On Martial Arts
ON MARTIAL ARTS
Just like music doing sport, physical exercise, is a part of my life.
I don’t smoke, I don’t drink alcohol and don’t use drugs.
No, I am not a saint.
But these are my principles.
How difficult it’s for me and how much I live under pressure, I will never smoke, never drink alcohol and never use drugs.
I don’t have any problems if other people do all these things.
I doesn’t disturb me or bother me.
It’s your own responsibility.
You choose to do it.
Unfortunately there is not such a thing as a non-violent and peaceful world.
Only in books and movies and in your dreams perhaps but not in the real world.
The world is not a heavenly paradise although some places on earth may seem or appear to be so.
But that’s just physical appearance.
The world is a sometimes violent place because of the people committing violent acts against each other.
Human beings have two sides: a good and a bad side.
Human beings can be altruistic but can also be selfish.
Human beings can be loving and caring but can also be hateful and violent.
There are two sides, two different roads.
There must be an inner balance to keep both sides in balance.
But it’s easy to get human beings off balance.
Nevertheless, when it comes to using violence you can just simply choose to be violent or you can be forced to become violent.
The use of violence can be totally senseless and violence can also be used to prevent or end more violence.
Violence can be like a volcano: it can take a while before it erupts.
But violence can also originate in a fraction of a second and sometimes totally unexpected.
Think of when someone suddenly attacks you.
You can use violence to defend yourself, your loved ones, your family and friends, your property, your country, your interests and the like.
In essence the use of violence is preferably to be avoided.
But nevertheless it might or must be necessary in some cases.
Martial arts are per definition a way to learn how to fight.
Learning to fight means intensive physical training, physical exercise.
Without physical training you can’t become good.
Reading books or watching instruction videos isn’t good enough.
Training to learn how to fight must be done in a correct way.
You can train for ten years in a dojo and still haven’t developed and you can train for a year and have become very good.
But the real thing is to get the mental connection, the click.
You can train your body but if you don’t have a mental connection with whatever martial art you’re training, then you only train your body but you will get nowhere.
You have to train the mental aspects of the martial art too.
To learn martial arts for the purpose of competition is not the same as learning martial arts for the purpose to defend yourself in real life.
Karate or taekwondo matches and even K-1 matches or any other type of martial arts performed in competition-style, are bound by rules.
You cannot brake somebody’s knees or hit him on the throat or kick between the legs or break his arms with an arm-lock.
Street-fighters don’t have any rules.
They bite off your nose , stick a finger in your eyeball, rip off your ear, kick between the legs, try to brake the knees, hit your throat to crush it or do anything whatsoever to win and survive.
Most of those fighters don’t know anything about martial arts and did never train in a dojo.
They just learned to fight in everyday life.
And that means they only learned to fight to survive.
There are many different sorts of martial arts.
Most of them originate from a specific country.
Like Wu shu from China, taekwondo from Korea, pentjak-silat from Indonesia or capoeira from Brasil or karate from Japan.
Most types of martial art also have sub-divisions in styles.
Like karate has different styles such as shotokan, wado-kai, kyokushinkai karate.
Some martial arts and styles are soft like taijiquan from China or aikido from Japan.
Some martial arts are hard like full-contact kyokushinkai karate from Japan or muay thai from Thailand.
Some martial arts only have kicks and punches and blocks and some also have more “sophisticated” techniques like shoulder-throw, hip-throw and arm-locks and the like, such as Chin Na from China, hapkido form Korea, jiu-jitsu from Japan, Sambo wrestling from Russia or MMA ( mixed martial arts) and the like.
There are martial arts that can be performed in competitions and there are martial arts only meant for self-defense, like Krav maga from Israel or ninjitsu from Japan.
It doesn’t matter what you wish to do, if you just do it with your heart and soul and complete motivation.
Because only that can lead to the proper control of a martial art.
In a real fight it does not matter much whether you are the champion or not.
A champion is just a champion because at a certain time he was at a certain place to fight a certain person.
If he were to fight another day or another opponent he might have lost.
There are many fighters in the world who might be better but simply weren’t there at that particular time and place.
But if you’re a skilled and well-trained martial artist or fighter it can certainly help you in a real fight in the streets and give you the benefit of the doubt.
A Sambo-wrestler can take hard kicks on his upper body and upper-arms and catch the leg that kicks him and fold his opponent up easily and swiftly.
A muay thai boxer or a kyokushinkai fighter can take hard kicks on almost every part of their body.
You can kick them on the thighs or shins or punch them on the chest and they won’t feel much and will just move forward like a tank.
A Brazilian jiu-jitsu fighter can react to almost every combat situation.
So there will always be an advantage if you’re a well-trained and skilled martial artist.
But there are also many examples of martial artists who have been killed in a street-fight.
In a real fight things can go different.
A street-fighter doesn’t care who or what you are.
It doesn’t make any difference if you’re the world champion K-1 or a champion in any martial art.
He simply doesn’t know and doesn’t care.
If he can’t win with his fists he will take a stone or stick or whatever.
Or he will just stab his opponent with a knife or simply shoot him dead with a gun.
There are no rules and there is no referee.
A skilled knife-fighter is also one of the most dangerous opponents.
Knife’s are easy to wield and handle in the hands of a skilled knife-fighter and difficult to block no matter what you are taught .
All the techniques and movements trained in different martial arts to disarm a knife-fighter won’t help in case of a really skilled knife-fighter.
A knife in the hands of a skilled knife-fighter is a reason to become very worried.
And you’ll notice soon enough if he is skilled.
If you try to block an attack with your hands or arms or legs you can get sliced and if he cuts an artery you’re finished.
And if he cuts the arteries in your neck it’s definitely the end.
He can swiftly stab the blade in-and-out your body and because of the high adrenaline-level in your body, you won’t notice that you’re bleeding to death.
It will come to you as a surprise.
Really skilled knife-fighters are dangerous, no matter what you are told or taught.
It is best to find something you can use as a weapon to keep him at distance and still be able to hit him.
Don’t let him get close to you.
In a real fight maybe three things matter.
First is to get over your fear.
Second is to start moving.
Third is to react to the attack.
And this must be done within a fraction of a second.
It must be an automatism.
If you start to think about it you’re already too late.
Imagine you’re having a great time with your friends and the atmosphere is loose and fun and you’re feeling great and delightful.
Then all the sudden somebody starts screaming and yelling at you with anger and starts behaving very violent.
The atmosphere changes within a fraction of a second into a violent and scaring situation.
And when it comes to an attack most people freeze because they have fear.
And that can happen to everyone.
It happened to me once and it nearly caused my death.
So it’s important that you get over your fear, start moving and react to the attack.
An old woman who reacts immediately without any hesitation and sticks the point of her umbrella in the throat of her attacker wins.
It’s that simple.
But these are all just words.
When it comes to learning and practising martial arts there is only one way: physical training, training, training, training and training again and again and then still some more.
Instructional books, magazines or dvd’s, words, thoughts or wishes don’t matter.
Only physical training helps.
Sweat and pain, a lot of pain.
And persistence and perseverance.
Build up your physical condition.
Lengthen the muscles on the backsides of your legs.
Strengthen the muscles on the front side of the legs.
Strengthen the muscles of your shoulders, arms, back, abdomen, neck, etc.
Increase your punching-power and kicking-power.
Harden the shins and lower arms and knuckles of your fists.
Increase your resilience and stamina.
Increase your reaction-speed.
Physical training, training and again training.
With all means available to you and by all means.
Practise with sparring-partners and train in every possible situation.
Out in the street, in the woods, when it rains and it’s slippery or when hard winds blow that will disturb your balance, with many noises around you that will disturb your concentration and will distract you, in the night when it’s dark and you can’t see too much, in normal everyday clothes that will limit your freedom of movement: in every thinkable condition or circumstance.
In a real fight there are no rules and every situation is totally different.
You don’t fight in a dojo, a ring or on a tatami.
You’re out in the street, or in a dark alley, or in the forests, or on a slippery mountainside.
It can rain, it can be dark, the wind can blow hard, there can be a lot noise or lights.
There can be many people screaming and yelling around you, you can have several attackers coming at you from different sides. Every time it is only the question whether you come out in one piece or not. As it comes to self-defense or real combat, the best fighters are members of elite army-units. Because they’re trained to just take you down within a fraction of a second in every thinkable circumstance. The way they are trained to fight does not involve complicated moves or techniques. They avoid everything that takes too long to execute, like high kicks or spinning back kicks . Their techniques are basic and aimed to take the opponent down with a minimum of movement as fast as possible.
Because in a real combat situation there is no time to think or do fancy stances or nice-looking kicking-techniques.
But by sheer hard physical training you can always try to match them.
But then again there is the mental aspect.
Fighters that don’t keep their mental balance will become so violent and may not be able to control the violence inside of them anymore.
They might start molesting innocent people who are weaker, misusing there capabilities.
Soldiers who are extremely trained in the art of combat, must always have self-control.
They may not use their skills whenever it pleases them.
They must be able to make a conscious choice.
In their mind, they must also be trained in mental self-control.
They will most likely only use what they are trained to do in a combat situation.
One can only hope so.
In a real fight winning should not be your aim, because you can always loose.
Nobody is invincible.
It is stupid to think that.
What should be your aim is just plain surviving and staying alive.
There are victims who are either wounded or dead and there are those that survive, either wounded or unharmed but alive.
A fight in real life out there has no winners but only losers.
And as for me?
I did try soccer but I don’t like team-sports.
If other members in your team deliberately make stupid mistakes you loose.
It’s not my thing.
When I loose, I must be the one to blame, nobody else.
That’s how I like it.
I’m a loner.
When I was eleven years old I started doing Martial Arts and I sort of stuck to it.
At first the more technical Martial Arts but at a later age I switched to the more straightforward full-contact Martial Arts.
Just go down or remain standing.
Pain: there is no pain.
I developed a switch in my head to turn off the pain.
And still later on, I sort of switched to the more practical aspects of fighting.
No longer with the rules of competitive Martial Arts.
Simply fighting to survive.
There has been a period in my life when I trained 3 to 6 hours a day.
But that was then and I don’t do that anymore. I am now at an age that I take it easier with training. Now I mainly train at home just to keep up my physical condition. No more than that. And that’s another thing. As you’re growing older you must realise that your body is also growing older, and that physically you might not be able to do some of the things anymore, that you could do when you were for instance twenty years old.
That’s just how it is.
So I just focus on maintaining my physical condition.
I run, row and cycle a couple of times a week each time for 20 to 30 minutes without pausing.
The other days I do a small fitness-program. In one session I do all major muscle-groups.
Upper-body and lower-body. I do a pyramid-system.
That means starting with a high number of repetitions with a low weight building up to a low number of repetitions with a heavy weight.
I.e. if 100 kg is the maximum weight you can push, then you start with i.e. 10 reps (repetitions) of 40kg, after that 8 reps of 60kg, after that 6 reps of 80kg and then 2 to 4 reps of 90 to 100kg. It’s just an example.
Everyone has a different maximum weight he or she can push. That is a pyramid-system.
Don’t wait too long in between the series.
Simply continue immediately and take care you control your breathing..
A pyramid-system is meant for relative increase of muscle strength.
The mass and size of the muscles must not increase but the strength of the muscles must increase. Your muscles become only a little bigger. But your muscle-strength increases considerably. And that’s what it is really about.
In contradiction to a bodybuilder, who wants to see the mass and size of his muscles increase.
But for me that is not what it is all about.
Bodybuilders also use large quantities of protein in addition to their physical exercise in order to increase the muscle mass and size.
With the increase of the muscle mass and size the body becomes bigger and heavier and with that the move-ability, the suppleness and flexibility decrease.
And more important: the starting speed and the reaction speed decrease.
You become slower. And that is disastrous. The starting speed you need to bridge the gap to your opponent with one explosive movement. The reaction speed you need to be able to react fast in case of a sudden attack.
In a real fight speed is the most important thing. Not the tallness or muscle-size of someone. There are always people who are bigger and stronger than you are. You cannot and will never be the biggest or strongest person. It’s nonsense to think that.
That is not what it is all about.
Next to that I train on the Mook Yong, a wooden dummy.
I can go into fighting even further but that’s not my intention. I just want to show the other side of Ron. It is just a part of who I am and what I have become in life. Not more and not less. I am not a violent person and I prefer to avoid violence.
But like I said at the beginning of this piece: the world is not a paradise.
This is not a utopian Garden of Eden where all people live together in peace and harmony and only sympathize with and love one another. The real world is very different, whether you like it or not. Don’t close your eyes for that reality.
People can do really extreme bad and violent things to one another.
I had my share of fights in this life. I am just not the kind of person who easily steps aside.But I do prefer to make nice music.
To pick up my guitar and play and sing you a nice melodious tune, a soft emotional song and lay all my feelings and emotions in that.
I wish you all peace, love and happiness!
Training Martial Arts
I also train people. I focus (among other things) on stamina; long term and short term physical condition; speed; flexibility and agility; coordination; kicking, punching and blocking techniques; power; focus; anticipation; and the like.
Mostly I start from the beginning with basis drills, doing techniques and combinations over and over again.
Jeet Kune Do
Jeet Kune Do is not a Martial Art but more sort of a Martial Art philosophy.
A way of thinking and maybe even a way of life.
The founder and intellectual father is Bruce Lee