Another exposé of no-touch knockout bullcrap has been doing the rounds. In this one, a wonderful group of skeptics attended an “open seminar” by a Finnish pseudo-martial artist named Jukka Lampila.
Those courageous skeptical fool-smokers really did a number on him, specifically by asking a set of very basic questions, by not flinging themselves in the direction of his pats, wafts, prods and pokes and generally not being willing accomplices to his cultish buffoonery.
I could spend the entirety of this post taunting his poor, misguided followers that leap into the air and fling themselves on the floor at the slightest provocation, and metaphorically shaking my head in disbelief that he’s probably still teaching the same nonsense back home, even after this very public experience. But this would not be the best use of anyone’s time, and I’ve already done it so often in the past relating to similar incidents, that it would be redundant.
Instead I’d like to take the opportunity to address two points.
These Empty Force bods may be very obvious in their leapy, flingy nonsense, but in reality they are no worse than virtually all Aikido schools, the overwhelming majority of Karate, Kung Fu and Tae Kwon Do schools, the majority of Systema and Krav Maga schools and many other so-called reality-based self-defence schools… in fact, the vast majority of all schools that claim to teach martial arts.
Empty Force is the same as Watanabe Aikido:
But Watanabe Aikido is the same as the more common Aikido: (they may actually touch each other, but not enough or in the right way to cause or warrant this kind of acrobatic tomfoolery)
But Aikido is the same as this type of Karate (“I coulda hit you if I really wanted to!!!”):
Which is the same as this kind of “killer kommando” Systema training:
Why do I say that all these apparently disparate things are the same? Because of the compliant nature of the training, omnipresent mystical drivel, and the fact that the practice never ever becomes significantly less compliant over time.
Martial arts 101:
– In a real martial art one practices a technique which has been proven to work on a resisting, non-compliant opponent.
– One may start to learn this technique in a compliant way, just to get used to the order of the movements, but one should as quickly as possible progress to being more and more resistant and realistic with one’s partner, until one is almost sparring with them in a focussed and limited way.
– One should then progress to actual fully resisting, uncooperative sparring, with no techniques prohibited, and attempt to employ or integrate the technique one just practiced in the most realistic safe environment possible.
– If you want to be really close to realistic, add extra stress factors where possible, e,g: Restricted vision, more than one opponent, training weapons, people screaming obscenities at you from the sidelines, people hitting you with foam shield pads when you least expect it… etc.
If you’re not doing this sort of thing, at least to some extent… you will have A: no idea whether your techniques are likely to work against someone who is really trying to harm you, and B: Virtually no chance of performing even an intrinsically GOOD technique when you need to, because you will not have trained it at the speed at- or in the kind of stressful environment in- you will be required to use it.
In this clip, some dreadful Karate no-hopers exemplify a few tendencies you’ll see in all bad martial arts practice, such as compliant inaction on the part of the “attacker”, unworkably flashy and mechanically inefficient techniques, and ponytails.
And to contrast in this clip former UFC welterweight challenger Jon Fitch demonstrates what an alternative training philosophy might look like. Bear in mind the key difference is resistance, not the tools employed. There is no striking in the Fitch clip, whereas in real life there would be… but even so it is many orders of magnitude more realistic- and more beneficial to its participants- than the Karate klip.
Instead of merely laughing at deluded people, we should see something like the above clip and then take a long and hard look at ourselves.
We must ask ourselves: How do we know that what we think is real and true is actually real, or true? Whether we believe that there were WMDs in Iraq; or whether we think that eating lots of citrus fruits will protect us from the common cold; or whether we believe that magic special shakey water (homeopathy) will cure our ills; or whether we believe that our Karate will work against a drugged up gangbanger trying to carjack us… We all have some false beliefs. Even a dyed-in-the-wool skeptic like myself. Buddhists might argue- correctly in my view- that our very perception of our self and our own existence is based upon a set of delusions.
Well as martial artists,.. heck, as a species, it’s time to take a look inwards, and decide what we want to be our method of telling truth from falsehood.
I suggest that hard evidence should be our guide. And the skill of being able to weigh evidence is not a natural skill we’re born with, it requires hard work. In fact, it requires as much hard work as learning to punch or kick or throw or lock or strangle properly, and it’s arguably more important as a skill for martial artists than any of those things.
Because how can we be martial artists without practicality?
How can we be practical without knowing the facts?
In a sea of lies and exaggerations, how can we tell what the facts actually are, without the skill of critical thinking?
We can not.