There is a growing gap between reality, the nature of violence, and martial arts training. This gap is not exclusive to traditional martial arts (TMA), reality based systems (RBS) or mixed martial arts (MMA).
Why is this happening? What's wrong with the martial arts?
Is it the techniques?
Is it the application?
Is it a matter of understanding?
Is it a matter of motivation?
Is it the teachers?
Is it the students?
The least serious offender are the techniques themselves. A punch hurts, joints only bend so many ways, the body follows pain etc. Most techniques will work, at least somewhat, if used in the right circumstances.
Application and Understanding:
These next two are part a big part of the problem. Techniques only work if they are applied correctly, and if you understand how and when they will be effective. If you don't take into account movement, momentum, desire, skill and action vs. reaction, then attempts at applying techniques are unlikely to be successful. If you don't understand what happens after you apply a technique or as you apply it, you'll also be in a tough spot.
This may be the biggest issue forcing a gap between truly effective realistic training and what is being passed off as 'real stuff'. This sounds very critical but I'll explain this more in depth later on. This is the mind part, the 'why you're doing what you're doing' and your desired outcome.
Teachers can definitely be part of the problem, but from what I've seen, it's rarely a lack of physical skill that is to blame, any shortcomings come back to application, understanding and motivation.
Normally we think of students as being hapless participants in the process. If they are lucky enough to find a great teacher, they benefit, if they find a poor teacher, they didn't know better. Now, it can often be challenging to find a good teacher if you have no real experience or understanding of the nature of violence, but the student needs to take an active role in being responsible for the type and quality of their training. They need to focus on figuring out their motivation. Why are they taking martial arts in the first place?
Does this mean everything is flawed? No. What it does mean is that we need a deeper examination of what we are doing and more importantly, why we are doing it.
The next part will discuss some of the things that I've been seeing in the world of martial arts and why they are of concern. I'll also delve more deeply into the points I've just raised and discuss strategies for closing the gap.