Thread: What's up with the Martialist?
8/17/2005 4:38am, #1
- Join Date
- Aug 2005
- Seattle, WA
What's up with the Martialist?
I've been readind the threads in here about the Martialist, Pax Baculum, Phil Elmore, etc. but I still don't understand what all the fighting is about. His site, although at times seeming a bit on the paranoid side, doesn't seem "McDojoish". For some reason, he REALLY hates this site, which kind of goes in the face of his otherwise "pacifistic" appearance.
8/17/2005 7:11am, #2
Truthfully I ignore most threads that have anything to do with Phil Elmore. I don't really care who he is and he used to be a member here. Somebody sent me his book, I read it critiqued it without any bias. He then went out of his way to downplay my critique including making up a pseudonym on Amazon.com and directly bashing me rather than just have a counter critique.
.....The rest you can research.
8/17/2005 7:27am, #3
He's an intellectually dishonest, mildly bigoted, Bullshido Artist in the making.
See Katana's excellent summation on Phil, et. al. ...
Pax Baculum FAQ 1.0
Over at Bullshido we receive at least one new thread a week about a forum called “Pax Baculum”, the online e-zine ”The Martialist”, or comments about the contributors thereof (Phil Elmore and others). This FAQ is a brief attempt to answer most of the common questions that arise.
2. Moderation practices of Pax Baculum
The moderators of Pax Baculum site boast Libertarian/Objectivist leanings yet refuse to allow critical discussions of their methods to take place. The demands for proof of their claims or objective study of available evidence frequently results in locked/deleted threads, editing of posts, or banning of the user. In fact, most people who come to Bullshido after visiting the Pax Baculum forum complain of this treatment.
The moderators of Pax Baculum frequently proclaim how they discuss issues with “fairness”, “intellectual honestly”, “civility”, and of course “objectivity.” However, whenever a person has to go to such lengths to lay out a preamble of welcoming ideas it’s usually the opposite. It’s one of those life ironies like being a totalitarian regime yet naming your country The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
3. What are the moderator’s qualifications?
Phil Elmore, the primary moderator of the site and editor of The Martialist, has a self-given interview (quoted below) where he answers the question about his own qualifications:
All right, then, let's talk about credibility. How many people have these combat instructors killed? How many real self-defense altercations have they had? How many people have YOU fought, Phil Elmore? What credibility do you think you have?
I can't address the personal experiences of anyone else, but this query speaks to logically fallacious thinking. The validity of a given statement or opinion (unless that opinion specifically invokes the authority of the person stating it as reason to find the opinion compelling) is found entirely within the substance of the opinion. To attack the person offering that opinion is the logical fallacy of ad hominem – specifically, "attack on the man."
Now, where I am concerned, personally, I will tell you right now that I will not answer the question, "How many people have you fought?" If you wish to take that refusal as some sort of admission of a lack of experience, you may. If you wish to see some unflattering motive in refusing to answer the question, you certainly can. I have never pretended to be anyone I am not and I have never claimed to be an expert or an authority.
If you’re like most people you’ll see that he spent several paragraphs answering the question without actually answering the question.
3.1 Is questioning his qualifications “Ad Hominem” as he states?
No it isn’t because he presents opinions as fact in much of his writing and it is therefore acceptable to question his credibility and the credibility of his sources. For example (http://www.themartialist.co m/0404/sport01.htm):
“The combatives chin jab -- a palm strike up under the chin, sometimes combined with an eye rake back down -- is potentially fatal and extremely damaging when done properly. An edge-of-hand blow to the throat is also potentially fatal…You cannot, however, train these techniques on unprotected human beings you will kill them.” – Phil Elmore (Emphasis added)
Unless you are out killing people it is simply impossible to substantiate this claim as well as the claim of anyone who says they did these feats. Fortunately for the human race we just aren’t that fragile and killing people with your bare hands is a lot tougher than people realize.
3.2 Phil Elmore claims that: “I don't pretend to hold myself to the standard of those who fight and die for this country…”(http://www.philelmore.com/warriors.htm) and says repeatedly that he is not an expert. Is this not true?
His statement is clearly false as he has had essays published on “warriorship” (http://www.philelmore.com/warriors.htm) by Paladin Press and has been interviewed on radio programs as a self-defense expert (http://www.kellyworden.com/home/med...e-9-11-2004.asx). Clearly he is encouraging people to infer he is an expert on these subjects whether he says so or not.
Further if you read the description of the book mentioned above (http://www.paladin-press.com/detail.aspx?ID=1141) you’ll see clearly that someone out there thinks he’s an authority on these subjects and is perpetuating this idea:
In compiling this collection of essays, Loren W. Christensen sought the true meaning, the essence, of warriorhood by going to the source, to those who live it. The writers who contributed to this work are a diverse mix, from soldiers, cops and SWAT officers to martial art masters to experts in the fields of workplace violence, theology and school safety. They are some of the finest warrior authors, warrior trainers and warrior scholars today. Many have faced death, survived and now teach others to do the same. Here they speak candidly on what it’s like to sacrifice, to train, to protect . . . Even to kill . . . To accomplish what needs to be done. Because that’s what a warrior does. (Emphasis added)
So let’s summarize the above statement just to be clear how he is being represented to the public:
“…the essence of warriorhood by going to the source, to those who live it.”
“…martial arts masters”
“…experts in the fields”
“…some of the finest warrior authors, warrior trainers, and warrior scholars of today”
“Many have faced death, survived, and now teach others to do the same.”
“Even to kill”
“Because that’s what a warrior does”
His essay in the book by the way is named: “Warrior Lessons Learned and Unlearned”
So by inference, he is claiming to be an expert in the field of self-defense, training, scholarly pursuits of fighting, and general warrior bad-assness despite his statements to the contrary. Therefore, it is perfectly acceptable to assess his credentials as you would anyone who presents themselves as an authority.
3.3 What are the moderator’s credentials as they relate to martial arts, self-defense, law enforcement, military, and “warriorhood”?
As near as we can tell from his website (http://www.themartialist.co m/staff.htm) and past statements on his website and forum:
Law Enforcement Experience: 0 Years
Military Experience: 0 Years
Legal Experience: 0 Years
Martial Arts Experience: This is murkier. He claims to have trained since 1990 but it appears he has never held a senior rank in any style (black belt or equivalent experience) nor has he ever been an instructor. He also has no amateur or professional fight record. He does claim to be a co-founder of his own martial art “Shanliang Li” though (http://www.shanliangli.com/). Oddly, considering he co-founded the style, he was only given a “brown sash” instead of a senior rank “black sash” as would be found in other traditional Kung Fu styles.
3.4 So what are the credentials of the users of Bullshido?
Bullshido currently has thousands of registered users. We have professional and amateur fighters with verified fight records. We have coaches. We have police officers. We have active and ex-military. We have students and professionals in all manner of occupations. The community is as diverse as you could expect in any crowded room full of random people. In addition, many of the members carry identifying tags under their names denoting their specialty once their credentials have been verified by the administrators of the site.
At Bullshido if you don’t know what you’re talking about people will let you know it. We have lots of members and chances are someone on our site also has intricate knowledge on whatever topic you’re speaking. This makes it very hard for liars to exist on our forum for long. Some sites such as Pax Baculum call this “childish” or “trolling” but it’s really not. Bullshido is simply a hostile environment to the frauds, flakes, and freaks that collect in the martial arts world. Bullshido believes that good people and good ideas can stand on their own without moderator protection.
4. Pax Baculum and Sportfighting Martial Arts
The editors of The Martialist and most of the participants on Pax Baculum do not like “Sports-based” martial arts. This includes any style of fighting that encourages training for, and participation in, competition.
4.1 What’s the difference between a sportfighter and a non-sportfighter?
This leads into a huge debate (“The Street” vs. Sport) that we do not have time to cover fully (although you can read more here):
There are two camps on this subject:
1) One side is referred to as sport-based practitioners who do things like submission wrestling, Shooto, boxing, kickboxing, Judo, Mixed Martial Arts (MMA), etc. These people train in styles that encourage one-on-one competition at full-speed.
2) The other side is referred to as “traditionalists” or non sport-based practitioners. This camp includes all fighting systems that discourage competitive full-speed hard contact training (usually because it is “too deadly for the ring”).
The sportfighting camp asserts that their methods produce better fighters because the training encourages the development of fighting attributes such as: endurance, strength, timing, good technique, perseverance, simplicity in combat, and dealing with adrenaline when under pressure, etc.
The traditional/non-sport based practitioners claim that sport-based methods are not good because they fail to develop the use of “deadly” fighting techniques or the proper “mindset” necessary for defense. Their argument simply is “We don’t train for the ring, we train for the street!”
4.2 How do you know deadly techniques don’t work?
How do you train to use a deadly technique without killing or maiming your partners? If you cannot train to use it in class how can you know it will work during an actual fight? Besides, humans just are not that fragile otherwise every contact sport would end with scores of dead bodies littering the field.
The evidence we have from thousands of hours of video fight footage never shows deadly techniques working. Deadly strikes, dirty tricks, and pressure points simply do not work reliably in a fight. In fact, virtually 100% of the fight footage that does exist shows that fighters who do win tend to have a focus on sports-based training methods and incorporate very hard training at full-resistance and no “deadly technique” training at all.
Alas, sportfighting techniques can be very dangerous if intended. As Renzo Gracie and John Danaher sum up in their book Mastering Jiujitsu (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/t...=glance&s=books):
When people think of a “safe” technique, they often think of a “harmless” technique. This reference is a clear misunderstanding. Many of the “safe” techniques of modern jujitsu and other combative sports are “safe” only so far as both participants have a prior agreement to stop when the techniques are well applied. Without this agreement, the result would be crippling injuries to the joints, unconsciousness, or possibly death. The potentially brutal joint locks and strangles of the grappling arts should never be thought of as harmless. – Renzo Gracie/John Danaher (Mastering Jiujitsu pg. 199)
4.3 So why is video taped fight footage relevant in proving these other deadly techniques and traditional training methods don’t work?
Because it’s thousands of hours more fight footage than proponents of non-sport based methods have to prove their case.
4.4 But sportfighting isn’t real is it?
The moderators of Pax Baculum agree:
Sports aren't "combat reality." They're sports. They have their place and they provide certain benefits, but we must always keep that in perspective. – Phil Elmore
Making someone believe his sport is a means of defending himself is as offensive as the condescending and often ignorant pronouncements of practitioners of these "martial" sports. If what you practice is not a martial art at all, your complaints about those who are teaching self-defense may or may not be the product of ignorance. Examine your opinions critically. – Phil Elmore
What critical perspective should be kept when you see your traditional training methods and ideas completely destroyed in competition time after time? Is anecdotal evidence more powerful than the substantiated evidence that exists in sport fighting? Is the correct perspective to think “It isn’t real! They’re sports!” or is the correct perspective “Maybe I should look into this way of training as it may work better than what I’m doing.”
We understand that many people spend years developing their skills and don’t want to face the fact that they may have wasted a lot of money and time learning something that doesn’t work. It’s OK. A lot of us sport-fighters came from this exact background and decided to change. We even laugh about the ridiculousness of it all and compare the most worthless techniques we’ve ever learned just for fun. Realize that it’s not the mistakes of the past that make a person, it’s how they handle the future they still have.
5. Why sportfighting is better than “real.”
The most common criticism we hear is that sport fighting in a ring or tournament with rules is not “real combat.” When pressed on the issue though the critics cannot offer a better way to show their techniques work.
Let’s look at the sport fight advantages:
1) You know the place, date and time of the fight.
2) You know who you’re fighting and how big they are.
3) You know the size and type of the fight area.
4) You have time to get into peak physical and mental shape.
5) You have a full support team in your corner.
6) You know the (limited) rules.
Given the above advantages non sport-based martial artists still lose repeatedly. You can see this in sanctioned matches or in underground challenge match fight videos that are in circulation (The Gracie In Action video series is a good introduction: http://www.gracieacademy.co m/store/home_videos.html).
Yet even after these long strings of repeated and usually devastating losses these detractors proclaim:
1) I wasn’t allowed to bite and eye gouge!
2) Your rules kept my super secret techniques from being used!
3) Well you don’t train for multiple opponents or weapons!
Do you really think the addition of biting, eye gouging, or other deadly technique would have helped given the overwhelming advantage of knowing every other aspect of the fight? Remember the other guy can do the same thing back to you. Also if you can’t beat a single unarmed person, how can you beat multiple people or people with weapons?
One of the most prolific defenders of sportfighting on the Internet is Bill Mahoney of South Shore Sportfighting (http://www.sssfighting.com). Here he sums up self-defense theories and how sportfighting has proven most of them wrong:
NOTHING is above reproach. In 1993 the UFC [Ultimate Fighting Championship] happened and we found out that 99.9% of what we were taught by experts was wrong.
The world is full of charlatans that dont know **** EVEN WITHIN their area of expertise.
They never themselves tested their knowledge and they learned from other men that never tested it. - Bill Mahoney rec.martial-arts newsgroup posting August 31, 2003
5.1 What about all the other possibilities that could happen in a fight that can’t happen in a ring? Like multiple opponents, dirty tricks, and weapons?
What about them? Sportfighters have friends too and how hard is it to learn how to bite someone?
Why the assumption that my opponents friends will get involved? Don't you think my friends, that also happen to be athletes, are just about salivating at the thought of my opponents buddies getting involved? Why should I have all the fun? And just who do you think will have a better handle on using the bottles, chairs and tables that are in the vicinity? I would imagine that an athlete that can Power Clean 375 could probably swing a mean table
To sum it up lets look at it this way. What kind of guy usually does well in sports? Competitive, highly motivated, focused, pain tolerant, highly conditioned, strong and has way too much testosterone.
Now take that guy, and tell him he can bite, eye gouge, pick something up and hit his opponent with it, and you have an animal that most people cannot handle. -Paul Sharp (http://www.straightblastgym .com/street01.htm)
5.2 Well a lot of the Pax Baculum guys endorse schools that teach grappling techniques and other sports-based training now. In fact they say they train full-resistance/full-contact themselves.
They sheepishly acknowledge the benefits but really don’t embrace it. Also realize that a lot of schools have adopted the façade of full-resistance training but still don’t incorporate the principles correctly even though to a novice it may look convincing.
5.3 How do you know a lot of these guys don’t train hard the way you’re proposing? They talk like they’re doing just what you’re saying.
Because they say things like this:
Even at "high" levels in training you are bound to slip up once in a while and get caught. Last night was such a night for me Laughing While training in our "Circle of Death" I got caught with a lead right hook. The punch hit my cheek bone and part of my eye. For a second I was like "WOW! I got hit." which was surprising to me because I usually don't get caught with that shot...... – Pax Baculum User and Kung Fu Instructor (emphasis added)
The “Circle of Death” sounds menacing, but by their own description (http://www.themartialist.co m/1003/circleofdeath.htm) it’s simply this:
The typical Circle of Death is a loose circle of all the students arranged about the perimeter of the training area. A direction for moving around the Circle is chosen; we'll assume clockwise for purposes of this article. The first student enters the center of the Circle and turns to face the classmate who was standing to his or her left.
The classmate attacks and the student at the center of the Circle of Death defends against that attack. The student then turns to face the next classmate in the Circle, who attacks. The cycle repeats until the student again faces his or her first "attacker," at which point the two exchange places. – Phil Elmore
This exercise suffers from the same problems that most of this type of training does: There is a pre-scripted winner and loser and it doesn’t offer full-resistance.
Note that none of the participants are wearing protective gear (gloves at a minimum) in the photos of this article (at least not at the time of this writing). Does this mean they’re bareknuckle brawling or, more likely, are they pulling their punches? How is pulling punches closer to actual fighting than hard sparring?
If you’re training full-resistance striking techniques in class you should be wearing protective gear to protect you and your partner from injury. Not wearing protective gear tells you immediately that a school isn’t training with full-resistance in their striking.
The bottom line is if you fight you get hit. Most non-sports training methods don’t train that realistically, that’s why you hear them proclaiming such things as “WOW! I got hit” when they train. Frankly in most sport-based schools that do striking it would be the exceptionally rare class where you didn’t get hit (many times no less) during training.
5.4 So do they advocate sparring or not?
No they don’t.
.... I don't believe in "sparring" per say.... instead... I have more faith in combat drills and scenereo training. – Pax Baculum User and Kung Fu Instructor
Sportfighters engage in harder contact training than do many people engaged in martial arts, RBSD, self-defense curricula, and other athletic activities, but what they do still contains the same element of theory in that a consensual bout against a single person who meets you for the purpose of the bout and shares your goal to win it.
Telling ourselves that this better prepares us for self-defense is as self-deluding as would be training in a no-contact tournament art. Only the level of athleticism differs. Being stronger and better able to engage in consensual conflict certainly has its advantages, but it is not self-defense training any more than is rugby. – Phil Elmore
This is a typical response of a person who does not spar. Yet like most advocates of this approach, he cannot provide any non-anecdotal evidence why what they propose works better.
What critics of sparring don’t understand is that sparring develops the attributes of a fighter. Simply put: The attributes a fighter has are just as important as the techniques they know.
Think about the basic jab. The technique itself is simple and can be adopted quite well in a short time, even by a novice. However, the actual application of the technique is quite a different matter. At this point, you need to do much more than perform the technique itself; you must also engage all the attributes that allow you to apply the technique under combat conditions. For example, you must time the blow correctly and throw it with accuracy. Failure to do so results in a failure to hit the target. In addition, the blow must be thrown with adequate speed, or an opponent will easily evade it. Should you lack the conditioning, fatigue soon sets in, destroying your ability to perform the technique correctly. You can clearly see, then, that the actual application of a technique involves much more than the physical movement associated with it. Rather, proficient execution involves the technique itself combined with an array of attributes that make for successful application. – Renzo Gracie/John Danaher (Mastering Jiujitsu pg. 201)
The question is this. Does training in free sparring with rules limiting attacks more prepare you for a streetfight, than training styles that contain these attacks wherein sparring is not the focus? I feel that the only logical conclusion is that if someone is a better fighter one on one with no weapons and no eye gouges or biting allowed then it IMPLIES that he will be a better fighter with no rules. It does not PROVE it. But simply stating that these self defense based styles are better for self defense than sport styles in no way constitutes proof.
Think about this...
Roger Clemens [famous American baseball pitcher] is going to face YOU in a dart throwing contest. You say that you will win because he throws baseballs and you specialize in throwing darts. This sounds reasonable on the surface. But when we examine your training methods we see you are doing dart throwing movements, but you don’t actually throw darts in your training. YOU DON’T ACTUALLY THROW ANYTHING AT ALL. And what’s more, you have developed some rather esoteric theories on dart throwing that look a bit odd.
In this contest, I am picking Clemens. You can say all you want that you train to throw darts and he does not, but I say it does not matter WHAT YOU TRAIN *FOR*... it just matters *HOW* YOU TRAIN. And while Clemens does not throw darts, he does THROW SOMETHING. He *can throw*, he has developed body mechanics, attributes and skills that may translate into dart success. You never actually threw anything. – Bill Mahoney rec.martial-arts newsgroup posting August 9, 2002
Sparring helps you develop the attributes necessary to win a fight such as: endurance, strength, timing, good technique, perseverance, simplicity in combat, dealing with adrenaline, etc. Not sparring, or only doing scenario drills, will never provide the same level of performance because they don’t develop your fighting attributes to a usable level. It doesn’t matter how good your technique is if you don’t have the attributes to deliver it to the target.
5.5 What’s Bullshido’s interpretation of hard full-resistance training?
Actually fight. This doesn’t mean you need to engage in full-contact bouts every training session. What we suggest is finding a school that focuses on all aspects of fighting which includes standup striking, grappling and clinching.
Further, the school should actively encourage and participate in full-resistance sparring in each and every class using appropriate protective gear for the skill being taught.
Many martial arts schools have evolved into places where you learn to fight not by fighting but by doing static drills, scenario training, one and two person forms, teacher worship, and theorizing. Some argue that many schools teach “dry land swimming” where students never get into the water to actually swim.
In contemporary terms, Matt Thornton of Straight Blast Gym calls what Bullshido advocates “Aliveness”:
...for something to be truly alive in what we do then it has have three key elements, movement, timing, and energy (resistance). If you are missing any one of these then its NOT alive. Movement is of course footwork... and that doesn't mean shuffle step, or pendulum step, or anything like that... it means real footwork... not contrived... not in a pattern... on the ground it means exactly that also... movement... if the guy is just laying there, not moving as you apply your lock or move... that is not alive. In the clinch its the same... pushing, pulling, moving! Timing is of course just that... if its in a predictable rhythm... a pattern... a repeatable series of sets... then you are not acquiring or developing timing... there is no timing there to be had. And of course energy... swing the stick like someone would really swing it... don't stop at centerline under the assumption that I smacked your hand so the motion freezes there, that's a really bad assumption! Punch with the energy of someone who wants to hit you... not like a dead fish... locking your arm out so your partner can look good doing the destruction, or trap, or silat sweep, or whatever. No...you must move, have a sense of timing, and progressive resistance that resembles what you would receive on the street... and no patterns. That's Aliveness... movement, timing, and motion. Its a gauge... is it real or dead...will it transfer over when I spar or when I am attacked or not... its not that complicated to find out. – Matt Thornton (http://www.jkdgym.dk/interview%20me...rnton%201.ht m)
Whatever you want to call full-resistance training doesn’t matter to us. What is important is that you are measuring your progress based upon training and fighting against people who don’t want to lose to you and are actually fighting back. That’s what we mean by hard full-resistance or “Alive” training and only this training will show progress for those interested in learning how to actually fight.
5.6 But I don’t want to fight in competitions. What do you suggest?
Well most competitions are quite safe with very low chance of injury (especially grappling-based events) so we encourage you to try them at least once. However, many people who train in sports-based systems never fight outside of class and don’t want to compete.
However, if you don’t want to compete and are learning martial arts for self-defense does it make sense to train like the guys who you see are winning the competitions or like the guys who never enter the competitions to prove how deadly they really are?
6. The case of Combat Submissive Wrestling, Ribbon Muchado, and getting what you paid for.
Grappling is popular now and everyone wants to be an expert. The problem is that grappling is hard work and requires being taught by a competent instructor to make it look easy and be effective.
6.1 Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) fighting is hugely popular now. Isn’t that a good thing?
Yes and no. Grappling and Mixed Martial Arts/NHB fighting are popular. You can go into many MA schools now and see everyone teaching “grappling” “submission wrestling” “jiu-jitsu”, MMA, etc. Stores now sell “Tap Out” fightwear as fashion statements. Finally, there is now a reality TV show to find the Ultimate Fighter.
There are many schools trying to cash in on this craze and many schools have adopted the terminology to be competitive and appear knowledgeable yet still do the same broken training. Remember that martial arts training is big business and the early 2000’s are the NHB craze just like the 1980’s were the Ninja craze, the 1970’s were the Kung Fu craze, the 1960’s were the Karate craze.
6.2 Why is it bad that these schools are adopting Mixed Martial Arts and sports-based training methods?
It’s not if the schools really change their practices and adopt the philosophies completely. However taking a couple seminars, buying some tapes, and learning the lingo so you can bolt them onto your disproven training methods isn’t going to work. Witness the following item from Pax Baculum:
I personally train in Combat Submissive Wresting which is a system that Erik Paulson does and has been proven effective. This system was developed with the help of notible bjj fighters like Ribbon Muchado and Rickson Gracie. – Poster at Pax Baculum and Kung Fu instructor (emphasis added)
A few points about this paragraph are in order:
1) Combat Submissive Grappling – The poster does not know that Erik Paulson teaches Combat Submission (not Submissive) Wrestling (http://www.erikpaulson.com/). The fact that he makes such an obvious error speaks volumes.
2) Ribbon Muchado is not a person in the Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ) world. He is probably referring to the highly regarded Rigan Machado (http://riganmachado.com/) who is a relative of the Gracie’s who created the BJJ system and a very skilled fighter. If this person is as involved with grappling as they claim they’d at least know this bit of information and not be making such a horrible attempt at name dropping.
Chi Sau "skills" apply to every situation... EVEN THE CLINCH!!! as a former competive boxer...(yes... I am a boxer) I can tell you that this skill works. Chi Sau skills also apply to the ground... OH MY GAWD!!! say it isn't so!!! that's right.... I said it.... ON THE GROUND!!! Don't believe me? Just ask Grappling Expert Sifu Erik Paulson former Light Heavyweight Shooto World Champion, Rickson Gracie and Ribbon Muchado who have all colaborated to create Combat SUBMISIVE Wrestling. – Poster at Pax Baculum and Kung Fu instructor (emphasis added)
As far as this Kung Fu drill he’s endorsing (Chi Sao aka. Wing Chun Trapping) it’s highly unlikely that any grappling or boxing coach would use this technique (especially one of the Gracies or the Machados based on our own member’s experiences working with these instructors). Additionally, MMA/Grappling instructors generally view the clinch as a range of combat best suited for (yet more sports-training) things like Thai Boxing or Greco Roman/Freestyle Wrestling and not Wing Chun Kung Fu.
With the popularity of grappling you have a lot of “experts” emerging who have only had a few lessons, went to some seminars, and perhaps watched some videos. Buyer beware.
6.3 So how do you tell if someone is qualified to teach these skills?
The grappling/MMA world places such a high emphasis on sport-competition it’s easy to weed out the fakes. Just ask this question:
What is your competition record or the competition records of your students in grappling/MMA?
Any serious school should be able to instantly rattle off what their instructor’s record is or those of their students in competition. If they don’t answer you directly or dodge the question (“We don’t need to compete to prove our stuff works! Our system is for the street and not sport!”) it’s time to run away.
7. Pax Baculum and Reality Based Self Defense (RBSD)/Military Combatives
Another fad today is to wrap up some old-school deadly martial arts training and give it a snazzy acronym for a name. Collectively they are called “Reality Based Self Defense” (RBSD) or “Combatives” training. These systems use “scenario drills” where one person acts as an aggressor and one as a defender. They then play act the roles and of course the aggressor eventually attacks and loses as the defender does their deadly moves.
The problem is there is no more “Reality” in this than sport-based systems. In fact there’s a lot less reality because there is a pre-scripted winner and loser. Or as Paul Sharp of Straight Blast Gym says:
I've thought for a long time that the terms "Realistic Scenario Based Training", is the ultimate oxymoron. Both sides know its a scenario, both sides know it will end without death or serious bodily injury, both sides know each other and will see each other again. And even worse, both sides, usually, aren't very skilled in any delivery system or athletic enough to actually be a threat.
Just like an attack in the real world, right?
…to make it real I would bring in my buddies from the Irish Ramblers, (a local rugby team), offer to pay them or their bar tab, if they can find a way, anyway, to throw this guy out the window. Now that would be a reality-based scenario. The rest is just really bad acting. – Paul Sharp (http://www.straightblastgym .com/street01.htm )
7.1 Why is a lot of the RBSD/Combatives teaching wrong compared to sportfighting?
Because it’s never been proven to work in a fight in a way that’s repeatable and both sides know it’s fake when you’re training. Lastly, many of the leading RBSD advocates have no fight credentials other than unverifiable stories. As Bill Mahoney put it on the qualifications of RBSD instructors (Peyon Quinn, et al) versus sportfighters (Frank Shamrock, et al):
We know Frank Shamrock can fight. Do we know [Peyton] Quinn can fight? Nope. He just says he can. – Bill Mahoney rec.martial-arts newsgroup posting
7.2 What’s wrong with doing scenario training?
Nothing if, for instance, you are a law enforcement officer who wants to work frequent types of encounters. Even then you can’t train for every possible violent scenario. There’s a reason it’s called random violence and not predictable violence. Sportfighters know that it’s the attributes of a fighter that work in a fight, not the 1000’s of scenarios you’ve drilled. A good punch or takedown will work in any situation you come across whereas a scenario that is practiced only a few times won’t.
Scott Lockhart also of South Shore Sportfighting (http://www.sssfighting.com) posted an excellent response on why you simply can’t prepare for every possible combination of violence in life:
"Even if I only see one guy, I don't know who might be hiding nearby. I dont know who might be late and/or coming around the block as I get into it."
And you don't know if he'll have a gun or knife or bee's nest. Make a list of all the possibilities and then go train for each. Or just train because you love it and it's good **** and go live your life without dwelling upon what you'd have to do if a random act of violence happened to you.
That's what it is you guys are talking about usually, random violence. I don't think it's worth giving that much thought. Sure **** happens but what can ya do. Usually, if you're into it with two guys with bats it's because in some way you put yourself there, not random, that's fighting. If you're talking about fighting, well if you needed to think that much about fighting you'd know enough to not think about it and not to make assumptions like that there will be the guys with bats or guys hiding around the corner. You don't just fall into that lifestyle anyway, you grow up around it and by that time hopefully you hang with like-minded people who have your back. If you're still worried about random violence then just steer clear of "bad" people, places and situations... - Scott Lockhart - rec.martial-arts newsgroup posting August 26, 2004
7.3 So how do I become a good fighter if none of the deadly stuff works?
Hard training against people who are fully-resisting you and want to win. Train like an athlete and not like a kung-fu movie.
7.4 What about all these people who claim it’s easy to become a great fighter with little work?
Do you believe those diet ads that say: "Lose weight without diet or exercise!"
7.4 Why is hard training important? These RBSD guys say fitness doesn’t matter that much.
That’s because most of them aren’t fit. Bill Mahoney, who posts as Strong Machine at Bullshido, has an actual fight and coaching record and sums it up best:
Originally Posted by Strong Machine
…because to phonies like Phil [Elmore], fighting is all about theory. When you do your fighting solely on a computer, you tend to see it as a merely cerebral endeavor. You tend to over analyze. I recall Meredith Gold (who's job seems to be to spread misinformation, and who can't see the damage she is causing) once stating that physical condition isn't important in real combat. It is a common thing for RBSD people to say. It explains why they can't do 10 pushups. They follow it with "real fights are usually over in seconds".
Possibly true. But in the many real fights I've seen I can recall dozens that went into the minutes. And that’s besides the point. If we are preparing for the rare attack, we should obviously prepare for the rare lengthy attack. And the statement reeks of someone who doesn't understand that the average person doesn't get tired after a couple minutes in combat, they seriously get tired after just a few seconds. They turn beet red and often seem to hyperventilate. And aside from even this, someone in poor condition cannot think clearly under stress due to oxygen deprivation, their pain tolerance suffers as well.
Finally, one should remember that running is often important when one gets in a bad situation. – Strong Machine/ Bill Mahoney (http://www.bullshido.net/forums/sho...d.php?t=186 85)
8. Combat Mindset
Combat Mindset -- two words that are so menacingly serious yet so vague. The beauty of course is that it means different things to different people. What is “Combat Mindset” to some really means “Unhealthy outlook on life” to others.
8.1 Is having a “combat mindset” like that mentioned at Pax Baculum needed for self-defense?
No. Your mindset shouldn’t be based on fear of the unknown or what might happen in life. The sad reality is that many people who advocate RBSD and non-sports based training could benefit the most from the confidence building competition provides. When looking at mindset you need to realize that being paranoid does not mean being prepared:
I carry up to two guns and two knives on most days. I don't particularly care what anybody else thinks, because when the smokes clears, I intend to still be standing. – Pax Baculum User
I usually carry a pair of scissors, baseball hat for striking with the visor, always wear a belt, long wallet chain... – Pax Baculum User
8.2 So why is this way of thinking about combat mindset dangerous?
Because it wastes a lot of mental energy and doesn’t solve the real problem which is a lack of confidence in your abilities. Matt Thornton of Straight Blast Gym discusses the dangers in this way of thinking:
One would think that by training in "street" orientated martial arts, or combatives that emphasize the self defense aspects of martial arts, to the exclusion of what they deem to be "sports" training, that these types of individuals would gain more confidence, more peace, more happiness, and become more comfortable within them as their skills at 'self-defense' grew. Unfortunately, it has been my experience that the opposite seems to be true. Individuals that come to strictly "street" orientated martial arts, that were already prone to feelings of inadequacy, shame, physiological fear, and paranoia tend to have those qualities magnified by such training, rather then eased.
I wouldn't ask anyone to take my word for it with that assessment. Instead I would suggest one visit the nearest "mercenary" convention, combatives or "street" martial arts forums, or speak with these individuals in person. This sadness, anger, and immense fear is palpable when you are forced to spend anytime around these types of individuals. Try reading the posts at the "street" forums. Many tend to read like angry notes from disgruntled 13-year-old boys. There is talk of "tearing out the mo-fo's eyes", biting, and various vicious things that can be done to the attackers. The posts speak to an intense anger and fear in the writers, and sadly, the Instructors of such curriculums cater to this need by exploiting their target audiences obvious weakness, and emotional frailty. – Matt Thornton (http://www.straightblastgym .com/problem.htm)
And by Paul Sharp of Straight Blast Gym:
You can observe the same thing in the so-called street fighting or reality based corner of the combat sport world. Scared people that translate themselves into lethal killing machines by toting around numerous knives, sticks and assorted weapons. The thing that makes these individuals really dangerous? They are still acting out of fear driven behavior. Without any knowledge of the moral and legal ramifications brought about by their actions. The truth is, they will never overcome their fear because they never confront it. Never testing their skills so as to give themselves a realistic view of their abilities. The fear compounds as they know they are untested which leads them to avoid the testing process for fear of losing and the cycle never ends.- Paul Sharp (http://www.straightblastgym .com/street01.htm)
This FAQ simply does not have the room to cover all the topics that people with the Pax Baculum mentality will throw out in an argument. What it does provide however are some basic elements of a Baloney Detection Kit (http://www.carlsagan.com/revamp/carlsagan/baloney.html) for martial artists.
Bad arguments can be compelling if you don’t look closely at the evidence. Sportfighting is not a panacea but what it provides is a reliable platform for testing and analyzing the theories of combat (both good and bad) that have developed over the years. It also provides a mechanism for developing the attributes necessary to win a fight. This is far more than the anecdotal evidence the critics provide.
The Internet contains a lot of information. Some of it is good, but most of it is frequently bad. If you are looking to take martial arts for reasons of aesthetics, history, culture, or you just think it’s fun, that is fine and we’re not critical of this so do what you like. However, if you want to learn how to fight (for self-defense or competition) you need to look carefully and ask questions about what people are trying to advocate and teach you. If they aren’t upfront about the evidence that exists today or dismiss it entirely they are not being very objective or honest despite their pleadings. We feel the Pax Baculum site fits this description. It’s better to demand proof than waste your time and money learning skills that won’t work when you need them.I dork harder than any of you can imagine.
8/17/2005 7:40am, #4
BTW, i can't find the e-budo's thread where WCL engaged with Phil in NHB debate.
8/17/2005 8:22am, #5Originally Posted by DCSThat civilisation may not sink,
Its great battle lost,
Quiet the dog, tether the pony
To a distant post;
Our master Caesar is in the tent
Where the maps are spread,
His eyes fixed upon nothing,
A hand under his head.
- W.B. Yeats
8/17/2005 8:35am, #6
- Join Date
- Aug 2004
- Stockholm, Sweden
Phil Elmore is just really goofy. He's an arm chair fighter; he reads and thinks more about self defence than he actually trains. Someone who trains one hour a week should not give people advice on hand to hand combat. He constantly cites his 15 years of experience, yet thought that nunchucks were the **** in 2003, which makes me think at least 13 of those years were spent watching kung-fu flicks, which in turn gives us some indication of what he considers training and experience. While he has every right to publish a webzine, nothing changes the fact that he's a big fat joke.I pointed at him [the panhandler], bringing my rear hand up in a subtle approximation of the double Wu Sau guard that is the default hand position in Wing Chun Kung Fu.
"Step away," I hissed.
8/17/2005 8:38am, #7
Phil is someone who combines a crippling lack of natural ability in all his endevours with the inability to admit he flat out sucks. In the case of his writing he actually believes that he's at the professional level.
He's blissfully unaware that you have to find that picture of Mark Hammil wearing a Howard the Duck shirt in order to find a source of concentrated failure comparable to his own fat ass.
However, he's also a dead horse around here.
8/17/2005 8:41am, #8
- Join Date
- Jan 2005
The site (the martialist) doesn't seem McDojoish - most of the equipment reviews and articles are objective and well written. It's Phil's extremist views and lack of martial arts experience that rubs most people the wrong way.
8/17/2005 9:19am, #9
Originally Posted by WingChun Lawyer"Quiet fool before I am kicking the butt!"
- Join Date
- Oct 2003
- San Angelo, TX
-My three year old trash talking to me
"Integrity can't be bought or sold---you either have it or you don't."
-The Honky Tonk Man
"If you can't be a shining example, at least be a dire warning."
-My Father to me one day
"No surprise. Until Aikido sheds its street-brawling, thuggish image, it'll never be mainstream."
8/17/2005 10:53am, #10
- Join Date
- Jun 2005
selective posting seems to be a trend on pretty much every forum out there. Even Bullshido. While I still come here to view the great video clips and read the instructional and review sections, every so often I take a look at the main forums and see posts like the one by afronaut above. Very important to remember that I do not consider trying to LEARN something I don't know as jumping on the band wagon. Submission wresting and BJJ is something that I have over the past few years learned to appreciate and I have decided to work hard on adding it to what I do. The post below is an explaination of my "mistakes".
In fact, tonight I have another class where I am the student of a person who knows a bazillion (lol) times more about grappling then I do. That is what I do..... I always seek to learn new things. I personally think all grappling is amazing and I am very happy to have met and train with people that can set me in the right direction. Who knows...... maybe some day I'll get good at it :happy7:
Hope you all have a great day.
Last edited by leejunfan; 8/17/2005 11:01am at .