Thursday, 17 May 2012

How To Make Friends And Influence People

Believe me when I say that I am not trying to prove superiority of one ‘style’ over another in yet another tale from my critically acclaimed “Old Man Rambling” series so if it comes over that way, I apologise. Different people do different martial arts for different reasons and I respect that; within our group we have practitioners of a multitude of styles, I love that fact and think it is healthy. Ok, disclaimer out of the way, onto the story.

I believe Sir Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill (1874-1965) was maybe onto something when he stated “Once in a while you will stumble upon the truth but most of us manage to pick ourselves up and hurry along as if nothing had happened”

This was definitely the case when my ‘mixed’ martial arts training was questioned by the chief instructor of the Taekwondo (TKD) group back in the late 90’s. I was already blending my TKD, Hapkido, Judo and Jiu Jitsu with a little Muay Thai, Luta Livre and wrestling being inspired by Ruas Vale Tudo after training with Marco Ruas a few times.

I had gone training with the intention of joining in the TKD class as was the case on those Saturday afternoons before I had any life obstacles, sorry I mean family :0) but once I got there I didn’t want to do the usual training, I was getting bored with it to be honest, so found an empty room at the sports centre and started working out on my own.

10 minutes in and the TKD instructor walked into the room, I greeted him as is the tradition but he walked straight by me and started pulling some mats onto the floor. He then said he wanted to spar to see what all the fuss was about with this ‘new’ type of modern martial arts.

I mistakenly thought that he was genuinely interested in doing some extra curricular training to round out his 25 years of TKD so was glad to share the meager knowledge I had.

As we started sparring, I flicked out a couple of little kicks and open hand strikes a la Royce Gracie circa UFC1 before he launched a kick at me that made me re-evaluate his motivation for doing this. Damn, he wanted to prove a point, maybe he didn’t want to think that he had spent 20+ years training something that was less than the ultimate fighting style and was going to beat me like one of those step-children with a particular hair colour that is neither blond nor brunette.

Ok, game on. I faked a slap, slipped in to clinch, simple body lock and hook put him onto his back and I took full mount. He thrashed around a little and I managed to lightly slap him a little whilst maintaining my mount on this bucking bronco, isolating an arm then sitting back for an armlock. He was stuck so I let go, stood up, pulled him back up and was going to explain what I had done when he just said “again”

We went again, he went harder this time but the same outcome.


Ok, time to make my point. As he threw a strike, I level changed shot a ‘baiana’ straight to side control, took his back and started to tighten my ‘mata leao’. I held it a little longer than usual then let go and stood up.

He stood up a little groggily then walked straight out without a word, never mentioned it again and went back to teaching his class.

Sad really that something had been proved conclusively but he chose to ignore. When I started TKD I got smashed so had to learn it. Then I went to Judo and got smashed so I had to learn it. Then I started Jiu Jitsu and got smashed so I had to learn it. See where I’m going with this?

I don’t think there are bad styles, everything has something to offer, and maybe not even bad practitioners of those styles, maybe just bad attitudes towards other styles.

So in conclusion, I refer once again to Sir Winston “the truth is incontrovertible, malice may attack it, ignorance may deride it, but in the end; there it is”.


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