I'm trying to understand how martial arts competency works...


Founding Member
Oct 29, 2001
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Kennewick, WA
So, to restate my question... How much of effective fighting is just pure instinct and how much of it is legitimate "ancient Chinese secret"?

There are some people whose attributes, attitude, and enviroment will get them experience in fighting. But "instinctive" fighters aren't necessarily good fighters compared to trained fighters. Mike Tyson was by every report an aggressive badass streetfighter when he started boxing training, would anybody bet on Mike Tyson without training versus Mike Tyson with training? I wouldn't.


Blue Belt
Apr 16, 2021
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How much do you think of fighting is just pure instinct?

You know what, I've been holding back with my words in this forum but... I've actually led an incredibly violent life growing up. I was simply smart enough to curb my tendencies soon enough that I would not end up in prison. There was a time in my life when I literally fended off a group of five guys vandalizing my house by myself with a metal pipe, as an eleven year old. It's really heartbreaking to admit but it is what it is.

A lot of fighting seems incredibly psychological. Many techniques seem to just be a matter of instinct. To throw a powerful punch, just swing your fist and put your hips into it. Even with bad technique, a great timing will cause real damage. I've stunned people with a well-placed punch.

The one thing I'm truly curious about is at what point does instinct needs to be replaced with formal training for more effective combat. Because honestly, I once improved my wrestling ability with zero coaching simply by stopping to stubbornly always shoot for a double leg. I've also once used a shortcut to home when I was a junior high school student and got accosted by a thug. It was easy to shrug him off since he seemed to only victimize insecure people.

I literally just bought an alloy baseball bat yesterday. It is a thing of beauty and after literally just thirty minutes of swinging it around, I seemed to figure out a way to fight with it. Of course it will never be battle-tested but I feel like a lot of what I learned from that lone training session is just common sense. The idea, for example, of keeping your body relaxed at swinging the bat for more snap and speed in the hit felt like a very natural and common-sensical conclusion.

I've had friends who had the uncanny ability to attract hostility while I stood there wondering why my dear friends can't just lovely let it go and walk the hell away...

I'll start Judo training on the fifth of February and I am excited with what I'll learn.

So, to restate my question... How much of effective fighting is just pure instinct and how much of it is legitimate "ancient Chinese secret"?
Some people have a predatory violent instinct they can harness. For others, it has to be trained, which takes time. It's a muscle of mindset, that must be exercised to utilize. People who grew in the hood, and otherwise violent environments have had plenty of that. Instinct with technical training makes that mindset more surgical.

There are no "ancient Chinese secrets." In the words of Denzel Washington from Man On Fire, "there is trained, and there is untrained," and in addition, initiated and un-initiated.

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