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.


embedded by Embedded Video

YouTube Direkt


Full Story »

BJJ Class; What an Experience!

Posted by: John W. Zimmer
Under: Brazilian Jiu Jitsu
27 Feb 2010


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.



Full Story »

Sanshiro Sugata; The Judo Saga!

Posted by: John W. Zimmer
Under: Movies
5 Aug 2009


I was flipping channels the other day and came across an old grainy black and white film on IFC where a martial artist was backed against a wharf and taking on his antagonists! The movie is called Sanshiro Sugata (the Judo Saga) and was filmed in 1943. What caught my eye was how he was dispatching his opponents – by throwing them over the side.


This was reminiscent of when I found the Seven Samurai movie on IFC. As the story unfolded it was apparently about the early days of Judo and its players being challenged by Jiu Jitsu combatants! In this post I will review the movie and speak about Judo’s beginnings as well as my views of Judo as an effective martial art. Here is a clip from the movie as the head of a Jiu Jitsu school faces one of the main Judo players (subtitled in French I think).


Full Story »


[Forward: My good friend, David Hays is contributing this article. David is a 4th degree Kenpo black belt from Dick Willett. Dave has been a fierce tournament competitor, studio owner and now he mentors the upcoming generations of karate students. The photo credits go to Barbara Steinberg. Welcome David! John W. Zimmer]


On June 14th, 2008 Dick Willett’s senior Black Belts hosted a seminar in San Diego Ca. with the legendary Joe Lewis and world champion grappler Dean Lister.


Joe Lewis was the best of the best in the golden age of Sport Karate.  During the early years of martial arts in America, he stood out as the best in the sport. There was no one more feared and/or respected than the legendary Joe Lewis.


 Joe Lewis & David Hays


Full Story »

T.O.P. Army Fighter Series

Posted by: John W. Zimmer
Under: MMA
19 Apr 2008


I’ve been watching a couple of hours of the T.O.P. (Toughest Operational Personnel) Army Fighter series on the Military Channel (105 on COX South San Diego) yesterday. I am impressed with how our military is being taught to fight. A good overview of this series is found at


Safety is a great concern during the military version of MMA so while it is OK to use a leg lock, it is not OK to twist the foot because these guys are actually shipping out to Iraq. I found a short clip of one popular fighter that fights MMA and T.O.P. Army Fighter for your perusal.


[kml_flashembed movie="" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]




Full Story »

Comments Off on T.O.P. Army Fighter Series