Without Writing

The art of writing without writing… about fighting.

Category Archives: Martial Arts

Urijah Faber’s Trouble in Bali – Learning Self Defence from a Champion

Is a world-class fighter automatically good at defending themselves from harm? No!

Is a world-class fighter automatically good at protecting themselves from violence? No!

On May 16th of this year, the incredibly dangerous martial artist Urijah Faber fought the incredibly dangerous martial artist Frankie Edgar at UFC Fight Night 66.  In this excellent fight we discovered once and for all whether Edgar’s fantastic sense of shootboxing timing and peerless cardio were up to the task of defeating the durability, veteran experience and whip-smart submissions of Faber.

They’re both ex-champions of the highest calibre. To me this was one of the most interesting matches of the year, and the best match that either fighter had been involved in since Edgar’s (debatable) points defeat at the hands of Featherweight champ Jose Aldo in February 2013.

On watching this fight my mind was drawn back to Faber’s style and his history. One well-publicized incident stands out as a worthy topic for an educational blog post: We’re going back a way here; back to the late noughties. In approximately June 2006, whilst on holiday on the island of Bali, Indonesia, Faber was involved in a serious street brawl in the popular tourist night-spot, Kuta.

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Bruce Lee vs Chuck Norris: The Real Truth

Bruce Lee-vs-Chuck NorrisHere’s a fantastic way to start 2014; definitively answering the decades-old question, who would have won in a real fight between Bruce Lee and Chuck Norris?

Of course, the more astute martial artists among this blog’s readers will already be certain of the correct answer. But let’s go through the reasoning nonetheless.

In order to answer this question accurately, just as with any question, we will first have to frame the issue accurately:

Framing!

Point 1: When answering any question about “who would win in a real fight between x & y”, one can only answer with a probable outcome. It’s a fact that on any given day, any fighter could in theory be defeated by any opponent, regardless of deficits in skill-level. Read more of this post

Empty Force and Empty Promises

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. Read more of this post

Georges St-Pierre: Right decision, just twelve years too late

GSP seems to be happy that he's left the sport... but he may have been happier if he'd never gotten into it in the first place.

GSP seems to be happy that he’s left the sport… but he may have been happier if he’d never gotten into it in the first place.

Most people au fait with the martial arts will be aware that Georges St-Pierre, a man who could legitimately be called the greatest pound-for-pound martial artist the world has ever seen, has vacated his world title– a title which he has held and defended against all comers for the best part of six years- and has taken an indefinite leave of absence from the sport of Mixed Martial Arts (MMA).

Naturally, most of the coverage of this significant event in the sport revolves around a discussion of his legacy, with some folks speculating that the closeness of his recent fights has led him to give up, due to his competition catching up uncomfortably close behind him. Others are wondering how his effective retirement will impact the box office for MMA globally; St-Pierre has been the biggest draw in the sport for some time, after all.

But- of course, and as ever- this is a sideshow to the real discussion that people should be having. The issue is not whether St-Pierre should leave the sport; the question is not how his departure will affect the sport… in fact the more pertinent point of discussion is: whether he should ever have gotten involved with the sport in the first place… and for that matter, whether anyone should.

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Kill Your Ego… Before It Kills You (Part 2)

This is the spectre... of EGO!

This is the spectre… of EGO!

My first post on this topic examined how one’s ego can drive one into potentially violent situations for no good reason. Hopefully anyone who reads these posts will have the strength of character to recognise their own ego in some of the examples given, and strive to bring it further under the control of their better nature. Because we are all controlled by our ego at times, and our best defence (as is the case across the board) is an awareness that this is happening.

However, the ego has many faces, and bleeds into one’s life with great subtlety and wearing many insidious disguises. In this post I shall examine some of the less obvious ways that one’s ego can interfere with one’s pursuit of safety and security, and look at the consequences of leaving it to run unchecked.

How can one be fully aware of one’s own ego, when the ego’s raison-d’etre is to conceal itself? Read more of this post

Rape and Self Defence: How to approach the issue

untitledHere’s a delicate subject. Perhaps the most delicate, misunderstood, loaded subject one can deal with when discussing self defence. The subject of sexual assaults and rapes. Frankly I doubt my own ability to cleanly delineate the issues involved; they are so many and varied and subtle that no self defence commentator has walked the fine line carefully enough to avoid accusations of victim-blaming on the one hand, or to avoid watering down the self defence advice too much on the other.

I for one know all too well that one can be accused of victim-blaming when discussing less emotive topics like wilderness survival or street-attack avoidance… So it’s very likely I’ll be accused of victim-blaming in this case regardless of how cautiously I proceed. With that in mind, let’s begin.

The issue (in brief)

A primer for those new to the subject: Rape’s a crime that is predominantly but not exclusively committed against women. Children are victims a great deal of the time, and lastly and least commonly, men are also rape victims. Rape therefore tends to be regarded as a “women’s issue”, though some very smart commentators take issue with this classification for various reasons. Suffice it to say, the issue of rape has been of very great concern to women, women’s activist groups and women’s self-defence instructors and commentators for some considerable time. Read more of this post

Kill Your Ego… Before It Kills You (Part 1)

This cat would be safer if it saw a mouse staring back at it from the mirror

This cat would be safer if it saw a mouse staring back at it from the mirror

There’s an old saying in Ireland: “Many a man’s tongue broke his nose.”

A typically dry witticism, and also quite true; saying the wrong thing can get you seriously hurt.

Many people have stampeded towards an avoidable violent confrontation for no better reasons than: to have the last word; to let another person know how annoyed they are; to belittle another person or simply to posture and present a “front” based on bravado.

But this post is not just about keeping your mouth shut. It’s about the larger problem; it’s not just what one says that can get one hurt, it’s everything one does. Excessive eye contact can make other people aggressive; Rushing to catch your train and barging into another pedestrian could result in anything from a few harsh words up to a brawl; Read more of this post

Steroids and Performance Enhancing Drugs: defining the issue

Most of the public are familiar with the word “steroids”. This word automatically conjures up images of ridiculously inflated body-builder types, blind rages and shrunken genitalia. But very few people are familiar with the realities of performance enhancing drugs (PEDs) in sports, and still fewer are au fait with the real ethical and philosophical issues surrounding PEDs.

In fighting sports, as in other professional sports, anabolic steroid use is rife, as is the use of other performance enhancing substances. It’s impossible to put numbers on the table, as it is a clandestine phenomenon and subculture, but some professional fighters and industry experts have estimated that up to fifty percent of pro fighters are on performance enhancing substances of some kind.

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Learned, but not taught

The difficulty of teaching ANY movement cannot be overstated.

I have discussed in a previous article how easy it is for those of us who are familiar with the motion of two bodies- one applying a throw and one attempting to resist the throw- to tell when a move will work on a technical level (a wrestling throw, for instance) and when it will not work on a technical level (e.g: an Aikido “throw”).

This kind of physical intellect, an awareness of how the human body really works in combat, cannot be taught. It must be developed by each fighter himself/herself, through many hours of actual practice.

Equally however, it could be said that many moves themselves, such as throws, cannot be “taught” in any normal sense of the word. Read more of this post

The Perniciousness of Mimicry

This is not a bee.

In an old blog entry on the subject of Steven “Runs Like a Girl” Seagal, the martial teacher and commentator Steve Morris noted that the secret to the success of liars like Seagal is that they are able to convince people of their ability, despite the fact that they lack ability. He stated:

“their greatest talent does not lie in what they get paid for doing, but in their ability to get people to believe that what they do is for real and what they say is true.”

This is the art of the mimic. In nature, a mimic is something which has- through the process of natural selection- evolved over countless generations an uncanny similarity to another thing, be that thing an inanimate object, a part of a plant, or another animal. This similarity offers protection from predators… Or disguises the mimic’s dangerousness, depending on the type of camouflage employed. Read more of this post