The Martial arts have evolved a lot during our century. In
our day, martial arts practitioners have the ability to choose amongst
hundreds of martial arts styles. It is not just that there are more kinds of
martial arts available, but that even traditional martial arts have changed.
30 years ago martial arts were all about forms, katas and tradition.
Don’t get me wrong, I do not believe that tradition and forms are useless. I
just do not believe that we should do everything the way it was done
hundreds of years before. People have changed and the martial arts had to
change as well.
The mindless dedication to styles, forms and fixed techniques is either a
result of the Japanese military way of thinking or a result of racist ethnic
tradition that characterized some martial arts. Tradition had to survive and
pass on to younger generations at all cost. So forms and katas were
discovered. Forms and katas were used to pass knowledge but I am afraid that
most martial arts instructors use them without knowing their true meaning
because in their days you just followed tradition; you were not allowed to
In the old days a martial arts practitioner did not have books and training
videos to consult. Everything he needed to know was in the forms. Also these
forms are a way of practicing without the help of a fellow practitioner. You
can practice forms in your house, all by yourself, without any training
The truth is that no matter how perfect a technique one has or how much one
trains by himself, he will not be able to beat a kickboxer that trains with
a partner and is able to “read” his opponent’s attacks and find openings in
his defense and his rhythm.
One can argue that traditional martial artists would use their imagination
to “fight” against an imaginary opponent. Even so, that is not the same as
trying to fight against a live unpredictable opponent.
Sooner or later the traditional martial artist is faced with an inevitable
truth: his defense is not perfect and he gets hit. His mind sticks to his
wounds and he loses the fight. A boxer on the other hand, gets hit often but
because of his fighting experience he just continues fighting. His mind does
not stay with the hit but continues to attack and react.
When you step into a traditional martial arts school, you are very impressed
by the whipping sound of karate uniforms worn by students when they punch or
hit. They sound very powerful. The truth is that most of them lack any real
power. A kickboxer hits the thai pads hundreds of times in just a training
session so his punches and kicks are conditioned against a resisting and
strong target. The only traditional martial artists that have true power in
their attacks are the ones that use makiwaras in their training. Everybody
else lacks any real power and may break his hand in a real confrontation.
I must admit that all martial arts have strengths and weaknesses. For
example one can say that tae kwon do practitioners are vulnerable to boxing
and wrestling attacks. The truth is that Tae kwon do practitioners are very
dangerous if you underestimate them, especially when they wear shoes. A
wrestler may argue that he is not afraid of them because he will initiate a
false move, manage to grab them and take them to the ground. But some day he
will just be unlucky and get kicked in the head by a slim tae kwon do guy
that has long legs and explosive kicks.
The truth is that anyone can beat anyone depending on the conditions. A
boxer once told me that the most dangerous attack is the one you least
expect. I was watching a kickboxer sparring against a kung fu practitioner
once. The kickboxer would prevail on most of the fight and so started to
underestimate his opponent until the kung fu practitioner used a somewhat
crazy move and hit him in the groin with an eagle claw attack. That was it.
The fight ended.
We can also consider the old question: Which is the most
dangerous weapon, a hand grenade or a knife? One could argue that a hand
grenade is more powerful. That is mostly true, but let’s say that you are
fighting inside an elevator. Then the knife would be more useful.
The same applies to martial arts. All martial arts can be effective
depending on the conditions. With that in mind, I do not want to accuse any
styles, let’s just say that some martial arts styles are doing a great job
proving to us that they are very effective while others are not. Jujitsu and
kickboxing, for example, are effective and there is no doubt about it.
Mixed martial arts events have helped a lot in this area. In these events
every fighter tests his martial arts style against other ones. That has
caused a lot of changes. Karate practitioners learn to defend against a low
kick and use more flexible blocking techniques. Jujitsu stylists also train
in kickboxing to enhance their striking ability and to learn how to defend
in the kicking range. Kickboxers learn how to take a fall and survive
against groundfighters. This is evolution. We strongly believe that in 10
years, the martial arts scene will be very different.
In order to help our visitors enhance their fighting abilities, we will name
some of the fighting arts that have drawn our attention.
There are 7 styles that are very effective in certain
Wing Tsun (for trapping and Chi sao)
Kickboxing (kicks, knees, elbows, boxing and the
Kyokushin Karate (open hand attacks
in vital points)
Aikido (locks, distance control and
Jiu-jitsu (choke holds and overall
We would recommend that a fighter start training in
Taekwondo, then kickboxing and then a grappling art. However if you already
train in any of these arts, the others will complement your fighting ability