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Because defense mechanisms distort
reality in order to avoid unpleasant emotions,
the person who uses them has an impaired
ability to recognize and accept reality.
                       Dr Sarah Thompson
                            A Psychiatrist Examines
                         the Anti-Gun Mentality

Logical Fallacies

This page page is under construction, so what you are seeing here is a roughed out version. Even now, in it's crude form, it will help you spot irrational thinking about the martial arts, self-defense and training. It also will help you see how, once you've accepted this kind of thinking, you can be led around by your nose ... never realizing what illogical garbage you're being fed.

The reason we say this page isn't finished yet is instead of saying "This is a BS" statement, we're going to show you the actual logical fallacies and false constructs of statements -- like in the following ACTUAL quotes:
      "Head-butts and eye gouges aren't effective for self-defense. Because if they
       were effective, they'd be allowed in mixed martial arts events"

or, said by a grappler,
      "We're prepared to fight through having our eyes gouged out. That's why
       we occasionally train blindfolded"

But, aren't these examples of "If A then B" logic? Well, the truth is, they don't even make it that far. They are far better examples of "Since-A-is -unquestioningly- true-then- fish-riding bicycles-kidnapped-my- sister" thinking (and we use that last word loosely). They are far better examples of "I have found the answer I want, now I will self-justify, defend it and preach it to others using what I think is logic" When that happens, you're no longer talking about logic, you're talking about rationalizing both emotions and beliefs.

These statements aren't just illogical, they're also ignorant on countless different levels. But, unless you know how things work on those levels, they might sound 'reasonable.' But those are based on our lack of first-hand experience in the subject and imaginative speculation. For example, how many of us have had our eyeball gouged out (or seen it happen someone else)? Not too many. Therefore, we have no idea of the incredible pain and confusion it causes. We can only speculate -- based on our own experience of being poked in the eye -- that you might be able to keep on fighting. In truth, being blinded by an injury to the eye is agonizing. But until you know that, someone telling you you will be able to continue grappling when you are 'blinded' seems like it might just work. This is especially true when you are safely sitting in front of your computer.

Much of this site is already devoted to explaining how things 'work' on those different levels. This page is going to teach you how to spot the false logic commonly used in MA/SD /WSD/RBSD/DT/knife fighting/combative/MMA circles.

There is an incredible amount of confusion about the martial arts. This exists not only among the general public, but it is especially rampant among those involved in the arts. And one of the biggest areas of dispute is over what the martial arts are good for.

The problem with getting a straight answer is that much of the logic being used is exactly the same 'logic' you find in religious and political arguments.

In other words, what you are seeing isn't logical at all, nor is it fact based. Instead, much of the arguments are based on emotions, presuppositions, assumptions (as opposed to facts), pride, perspectives and psychological issues. In fact a whole lot of the arguments you will find are neither to convince or teach, but rather to support the arguer's beliefs.

That is to say many arguments aren't about what is being argued about. They are instead examples of what was demonstrated in Kipling's The Jungle Book by the monkeys chanting, namely "It is so because we say it is so"

If you want to see an illogical and emotionally intense -- bordering on hysteria -- argument put a commercially trained martial artist and a Reality Based Self-Defense acolyte and a MMA fan in the same forum and ask "Is traditional martial arts good for self-defense"

Different people have different  issues, agendas and standards about what is and isn't a martial art. And each one is firmly convinced that their answer is the right one. Even if it is diametrically opposed to someone else's.  

If people can't even agree on what martial arts are, forget getting a clear answer as to what they are "good" for.

Unfortunately, this doesn't stop people from saying that the MA are good for everything under the sun. We consider this a combination of advertising, marketing and the mindset of fanatcism.

When you bring up that subject, you will be buried in a blizzard of answers. Think about it for a second. What is your definition of the martial arts? Now go ask a classmate. Then go and ask your teacher. Then go ask someone else from another style what their definition is. Try asking that question of several people not involved in the arts. Don't argue for your definition, ask them about theirs. The more you ask the more you will see different ideas of what the "martial arts" are. If you do this, you will begin to see both how big this subject is and how different people interpret it.

This difference is not necessarily a bad thing. In fact, as long as nobody believes their definition is the TRUTHâ„¢ about martial arts it is a good thing. Where it also can begin to go wrong is when this barrage of answers presents the martial arts as a cure-all elixir. No matter what ails you, the martial arts will provide the answer. Walk by the window of any strip mall dojo and read the painted words on the window. They promise to teach you all kinds of things...whether they are qualified to do so or not.

While much of this arises from different opinions and emphasis's in training, what cannot be denied is much of this confusion is intentional.

People blur things together, mistake one thing for another and claim that training for one thing trains you for another. An example of this would be someone who believes that because he knows a particular MA/fighting style/combat system, he is not only qualified in self-defense, but in fighting, tournament fighting and combat. In short, he assumes he's generally prepared to handle all aspects of what's involved in a "real fight." 

Not even close to true.

You don't learn self-defense by training to fight. You learn how to fight by training to fight. You don't learn how to fight, by training to engage in sports tournaments you learn how to compete in tournaments. Tournaments do not prepare you for combat.

These are completely different issues. Not only are the actual events different from "training" (the map is not the territory, training for combat is not the same as combat), the goals of each are radically different. Because the end goals are different, the tactics, procedures and influences are also different. It is these differences that  require specialized training. Specialized in the sense of not only identifying the specific goals, but giving you the tools to overcome the complications inherent in each. There is no such thing as one size fits all training.

 Unfortunately, many people wish to ignore these differences. Instead they lump everything under one big umbrella. This is as erroneous as saying that these issues have nothing to do with one another.  Yes, there are commonalities. But the differences are just as -- if not more -- important as the issues in common. The interlinked circles in the Venn diagram will give you an idea of both the commonalities and the differences.


The six topics are a simple example of what many people claim martial arts training will prepare you for. We disagree with such a blanket assertion as each topic would have its own specialized Venn diagram. Each influenced by other types of factors and goals.

This diagram is the absolute last thing that those who want to lump everything together want you to see. For whatever reasons, they want to believe that everything is covered by that one large circle. They also believe and teach that by knowing a particular style/system they have all they need. The whole of the problem is solved for them with what they already know. If such a fanatical, monotheistic attitude blows up their skirts, good for them. Problems arise, however, when they try to sell you the same idea...the operative word is "sell."

As you can see there is overlap and influence among these different topics --  the question is "how much?"  That is an important idea to research.

The next question is what differences define each category? These  make for the complexities of each subject. It is incorrect to assume that any one type of training will prepare you for all of them--  each is not only different than training, but requires its own specialized training.

Do research into what is and isn't the subject that you want to know. For example, we give quite a different set of standards as to what qualifies self-defense than most martial art schools. It's up to you to figure out which one suits your needs better. But please do so from an informed and aware position.

We mentioned earlier that each of those different topics have their own Venn diagram involving other issues. Issues that make them unique. For example, you can take the interlinked circles and in the center one put self-defense and then put the words legal, psychological, training, personal responsibility, people skills. These are external issues that largely determine the nature of legal self-defense. By that term we mean doing something that won't get you killed or thrown in jail because what you were doing was everything but self-defense (like fighting and calling it self-defense).

Although it may seem silly to have to say so after showing the Venn diagram, it must be clearly stated: Just because a subject is involved in the jambalaya issue of martial arts, it doesn't mean that by knowing the martial arts, you understand the subject. Nor does it mean what is happening in a school is the martial arts. If the subject of training is that complicated, imagine how complicated it can get when other issues having to do with business, sport competition, group dynamics, tradition, cross culture and psychology become involved. These are the things that make up the martial arts culture. But, as the the Venn diagram demonstrates, until you separate them, you can't understand how they effect one another.

If you are looking for training in a specific field, there are many people who will take your money and claim that what they are teaching you qualifies as what you want. This not only will cost you time and money, but afterwards you will be no closer to your goal than when you started. This is why we maintain that you must be an informed consumer before you sign up at a school. It is up to you to be an informed consumer. And to do so, you can get what you want out of your experience with the martial arts.


Email response about MMA

An interesting point can be found in the following statement: "A part-time church goer and and fanatic can be found sitting on the same pew." That's an interesting point because, even though they are both sitting in the same church, each of them has radically different views on what is -- and is not -- religion. And that is INSIDE the same church.
Wanna guess how diverse views can be in the supermarket line?

The same idea can be applied to the "martial  arts." People know what 'they' mean when they use the term, but that meaning isn't the same to someone else. I've heard incredible argument over what is and isn't martial arts and where the dividing line is. As such, the definitions are kind of squishy.
However, where the lines are a whole lot less squishy is when it comes to the definitions of self-defense, assault, battery and fighting. Those are legally defined terms and the parameters are more clearly established and agreed upon. The main source of argument is whether or not a certain set of actions fit within or outside those boundaries. And both sides are going to be fiercely attempting to prove their point that it was in a particular category. (Challenging the category's definition is the exception, not the rule.)

So the issue isn't if the martial arts is 'good' for self-defense. The question is: Is what is being taught 'as' the martial arts usable for self-defense?

There's a big difference

Recognize that self-defense is NOT defined by the martial arts (or a person's emotional, screaming monkey brain). Nor is the entire subject of self-defense automatically incorporated into the 'operating system' of self-defense. (Kind of like DOS -- originally a separate language -- was absorbed by Windows.) Putting it mildly ... just because you know 'martial arts' doesn't mean you know self-defense.
Unfortunately, like the religious fanatic who views every aspect of life through the filter of his interpretation of doctrine, many 'martial artists' view the subject of self-defense through the lens of their particular dogma. They tell themselves that because they know A, they automatically know B, because B -- at least to them -- is part of A. This becomes particularly problematic because so many people also believe that 'martial arts' qualify you in everything up to Z.
Not only is this why getting a definition of martial arts is like nailing Jell-O to a tree, but it also shows why accepting a 'martial artist's' definition of what is self-defense is like playing Russian Roulette. I, as have many other people on this list, have seen some outrageous stuff explained as 'self-defense' by the instructors of martial arts, reality based self-defense and mixed martial arts. But the people who really go off the deep end with their everything through the filters of the martial arts fanatacism are the acolytes of these systems and forum junkies.
Quite frankly, speaking from the standpoint of what I know about the legal standards of 'self-defense,' most of what I see being taught as mixed martial arts has very limited application for self-defense. What it will do is allow you to win a bar fight. In fact, you'll probably kick ass and take names in most watering holes. But that ain't exactly self-defense is it? And once again, I'm not talking about what the screaming monkey, adrenalized brain is saying it is. I'm talking about operating within those external standards of actions and conditions.
On the other hand, we have the question: Can aspects of what is taught in the MMA be applied in a self-defense situation?

Obviously the answer is 'yes.'  But right then and there, we've acknowledged we're not talking about the whole of MMA training. That is not a concession that many of the MMA fanatics are willing to grant.

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