I just returned from the Glory 48 Muay Thai Competition in NYC. Along with being a successful show I got and unexpected visit with my friend Bas Rutten who was there to support Tiffany Van Soest, an undefeated Dutch fighter. Over the last few years we've had many conversations about the illusions martial artists have about what their ability is and what the ability of their opponents is. There is a lot of trash talking from stand up fighters regarding MMA fighters and vice versa. We often tend to live in our own bubbles when it comes to our styles. I'll see someone observing an MMA fight and say, "well, if I were in that situation I'd just poke him in the eyes". Bas talks about giving a demonstration where a young woman kept making these comments and he finally said to her " what would you do if I had you in this position?" , she replies, "I'd poke you in the eyes". Bas said, "Ok, I'll get you in this position and you poke me. As you do I'll break your neck, ok? Ready in one...". The young lady protests and the conversation is over. The reality vs the theory and they are quite different. I know she wanted to believe she could handle it but it's better she finds out at this demo than on the street. I've said over and over again fights are never simple or clean but so many martial artists have these terrible misconceptions. Here's some things I've experienced.
A long fist fighter is observing a Wing Tsun demonstration and comments, "That's why we have one punch kill techniques and they doing these multiple nothing strikes". Really? I've been to hundreds of professional fights and never seen anyone do this 'one punch' technique. Of course I've seen one punch knock outs but they don't happen often. I've never seen anyone consistently land a one punch knockout in a fight. One the other hand I've seen people overwhelmed by multiple quick strikes and then get knocked out in the volley. I also experienced a WT fighter land about 10 punches on a guys face who then turned around and hammered him into the ground. The 'one punch kill' shot is for the movies and the inexperienced. There is nothing more eye opening then hitting someone with all of your power and having little reaction from them.
A Tae Kwon Do black belt is observing two stand up fighters going at it and says, "All you have to do is kick them once to the head and it's over". My response was "well if he's crowding you what do you do?". He said, " You can always make room, get your distance". I asked, "How about in a bar?" He insisted he could do it though he'd never been in a bar fight. He said he could always create the distance in the ring so he could do it in a bar. Not too smart thinking here. I also commented that in the many fights I'd seen most knock outs are by the hand , not the feet. On the other hand I've seen people say, " Tae Kwon Do is easy to beat , you just rush them". You know, no one has ever had that idea before and I'm sure the TKD artist will be shocked and surprised as you do that while his axe kick lands on your head.
MMA artist says "all fights go to the ground where I will choke him out". Maybe but then on the street there's no rules and while on the ground the guys buddies kick the living hell out of you. I've seen this. Then I've seen the guy who says, "I've never been choked out, it can't be done to me". Then I introduce him to some BJJ buddies and suddenly his story collapses.
Martial artists constantly dis boxers and it amazes me. One of my favorite moments on the job was an over the top MMA fighter taunting his opponent, a well skilled boxer, before the fight. He did nothing but trash mouth this guy and was dancing around the ring during the intros swatting at him and belittling him. The bell sounds and this guy keeps dancing and taunting while the boxer is moving very pointedly and deliberately. Then the guy dances by him a third time and BANG ! a well timed right hook lays him out. He woke up after the count was over and did not believe that he got knocked out. It was hysterical.
The point of this is that all of these arts were developed for a reason and are effective in their own way. Learn from all of them and apply them to your art. There is something that each has to offer and if you aren't open to it, well it's your loss. Do not criticize an art because you heard about it from someone else; go test them yourself and see what you can do against them. You might be very surprised at what you learn.
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