Originally Posted by rargos
If you're learning martial arts for self-defense, then you're asking the wrong questions. Rank, testing, number of hours studied, styles, etc. ... it sounds like someone more interested in colored belts than in learning to fight.
Could it possibly be that I've reached the level of instructor and want to have a discussion on these things? This is a staggering amount of assumption on your part for an opening remark.
Thank you for your response. Unfortunately, you both start, and end your response with assumptions that do not apply to me!
People do martial arts for a SLEW of reasons. Not everyone shows up wants to be able to "learn how to fight". When I enrolled my kids into karate, it certainly was not
to teach them self defense skills. One of my sons had a learning disability, and it was the recommendation of his medical team that martial arts would be THE BEST physical activity to assist with his under-development. Swimming was also high up on the list, but his disability precluded him from getting in the water. They are still there years later, and now they also do sparring, and I still don't have them there with any intent to use karate as self defense. My wife also does martial arts (not with me, she refuses to have me teach her ANYTHING) and she is also not there hoping to glean any self-defense aspect from her participation.
Folks engage in martial arts for a myriad of reasons.
- self defense
- for conditioning and/or exercise
- to socialize
- to develop balance and / or core strength
- for status
- as a talisman
- directly or tangentially required for their occupation
- etc etc
Originally Posted by rargos
I've studied martial arts since I was a teenager. My observation :
Size and physical conditioning is number one. In any kind of prolonged fight (more than a few seconds), the bigger guy or the guy in better condition usually wins, regardless of training. Maybe Bruce Lee could take out someone a foot taller and 100lbs (of muscle) heavier, but that's very rare.
I studied at one karate school where new students were required to do the following for their first belt :
1. Run a mile in under 8 minutes
2. 100 push-ups, 100 sit-ups, 100 deep-knee bends
3. Punches/kicks against a bag for 5 minutes, each hand/foot
4. THEN you did the part of the test where you demonstrated "techniques"
Most of their mid-level students would have kicked the *** of the strip mail "masters" at other local schools.
Yes, there is a LOT of value in learning joint locks and other self-defense moves taught in many martial arts schools, BUT you'll also spend a lot of time and money learning a lot of crap that's worthless in a real fight.
You also have to be able to take a hit (or several). If you crumple when you're punched in the face/gut, it doesn't matter what belt you have.
I think martial arts are VERY valuable in many ways, but if you're just looking to defend yourself, I would be less concerned with hours, ranks, and styles and more concerned with general fitness and "toughness".
One of the problems I see in firearms training (and to some degree, in martial arts) is a lack of transitional consistency with standards.
The questions I have posed are as a result of conversations I'm having with two folks who are advanced instructors in martial arts (above 4th dan or 4th degree black belt) who also have black belts in other disciplines. One of the things that came up - and without bashing any other discipline, is how different each of these disciplines can be, and how breath-takingly different SCHOOLS within a specific discipline emphasize some things over other things, and how do they assimilate someone from another discipline into their school (at what level).
If you have time, would you care to answer the questions I asked, instead of filling in the (incorrect) blanks with the assumptions?
I've asked eight specific, discrete questions.
You answered one (the 3rd). For that, I thank you.