Saturday, June 30, 2007

What is your Elephant in the Room?

Nearly every day, Hock Hochheim posts some masterpieces of martial insight on his blog, and his June 11 entry is no exception:

"We already know about the "seen the elephant" phrase, but another one of the main reasons I have chosen the angry elephant as the symbol for CQC Group is that is represents the old expression, the "Elephant in the room." The big elephant in the room is symbolic of the unspoken truth that so many know but so few dare to talk about. In one definition, the room is the martial arts room, or dojo if you well, and the unspoken truth is that common martial arts are abstract renderings of realistic fighting in a mixed weapon world.

Another point is the unspoken and missed aspect of the room itself. Where IS the "room" you are fighting in? You cannot properly train for a fight unless you know where the fight will actually be.

Missing in the dojo is the real context of the fight. What will be the real, chaotic situation that the fight will actually occur in? There is an elephant in the room when it comes to traditional martial arts."

Hock makes one of the best points here, from a "big picture perspective" that we all seem to ignore or gloss over, at least I did for many years. For me, the "elephants" are just what Hock mentions:

  • We are more extremely likely to face weapons, including firearms, clubs, knives, and other improvised bad things than we think, and we need to prepare for that. Most training ignores it, as he states.

  • The environment where we train usually doesn't come close to preparing us for what we'll face; a smooth floor and bare feet, or padded ring or mats with "rings" aren't even close.

Plus a few more:

  • The former dominance of stand-up striking arts versus grappling

  • The current predominance of grappling or MMA sport versus realistic street skills

  • The one-shot kill of Okinawan and Japanese striking arts

  • The meaninglessness of many rankings

  • The mystical, esoteric skills we have to wait decades to learn

Any others? Check out Hock's blog for more of the same. Always thought-provoking.

UPDATE: Comments are closed. Please participate in the discussion at the Convocation thread.

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