And so the debate continues in regard to what will work. Many techniques are taught, and for each technique learned, you’re sure to find practitioners, instructors, masters and grandmasters who say‚ “That won’t work on the street.” This begs the question‚ What makes one technique more or less valid than another for street application?
The answer can lead to endless debate, but instead of arguing, let’s talk about the things most martial artists will agree on.
• Simplicity. Can a given technique be learned easily? If it takes months or years for students to become proficient, is that technique street-applicable? What would students do if they were attacked tonight? It’s been said that a technique that’s 20 steps long allows for 19 mistakes and 19 opportunities for the opponent to counter.
• Effectiveness. People disagree about what makes a technique effective. We’ve all heard that a spinning kick cannot work on the street, yet we can find video of someone being hit with a spinning kick. And we can find video of someone delivering such a kick and having his leg caught before being slammed to the ground. So is kicking ineffective for the street, or is the person delivering the kick doing so ineffectively?
• Direct approach. This often can be combined with simplicity. The more direct the defensive or offensive technique used, the higher the probability of success.
Three areas should be added to this list to increase the likelihood of success on the street: eyesight, breathing and balance. In simple terms, if a person cannot see or breathe, it’s difficult for him to fight you. In addition, if he’s been stripped of his balance, it’s tough for him to continue to attack.
Clearly, techniques that are simple and direct — and that adhere to these three areas — will be more effective if you have to confront a threat on the street. Nevertheless, the discussion of street-applicable techniques leads some martial artists back to a question that’s been asked for centuries: Which martial art is best?
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