Sunday, May 29, 2011
Keeping an open mind is one of the most important things you can learn in the study of any martial art. Once you stop having an open mind, your progress stops as well.
Having dabbled in this art and that over the years, I've seen too many people fall into the trap of thinking that their style is the best style out there. All systems have their strengths and weaknesses. You just need to find what works, makes sense, and can be applied by you. And the teacher to teach it.
One thing I've noticed is that many styles out there are extremely good at defending against themselves. This can lead it's practitioners being over confident in their abilities and having an unrealistic view of how transferable their skill set is to a variety of attacks.
To illustrate. I am a big fan of Kali and Escrima. I've had an opportunity to cross-train in them and have benefited immensely from it, especially in my development and research into effective knife survival skills. What did I take away? I would never knife fight with a knife fighter. I would never stand face to face with a dedicated Kali practitioner. He or she would likely carve me up. Same as I would never fence against a fencer. Or straight up box with a boxer. The list goes on. They are too good at defending against what they do, because they practice both sides of the equation in their chosen art.
It is easy to develop tunnel vision if you fail to recognize that your opponent may not attack you in the style or method to which you are accustomed. I'm not saying for one second that Kali, boxing, fencing, BJJ, etc. can't defend from a variety of attacks, but what I am asking is does your stance, plan, or confidence go out the window if your opponent 'changes the rules?'
I've used Kali as an example because I don't want this to turn into a what style is the best type of scenario. I have the utmost respect for Kali and Escrima and do and will continue to cross train in it. I could have easily used Japanese Jiu Jitsu as an example as well.
The study of any martial art where combat effectiveness is the priority, must take into account a variety of different methods of teaching, methods of attack and principles of movement. You need to determine if what you are learning is based on the most likely form of attack that you might receive, in the real world. If you don't, you might find yourself in a difficult position when you attacker doesn't attack you 'right'. This is why principles are more important than specific techniques and an awareness of real world violence and your own likelihood of being attacked, by who, when, where and how, are just as important as any other part of your training.