Commemorating the birthday of Charles Darwin, and capping our recent discussions on the evolution of martial arts, I offer you one worst-case example of a real-life assault.
LaDonna Davis, 64, and her husband, St. James Davis, were visiting Animal Haven Ranch near Bakersfield on Thursday when two male chimps escaped their enclosure and attacked the couple.
“When we made eye contact, the charge was on,” LaDonna Davis said. “There was no stopping anything, and the big chimp came around from behind me and pushed me into my husband. The male came around from behind and chomped off my thumb. My husband must have realized we were in deep trouble because he pushed me backward. At that time, they both went for him.”
Rabid fans of mixed martial arts often consider their sport to be a proven, scientific, and highly evolved form of fighting. Modern MMA practices are contrasted with those of American Judo and Karate-do—unwittingly cast to represent “traditional martial arts” at large—and judged uniformly superior.
Putting aside the revisionist history underlying such comparisons, let us consider the possibility and implications of MMA’s evolution. What can Darwin’s theory teach us about the present state, predict for the future fate of mixed martial arts?
Ask a Dodo About MMA
Many centuries ago, a flock of pigeons departed their native land, roosting on the tiny Indian island of Mauritius. Enjoyed the relaxing tropical atmosphere, and an environment free of natural predators, they decided to stay awhile.
While the vast ocean protected the birds from attack, evolutionary forces reshaped their bodies and minds.
What is the best way to approach kung fu training? Should we seek to train our instincts, or cultivate our intelligence?
The answer seems obvious. In a fast-paced and dangerous combat scenario, there is simply no time for intellectual deliberation. We must let our animal instincts take control, to react instantly with the self-defense techniques we have drilled to perfection…right?
Excerpted from The Rediscovery of Panmachon by Kosta Danaos:
Anyone with a more than elementary involvement in the martial arts and combat sports is able to tell the difference between the two. A combat sport is, by definition, an athletic contest between two individuals, the main intention of which is, in the end, to assure the participants’ safety. Wrestling, judo, taekwondo and boxing are principal examples of combat sports. Techniques that are by definition hazardous to the participant’s health and continued wellbeing are (or should be) prohibited. It is plainly understood that contestants are not allowed to (nor desire to) attack one another’s eyes or genitals, bite through each other’s flesh, or attack the spinal chord and skull using lethal strikes, locks, or other techniques. Killing or permanently disabling the opponent is not the objective of combat sports, though injuries abound…