Do Martial Arts Work in Street Fights? 5 Common Myths Examined
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One of the most common questions about martial arts training is whether the techniques work in real situations such as street fights. The answer isn't simple, and it depends on several factors.
For example, a number of martial arts styles are more suited to street fights. Some martial arts clubs focus more on winning competitions and medals for their students than teaching practical methods for dealing with a street attack.
Studying a martial art involves much more than learning to block, punch and kick. Years of study improves fitness levels and reaction times, and develops the ability to deal with the mental aspects of confrontation and combat. You may also learn about other cultures if you commit to learning a martial art. In spite of what many people believe, martial arts experts will go out of their way to avoid fights, and they are reluctant to use their skills until it becomes a last resort.
The following myths will help clarify the truth about martial arts in real situations.
1) A back belt will always win a street fight
Attaining a black belt in a martial art is a major achievement. As few as one in a hundred people who sign up for classes complete the journey to black belt. As well as self-defense techniques, a student will develop mental strength and learn about himself over the years of training.
However, wearing a black belt doesn't make someone an unbeatable fighter. Being taken by surprise, having to deal with multiple attackers and the influence of drugs can be challenges even for the most highly skilled martial artist.
2) Traditional arts like judo have no value in street attacks
Traditional martial arts have their roots in combat tactics used on the battlefield. Many Japanese arts are based on fighting techniques of the samurai. Modern teaching methods may have softened the application of these techniques, but they can still be effective in street fights.
For example, judo teaches a student how to use an attackers own strength and weight against him. Besides more grappling oriented martial arts place a heavy emphasis on leverage and executing takedowns to neutralize attackers.
3) Fights can last for minutes on the streets
This myth has been created by Hollywood movies. In reality, most street fights and assaults are over in seconds.
It's thrilling to watch an action hero exchanging kicks and blows for minutes in a movie, but this isn't how it happens on the streets. Many fights end with someone being knocked unconscious by the first blow. A martial artist is trained to block and move away from the initial attacks, and this increases the chances of survival.
4) Martial arts training is a waste of time for seniors
Age isn't a barrier to martial art training. Many of the highest-ranking experts are over seventy, and some train into their eighties. Decades of training increase fitness and flexibility and reduce the risk of injury. It's never too late in life to join a class and learn self-defense.
5) Violent attacks can happen at any time, in any place
This myth causes some people to live in fear of assault wherever they go. In all honesty, violence is rarely random, and most assaults take place in areas where crime rates are above average.
Studies of criminals indicate that they choose victims based on predetermined selectors, such as the perceived impression that they are less likely to fight back, or more likely to have something valuable, or ethnic indicators and so on. Awareness is therefore key to avoiding violence on the streets.
There's a big difference between studying a martial art and learning a few street self-defense techniques. Martial art training teaches you self-discipline and develops your mental strength, as well as combat methods.
To read more of Jordan’s articles, you can follow his activity on the BJJ Informer blog.
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