Here are a few inconvenient truths about the martial arts. Some people may agree that they are truths, and some may disagree, but the evidence speaks for itself if you just consider it, even though it may be inconvenient to do so.
If a martial arts school teaches these truths to its students, the students may become disillusioned and stop coming to classes and paying for classes. However, if the school was truthful with its students from the beginning, they will already know now these truths and will have accepted them, and probably, in spite of them, still be happy with the martial art they have chosen to practice. As with anything else, there are always exceptions to the truths, but exceptions do not means the truths are not in fact, true.
Men are physically superior to women
Contrary to what movies and televisionwould have us beleive, man will most always beat a woman in a fight, no matter the size or skill level of the woman. Men are naturally stronger, faster, quicker, and more aggressive than women. This is why most physical sports conduct separate competitions for men and women. Mentally or emotionally, women may be equal to, or arguably superior to men, but physically, men are superior. Yeah, there is always the argument that men do not have to endure the pain of childbirth, but then women do not have to endure the pain of a groin kick during a fight. A big man will usually win over a woman regardless of her size or training; however, he will also usually win over a smaller or untrained man, which is why there are weight classes in competitions.
The only effective empty hand self-defense uses basic hard block and strikes
There are hundreds, if not thousands of martial art styles, each claiming to be the best or one of the best for self-defense. Most people do not have the time, money, or inclination to spend years learning to be effective at some "martial art." They just want something that they can use that will be effective in defending themselves against an attacker. Instinctively, humans use their arms to block attacks, and then punch and kick in counterattacks attacks. This means that the instinctive motions of an untrained person are usually effective. Any martial art that trainings these motions to be more effective will be the best martial art for self-dense. Any unnatural motions or motions that require extensive training, use intricate movements, take too long to learn to be effective, or must be constantly trained to maintain proficiency are practically useless. You may train in a martial art for many reasons, such as fitness, sport, competition, etc.; however, if you are training for self-defense, then keep it simple.
Some martial arts are a waste of time and money
Some people have the philosophy that something is better than nothing. While it true that having one dollar is better than having no dollars, in practicality, you are not better off than you were without the dollar. As stated above, humans know how to protect themselves instinctively; therefore, with no martial arts training whatsoever, they are still able to put up a good fight when attacked. Some martial arts teach a person to reject these instincts and fight their way, which many times are worse, or no better, than the instinctive way of fighting. Those that teach the so called "death touch," mind control of the opponent, combat ki, etc. are worthless and waste of time and money, and sometimes may waste something even more valuable to you, your life.
What makes a martial art effective is the martial artist, not the martial art
Any martial artist who has trained hard, is in excellent physical condition, is tough mentally and physically, and has the will to win at all costs will be effective in a self-defense situation. Most any well-trained martial artist will be more effective in a self-defense situation than would be an average non-martial artist. The question is, "How much training is required before a person may be effective when using the martial art?" In some arts, a person with minimal training may be effective, while in other arts, to be effective, a person needs extensive training, and even then, the techniques may only be effective under certain circumstances.
Most modern martial arts are sports for children, not fighting arts for adults to use to defend themselves
Most all modern martial arts have mutated into sports that even children can play. Children and adults are taught the same techniques. This mean one of two things, the techniques are so harmless that even children can do them, or we are teaching deadly techniques to children when the law says they are not responsible enough for their action to drive, drink, vote, or enter into contracts.
A black belt is equivalent to a high school diploma
Just as with a high school diploma, if you do not quit, come to class the required number of times, receive at least the minimum score on most subjects, and pay your money, you will receive a black belt. Similar to the GED, you can get a black belt without ever finishing, or being able to finish, the program. You may also be awarded an honorary diploma or back belt even if you did none of the required material. A modern black belt is merely a reward for attendance. To find real black belts, you have to find small, traditional martial art schools that have strict standards that must be met no matter how long it takes.
Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) is neither mixed nor is it a martial at; it is a spectator sport
The mixed martial arts (MMA) style of fighting is the latest martial arts fad; following on the heels of other fads, such as the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Taebo, and Aerobic Kick Boxing. The original concept was based upon the martial arts, but it has become just another contrived moneymaking sport.
At the beginning of MMA development, fighters were trained martial artists who fought no-holds-barred fights (actually, there were rules to prevent life-threatening techniques, maiming, broken bones, etc.). Mixed martial arts meant that fighters who were trained in different martial arts fought each other to see how their different martial arts faired against each other in actual combat. Many times what was at stake was the reputation of the martial art more than the ability of the fighters; therefore, many were fighting for their martial arts more than for themselves.
Some matches were very short (not enough action for spectators) and some were very long and boring for spectators (such as with the Royce Gracie hour-long hold-downs). Some matches were brutal and gory; so many states banned the matches, which led to changes in the rules to make the matches more palatable to the public. However, most of the rules changes came from a desire to make the fights more profitable, to both the promoters and the fighters. As the sport became more popular, the rules became even more limiting, to the point that MMA is fast becoming similar to professional wrestling, except that contact is allowed.
With limitations on which techniques can be used, limits on periods of inaction, use of gloves, time limits, etc., fighters are less susceptible to career altering injures so they can fight more often. Fighting more often allows fighters to develop a base of fans, allows promoters to hold more fights, and allows fighters and promoters to make more money. Nowadays, most mixed martial artists have no formal martial arts training; they have only trained in MMA, which has now become a sport, such as sport Taekwondo.
In the beginning, most of the MMA fighters had martial arts training and were testing their arts against each other; this is where the term "mixed" originated—different arts fighting against each other using some common rules for safety. Now the term supposedly means each fighter is using a mixture of different martial arts (nothing original here, everyday a new martial art is "founded" that uses the "best" techniques from other arts). However, these "mixed" techniques are pretty much limited to wide swinging punches, some grappling, kicks to the thighs, and very few locks and strangles (these are strangles, not chokes; chokes cutoff the air supply to the lungs, strangles cutoff the blood supply to the brain).
Martial arts by definition have a "martial" component (the fighting), and an "art" component (the way or the artistic). The martial component is composed of numerous, often intricate, difficult to use, techniques that take months, if not years, of training to perfect. The art component is where the fighting component takes on an almost spiritual aura in the quest for perfection of form. A martial art transforms fighting into an art form where artistic expression is paramount and perfection of human character is the goal. The goal is not to just win the fight, but to win it majestically.
While boxing is called the "the art of boxing," by definition, boxing is not a martial art. It has the martial component where fighting skill is pursued but its only goal is to punch the opponent harder and more often than he or she can punch you; how well the punching is performed is of no concern as long as the result is the defeat of the opponent (how much can you give and how much can you take). When fighting, this is also the goal of MMA and of any martial art. However, boxing and the MMA have no art component. Perfection of technique is of no concern and is not trained. You will never see boxers or mixed martial artists compete against each other in artistic expression.
Therefore, the term mixed martial arts is deceiving. While the fighting makes it martial, there is no mixed, and there is no arts. Using the term "martial arts" in the name degrades actual martial arts.