Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Dealing With the Theoretical

First off, let's address nomenclature. In science, a theory is an idea or set of ideas that is intended to explain facts or events. In other words, a theory is our understanding of fact.

A hypothesis, on the other hand, is a tentative assumption made in order to draw out and test its logical or empirical consequences. In other words, an educated guess, but not necessarily fact.

However, in  common parlance, the word theoretical is used to mean relating to what is possible or imagined rather than to what is known to be true or real... or: relating to the general principles or ideas of a subject rather than the practical uses of those ideas.

Issue at hand - it was observed in a recent martial arts clinic type class, a student who felt the topics and techniques presented were based on the theoretical, not based on practical knowledge. Certainly, everyone is entitled to his own opinion, regardless of whether that opinion aligns with fact.

This opinion led me to look at my own martial arts curriculum. Being my own worst critic, I am constantly evaluating and re-evaluating that which is train and teach. If it works, it's included. If it doesn't work, it is discarded. If it works conditionally, it is included to the extent that the necessary conditions are likely. 

Some time back, I decided to alter my fundamental curriculum to align more closely with the techniques, tactics, and philosophies of the Gracie Combatives system. The material is absolutely fundamental for anyone who wants to survive a physical attack, and this can be evidenced with hundreds of videos of actual conflicts between persons.

Practical Uses
The Gracie Combatives are also a must-have for any aspiring mixed martial artist, as their prevalence in MMA is very widespread. MMA fighters would not use these techniques and tactics if they did not work. 

Furthermore, the Gracie Combatives were adopted by the US Army, and form the basis of the MCMAP.  Our military wouldn't continue to use them if they didn't work.

Last but not least, when I have been challenged by students or random folks who wish to see if what I teach is legit, the use of these techniques has been predominant. Sure, I've used a handful of other moves... situationally. But the Combatives movements keep appearing consistently.

I do not have time to train in techniques that do not conform to my intents. My intent is to be proficient at self defense, and to teach that proficiency to others. Therefore, I teach a curriculum that mirrors the Gracie Combatives to a great extent.

The Gracie Combatives are the single most effective course in self defense today. And even then, they are but a starting point (as confirmed by the Gracies, themselves) for true self defense mastery.

However, this is not an ad for the Combatives program - I don't make a dime if you buy it. This is, however, a criticism of a mentality that persists to this day. Folks feel threatened by a system that the know can be used to beat them. And, instead of learning that system, they simply retreat to a safe space and verbally critique from a point of pure supposition.

Sounds like a liberal, when you get down to it.

Don't be that guy.

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