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Keyboard Warriors

Seems like most online spaces for martial arts training are dedicated more to in-fighting and bickering than cultivating personal skills and encouraging others.

There’s a common refrain I see in the comments sections of videos and on Reddit that goes a little something like this:

That’s not at all realistic! Let me see you step into the cage, and see what you have!


What’s your goal?

Often times the commenter doesn’t take the time to ask that simple question.

What’s your goal in sharing this video?

Is it to help people train for professional bouts? Is it to train for unsanctioned bare knuckle street fights? Is it to cultivate a practice of discipline and personal health and wellness?

It’s only by asking this question can you understand whether the person making the video hits the mark or not.

Quadrants of Fighting

In order to help clarify the conversations about what is and isn’t “real martial arts” I wanted to share this breakdown of how I see the ways you can spend your time in the martial arts.

First, we ‘re going to break down an area into four quadrants:

On the horizontal axis we have “Order” on one side, and “Chaos” on the other.

On the vertical axis we have “Collaboration” at the bottom, and “Obstruction” at the top.

This is the entirety of your martial arts world mapped out. You can frame all your experience within these four quadrants.

If you’re cooperating with each other in a highly ordered manner, we call that teaching.

Trying to obstruct the other person’s decisions and ability within an ordered way? Competing.

When you’re learning how to deal with a little more chaos in your system, and you’re working together to learn more, you’re sparring.

Finally, when you’re actively obstructing the other person and it’s absolute chaos, that’s fighting.

If, as a content creator or teacher who is trying to share ideas, you’re trying to make videos then you’re probably going to stay away from the upper right hand quadrant because that’s where everyone involved in the dynamic gets hurt. Badly.

Hopefully you’ll find this useful when dealing with people who are only satisfied with snuff films as “authentic” videos. Now you understand that they discount everything that’s not in the “fighting” quadrant, and thereby ignoring the incredible value they could get by having training partners who are working with them to improve their skills.

If someone refuses to have a conversation with you within the context of any of the other quadrants, they’re not worth your time.

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