Brutal before beauty, or beauty before brutality?

There's a classic argument happening here.  You see it in every Martial Art if you really pay attention and follow the logic of every teacher (if there actually exists a destination beyond just memorizing a move for moves sake).

One camp believes brawling to be warriorship, and true 'fighting';  Opting for high volume, high power shots for damage and effectiveness (Guillermo criticizes the mexican style of fighting, hit and get hit).  They, opt for the straight line.

Another camp calls brawling primitive and high risk; opting for efficiency minimal force (Guillermo advocates hit, without getting hit).  They, opt for the circle.

It's almost like the jocks vs. the nerds, isn't it?

I tend to side with the former.  Fighting is nasty.  It's ugly, brutal and many times cannot be sterilized.  What we see in the ring, is not fighting.  It is a sport.  Though a combat sport that exhibit elements of fighting, it is not the real thing.


The real thing is the shit you hear in the papers.  On the news.  Acts of pure violence and mayhem.  Bombs going off, people being raped and tortured.  THAT, is fighting.

Sometimes, the illusion of Martial Art is the belief that we can make something artistic out of chaos (martial-god of war-Mars-war like).  Enter combat sport.  When you play a game long enough, you understand the parameters and learn to manipulate the parameters while others are still trying to understand it's borders.  When we see these geniuses, Tyson, Ali, Mayweather, Buakaw…we are seeing athletes who've manipulated the parameters so far and above their competition that it's beautiful.  But make no mistake, they still abide by the parameters (Tyson can only Punch, Buakaw cannot rear naked choke, Mayweather cannot kick).

True fighting, in it's essence is chaos.  Violence, has no parameters.  We don't know when it's happening, by whom, and where or how bad.  We never know the parameters and can not forecast.

Violence is brutal.

With that said, the original intent of Martial Art was to prepare for violent moments.  So where does this leave todays Martial stylist?

To me, every student must begin with a utilitarian approach to learning martial art (the greatest amount of good for the greatest amount of people).  But in this case, learning in a utilitarian way simply means to being proficient in the techniques that yield the greatest amount of efficacy in the greatest amount of situations (not just in ring, dojo type stuff but for the street and common life too).  I think, a preparation for violent moments should precede athletic success.  It's for that reason I prefer the straight direct approach before the circular, sport mentality.

What direction you choose to continue, is up to the student.  It's not about what side is correct--it's about which side is the most apt starting point for you.

Yours in the Arts,


Kru Nick

Kru Nick BautistaComment