In the past few years, mixed martial arts has enjoyed remarkable commercial success. Some fans imagine that its popularity is a result of its vast technical superiority over traditional martial arts styles. But neither MMA techniques nor training methods are particularly innovative; much of what you see in the competition ring was pioneered decades or even centuries ago.
The recent success of the MMA product is best explained with a sociological model, not a technical one; and this model predicts an inevitable fall from grace. MMA will decay, like every style before it, into a traditional martial art. Continue reading Is This The End of Mixed Martial Arts?
In How To Choose a Bad Martial Arts Instructor, I provided a quick and easy guide to finding an inappropriate school. John W. McKenna’s recent call for thoughts on leadership reminded me to follow up on that guide, with more helpful advice.
John asked, does most leadership suck? My answer: none of your business. You don’t need to follow every leader; one qualified sensei is enough. A more useful question is, how do you find that sensei? Continue reading You’ll Always Have The Sensei You Deserve
Why are the vast majority of Karate instructors below average? George Akerlof’s research on information asymmetry explains this apparent mathematical impossibility. Continue reading Is Sensei a Lemon? Uncertainty and the Karate Market
Perhaps there are two ways to approach martial arts training, after all.
I am not talking about soft and hard, or fast and slow, or offense and defense. Nor am I referring to external and internal martial arts—whatever you take those terms to mean.
The first method requires a partner. Together you drill common attack scenarios, one by one, until you’ve perfected a set of automatic, thoughtless and effective responses. Continue reading Martial Arts of Addition and Subtraction
After dedicating most of my day to work and family obligations, I am lucky to find a spare hour or two for my martial arts hobby. Many of you have a similar problem, no doubt.
We could practice an hour per day for our entire lives, without exhausting the breadth and depth of martial arts. Considering the scope and challenge of the task, can we really afford to spend our precious time blogging about practice, at the expense of time spent in practice?
Continue reading Why Write About Martial Arts?