T Nation

Are martial arts worth a shit?


I bounce part time. Boring and mindless, but it is beer money. Anyway, last night another bunch of people got out of hand. Warnings were ignored, and I had ot escort them out. The dude I started with has some training in martial arts, thats what he told me, thats what the others told me. He wasn't that loaded, to dismiss that arguement. Why is it that some think that martial arts somehow carry over into real world situations? I have no formal training albeit wrestling for 6 years. These guys are usually the easiest to throw out. I think that schools for martial arts do their students a huge disservice by NOT teaching street tactics and close conditions tactics. Spinning kick or punch in a street fight? PAH-LEEEZE. The only thing that puts me in danger is that I am asked to refrain from destroying, just use neutralizing techniques and get them out the door.


Wrestling IS a martial art, and a damn good one.

I'll bet on the wrestler over a Tae Kwon Do guy (unless the TKD guy grapples as well).

That said, "martial artists" getting loaded and looking to start trouble are almost by definition not martial artists, just idiots.

Bouncers know what works and what doesn't. Have you actually had a anyone try a spinning kick on you?

Too funny.


I've trained in several different martial arts sytems for most of the last 11 years, and have come to notice that, yes, as you said, most guys who claim to be martial artists can't fight themselves out of a damn paper bag. The reasons for this are many, and I'll express a few of my ideas on it.

Most of the guys you're referring to, (and I've met a lot of them in my time, used to be a bartender at a little hole in the wall shot bar,) think that just becaus they can do a few fancy forms or have taken a few clases, they're bullet proof. They talk big because of a lack of self confidence and they want to feel important. They may have some skills, may have the abilty to do soem incredible kicks, but no one has ever taught them when you use your skills and why.

The instructors of this age, and I'm one of them okay so don't be getting pissed, for the most part don't teach concepts like honor, self control, and ideas that fit under the idea of warriorship. Currently I'm an assistant instructor in an ATA Songham Taekwando School. We teach a very limited amount of seld defense and focus very heavily on forms and on sparring for tournaments. But we do focus on ideas like self control, when to use your skils, and how to avoid trouble. We talk about character and why your actions should convey honor and being a leader.

There are many schools out there that teach very effective combat style fighting systems that you can use to shred up people. I myself have trained in Judo, Aiki-Jujitsu, Kempo, TKD, and Okinawan Karate. And yes, if I need to, I'm fairly certain I can either beat or at least do enough damage to call it a draw, anyone who's going to come at me. Trick is though, I'm not goig to look for trouble. And most good martial artists, those who have a warrior mentality, don't want to fight. They see fighting, and provoking a fight as a last resort.

So to end this rant, yes theirs some idiots out there that make the rest of us look bad. Same in every area of life.


I'm taking martial arts right now. I take karate, which isn't real world, but I also take kickboxing and submission grappling. Those last 2 are great for real world situations. I know how to handle myself anywhere I go and how to make someone else bow to my wants. I think they are worth it.


Sometimes. If it keeps you in good condition, puts you in the right frame of mind and trains you to strike first if there is no other way out.

My experience is the guy who acts first and with enough force wins.

I will relay a funny story. My father told me in Korea when our troops would relax in the rear and play baseball or hoops the South Koreans would practice Tae Kwon Do on each other to relax. That'a a warrior mentality.


As a ninja, I'd have to disagree with the statements regarding the lack of utility of martial arts. I combine my ninja stealth with ultra secret ninjitsu moves to dispatch my enemies on a routine basis.


Had a discussion with an instructor one time on the idea of throwing the first punch. He'd always been told, don't throw the first punch, don't stsart the fight. His philosphy was, they say "I'm gonna kick your ass" and then advance, thats the first punch.

I agree with that philosophy.

Also have discovered that most idiots who start trouble in bars have low pain tolerances. A quick wrist lock or pressure point hold,(and hey I can put on some pressure, see earlier post about the #2 COC) and the fight goes right out of them.


I;ve trained Kung fu for 9 years and I agree with what danreeves said. If you train for defense and for personal protection, it puts you in a different state of mind. Our style trains practicality rather than for show. That said, martial arts only increase the probability of you doing better in a fight. Every situation is different, and you CAN"T train for every possible scenario.

Here's a little story for you. I was in a bar with some buddies a few years ago and watched this situation unfold. A gorgeous girl was sitting at the bar, and some guy decided to go hit on her. Just then, her boyfriend comes out of the bathroom. This guy was BIG. He starts swearing at the other guy (who was quite small in comparison), and saying he has a black belt in karate and that he is going to kick the little guy's ass. Well the next thing you know, the little guy threw his jacket over the big guy's head and proceeded to kick the living shit out of him.

Surprise is everything, and if you aren't prepared it doesn't matter how much martial arts training you have.


i bounced for many years too, and I have to agree it's the guy who strikes decisively first who will likely come out on top.
grappling wasn't as popular when I was working the door (pre-UFC, not many even knew what grappling meant) so next to no one had any ground fighting skills.
I had only a couple of fist fights, choked out most of the guys who got really crazy.
It seemed like a lot of guys would claim Martial Arts expertise, but once it came down to it they would mimic a Jean-Claude van Damme pose before getting their asses tossed out the door or choked out. Nothing like trying a spinning kick in a crowded bar...
generally, I've found that good MA's don't talk much about their skills- they know they have them, and if you want to fight, you'll find out soon enough.


Christ, I thought I was the only ninja here.


Key words are "guy who strikes decisively first." That doesn't mean that the guy who throws the first punch will come out on top. One of the easiest things to do is break a guy's arm as he throws that first punch.


Most people train for a couple of years, learn enough to make them feel bulletproof, and go walking around like they own the place. In reality, their training is very limited when it comes to actual hand to hand combat. Some of these guys never actually punch or get punched in their training. I met one guy who claimed that the strikes he taught were so deadly, they never practiced them. They would "spar" from a distance of two yards from each other. Ummm, ok.


Ike your a ninja?!? I'm a Samurai you fuck! Lets fight! Rrrrhhhhhh! :slight_smile:


Ike: You're the only ninja from Hermiston.

Most martial arts do no type of live sparring, because they don't want anyone to "get hurt". For this reason, they have know idea what happens in a real fight.

They practice all these neat little "techniques", which look real cool, and would work with a compliant opponent, but unfortunately people do not usually follow set patterns in a fight.

You have to get out onto the mat/ring and mix it up, if you want any carryover to the real world.


Breaking a guy's arm as he throws that first punch is easy huh? You've done that a lot have ya? I've heard that before but I've never had my arm broken. Your probably talking about "trapping" and trapping takes years and years of intense practice to even be slightly good at it. Most bar thugs I know only have years of intense practice in drinking and mouthing off.

Look probably the two best combat arts a person should use for "self protection" is wrestling and boxing. When your dealing with drunks and bullies the basics work the best.

It's not like the loud mouth drunks in bars are martial arts masters for crying out loud.


I'm not talking about locks, which I do agree are very difficult to perform effectively in real life. I'm referring to the elbow joint. There are a lot of different ways to break an arm as a punch is thrown.

And no, I've never done it in real life. But with some of the techniques, if you can block a punch, you can break the arm. Just another simple step. (In reality the break occurs at the same time as the block).


If you are not training in Brazilian jiu jitsu, wrestling, thai boxing or boxing then you are most likely not a threat to anyone who has half a clue. Also it depends on the person, some people are just not meant to be good fighters. Athletic ability, strength, etc play a huge role no matter what the little guys will tell you.


I forgot to mention judo. It is also a good style but you would need to learn how to do the throws without a gi to hang on to.


Unfortunately, due to thier popularity in the media and the fact that martial arts is one artform that seems to be closely linked with alot of peoples ego's, most of the time when someone says they are a black belt or whatever it doesn't usually mean that they are really any better in a street fight than your average bar brawler. I've got a pretty decent background with various ma's and I've never once metioned it in any violent confrontation or even amongst new aquantances. The guys that do bring it up are usually looking for attention as has been mentioned previously. On the other hand, if a person really is skilled in one of the more effective art forms, they can really do alot of damage very quickly and efficiently and totally dominate someone that hasn't had thier level of training. Also, some people are just meant to be good fighters and some never will be no matter how hard they train. Long story short, martial arts are basically a detailed source of information on how to handle violent situations, but it still just boils down to the person in the situation, the circumstances, and how they react that determines the outcome. Martial Arts can be a valuable tool or a waste of time depending on how you apply it. We used to have a saying about the dorks that advertise thier Martial arts abilities, "They know just enough to get themselves hurt".


I just sparred for the first time tonight. Man, what fun!! I got my ass kicked in stand up fighting but tapped him out in ground fighting. That felt great!!

Currently, I do kickboxing and submission grappling. Whoever said that you can easily break someone's arm after a punch is correct. It's not that hard to do, really. Dodge the punch, grab his/her wrist, push down about 2 inches above the elbow. Voila, you have either a submission for your drunk friends or a broken arm for a drunken bar idiot.