Without reality, martial arts are meaningless….

5 May

Some people ask me, “how did you get involved in all this fighting stuff”? As if Chan Tai-San was teaching us all how to play checkers? I usually refer them to an album of pictures of Chan Tai-San teaching us fighting technqiues as a start. Then I usually suggest that if you really go back in time, all traditional martial arts were once about fighting.

Returning to an often discussed topic, today of course people do martial arts for a number of reasons. And MANY have almost no interest in “fighting”. And, as I have often stated during seminars, in my books and in this blog, THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH DOING MARTIAL ARTS WITHOUT THE FIGHTING ASPECT. The key in all of this is another topic I frequently discuss here, TRUTH. Train with truth, and you can never go wrong. Train without Truth and you invite countless problems.

If you are not training to fight, engaging in that training which can be rough, which produces both blood and sweat, and which results in injuries, it is a real problem to think you can fight just because you are “doing a martial art”. We have seen this time and time again, especially in the age of videos and social media. We see how the worst lie is a lie you tell yourself; we see people who have absolutely no fighting skills stepping up to fight!

For better or for worse, I was frequently the person who accepted challenges when Chan Tai-San’s school was still active and accepting them. I was raised in that “culture” and accepted many of them. Am I claiming I can not be beaten? ABSOLUTELY NOT. Am I claiming I was a “great fighter”? ABSOLUTELY NOT.

And that is a HUGE DIFFERENCE. You won’t find me telling stories about street fights in which I took on multiple opponents. You won’t find me telling stories about fighting some “master”, beating him and taking the keys to his school. You also will note if you look closely that I do not issue challenges. Nor do I step up to accept random challenges. For example, I wouldn’t be the guy to go to Xu Xiaodong to fight him to “prove” something. NO. I accepted challenges when it was necessary to do so, in context.

I have always accepted challenges knowing full well a few things. First, there was no guarantee I would win. All I knew was that, having trained realistically, I’d likely have an opportunity to demonstrate some skills and do some damage. But I also knew full well that anyone can lose any time. Very skilled professional fighters have lost in mere seconds, everyone has a bad day. Second, I knew that the next day I’d likely be nursing at least some injuries. I’ve had bloody noses and I’ve had broken noses. I’ve had stiff necks, sprained ankles, micro tears and nagging pains. I know the reality of fighting. I know is it NOT a Shaw Brothers’ kung fu movie.

When I train fighters, I train them not just for the match they will KO someone, but also for the match that they will be KO’ed. I’ve celebrated both victories and sucked up loses time and time again. But, again, as people training with reality, training with TRUTH, we understand the meaning and significance of these events.

Those that do not train with this reality and with Truth do themselves a great disservice and expose themselves to dangers they will be incapable of understanding.

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