You will fight like you train, as the saying goes, and there is some truth in it. If you have never tried to apply your martial art against a fully resisting opponent, it is unlikely to work as well as you would hope. Therefore, a practical martial arts curriculum should include a variety of common attacks, drilled with realistic speed and power.
A reasonable conclusion, isn’t it? But a surprisingly popular school of thought goes much further, contending that:
You should always train as if fighting, as this is the only way to improve your fighting ability.
This is nonsense, and every martial artist should understand why.
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.
Successfully executed, the foot sweep transforms a dangerous hand-to-hand combat scenario into a more favorable boot-to-head scenario. Wing Chun sweeps can be performed in a few different ways, some easier than others. If you want your partner to fall for you, try this simple method.
The low kick is the most dangerous attack in unarmed martial arts. A single well-placed kick to the knee or ankle can render the opponent unable to stand, and consequently unable to escape or defend against further attacks.
Low kicks are so effective that even seasoned martial artists have difficulty defending against them. Faced with such a challenge, some simply choose to ignore the threat, and concentrate on more glamorous hand techniques instead.
Denial is usually not an effective method of self-defense. However, Wing Chun teaches us how to use denial to our advantage, and thereby protect ourselves. According to Wing Chun principles, we should deny an attacker the position, the balance and the time to succeed with a low kicking attack.
The old Kung Fu master touched his assailant, with no apparent effect. Days later, the assailant died a sudden and mysterious death. He was a victim of the legendary dim mak, the touch of death.
Dim mak is a popular discussion topic among martial arts enthusiasts. Some instructors claim to have the skill, or believe that it was used to kill Bruce Lee. Others insist that dim mak instructors are frauds and the skill itself is a complete fantasy. Is there any evidence to support the existence of dim mak? Could it possibly work?
Kung Fu version 1.0 was released at the dawn of human history, and it was truly a killer app. Though it contained only two basic features—kill people and kill animals—it was useful in solving the problems of the prehistoric age.
Kung Fu 1.0 provided end-users with critical advantages in the constant struggle for food, and an opportunity to reproduce. By leveraging bleeding-edge innovations in Rock and Stick technology, early adopters were able to live to the ripe old age of 30 years, and perhaps even become grandparents.
While reading another martial arts blog, I encountered this advice on the use of anger:
You have to be aggressive and attack your opponent, attacking them will make them block more and hence stop their attacks… So how do you become aggressive, if it’s just not in your nature? It’s all about how you process the situation, psychologically. Start thinking “I’m not going to let them do this to me. Fcuk them!”. You have to get mad.
I believe that, if you practice martial arts for personal development, rushing to rage is a counterproductive strategy. And truthfully, anger isn’t all that useful for fighting either.