No one gets into martial arts for community, discipline or the camaraderie. You walked into that gym to create an ultra-violent, fighting machine.
Around here, we’ve been around the world enough to not be shy. We know the booby traps.
Let’s be real.
No one gets into martial arts for community, discipline or the camaraderie, although this ideal is often expressed to friends, family.
You walked into that gym cause you wanted to beat hell out of another man.
You wanted to create a dynamite fighting machine with an ultra-violent capability.
You bite a hunk of trouble off in the water and it’s more than you can chew, what do you do, tough guy? You want skills.
Girl gets slapped in some bucket-of-blood bar and she’s counting on you to wrap that fool up in your sails. Skills.
Kid gets belted by a coach or wanna-be baby gangsters. Skills.
You want to walk tall. Fear no man.
I threw in with what used to be called Brazilian jiujitsu, as referenced here, here and here, but what is now rapidly evolving into all-discipline grappling, snatching the best of wrestling, sambo and judo.
Does it work in the surf?
Le me sketch a recent surf fight.
Smallish but lushly rounded waves, crowd not so bad.
I’m in a pack with two pals and another man whom I’ve already noted pauses on takeoffs and whose back foot operates from a position three inches in front of his tail pad, a mirror image of me.
He rides a squared-off Tomo, a one-thousand dollar surfboard handled only by the very best and the very worst.
Tomo man on inside, pal on outside. Whistle for pal to go despite the superficial shattering of surf etiquette.
Tomo man yells with full doomsday vibes; pal ignores.
I take next wave into impact zone to enjoy the melee first hand.
Tomo man insults pal’s prematurely aged appearance.
Pal lifts Tomo man by the collar of his wetsuit and…pop…pop…pop… three shots to the head. Practised jabs. Tomo man’s eyes are phosphorescent. He rolls to his side to avoid more blows.
A set separates ‘em, they paddle back out.
Tomo man tells another couple of surfers he’s just been belted although the only injury, interestingly, is a dislocated finger on my pal’s hand, and adds something to the effect my pal is lucky it didn’t go to the beach ‘cause he would’ve unleashed his jiujitsu.
Existential crisis. Did I just spent a year, six days a week, learning to operate a vehicle that is obsolete?
And now an aside, a message from our sponsor, whatever you want to call it: the training benefits of jiujisu have been superb, although not as sharp as surfing. Here, let’s pause, all of us, to examine a recent day of surfing by the two-time world surfing champion John John Florence, whose wrist is bejewelled in WHOOP.
John John, who turns twenty-nine in five days, went to bed at 7.43 pm, a Saturday, woke up a little after five am, surfed from 7:45 until 10:25, ate, maybe, whatever, then shredded from 12:40 to 4:03, a total of nearly seven hours in the drink.
“I really like surfing,” writes John John, who burned 4309 calories and whose heart rate variability, a measure of the variation in time between each heartbeat, fitter you are, higher the number, is a relatively impressive 77 although well short of my 101, as seen below.
Less sleep, too, Florence.
Anyway, the deeper you get into grappling game, the more you realise its inherent flaws, although as a jiujitsu man, who surfs told me, the guy getting punched should’ve dived down, grabbed my pal’s heel, hooked it and wrenched out his knee. No more surfing for you, buddy.
As the philosopher, author etc Sammy Harris advised,
When you are standing at arm’s length from your opponent, you want to be able to punch like a Western-style boxer and kick like a Thai boxer.
Moving closer, you want to remain a Thai boxer in your ability to strike with your knees and elbows.
Once your opponent grabs hold of you, or you him (the clinch), you want to have the skills of a Greco-Roman/freestyle wrestler—controlling his posture and throwing him to the ground at will.
In the presence of sufficient clothing (jackets, coats, or traditional martial arts uniforms), this vertical grappling can take the form of judo. The general picture at this range is of two people being too close to strike one another effectively: You want to be the one who can move the fight to the ground on his own terms—by executing takedowns or throws—and who can resist being taken there.
And if the fight goes to the ground, the surest path to the safety of home remains Brazilian jiu-jitsu. The original revelation of the UFC still stands.
He added an important caveat,
Because BJJ is geared toward fighting on the ground, and is so decisive there, you can easily acquire a bias toward going to the ground on principle. When rolling on the mat, perfecting arm locks and chokes, it is easy to forget that in a real fight, your opponent is very likely to be punching you, or armed with a weapon, or in the company of friends who might be eager to kick you in the head (facts that are given cursory treatment in most BJJ training).
What’s a girl to do?
Next week: Wrestling with bears!