One of the fighter’s dilemmas is what happens when you grow old? I’ve written about this before but I want to take a slightly different tact other than entertaining the thought that old men will fight as good as young men. This is a case of diminishing returns. The older a man gets – the more his skill, strength, and stamina leaves him.
Specifically someone used to fighting any kind of sport karate (point sparring, continuous sparring, full contact or kick boxing, and even mma) will notice all of the hungry young pups giving the oldsters a run for their money. If an older fighter has not made the transition from fighter to coach at some point – what will be left? That is the point of this article. But first watch an old guy letting his gloves do the talking. I don’t know if there is any colorful language as these are not English speakers.
It was the mid-1980’s and I was having a conversation with an old guy I knew from another business. He owned a metal shop and the conversation got to fighting. He knew I used to own a karate school and thought I could take care of myself. He told me that he knew karate and was good at street fighting. We went back and forth for a while with our experience and I assumed since I outranked him I could win easily in any kind of fight. Well as you know in a street fight there are no rules. I squared off with Henry and as I was getting ready into my stance – he jabbed an eye-poke at my forehead!!! My ego was great and my counter punch caught him in his gut and I declared myself the winner!
It reminded me of my childhood cap-gun fights arguing who got who first. You see in a real fight it only matters who wins and winning most often is taking an early advantage and keeping it. Fights only last seconds if someone knows how to fight. I could not accept that a man in his 50’s could get one over on me (a fighter in his 20’s). But looking back on that incident the way a real fight would have gone is me temporarily unable to see while the old guy had his way with me.
I bring this up because of today’s topic, “Are the martial arts effective in a fight?” Save yourself some reading and I’ll tell you the answer now… maybe.
First I would like to mention that the martial arts I am speaking of include Eastern and Western martial arts. I am not discriminating here. I have always said fighting is fighting is fighting. No matter what techniques you choose to accomplish fighting – there are only so many ways to do it and everything is known. So I include karate, kung fu, wrestling, boxing, muay thai, jiu-jitsu (Japanese and Brazilian), judo, savate and so forth… any martial art you can think of I am including in this list.
Check out this short video from a school owner I found on youtube, Fred Mergen, about will MMA work in a street fight to frame the arguments.
The when to fight question haunted me as a young boy. Before I learn any fighting I used to avoid fights if I could. I did not really know how to fight but I was better than average in sports – so I did not have to fight much before 5th grade. Later in the 5th grade a kid came up to me and challenged me to a fight and then smacked me. I did not even fight back! I did not think I was allowed to fight and did not have much confidence. By not fighting back my fate was sealed – I got beat up!
When my dad taught me the old one – two, and told me it was ok to fight back if attacked, I did ok. But when I knocked someone down I stopped and asked if he gave up. That was all it took to stop a fight in grade school. You only fought until the other acknowledged your win. Kicking a downed opponent was not done. Later when I learned Karate – I was taught how to punch and kick and how it was better to run from a fight if possible. I never ran and I finished all of my fights when the other guy gave.
So is it better to know how to fight and not do it? Or is it better to stand and fight? But the real question is if Martial Arts Philosophy it any better then Western Martial Arts (read boxing for self-defense) Philosophy? Here is a Kung Fu TV Series about, “Cowardice is the Wisdom of Weakness.”
When I was a kid we debated about who would win in a fight – the boxer or karate guy. I would point out that the karate guy could kick the boxer in the nuts. My friends would call kicking sissy fighting and for girls. I don’t know if we ever settled that debate but since then the definition of fighting as expanded to include wrestling, judo, jiu-jitsu, muay thai, kung-fu and so on.
We followed boxing because that was the most popular. Later in life karate (PKA, WKA) tried to mimic but it never really took off. In the 1990’s after the toughman contests – the ultimate fighting challenge started changing how we watched fighting. My father’s generation did not think much of MMA but the baby-boomers and beyond loved it!
So here is the question – does boxing or MMA really demonstrate who would win in a fight? You know that age old question kids argue about. In this article I will argue for No – MMA is just another flavor of boxing in this regard. But it is fun to watch and argue about who is the best fighter.
When I was a kid I remember wondering what was best, wrestling or boxing. At the time I thought boxing was the best but when karate became popular in the 60’s – the argument became boxing or karate! Well fast forward past the 90’s (was a very confused time) and now if you ask any kid… they will no longer say jiu-jitsu but mma! Why to a teenaged kid that would not even watch a boxing match – MMA is king!
So why am I not impressed with the flavor of the day? I am not out to challenge anyone or trying to get an accomplished martial artist in judo, muay thai, jiu-jitsu, wrestling, or boxing to come over the dark side. But what I do want to do in this post is to examine how effective various martial arts would be in a real fight for an average guy/gal that has a couple of years experience under his/her belt.
I also want to look at some other factors such as the point of each martial art… you know what is it good for anyway? Don’t get mad but if your martial art has lots of rules that don’t easily transition to a real fight – what good is it in a fight (unless you are a world class fighter – then it makes no difference what you learn… it will all work)?
The news has been full of knife attacks and even the TSA has been considering letting people fly with small pocket knives. It is even scarier to some so removed from fighting or using hand tools that in my estimation I think most people think that a knife attack is not survivable!
I would like to make the point that as in any other kind of attack (read club, gun, baseball bat, hand to hand or whatever) – they are all serious. You can get hurt if you are not a trained fighter. Heck even if you are a trained fighter – you can get hurt.
In this post I’ll evaluate the obvious (to me) about knife attacks (or really any attack – they are all the same from a self defense point of view). But first review this video for a realistic overview.
I just got done watching watching the fight and was amazed at how Manny Pacquiao was able to move. Antonio Margarito was no slouch but I would say after the fourth round is was easy to see that he was slowing down. In my unofficial scorecard – Manny was ahead in all 12 rounds. Margarito’s best round I think was in the 6th where if I remember right he caught Pacquiaoon the ropes with some body shots and an uppercut.
The 10th and 11th rounds were very one sided as Antonio Margarito stopped answering Manny Pacquiano’s punches. I was wondering why the judges did not stop the fight as Margarito also had many cuts on his face. I guess since this was a title fight for the Super Welterweight division and Margarito wanted to keep going – the referee decided to risk the significant damage to the head of Margarito. I think that was a bad decision but I noticed that Pacquiao laid off the 12th round as he was easily ahead and did not have to keep up the heavy leather – what a show of good sportsmanship.
You will have to watch the fight to get the full gist of the action but the judges scored the 12 round bout, 120-108, 119-109, and 118-110 for a unanimous decision for Manny Pacquiao!
For those of you who would like to see some more background for this fight, HBO did a nice piece for your perusal.