Reject What Is Useless

Just a few days ago I had a conversation with a friend. He has been training with me off and on for several years. He has seen my material change and develop over the years and he has put in the time to develop this material and make it work. The conversation vectored around the use of some older material. He had this romantic notion about the contribution that things like dead pattern stick drills, Wing Chun/Kali energy drills and footwork box patterns had on his "overall" development. He thought he was better for training them, even though they have since been discarded. I completely disagreed. I told him that I thought it was wasted time. The only contribution to his game made by those things is a broader understanding of martial arts in general. That might make interesting dinner conversation but it won't help you when someone twice your size is trying to destroy you.

Some individuals (like myself) spent a lot of time perfecting a number of different martial arts techniques throughout the late eighties and into the nineties. An interesting thing happened in the early nineties though that changed everything. Brazilian Jiu Jitsu showed us that training against a resisting opponent could actually functionalize techniques to the point where they work even though your opponent doesn't want them to. Boxing was much the same and predated BJJ in the US but the martial arts community seemed to like the mystic over the obvious. Energy drills and box patterns can make an instructor look omnipotent but they don't help the student from a self defense standpoint. That alone makes them a waste of time if your interest is in "self defense".

I came to see that boxing, BJJ and clinch (Greco, Thai, wrestling) nullify Wing Chun. Karate, Tai Chi and Kali. I was willing to throw away what I saw didn't do the job even though I had invested a lot of time and "energy" into it. This is one of those confusing things about Bruce Lee. After he discovered western boxing he was blown away. He knew that it had an edge over Wing Chun in training and application. He knew he could beat Wing Chun men with it. Yet he still trained and taught Wing Chun. I can only conclude that it was due to an emotional attachment he had formed, or his ego, which could not let it go. I look at some of the old material that I was taught as a disease. I not only want to be rid of it personally, I also want to see it eradicated from my general surroundings.

Some have used the argument that it is good to have structures like energy drills so you can still train when you are an aged senior citizen. That statement alone should show you how useless these types of structures are. However the point needs to be made that I probably will not want to train when I am in my golden years. I started training martial arts out of a sense of insecurity. I wasn't sure how to handle myself in a violent confrontation. I was young and I thought there would be some overall life changing value to training. The only thing that came out of it was learning how to fight. It was not the stairway to heaven. It wasn't even a spiritual stepladder. Later I became enamored by the arts I trained and learned to appreciate them. That was my sophisticated stage. Once I was responsible for the well being of a family I came to a real understanding of what I needed to do:

*Learn and train high probability tactics (which will mostly be gross motor function) in order to protect your family while you are young and strong enough to make any of it work. *Forget about the sophisticated elements that rob time away from the functional elements. *Train with weapons and firearms. *Try to keep yourself in decent shape along the way. *Do not be swayed by propaganda, marketing or the politics of any organization.

So, as I continued to talk with my friend I gave him example after example of how his thinking, in my opinion, was flawed. The thrust of the examples I gave him was that if you trained "that way" and had to fight for real how well would you do. He concluded that he would not do so well. He still wanted to say that it had somehow contributed to his "development as a whole" but he was finding it harder and harder to make that argument. He did agree with my assessment when all was said and done.

I guess it can be best summed up like this:

"Even if you don't see the light, you're still gonna feel the heat".

It makes sense to train for reality when you realize what's at stake. And I'm not talking about money or your pride. I'm talking about your own well being and the well being of your family, friends or the innocent.

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