The ENEMY of All Martial Artists: The Square Peg in a Round Hole continuum
Not a history lesson I promise! 😇
Martial Arts, discovered by General Kwan Kung roughly 2000 years ago. General Kwan, a feisty guy, ordered fighting system be created, by the experienced soldiers, so that the smaller framed soldiers he commanded could gain an advantage against much larger opponents, today we refer to this as Kung Fu and its many children.
Clue # 1 Martial Arts was developed so that smaller often weaker people could fight and win against larger people on the battlefield.
As societies became more civilized systems from every country and Tribe were developed and systematized so that more and more people could learn, becoming a less violent more controlled expression of self defense as opposed to an offensive weapon as general Kung desired.
Clue #2 MA became a less violent way of fighting, controlled and focusing on self defense vs offensive tactics.
As MA, if we wish our “systems” to work and to mean anything we must practice movements and techniques thousands of times before the actual movement resembles the perfection of your teachers movement correct?
Well if that’s so, the reality is that by nature, because of physiological differences beyond our control, the movement is already imperfect coming from a teacher whose own teacher had to modify for him, or he just modified on his own to better fit his structure.
Clue # 3 There is no perfect movement
Beyond this not so shocking truth, in the history of man I think that possibly once or twice was a full technique EVER completed to fruition. That is to say, that techniques of any kind, in MA, are fundamentally flawed because your opponent can move in thousands of different ways diametrically opposed to what your learning class!
Don’t ever think that you have the perfect solution to a very imperfect line of attack.
Clue # 4 Techniques are guidelines for movement NOT rules for movement or engagement
The issue we all have is that when one is learning in any controlled environment the crucial fundamental components of violence are lacking. Pressure, emotions, shape, fitness level, duress, life and limb dangers, sound, heat or cold, calculations, speed velocity of on coming blows and on and on….throwing a right straight punch is ok, BUT that’s only about 10% of the quotient needed to make the winning formula work.
The other 90%!
Your mental capacity and training it daily will get and keep you out of trouble. Punching and kicking is merely an action that the brain performs as a survival instinctual reaction which without strategic thinking, causes you to make even MORE mistakes in battle!
When BANG goes off trust me, your not thinking about punch counters, grabs, Americanas, all of those things..Don’t believe me? Shadow box with someone in your family and say yo yourself, “ok as soon as they throw a straight punch I’ll use abc counter”….you let me know how that works out for you. You let me know….
Referencing all that we inherently know, why then do we continue to try and implement a technique knowing that an opponent WILL NOT MOVE IN STRAIGHT LINES. They simply are not going to feed you the strikes like in the dojo, worse if they figure out that you have some training, they may use that against you through a series of feints and fakes In Order to lure you into destruction.
As of Jan 1st my students are wearing safety suits and will partake in force on force training, that is, they are going to fight each other, no rules, no clock, no ref, nada nothing zilch…they are my responsibility, it is then unfortunately, the only way to go.
I may not have 100 students in a class, but I don’t worry about them when they are out and about.
If you train your mind by making decisions today. Decisions like, “ if I’m ever attacked from behind I’m going to dig like hell to get away from an attacker, I’ll do WHATEVER it takes to get back home” versus “well if he throws a hook, I’ll do punch counter number 65, and when he falls over I’ll go into an Americana and bam he’s done”…nice thought but you are of course in dreamland.
Because if you think that a person that is trying to harm you gives a rats ass about your belt and your technique, you’ve never been in battle.
It’s not necessary to have been in battle
Or many battles at that. What is necessary is to train your mind constantly from the growing fears among you and take MA back to clue #3…make your mindset your biggest weapon.
In my research, there are agencies who’s people put their lives on the line Every day.
These Same agencies say that Up to 80% of all communication Is nonverbal. That means, That we tell people. Who we are? And what our intentions are. All of the time; Start paying attention to your surroundings and what people are telling you. The bad guys, As you know, Will tell you right away who they are. Most of the time anyway.
In addition. The cool thing about training your mindset Is that very quickly you will also start telling people what your intentions are.
Your body will say, “come mess with me and you will find out, or I’m having a bad day and I need to kick some ass” Bad guys, like water, are always looking for the weak. Don’t look weak and like prey and they will quickly move on. When with your body language and demeanor scream out and say, “Not me buddy, Not me, 99% of the time they move on….
DONT ever try and fit your technique to an attack, trust and let your limbic brain use the organized chaos it will create to answer and even predicate the attack. Let your brain make the square peg round so that it fits correctly, THIS singular strategy will immediately sway the tide of the altercation by accepting the force and responding to it in a strategically tactical way, as opposed to force on force where you may very well lose…hopefully not but the odds stack up very quickly if you don’t train your mind to do what it has to do to survive.
Fighting is complex and ugly, nobody condones violence (except bad guys) nor wants to engage in the aftermath, BUT when violence pops off, it doesn’t care what it rolls over to get to you, so in a violence plagued environment, you have no choice but to meet it with overwhelming violence. I’m sorry, you do have a choice, you can lay down and await what’s coming.
Believe me, if you take nothing else away from this article, remember this…violence is never the answer but when it is, commit to it 100% until the threat is controlled and mitigated, going halfway opens complexity of responses from bad guys that you don’t want to see. In violence there is no gray, only black and white, it is or it isn’t, just a little is never a enough when the other participants want to hurt you and yours.
Finally, as a young student I remember walking on air every time I learned a new block, a new kick a new punch. I felt invincible…until, I trusted the simplest of blocks and I got smacked across the face by an opponent that typically would not have even tried…in my very active life on the street, in the bar business, in combat and in just every day life, NOBODY had ever even come close to my face, other places sure, but I’m a lover and sometimes fighter! Like SGM Luka Ramos Jr always says to me, “gotta love your face, if you get hit, means you didn’t live your face enough”….did I win that encounter? I did, I was overwhelmed with the rage only a man slapped by another man can explain, but I got rid of the Art and let the Martial take over….and let’s say many are sorry until today that that person slapped me. I’m not gloating, but those that have been around me long enough know what I mean, those that don’t, well ask them 🙂.
And that’s your final lesson, don’t ever get the Martial and the Arts mixed together. They live comfortably inside under carefully controlled environments, BUT, when you are going outside, tell the Arts to pop in a movie, grab some popcorn and stay home…Martial’s got it.
Oh and if I sound arrogant please that is not the intent…I may come across like that but truly not my intent at all, besides you can probably kick my butt anyway 😇.
GrandMaster Dan Barretto
9th Degree Red and Silver
Urban Combat Hunter Tactical
Honolulu HI Houston Tx Miami Fl