Krav Maga, Systema, UFC/Mixed “martial arts”, Brazilian jujitsu (BJJ), and boxing are just a few examples of what we mean when we say “fighting system(s)”. These could be summarized briefly by saying: A fighting system is a specific standard of styles and techniques developed to train individuals to fight, specifically against others using the same system. For example, boxing is most effective against other boxers it is not as compatible with, say, BJJ. I have no intentions of taking anything away from fighting systems, I have in the past and continue to train in various fighting systems. What I do intend to do here is provide you with a working knowledge of fighting systems and how they work.
What fighting systems do, and do well: Teach you to fight. They are effective and efficient at teaching you how to strike, where to strike, and hopefully defense against the same. Well, at least the good ones will. Just like anything else in this world, there are good systems and bad systems. Thankfully there is a slight reprieve in this department; the good ones flourish and many of the bad ones die out. Notice the “many” in that last sentence.
There is a very dangerous reality lurking just beneath the surface here. Many of the bad systems die out, but many is not all. That means that are several systems out there that are down right terrible, and quite frankly dangerous. I cannot tell you how many videos I have seen where a self-proclaimed expert is giving “advice” on how to fight. I am often left shaking my head in disbelief with a low hanging jaw from what I have just seen. Many things I have seen will get you seriously hurt, if not killed in real combat.
So, in light of that fact I strongly encourage you to do some homework before subscribing to a system. You must find one that has a positive reputation and that you can perform and practice well. If you have some physical ailment that prohibits you from getting up and down from the floor BJJ may not be for you.
The final positive aspect we will discuss here is time. You do not have to subscribe to a fighting system for years before you begin to become truly effective in combat. Most training centers offer something along the lines of a Mon/Wed/Fri 7-8 pm training regimen. With that cycle I would say within a year you will begin to flourish as a fighter, assuming that the system is not garbage, the instructor is good, and you leave everything you have on the mats. You will only get out of it what you put into it.
Now, what they do not do well: Change you physicality and psychology. Let me just address that little scoff I heard there real quick. Yes, fighting systems, if trained properly will make you stronger and more mentally resilient. But I assure you they will not have the same impact that martial arts will, but that is part 3 of this series. You may become more flexible, and you may be able to do more push-ups, and maybe you will find yourself saying you can’t less and less. I can say this with confidence and authority after practicing both fighting and martial arts for about a decade and studying for longer: The physical and psychological change that you experience through the study and practice of martial arts is unparalleled.
I highly encourage you to look into fighting systems. There are far too many to list here but an internet search will provide you with a great deal of information and direction. These are not for everyone and they may not be for you, and that is OK; but there is only one way to find out. Watch some videos, visit some local training centers and see what if anything is a fit for you. Be prudent in your research and choose wisely, for I caution you against hopping from one system to another before you can gain anything from one. Once you decide, you need to stick with a system for a minimum of 6 months, preferably about a year. Anything worth doing, takes time and effort; anything worth your time and effort had better be worth doing…
What can we learn?
- Fighting systems are valuable and have their place
- Fighting systems are different from martial arts
- If you just want to fight, learn a fighting system
- Do your homework before settling on a fighting system, once you start you need to stick with it for some time
- Anything worth doing, takes time and effort; anything worth your time and effort had better be worth doing