Getting What You Need From Your Martial Art Part 1

Fernanda Pinheiro #02

What’s Your Objective?

There are plenty of posts out there on the World Wide Web on choosing a martial art, and what to look for in an instructor.

So rather than adding to these profuse and varied advisories by writing another lengthy article of similar vein, I’ll just give you a series of brief and personal evaluations that may prove useful.

First off, there are clubs out there teaching more than one style of martial art. (We could perhaps exchange style for aspect.)

For more than three years I trained kicking boxing and kung fu together, and while I enjoyed both, I am now of the mind that if you chase two rabbits for lunch, you will go hungry.

A simple logic might follow:  If it takes time to get proficient in one thing, it takes more time to get proficient in two things.

While we could counter this with the arguement that some things compliment others, and cite mixed martial arts as evidence of it, let’s nullify that debate straight off by clarifying my main concern.

My concern is where the sporting-competitive aspects of a martial art are taught alongside self-defence – where they are related, but effectually diverge so long as you aren’t shown how they mix and match up.

It’s difficult, we shouldn’t try to describe the view from the top of the mountain while we’re still making the climb.  So I’m at least prepared to acknowledge the possibility of the sporting aspects of a martial art and self-defense marrying somewhere along the line.

It’s just from my expereince there wasn’t much in the way to explain where they might come together.   Rather they seemed to be drawing attention and time away from each other – my time and attention!

In due course I saw clear where my preference lay.

It may be you like variety and have a more all-embracing attitude than me. But seeing as there are only so many hours in a day, consider what follows:

If you’re into fitness and interested in winning trophies and accolades then fair dues, why dilute your efforts by learning skills outside of “the rules”? What use a fight ending strike to the throat if you’re banned for life from the sport that you love?

Likewise what use evasion tactics used in the ring if there’s no room to move and two tanked up assailants who won’t play by the rules?

Let us at least acknowledge that while there are many great martial artists or boxers or fighters of whatever form in the ring/octagon you wouldn’t want to mess with, who would more than likely destroy your common aggressor, there are many more who, through garnering a false sense of security in their dojo or club, are then dismantled because of their inability to discern the difference between the World of Rules and the Great Untamed.

My recommendation: Be safe.  Decide what your ultimate objective is and stick to it. Avoid a convoluted mish-mash of ideas and styles where possible, and if it isn’t your sport, avoid competition, and train for No Game.

Don’t be fooled into thinking you are learning how to defend yourself solely by entering tournements of whatever  sort.

To illustrate, MMA is still a sport.  There are no knives in the cage.  No two-or-more against one.  What works there may or may not work on the street.  

We can all get “owned”.


Thanks for visiting A Warrior's Journey, my name is Robbie Pringle and this is my personal look at the martial life and life in general. Feel free to leave comments and encouragement, and if you like Share this site. And remember, life's no rehearsal - live it with purpose!

2 Responses to “Getting What You Need From Your Martial Art Part 1”

  • If you’d imagine, for a moment, the dedicated artist, highly skilled in the nuances of his art, the living embodiment of his perfection of it; crossing ill-wise with a nasty out of jile. You already know…then again, it might be like, int the song “HARRIS AND THE MARE”


  • Well, I suppose beating someone’s head upon a parlour door is not something we practice that often – and let’s hope our neighbours are better than his! lol