Aikido Techniques: What is the Best Martial Art ? – Part 2
In Part 1 of this series I talked about how individuals have tried to answer this question and, as it turns out, there is really no answer. Why? Because a match up between two individuals, regardless of the arts chosen or their relative skill levels says very little about whether one art is “better” than the other. Rather, it simply provides an indication that on a given day, with a given set of rules, that one individual was stronger, more skillful or both in the application of the specific techniques. A great example of the obvious difficulties in “proving” anything with a match up is the example of Chuck Liddel, the Ice Man, in the UFC. Chuck is clearly still able to deliver a devastating punch. I would challenge anyone who does not believe this to trade best punches with him and see who comes out “on top”. This man spends a huge portion of his life in the gym training and conditioning himself for a single match up. Is he still on top? No – and this does not take anything away from this fierce competitor. It is just that there are a huge number of younger competitors with skill sets that the Ice Man has not been able to deal with as effectively as in years past. The movie, The Fastest Gun Alive, provides a clue to the dilemma.
Aikido Techniques: What Are the Keys to Finding the Best Martial Art?
In truth, as we spend more time in any martial art what we learn is that our learning never stops, and that there is no value in trying to “prove” anything. One of my mentors achieved a black belt in Judo in his twenties. He and his Judo buddies would go around the neighborhood picking fights in an attempt to prove to themselves that they were the toughest guys “in the playground”. In the end, he discovered (as many of us do) that the attempt to prove your art works is a never ending proposition because there will always be another individual that wants to prove to themselves that they can take you down – and eventually, someone will take you down just as some MMA fighters have taken down the Ice Man.
Aikido Techniques: Rules? There are not rules.
When I think about the statement above, I recall James Earl Jones saying this phrase to Kevin Costner’s character while chasing him around the house with a crowbar in the movie Field of Dreams. In truth there are no rules in a street fight and that is something that should be remembered when one thinks about any martial art and its practical application to a real life situation. Robert Koga Sensei of the Koga Institute provides perspective when he emphasizes that essentially all martial arts, whether Aikido, BJJ, or UFC have specific rules which govern how the art is practiced. For instance, in a Youtube video a BJJ practitioner competes with and beats a Karate student which, to them, proves that BJJ is superior to Karate. What if the Karate practitioner gouged the eye when the BJJ artist shot for his leg? What if he drove his keys into the BJJ artist’s temple as he sprawled? These arts prevent such techniques because they are designed to injure the individual. The rules are designed for mat safety and prohibit such activities. On the street, we’d better remember the saying: “Rules? There are no rules!”