I received more than 30 emails in response to my last blog post.  The vast majority of them were positive and useful.  But two of them were a little crazy, and even dangerous in terms of faith in systems that would likely fail in the face of a real attack.

The first one came from a wing chun instructor.  Before I post it I should mention that several of the positive emails I received were also from wing chun instructors.  As I wrote in the last blog post, there are effective techniques in wing chun, and some WC instructors (especially the ones that tend to write me) teach the techniques in a functional manner, along with other systems that train what WC is lacking.  So don’t take the email below as representative of all WC instructors.  Here it is (cursing edited out by me):

You comment on wing Chun like you know anything about it. Well if you take all the sh&@*y wing Chun teachers then you will have sh&$%y students. Someone who knows the art it looks nothing like wing Chun , anyone who knows wing Chun knows that . An there are many so called functional martial arts instructors who got their f*$#ing certification in a weak long class. So just like everything else you have people who scholdnt be teaching that are. And let me see your certifications in the arts you claim to know all about!

This email is typical of the negative emails I tend to get (which are rare).  The writing is usually terrible, even when written by a native English speaker, and there is never any actual argument against whatever point I was making that they disagree with…for obvious reasons.  But this guy really is a martial arts instructor, certified by very well known martial artists.  So he’s out there teaching people, which is scary.

What he doesn’t realize is that I’ve studied in the past with the same people and groups that he has, which makes implying that he knows wing chun but I know nothing about it rather laughable.  For the sake of being transparent, I do not have any certification in wing chun.  I was never interested in specifically teaching wing chun, and quit wearing my first black belt soon after I got it, disillusioned with rank…having seen how little it actually means.  Actual skill/ability and knowledge are important to me.  These things tend to have very little to do with certification in the majority of systems, and I’d rather people focus on ability, knowledge, and logic instead of believing in a certificate.

My point in the last post was that every style is limited by nature.  If it is a specific style, then it is not any other style, which automatically limits it.  That’s pretty hard to disagree with if you think about it with an open mind for just a moment.  But a “pure stylist” is going to have a problem with that, because he believes in his system, and this idea is going to conflict with his belief.  Rather than changing his belief when faced with contrary evidence or thinking, he resorts to a personal attack.  It’s sad, but common.

What You Cannot Control

The second email wasn’t crazy in terms of content.  But the idea within it is, and it’s something I tried to address in a previous post.  The guy who wrote it said he agreed that wing chun doesn’t work, which is not something I actually said, as wing chun techniques can work if trained and used properly, but that the reason was because it was a martial art and not actual self defense.  He then went on to explain that no martial art or fighting system works in self defense, because in self defense you cannot fight your opponent…you need to just take him out…with Combatives.

This is nice in theory.  Just take out your opponent.  But in reality, you cannot control what your opponent does!

This is a fundamental concept that is extremely important to understand.  Many martial art instructors only teach with cooperative training drills.  These drills assume that your opponent will move a certain way, respond a certain way, that your defensive technique will succeed, and so on.  But it may not go that way.  It probably won’t go that way!

When you have two or more powerful adults trying their best to hurt or kill each other, there will be chaos.  Even if you are an outstanding martial artist or a highly skilled self defense practitioner, your techniques will be dictated by the position, movement, and reactions of your opponent.  And you cannot control that.  You can control what you do, but you cannot control what your opponent will do.  This is why training against an uncooperative opponent is absolutely essential.  That’s how it’s going to be in reality.

So it’s great to say that you shouldn’t “fight” in self defense, that the MMA Base is all about fighting, and instead you should focus on just taking out your opponent with deadly techniques and unrelenting force.  But let me ask you this:  What happens when your opponent moves in an unexpected way?  What happens when your opponent counters your attack?  What happens if he has friends?  What happens if you want to take him out, but he makes it a “fight”?

I’d like to know what you think about this and if it makes sense to you.  So please let me know in the comments below.  Have you also trained in schools or with instructors who assume that their techniques are simply going to work?  Why is it so difficult to understand that an opponent is going to resist, and you need to be prepared for that?