Fewer Options, Please
The Kuntawman is back after a recent hiatus with an interesting article about Kimbo Slice. In his opinion Kimbo excelled as a street fighter because he was doing what he was g0od at. Once he started training in MMA, he began doing techniques he didn’t excel at, and instead of relying on a few well-executed techniques, he had a buffet table full of options, some (many?) of which were unfamiliar.
Bruce Lee’s theory was that the untrained man had no technique, but he had a natural fluidity that is an asset. Perhaps it was the naturalness of what Kimbo was doing that made him successful as a street fighter.
We also know that when people are confronted with too many options, that decision making breaks down. Perhaps Kimbo’s problem was one of too many choices.
I think this is a valuable lesson: having hundreds of techniques is not a strength of a system, but a weakness. I have thought that one of the reasons for the success of boxers versus karateka is that boxers have fewer weapons, and fewer choices, so that there is no moment of paralysis when the guy who has hundreds of techniques thinks, “Okay, there’s a punch hurtling toward my face, do I sidestep, crossblock, parry, goose neck block, cross step, front kick, side kick, knife hand….” POW!
Many FMA could benefit from simplification, by stripping down to the bare essentials. That way, the student under attack is not trying to decide which part of the curriculum, that includes everything from staff to bow and arrow, he should do next.