Have you ever wanted to learn a martial art but wondered about its effectiveness? Or perhaps you are currently learning a martial art and was curious on its effectiveness? After all, you don't want to find out that a martial art you have been studying has failed you when you needed it most. Given the multitude of martial arts available to you, finding an effective martial art can be an herculean labor. My friend, Badger Johnson, has 10 tips for anyone that will help you analyze a martial art for effectiveness.
10 Tips on how to analyze a martial art for effectiveness by Badger Johnson
- Look at the founder.
Try to understand and research what the founder did that lead to his development of this martial art. For example, Wing Chun was probably developed chiefly to deal with other CMA, namely Choy Li Fut, a long fist style.
- Look at the base arts that the originators may have trained in.
If the regular practice does not incorporate this original base it may be watered-down and thus less than effective.
- Look at other martial arts around the world that are doing the same thing, for comparison purposes.
For example Wrestling, Chinese Wrestling, Turkish, Mongolian, Sport-based.
- Look for inherent but possibly 'hidden' rules that the players are bound by.
Those rules can make a MA less effective as a method of self-defense.
- Look to see the degree of openness the art has for other practices.
If an art prohibits looking outside its practices, and has secret or hidden things only shown to upper belts, then you might be being deceived and limited.
- Look at how they train.
Look for examples of static postures and defenses. Look for examples of restrictions in footwork and alignment.
- Look for vulnerabilities, typically found in the application of range.
Long range arts might be vulnerable to take-downs, infighting, and evasiveness.
- Look for 'esoterica', mysticism, master-worship, odd dress or equipment that make it more of a historical MA than a practical one.
- Look for the application of the art in all the possible ranges of fighting.
If it's missing any it's not a "base art" and is wanting.
- Look for those that do not have a sporting application. Contrary to belief, sporting aspects mean there is a competitive nature to it, allowing resisting opponents and unrehearsed application. Note Aikido does not really have a sport aspect, while Judo does.
Do you agree? Any tip to add?
Please check out Badger Johnson's other essays:
- A Martial Framework by Badger Johnson
- How To Exceed Your Plateaus by Badger Johnson
- Adding to Arnold's Six Principles of Success
- "To be a master is very different from being an expert." by Badger Johnson
- Addendum, Clarification and Expansion of Paul Vunak's Fighting Secrets by Badger Johnson
- Expanded Ways of Attack by Badger Johnson
- "Fifty Important Elements in Martial Arts" by Badger Johnson
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