There is a large problem I’m seeing in the martial arts and fitness industries today.  We’ve gotten entirely out of touch with the original goals of both.  Which was warfare.  Let’s be real, gymnastics (the precursor to all modern “fitness” pursuits) was birthed out of the need to keep people fit for war.  Martial arts were birthed out of the need to win those wars.  Now there are plenty of secondary reasons to get into either as a passion.  All are very superficial.  Most of us don’t have to fight wars anymore so we get so far removed from those roots we end up with convoluted approaches that would never work in a real fight and never give you a complete, clear picture of what a real combat scenario is like.  Which is fine if your aim is to learn a tradition or to lose weight**.

But I got into martial arts for one single reason.  It was to learn to fight.  Ground fighting and striking are both critical to being effective on the battlefield.  To hold those off for 8 years (like this fucking guy) is stupid and dangerous if these martial arts claim any self-defense ability.  Any good teacher should teach his material to fit the students.  I’ve had team members blow through my year long curriculum in 6 months.  My star student spent over 100 hours over the course of 4 months wrecking my curriculum timelines.  It would’ve been wrong of me to hold her back and force her into years of training.  She learned it all that fast.  Violence and inflicting it are easy skills to learn.  Body conditioning and mental toughness take time, but sure as hell not 8 years.

Forms are easy skills to learn.  I would argue that even his silly little arts could be learned much faster than the 8 year timeline he prescribes, if they even have a solid standardized curriculum.

But why the delay?  Why get out of touch with combat?  Why say 8 years?

The root cause is the same thing we see in the fitness industry.  He might not even be aware he’s played into it but somewhere, one of those “stick with it for 8 years” teachers followed the business model of: Complicate to profit.  Keep adding crap til you start making money.  8 years of lessons adds up to a fucking lot of money.  At an extremely modest $60/month(most schools in Omaha, NE ca 2013, command a fee of $100/month), that comes out to be $5,760.  That doesn’t include any of the upsells, tournament costs, uniform costs, and general equipment costs those schools will charge you.  Ya think maybe that amount of money has something to do with that 8 year training time?

Absorb what is useful, reject what is useless, add what is specifically your own.  –Bruce Lee

Martial arts, like anything else are their most truthful when someone makes it their own.  When they cut away the inessentials, but keep the 2 or 3 key flourishes that shows their personality.  With the right approach, you could actually become an excellent fighter inside of 3 or 4 techniques.  Then the matter becomes gaining experience in so many varied situations that you can still see how those techniques are applied.  You don’t need 8 years of training.  That’s for the pedants.  The folks who worry more about foot placement than how to react to and recover from surprise.  8 years is for the cowardly, unwashed masses who chose to play combat games instead of engaging in real combat.  8 years is for the idiots who actively choose not to question and just accept what they are told as truth.  8 years is for stupid people who don’t know what they want.  And you won’t be that kind of stupid.  Not on my blog.  Not in my school.  You are something better.

“The goals are simple.  Think critically, become mentally tough, learn violence.”

**I think it’s a cheat, learning real combat and taking fitness to it’s original roots of running and jumping through trees is so much more satisfying than JUST having a six pack–look at the proliferation of obstacle course races (spartan race, mud run, warrior dash, at least 3 others that market toward me, etc) and tell me I’m wrong, people are seeing this truth and the markets are shifting to accommodate them.