Yeah, that's why we have Bullshido.com.
Originally Posted by moli
The idea of a TKD guy exposing "Bad Martial Arts" is laughable.
Then these hypothetical people can **** themselves.
Your cliched "Soccer Mom" might run screaming from here
By the way, where was this linked on Randi.org?
Nevermind, I see it.
I think that it would be at least interesting to contact them and invite them here.
Go for it. Although I doubt they're going to be receptive to the idea considering a.) the do TKD, and b.) they're trying to establish themselves in a niche we own.
I just fired off this email to James Randi, regarding this website:
Hi Mr. Randi,
I noticed you mentioned a new site, "Badmartialarts.com" in your recent newsletter. I'm not sure if you're aware of us, but our organization, Bullshido, has been fighting the frauds, liars, and fakes in the Martial Arts for almost 5 years now. Since then we've busted several fraudulent "martial artists" and other dubious characters who prey on the billion dollar industry and self defense consumer. And we have done all of this because of our foundations upon the principles of skepticism, empiricism, and science.
Granted, we've done this with a lot less tact than Mr. Knapp, and are fairly well known for our raucous discussion forums, "put up or shut-up" face-to-face challenges, and aggressive tactics in calling out these frauds. However, this approach is absolutely essential when it comes to an activity that's defining feature involves learning techniques for hurting other people. We acknowledge this reality, unlike many in the martial arts community who seek to repackage the arts as having very little to do with actual fighting.
We also believe this is one of the root causes for the lack of integrity and overall quality of instruction in the martial arts today. Ultimately everyone who goes to a school to learn a martial art does so to learn how to punch, kick, grapple, or otherwise engage in physical conflict with another person. And the all the marketing and other attempts to de-emphasize this have muddied the waters in the perception of the general public to such an extent that the average person does not know where to look for good training.
The issue we take with Mr. Knapp is that he himself trains in an art that is well known for its lack of focus on realistic training, which tints all of his arguments a healthy shade of rose. Over the years we have realized that while the style is not necessarily the most important facet when it comes to one's training, the training method itself is, and many styles do not practice realistic training. Taekwondo, Mr. Knapp's style, is one of these.
If you will permit me to elaborate:
The ultimate goal of someone participating in the Martial Arts is to be proficient at fighting; whether this is for their self defense, to compete in a fight sport, or for some other end. (Again, this purpose has been obfuscated in order to sell more black belts, but it remains true despite such 'spin'.) In order to get better at fighting, one must actually fight. If someone were interested in becoming a race car driver, they would not spend their time sitting in their garage, turning the wheel back and forth and making "vrooom vrooom" sounds.
However, "training" along these lines is extremely common, especially in Mr. Knapp's chosen art. We've realized that by training without replicating the conditions of a fight (within reason, given safety concerns and the ability to continue regular training), you are essentially doing little more than sitting in your garage, or as one advocate for realistic training puts it "Dry Land Swimming".
Fortunately, the advocates of realistic martial arts training have created a medium in which martial artists can fight against each other, legally, and in relative safety but with a minimum of restriction. This is the "sport" known as Mixed Martial Arts, or by some as "Ultimate Fighting". The ruleset is designed to allow the participants the maximum number of techniques to demonstrate whether their fundamentals (kicking, punching, grappling, locks, chokes, etc) are effective against a fully resisting opponent intent on imposing his will upon you.
The argument against this, and it is one made by Mr. Knapp, is that because it is a "sport" it is not as realistic as an encounter you might face on "the street". This is hogwash for many reasons, and especially to those of us who have been in both Mixed Martial Arts fights, and self defense encounters.
In fact, here are his exact views as to why he dismisses testing one's skills empirically in this manner, with my rebuttals in bold and italics:
- A sport is supposed to be fun. A martial art can definitely be fun, but its purpose is serious.False dichotomy. Regardless of whether or not you find it to be "fun", someone punching you full-force in the face with the intent to knock you out is serious.
- Except for the extreme forms, sports aren't supposed to hurt the participants. Martial arts trains to neutralize attackers by hurting them or incapacitating them (with pain or choking). My opinion is that a martial art is a style of self-defense, and not a way to learn how to fight. You may have to fight and use your techniques, but if you goal is to protect yourself, by not avoiding the situation you are more likely to get hurt. He immediately defines the very means of empirical skill testing as "extreme", and continues on to dismiss the single feature that defines why the "arts" are "martial" in the first place, or rather, about fighting, conflict, etc.
- To block a punch, you much practice blocking realistic punches. Better yet, learn how to avoid punches. Hard to do when you're not under the threat of being punched realistically, with the intent to harm, in an environment with limited controls.
- To throw an effective kick for self-defense, you must practice hitting hard objects (i.e. a heavy bag.) Likewise, if you practice a sport that always wears pads, then hitting something unprotected will be significantly different. The potential for injuring yourself exists. Essentially arguing with a strawman here because a.) pads only mitigate and do not prevent the consequences for performing techniques badly that are so necessary in order to learn effective, realistic skills. b.) the potential for injury is SUPPOSED to exist in an activity that involves learning how to injure other people. There is a reason why people look to and admire the prowess of a Martial Artist, and it is not because they wear fancy feudal costumes from Asia or can speak a few words of Hongul.
- Sports have rules for a reason. Consider what is illegal in a sport to know what are effective ways of hurting someone.This is the easiest point to counter, because someone who is better prepared for a real fight by having been in dozens of near-real fights only needs to "add dirty" (start playing dirty) and will be able to do so more effectively than someone who does not engage in the kind of training that truly prepares one for such.
- Breaking the rules in a sports match means disqualification. Your first response is to always protect yourself and those with you (i.e. family), but with martial arts comes responsibility. A martial artist's skills and knowledge are taken into consideration in a court of law. Use only the force necessary, and no more. The stakes are much higher. I'm honestly not sure what kind of point he's trying to make here as earlier he stated that sport does not adequately prepare you for a fight, and it seems that now he's arguing it overprepares you for one.
So while much of the content on Mr. Knapp's site has merit and could be helpful, it is tainted by the ingrained lack of value for empirical testing of one's skills that he demonstrates in his articles. It is good that he pays tribute to critical thinking. It would be excellent if he applied it across the board to all aspects of what he teaches, and what he promotes on his website.
Mr. Randi, there are many people who consider themselves to be "Skeptics" and pay homage to the concepts of critical thinking, empiricism, and the scientific method, and yet fail to apply those to all aspects of their lives, instead, clinging to certain irrational beliefs that are deeply ingrained by their life experiences. Mr. Knapp is such a person, and his website, despite having some excellent content, is little more than a personal editorial with a heaping helping of "woo" as a side dish.
For your amusement, I've included an image we use often on the Bullshido discussion forums, to express in the proverbial "1000 words", much of these concepts about the reality of the Martial Arts.
I didn't intend to write this much, but I hope you will find it of use coming from someone who has spent the past 5 years working to spread critical thinking into all aspects of the Martial Arts and who has used your $1M challenge extensively to "call out" frauds and phonies who otherwise could not be called out to step into a ring and prove whether or not their "Martial Arts" skills had any real merit.
Site Director: Bullshido.net, Bullshido.com
Fighting the BS in the Martial Arts since 2002
Frost sure do talk purty when he gits the notion.
Oh, and here's the picture I attached:
I need to go back and read that because I have no idea if my grammar and spelling were correct. I hope they were. Because I idolize James Randi and would hate to come off as a dimwit to him.
Is that not a conflict of interest?
Originally Posted by Jack Frost
Or a paradox?
Or a "contradition in terms?"
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