Being Honest with Yourself Dan ranking in any martial art is an ego booster; I don’t care how humble or soft spoken you are. The second you don that “black belt” begins a phase where suddenly, invincibility is written across your chest in bold letters; all caps. This is a normal phenomenon. What is not normal is staying in that inflated mindset and forgetting something very important; there is always someone better than you. Lately I have been watching a lot of online videos, you-tube; and even subscribed to some other arts online videos to look for gems of knowledge. Honestly 95% of what I have encountered is pure garbage and will get you killed. We seem to have an ethical issue when it comes to fighting, especially with a blade. Even people who say they are being deceptive and ending the fight quickly make the same mistake I have seen across the board; especially with weapons. We are human beings and unlike other animals we do not have natural weapons, such as sharp claws and thick hides. As such as a species we use weapons and tools. This action and our ability to adjust because of our intellect is what has allowed our species to thrive and dominate the planet. So, blades are what I would like to discuss to make my point. As a species we have used sharp metal instruments to kill each other for as long as we have known how to make metals. Before metal were sharp rocks but that’s beside the point. My point is the approach I see universally, in the vast majority of these online videos; even from 35th dan members of arts; they fight the knife not the person. For lack of a better term I see an MMA approach to blade defense. I tend to see people stand their ground or try to fight the person physically by use of force. This is not martial art. Martial art is the ability to enter into life or death conflict with a person, delivering lethal force on them with little or no force received on your end. Anything else is fighting, and fighting by its definition is not what we do! This article could go on forever, but my point is not to make a big speech. My point is to ask you honestly, examine yourself; find your weaknesses and address them with people you trust. AKA Train! I am so sick of seeing videos of people doing lame ass uke negashi to a knife arm, or these other guys who are “keeping real yo!” by attacking full force and saying “this sucks, it’s hard to defend against” yet their solution is to use what I call “wrestling defenses.” Then there are the people who stab and leave the knife arm hanging out letting the other person do 3-45 moves to counter that half ass stab. The worst are the MMA guys trying to teach knife defense……YOU DO NOT exchange forces in a life or death fight! Especially if a blade is involved! I personally am nowhere near perfect with this. Being unarmed and facing an armed attacker is statistically against you. Even an inept fighter with a blade can get lucky and nick a vital target, ending your life. Please do not take this as “Brady is saying he is a bad ass and knows the secrets to knife fighting.” I don’t, I work as much as I can to improve myself. However, I am at a point now where I recognize complete crap, and there is a lot of it. The root of the problem is in my opinion, most people have stopped being honest with themselves and are too worried about protecting their reputation as a senior member in their art. Or they are completely clueless when it comes to combat. To close I want to quote James Williams of the Nami Ryu. Although his movements and “flavor” is of Samurai paradigms he articulates a 3 point strategy that I personally have observed in every honest martial art. If these are not present in your training you are not practicing martial art, you’re fighting. #1 Do not contest for space with vectors of force. #2 Use natural relaxed movement to…. #3 Gain a superior tactical advantage. Warriors are a special kind of person and the world needs us. Too many people stand around filming fights on their phones, or quickly walk away from someone being attacked. If your basics are poor and you spend all your time playing knife fighting as opposed to slow thought out strategies that end the fight immediately, you are setting yourself or your students up to die. Training is the way. -Kagekuma
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