It seems that so many martial artists/mixed martial artists are very quick to point out perceived weaknesses in other arts or styles. It occurs to me that quite often they are only speaking from what they have seen or heard- in competion, on youtube, sherdog? etc. and not from personal experience.
So I thought that I would start a thread that asks you- what is the weaknesses in your own style, or in the school you attend. Note that I say school also, because I don’t want people lumping ALL of a certain arts weaknesses together.
For example, I study TKD, if I were to talk generally about the style, I would say that practitioners have a problem with keeping their hands up and gaurding the head. However this just simply isn’t true at my particular school. You learn very quickly that hands down=head gets hit.
So I’ll start it off,
As I said, I study taekwondo, with Walsh Martial Arts Australia. We also learn some elements of hapkido.
I feel that there are several main weaknesses in the school/style, and will try and keep this brief but as clear as possible…
I feel that the learning curve can be quite steep. Although the belt system does a great deal to introduce things slowly and surely, I think that it still takes quite some time before you could actually apply what you have learnt, especially if you have no experience in fighting or in another martial art.
For example, at the white belt (for promotion to junior yellow), you learn the four basic blocks, three basic kicks and two punches. I think the punches you can use pretty much straight away, people don’t seem to have too much trouble with them.
But learning to throw a kick that is powerful enough to be effective takes time. Also learning to throw it fast enough that it doesn’t get caught, which is a very very dangerous thing in a street fight, takes even longer.
As for blocks, I’ve never been a fan of them. I’d rather move and not be there, rather than risk missing the block, which happens quite often in the beginning. However most people do find that at least one of the blocks “clicks” pretty quickly and can be useful as a parry or cover, leading into a counter-strike.
And it continues on through the belt levels. I have learnt a “spear hand” strike, which is basically a straight finger tip strike. If I were to try and apply this in a real situation, I would break my fingers. However, my grandmaster can break through 3 inches of pine board with his fingertips. So it’s not that the strike is useless, it’s just that it takes many, many years to get it to a useful level.
Of course the some of the kicks and some other hand strikes don’t take quite so long. After a year of training I feel quite confident in my ability to throw below the belt level kicks and not get caught out. If I landed a solid blow that stunned my opponent that I could quite confidently throw a mid-section kick and not get caught out.
So the weakness is basically a constant introduction of techniques that will take you years and years of practice to be able to effectively use them in a street defence situation.
There are of course many techniques that you can apply much quicker than that, and any practitioner with half a brain will realise which ones are which.
Of course this long-term study of the art is a large part of what it is all about. Dedication, hard, constant practice etc. But not everyone is in for the long haul, and we need to make sure there is enough emphasis on the “learn now, use tomorrow” kind of skills.
The other main weakness that I percieve is a lack of grappling and ground skills. It’s just not within the scope of TKD. Hapkido does deal with a small number of throws, very similar to judo throws. It also has some joint manipulation throws. And these can be very useful in certain situations. For example if someone grabs your wrist, or lapel, or tries to get you in a head lock. But in a free-fighting, standing grapple, type situation they are less useful. And although there are several joint locks on the ground, the transition into them is not emphasised. It is assumed that you have been the one to do the throw, then lock their joint. If you happen to be the one thrown, you don’t have much of a chance.
So, at this stage in my learning the first issue I brought up is pretty much nullified, because I have been through that first stage, and now have a few good solid skills that I can use.
And as far as the other issue is concerned, it’s not going to be addressed by my current school. So once I reach the black belt levels, I will “branch out”, and plan to study with a near-by, very highly regarded, judo school. I believe that this will complete alot of the “fighting picture” for me.
I just want to point out that I have been very happy with my current school. The instructor is brilliant and I think that the skills taught are brilliant. I personally have no problem with having to take my time in learning to apply some of the skills. But I can see that for someone who might need the skills a week, or a month, after starting the class, it might not work so well.
Of course it’s not going to hurt their ability to defend themselves, and it might have helped abit. I guess that’s probably a problem with most styles of self defence, really.
Although it seems that say, in boxing, you are given a large proportion of the skills all at once, and you just practice practice practice a smaller “set” of skills, and you would become proficient much quicker that way, rather than be given some skills for now, some for a few months down the track, and some for a few years down the track. Obviously you would have to split your time between the three, and it would take longer than if you just focused on the “here and now” skills.
I hope everyone understands what I’m trying to say here.
Anyway, I would really appreciate it if anyone else can give some insight into their own school or style. I think it could be a good self-learning tool for us all, and just interesting to help compare styles more fairly than what is usually done.
Thanks for taking the time to read my post!