Something I never understood about Philippine Martial Artists of today, that they have become more “weapons experts” and less “fighters”. This is what I mean:
Many FMA people have gotten away from the basics of what being a martial artist is all about. They love to rub elbows, name-drop, and just be friends with everyone. They like images: gang-banger types, moro motifs, military/LEO/special forces types, or simply to be really, really likeable guys. They don’t like competition… NO! There are no such things as superior fighters or superior arts, we have our way, and you have yours! Make your own path, there is no wrong way to train and no right way to train.
My gosh you guys sound like please-everybody-Democrats. You know the type. They kind of guy who disagrees with abortion, but “respects your right to have one”. Or who things homosexuality is an abomination (your religion even says it), but you “tolerate” them without saying how you really feel.
I know I probably offended some folks here, but if your skin is not tough, I am pretty darned sure your body isn’t.
But the martial artist, if nothing else, is a fighter. But so many of us are afraid of fighting. We are even afraid of arguing, disagreeing, or making a judgment. We want to be friends with everyone, and no one wants to really see who is best in combat. No, it’s much better to just demonstrate what you know than to ask a guy to cross sticks and see what he’s made of. Yet, look on every Guro’s website, and I’ll bet you he spends at least two pages trying to convince you this guy can kick some butt, and that he learned from a guy who can kick some butt. Like it or not, every Guro in business–behind closed doors–spends a good portion of his time trying to make his students feel like he is capable of winning fights and spends a good portion of his night fantacizing that he can whip everyone.
So what’s the problem?
While these teachers out here wish they could fight, and they even try to convince students and non-martial artists that they can fight, I believe most FMA people really don’t believe they can fight. And this is why they (1) try to downplay the importance or relevance of fighting/sparring/tournament fighting, (2) try to compensate for lack of skill by associating with other Guros/strength in numbers, (3) try to compensate for lack of skill and knowledge by taking the next seminar and studying and promoting arts that make them look like they can fight, like Muay Thai, BJJ, etc., (4) lift weights and get tatoos so they can (again) look the part, and (5) hide behind weapons and tough talk. Want a good litmus test? How much sparring and fighting has he done?
And please… PLEASE don’t give me that “survivor of 100 streetfights” bullshit! I’m sorry but that bloody nose you took on the playground in 3rd grade doesn’t count. And neither do those altercations at the nightclub when you were a bouncer. You weren’t the only one who did nightclub security around here.
And neither do those physical detainments during your years as a cop. Neither does that little course in hand-to-hand in Army basic training.
I am talking about hand to hand, man to man fighting and sparring experience.
So some Guro has never been in a streetfight in his life. Can he have credibility?
Of course! I don’t know about you, but if some 40 – something martial arts teacher is out here getting into streetfights, I would question what type of person he is! Many great martial artists have been in streetfights, but they don’t talk about it. I have found that the ones who put it out there the most, have done it the least. Myself, I don’t think I would want to study with a guy who isn’t mature enough to resolve his issues without stepping outside like a 19 year old boy.
But we should not shy away from playing the game. Martial arts is not all about trying to maim people, or kill them. But it is about fighting. And if you are training in the martial arts, you should be doing some type of fighting. SOMETHING. Tournaments. Get together with other Guros or Black Belters, and mix it up. You need something under your belt, so that when you’re teaching, you are teaching from experience and having done it yourself, rather than just punch-kick-strike. If you haven’t done that, you really cannot call yourself a martial artist. I wouldn’t learn tennis from a guy who’s never played a match. I wouldn’t learn to swim from a guy afraid of water (or at least who tries to convince me I can swim without getting wet). I wouldn’t let a dentist perform a root canal who learned by video.
The martial artist who does not fight occupies himself with everything else in the martial arts besides fighting so that he can still feel like a martial artist.
So, FMA people say that they fight, but they put down WEKAF tournaments, downplay the Dog Brothers, and pretty much shun sparring, but they will run their happy asses to every seminar and gathering and internet forum to rub elbows, stroke egos and smile and take pictures. Hmm… sounds like a damned sorority if you ask me.
Keep checking back with me, I have 8 video reviews coming up, a new book (How to Build a Superior Fighter in 12 months), and plenty more articles… Thanks for reading my blog. Please visit us again!