If you are like me who is fascinated with the martial arts and who ponders on questions about the best martial art for self defense or the ultimate fighting training, there are no quick and easy answers. Martial art styles abound, a dizzying array actually. One of the newer fads is called mixed martial arts or MMA for short in which a competitor must be skilled in several styles of martial arts such as kickboxing and jiu-jitsu. Notice that I use the word, “competitor,” as a fighter who competes for a title and/or a prize. These athletes, such as the ones who participate in the UFC (Ultimate Fighting Champion) events, are in top physical shape and accomplished martial artists. But, they have rules and formats to abide by. For some of us who seek methods of surviving violent physical attacks or protecting loved ones from such acts, we have to depart from the sporting side of martial arts and discover the ways of combat arts.

The online dictionary meaning of martial arts is “any of the traditional forms of Oriental self-defense… that utilize physical skill and coordination without weapons…often practiced as sport.” This term is restrictive when dealing with real life violent encounters. Most actual fights by mutual combatants will certainly involve weapons and there is nothing sporting about them. However, the online definition of combat is “to fight” or “armed fighting.” Couple that word with “art,” meaning “skill in conducting any human activity,” and we have the proper name for unrestricted warfare against an individual or a group of individuals – combat arts.

Combat arts encompass a broad range of ways to effectively confront one or many assailants in any situation and environment, from mere command presence to shooting firearms. The secret to being competent in the combat arts is to mentally and physically train beyond the confines of the dojo or gym, where it is dry, comfortable, and predictable, and expand the realm of your traditional martial style(s) and forms. Train outside in any terrain and under inclement weather. Learn other styles and devise ways to counter their techniques as well as combining them with your own. Is not this reminiscent of Bruce Lee’s philosophy of Jeet Kune Do (JKD)?

Leave a Reply