How crazy is it? There is an actual society, a group, that believes the Earth is flat like a plate sitting on a flat table in the middle of a flat field on a flat Earth. Um...what? Despite the plethora, myriad, the millions of freakin' pictures, and apparently no evidence of an edge, these peeps perpetuate the idea that the Earth ain't a sphere. Get out much?
Last Halloween, I went to a party with a whole bunch of adults trying to reclaim their childhood glory days. I was dressed as an Asian man in American clothes. A friend of mine saw a sculpture, a bust, and asked me if that was Yip Man, Bruce Lee’s famed teacher. I’ve never met the Man (get it?) and shrugged. The party was held at a Wing Chun / Yoga studio in San Francisco. A cowboy said that was his Wing Chun teacher. I’ve met a Wing Chun master before and asked him a question about the system. If you’ve read my bio, then you know my absolute love and devotion and complete disregard for the classical martial arts. Though, I will admit, Wing Chun does something that most classical martial arts don’t do.
“The shortest distance between two points is a straight line,” he said, supporting one of the main tenets of Wing Chun. This ain’t no math class. I would know. I came to the party as an Asian. Circular strikes aren’t really taught in Wing Chun. All their strikes come from the center of the body with little to no movement in the hips or shoulders for speed.
Now, it’s true, the shortest distance is a straight line. So why do boxers have hooks, uppercuts, overhands along with their jabs and straights? Simple. Limiting your strikes limits the amount of tools and avenues of attacks. And if the boxer is good, they can set up strikes and hide circular ones like an uppercut. Sneaky. Add kicks to it, and not only do you have to worry about punches but kicks. Take a fight to the ground, and all of the sudden the fight changes completely, needing a completely different skill set.
That’s what we have today. Mixed martial arts are a combination of different martial arts. Duh. As Bruce Lee always taught when he came to America, take what’s useful and throw out the rest. For those classical martial artists, like my former school, they hold on to their tenets, doctrines, dogmas created thousands of years ago. They’re like Catholic priests who don’t believe in evolution. Nothing is more evident of the evolution of martial arts than the Ultimate Fighting Championship, better known as the UFC.
The initial idea was to see which martial arts was the best. They had boxers, Karate masters, wrestlers, etc. But most infamous was Brazilian jiu-jitsu (BJJ). When the UFC first started, there were no weight classes. So you could have a 300-pound man fight a 178-pound dude. And that’s basically what happened. The tournament winner, Royce Gracie, a 178-pound man, was a BJJ whiz, submitting all his opponents to win.
All of a sudden, everyone started to study BJJ. BJJ schools touting the Gracie name popped all over the place. Karate? Kung Fu? Boxing? Kick boxing? Pff. Waste O'time.
Then evolution kicked in. Since the UFC was basically a no-holds-bar kinda fight, with some rules, people started to put things together. Wrestlers were great at getting the fight to the ground and keeping an opponent down, but had to learn how to strike and submissions; strikers began to learn how to avoid getting put on the ground and learned BJJ and wrestling (grappling); BJJ practitioners needed to learn how to strike and incorporate wrestling; and round and round we go. Nowadays, it’s very difficult to be successful in the UFC if you aren’t what they call a complete fighter, having a complete grasp of submission, striking, and grappling skills.
The need for evolving one’s skills became evident in UFC 60, when then current welterweight champion, Matt Hughes fought Royce Gracie. Remember, Gracie is a master submission artist (BJJ Blackbelt), but he lacked striking and wrestling, something Hughes had in his arsenal. Ultimately, Hughes used strikes and wrestling to get Gracie down to the ground, almost submitted the submission master, but ended the fight in the first round with strikes.
I’m not saying that for someone to be able to defend themselves on the street, they have to be a MMA fighter. But training only in straight lines can be limiting. Stranger even, my former martial arts school practiced hundreds of highly complicated techniques in the air that would not work on a real person (I’ve tried with friends), having little idea of what’s it like to deal with the physical weight of a real person like grapplers do. At least Wing Chun has a lot of partner drills, something that seems to escape my former teachers.
So why am I writing about this on a site that mainly talks about storytelling, trying to promote my book NIGHTFALL? The time to submit (get it?) query letters is fast approaching. And I love talking shit about my former school. How crazy is it? They had a whole meeting about little ol'me when I wrote this article. Get out much?