5 May 2018
Understanding the Value of Different Martial Arts
There are many martial arts that claim to teach discipline, self-defense, and help you achieve inner peace. The harsh truth is that some of these arts are what we in the MA community refer to as bullshido, a portmanteau of bullshit and do — do being Japanese for “the way of”.
The best way to avoid these types of martial arts is to only enter disciplines that offer live sparring. Live sparring differs from compliant training in that each party will resist the other’s attacks instead of simply going along with it. For instance, if person a were to attempt to throw person b, person b would resist the attack, perhaps even attempting to counter, rather than doing a front flip to please person a. From a self-defense perspective, it is best to go with sport-basd arts like Muay Thai, boxing, Judo, and wrestling, as they have been pressure-tested in live competition. A good rule of thumb is that whatever works in the Olympics is bound to work on the streets.
Martial Arts for Self Defense
When people ask me what’s the best martial art to learn from a self-defense perspective, I tell them that they can’t learn a single art and become a modern day Bruce Lee. Cross-training is essential to building a well-rounded platform. The two arts I recommend that people train together is Judo and Muay Thai. The practical and versatile striking of Muay Thai ties in well with the stand up grappling and powerful throws that Judo has to offer. There are other combinations that are effective for defending yourself in life-threatening scenarios. Whatever combination you choose to go with, be it boxing and wrestling, or Judo and Muay Thai, be sure that both arts work well together.
Combing Sports for the Best Effect
Combining Capoeira with boxing may not be the best of ideas since Capoeira teaches you to fight from a lower height while boxing teaches you to stand up straight and strike with your upper body. Find two or more arts that complement each other rather than create conflict in your mind. Another important thing to remember is that self-defense goes beyond learning martial arts, you need to be physically and mentally fit to handle stressful situations like muggings, street fights, or even home invasions. Practicing taekwondo for two decades is pretty useless if you never train your cardio and get gassed after throwing three kicks. In real life fights, the winner is determined by whoever prepared the most.