Did you know that most adults quit martial arts training during their first 100 days? When asked why they quit, the number 1 answer was, “the lack of realistic self defense training!”
But, how is this possible? After all, isn’t the reason you learn a martial art is so you can defend and survive against an attack in a real self defense situation?
In this article, I want to talk about some of the myths and false-beliefs that make up what I call, “The Karate-Myth.” Because, it is these beliefs, assumptions, and illusions about the martial arts – and the people who teach them – that can put you in even more danger!
Myth #1 – A Black Belt means you can defend yourself. Just like a college degree, this false belief focuses on the symbol of knowledge, rather than the ability to produce results. A black belt, or whatever belt, sash, patch or certificate is being used to measure rank and progress in a particular system, is just that – a symbol of progress through a syllabus of skills and training material.
In the case of my own Warrior Concepts Mastery System, any particular rank, just as with a college degree, says that the student has the necessary tools and knowledge. However, it will be up to that person to be able to put that knowledge and those skills to proper use in a real-world situation – it is the student’s responsibility to “make it work.”
As a side note, please remember that it is easy for anyone to go online, or into a martial arts supply store, and purchase a black belt. The point here is that the ability is not contained in some magical “black belt.” Ability is reflected in the thought, words, and actions of the person who possesses them – regardless of whether or not a belt is ever worn!
Myth #2 – All martial arts were designed for self defense. Again, here is another false-belief that is born of assumption, not research. There are many schools of martial arts that have absolutely nothing to do with combat.
In fact, the martial arts action star, Jackie Chan, attained his skills in just such a school. In his autobiography, he tells of how his father took him to this school, which focused on producing martial arts actors and stunt men.
And, even if a particular martial art was initially developed for combat, there is no guarantee that it was not “watered-down” over time and converted into a system for meditation, fitness, or any of a dozen other non-combative purposes.
Myth #3 – All martial arts instructors can teach you how to defend yourself. This is probably THE most dangerous assumption of them all. Because, even if the person has achieved the rank of black belt (see my comment about buying one above), and he or she studied a combat-oriented system of martial arts…
…this is still no guarantee that this person knows what it’s like in a real attack situation.
There is a belief that trophies and tournament fighting is the best way to test your self defense skills. I completely disagree. In fact, the very system of rules and “fairness” that exists in any sport, including boxing, mixed martial arts and UFC fights, and martial arts tournaments, runs contrary to the reality of “no-rules” on the street!
The black belt around a martial arts instructor’s waist is a sign of his progress and rank – the amount of information he or she possess and can share with you. It does not represent the experience – the real-world knowledge they earned in the “school of hard-knocks.”
While it is true that there are charlatans out there who are misrepresenting themselves. And, there are countless schools of martial arts advertising “self-defense” in their ads and store-fronts.
But, it can be our own misconceptions and self-imposed assumptions that prevent us from checking them out and insuring that what you are learning is indeed what you will need to win!