Traditional self-defence systems vs. modern combat sports, what is better?
I will answer the question in few seconds.
First of all, I can hear all the so called “traditionalists” with their arsenal of deadly techniques and excuses of not being able to use them in a sport enviroment.
Of course our art was never designed for a fair-play sport environment, but make no mistake – full contact sparring (and various forms of it) with protective gear is the bread and butter of combat training, regardless of what you train. Gloves, mouthpiece, cup – be happy to have them. Old timers would have use them as well if they could.
But – sport version of the fullcontact sparring is not the whole picture either. Let’s consider the eye poke or groin kick: totally unacceptable in a sport environment, of course. MMA is today legitimate sport and I am personaly a huge MMA fan. Sport means rules and fair play game, period.
Reality based self-defense, like all the traditional martial arts? Different story. Groin kick or eye poke of course does not necessarily stop the fight – the storm that follows after does the job. Try 2 on 1 „sparring“, and the game changes, totally. Multiple opponents vs. 1? Or give one guy a training knife – again, whole different world.
So, how about all the so called “dirty techniques”, as Chinese say, “Poisonous Hands” (Duk Sau)? Yes, train them, A LOT (and there are safe ways how to do it), but make sure that they are not a substitution for full power, full aggression combat training, not to mention solid athletic base (strength, power, cardio).
So, “what is better – traditional self-defense systems, or the modern combat sports?
The answer is “yes”.
Pavel Macek Sifu, Practical Hung Kyun
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