Hypothetical (The Bad Old Days)

I’m not really sure why I let people on the internet bother me, but I do. Some keyboard-evangelist who’s out to promote the glory of their style and to decry all others ends up making blatantly incorrect comments and slights at grappling and I get mad. The latest one is the indomitable Chinese martial arts (called CMA within the community). Huge disclaimer: I don’t do kung fu, chin na, etc. My personal experience with CMA is limited to people having brought it to jujitsu. I did get to play with chin na techniques and push-hands drills, but that’s it. As a whole, I’d consider myself ignorant to CMA.

It’s shit like this that makes me want to go “Bring on the bad-old days.” Bring back the days when jujitsu matches ended in death or worse. Bring on unholy competitions whose goal is to pit the most dedicated practitioners against each other in a literal fight-to-the-death. I remain stoically convinced that we should just open up a 20-year period of history where we acknowledge the right of idiots to fight to the death for pride and to establish there’s as the definitive best style. Bring on a battle royale where there can only be one survivor, and his style shall be declared the greatest. Make people actually see what does and doesn’t work and let them figure out that everything they’ve been told is a lie.

If you don’t believe that everything you’ve been taught about your art in comparison to others wasn’t a set of hypotheticals I invite you to go to a gym, walk up to the black belt, and tell them you want to fight. Tell them your crane fist bullshit is a match for good ol’ US wrestling and BJJ. See how far that gets you. The notions of “well I’d just hit him in the back of the head when he shot in for a double-leg takedown” are based on the assumption that A. you’re faster than he is and B. he’ll shoot a double. That strike to the back of the head doesn’t do dick when he’s instead done an arm-drag to the back. In the same vein we can’t assume that a grappler is going to be able to close the distance to lay hands on an opponent. That’s assumes a better knowledge of controlling space.

That’s what it comes down to kids – not the style, but the person. We’ve had over 3000 years of monkey dancing around with “my style can kick your style’s ass.” So here’s a list of fun counter arguments to the common bullshit people will feed you trying to compare styles:

  1. Sport-based styles are bad because a rule set prevents you from being prepared…
    > A sport-based style gives you a specific subset of techniques which are practiced under stress and often in a panicked state. They might not be eye-gouges and groin strikes, but they’re reliable nonetheless.
  2. My style has lethal techniques, sport rules nerf that out…
    >Stop them right there and explain what a continuum of force is. I don’t care that a swift blow to the right part of the spine will kill a man. A good neck-crank will do the same thing. More importantly, grappling gives you the option to explicitly not hurt someone, let alone kill them. “I threw him to the ground and held him so he couldn’t continue hurting me or my friends” is a much better story when the cops show up than “I punched the drunk guy to death.” It’s also a lot more likely to come up.
  3. My style is one of the oldest in the world. The best styles are those which have stood the test of time…
    > Wrestling is a primate universal. That means it’s been around longer than human existence. No one else can say their style of fighting has existed literally as long as there have been opposable thumbs. The rules might change every couple hundred years based on what’s in vogue, but the techniques haven’t changed since the last huge anatomical mutation.
  4. Striking is better against multiple opponents…
    > A gun works even better than that. Buy one, learn to use it safely, and move to a state with conceal and carry (aka – anywhere but Illinois).
  5. Grappling works better in the UFC, but it wouldn’t fair at all on the street…
    > The whole notion of the first UFC was just that – what would work best on the street. Guess what? You lost. Get over it.
  6. We have anti-grappling techniques…
    > Demand clarification. If their “anti-grappling” techniques are grappling, well, they’ve got you there. The best defense against a double is knowing how to do one well so you can stop it. Lots of experience with dedicated grapplers will let you see one coming and do the right thing. You can’t argue that someone stands a good chance shutting your grappling down when they have a black belt in judo. If their “anti-grappling” techniques are striking, calmly explain physics. All of physics. They clearly fail to understand concepts like momentum, mechanical advantage, or work. If anti-grappling techniques worked, people would do them in MMA instead of learning to sprawl.

One thought on “Hypothetical (The Bad Old Days)

  1. It’s the karate-kid syndrome. When we’re kids, we want to believe that if we just learnt the secret tiger-claw to the face then we can beat up someone so much bigger than us. Some people grow out of it and start fighting for real. Some people understand what CMA/TMA are, and what they are used for. Some people never grow out of the KK syndrome.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s