The quest for something that isn’t even there

27 Nov

The idea that there is “secret knowledge” in the martial arts was extremely popular in the 1970’s and 1980’s. You would think that in today’s MMA influenced world, where you can watch real fights on major TV pretty much every week, this trend would have died off but I still see it alive and well. Recently, someone came back from a seminar with a well known Muay Thai fighter and posted a review that complained that all they did was basic kicks and knees. I’ve heard similar complaints from people who traveled to Thailand to train. They thought the gates of heaven would open up and they would learn something that would instantly give them an edge.

In the Korean martial arts, there are so many kicks and variations on kicks you really can’t get an accurate number, but in Olympic full contact competition 4 or 5 kicks are what consistently score.

The Kodokan officially recognizes over 60 different throws, but again, in Olympic competition a very limited number actually score on a consistent basis.

A few “twisters” and funky submissions aside, you still generally see very basic Jiu Jitsu winning MMA matches. In fact, despite how basic some of this stuff is, and the counters are taught to white belts, they still work in professional competition against well trained and conditioned athletes.

We had a wrestling coach at NY San Da for a few years, he was fond of pointing out how most of the points scored in NCAA competition were from the most basic wrestling moves.

You can climb the mountains of Tibet in search of secret techniques, but if you ask me it’s a complete waste of time. The “secret” has been in front of you since your first days in the martial arts. You take your basics and you drill them OVER AND OVER AND OVER AGAIN. And when you’ve done that, you drill them AGAIN. You condition, you drill and you spar YOUR BASICS.

It’s a pretty simple idea, which is why I think some people think there must be something more, something “secret”.


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