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This has been an ongoing question since before my time and possibly hundreds of years before that. Maybe since the start of time and fighting?? I would hazard a guess that is one big reason of fights so long ago was to try to prove who’s martial art was better??
Well fast forward to the 21st century and it’s still an ongoing question. One big addition these days, is it’s not really a question anymore but has come to more of a statement among artist. Youtube seems to be our best source of exchanging ideas in the form of video and if you take any amount of time and read any comments to any karate video you will see it, in it’s full force.
Sayings like “that would never work”, “this is crap, I could take him down any day”, “that would never work against my MMA”. Oh it goes on and on and on, longer than anyone wishes to read.
So back to our question. Is any martial art better than another?? One thing I often say, there is too many variables to begin to compare. Do we ever compare apples and oranges??? No, they say in school we cant until a common denomination is found. TKD vs TKD, maybe but again with the variables. You could have a student with an excellent instructor against a student with a “not so great instructor”. One could be very athletic in general verses another without so much natural athletic skills.
Now with the risk of getting my ass kicked, MMA these days seem to lead the pack with this higher mentality. This could also fit into the situation mentioned above. Many artists of other styles have crossed over to MMA leaving the number of other arts lower. That would easily mess up actual numbers in trying to figure this type of thing out. I have seen postings saying that a lot of MMA fighters have missed out on the tradition side of martial arts or discipline side of it. Either way I have read postings that must cover 90% of every martial art and student/instructor.
My personal belief and I think I am pretty close on this…. it’s all in the hands of the martial artist. No art is better than another and we can only better ourselves in learning this and accepting this. Many arts may be a thing of the past, once dominating a country or the world only to fall victim to time, economy, and public opinion.
MMA is the newest explosion of martial art across the USA since TKD & Kenpo in the 70’s & 80’s. It was becoming very popular and after The Karate Kid came out, it exploded into the next hemisphere. Today, with the popularity of MMA fighting on TV, film, and PPV, there is a good chance you live within 50 miles of two or three schools.
But know that every martial art was created for a reason or because of a reason. I do not know a lot of history of all the martial arts out there, or much of any besides my own, but everyone has the power of the internet to learn on it. Second, I believe it comes down to what a practitioner needs or wants from a martial art.
I have seen many classes and video’s on Youtube that I would highly question if it would work in real life. Some of these they make the claim that it is real self defense or real fighting, while others leave out any info or comments to the application. In TKD there are couple of kicks done that I don’t think would ever be of use in any self defense situation, but it is great to work balance and stretching. These same kicks are put to use in some prearranged defense moves but more to work coordination, balance, focus and control. All things important in defense situations.
Lets also not forget history or tradition. Why does some students in college learn Sandskrit or some language extinct a millennia ago??? Because they fell in love with it and respect it. I wish I have the time and resources to study Aikido, because I love the way the art is the opposite of mine and learning how the body moves in a more flowing path. I also love the meditation and piece of the art. I found myself more humbled and at piece with myself when I had lessons for a little while.
No one will ever stop public option and their freedom to express their personal views on people who post Youtube video’s. Lord knows I have seen more garbage out there and I would like to admit, but don’t judge a system by watching a few students. TKD, Judo, Kenpo, Aikido, and MMA to name a few are all great martial arts. All created for a reason and practiced for defense, art, and love. If some guy attacked me and got me to the ground I’m in trouble. If 5 guys attacked a MMA fighter, he may be in trouble. If a guy with a gun shot at an Aikido(er), pretty sure he’s in trouble too.
Personal belief??? No one art has it all. No “one” person has it all. The best martial artist out there would take a minute to step back and then want to learn what he saw. Maybe to share it with others, or maybe to help that person understand it may not work because of this reason or that reason. I would hope if I was doing or teaching something wrong in a defense situation another martial artist would professionally speak to me after and talk and walk through it with me and say “here is what is wrong and WHY it may not work”…
That’s how we learn… at least for me.
“No such thing as bad student, only bad teacher…” Mr. Miagi