After re-reading my MMA sucks posts and then “From the Octagon to the Street“, I’m coming to the point where there doesn’t seem much left to say on this topic. I’ve tried to argue my points clearly, citing my reasoning and how I come to those specific conclusions. At this point, like Austin Powers says “I’m spent”.
The sad thing about the Internet is how people read two sentences and then pass judgment on an entire article, forming conclusions based on limited information. I guess it’s something to do with short attention spans or information overload because it seems to become more prevalent as time goes by. It’s like looking at the first two minutes of a movie and then feeling qualified to praise or bash it…
In the real world, there often aren’t any easy explanations. Topics are complex and so are the answers to the questions regarding them. That means you have to put a lot of things on the table to give an accurate reply, show both the forest and the trees. And then explain how they interact.
I like that approach. When I’m interested in something, I want to know all about it and especially the “Why?” part instead of only “How?” That’s just how I am and it probably shows in the way I write. I absolutely loathe the elevator pitch mentality. Sure, it has some benefits but it needs to be followed up by research and study to see if your original assessment is even in the ballpark. All too often, that’s just not the case.
I guess I’m getting older because I don’t have much drive anymore to explain the concept of “Debate” to those who are only interested in screaming “It is so because I tell you so!” Or worse: “It is so because my great-mega-ultra-grandmaster says so!!!” What I have even less patience with is spouting off an opinion while being too lazy to even think it through or research it:
- Thinking it through means you know exactly why you come to a conclusion: If you used an MMA shoot followed by some ground and pound in every street fight you were in, then it makes perfect sense for you to think MMA is the best thing ever for self defense. It is true for you because your experience proves it. Nobody can deny that.
- But if you’re then too lazy to research street violence and discover that in a shitload of situations, your MMA techniques will either not work, make things worse or get you killed, then you’re missing the point. If you consciously refuse to look deeper, well, then you’re just plain stupid. Here’s your sign…
Please bear in mind that I never said your MMA techniques didn’t work in the street. If you understood that from my words, re-read the first bullet point again; I specifically point out they did just that for you.
The problem is that it’s just you, and nobody else. Even if you go looking at what your friends from the MMA gym do in the street, that still doesn’t mean you’re right in assuming it’s the best thing since sliced bread. As a friend of mine, The Mad Chemist, likes to say “The plural of anecdote is not evidence.” Mind you, it also doesn’t mean you’re wrong in your assumptions. My point is, it doesn’t prove anything either way.
At the same time, it also doesn’t mean that I’m right/wrong. It only means I do the best I can to make sense of it all and reserve the right to change my mind. Which brings the debate full circle:
In the end, you can only work with your personal experience, reasoning and research to come to your conclusions. For each of us, this will be different. I know what I did when I had to fight and I’m pretty certain it will differ from what other people did. It’ll also be very similar to what even more others did. The deciding vote then goes to the research and training you do. Which once again will be different for everybody.
Ultimately, this process leads you to a certain set of choices regarding your training. There’s only so much time you can train each day and you can’t do everything. What exactly you train and how you do so is up to you to decide. My point with this post is to point out that it needs to be a conscious decision, one that gets evaluated regularly, instead of just coasting through life and training in whatever way you happen to end up with.
If you make it a conscious choice, you’ll be happy with not only your training and your progress but it’s also likely you’ll be more effective in the street because of it. Me, I’m happy with my choices. I’m never quite happy with the results though. I always try to get better and keep on training, knowing full well there’s no such thing as perfection or guarantees. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try.
UPDATE: Here’s part Three of From the Octagon to the Street with an interesting video of UFC fighters training with Marines.