RUNNING GUY was curious why Mr. Fu’s blog did not contain more information on martial arts. Mr. Fu has been remiss in writing on the arts martial. Probably because Mr. Fu has not been training very much for a long time. Except for bouts with CLONE RED that kind of resemble the battles between Clouseau and Cato.
So, to address the issue, Mr. Fu will answer the question Mr. Fu is most asked about martial arts: What is the best style?
Excellent question, Grasshopper. The best style is the one that works for you. The one you will stick with and will practice regularly. Now, after that we can talk about the strengths and weaknesses of various styles. Mr. Fu has studied Tae Kwon Do, Hapkido, Moo Gong Do, a touch of Kung Fu, Isshin Ryu Karate, Yamabujitsu, Shin Negare Karate, Jujitsu, Judo, Keet Kune Do, Muay Thai, and Brazilian Jujitsu, he has not studied all martial arts. He has experience with several instructors and has been in the business a while, even ran his own school for three years. But keep in mind, he does not know everything about the martial arts, nor will he pretend to know everything. These are just his opinions.
Going back in time, Kung Fu Steves exhibit the traits that make bad martial arts styles, flashy techniques, especially kicks above the waist, and a belief that one style is the end all-beat all style. Now, there is no single style that is “the best” overall. Some are more comprehensive than others, and some are just to narrowly focussed to be useful. Now when Mr. Fu talks about utility he means what is going to work on the street. That is where the rubber meets the road (or where your face hits the road, depending).
Just to lay it out, to get full coverage for the street you are going to need at least two styles. There are some singular styles that if they were broadened a touch and added some “live” training to them would be enough on their own. Four styles come to mind that might be enough on their own if stretched (there may be others, make your argument for them): Krav Maga, Hapkido, Jujitsu, and Jeet Kune Do. But for full coverage without too much running back and forth, Mr. Fu would recommend Muay Thai and Brazilian Jujitsu. Or heck, just about any decent Mixed Martial Arts (Mr. Fu hates that term) school ought to cover all the basics.
Bruce Lee was right, you have to cover the ranges: out of contact, kicking distance, punching distance, clinching, and ground work. Just to warn you, clinching and ground work are tough. Most styles do not even bother to really get into these because it requires real knowledge on the part of the instructor, and real commitment on the part of the students. But dollars to donuts, if you are a great kicker and puncher, a street fighter is either going to walk away (probably what you want) or he is going to grapple. If all you studied to this point is what the stand up punch and kick styles teach (let’s call these Tae Kwon Do [please don’t get into a street fight if you only studied this], some karate styles, and only boxing, plus some others) if the guy grapples you are probably screwed. You did not train for somebody grabbing you the way he is going to grab you.
Now if you mostly trained to kick high, like in Tae Kwon Do, if the guy even looks tough just hand him your wallet, your testicles, and another internal organ of his choice. That will be far less painful. Are there Tae Kwon Do guys that can fight? Sure there are, but Mr. Fu has encountered so many highly ranked Tae Kwon Do guys that could not fight that he asks that you really get a second opinion on your skills before going outside. There are several lessons here: 1) don’t kick over waist high in a street fight, 2) you will fight as you practice, 3) there are a lot of instructors that have no idea how things can really work (not saying they are bad or stupid necessarily, just uninformed).
Mr. Fu left his school behind as the bad ass choker of PUNKTURE whom Mr. Fu choked out with his gi belt. He went to study at a real mixed martial arts school and promptly got his ass handed to him. From first to worst in about ten seconds. A humbling experience no doubt. Seek out those humbling experiences, there you will learn something.
The lesson ultimately is: don’t let your ego get in the way of learning something, even if it means learning you are not top dog. Like Hiro Protagonist says, paraphrased, you think that if you just dropped out and trained you could be the biggest bad ass. Trust Mr. Fu, many guys have already done this and are bigger bad asses than you. But this does not bother Mr. Fu, he is backed up by fire power, friendly relations with law enforcement, and money to hire lawyers. Yes, some of you could kick Mr. Fu’s ass, but he will make sure you are the bad guy, and then you can prove how tough you are by going through the sausage grinder of the Alabama law enforcement and criminal court systems. Mr. Fu did not spend all of his time in the gym and in physics or math classes. He took history, and read Machiavelli.