What’s the most effect style of martial arts…

This is a question that all martial arts schools get and sadly many mislead others on. The simple fact is that there doesn’t exist one, single, ultimate martial art regardless of what anyone is trying to sell you. If there did then there would be only one martial art in the world and we all know that there isn’t. I have been studying the martial arts for over 38 years now and I get this question all the time…or statements around it. Since the advent of the UFC it has changed in how it is implied but the intent is still the same…for people to attempt to justify why their martial art is the best…but I know a secret and I will tell you..

Hang on a second…

Are you ready for it…

Here it is! – There isn’t any justification needed nor proving of what martial art is superior to another because they all have their merits! Because of the sports involvement in the martial arts people seem to care about what style can beat what style a lot more than they do the context of the martial art they are interested in, or studying. Yes, that’s right, it doesn’t matter. Now, before all the grapplers get their skin suits in a rut or all the strikers go beat on their heavy bags it is time to seriously understand this in regards to why we get this question all the time.

People are always asking which martial art is better than the next because they don’t understand martial arts at all. They are drones who have had their minds filled with what they see on television or read on the internet…or worse watched on Youtube. Here is another secret…when a competition exist between two opponents of different martial arts systems it is just that A COMPETITION, not a fight, not a life or death situation or anything of the nature. Competitions have rules, spoken or not. No one is trying to kill the other person, gouge out their eyes, crush their windpipe nor will they pull a weapon like a knife, gun or club. It is a sport not a fight…big difference.

This question about which martial art is the best has been around since I began training over 30 years ago. At one time it was Karate versus Tae Kwon Do or Judo as to which was the best. Then it moved into statements of Brazillian Jui Jitsu being the ultimate thanks to the UFC early days. Today it is all messed up with people claiming that training in a mixed martial art system is the absolute best. MMA is a sport, not a martial art no matter what anyone tells you…but it is a cool sport none the less. What really gets me, and should you too, is when the aerobic kickboxing programs make false promises of teaching effective self defense “techniques”…that is a total joke. Then you have what is called “reality based martial arts” where they proclaim they are military inspired or all about self defense. Hate to burst your bubble but all martial art systems are self defense…

So, what is the ultimate answer to the question on what it is the ultimate martial art? Quite simply NONE of them, they all have their merits. So what does matter then? FINDING A GOOD SCHOOL TEACHING A REAL MARTIAL ART! The quality, background, training and ability of the instructor teaching the martial art matters highly. Finding an authentic martial art system to study does matter because, quite sadly, there are a lot of snake oil salesmen out there proclaiming they have created some incredible new martial art but all they are doing is repeating what everyone has been doing for over 200 years or longer. There are only so many ways to punch, kick, knee, elbow, throw, grapple, joint lock…what matters is YOUR OWN ABILITY to take what you are learning and apply it when you have no choice. To do that you need to find a GOOD, SOLID instructor…

My main focus has been Karate my entire life. That being said I always laugh when people claim that Karate doesn’t work or it doesn’t have grappling in it. Those people evidently have fallen ill to the “do as I say” bug instead of the “find out for yourself” bug which they should. The truth is that people who are saying Karate doesn’t work only trained a little while or never trained at all in…or they trained in a mcdojo (school that sells belts over quality in the training). My studies have included Jujitsu, Jeet Kune Do, Aikijutsu, Judo and more in my years of training. Anyone who has been in the martial arts as long as I have will have attended countless seminars, had friends to work out with from others and gone out to experience all that is out there. All those things make for a well rounded martial artist and competent instructor as I see it…but they don’t have to claim to teach their own system of martial art. All the martial arts I have been exposed to from competing, working as a correctional officer / bodyguard to just being around others have made my methods of teaching my Karate better as well as my understanding on how Karate works better. There is no reason for me to “mix” anything together or claim to do so. Actually, and technically, Karate is a mixed martial art since the Okinawans developed it from arts they learned in China, Taiwan and Japan…but it is Karate….no need to call it what it is not.

What truly matters is not the system you are studying but rather the knowledge, experience, background and ability to successfully teach the art to you, as the student. If you go train in “the oldest martial arts known to mankind” that is supposed to be “devastating and effective” but the instructor sucks at teaching you properly then that art will fail you. This is a fact. In the early days of MMA some of the big name fighters opened up gyms and people flocked to them thanks to all the media coverage. They would go around and do seminars for big bucks too. As time went on people stopped going to their gyms and seminars because they were terrible teachers…great at fighting but bad at teaching others. This still happens today. I’ve seen a lot of people open up gyms who have fought in cage matches, securing a winning streak. They think that qualifies them to teach but they lose students left and right and blame it on all sorts of things never realizing that, while they may be good fighters, that never equates to being a good teacher.

So, the next time someone wants to argue what martial art system is the best just remember there isn’t one. None of the martial arts systems are the ultimate source…none are the greatest thing out there BUT quality and QUALIFIED instruction does matter in whatever martial art a person decides to study. Also remember that fighting is nasty, mean, without honor and ruthless in consequence…what you see on Youtube or TV is often a match, a competition…never a real fight. Then remember this on secret…it is up to the individual to take what they have learned and apply it a situation to SURVIVE that matters. Your teacher, Sensei, Sifu or Professor will not be there to save you so you better train to understand how to use the skills you are learning…not just pay to get a belt so you can go around claiming to be a black belt. As always train hard, get to your dojo / school / gym and learn all you can 🙂

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