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Thread: Size/strength doesn't matter, and other lies you were told.

  1. #1
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    Size/strength doesn't matter, and other lies you were told.

    There are a lot of martial arts out there that preach the notion of "Technique is more important than size/strength", even up to my favorite martial art, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.

    But that is a lie of course.

    Technique can be used to account for a difference in size or strength and IMO that is where a martial art like BJJ does demonstrate real world effectiveness at bridging the gap, but at a certain point there is too much difference. I will get rag dolled by a 275lb wrestler. He may not know much BJJ, but he can pull me to the ground and just hulk smash. There's literally a 115lb difference.


    Additionally, I tend to believe that being strong and being able to gain significant muscle mass is a technique in and of itself. But that's literally why there is a weightlifting thread.

    Nonetheless, I thought it would be interesting to list out some of the falsehoods and misconceptions in martial arts. Namely:

    1. You can learn to defend yourself while never sparring or "going live" with intent.
    2. You can rely on some ineffable "mindset" with no skill or minimal skill to win a fight.
    3. Adrenaline dumps will reliably work in your favor by "slowing down time" or "Making you significantly stronger"
    4. You don't need to cross train striking (if you're a grappler) or grappling (if you're a striker) because you're so good at your martial art that you can just "nullify" the other martial art.
    5. You can use dirty fighting tactics (eye pokes, nut kicks, headbutts, bites etc) to reliably end a fight against a more skilled or larger/stronger fighter than you.
    6. The "Hollywood neck break". I feel like I don't need to explain how that just couldn't possibly work.
    7. Put your keys in between your fingers to scratch an attacker.
    8. Your lack of cardio probably won't matter in a fight because it'll be short.

    Feel free to add your own. I left out a lot of the "bullshido" stuff like pressure point karate and chi and all that, but feel free to add those too!

  2. #2
    9. BJJ is the "gentle" art
    10. Age doesn't matter

  3. #3
    Site Supporter Totem Polar's Avatar
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    “Nobody needs more than 10 rounds to defend themselves.”

    (Hey, it’s a legit American martial art.)

    But seriously, I’m a believer in the “Boyd Belt” concept: every 20lbs and decade age disparity/advantage = a belt. I’m basically a negative purple belt during open mat in my gym, as a baseline. It’s not easy being negative purple, but we play the hand we’re dealt.



    I’ll also add that the John Boyd/Rener Gracie concept is yet one more way that the BJJ/MMA open mat refuses to blow smoke up the practitioner’s skirts. It is the way things are.

    One thing about the “dirty tactics” idea: it’s true that none of that stuff will be of any use if someone has you in a totally inferior position. That said, there’s a reason that every combat sport has its prohibited techniques, and it’s worth having all those rules saved in a file to review from time-to-time as a laundry list of things to consider for moments of neutrality during a hands-on self-defense event. JMO. Never say never.
    ”Farming looks mighty easy when your plow is a pencil, and you're a thousand miles from the corn field.”
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  4. #4
    Deadeye Dick Clusterfrack's Avatar
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    I absolutely agree with @Totem Polar about Boyd belts. My years in BJJ yielded 5 broken ribs, jacked shoulder and neck, and multiple smaller injuries. This made it very clear to me that I will be at a massive disadvantage in a grappling fight against younger people weighing 100+lbs more. That realization has made me focus on a broader range of skills--including tool use--to even the odds.

    Here's a common misconception I'll add to the list:

    Q: What do you expect to happen when you use [insert technique here]?

    Wrong answer: I win!

    Correct answer: Nothing. Don't have expectations. Keep fighting. Don't give up.
    "You can never have too many knives." --Joe Ambercrombie
    "You don’t really graduate from certain problems or certain things… like you always have to work on trigger control and pulling the trigger straight. " --Ben Stoeger 1/24/2018

  5. #5
    Gray Hobbyist Wondering Beard's Avatar
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    I think this is where disparity of force, as talked about by @Mas, comes into play.
    “An ill-educated person behaves with arrogant impatience, whereas truly profound education breeds humility.” Alexander Solzhenitsyn
    "There are problems in this universe for which there are no answers." Paul Muad'dib

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    Quote Originally Posted by Clusterfrack View Post

    Here's a common misconception I'll add to the list:

    Q: What do you expect to happen when you use [insert technique here]?

    Wrong answer: I win!

    Correct answer: Nothing. Don't have expectations. Keep fighting. Don't give up.
    This ^^^^. Speaking of "the American martial art," I first heard this years ago from Scott Reitz of ITTS in a Vehicle Tactics class. If you,ve never trained with Uncle Scotty, he loves movie quotes almost as much as I do....


  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Clusterfrack View Post
    I absolutely agree with @Totem Polar about Boyd belts. My years in BJJ yielded 5 broken ribs, jacked shoulder and neck, and multiple smaller injuries. This made it very clear to me that I will be at a massive disadvantage in a grappling fight against younger people weighing 100+lbs more. That realization has made me focus on a broader range of skills--including tool use--to even the odds.

    Here's a common misconception I'll add to the list:

    Q: What do you expect to happen when you use [insert technique here]?

    Wrong answer: I win!

    Correct answer: Nothing. Don't have expectations. Keep fighting. Don't give up.
    The expectation is a hell of a problem.

    Lots of guys don't exactly know how difficult it is to genuinely strangle someone unconscious if they don't want to concede the tap.

    If you watch the recent fight between Ortega and Volk and you'll see just how much a guy can endure if he's willing to go out on his shield. In that fight you had a world class BJJ black belt with excellent strategies and execution of high percentage strangles, but Volk was having none of it and was totally unwilling to go unconscious. His defense was on point to survive an onslaught like that, but it was more than that. Ortega would have had to render him unconscious. And against another skilled practitioner, who can make just barely enough space to survive...that made all the difference, because it cast doubt in Ortega's mind as to whether he could actually win the fight. Then Volk escaped and beat the shit out of him for a decision win.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by 45dotACP View Post
    Technique can be used to account for a difference in size or strength and IMO that is where a martial art like BJJ does demonstrate real world effectiveness at bridging the gap, but at a certain point there is too much difference. I will get rag dolled by a 275lb wrestler. He may not know much BJJ, but he can pull me to the ground and just hulk smash. There's literally a 115lb difference.
    I think this ties in with your other thread about how leg locks don't work.

    If I'm wrapped up with a giant of a human and we go down in a pile and a heel hook is presented to me, I'm absolutely taking it with everything I have and be damned to leaving his hands free. It's really difficult to get practice with just how much force a giant human can put out when they're mad and scared. I might not be able to do anything with his upper body when I get there.

    Pressure points are an idea that just won't die. The last scrap I got into the guy tried to do a pressure point on my neck. I was doing my best to stop it from getting physical so we just stood there awkwardly for awhile while he played with my neck. Afterwards when he had calmed down he asked me if 'I liked that move'. The thing you were doing right before you got tossed on the ground and immobilized? No, I don't like that thing. 'I didn't do it right'. No shit dude, nobody does. That's why you don't see guys 'pressure pointing' each other in MMA.

    I blame Spock, myself.

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  10. #10
    I'm 6' 8" and about 320 pounds. I'm not even near the solid muscle I was 15 years ago when I weighed a lot closer to 400. I boxed when I was younger, I wrestled some in high school. I am no where near competent at BJJ, my experience is limited to rolling with a few guys over in the sand box who were fairly experienced. They completely out classed me on technique, but given the size and weight difference found it to be valuable experience because of the strength difference. I can't say how many times someone tried to arm bar me, but I can only remember needing to tap to one twice. Chokes were more effective, but I quickly learned to not let my back be taken. I had one guy get behind me once and jump on my back, when he was trying to get the choke sunk in, I simply fell backwards and the impact knocked his wind out.

    Don't let anyone convince you that any size difference can be overcome with technique, there is a point where it cannot. Some of us are just too big and frankly need the judicious application of lead.

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