I was having lunch at the chow hall with some of my boys the other day when one of the new guys sat down and joined us. As usual with all new guys we made fun of him for a little while then interrogated him about his background listening carefully for any BS.
Anyway the kid ended up being a good dude that took it all in stride and yapped about his background and hobbies. As with most guys in this line of work the subject of past/current Martial Arts training will eventually come up. Well this dude mentioned that he had been training in some sort of Kung Fu since he was a kid.
Well that opened the flood gates of “Kung Fu is worthless on the streets” to the inevitable “Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is the best Martial Art in the entire galaxy” to my response of “Who gives a shit, you guys sound like a bunch of nerds arguing about Star Wars VS Star Trek”, then Laughter…
The above (and my rant below) is why I haven’t stepped a foot in a dojo in over 10 years, all of the childish chest thumping about this Martial Art VS that Martial Art is gay. Back in the day when I first started training in Martial Arts it was about learning something that was new and challenging (and cool) that people had been teaching for centuries.
It didn’t matter if Ninjawondo was suitable for a street fight in South Central LA or would get you laid in a bar – it was about the process of learning and mastering something to the point of near perfection. It was almost (without sounding like a hippie) a spiritual experience, and exactly what I needed as an undisciplined young man.
These days Martial Arts seems to be all about who can “fuck each other up on the streets” – now besides the fact that 99.9999% of Martial Arts practitioners don’t get into fights “on the streets” that sort of gangster-ass attitude has no place in a dojo. I long for the days of bowing to your sensei, training for an hour and shaking everyone’s hand at the end of the class.
Back then Martial Arts discussions were about technique and style not calling each other names or disrespecting other styles of Martial Arts. My Old School Taekwondo instructor had my ass scrubbing the dojo floor for 6 months when he heard me disrespecting another Martial Art. And that experience shaped the Martial Arts values that I still hold to this day – Respect, Honor, Integrity, Honesty and “Carry Yourself Like a Gentleman in a competition”
Now I see people in dojos throwing their hands in the air when defeating a fellow classmate and yelling “yeah baby, get some!” while the instructor claps his hands laughing. That shit makes me sick to my stomach. Martial Arts are about learning, discipline and grace – not about acting like a fake tough-guy Douchebag in a super tight Tap Out T-shirt arguing on the internet about how MMA is the end-all in Martial Arts training.
Besides, in the end my 7 dollar can of pepper spray trumps your 20 years of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu training – so be a dignified Martial Artist and act like a gentleman, then when you are rolling around on the floor yelling “it burns” no one will say “That super tight Tap Out t-shirt wearing Douchebag deserved to get his ass pepper-sprayed”
Founder – Editor in Chief
James G is a Veteran Civilian Contractor who has worked in the Middle East and Southeast Asia for way too long; he has traveled to over 50 countries chasing fortune and glory. He spends his off time in Indonesia and Virginia getting drunk, shooting guns, writing poorly written articles and learning a martial art that is worthless on the streets. James G. on FACEBOOK