Mindless Aphorisms That Are Blindly Accepted As “Truths”

IN the world of armed and unarmed martial arts we often hear statements that have been elevated to the level of “truths” simply because some celebrity in the field has mouthed or written them. We thought it would be fun to list and debunk some of this bullshit (and doubtless piss off a good number of morons who are true believers in the asininity!).

In The Unarmed Combat Sector

“The most important thing is, don’t get hit.” 

This is an approximation of something that was written years ago by a man who was certainly a legitimate and formidable karate exponent: the late Joe Lewis. Mr. Lewis was a powerful, fast, marvelously skilled karate man . . . but when he commented about not getting hit he said something very foolish, in our opinion.

The most important thing is WIN. Defeat the enemy/opponent, and prevail!

Once a person shifts his focus and tactical conduct on “not getting hit” he becomes defensive and preoccupied with preventing the enemy from hurting him. In combat it is virtually inevitable that the defender will get hit (or worse!). What is most important is that, when the encounter is over, the defender walks away in one piece, and the attacker cannot.

“Karate begins and ends with blocking.”

While this is certainly is true statement, speaking of the classical/traditional karate styles, it enjoins the karateka to adopt the exact opposite attitude and tactical response capacity that actual close combat has proven he really needs in order to stand the greatest chance of defeating his enemy: i.e. attacking relentlessly, and if possible launching his own attack ––– the “preemptive strike” ––– and following up relentlessly with offensive combat actions until his assailant is helpless.

“In karate never make the first move.”

A noble thought, perhaps, but tactical suicide. The truth is that a defender, upon realizing that he is is in imminent danger should make the first move, and follow that up with a vicious barrage until he has thoroughly vanquished his enemy.

In instances when he is taken off-guard, by surprise, he must strive mightily to turn the situation around so that he is carrying the offensive against his enemy.

“It is important to measure the degree of force you use in self-defense, and escalate to more serious actions only when the lesser techniques fail.”

Hogwash! There is no possible way to read the mind and assess the capabilities of a violent offender. Your reaction to an unprovoked (let’s face it, potentially deadly) attack must be ferocious, explosive, maximally destructive violence. Never give a violent offender a break! Waste no time trying to “measure” what you do when someone or some group of someones decides to beat your head in! Go get ‘em! Turn the tables and attack your attacker! Use techniques that speedily and reliably injure. “Pain compliance”, control, and “lesser measures” may be suitable for police officers who are sometimes obliged to restrain a non-dangerous, apparently non-violent misdemeaner suspect. For self-defense this approach is bullshit! 

“Size and strength are unimportant if you are sufficiently skilled.”

Not so. Strength and size are always significant ––– although it is true that they are not always or necessarily the decisive factors ina combative engagement. However, all other things being equal, the stronger and larger man will win every time. Intelligent training enjoins students to build themselves up in strength to their genetic potential, and back up the skills that they employ with as powerful a body as they are able to develop.

“All fights inevitably go to the ground.”

True of judo contests and of wrestling matches (and of the kind of sporting contests introduced as being some kind of “ultimate” event. The absolute myth that ground fighting is “inevitable” (let alone, desirable!) in real close combat is bullshit that a gullible martial arts public swallowed hook, line, and sinker! It was introduced by very clever people whose expertise in contest judo ––– emphasizing ne-waza ––– was outstanding. But for combat and self-defense one stays on one’s feet,and, should the exceptional happen and one ends up on the ground, one does not grapple as one might in a judo or wrestling contest. One uses other actions, and one gets to one’s feet.

“Classical, ancient weapons are every bit as formidable in 2019 as they were hundreds or thousands of years ago.”

The truth is that firearms, and modern edged and bludgeoning weapons are what the modern student of self-defense needs.      If you believe the myth about swords, nunchucks, sai, tonfa, throwing stars, and a few dozen other “ancient weapons” being suitable for today’s personal and home defense, you’re hopeless. 

In The Armed Combat Sector

“It is wise to insure that you have a ‘court-proof’ gun.”

What matters in any situation when a firearm is utilized in self-defense is two-fold: 1. Was the shooter in lawful possession of the firearm that was employed? and 2. Was the weapon employed justifiably, according to the law?

The only people who truly advocate and believe in the nonsense of a “court-proof gun” are the adult children who read that comic book fare known as “gun magazines”.

“The ‘new technique’ permits a man to use a handgun like it was a rifle.”

Oh, really? Then how come in that L.A. shootout where those two freaks in body armor attempted to escape after robbing a bank, the police (whose actions were nothing short of heroic) couldn’t achieve anything with their handguns? They had all been trained in the “new technique”. It was only after they acquired AR-15s from a local sporting goods store that they were finally able to drop the heavily armored bank robbers.

This bullshit about using a pistol “like it was a rifle” comes from the competition circuit. Sure . . . when you are shooting cardboard cutouts a hit with a .45ACP round at 25 meters is the equialent of a hit with a .308 NATO round. Both bullets hit and penetrate the cardboard target. But body armor is a factor, and range is, too. Handgun rounds will travel a great deal farther than they will reliably drop a man who is hit with them. This is a fact! So forget the idiot myth.

“Revolvers are becoming obsolete.”

In law enforcement circles, there is an element of truth to this statement. However . . . many law enforcement officers elect to carry a second gun, and that is most often a small .38 Special snubby! And, as far as the private sector is concerned, the revolver is alive, well, and going very strong. Quality revolvers are powerful, reliable, simple weapons that will likely continue to serve for many generations to come. They will perhaps be obsolete when the autopistol becomes obsolete, and rayguns replace cartridge-firing weaponry.

“A large magazine capacity is good if you plan to miss a lot.”

Oh, gee . . . what a clever (and stupid) comment!

A large magazine capacity provides an advantage that some individuals feel they need ––– or simply want. It’s not that they plan to “miss a lot” (ha, ha . . . very funny), it’s that they want to have more rounds available before needing to reload. With very little imagination we can see how law enforcement officers and military people most notably might want this.

Personally, we’re fine with the standard Colt .45 and seven round magazines. But that is us, not the enitre world of shooters. And we respect the judgment of those who wish to carry higher capacity arms. In fact, you might, yourself.

“Speed’s fine but accuracy’s final.”

If in fact those who emphasized great speed (like Fairbairn, Sykes, Applegate, and others who have been and done more times than most “avid shooters” have gone to the range) were unconcerned about hitting the enemy, but only cared about speed, this pointless statement would then make sense. But they don’t, and it doesn’t.

Speed is crucial in reacting to lethal danger with one’s sidearm, or other firearm. This doesn’t mean, and it is a strawman objection to imply that it does mean, that accuracy is insignificant.

This bullshit seems to have become a popular bromide amongst the deluded who believe that a handgun’s sights must always be employed, and that point shooting (which is deadly accurate and much faster) pays no attention to accurate shot placement.

Here’s a final thought (for those who think): In the real world (as opposed to match shooting events) it is important to get rounds firing in the enemy’s direction ASAP. In the military this has long been advocated, and is known as “fire superiority”. Now it is certainly true that cardboard cutouts are not disoriented or shaken by being shot at; but humans are. And a video appearing on You Tube shows a marvelous example of how this works. A little Asian woman literally routs a collection of living sh–t who ––– also armed with guns ––– have broken into her home. Most of the rounds she fired missed , , , but nonetheless caused to scum to flee. Happily she did hit one or two of the garbage heaps! 

And ––– back to the L.A. shootout. It was the barrage of handgun fire that kept the bank robbers from escaping. The .223 rounds from the AR-15 dropped them . . . but they would have escaped if the rapid fire auperiority of the officers had not held them in check.

“Unless a man is a good recreational shooter he will not become a good combat marksman.”

Horsesh–t. And this was proven to be horsesh–t in Shanghai, when Fairbairn trained the officers in point shooting, and later on, in WWII, when Fairbairn, Applegate, Sykes, and O’Neill trained soldiers, marines, FBI agents, and secret operatives of the SOE and OSS in point shooting. Few of these people were “recreational shooters”. Many (especially in SOE and OSS) didn’t care much personally for guns, at all. Yet all who were trained in point shooting retained their skills and were combat-competent, as their documented experiences proved. 

“Combat shooting is a perishable skill.”

No . . . the “modern” or “new” technique of the pistol is a perishable skill! As noted, those trained in point shooting (i.e. real combat shooting) retained their skill with no retraining required. 

“The pressure and stress of competition shooting can be greater than the pressure and stress of actual combat.”

Perhaps . . . for a deluded, improperly trained fool who equates shooting for fun with shooting for keeps.

Mental conditioning for combat bears no relation to mental preparation for competition. There is no correlation between shooting at a range and shooting at a man who is also armed, and whose intention is to kill you. Period.

“Point shooting has been surpassed by the ‘new technique’ of match shooting.” (Note: Alternatively: “Point shooting is a fraud.”)

Absolute, utter, complete, fabricated, arrant BULLSHIT.

Anyone who believes this should make a serious study of the use of firearms in self-defense.

Point shooting literally grew out of nothing but actual combat experience with firearms. Ot was validated 100% by reality.

The so-called “new technique” grew out of nothing but competition/recreational/sport shooing experience. When and where put to the test in the real world, it proved not to be a desirable shooting method!

“Knife fighting training demands knife vs. knife fight training.”

The hell it does!

Knifework is not dueling. Certainly having a mock “knife fight” with rubber knives can be fun, but it does not correlate with using a knife in combat. Knifework is a military skill. It is useful for self-defense, but it is not cultivated by one-on-one bouts with fellow knife-wielders!

If we have a knife we will attack an enemy and kill him. We will not wait and enjoin him to draw his knofe so that we can knife fight. And, we understand that no knife-wielding enemy is going to wait for us to draw our knife so that an equal contest can be had.

One of our teachers, the late Rex Applegate, once told us in a telephone conversation that in all of WWII he is not aware of a single knife vs. knife encounter!

“The ultimate stick form of self-defense is escrima or kali.”

No it isn’t.

First of all, these individuals train in competitive bouts. Nonsense and unrealistic, as is knife dueling. Second, they use rattan sticks ––– greatly inferior to the hardwoods we have in the West (i.e. hickory, cocobolo, ash, ironwood). Third, these arts use double stick methods. Who the hell is going to have two sticks in his hand to employ in self-defense? 

A walking stick (private citizen) or a hardwood baton (police officer) is the way to go. Practice the Filipino arts if you enjoy them, but do not look to them for practical stick methods.

Another flaw in the Filipino arts is complexity and formality ––– bugaboos that dilute karate, ju-jutsu, “kung fu”, hapkido, and so on.

The private citizen should also become familiar with the yawara hand stick ––– used to strike, not to apply pressure to pressure-points.

Doubtless we have irritated a number of individuals, although it has not been our intention to do so. We simply wish to present the facts ––– in this case case by exploding some popularly held myths, that unfortuately have become unquestioned mantras for an awful lot of people.

Here’s the truth. Take it or leave it.