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.
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.
Foreword – It is my pleasure to introduce Sensei Matt Klein, founder of Kenpo Freestyle Academy in Sydney, Australia. Matt also runs Australia’s Youth Self-Defence Karate (http://karate-kids.com.au) website and blog (http://karate-kids.com.au/blog/). – John W. Zimmer
I saw this video on YouTube and I laughed as it reminded me of a brawl on the street, where as the two combatants (cats) were engaged, people from the sides (crows) took pot shots as they saw opportunities. The action takes about a minute to start, so be patient, as once it starts it is fast and furious.
Crows and cat triple team other cat
Street fighting is like war combat. You never know who is with you until the proverbial crap hits the fan. Some will run and some will stay and duke it out until the end. On this night, I found out which camp my mates lived in. It was me against three of them, as the sound of my mate’s running feet faded away. As the three squared up, I lined them up in a row as best I could, knowing it’s a heck of a lot easier to fight one at a time. I blasted the closest one with a jab to the nose, stunning him. The second wrapped his arms around me from behind and with the help of the third attacker slammed me into the pavement. As I wrestled free and looked up, the last thing I remember seeing was the top of someone’s foot….
This fictional fight is typical where a combatant is outnumbered. If they can overpower their single opponent and force him to the ground, a group of attackers can strike at will. While keeping upright and on the move, a single fighter can sometimes take on two, three, or maybe four attackers if he can fight, as this 2nd video illustrates.
Guy fights off multiple attackers
So the question here is, can grappling-based arts like wrestling and BJJ be useful against multiple attackers? Although going against popular opinion, I am going to say yes, it is. Here’s why.
Today while was reading the news I saw this article, entitled, “In Rough Slum, Brazil’s Police Try Soft Touch.” Apparently in the favela’s (slums) some cops have been working with the youth to reach out with karate! After a little more research I found out about an organization called, “Fight for Peace” were this NGO (non-governmental organization) also reaches out in a favela to offer boxing & martial arts, personal development, youth support services, job training, and youth leadership!
In this post I will highlight the problems, some traditional solutions, and what I think of this organization’s approach, “Fight for Peace.” First here is the movie trailer – City of God.
I’ve been learning a new martial art lately that I’ve alluded to at times – Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ). Our association has adopted jiu-jitsu training as part of our curriculum so even though I don’t need it (as I’ve already attained rank), I decided to widen my martial arts horizons.
In this post I’ll discuss how jiu jitsu relates historically to the kenpo that I practice and some background on what grappling is today. I’m going to have some fun because I have always been one of those guys that does not like ground fighting. I mean when I wrestled in school – boy was that a lot of work compared to striking. Here is an overview video of BJJ.