• We would like to welcome Craftsman Clothing back as an official Affiliate Vendor. Craftsman Clothing is a brand for the refined men who want to look good with minimal effort, and care about products that are well-made. In additon to being a go-to brand for all things essential, Craftsman Clothing also offers bespoke outerwear that’s uniquely crafted for you. Please visit their thread and give them a warm welcome.

  • STYLE. COMMUNITY. GREAT CLOTHING.

    Bored of counting likes on social networks? At Styleforum, you’ll find rousing discussions that go beyond strings of emojis.

    Click Here to join Styleforum's thousands of style enthusiasts today!

The SF Martial Arts Thread

am55

Distinguished Member
Joined
Mar 22, 2014
Messages
3,024
Reaction score
2,064
A lot of practitioners of performance wushu have publicly stated that what they do is not practical for realistic fighting, that they are artists, but not fighters. I think that this is a very healthy attitude. There are other reasons to practice a martial artist than becoming a skilled fighter. I do feel that the insistence of some traditional martial artists (hard and soft styles alike) that their styles, which are often completely untested in actual combat, are good for combat, to be foolish, at best. [...]

I'm definitely not against traditional martial arts - I hold a decent dan level in Shotokan, and also hold a decent ranking in Kenpo. I am very much against any statement of efficacy that a practitioner will not back up in combat.
Why define combat as 1-on-1 in a room with a well padded floor and practitioners who stop before death? How long would you last in Sarajevo during the Kosovo war, or Helmand Province during recent operations, or Yemen right now amongst the PMC teams paid for by your taxes?

Yes, UFC 1 gave a rough idea of what kind of things worked best in a certain setting but what percentage of the modern Marine's training is MCMAP vs reading books, or how much hand to hand combat is the average Q course candidate going to need to pass selection? Under this definition, whilst you might very well "take on" "warrior monk" Mattis, or Carlos Hathcock even at his peak, on the mat, the average Singaporean male is a more "skilled fighter" thanks to his two years running around in the jungle with a SAR 21 (unless there is a part of your life you have kept very quiet about).

The martial arts world is unfortunately full of charlatans. I think that the old school dojo storms (which never happen any more) would keep people a lot more honest.
The peacetime military world is unfortunately full of Walter Mitties. I think that the old school wars between developed nations (which never happen anymore - how are we to know today whether COIN is a good idea when back in the good old days something like De Gaulle's idea of combined arms as published in his 1932 Fil de l'Epee would be vindicated in real combat half a decade later by Guderian and Rommel) would keep people a lot more honest. Instead we get speculative essays (counterpoint). (no, I am not serious)
 

LA Guy

Opposite Santa
Staff member
Admin
Moderator
Joined
Mar 8, 2002
Messages
44,118
Reaction score
17,688
Why define combat as 1-on-1 in a room with a well padded floor and practitioners who stop before death? How long would you last in Sarajevo during the Kosovo war, or Helmand Province during recent operations, or Yemen right now amongst the PMC teams paid for by your taxes?

Yes, UFC 1 gave a rough idea of what kind of things worked best in a certain setting but what percentage of the modern Marine's training is MCMAP vs reading books, or how much hand to hand combat is the average Q course candidate going to need to pass selection? Under this definition, whilst you might very well "take on" "warrior monk" Mattis, or Carlos Hathcock even at his peak, on the mat, the average Singaporean male is a more "skilled fighter" thanks to his two years running around in the jungle with a SAR 21 (unless there is a part of your life you have kept very quiet about).


The peacetime military world is unfortunately full of Walter Mitties. I think that the old school wars between developed nations (which never happen anymore - how are we to know today whether COIN is a good idea when back in the good old days something like De Gaulle's idea of combined arms as published in his 1932 Fil de l'Epee would be vindicated in real combat half a decade later by Guderian and Rommel) would keep people a lot more honest. Instead we get speculative essays (counterpoint). (no, I am not serious)
You are deliberately and needlessly expanding the argument. Martial arts, weapons arts aside, are typically for "combat" or self-defense against an unarmed opponent.

Having taught numerous self defense courses, I feel like I can safely say that even for a skilled practitioner of the most "practical" martial art, the best course of action if faced with an armed assailant or multiple attackers is to run for your life. As for being "on the streets", there is no rational basis for saying that something that doesn't work on the mats is coming going to work on "the streets". From my experience, more extensive than that of most others, the more uncontrolled is the environment, the more dangerous is the situation for all parties.

I can say that at least for MMA, kickboxing, and jujitsu, opponents stop week before killing each other out of self will. But yes, pretty much every practice, I put into place a choke that could easily kill someone, and have had the same done to me, numerous times. I've gone half unconscious more than once, and people go fully unconscious semi regularly usually because they feel they have a little more, but don't. Just last Wednesday, someone sustained a double fracture and a shattered bone during regular practice. If someone doesn't tap to something clearly tight, you'll typically let go of it in practice, but it's considered highly discourteous to put your teammate in the situation to have to choose. It's a dangerous art that requires respect for your own safety and the safety of your training partners

In nearly all of my wins in a cage, the opponent has ended up unconscious, and in my one loss, I was the same.

As for the use of hand to hand combat in actual war? I think that my lawyer, friend, and former army ranger (sniper), as well as a decent wrestler and boxer, said it best:If you find yourself fighting with your hands, you've done pretty much everything wrong already."
 

am55

Distinguished Member
Joined
Mar 22, 2014
Messages
3,024
Reaction score
2,064
I think you misunderstand my point, or I misunderstand your reply. I object to the idea of "lethality" being used to describe modern martial arts, which are a form of sports, with some of the hobbyists being a bit more willing to take damage than others. The limitations that BJJ imposes on fighting (single opponent, padded mat, etc.) are philosophically the same as the ones, say, aikido imposes (training with cooperating opponent, etc.) - just a different degree, or direction (such as boxing not being about wrestling).

Perhaps because, even as a soft civilian, I have friends who have been in actual combat (firefights, lost friends to IEDs, etc.), I find it difficult to hear the word being used to describe a sport, no matter how dangerous the techniques would be "in real life" (see any parallels with the ninjutsu guy earlier? in his case it might have been technique, in yours, it is an unwillingness - hopefully - to end someone else's life). Maybe I'm in a minority statistically for holding that opinion? But I do not think that unarmed, one-on-one competition skills alone a fighter make. Semantics...

Your lawyer sounds like a great guy and his quip parallels what I was trying to say.

The US military is fascinating in that it is the greatest experiment in combined arms in history, with technology (and culture) allowing a degree of integration that makes the whole much greater than the parts. There have been some superlative warriors coming out of the 20th century proxy wars. The Rhodesian Selous Scouts or the South African apartheid-era Recces or 32 Battalion or even Koevoet had individuals racking up such an immense amount of experience I doubt any single operator today would match it, with the survivors in great demand amongst PMCs until they got too old (32 Battalion in particular formed a good chunk of Executive Outcomes when they took back countries in weeks with 80 men and one Mi-24). Or look at Mike Hoare in Congo. That British Army training and experience went a long way back then.

But are these guys the greatest "skilled fighter"? I think beyond that would be the member of the hive mind, the specialist doing his small part in a greater whole benefitting from the collective, systematic learning of millions of servicemen over almost a century to perfect martial "science". Even infantry Marines have to learn hundreds of pages of material these days... as the saying goes "these were written in the blood of your predecessors". And well organised, experienced teamwork rewrites the odds to such an extent that you can look at the stats post battle (e.g. the Nyadzonya Raid... or the first Gulf War!) and wonder if you read it wrong. Just like soccer as you guys call it - a team of mediocre players will still beat the PSG's brilliantly paid narcissists (sorry Inspector ;)).

As for being "on the streets", there is no rational basis for saying that something that doesn't work on the mats is coming going to work on "the streets".
Imagine something like this on concrete instead of a padded floor, especially against someone who doesn't train so much against throws. Just one variable changed, maybe yes it is more dangerous for both but it is more dangerous for the guy getting thrown (I was first thinking of something like Ude Gaeshi, but that would be harder to pull off on a Fok I suspect!). If I recall the history of the Helio fights against Kimura's lot that particular detail did frustrate the judo side quite a bit...

So, that is why I see all martial arts as something to do for fun, the exhilaration of winning, the beauty inherent in the efficiency of modern techniques, the meeting of minds in a truly equal setting where only ability matters. That is all worth doing but it is not "combat", if that makes sense. Even if you're just running a startup/SME, you can't ignore the way IBM or McKinsey do things, not if you are truly interested in understanding management, so I would expect those interested in combat to be reservists, keep up to date with the literature, etc. - it is the logical continuation of UFC 1 ;)
 

LA Guy

Opposite Santa
Staff member
Admin
Moderator
Joined
Mar 8, 2002
Messages
44,118
Reaction score
17,688
I think you misunderstand my point, or I misunderstand your reply. I object to the idea of "lethality" being used to describe modern martial arts, which are a form of sports, with some of the hobbyists being a bit more willing to take damage than others. The limitations that BJJ imposes on fighting (single opponent, padded mat, etc.) are philosophically the same as the ones, say, aikido imposes (training with cooperating opponent, etc.) - just a different degree, or direction (such as boxing not being about wrestling).

Perhaps because, even as a soft civilian, I have friends who have been in actual combat (firefights, lost friends to IEDs, etc.), I find it difficult to hear the word being used to describe a sport, no matter how dangerous the techniques would be "in real life" (see any parallels with the ninjutsu guy earlier? in his case it might have been technique, in yours, it is an unwillingness - hopefully - to end someone else's life). Maybe I'm in a minority statistically for holding that opinion? But I do not think that unarmed, one-on-one competition skills alone a fighter make. Semantics...

Your lawyer sounds like a great guy and his quip parallels what I was trying to say.

The US military is fascinating in that it is the greatest experiment in combined arms in history, with technology (and culture) allowing a degree of integration that makes the whole much greater than the parts. There have been some superlative warriors coming out of the 20th century proxy wars. The Rhodesian Selous Scouts or the South African apartheid-era Recces or 32 Battalion or even Koevoet had individuals racking up such an immense amount of experience I doubt any single operator today would match it, with the survivors in great demand amongst PMCs until they got too old (32 Battalion in particular formed a good chunk of Executive Outcomes when they took back countries in weeks with 80 men and one Mi-24). Or look at Mike Hoare in Congo. That British Army training and experience went a long way back then.

But are these guys the greatest "skilled fighter"? I think beyond that would be the member of the hive mind, the specialist doing his small part in a greater whole benefitting from the collective, systematic learning of millions of servicemen over almost a century to perfect martial "science". Even infantry Marines have to learn hundreds of pages of material these days... as the saying goes "these were written in the blood of your predecessors". And well organised, experienced teamwork rewrites the odds to such an extent that you can look at the stats post battle (e.g. the Nyadzonya Raid... or the first Gulf War!) and wonder if you read it wrong. Just like soccer as you guys call it - a team of mediocre players will still beat the PSG's brilliantly paid narcissists (sorry Inspector ;)).



Imagine something like this on concrete instead of a padded floor, especially against someone who doesn't train so much against throws. Just one variable changed, maybe yes it is more dangerous for both but it is more dangerous for the guy getting thrown (I was first thinking of something like Ude Gaeshi, but that would be harder to pull off on a Fok I suspect!). If I recall the history of the Helio fights against Kimura's lot that particular detail did frustrate the judo side quite a bit...

So, that is why I see all martial arts as something to do for fun, the exhilaration of winning, the beauty inherent in the efficiency of modern techniques, the meeting of minds in a truly equal setting where only ability matters. That is all worth doing but it is not "combat", if that makes sense. Even if you're just running a startup/SME, you can't ignore the way IBM or McKinsey do things, not if you are truly interested in understanding management, so I would expect those interested in combat to be reservists, keep up to date with the literature, etc. - it is the logical continuation of UFC 1 ;)
I understand your point, but we have a different word for combatants in an actual war: "soldiers." I'm not sure what your first language is, but "fighter" is most typically used to describe martial arts practitioners and competitors. In this case it's you and not I who have deviated from the generally accepted use of the term.

You are the first person I know who has objected to the use of the term in this way, or even uses it the way in which you have used it. We have a very large population of military and ex-military where I live, and those soldiers I know who don't practice martial arts, I've never heard a single one of them refer to themselves as fighters rather than soldiers, and they typically refer to their time in active war as "service".

They do use the term "combat", but also use the term to describe the. boxing match between Joshua and Ruiz. I'm sure that probably somewhere out there, there is someone in the military who objects, but I've never met one. Additionally there are scores of soldiers who are also "fighters", and differentiate between the two - the first fights wars, the second competes in martial arts contests. If there is any relationship between soldiers and martial arts, it seems that "hard" martial arts and combat sports, because of the martial virtues espoused, draws in many current and former military. There aren't that many places left for that type of culture left in quotidian life, unfortunately.
 

am55

Distinguished Member
Joined
Mar 22, 2014
Messages
3,024
Reaction score
2,064
There are plenty of combatants that aren't employees of a national military organisation. Aside from PMCs, volunteer groups are common (the Kosovo Liberation Army, ISIS, or going further back: ZANLA or even Mandela's ANC) and don't always draw from former military personnel. You could even argue that whilst a green beret has military training and gets his orders from the chain of command, the activity of growing a volunteer armed group in a country you're not officially at war with is not exactly "soldiering" as commonly understood (there are definitely some groups going around Syria and Yemen at the moment with "interesting" origin).

I would however say that the distinction comes from your goals, "real" fighting is in great part about setting up a situation that gives you a high probability of winning which by definition is going to be very unequal whilst "competitive" fighting tries to even the odds ahead of the fight the goal being to establish who is the most skilled in the narrow definition of the actual going at it.

Anyway, I am just trying to present an alternative point of view. Aside from common usage changing over time (who today seriously associates kung fu with magical fighting skills?) I think this inflation of words, this removal of meaning from things associated with violence-with-consequences help normalise it in the eye of the public which is how you eventually end up with APCs doing crowd control on US soil (let alone what happens outside the borders). But then we get into a CE discussion and it is unpleasant.

I'm sorry for the digression in any case and we should return to the original, much more interesting discussion.
 

LA Guy

Opposite Santa
Staff member
Admin
Moderator
Joined
Mar 8, 2002
Messages
44,118
Reaction score
17,688
There are plenty of combatants that aren't employees of a national military organisation. Aside from PMCs, volunteer groups are common (the Kosovo Liberation Army, ISIS, or going further back: ZANLA or even Mandela's ANC) and don't always draw from former military personnel. You could even argue that whilst a green beret has military training and gets his orders from the chain of command, the activity of growing a volunteer armed group in a country you're not officially at war with is not exactly "soldiering" as commonly understood (there are definitely some groups going around Syria and Yemen at the moment with "interesting" origin).

I would however say that the distinction comes from your goals, "real" fighting is in great part about setting up a situation that gives you a high probability of winning which by definition is going to be very unequal whilst "competitive" fighting tries to even the odds ahead of the fight the goal being to establish who is the most skilled in the narrow definition of the actual going at it.

Anyway, I am just trying to present an alternative point of view. Aside from common usage changing over time (who today seriously associates kung fu with magical fighting skills?) I think this inflation of words, this removal of meaning from things associated with violence-with-consequences help normalise it in the eye of the public which is how you eventually end up with APCs doing crowd control on US soil (let alone what happens outside the borders). But then we get into a CE discussion and it is unpleasant.

I'm sorry for the digression in any case and we should return to the original, much more interesting discussion.
I think that you are imparting a history to the use of the terms that simply does not exist, and then inferring social consequences from that inaccurate narrative.

I would argue that on the contrary, competitive fighting is a part of many traditional cultures that has been eroded, especially in the western world. Muy Thai competitions, for example, have been taken place since at least the 14th century, and was a sport in addition to being a weapon of war. As I'm sure you are aware, the legends of kings of Siam being great warriors as well as great Muy Thai practitioners and competitors are manifold, not to mention the legend of Nai Khanomtom that arose in the 18th century. I mention Muy Thai merely because it's an art in which I have trained a fair bit and am cognizant of it's origins, but it's hardly an isolated case. Similar traditions abound throughout Asia and Africa, with grappling, striking, but mostly hybrid disciplines. (There are a lot of trips in even modern Muy Thai.)

Even in modern armies, hand-to-hand combat is taught, and soldiers have regular competitions internally, and in some cases, even externally, to showcase the skills of that army. In the US, the US Army combatives training is basically MMA training, though soliders obviously don't train as extensively or as hard as do professional prize fighters, since, as you rightly stated, there are many better things to be training if you are preparing to take part in an actual "war", broadly speaking. And if you are reduced to hand-to-hand combat, like I stated before, things have already gone FUBAR.

One combatives instructor was even given leave from the Army to compete in The Ultimate Fighter show, and even won his season, though it was possibly one of the least talent rich seasons in the history of the show.

The UFC organization itself has a strong relationship with the US military, for probably obvious reasons. UFC fighters are regularly sent either to compete for the benefit of the troops, or as a morale boost for them in other ways, following centuries, even millienia, old tradition. One active UFC fighter who is belted in our gym was recently abroad for exactly this reason. Competitive fighters and professional soldiers have a lot of mutual admiration for one another, because they share a similar ethos and often intertwined histories, like that of Muy Thai.

Incidentally, nearly all of the time, when active military, compete in sport fighting with professional prizefighters, they lose, usually quite badly, as would be expected. On the other hand, they usually "kill" the professional fighters in simulated "war" situations, again, completely unsurprisingly.

For any altercation that is likely to happen "in the streets" (I really hate that term), I'd say that rigorous and dedicated professional martial artists are probably more prepared than "most" military, if only because in civilian life, people don't generally pull out guns and knives and start killing each other. That usually only happens in a John Wick movie. More often then not, they are just fistfights, sometimes dangerous, often simply embarassing, and usually fueled by too much bravado mixed with too much alcohol. That's from a short stint as a doorman at a semi-decent, but also semi-rough, club in LA. For the record, I only had to get involved a few times myself, and I didn't set up a cage, call in a ref, etc. I simply handled the situation as quickly and efficiently as possible, and with a little striking as possible, because contrary to popular belief and the movie Roadhouse (RIP Patrick Swayze), bouncers don't really want to get into fistfights. There are just too many variables involved, and even a skilled striker can get hurt by a large strong drunk guy. If you can get someone to the ground, assuming that that other person doesn't have any training (statistically a pretty good bet), the advantages of size and torque are largely neutralized unless the strength and size disparity is huge, in which case, why are you trying to grapple with Shaq? In general, though, a 300 lb giant that we called "Thor" usually took care of things. And unless you have a lot of drunk strongest men in the World competitors getting overly aggressive, 300 lbs of solid man is usually enough.

Also, truth be told, those confrontations are much more trepidatious than training in the gym, and about the same as fighting in a cage. In a sanctioned MMA fight, you understand that you are paired against a roughly equal opponent, and that you could very well lose, but "on the streets" there is a considerably higher chance of things going wrong, so the stress balances out to about even.
 
Last edited:

am55

Distinguished Member
Joined
Mar 22, 2014
Messages
3,024
Reaction score
2,064
In general, though, a 300 lb giant that we called "Thor" usually took care of things. And unless you have a lot of drunk strongest men in the World competitors getting overly aggressive, 300 lbs of solid man is usually enough.
Never forget:
 

LA Guy

Opposite Santa
Staff member
Admin
Moderator
Joined
Mar 8, 2002
Messages
44,118
Reaction score
17,688
Never forget:
Well, for that matter, Keith Hackney didn't try to run away at all:
In an interview about that fight, Keith says that he broke his hand hammering Yarborough in the head, and that that is exactly how he thought about it. "Hammering a nail as hard as I could". Incidentally, I will often roll for the footlocks and heelhooks on big guys, since everyone's knee is about the same strength, and two arms on one foot, even a gigantic foot, is a decent bet. That said, in MMA (vs BJJ) you are taking a very calculated risk.

Those days were over quickly though. In the fight that you posted, for example, it was clear that Yarborough didn't know much BJJ or wrestling, and didn't know how to properly "climb" his opponent, who was framing and doing everything he should have to escape. These days, every decent gym will teach those skills.

That said, MMA, especially amateur MMA, has a lot of poor, irresponsible coaching, unlike say, boxing or wrestling, or even straight up BJJ. There is at least one fighter on local pro circuit who should really not be given any more fights by any responsible commission. But because he wants to fight, doesn't have coaching staff that looks after his health and interests, and better managed fighters want to test the waters or have a tune up fight after a layoff, he is allowed to be the regional tomato can.
 
Last edited:

Featured Sponsor

HOW OFTEN DO YOU SHOP FOR CLOTHES ONLINE?

  • I mainly buy my clothes online.

  • I shop online only if there is a sale.

  • I shop online when shipping and returns are free.

  • I shop in store only for very expensive items I want to try on.

  • I mainly shop in store.


Results are only viewable after voting.

Related Threads

Forum statistics

Threads
424,961
Messages
9,122,333
Members
191,771
Latest member
jirigojef

Styleforum is proudly sponsored by

Top