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honest_truth
12/04/2009 11:46pm,
As some of you already know, stephan kesting is an awesome BJJ teacher who produces lots of high qualiy material and has a whole bunch of stuff on youtube that is very useful.

When i recently started the beej i signed up for his "beginning BJJ" e-mails, and today i got this great read, just wanted to share it with you my lovey doveys.



Hi Dan


Today I want to congratulate you on choosing a very challenging path.

You see, when I was introduced to BJJ in the early 1990's, I thought that this art would NEVER become popular. In fact, I was fairly certain that it was doomed to obscurity.

The main reason for this, I felt, was that BJJ was inherently too much of a reality check for students.

It might have been a bit cynical of me, but it seemed that the vast majority of people would always prefer 'hands-off' and/or traditional and/or non-contact martial arts.

Basically I believed that people would choose martial arts where their fantasies about their own deadliness WOULDN'T be challenged. (And if you never road test your martial art skills against a resisting opponent then you can delude yourself about your own effectiveness for a very long time).

Even non-contact sparring allows a lot of room for self delusion. In fact, point sparring usually reminds me of those Cowboy and Indians games we all used to play as kids. Remember how they always went?

"I got you!"

"No you didn't, I got you first!!"

No! I got you before you got me!!!"

And so on...

Sometimes the self delusion (and willfully misleading others) got really bad.

For example, as a teenager I ran into several Kung Fu teachers who never, ever sparred. When I asked their students why this was, they'd tell me in hushed voices that their instructor was so deadly that they'd likely end up crippled or dead if they actually sparred against him.

I even heard of one guy claiming to have such a highly developed Iron Palm technique that he couldn't hold babies with his striking hand. This was because his internal energy in that hand was so focused and strong that just holding a child would hurt them.

How very wise and compassionate these teachers were to avoid hurting lesser beings...

...and full of crap!

Now I've got to admit it: I was young and some of this mumbo-jumbo was appealing to me at first. I didn't know exactly what to think.

This whole 'too deadly to spar' excuse, always seemed somewhat suspicious to me though. If their Kung Fu was so highly developed, then shouldn't they also have sufficient control of their immense skills to NOT cripple their students?

In the current climate of MMA-madness this might all seem strange and far-fetched, but beliefs like this were pretty common not that long ago. And I'll bet that it wouldn't be too hard to find people who still think this way today!

Maybe it's because the Iron Palm Death Touch doesn't have a very strong track record in the UFC, but people are beginning to see these 'too deadly to spar' fantasies for what they are. (And also that Santa Claus and Easter Bunny don't exist).

So perceptions are changing.

And I was wrong when I thought that BJJ and grappling would never become popular. It's exploding in popularity, and that's a good thing.


BJJ has a very short feedback loop that allows you to quickly find out what works and what doesn't. If you see a new technique today then you can try it out on someone tomorrow. If someone claims to have an unstoppable armbar, then he can prove it to everyone in tournament competition.
For many students the brutally honest and instant feedback from a sparring session is the BEST part of BJJ, and NOT a deterrent.




It's true that sometimes this process can be hard on the ego, but it can also be very exciting and confidence building.

So you've taken the harder road, where feedback is instant, self-delusion is difficult, and the learning process is never done.


Good for you! I think you've made the right choice.

Stephan Kesting


Did anyone try to get him to join us ?, he will probably fit in at the grappling forum. I should also try sending him a link to gracie combatives university, beej is getting all D34D1Y there.

Demon Eyes
12/05/2009 2:44am,
Unfortunately, his views on the current standing of the martial arts community seems to optimistic. There's still just as much bullshit today and just as many people willing to believe it and defend it.

Other than that, nice little write up.

Larus marinus
12/05/2009 3:01am,
Unfortunately, his views on the current standing of the martial arts community seems to optimistic. There's still just as much bullshit today and just as many people willing to believe it and defend it.

Other than that, nice little write up.

Heh, we should compile a list of the most common defences for dead, non-contact/striking-only training in the MAs and sticky it as a warning to others.

Some off the top of my head.

1. Our stuff is too deadly to spar with.
2. Our stuff is reality - not sport.
3. Grappling is all well and good but what about grappling on the street when it's covered with broken glass and AIDS needles?
4. Grappling is all well and good - but just you just try that **** against multiple opponents!
5. Of course you could take me down and armbar me - but then I'd punch you in the balls, poke your eyes or jam my finger in your arsehole and then you'd be in trouble!
6. Our stuff is hundreds/thousands of years old. It wouldn't still be around if it didn't work.

Lindz
12/05/2009 3:05am,
Sparring teaches bad habits, like letting go after they tap and not taking the dirty shot.

Larus marinus
12/05/2009 3:16am,
- The guy who founded the style fought and won deathmatches with this stuff!

- How could you hope to ever get a technique into your muscle memory if the guy you're doing it on won't let you complete it properly?

Lindz
12/05/2009 3:32am,
Sparring is not fighting becaus when you spar you sort of go back and forth each doing your thing. But when ou fight you have to just go in and do your damage. Quick and decisive.

HMM Can't quite remember how that one goes. I think I'm starting to repress the memories :D

Larus marinus
12/05/2009 3:39am,
- If I can do this (WHACK!) to a piece of wood, or a brick, or a coconut, then I'd have no problem winning a real fight!

SaintHamish
12/05/2009 4:06am,
- Competition for us is pointless. After the first death, we will no longer be able to compete so we dont even bother......

- MMA has a ruleset, we dont........

Demon Eyes
12/05/2009 4:23am,
"Our school trains in the real (Insert MA Style). It has a direct lineage to (Insert semi-famous MA instructor). Our (Insert MA Style) works. There is no need to pressure test it as it has already been done by (Insert semi-famous MA instructor). He/She won (Insert large number) Street Fights."

Larus marinus
12/05/2009 5:36am,
- This is the same stuff that Machida uses in UFC. (well, if not already - then they soon will be pulling that one out)

- Boztepe! Boztepe! BOZTEPE! Boz-fucking-tepe! Boztepe. Boztepe.

The Twitcher
12/05/2009 12:45pm,
Heh, we should compile a list of the most common defences for dead, non-contact/striking-only training in the MAs and sticky it as a warning to others.

Some off the top of my head.

1. Our stuff is too deadly to spar with.
2. Our stuff is reality - not sport.
3. Grappling is all well and good but what about grappling on the street when it's covered with broken glass and AIDS needles?
4. Grappling is all well and good - but just you just try that **** against multiple opponents!
5. Of course you could take me down and armbar me - but then I'd punch you in the balls, poke your eyes or jam my finger in your arsehole and then you'd be in trouble!
6. Our stuff is hundreds/thousands of years old. It wouldn't still be around if it didn't work.

Those are valid points (the AIDS needle one is gratuitous though), especially point #4 if all you know is grappling.

Hesperus
12/05/2009 1:21pm,
Try striking against multiple opponents.

Or, better yet, try grappling when a member of the numerically advantaged party.

Grappling is even more important when there are multiple opponents.

Kentucky Fried Chokin
12/05/2009 1:56pm,
I think Kesting probably knows more about Bullshido than any of us. He's one of those guys that spent 30 years in MA doing everything. All kinds of kung-fu and karate. He gave a great interview for the fightworks podcast (find it yourself) where he talks about his unhappiness with a lot of TMAs.

EternalRage
12/05/2009 1:56pm,
Heh, we should compile a list of the most common defences for dead, non-contact/striking-only training in the MAs and sticky it as a warning to others.

Some off the top of my head.

1. Our stuff is too deadly to spar with.
2. Our stuff is reality - not sport.
3. Grappling is all well and good but what about grappling on the street when it's covered with broken glass and AIDS needles?
4. Grappling is all well and good - but just you just try that **** against multiple opponents!
5. Of course you could take me down and armbar me - but then I'd punch you in the balls, poke your eyes or jam my finger in your arsehole and then you'd be in trouble!
6. Our stuff is hundreds/thousands of years old. It wouldn't still be around if it didn't work.
lol

7. it's taught to the national army of ________. so it must be good

EternalRage
12/05/2009 2:12pm,
Those are valid points (the AIDS needle one is gratuitous though), especially point #4 if all you know is grappling.

Except that you could argue that for point #

2.) You can't train for reality with proper resistance and have it be legal, because otherwise you'd be committing assault obviously. So you put rules in place to protect the trainees - so then how is that any different from a sport. Not to mention the sports promote basics - if you can't do basics in a simulation how do you think you can do it in real life?

3.) Just because the ground is covered in whatever, doesn't mean you can't be sent there. Still a necessary skill set.

4.) ANY single skill set alone against multiple opponents is going to be a disadvantage, because the majority of the time you are fucked regardless of what you know or train (unless it is gun-fu and you are packing). Also, there are self defense techniques (ground as well as standing grappling) in most grappling systems, it's just that the focus is mostly on sport. If one would do the former, the grappling might have more utility in a multiple opponent encounter - ie you might survive for 10 sec rather than 5.

galois
12/05/2009 2:23pm,
7. it's taught to the national army of ________. so it must be good
As a variation on this "some marines went to a seminar on this stuff once, and they kill people so it must be good".