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  • Writer's pictureJackie Bradbury

Hammer World

A martial arts "joke" page on Facebook that likes to run martial arts humor and silliness ran a very short clip of an FMA instructor teaching a principle from a four-hour seminar out of context.

As you can imagine, the fine folks commenting on the clip (most of which do not study Arnis/Kali/Escrima or weapons at all and think that watching Dog Brothers fights on YouTube makes them experts in the subject) declared what was being taught was stupid, useless, and would get you killed.

But with this clip, they were wrong.

I'm not casting stones at the page or getting on my high horse about exposing shenanigans in the martial arts or making fun of what we do. If you've read the blog a while you know I'm a fan of this sort of thing.

BUT. This time, they were utterly clueless, mainly because they have zero idea what they're looking at, and the snippet was taken completely out of context to what was being taught.

My point in bringing all this up is not to shame the page or to point and laugh at commentators who don't have any clue what they're looking at. My point is that these guys are so out of context they don't realize it how far gone they really are, and THAT is what's gonna get you killed.

They took a very short snippet of a four hour seminar of a man solving a complex problem they don't even know exists, using tools they don't know how to use, in a situation they've never encountered, using a problem-solving method they don't understand at all, and declared that he doesn't have any clue how to solve the problem.

To put it more bluntly, this is the equivalent of a guy with a hammer standing there banging on an broken aircraft engine and declaring that because his hammer-banging method of fixing an aircraft engine doesn't work, flying is impossible.

That stuff's never gonna catch on.

Yes, Mr. UFC Fanboy your gloved one-on-one fight training in a large open space TOTALLY prepares you for close-quarter, back-alley edged weapon fighting against multiple opponents. You betcha. And sure, stick grappling is LITERALLY the only way anybody ever fights with sticks or with edged weapons. The world does and will 100% conform itself to your expectations every single time.

Right? That's all true? There's only ONE basic situation and there's only ONE proven way to solve it (and only one way to train for that situation, too).

Everything's a nail, so you only need a hammer.

My point in all this is that we all have assumptions in our training. Sometimes they are stated outright, like you might always assume the opponent is as good or better a fighter than you are (versus some untrained drunk).

Sometimes they're unspoken, as when you never train for a certain kind of attack because you believe it's so unlikely it's not worth spending a lot of time on, so it literally never comes up (such as training against a small blade because you do a combat sport and those aren't allowed).

If you think that multiple attackers coming at you close quarters with edged or blunt (or both) isn't a thing, you've never lived in a culture like the Philippines. If you think that training against a machete is useless, you've never lived in Haiti or in any culture that has a lot of agricultural work going on. If you think that grappling is useless in a street fight, you've never been on the internet and seen the literally dozens of examples where that isn't true.

I've seen skilled and intelligent people claim that overhand knife attacks don't happen ever, and that the bad guy won't ever show the knife and that knife attacks are always sewing-machine prison style close-in affairs. Except when they aren't, like this:

Guys, stop thinking because you have the world's shiniest, awesomest hammer that you can therefore use it to solve every martial arts problem there is. Because you're dead wrong.

You need a hammer, several kinds of screwdrivers, every size screw imaginable, Allen wrenches (especially that one size you can NEVER FIND in the back of your junk drawer), duct tape, staples, tacks, power tools if you can get some, a hand saw, and a bit of good ol' WD-40.

Next time, before you sound off on how something won't work, maybe try to understand the problem and the solution being offered BEFORE you do. I'm not saying make no criticisms, nor to poke fun at shenanigans.

Just make sure it IS shenanigans before you chime in. We're all guilty of this, and I, for one, am going to try to be better in the future. How about you?

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