Tuesday, July 16, 2013

"Real fighting"

If you stick around the BJJ game long enough, you will eventually have to explain to various people how you spend your evenings. Most of the time, your explanation will be good enough to quench the person's thirst (I've found shorter is better), but sometimes you open up a discussion without intending to (poor them, they don't know what they've started !).

However, there is a topic which will sometimes come up as your discussion unfolds : the aspect of realism. Is the martial art realistic enough to be applicable to a street situation. Is it "real fighting" ? This is the point at which you have to realize who you're speaking to. As you explain to them : yes, we fight every single BJJ class, it's real fighting ; we try to submit each other and end the fight, they might answer : yes, but is it really fighting ? That's a red flag, and here is why. According to a generally-accepted definition of fighting, which is

to contend against in or as if in battle or physical combat (merriam-webster.com)
we definitely are fighting each and every single class. Then the person might add : yes, but for it to be real fighting, you have to allow strikes. Otherwise it's not self-defense, it's just a sport. As soon as we have met the definition of what fighting is, the definition has just been changed to something far away, and what used to be fighting is fighting no more. At that point, fighting becomes equal with MMA. For some people, even that isn't enough. "There are simply too many rules in MMA for it to be considered real fighting", would be something they say. "Let them have weapons, for a change".  Now the definition has been moved again.

The point I'm trying to make is that there is no end to this sort of discussion. We have to recognize if we're trying to explain BJJ to someone genuinely interested to know more about it, or someone who is delusional and will end up wasting our time.