Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Reality, who's reality are we talking about?!

I pinched this title from a blog I read a few days ago, it was written by fellow Martial News blogger Sue Wharton, a Karate student who seems to have come across the bulk of utter rubbish that's out there. I can only presume Sue has seen the usual "ex special forces" top secret deadly Ninja bollocks sort of stuff that is all too common.
Apparently this is some of the stuff that the systems she has come across teaches you to protect yourself from "bombings, armed robberies, drive-by shootings, carjacking, gang violence, sniper attacks, multiple attackers, knife attacks, gang rapes…", looks like things have really stepped up a gear since I last had a squint online, that's online not in the real world, just in case any RBSD nerds are getting all excited at the prospect of a new dvd box set.
Well she has a point doesn't she? I mean what is everyone's reality? Thankfully mine isn't defending myself from bombings and sniper attacks although perhaps it should be given the volume of people I offend on a daily basis, if anyone can lend me the box set please get in touch… 
This is an issue that is at the core of what's hard to get across about real world fight training, most peoples general Internal Representation (look at me going all NLP, pretty soon I'll be able to stop training altogether) of what a real fight actually is. Trying to get across to most people, especially those that have no experience of actual violence, that's real violence where people get seriously injured or maimed is no easy task. I'll try and give a few examples here. Please bear in mind that for the purposes of this article I am generalising throughout.
Type 1: Martial Arts hobbyist, goes to a class once a week hits the pads and mirrors the instructor. No real interest in training or pushing/pressurising themselves at all, the class is more or less so they can say they do "Martial Arts" and is something they like to forcefully believe will help them defend themselves if need be. Try and get across what it's really like to face a couple of seasoned thugs that want to kick your swede in….all a bit much for this guy/girl, and they will recoil back to safety with their security blanket very quickly. Make all that scary stuff go away.
Type 2: The Martial Arts belted and danned veteran, this guy is shit hot at his chosen art, has trained for years in this system and knows everything there is to know about how it was first formed and why, has all the books relating to the subject and worships Sun Tzu’s "The Art of War", good book incidentally…spars in this system with others, again in this system whilst wearing their Gi's and is a force to be reckoned with… this system, ahem. 
It's a shame that this guy hasn't really been dragged into or even witnessed two guys stamping on someone's head outside a pub because he called his pint a poof or such like. Try and tell this guy that fighting isn't really like what he partakes in the Mc'Dojo and you will get a somewhat colourful response to say the least. As far as he is concerned, he has trained for years in the most effective fighting art ever, his first Sensei drilled this into him and those in the same art at every competition he ever went to…except the ones from slightly different federations. Their style isn't nearly as good. It makes no difference how you try and explain things, what examples you give, video evidence or whatever. They will not give an inch, their system is deadly and has something in it to deal with any real world attack, knife and guns included…obviously. 
I have even had conversations with these guys where they try and demonstrate a strike that would need to defy the laws of physics with regards generating maximum power, but that little gem is for another time. 
If this guy/girl could think and indeed see outside their arts self-manifested box they could be different class compared to most. But sadly they are still caught up in the same old rhetoric such as how to close the distance in a street fight. I'm going to use a phrase I heard Mick Coup use as it's one that has really stuck with me on this fantasists problem, "if your worried about closing the distance in a street fight, blink, don't worry, the guy your fighting will close it for you!". 
Think about that for a minute. Rather than recoil back to safety these guys/girls will argue black is white and white is black…forever.
Type 3: Never witnessed a day's trouble in their life, rarely had even a heated argument, thinks bullies go away if you stand up to them, completely naïve and has all the coordination of a pissed, asthmatic buffalo with a built up shoe and earache. As a sidenote this lot are usually massively passive aggressive but experts on everything.
Your wasting your time here completely, no really, it's pointless as they are fortunate enough to have had no experience whatsoever with anything more physically threatening than watching their school play "rugger". Even if they did show an interest in training it would all be great fun and something to tell over the dinner table at the weekend. Tales of how they are learning to "bash people up" etc, good money spinner for some, especially if you like to churn out endless dvd's for this enormous market. As far as they are aware once you are trained to fight you can dish out beatings to multiple opponents with ease, just like Bruce Lee, of course.

So where on earth do we go from here? Well thankfully I have had a long, hard and in depth think about this and my overwhelming thoughts on the subject are… who knows.
How can you teach someone something they think they already know? How can you encourage someone to learn or appreciate the realities of a subject they find too terrifying to even approach although like to kid themselves they are addressing by going to nice safe compliant classes, hitting pads half-heartedly and watching dvds? How do you enlighten someone to the realities of real violence when they simply do not want to know or have been so cosseted all their life that it simply does not compute? As the saying goes, you can take horse to water…
As much as idiots out there with claimed "special forces" backgrounds, ninja death moves and claims of "loving violence" are to blame for creating this entire money making nonsense, the "students" themselves are huge contributory factor to what constitutes "reality". And sadly this is something I think we are stuck with for the foreseeable, how can we not be?
Getting injured, pushing yourself, getting your confidence knocked out, regularly attending those awful demanding and painful classes to actually getting your bum off the couch to even train can be a struggle to the best of us at times. 
We are all guilty of taking the easy option at times, of course we are as everyone's human. It just fascinates me how the vast majority of so called Reality based trainees take the easy route each and every time, but then perhaps it's not entirely their fault as there are as many utter whoppers out there more than willing to cater for them via dvd's, webcam instructor courses and top secret fear no man pressure point strikes.

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