Life does not resemble training, never did, never will,

I think that as a result of the focus on Forms, Kata, Drills, Chi Sau or whatever we call them, as Martial Artists we are guilty of overlooking the obvious, it is only the end result, the PRODUCT of all of our training that really matters.

You disagree, then imagine this, we find ourselves in a situation were violence is unavoidable, inevitable and we are given the following choice beforehand ……….

  1. To perform our chosen Martial Art flawlessly without error in accordance with everything  that the Martial Art stands for displayed and intact for all to see, but sadly get the living shit beaten out of us.
  2. To fight in a way that made us look like we had never undergone a days training in our life but finish victorious without a single scratch, bruise or blemish to our person with the opponent left as a crumpled mess in the dirt at our feet.

I know my choice.

If you chose “3” to fight perfectly and win you are living in dreamland, and I hope you know it.

People in the Martial Arts community that have never had fights, let alone lost one or two badly, develop distorted ideas based more on hope than genuine expectations.

They have no idea how foolish they sound to people that have experienced violence first hand when they go on, and on, and on, and on, and on about how Forms, Kata, whatever { insert favourite word here} are more important than Function.

Forms, Kata etc are important without and beyond any shadow of a doubt but how can any type of training be more important than the ability to win?


If we are in a sporting contest then skill is often the deciding factor, if it is a chaotic street encounter then the deciding factor is more often than not luck.


There is a well know and often used maxim / quote that goes “The harder I train the luckier  I get” that somehow implies that training itself is enough, that does not sound quite right to me, however there is an earlier similar maxim that says  “The more you know, the more luck you will have” which to me speaks of experience and understanding over simply training.

I like maxims / quotes, they act on me as seeds of creative thought that allow me to look at the same thing in many different ways, getting this post back on track with Product over Process in respect of being in a violent situation two more maxims / quotes come to mind.

Maxim #1. “It is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive but those who can best manage change.” 

This Darwinian sounding quote begs the question “how does building the basis of our training around the uniformity of doing the same or similar Form or Kata day after day, week after week, year after year in any way prepare us for change or equip us with the tools for change”

The absolute opposite of change is uni-form-ity.

Maxim #2.  “The race is not always to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, but that’s the way to bet”. There is something about this maxim that just makes sense, skilled or not, lucky or not we need the physical wherewithal to both deliver and take a blow, being attacked is the impetus for all our training.

I have had the misfortune to lose a fight badly, in competition and in the wild.

It sucks.

And for a few days so did I because I could not chew.

I have hit men hard, real hard and watched them take the best I have and spit it back at me, like it or not this is what we train for, everyone gets a turn at losing.

It is how we come back from defeat that really makes us what we are.

Think on that and ask “will my Process in any way help me recover”?

“Will the trust in my Product survive for me to fight again”?

Life does not resemble training, never did, never will, sitting in the comfortable centre will not prepare us for when the going gets weird, but how do we prepare, is there even a way?

Training uniformly in the comfortable centre will not prepare us for what happens out at the edges, we must mix it up before we are pushed over that edge.

I cannot resist a last maxim – quote

The Edge… there is no honest way to explain it because the only people who really know where it is are the ones who have gone over.

Hunter S. Thompson


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