Everyone loves a good action movie. Especially an inspirational one. A perfect example of this is my favourite series of movies, Rocky… Although not all the sequels have received the same level of acclaim, I can watch the entire batch of 8 movies over and over and enjoy them as much as I did the first time I saw them (8 movies includes the newer Creed movies, just to be clear).
The first movie sends an important inspirational message; the unknown amateur boxer who trains as though his life depends on it and is given the chance of his career. Although he loses in that first movie, the moral victory sends chills down my spine (if you haven’t seen the original Rocky, I apologize for the spoilers. But the movie came out in 1976, people! You should probably get on that!)
But how much of what we see in movies is genuine and can have real-life applications? Obviously, I’m talking from a combat or fighting standpoint.
Hollywood, and mainstream sports such as boxing and MMA have romanticized the notion of duking it out, round after round, for long periods of time. Even within the martial arts, we train for hours on specific techniques, but these aren’t practical applications as they would happen in a real fight. We simply do this to engrain the technique and commit it to memory so that we can call upon muscle memory when needed.
The reality is that there is no such thing as a real fight where the protagonist and the antagonist square of and circle each other while dialoguing for several minutes before getting into an exchange that includes spinning kicks and multiple blows to the head where each combatant continues to fight it out, unfazed. All the while with a wicked soundtrack by Two Steps From Hell playing in the background…
The average street fight will last less than a minute. This includes both combatants squaring off, taking their stance and exchanging no more than three or four strikes each. This is all the time that’s necessary for one and/or both combatant to fall to the ground and keep pummelling each other until exhausted. And the reality is that if someone even matching your weight gives you a full contact punch to the head, you’re likely going down. Getting punched in the head causes the brain to impact with the wall of the skull and can cause dizziness, confusion, loss of balance and potential loss of consciousness.
In fact, in an article written in HighPercentageMartialArts.com by Louis Martin, he explains that fights “happened most often within thirty seconds” and that “after thirty seconds, the chances of a knockout or TKO dropped sharply.”
Martin goes on to explain what I described above: “Men usually charge at each other with power punches, fall to the ground, and continue punching until they get tired or knock each other out.” His article actually contains a number of interesting statistics and information regarding 200 street fights he observed to accumulate this information. (https://www.highpercentagemartialarts.com/blog/2019/3/6/how-long-do-street-fights-actually-last-and-what-can-we-learn-from-that)
Sports combatants train to build their endurance to surreal levels because they are required to last as long as possible in the ring. Martial artists will spend hours honing their skills on specific techniques so that they’ll execute them using muscle memory when the need for defence arises. But once it comes to a no holds barred ACTUAL fight against the guy who cut in line while you were waiting for your maple scone at the local coffee shop, you’re looking at about a minute at most, as far as the actual fighting goes.
So keep practicing those specific techniques. It’s important to get them down pat before trying to use them. But understand that if you get into an actual fight you’ll get two, maybe three, punches or kicks against your opponent before the outcome is decided. And in the real world, there usually are no actual winners in any fight. ☯