Can a martial art, a discipline often ancestral, sometimes modern, all the time thinking in the fighting spirit, make us weaker than a random individual in the case of an assault?
The answer is, unfortunately, yes, and the explanation is simple. The practice of martial arts in a society far less dangerous than a few centuries ago evolved into many motivations. From sport (for sweat), the practice of the competition (for overtaking without risk), education of children (discipline). These goals are remote and sometimes incompatible with effective self-defense.
I see three elements that can make a weaker martial artist:
The over complication of techniques
The introduction of ‘rules’, the need for teaching exercises (to develop mastery of the practitioners, but also to avoid the trouble of a course to another in clubs) leads to practise techniques and especially to patterns of response more and more complicated. Convoluted sometimes. This causes the fine motor skills” and can develop excellent dexterity. However, in stressful situations, complex responses have little chance to pass (see the good old rule of “gross motor skills”, namely that only a few movements walk under stress). Moreover, all these complex schemes that come fill your technical arsenal needlessly parasitize.
Distortion of natural reflexes
This can go hand in hand with the previous point, but will add the “bad habits”… As an example: keep your fists warned in the hip, always keep shoulders low, keep your arms along the body to protect the sides of kicks, get on the belly ground to give up the fight on the ground.
Each of these examples are a bad habit in self-defense, and yet are widely repeated in clubs that worry about ‘technical form’. For example technical aesthetics, idealistic optimization of certain keystrokes at the expense of the protection provided by a member. Due to the rules of competition (and there were falls in the famous debate on the benefits & disadvantages of competition). A non-expert naturally reflex to return the head to the shoulders when shots rained down, and this may be life-saving, why train to combat this?
Self-confidence and the development
It is shortly after having my 1st, Dan, I took the biggest blow of handguns in figure I ever took. I was 18 years old and thought that when we had a black belt, should not be afraid and go headlong. Grades, titles, degrees… increase self-confidence, which is great in the peaceful life of every day, but can sometimes be dangerous in real combat. You can be confident in the rules are learned, but be confident facing an unknown armed, for example, it is not given to any “black belt”.
We must remain realistic on its capabilities and be careful to the side ‘safe environment’ of the gym which is important for is train calmly, but which is a form of lying which we must be aware.
The practice of martial arts should not lead to “love of fights” (with the drift of “seeking to combat’); This is not because is martial arts that we forget the basic principle of personal security, the “avoidance” (when it has anticipated, and we can avoid a fight, we won with optimal efficiency).