Tap or I will break your arm! Then I will poke your eyes!! We can poke the eyes too!!!

Tap or I will break you arm!  Then I will poke your eyes!!  We can poke the eyes to!!!!

The above comment was written on-line in a response to a disagreement regarding the effectiveness of modern MMA cage fighting and the fact that it is a sport and not real street reality based fighting. There are as many opinions about this subject as there are methods of training. So how can this subject be explored without a bias to either reality based, real in your face street violence and cage, referee, rule controlled MMA?

Let’s first take a look at some of the arguments that seem to pervade this subject.

  • Reality is exactly that, your life is on the line – MMA fighters are just as capable of defending their lives.
  • Reality will use targets not allowed in the cage – MMA fighters can use these targets if they wanted to on the street.
  • There are no rules on the street and no referees – MMA has a referee for the safety of the fighters.
  • The street is real it’s not a sport – MMA may have a winner and loser, it is a sport and represents real contact.
  • MMA fighters are conditioned professionals – Martial artists are also conditioned.
  • All fights end up on the ground, so train for it – In reality most fights are stand up.

From the above what ever side of the fence you fall on there is always a counter to the argument. Is there a way in which logical thought can be used to explain the difference, or is it just the case that emotions will always play a part in this type of debate? Is there an area that the martial artist trains that the MMA doesn’t?

Even between Martial arts there are arguments or differences of opinions on which martial art is reality based and more effective than a traditional art for example, it seems that ego has a huge part to play in people’s arguments, dealing with the facts and evidence is one thing, but people’s opinions are something else. So lets see if we can not separate the wood from the trees.

MMA today is one of the most popular sports out there, huge numbers are attracted to the sport and its no wonder that it is very aggressively portrayed as the ultimate in martial arts. Over the years since its inception MMA has seen a change in the dominant skill that has enabled its fighters to win. From the start it was ground work, take them to the ground and tap them or choke them out, then stand up, then the ground and pound, it’s influences have changed.  What has not changed is the conditioning of the individuals that take part and the mindset needed to prepare for and enter the cage. Logic would dictate that a professional MMA fighter in peak condition being caught in a street altercation should prevail every time. I use the word altercation rather than fight, to separate out the thought process that a fight involves two parties, often violence on the street only involves one aggressor. Why? due to pure physical fitness, conditioning, experience, mental preparation and of course ability. Does this mean that the non MMA guy does not have a chance? Does this invalidate all other Martial Arts?

Context plays an important role here, if the average Martial artist were to enter the cage against a trained professional MMA fighter, I believe the odds are against the Martial Artist. On the street, especially if the art you practise is designed for a reality based situation then the odds swing a little more in the Martial Artist’s favour. Bring a weapon into the equation or multiple attackers, then the Martial Artist has the edge. Against non trained aggressors on the street, even more odds get stacked in the Martial Artist’s favour.

Later this year I will be releasing a couple of DVDs on the subject of Multiple Attacks, so stay tuned, the trailer will be out very soon and a blog on multiple attacks will be here to.

But what about that part of the title that says “we can poke the eyes too”? Well that is a different story and the answer is not so easy!

“The eyes are the window to the soul”      

 

Not having time here to go into the history of human evolution or evolutionary psychology, it’s a fairly well-known fact the human beings in the main do not want to harm other humans, there are of course always going to be those that are not quite wired the same as the majority, but the good news it, that those who are not are in the 3 to 5 % minority. Research into killing rates during the last few wars and detailed in David Grossman book, “On Killing” give a good understanding of this. He also covers the point that killing becomes ever harder the closer and more personal it becomes. Taking your fingers and shoving them into another person’s eyes takes a huge amount of mental fortitude. This type of A social violence is one of the hardest things to train, there are ways in which this can be done, but few schools teach what it takes to achieve this. Using the words “just poke them in the eyes” is easy to say, but the action is far from easy. So using glib statements points more towards your understanding of human behaviour than you may think, it takes a great deal for those not capable of this action to admit the shortfall in training. I am not talking here about flicking or non committed moves towards the eyes, I am talking about full on finger penetration of the eye-ball, the eye socket and the grey mass behind the eyes.

                                                                              
Without getting too carried away with dramatic pictures, this one of Roy-Jones Jr, gives an idea of a small proportion of the damage that can be caused when the eye is damaged, but nothing near the amount of damage if the eye was the direct target.
 
Human behaviour is at the heart of what we as humans do innately. We have evolved over thousands of years and descended from primitive beings to the highly social animals that we are today. We are born with innate behaviours built-in for our survival, we learn behaviour and some behaviour is just the result of an accident. So poking people in their eyes is certainly not an innate behaviour and therefore is a learned behaviour, as is most of the martial techniques that we learn today. We have natural ways of movement, but no natural innate way in which we kill each other, they are adapted and definitely not inbuilt.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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  1. #1 by peter reid on July 7, 2012 - 08:16

    Great article Kevin,

    looking forward to the up coming DVDs.

    Peter
    Daigokan Kenpo karate Ireland

    • #2 by Kevin Mills Martial Arts Expert on July 13, 2012 - 22:03

      Hi Peter,

      thanks for your thoughts on the material. Promo clip will be up very soon, its all done, just need some timings on the finished DVDs.

  2. #3 by Scot Conway on October 26, 2012 - 22:07

    Good thoughts. Personally, I always thought a better test of self-defense ability of any system of protection is best judged by how it works in the ordinary day-to-day situations we encounter. Some are often fixated on which art can beat other arts – when, to me, the real question is which methods will 1. Keep you from being in the fight in the first place, 2. Make situations better rather than worse when they occur, and 3. Make sure you win if it comes to violence – and win in a way that won’t land you in prison.
    – Scot Conway
    Guardian Quest Dojo

  3. #4 by peter reid on October 27, 2012 - 22:35

    Would have to agree with Scot on this one, as a doorman I find the most important thing is not to get into a fight but if you do find you have to defend yourself make sure you stay within the law.

    Peter Reid

    Daigokan Kenpo
    Ireland

  4. #5 by Adaptive Self Protection on December 14, 2012 - 10:30

    Hi Kevin, I think both have the potential to thrive in self protection. Both certainly have the physical skills although I would argue that MMA practitioners may have the upper hand with regards to pressure-tested skill sets. The biggest thing to take into account is the mindset. I consider mindset to be more important as you can have all the technique in the world but without the mindset to carry things through, they are worthless. So I think both camps can be very effective if they learn the soft skills of self protection and expose themselves to anaerobic stress scenarios, putting their technique under pressure with as much realism as you can but with keeping safety considerations in mind. Just my two cents worth 🙂

  5. #6 by Adaptive Self Protection on December 14, 2012 - 10:31

    The biggest thing to take into account is the mindset. I consider mindset to be more important as you can have all the technique in the world but without the mindset to carry things through, they are worthless. So I think both camps can be very effective if they learn the soft skills of self protection and expose themselves to anaerobic stress scenarios, putting their technique under pressure with as much realism as you can but with keeping safety considerations in mind. Just my two cents worth 🙂

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