I love a good martial arts movie.
I have often watched a good fight scene and then imagined myself fighting like the protagonist in the story.
Later on, though, I have found that I could fight even better using less agility and definitely a lot less acrobatics.
Since I am speaking to a community of martial artists I am sure I am not alone.
Kungfu is a great example. Its jumps, somersaults, swinging hand movements and spectacular kicks are world famous.
Yet- when you hear stories of actual encounters with Kung Fu exponents you are likely to hear something like the story I have once heard of the old lady who had her assailant fall on his ass with a simple front kick.
I also don't think that we have to search very far to hear an account of an attacker being sent stumbling back and falling down with a simple push.
While my first Karate teacher's students learned elaborate block/trap/throw or block/trap/counterattack sequences against attacks with sticks he was also very quick to show us that many blows can be stopped from happening with a simple front kick.
Kendo students can tell you that their teachers can prevent a large number of attacks from reaching them with a simple whack on the head with the shinai.
I am sure that none of the above would make for a good fight scene in any movie. Hell- there's not even enough time to play a decent techno track in the background with a fight this short...
That is, however, a sign of mastery if you are able to solve big problems with minimal effort.
I won't tell anyone not to practice agility and advanced techniques, though. For one- an agile body and fluid mind is what gives us the ability to escape clinches and arm locks and to land attacks against seemingly impenetrable defenses. If the simplest of answers do not work you still need to be able to give the opponent more than he can take and take more than he can give.
In strategy, however, the above observations serve to remind us that all problems start out small. The amount of effort it takes to contain any problem at its initial stages is always much less than the effort needed to deal with a problem that has gotten out of hand.
In class you can demonstrate this to students by using multiple blocks (like Wing Chun's "chi sao" or "sticking hands") to deflect a number of punches and strikes and then demonstrate the effect of closing up an opponent's centre line with his first attacking arm and immediately counterattacking.
I think you would agree with me that being able to duck and weave your way past a series of spear thrusts like this girl is an awesome skill and a sign that one's body and mind has been trained to an extraordinary level.
More of us, however, can pull off a simple pass/disarm move like what is taught in Aikido. Also- it finishes the fight sooner and uses less energy.
In life, however, it goes even further.
A story I have once heard goes something like this:
A lord in ancient China once asked a physician which one among him and his two brothers was the most skilled healer.
"My eldest brother removes illness before it takes shape, yet his name does not get out of the house. My second eldest brother cures illness while it is still minute and his name does not go beyond the neighbourhood. I puncture veins, prescribe potions and massage skin. My name gets out and is occasionally heard by lords."
Do not be surprised if you one day become so skilled at fighting that you reach the point where martial art ceases to exist. :)
Stay well, everyone.
Hope you have a great week.