Many will come to a martial art school have great expectations enjoining. In many cases many would like to become an instructor of the martial arts. However, few realize how difficult it is to maintain a true martial arts school, especially a traditional school. Finding the proper space, equipping the school with the necessary training equipment, paying for insurance and overhead, and meeting the monthly bills can be a daunting process. For this reason, many traditional schools close for the simple reason they aren't able to meet the expenses needed to maintain the school. Unlike commercial schools, where contracts are employed and high rates are charged to maintain the school survival. Traditional schools, do not utilize contracts, the initial cost for training is low cost as compared to the commercial schools. Money is never the objective of the traditional school, passing the Arts down to the next generation it is a traditional schools primary purpose.
Everything done at a traditional school is based on one's honor. The teacher gives his word to do his very best to train the student to the best of his ability and gives his word, to help the student in every way possible. Because of the low costs involved, it is imperative that a student pay their monthly dues on time so that the teacher may maintain the schools viability, when this does not happen, far too often traditional schools close their doors forever.
A teacher's job is never-ending; we must maintain all forms and techniques so as to be able to pass this on to new incoming students. Forms and techniques is not the way we fight in Street condition, they are only used as a means to learn the way a martial artist would move in various situations. There is no such thing as the ultimate technique or form, that will make one the perfect martial artists. However, there is no other true way to learn the martial arts without the use of these prescribed forms and techniques which teaches a student how to move and utilize various techniques for self-defense purposes.
It should be obvious that in a street condition where self-defense must be employed for one's personal safety nobody can dictate what move or technique you may need to survive the encounter. Traditional forms and techniques are used to train an individual to see opportunity and apply the appropriate technique for that specific moment in time.
Far too often, new students coming into a school have a misguided understanding of what it's going to take to succeed in becoming an expert in the martial arts. Unfortunately new students tend to think that just by learning a martial art, they will never be hit. This could not be further from the truth. Whereas, the truth of the matter is in learning the arts you will more often going to be hit rather than be able to hit your opponent. It takes years of trial and error in applying once techniques to be able to ward off a constant barrage of attacks from an opponent. Only then, will you be hit less often. Far too often, when a new student experiences being hit for the first time they drop away from the school.
To become proficient in the martial arts one must be able to prepare himself or herself for great disappointments. Sometimes you win, and sometimes you will lose. How you deal with winning and losing will play a big part in how proficient you will be in the martial arts. In the old traditional schools of martial arts a student was required to be able to accept a strong hit so as to prepare them self to withstand such an attack and not fall apart, thus enabling them to counterattack.
There is no such thing as one perfect martial arts style, if this was the case we would need no other style of martial art. Many who are not experienced at being hit no matter how good their martial arts skill is, will usually fall apart and lose their self-control thereby causing defeat. A true martial artist is expected to be hit and is able to withstand the shock of being hit so he may counterattack.
Hitting and being hit is part of the training program. Part of the training is to withstand a strong blow to your body; this is accomplished by breath control and not becoming rattled when hit. But rather to maintain one's composure, withstand the strike and counterattack with the appropriate method. This should be evident to newcomers into the art, yet it is not. Ask any heavyweight boxing champion of the world if he has ever been hit and you will find that they will tell you they've been hit more times then they care to remember. It was their ability to withstand blow for blow that enable them to become the champions they are.
Some may recall the famous motion picture entitled Rocky, this motion picture painted a true picture of what a boxer must endure to become a champion. Boxing is a rough sport to say the least and requires years of training and brutal punishment to withstand 15 rounds in the ring. However, there are rules to boxing, which do not exist in a true martial arts encounter. In a boxing championship, there is always a referee present in the ring to see that no illegal blows are thrown. When we are in a street encounter, there are no referees; there are no rules, anything goes, and usually does.
In a street condition is no such thing as a fair fight; anything might be employed in order to win. This includes broken bottles, knives, even guns. It is true, that being proficient in a martial art can and will give you the upper hand for victory and self survival. However, this does not mean that you are untouchable. For this reason, it takes a special kind of person to excel in martial arts training. The very term martial arts refers to military arts, which primary purpose is to win at all costs, which can mean even putting your life at stake during an encounter.
As I have already stated, being hit is part of the learning program, yet many people join a martial arts school thinking the art itself will prevent them from being hit at all. This is far from the truth, as one can get hit more times then you may like. Half of our training is learning how to withstand a strike to any vital point of the human body as well as having no problem in returning the vital blow to one's opponent. If a student to get past this barrier of the fear of being hit then the chances are very good they will be victorious in a street encounter.
In reality the martial arts is the world's dirtiest form of fighting. Anything goes when it comes to self survival. I have had more people drop away from the martial arts training because they had some illusion that knowing martial arts would prevent them from being touched in any way, shape or form. Those who succeed in this art are those who have a realistic view of what combat entails.
In conclusion, I don't say these things to frighten people away from training, but rather to make you aware of what might be expected if you decide to join a traditional school of self-defense. If you join a school knowing these facts, you will have a much better chance of surviving a brutal street attack. It would be a grave error to mistake a traditional martial art school from a commercial school where this kind of contact is limited. The reasons for this are simple to understand. Commercial schools primary purpose is to gather as many students as they can for the purpose of making money. Whereas, a traditional school primary purpose is not the amount of students they gather but rather to teach a method for surviving brutal street, assault.
Finally, it is you who must make the final decision as to what you want from the martial art you are learning. If it is sport, competition and trophy winning then a commercial school will serve your purpose well. On the other hand, if you're looking for street survival techniques you would be better served in a traditional school of martial arts that deals with reality.