Robin, one of our good friends from japan, was visiting us and gave me a copy of his interview that was published in an Australian magazine. He spoke about a lot of interesting things there. But one of the things that he elaborated on was the eternal question that most people training martial arts keep asking: Is this art better than mine? Will this work in a real scenario?
The way people approach a new martial art most of the time is to challenge a practitioner and need him/her to defeat their “style”. This is counter intuitive as there are many factors that come into the win/lose outcome of any fight and this does not necessarily reflect the proficiency or effectiveness of any style of fighting. Why would you want to have someone defeat you using their style to accept that their style is “superior”? Even if you were defeated, what have you achieved? There will never be a clear conclusion in reality as to why you lost.
Maybe an approach that says “If I can use this style effectively in a situation on my own then this style is good for me”? is a better one. There are multiple ideas in taking this approach. First you will be the one judging the effectiveness of the style and you will be doing so from the inside, as one who knows something about the style. You will be able to evaluate correctly what works and what does not. You will be able to see if the style itself is good for you, understanding that the effectiveness of the style is completely dependent on the person applying it at any point in time.
What makes a warrior is not his style or technique but his heart and spirit which decide how he approaches any situation or circumstance that comes his way. If you approach everything with the eyes of a child, pure in intent and curious about the nature of things, If you examine with no pre-conceptions and thus no limitations on how you can understand what you perceive, you may be on the path to mastery in your own right. The whole idea of “style” of fighting is thus very limiting, as you are already limiting yourself to a set behavior and a set notion of what a fight should look like. In reality maybe a good fight should look like nothing, or in other words a fight should never happen if you can look at it from the outside and never be trapped by it.