The other day someone asked me if I knew “Kung Fu or anything like that.”
I said that I didn’t know Kung Fu, but that I knew how to hit someone in the face with a rock. He blinked a few times before it seemed to occur to him that boulders are far more effective than any martial art.
Are stylized martial arts useless? No, especially at the higher levels. But the in-between levels, where the practitioner knows just enough to be distracting is actually dangerous to the user. The neo-martial artist spends too much trying to “pull off” a move, like they’re playing Tekken or Mortal Kombat.
On the other hand, if one sticks with a martial art through the various levels, it’s likely he can at least learn something about toughness. Want to grapple on pavement. Ok–I’ll pick you up by your lapel and body slam you onto the ground. Game over.
There’s all kinds of nasty things that happen in street fighting that are illegal in sport martial arts. Illegal moves like fish-hooking, biting, eye gouges, pulling ears, or ripping off an antennae from a nearby car to slice open an attacker. Brazilian jiu-jitsu is good in a padded ring. It’s awful when it comes to real terrain.
The only system that I’ve seen that comprehensively takes terrain and tools into account is Russian Systema.
For now, I’ll stick with a rock to the face over the Crane Pose.