In many cases, martial arts (both traditional and modern), as evidence of the facts, do not work as we expect.
The illusion fades immediately and instead of blaming ourselves of our superficiality, we download the responsibility of failure on the combat system (which has been running in the battlefield for a few thousand years and / or is still employed by the special forces of half of the world).
In 80% of cases, guilt is ours and the most common reasons are two:
- We have expectations too high; through movies, too high reference points, poor “instructors” (etc.), we have been introduced to an all-exasperated and imaginative view of martial arts (“magic” shots that can annihilate anyone, effortless victories, etc.)
- We do not make real commitment to learning; we spend more time dreaming of being good rather than training, chasing titles rather than real abilities, calling us experts rather than searching for / correcting our defects, criticizing the others rather than facing them in no-cooperative sparring sets
The real problem is that martial arts require dedication and sacrifice, this is not for everyone. Anyone who thinks they can find shortcuts, use tricks or anything else (as is often the case) soon or later finds themselves having to deal with the tough reality.
- While on the one hand it is true that a good knowledge of combat technique gives us a remarkable advantage over an inexperienced opponent, it is equally true that average knowledge puts us below its level; until a tactic becomes simple and spontaneous as walking we should never use it in combat
- While on the one hand it is true that forms (eg. from Karate or Kung Fu) help us to train precision, balance, muscle memory (etc.) is just as true that they do not give us any rudiments in the real clash; the struggle is, in fact, something alive, changeable, unpredictable; forms have not been studied for this, without training and sparring they are useless
- People become good about what they do most; for example an exquisite pastry is likely to be at least a discreet cook but it is equally unlikely that he can compete with an expert who has devoted his whole life to cooking fish; the same reasoning applies to martial arts, if we have spent our lives doing sublime acrobatics, how can we hope to keep up with those who, for the same amount of time, have done nothing but fighting?
The point is that we must not only specialize us in a single aspect but that we must carry out all that we consider fundamental to our goals (not necessarily linked to the struggle).
We can not excel in everything, but we must maintain a broad vision and privilege what we are best (so for martial arts, so for the limbs of our body, for life, etc.).
In this way, we will always have rudiments to deal with others in their field and at the same time we will have the advantage of what others have never dealt with. Only through this kind of vision, we can achieve the goals that we are aiming for (whatever they are).
- A form may need the application in the fight to be fully understood
- An acrobatic movement can take advantage of a form to enhance its aesthetics
- Fighting needs inspiration from the form to be able to deliver higher performance
In the next article in this series we will look in more detail about the various martial arts fields.
Author: Master Kongling
Founder of 6 Dragons Kung Fu.