considered meaningless "fluff" or "ballerina" material was tossed out. The traditional Gi was discarded and people went to street clothes to practice in, the same clothes they would be wearing on the street. And alot of these Martial Arts Pioneers started training with weapons, up to and including Firearms.

Why do I think it is a shame that people are beginning to throw away those two words, "Martial Arts?" Thatís easy, itís a shame because the words are very descriptive. I remind people all the time, Martial, from Mars, The Roman God of War. Martial Art, an Art suitable for War. Itís an excellent term if you believe as I do, that Self-defense is War in microcosm [that phrase has been used by many people, I did not coin it, but I agree with it].

Martial Arts

If you meet a Martial Artist and the conversation drifts to Self-defense, one of the first things that they tend to ask is, "What style are you taking?" Most of the time, they show an interest in style and level of training. If your answer does not fit their view of what a "Martial Art" should be, they blow it off.

If you say something like, "I study Filipino Martial Arts and anything else that works..." They might raise their eyebrows at that and say, "Isnít that just sticks and knives?" And if you reply, "Yeah, it is heavy on sticks and knives, but there are empty hand movements in there as well, some intrinsic to the use of the knife, you just donít have the knife in your hand anymore...there are joint locking movements in there as well as kicking..." They sort of look at you like youíre a nut.

If you get one of these emotionally unstable or extremely macho people, they might even say something like, "Sticks and knives? Thatís for pussies!"

Hey, donít shoot the Messenger for the Message, Iíve seen that happen. Iíve seen it happen if the conversation turns to firearms as well, "Guns are for sissies...Iíll kick you in the face if you try to get a gun..."

Apparently, they have been watching way too many movies and they are living in one.

It would be nice, on one level, to be able to actually draw that gun and watch them urinate in their panties...but I digress.

The reasons that some people have a tendency to respond this way is because they might be...immature and childish or they might feel really threatened by the fact that you know how to use sticks, knives and guns. It varies... Some of them have been sold a lie and because they have spent so much money and expended so much time, blood, sweat and tears into a System that held certain beliefs...they automatically defend anything that threatens what they have invested their time and money into.

On one level, I really cannot condemn them, yes, they are ignorant and yes, some of them tend to be arrogant. However, some of them are GOOD PEOPLE who have just been swindled. Yes, they have been taken and sold a lie.

Selling a Lie

"Selling a lie" has been going on for decades in the Martial Arts. Sure, there have always been those involved in Iaido, Kyudo and Kobudo, there have been Nunchaku, Bo, Tonfa and Sai portions of Competitions for years...but in general, a lie has been sold. People buy that lie and they spend time within that lie...and they believe that lie.

That lie is, that Empty Hands, Unarmed Techniques, are superior to weaponry. This is all backwards. Not everyone does it, but enough people seeking to Commercialize or Sporterize legitimate Martial Arts have perpetrated this in order to promote Empty Handed Arts.

What Army in the last few thousand years ever went into combat without weapons by choice? If we take the meaning of the words, "Martial Arts," and we apply them and we do so in an honest and meaningful way, we see that in order for something to be a "Martial Art," it has to be MARTIAL! Meaning, "Suitable for War."

We routinely see people now involved in the Martial Arts who study the most stupid knife defenses that you can imagine, why do they study them, pay good money to learn them and worst of all, believe in them?

Because they have been sold a lie that flesh and bone beats steel, thatís why. Unarmed Techniques are inferior to Weapons, that is just a fact of life. Because I want these movements to save my life, I cannot delve in fantasy or stroke my ego and ignore reality.

So, somewhere along the line, people started selling the fable that Unarmed Arts are superior to Weapons Arts and history is a terrible thing when it proves you are peddling nonsense.

As a matter of fact, to illustrate this more point more clearly about people being sold a lie, letís look at the Samurai for a moment. I donít think it would be misleading to say that the Bow and Arrow, then Spear/Halberd, then Katana, Wakizashi, Tanto and Aikijujutsu, in that order, was the basic order of "weapons" used by the Samurai. Iím oversimplifying to make a point. The weapon of Last Resort was the Empty Hand Skills, they were not PRIMARY and then came the weapons! Yet, that is the way Martial Arts are sold today! Furthermore, the Aikijujutsu on the Battlefield had a goal in mind, that was to survive until another weapon could be obtained. Do you see what I mean? Now, weapons are shunned and through the Commercialization of Martial Arts to make them palatable to Parents and to the squeamish, this has been promoted as a tradition, a history, and a philosophical method of dealing with violent attackers when it is actually a bastardization of Warrior Arts...Martial Arts.

Iím NOT condemning Unarmed Combat Systems/Techniques, most certainly you should be fluent in the ways of destroying an attacker with hands, elbows, feet, knees, headbutts, your teeth...whatever you can use to survive. That is not the point. The point is, in the Real World, Weapons Rule and they have always Ruled. You have to keep everything in a realistic perspective or you fall prey to your own myopic views.

An Interesting Example: Splitting The Atom

So we see a division now, we see Sports parading as "Martial Arts" because the origin of the Sport was a Martial Art, like Judo. Judo was intended by Jigoro Kano to be a Sport to popularize what he created and to spread it far and wide [In my opinion and the opinion of others who know more than I do].

Jujutsu, and more accurately, Aikijujutsu, was the Samuraiís Unarmed Combat Art, the way of fighting without weapons that they studied. I donít quite know how Aikijujutsu and Jujutsu interact, I know there is a distinct difference between Aikijujutsu and some forms/styles of Jujutsu, I donít know how the differences came into being. Maybe they were just different Ryu [Schools] and maybe with the more effective Jujutsu Systems they just dropped the "Aiki" off the front. I honestly do not know.

I do know this, however...

Aikijujutsu/Jujutsu split off and had two "children." The one "child" was a Sport and the other "child" was a Spiritual Endeavor. The Sport was Judo and the Master was Jigoro Kano and the Spiritual "Endeavor," a Way of Self-Improvement, was Aikido and the Master was Morihei Ueshiba. That much I do know.

As far as I know, when Judo was first "introduced," it was alot more Combative, alot of the strikes and chokes which made it so Combat-effective were removed to make it safer. There were two distinct Schools of Thought back then, one was more Combative and more like the Parent Art and the other began to peel away the Combativeness and focus on the Sporting Element. Now we see Judoka who call their Art, "Combat Judo." Or whatever, getting back to the Roots of the Art.

Everyone knows that Ueshiba Sensei was a powerful fighter. The reason for that was not because he invented Aikido or any such thing, the reason he was so powerful and so effective was, in order to create Aikido, he was a Master of a much more effective, Combat Martial Art, that Art being Aiki[ju]jutsu.

Now we see people who realize that Aikido is not the epitome of Self-defense Methods and they have, like some people involved in Judo, went back and made a circle to the Parent Art. Some people in Aikido went back to the Parent Art of Aikijujutsu and some have begun to start hybrids that bring in more Combative Methods like Tomiki-Ryu Aikido [As per my understanding].

So, please understand, I mean no disrespect, if what I am saying is wrong, please show me where it is wrong and donít merely E-mail me with anger. Iím not interested in that. I know that Ueshiba Sensei was powerful and awesome, that is not in question, what is in question are those people that did not truly follow what he said. So, Ueshiba Sensei gave Aikido to the World as a Combat Method or as a Spiritual Path to Self-Improvement? It is my understanding that it was the latter and not the former. I donít think you can judge Aikido as a "Martial Art" for this reason as the Founder created nothing more Combat effective than what he was already a Grandmaster in, right? If we could ask Ueshiba Sensei a question, that question being, "Did you intend for Aikido to be a Method of Self-defense or...?" How do you think he would answer us? I think I already know. I think you might too.

Yet, when the discussion turns to Self-defense and someone has been studying Aikido and they are promoting that as a Combat Method and you point some of these things out, they get upset. They get upset because they are trying to make their Art into something it was never intended to be. I would ask a very elemental question of anyone that demands that Aikido is an effective Art for Self-defense:

"What is more effective for Self-defense, Aikido or the Parent Art of Aikido, Daito-Ryu Aikijutsu?"

We do have some of the words and thoughts of Ueshiba Sensei, however, and I have obtained them from an online resource and I believe I can take a few excerpts from this 1957 Interview and this should cast some light on the matter.

Ueshiba Sensei was asked several questions, I think from the answers, just looking at them as a commentary, you can see what I mean...

"In my opinion, it [Aikido] can be said to be the true martial art. The reason for this is that it is a martial art based on universal truth. This universe is composed of many different parts, and yet the universe as a whole is united as a family and symbolizes the ultimate state of peace. Holding such a view of the universe, Aikido cannot be anything but a martial art of love. It cannot be a martial art of violence.

...Since I taught martial arts to be used for the purpose of killing others to soldiers during the War, I became deeply troubled after the conflict ended.

...In Aikido, there is absolutely no attack. To attack means that the spirit has already lost. We adhere to the principle of absolute non-resistance, that is to say, we do not oppose the attacker."

I have read on a few occasions that Ueshiba Sensei was influenced by Pacifist Thought, a Pacifist. Iím not a Pacifist and to me, this simply becomes a matter of Philosophical Disagreement. I see the absolute misuse of the words, "Martial Art" by Ueshiba, now I can hear the Aikido Practitioners getting angry, "Oh? You know what a Martial Art is and O-Sensei does not! Youíre an IDIOT!"

Am I? Martial, again, is from the Romans, the God of War, Mars. Come again? I think what happened is, a long time ago, the words "Martial Arts" came to be known as anything resembling an Oriental Method of Fighting. That does NOT make them "Martial." It seems like such a ridiculous point to pursue, but it has caused tons of confusion in the world. What Ueshiba Sensei was teaching Soldiers, for battlefield killing, was in fact a "Martial Art." It was for...War. Understand, where Iím coming from. This deeply troubled Ueshiba Sensei whereas it would NOT have troubled me and many others because Iím not a Pacifist.

I hate to disagree with such a Great Man, but the only "love" that enters into the arena of Martial Arts is the love of your family and the want to return to them alive. The only "love" that enters into my Martial Arts is the Love of Life and I wish to retain my Life because I Love...Life. See? It is not about some high and mighty principle of never hurting anyone. I think this is proper and just. And I do not cloud it in mysticism or pacifism.

William Tell and Gunfighting

I have said some fairly controversial things in the past, I remember one time I said something to the effect that being a Deer Hunter and using a Recurve or Compound Bow and Arrows is more of a Martial Art than some Schools currently teach and the screams of the immature and ignorant could be heard for miles! Yet, I stick by that. Archery is a Martial Art and it is more of a Martial Art than many things being sold today as "Martial Arts."

Kyujutsu is a Japanese Martial Art, a Warriorís Art. One of the Samuraiís Arts. As it is practiced today, it is called Kyudo and has an outlook much like Aikido.

Archery is also present and accounted for in Western Martial Arts as well and has an incredibly rich history.

"Oh come on, Don! Sticking an arrow in a poor, defenseless deer is a Martial Art?!?! Youíre a nut!"

No, Iím being honest. Most people that bowhunt in The United States are involved in a pastime that is more Martial than a Sport or "Self-Improvement" based Fighting System. Thatís my opinion using a strict definition of "martial," being consistent and logical.

For another example, look at Massad Ayoobís Lethal Force Institute, Gunsite Ranch, Clint Smithís Thunder Ranch, in my opinion, these are Martial Arts Academies and they are more "martial" than learning how to kick someone in the head inside a ring, with rules and little booties on your feet.

"Don! Youíre not only a NUT! Youíre a GUN NUT too! Are you going to compare hours of training, sweating and sparring with simply learning how to pull a trigger on a gun? Youíre a fool and a pussy!"

Feel threatened by reality? No one plays by the rules in a TKD Sparring Match...NO ONE unless they are a Participant in THAT endeavor.

There is more to the Defensive Use of Firearms than, "pulling a trigger." In point of fact, when people say that very thing and I have heard it countless times, they show their ignorance right out of the gate when it comes to Firearms. One does not "pull" a trigger, one squeezes a trigger. And Lifesaving Firearms Skills are more of a realistic and modern Martial Art than over 50% of "Martial Arts" being taught today.

I stand by my opinions as I believe them to be based in fact.

The Compass, East & West

This will DEFINITELY piss some people off. Well, sometimes when that happens a person actually here goes.

Why is Kyujutsu/Kyudo considered a Martial Art but Western Archery is not? Why is Kenjutsu/Kendo considered a Martial Art but Saber Fighting and Fencing is not?

Why because if it is a "Martial Art" it HAS to be Oriental/Asian donít you know!

Oh, wow, I did not know that! Man! Thatís amazing considering the very words, "Martial Arts" have their basis in Latin, remember? Damn, how do people survive, tie their own shoes and perform basic motor skills being this stupid?

Iím not going into this deeply, it really deserves an article/essay all by itself.

I will say this, there is nothing that makes me more disgusted than for people involved in Asian Martial Arts to say Western Martial Arts are stupid or "made up" or they just flat-out "donít exist."

OK, there is one more thing that makes me that disgusted and that is for people to embrace Western Martial Arts to such a high degree that they condemn the Asian Systems.

There is arrogance and ignorance on both sides of the issue and I pick and choose what I want because both have wonderful things to offer and contrary to popular belief, both contain effective things not always found in the other.

The Philosophy

One of the reasons I hardened my opinion and resolve on these issues was the fact that I did receive grief over opinions. So, I solidified the opinions I had and made them into a Logical Philosophy. It makes sense for me and it works for me. Basically because Iím not Politically Correct, that has alot to do with the deterioration of Martial Arts in this Country too.

Look at it this way. If you take a guy who can only play Checkers well and you sit him down with a good Chess Player to play CHESS, the Chess Player will mangle him. All of the Rules are different, there is that word again, Rules...there are different strategies and the strategies are different because it is a different Game altogether.

If I step into the ring with a Black Belt in TKD and Iím going to spar them and have a legitimate go at it, Iím going to lose. Why? Because I have to follow rules, thatís why. I cannot do certain things that are outside of TKD and I certainly cannot do things that break Rules, including Safety Rules. That does not mean that TKD is superior to what I do, it means Iím in an environment where I chose to be a Participant. That does NOT carry over to the street or the battlefield AT ALL.

If a Black Belt in TKD is in my yard and I can do what I want, that is another story altogether. Iím not saying they wonít get a shot in, Iím saying they are not going to do as well because that is an environment where they no longer have the protective umbrella of Rules or anything else. Their skills have to stand alone then and there is no protection.

I was already skilled in Jujutsu when I stepped into a TKD Class for the first time. The first time I sparred, I resorted to what worked to a given attack by the guy I was sparring with.

"What is that? Stop that."

I kept going for a little while after that and then I began to open my eyes and realized that some Martial Arts are a Game. And if you donít play by the Rules, just like any other Game, youíre going to get penalized, youíre prohibited from doing certain things. For example, instead of countering a high kick with something that actually worked, I was told to give a response that was FROM TKD. But the problem is, that does not always work. I had something that did. So, I quit playing The Game because I wanted to learn how to defend myself and not stroke my ego, earn belts, certificates and trophies and play Games. I know that sounds harsh and I know that carries with it the possibility of angering alot of people, it is the truth as I see it.

Iím not complaining about those days in TKD, what I am saying is, if you meet someone on the street who does not share your Rule Book and they are NOT going to fight in the manner that you are going to fight and they are free to pull out of their trickbag whatever it is that will bring them victory, "Recipe" Martial Arts like TKD which are more Sporting than Combative are not exactly the way to go about ensuring your survival.

You Will Fight The Way You Train

This is a Universal Truth. If someone teaches you not to strike to the eyes, the throat or to kick the knee to break it and instead make up alternate target areas to stay within the Rules of Safety or Competition, on the street [or battlefield], you may hesitate. As Grandmaster Ed Parker once said;

"Those who hesitate, meditate, in the horizontal position... Forever."

Meaning, youíre dead.

You fight how you train, if you train to "fight" or compete with a certain set of Rules ingrained in your Mindset, you are going to revert back to that under stress. This is why Focus Mitts, Heavy Bags and "Man Dummies" are so important to training because you cannot "safely" hit a training partner in the eyes or throat, yet, you have to be prepared and it has to be pre-programmed in your head that you will do just that. Why? Because they are effective, they are MARTIAL, thatís why.

This is another thing that comes into play with some Martial Arts which have been turned into Sports or "Ways" of Self-Improvement. Competition. Well, you wonít have many Competitions if people start having their eyeballs busted with fingerjabs and you wonít have too many Competitions if people start receiving crushed tracheas from throat strikes. Yet...when you decide to compete, you are agreeing to certain things and you are limiting yourself to those techniques that are "legal" within the confines of the Competition. Right? Worst of all, you are programming yourself to NOT hit vitals. And that carries with it the possibility that you will not hit a vital on the street [you fight like you train] when you HAVE to in order to survive.

Muscle Memory, programmed response. Penalties that are sanctioned against you if you violate the Rules come under the Psychological aspects of Training for Combat, penalizing or punishing for violating a Rule in Class or Competition that will save you on the street, and rewarding behavior that might get you killed on the street, like kicking high and telegraphing your movements, turns the Martial Art into a Sport that is not suitable for Street or Battlefield Combat.

You do not have to believe me, I have Scientific Proof of this. The Proof is called, "Operant Conditioning." The Marine Corps used Operant Conditioning in the L.I.N.E. Combatives System[1] and I imagine that all sound and effective Military Training uses it to one degree or another. The Military uses it in Marksmanship Programs as well. This has its roots from B.F. Skinnerís work on Behavior Modification. You can read much of this on the Internet, do a Google.Com search for "B. F. Skinner" or "Operant Conditioning."

You can also go to and read some of David Grossmanís Articles on Operant Conditioning, I do not agree with everything he says, but when it comes to Operant Conditioning, he has the proof to back up his words.

This goes to the heart of the matter, if you are training for Combat, then do it, if you are training to fight and survive on the Street or the Battlefield, then do it. Donít start cluttering your mind with all sorts of nonsense in order to be a good Competitor because it has nothing to do with any reality you will encounter on the Street or Battlefield, some Martial Arts are not very Martial and they teach you the exact opposite and they CONDITION you to respond in a manner that will get you killed if you run into someone who is willing to escalate far beyond your own comprehension. If someone is willing to "go all the way" and you are not or you have been trained not to do certain things, then you are going to be in alot of trouble, very, very quickly.

NHB PPVs and Reality

So, because alot of Martial Arts, for years, have been promoted as a means of Self-defense and so many people realized that was nonsense, what happened? Ahh...someone was very smart and made ALOT of money on it, thatís what happened!

The No Holds Barred, Pay Per View Event [PPV] happened, thatís what. This was supposed to separate the Posers from the Fighters, and letís face it, in many ways it DID do just that. There were STILL those pesky Rules, however, and any time you inject Rules into "Fighting," you are going to have loopholes, you are handicapping some people. Thatís a fair and honest observation I believe.

In other words, you get a guy that drills eyes, throat, nuts and knees and uses the correct tools to attack each, over and over again, he will usually survive on the Street if he keeps his wits about him. In a Ring, again...not so good.

These were never "No Techniques Barred" Matches, they were, "No Holds Barred" Matches, and yes, there IS a difference. All the difference in the World.

What we learned from these Matches is this, if you are facing one attacker that has no weapon(s) and you have a somewhat forgiving surface to fight on, various Hybrids of Jujutsu and Wrestling including both Brazilian JJ and Roman-Greco Wrestling trend towards superiority within those parameters. I also think that is fair to say. I think it has been proven. That does not mean Practitioners are invincible by any means. The Grapplers are fond of saying, "Most fights end up on the ground," or they will offer up a percentage of fights that end up on the ground, say, 80%. Where this statistic came from, no one knows! But it is out there, anyway, as "Jim Grover" pointed out and others have as well, sometimes fights end up on the ground because people donít know how to keep things from going to the ground [Iím paraphrasing here, but that is more or less the idea].

The Tripod of Superiority

Letís get back to the Superiority of Grappling. If you have watched some of these matches, something becomes immediately apparent, these guys are damned tough people! Iím not taking anything away from them at all. And I would get my ass kicked in that ring with them, thatís not my turf. Thatís why. There is alot to be said for being tough, but, this is still a match with Rules.

Iíve had discussions with NHB Fighters, and some of them are involved in Weapons-Based Arts, that is someone I donít want to run into! But some of them are ignorant and theyíre arrogant. And if theyíre not these things, they might be crazy, I donít know.

I know what I was taught in Jujutsu was, the ground, walls, tables, chairs and telephone poles, all were your friend because you could throw someone onto/into them and bust them up. You ever hear the old saying, "Itís not the fall that kills you, itís the sudden stop at the end?" Well, thatís the active, operational part. The throw or takedown does not hurt you, getting slammed with force and all of your body weight behind it has a tendency to damage you. To the Grappler, the ground is his friend.

Yet, if you have watched some of these matches, you see these guys use the forgiving quality of the ringís surface and they EXPLOIT the fact that the surface in question will not hurt them. That surface will not rip their face off, concrete and blacktop can do that. Broken glass, debris, hell, used SYRINGES of all things! Iíve seen PLENTY of them in areas where you are LIKELY to have to defend yourself.

I know all of the counters to what I am saying, I tried to inject some sanity into a discussion once and was told, "Iíll fight on broken glass, I donít care!"

OK, so...[COUGH COUGH], OK! You are willing to fight on broken glass. If I get knocked to the ground in an alley that has broken glass, I HAVE to fight there. Volunteering to do these things, to me, is just not my cup of tea. You want to tear yourself up like that just to prove how tough or bad you are? Thatís OK with me. I donít think it proves anything, but by all means, you are free to say it or even do it. I donít care.

If you go to the ground in the real world, and you are used to exploiting a certain surface that is forgiving, donít be amazed if you seriously hurt yourself and possibly to the point of losing.

In the Real World, away from the Ring and the Rules, one should endeavor to stay the hell OFF of the ground, that does NOT mean you should not learn how to fight on the ground either. By all means, you should be competent on the ground. You should also NOT go there by choice in a real fight. The ground is an unforgiving bastard. Use it as a weapon to smash someone with if you can, but it is also an unforgiving bastard if something goes wrong and you are the guy who thinks he has control of everything only to find out that you donít and you end up eating the High-Speed Pavement.

Now, this illustration is what I am talking about, I call it, "The Tripod of Superiority."

At the top we see, "Unarmed Attacker [No Weapons]."

At the bottom we see, "Single Attacker [No Multiples]" and, "Forgiving Surface [Compatibility]."

The surface has to be forgiving, now, why not use concrete and blacktop in these matches? Anyway, Iím not going to argue this point with anyone in the future. If someone wants to go upside down on their face in order to get someone in a headlock with their legs, outside of "Joeís Beer Joint and Funeral Parlor," hey! Go for it! Tear your face off, break your own neck, smash your brainpan!

Next, a Single Attacker, you add just one more guy, you donít want to be on the ground. Way too easy for someone else to stick a knife in your back, club you, choke YOU while youíre choking their buddy or just stomp your guts out. Walk right up on your little Vale Tudo reenactment and pop you in the head with a round of 9mm.

Finally, an Unarmed Attacker, No Weapons Involved. A diminutive Emerson/Perrin LaGriffe changes everything. A pencil can change everything. Why go into everything that can be done with weapons, it should be obvious.

Any time one of these things in the Tripod is missing, like any Tripod, there is the possibility of failure of the structure, wobbling and teetering and then a fall, a failure.

Remove one leg and the Tripod is not so strong, is it? You lay out the Rules for the NHB PPV Event, and within those parameters, Grapplers usually win, not always, but usually they will be the victor. That means that those Arts tend to be superior in that environment and that is ALL it means.

The little knife that you did not see, might kill you. The friend of the guy you are fighting, the one you did not know about, he might kill you. The lowly, nasty .25 Caliber Raven Semi-Auto Handgun that you never knew about and you would never own because it is not really a quality weapon...if the guy dumps the whole magazine into you, that might kill you too.

Donít go to the ground on purpose.

Know what you are doing on the ground in case you land there.

Learn to get the hell back up off the ground and on your feet.

If someone wants to take you to the ground and pound on you, break some of your bones, "curb" your teeth or choke you to death...remember The Tripod of Superiority and utilize whatever weapon you can.

The real world is full of hard/sharp surfaces, multiple attackers and alot of weapons. Guns, knives, clubs...all sorts of things.

The Negativity

I know some people might not like what I have had to say about some Martial Arts, Aikido, TKD and NHB Folks are obviously groups that might not like what I have had to say so far. I can understand that and I think I already addressed why they would be angry.

It is not that I revel in being negative and spouting off about things, I wish everything was cool and everyone was being honest and everyone had their head on straight when it comes to these things. Even more than that, I wish we all lived in a world where having to know certain things was not necessary, unfortunately, that is never going to be a reality.

Please try to keep in mind that I am only talking about things that are specifically marketed as being Arts of Self-defense. Try to keep that in perspective and try to keep in mind that Iím critiquing these things only in that realm.

If you intended to get involved in these Arts with an eye towards Self-defense, Iím just giving you a different view into various things. There are some serious deficiencies in some Arts and some of them should never, ever, be marketed as Self-defense methods.

The Knife Defense Controversy

This continues to be a "Hot Button" Issue with many people. Iím on record as saying that if you do not know how to use a knife, and you are teaching "Knife Defenses," you are more or less a Driving Instructor who does not know how to drive a car. Iíve also said that is fraud and I stand by that as well.

Again, I know that is incredibly unpopular with some people and the people that it is unpopular with have nothing to respond with that is solid and logical...

The reason it is unpopular is faith. It is like arguing religion with some people, most things having to do with religion are faith-based. People invest alot of time and money, as I said before, in their Art they have decided to practice and to have someone say that someone is doing something that is detrimental to their students is immediately taken as insult.

"Oh, you donít know shit about our Art, why donít you shut your mouth?"

Well, I may or may not, but it is pretty clear from alot of the Knife Defenses that I have seen that most Martial Artists "donít know shit about how to use a knife" does that leave us?

I know, for a fact, from some of the demos of techniques I have seen and have been taught from Instructors and Students in various Systems, that they are suicidal unless you are fighting a moron. So, if my intent is to try to save SOMEONE out there who might read some of the stuff I write, I have to say certain things. Some people have no idea whatsoever how a knife moves in skilled hands, or in semi-skilled hands either. Now there is a problem...

What about people that are not skilled and they have a knife? Well, theyíre dangerous as all hell too because you donít know what in the hell they are going to do! They might do something so unorthodox and so stupid, but because it is something so insane, it gets in there and you get cut or stabbed anyway.

"Knife Defenses" in most Martial Arts fall apart unless they are a part of that Systemís "Recipe." The pre-conceived notions and the easy and telegraphed movements that have to be done in order for the "Knife Defense" to work in the first place, that is the "recipe."

Letís make another "Tripod."

Now, here are the three concerns with the Knife Defenses in most Mainstream Martial Arts;

1. Telegraphed Attacks: You see this ALL THE TIME. While some people will telegraph, most "Knife Defenses" rely on that element and that element may or may not be present. Someone who really knows how to use a knife might deliberately telegraph something in order to get you to respond in a certain way and then they will instantly change direction and/or level and cut you and once they have entered, you usually get cut and/or stabbed more than once, in fact-multiple times, in about ONE SECOND. Yes, it can happen that fast.

2. Paralyzed Body [Compliant]: This means TWO things, first of all, if you use your other hand, elbows, headbutt, knees or feet to free the knife that someone is trying to defend against, alot of Martial Arts Instructors get frustrated and tell you to stop that. Why do they do that? Very simple, because the Defense they are teaching falls apart and they cannot have that. They will make up every excuse under the sun. "People wonít do that." Yeah, OK, what if the guy DOES actively fight to retain or regain control of the weapon? What then? Well, I guess you die then.

The second part of this is, the arm is held out there for the "Defender" to execute the disarm and while this has to be done in the beginning in order to learn a principle, you still see the same element involved in advanced level "Knife Defenses." These are both of the Paralyzed Body points I wanted to make.

3. Committed Attacks: This is intrinsically linked to #1 and #2, the Non-Telegraphed Strike retracts and then cuts on withdrawal at times. See the problem and the link to the other two? When the attack is a non-committed attack, problems occur because the person and the weapon are not where you expected them to be when you expected them to be there.

One leg of the Tripod is missing, the Tripod teeters and it is weak, just as before. Understand where Iím coming from?

When an Instructor teaches a Knife Defense that relies on these things, they are setting a stage and then acting on that particular stage with those set rules and the "defense" is a success because it is a pre-arranged success and anything that enters to prohibit the "defense" is shunned by the Instructor because the "defense" then falls apart.

This is like having an internal combustion engine, you start it up and it runs just fine. Drive the car into a lake and see how the engine runs then. In one environment, the engine works, the environment it is designed to operate in. In under the water, not so good.

The analogy is direct and applicable, you lift many of the popular "knife defenses" out of their Dojo environment and they fail and drown. You take them out of the environment that they have been formulated to excel in [The Recipe] and put them in another where there are no rules and no recipe or formula is present and they fail.

In Closing

Like I said, I donít want to be negative and in truth, I would rather just do something else with my time like review a new, neat piece of equipment or something and dedicate my time to that.

This is written NOT in the spirit of "picking on" people or what they love and in all honesty, it is not written for certain people to get pissed off about. I know some people wonít like this and wonít accept or believe it. It is written for other people with open minds who see a flaw in their training, they see that deficiency in what they are being taught. Or, they are just starting out and they want to learn how to defend themselves. Thatís who this is composed for. For someone that is searching...because I know the people who will be angered by it are already beyond reasoning with. Theyíre happy with what they are involved in and that is fine by me. It is when they begin to teach other people a fantasy and wrap it with a cloak of reality that disturbs me.

[1] Operant Conditioning used for say, a Hand to Hand Combat Program would be, if you complete a sequence correctly and within the allotted time, you get praised. If you do not, you are punished with push-ups, sit-ups, running in place, etc., and then you have to do the whole sequence over again. Punishment and Reward. Do you see the parallel with penalizing people for striking vitals in Competition?

Don Rearic

Back to the Main Index