What is wrong with traditional martial arts.(JOE DON”T KNOW)

What is wrong with traditional martial arts?

Well now, isn’t this is an interesting one.

Is this a statement or a question?

either way, here are a few thing I can say for certain.


Joe ‘fuckin’ Rogan  is always on the rant against traditional martial arts during his podcasts. He is claiming the ineffective combative methods of traditional martial art as compared to Brazilian Jujitsu in particular. He certainly has  his biases. They are very clear and yes, absolutely misinformed–as you will soon read.  The issue with this situation is that he is in a powerful position to educate himself and his many listeners on the topic of traditional martial arts yet he keeps his narrow stance instead of investigating for himself and thus never realizing his folly .   I would expect a professional martial art commentator  to know that there are many variables to consider in martial art training–the most important being the individual setting.  But I get it, I understand. He has limited  exposure and he has his agenda.

Hey  there ‘yo-boy‘!

Let me finish before you start pounding your chest at me.

I have been involved with traditional martial arts for over 20 years now.  I have come to notice a few things…on both sides of this undeniably potent topic and i will try and address a few key points.

Traditional martial arts do tend to have this  bad-rap (within the MMA  crowd) and honestly,  with all of the magical chi- no-touch knockout masters  claiming dominance over meridians,  I can almost understand why Rogan would think kung fu sucks.  Just search out “yellow bamboo,”   and  you can see a rather extreme example of this  no-touch madness.  I can only guess how it is that these clips multiply in numbers that  rival termites in a mound.   I would suggest that we set this situation aside as I certainly think we can all agree that the  no-touch chi training is complete  bullshit.

More common then this no touch stuff is the all too common martial art school with a built in business model  preserved through a  pyramid plan– and not hard work. These places seem to cater to the idea that you can simply go through the motions.  Truth be told, if the martial / combat aspect is completely nonexistent then they are selling a service that is less then advertised  and that deserves to be acknowledged.    But this platform can be found in all manner of environments, not just in traditional martial arts– so again with the biases.  Bad or disingenuous instruction, regardless of stylistic banner, is doing little more then  feeding the perpetual shit-storm that is the mcdojo trend in martial art.

It would seem that a number of  the chain type places  have gross profit on the frontal lobe and this dictates the degree of training provided.  I would maybe go so far as to even say that the majority of the common schools should not  be viewed as traditional martial art at all because they do lack realism in their approach to training.   If you claim martial art or combat fitness then you should teach  a contact in application– otherwise you are misleading your students. Alas,  people sell what people buy. This is the  major down side of  martial art business but is only an issue if you let it be.

It is also worth noting  here that there is a real difference in the approach to training within a competitive school as compared with  self protection school–neither of which would condone poor training.  The order of operations may vary but if done properly one  approach does not necessarily outweigh the other in  regards to combative effectiveness.  Both  roads can and should teach actual nartial skill, distinctly setting them apart from the average belt factories–so choose your path knowing this truth–Skill is  developed case by case.

There are great schools of traditional martial arts that teach old skool methods that can be applied in real time  you just have to be very acute in your attention for detail and you generally need to look beyond the box stores to find them. You should be aware of what you are looking for and then be invested in doing your absolute best while engaged  in your chosen course of study. This is where having a lineage with quality control  is sometimes valuable…just like in BJJ.  But it really comes down to the community in which you wish to engage in, so choose  your environment wisely and keep your expectations real.   You can spend a lifetime questioning  the worth of others before you  think to question  yourself.

Still Rogan and others, who are in a position to facilitate a proper education in the martial art community, resorts to meat-head rhetoric in favor of advertising one particular method of training as being superior to all the rest.  This is done by provoking a choice between one extreme over another while denying the existence of a real traditional martial art community that would otherwise be a good option for many.  This approach to branding is misleading at best.

I  hear some modern martial artists talk about the impractical methodology of training the traditional forms and they claim that free sparring is superior to drills no matter what.  However, I would suggest that these voices speak out of ignorance.  Remember sparring is but one component out of many and should be seen as such.

Forms are a crucial part of training any traditional system of martial art– they are the key notes to the song at hand, with the individual techniques being the  alphabet scale. Only someone who has never learned the way would think the forms  were worthless. Forms teach you to drill technique with strict mechanics. Just to point out the obvious, this would be MIND, BODY, BREATH ( spirit).

To break down the formulas and extract the applications is a tedious process…one that is often seen from the outside looking in as partaking in compliance training thus they deem them worthless arts. This would be an oversimplified and  naive view to maintain. Done correctly and this process can be illuminating.

To assume that compliance drills are a full representation of any given system of martial art is short sighted.

Anyone with a good eye for functional movement should be able to see the traditional forms as having very dynamic principles encoded within. But this misunderstanding is in fact by design, with many techniques being hidden from the uninitiated so as to maintain quality assurances down the road.

I would also point out that forms  and  drills are superior to hard sparring where injury is inevitable. Many top fighters will back up this statement.  The value of training drills for the long term student  is to analyze and condition the specific  technique– dpoing so on a daily basis builds you up. You can not spar hard on a daily basis and expect longevity, it is this simple. Hard sparring is done with intelligence and moderation as you gain competence.

You should know without any doubt  that it is proven many times over that taking continued hits to the head is not good for your long term brain function.

Practice a drill 10, 000 times and then train

Every martial art that holds its weight in salt will use scripted training while the students are in the developmental stages of a given skill.  Just as they will  engage in martial conditioning in less restricted formats, including sparring. As you gain comfort and  more importantly, competence you should increase your energy output and then break apart the rhythms, this is where you find the applications that are hidden below the surface of the drills and forms. You then learn to spar while maintaining your structure through familiarity and confidence as apposed to bouncing around with no discernible structure.

I think we can all agree that free form training is dangerous to do, especially without a high degree of skill.   This is true regardless of the martial art being trained.   If you look at the drills  in this way  you will be a better  martial artist for it.  Remember, we are not looking to accumulate battle wounds from our daily training instead we want to become comfortable in the chaos so that we can train daily. The term used in the educational circles is scaffolding.

Learn to control not pull your power

It is waste of time training death hits or dim mak. This is another jabbing point I hear from the MMA crowd.  Again, this is a sensationalized view point perpetuated by television as well as  business charlatans who lack the discipline to study the topic.  The reality is that acupuncture boxing is the very real skill in dealing with how and when to attack the points of the body– dim mak is an aspect of this high level knowledge dealing with  the more lethal targets and combinations

The skill of targeting soft or vulnerable points is not that strange to the fighting arts.

We have all heard the boxing commentators speak of  ” the button”. This is a strike to a precise area of the jaw causing a knock out. It is not magic that causes this to work, it is physiology.   We all know about sealing air and sealing blood with various triangle chokes. These are  a few of the fundamental skills out of many seizing and locking techniques in traditional marital art.  A  precise strike  to the liver could be very  painful and even dangerous in the long term, if applied correctly.   There was a Juk Lam Mantis Sifu here in the USA, Master Sun, who is reported in saying, “Any spot you hit is a vital spot, with enough skill”,   this is more respectable then blindly saying ” that shit is fake”.

In jujitsu for example,  Blood and air chokes are trained intensely. You work joint locks and leverages as well.  Until you are proficient at a technique, you drill it with the compliance of your partners.  Over time you build resistance and then pressure test in a more open setting.  To do these carelessly would result in far fewer practitioners,  so you use the drills as learning tools.  In essence these are the very same skills that Joe Rogan  denies credibility to traditional martial arts. They are simply introduced in a different frame then he is accustomed to. With examination he would find that the traditional martial artists will focus on training the four excellence’s of their: striking, kicking, seizing, and grappling.

Lastly, let us not forget that these popular MMA skills were extracted from the traditional Chinese boxing arts that were developed long ago– because they work.  It only seems logical that they are still being trained someplace with results exceeding the quality of rex kwon do.     Yet these rich talking-heads like Rogan feel they can blanket their shitty experiences  and pad financial motives based upon the experiences with the lowest examples  from the field and  then verbally shit upon the very traditions that gave birth to their beloved cash crop. Meanwhile all across the country folks are training the old ways, quietly and with due diligence.   But I digress. Joey Karate makes me laugh pretty hard and actually, truth be told I  really enjoy  JRE , I listen  to the podcast  fairly often but  I am most disappointed in Joe “the man of a many injuries” Rogan, for maintaining his stance on traditional martial artists.


Joe just don’t know.