I’m a bit of a weird contradiction when it comes to action movies. The guy in me absolutely loves the action, the plots and the effects. But the martial artist in me usually hates how a fight is actually portrayed on shows and movies. You know how it is… The protagonist and the antagonist square off, maybe circle each other for several minutes minutes exchanging sarcastic quips about who will kick whose ass… Then they spend the last twenty minutes of the movie locked in a heated exchange of strike after strike to each other’s head and body, most of which would have crippled a normal human being after the first or second strike.
Yes, a good action movie is fun and all. But the reality is that a fight will not only NEVER last as long as they’re portrayed, but if someone spin kicks you to the head, it’s pretty unlikely that you’ll just whip your head to the side, wipe the dribble o blood off your chin and keep fighting! The safe bet is that you’ll drop like a bag of sand, unconscious or stunned beyond the ability to continue. THAT’S reality. But actual full-contact fighting will also cause injuries to the person doing the striking.
I’ve written about this before, but let’s take a good old fashion punch to the head as our example. If you strike someone to the head with your fist, you’ll injure your hand. Notice that I didn’t say “might.” You WILL injure your hand in some way, shape or form. On the milder side of it, your knuckles will get inflamed and possibly swell. At worst, you may sprain your wrist, fracture some carpals or flat out break your hand. And that’s if you’re lucky. Most people have a hard head. A fist is comparatively smaller. Maybe go for an elbow strike instead. Yes, you’ll have to get in closer but you’ll also increase your chances of preventing injury.
That’s just one example, but this concept applies to just about any attack you use on another person. Unlike the movies, getting punched to the head will put you down. But you’ll also get hurt in the process. Unless your wrists are wrapped and you’re wearing padded gloves, the chances are slim that you’ll get multiples hits in without injury. Throwing a proper strike takes technique and precision, which can only be achieved through drills and practice. This is why we do form and work out in a dojo, so that muscle memory kicks in and your strike will be effective.
True self-defence isn’t about a long, drawn out battle or fancy techniques that look like they belong on the big screen. This is one of the reasons why there are so many videos circulating about people exposing “why martial arts don’t work.” It’s not that they don’t work; it’s that people have a skewed misconception about how martial arts would actually be used in a real fight. Self-defence is about protecting yourself and others, and being the one who walks away. ☯