First of all a little disclaimer: I like all types, styles, shapes, and flavors of martial arts I have trained judo and TKW for about 20 years, researched about many other styles around the world, I have been a competitor, and I have even been in the cage as a guest in the local MMA gym (In which I lost miserably once we where both on the floor, my ne waza wasn’t nearly as good as the other guy, still it was a lot of fun and my opponent was the nicest guy). The purpose of this post is not to put any style or form over another but to talk about the potential hidden in several systems. I worked this a idea ever since a friend of mine who does Tai Chi Chuan and I decided to hold a friendly sparring, more along the lines of randori, both exerting force on each other so it didn’t turn into a dance choreography but not so competitive that we can’t experiment. At the beginning it was awkward for me as I didn’t feel much oomph from him but as we progressed he did some sort of pull and immediately landed something called a Fa Jing on my jaw and I was out it was marvelous, that little combo was like a concentrated explosion of power something very special I learned a lot that day. Some say that TMAs work some say they don’t, and then the classic debate of MMA vs TMA starts again. After a lot of research, training, and some experiences outside my comfort zone I’ve come to hypothesize that all sorts of MA work we just have to learn properly several moves that look silly and do not work in a fight rather than been useless the problem lies within the execution. For example in TKD when you throw a punch you pull your other hand towards your hip, you do that in a fight and that is an opening, however if the passive hand before traveling to the hip catches and pulls the other guy’s wrist then you got a hold on him, pulling with some strength could put him off balance and your punch is much more efficient at landing since the target is in a weaker position. I believe that many moves, even the extravagant ones can work when used properly under the right circumstances, as my sensei says look for available techniques rather than forcing a technique on your opponent. There is a problem to this and that is that the transfer of information throughout martial arts history hasn’t been perfectly preserved, in some old texts the moves are described in the format of small poems thus learning the applications becomes more difficult, this I would solve with serious research and experimentation. Look at the HEMA guys they had to decode old manuscript and experiment a lot to bring the systems back to life, in the same way any martial art can get that treatment. Just like the MMA guys all martial arts that wish to be effective at fighting have to spar and fight in a competitive environment with an opposing opponent and stress, we have to become better athletes as technique can improve with physical prowess, we have to cross train, cross spar, and cross fight, we can learn a lot from other systems. We must also be more accepting of the opinion of others as everyone has something to teach and we can all learn. We must also pursuit aesthetics for efficiency so that effectivity is not compromised, but a beautiful executed move with some nasty power behind it can do wonders I believe that, and my molars really experienced that Fa Jing. We must also pursuit discipline and keep traditions, the greatest warriors in human history practiced every day for hours, we have to dedicate ourselves to learn the whole thing. However we are currently in the 21st century teaching and learning have become more efficient, we can learn more in less time if we do it correctly with the aid of modern technology. I believe that there are many missing parts in the martial arts due to poor interpretation but there are just as many opportunities to find something amazing. Learning to fight with a sword or a spear will definitely not make you weaker and while you can’t take a spear to a boxing match you may learn something useful from that different experience. We also need context, I always try to take thing for what they are rather than for what I want them to be, forms are great there is a lot of knowledge in forms but that will only carry so far in a different situation, to apply forms in combat we have to do combat and experiment and look for the way to apply forms, sparing is the same if we spar with no technique we will only appreciate some lousy kick boxing. Competitions, combat, and self defense are different things we must not mix them. Competitions are regulated you have to fight in a certain way, combat against a skilled fighter requires a totally different type of strategy, fighting against several fighters requires yet another strategy, and self defense requires yet another different strategy. In the book Kodokan Judo by Jigoro Kano there is a chapter solely dedicated to self defense the term used is Goshinjutsu and it is a complete different animal from Judo. Martial arts have curriculum that is not very popular for different reasons, an example is TKD it has grappling and the use of some weapons, amongst other things however since competition TKD is very popular and doesn’t include those many Sabonims don’t teach that. Yet it exist. With the easy access that we have today to all sorts of information I believe that all styles of MA can be restored to what they where meant to be and improved further since civilization advances the arts must adapt and evolve accordingly while keeping their past. What are your opinions do the MA styles regarded as outdated or useless hold impressive potential? I say yes. Well maybe not every style or at least definitely not this one: I say everything legit has the potential to be good and we should be unraveling lost knowledge and accepting rather than rejecting.