Wretched Hive of Scum and Villainy

As Sir Alec Guiness’ character in Star Wars said of Mos Eisley Spaceport,

“You will not find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy.” 

I feel the same about most forums.  That’s right.  I said it!

I’m speaking primarily about martial art forums (as I don’t have much use for other forums).  As fellow Combatant Sifu Lee said in his latest status,

“I don’t understand why so many practitioners of the martial arts are fighting amongst one another. It’s ridiculous!”

And I couldn’t agree more.  I recently had a brief (online) exchange with a fellow martial artist who said that he will no longer be subscribing to our channel because of who we (as the CombativeCorner) ‘endorse.’

First of all, I hate to lose anyone from the family of martial artists that we are building here but if I might throw in a simile –

“In order to make the steak healthier, we must trim the fat.”

In this case, the ‘fat’ just fell off the bone.  Some may argue that the fat is what makes the steak tasty…  You’re wrong.  It’s the Texas Pete.

All Jokes Aside ::..

It is important to understand that the martial arts hold a different meaning for different people.  You will… We will… never appeal to everyone.  And I learned long ago, if you try to play that game, you’re just setting yourself up for a big fall.

Some people view the martial arts as ‘truth.’ Others (like myself) view the martial arts as ‘sharing.’  I may have been tainted long ago with Mr. Miyagi, but (I feel) one fundamental lesson that should and must be instilled in every martial artist is this:

The martial arts involve your mind and your heart.  This is your bedrock.  You disconnect the heart, you become a scientist.  Even though you occasionally make forward progress in skill, the ultimate goal of peace is still out-of-reach.  Often further.

Lying Liars

It’s those directed at ‘truth’ that often get so ‘caught-up’ in this tacky spiderweb.  And ironically, this ‘web’ creates enormous amounts of disinformation.  For example, if you go to any martial art forum (I’ll leave out the sites, as you can easily find them) and look up names that have been under fire like Greg Park/ChosunNinja or Luke Holloway/Raw Combat, you’ll undoubtedly uncover a string of hatred, bashing and lies.  For some reason, the website and the people, feel the need to ‘police the streets.’

The Hater’s stance is often one of “saving others from making a mistake in following or learning from them.”  Their so-called evidence is usually second or third-hand information, a disgruntled (often ‘ex’) student, or someone who is so damaged emotionally (and/or socially) that they have to retaliate, draw attention, or make themselves out to be ‘holier than thou.’ [Read our article on ‘Fakes]

Like all humans, we are curious.  Can this be true?  Drama is so much more exciting.  Right?  But does anyone know what the opposite of drama is?..

Peace.

Peace is the antonym for drama.  Peace (apart from Freedom & Love) is what we strive for.  Aikido, an amazing artform literally means – The Way of Peace*.  We as humans want peace, but often make war.  We want to be martial artists, but often end up directing our energies along an unhealthy path.  This is something very important that I wish more people would connect to and at the very least, attempt to understand within themselves.

What might be the answer?

There is never going to be just one answer.  But in my personal opinion (an opinion that I hope to share with many others) is that we must seek what we love and share that passion with as many people as we can.  It’s all very simple.  There are people that will lie, some will pad up their resumé (so-to-speak) and some will speak negatively about others and their styles.  Let that be about them; not about you.

When, for example we are given the privilege to learn from someone, the information given to us is personally filtered.  We will, most certainly, lean a certain way based on our personal beliefs, biases and associations.  While learning correctly is ideal, it is only with personal dedication, ingenuity, making mistakes (yes, it’s true), time and patience (among other things that I may have left out) that we develop into the artist we hope to become.  And the definitive truth, we never truly reach the destination.  Bruce Lee and Dan Inosanto never had a limit.  The Gracie family and many of the jiu-jitsu practitioners that I’m running into these days are continuously evolving.

Regarding Greg & Luke

We are happy to have them as a part of our martial art family (as we would just about anyone).  When you watch their videos, the one thing you’ll notice is that they share – and continue to share, despite the haters and personal attacks.  This should account for something, but to the haters, Greg & Luke are just ‘remaining in the game.’  The second thing you may see from their videos is a passion for teaching.  Thirdly, and most obviously, you’ll see and hear the lecture or demonstration presented.  Whether the technique or tactic is practical or not to the viewer, it is up to the student-viewer to filter the information themselves.

Now, granted, teachers should be held accountable.  But what you know is what you know.  (And keeping in mind that you’ll never be 100% in agreement with the masses)… You must (in Obi Wan Kenobi’s words),

“Do what you feel is right, of course.”

When coming across something new, even disagreeable it might be helpful to view it as Master Feng (Zhiqiang) would.  He would say something along the lines of, “Interesting” or at worst, “I don’t understand it.”  Never this is right, this is wrong… but this is “something I don’t yet understand.”

Master Feng knows this and is fundamental in becoming a Jedi.  Avoid becoming a Sith.

I leave you with these words:

“As soon as you concern yourself with the “good” and “bad” of your fellows, you create an opening in your heart for maliciousness to enter. Testing, competing with, and criticizing others weakens and defeats you.”
Morihei Ueshiba 植芝 盛平 , The Art of Peace

We, at the Combative Corner are looking forward to your thoughts and opinions.  Knowing fully well the hypocrisy that this may ‘seem‘… the difference is respect.  Be respectful.

Thank you.

Michael Joyce

*Aikido is made up of essential three parts: “Ai” which means harmony or union and “Ki” which the energy-spirit of the universe and “Do” that means way or path.

Related Posts:

Roundtable Discussion 017: What is a ‘Fake’?

5 Things I Hate About You(Tube)   |  T.J.Kennedy

Interview with Greg Park  |  ChosonNinja

Interview with Luke Holloway  |  Raw Combat Int.

6 Responses to “Wretched Hive of Scum and Villainy”

  1. Blue S. [via Facebook Comment]

    I completely agree, Michael. Sometimes we engage in so much judgmentalism and name calling that in the end all we do is harm ourselves. I really believe that what you pay attention to will grow. And if we pay too much attention to the negativity in others then we invite that same negativity into our own lives.

  2. Rodney O. [via Facebook Comment]

    Excellent, Michael. But you already know how I feel. A must-share.

  3. Chris HOLBROOK Says:

    Great job as always, Michael. I’d like to know more finding peace through martial arts. I’ll be in touch with you.
    Thanks.

  4. Johnny Kuo [via Facebook Comment]

    The internet: where keyboard warriors can throw common courtesy out the window. One of the consequences of putting yourself out in public view is that you take shots from all the haters out there. On the flip side, you develop the ever important thick skin that lets you rise above the negativity.

  5. Although I agree that name-calling and blind hatred is bad for any community, and any process, it seems a tad too simple to label any and all criticism of an art or practitioner of an art, as hate or “keyboard warriorism”.

    At the end of the day, martial arts are refered to as such for a reason – If spiritual development and being a good neighbour was the main intention behind most martial arts, they wouldn’t be called “martial” to begin with. These additional elements(especially in the eastern traditions) are “fluff” that have been added in times of peace when warriors found themselves more and more without actual purpose, and needed some sort of way to justify their own presence in more and more pacified societies. MA have almost exclusively been developed either as a tool for submitting others, or protecting yourself from being submitted, in relation to violent encounters.

    That being said, efficiency and evolution through natural selection has always been a key-element of martial arts throughout the ages(although they often degenarate in times of peace). The irony in face of this, is that the MA industry is arguably one of worlds most lacking in terms of quality control and fair standards for practise.
    This is very alarming when you consider that martial arts actually teach(or pretend to teach) people how to “handle” themselves in violent encounters – and by extension(explicitly and/or implicitly) instill people with the sense that they can “engage”(rather than evade) in fights and expect success.

    It is natural, and healthy, when people set standards and ask critical questions of anyone who’d claim to hold enough competence on matters relating to violence to the extent that they believe they can actually teach people what to do in such scenarios.
    We all for instance know that free-climbing on tall structures is dangerous(inherently so), and thus we recognize the dangers involved if we were to have people lacking skill and knowledge try to teach free-climbing.
    MA is no different. It is not just a matter of sharing – The same way handing out loaded hand-guns to minors is dangerous and irresponsible, so is setting people up to getting hurt in a potential violent encounter – which is what you do when you tell people they can defend themselves with what you’re teaching, when what you’re teaching doesn’t work.

    Now, you can have a long debate on what “wrong” is in terms of martial arts, and some might hold the position that there is no such thing as “objective wrongs” in martial arts – However, anyone who spendt years in a MA, only to get beaten up by some punk, or a guy with marginal training in another system would surely tell you otherwise – And such people are easy to find. You could then blame it on the individual, but that’s what we have statistics for(we do see trends depending on types of training).

    In the end though, things really stand or fall on trust. If you don’t believe in aliveness in training, testing/trials and so forth, then you have to take your school or style on faith and the paperwork. Now, if your teacher isn’t trustworthy, what do you have left?

    This blog has a lot of interesting articles on martial arts – But I have to agree with the sentiments of some:
    Writing out articles that serve as adds for martial artists that have been caught lying about their backgrounds, their feats, and so forth, is not a good thing.

    It would be better to own up to that, and make more thourough research on your interview subjects, rather than brushing it off as hatred and misinformation, and trying to excuse individuals by saying “well they’re sharing”.
    You wouldn’t do this if you had interviewed a guy, lying about his background as an LEO, passing out guns to people in a park – So you shouldn’t do it when it comes to MA either, just because MAs aren’t regulated by the law in the same way.

    Sharing isn’t inherently good. Sharing is only good if what you’re sharing has value. If what you’re sharing is buildt on deceit, or lacks fundations, it’s a cake with poison concealed in the middle. If that’s all you’re going to share, I’d rather you didn’t share it at all. That’s how I feel about Luke Holloway and Greg Park in particular.

    Don’t take my word for it though – Do the research.

    Cheers from a long time martial artist and former security officer.

    • I agree with what ishida said I know that Luke Holloway is a scam artist. Combatives in the MA world have definitely become a haven for fakes and wanna be’s of all flavors. This is because you can’t quantify skill in combatives like you can in BJJ or MMA. Look I’m a professional who works in the fields Luke professes to work in. I would never use raw combat because its useless. As far as combatives corner goes there is a reason why a lot of people say Raw combat sucks. You can call them haters or whatever but there is truth to what their saying.

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