August 30

Why Fake Martial Artists Can’t Punch Their Way Out Of A Paper Bag


You go online, and you read the comments.

You see their profile pictures, and you think to yourself ‘are they actually any good?’

The truth is that you will never know, the only way to tell is if they fight, and let’s face it when was the last time you ever saw a keyboard warrior post footage of their fights or even training?

And there lies the problem with fake martial arts and self-defence instructors.

They sell their services based on the promise that what they teach works and they are the first example of its use.

One of the key ways you can identify if a person can fight is if they can hit hard.

Yes, that is right, the ability to hit hard.

Because if your strikes feel like an Indian Head Massage to the attacker, you might as well get ready to run like Usain Bolt!

In this post, we are going to look at the art of hitting hard and why it matters if you can’t.

The Art Of Punching

‘I hit the pads with power; my training partner told me I do.’

Imagine your training partner that holds the pads tells you each week ‘you are hitting hard’.

It fills you with that smug feeling that ‘you da man’ (or woman).

This is all great until that night when you stand there, and the attacker walks through your punches as if he was walking through a bit of snow.

It might cause him to move a bit slower, but he is still walking forward and coming for you like the Night King moving towards the wall (Game Of Thrones fans will get that).

So while your training partner may be a great guy, listening to his feedback is utterly pointless.

The only person you need to listen to is your coach.

And this is the fundamental issue if they can’t punch their way out of a paper bag they are not going to be able to either know if you can hit hard or teach you if you can’t.

And yes, the ability to hit hard is a skill, it is an art form that you can learn.

Their Glass Is Over Flowing

Do you have any idea of the guts that it takes to get into the boxing ring?

I will tell you that even the simple act of going to a boxing club requires balls of serious size!

Why? Because you can’t hide in the boxing club, you can’t say ‘I don’t want to fight today’. You can’t tell your opponent in the ring ‘don’t hit me in the face’.

Knowing you are going to a place or taking part in an activity where you are going to get punched hard in the face is a sobering thought, and it makes people train with serious intent.

Roll up Martial Arts, an activity where you can learn to fight without actually doing any fighting.

Kind of takes the serious nature of fighting and parks it well out of safe distance, doesn’t it?

Now I wonder who strikes harder and learns faster? Erm, you know the answer.

So sparring is the answer or going to a boxing club?

No that is not what I am saying.

The reason crap coaches and students can’t fight is simple; it comes from either no sparring, terrible pad holders or poor advice that strokes the ego.

All of these factors play a part in a coach or a student not being able to strike with power.

Note what I said:

Lack of Sparring

Poor Pad Holders

Poor Technical Advice/ Feedback

Now you can learn to hit hard from watching YouTube videos, a book, online training or a good coach and of course natural ability.

But if you’re learning from a poor source you are in trouble.

Now you can have a great coach but terrible pad holder which again puts you in trouble.

Sparring is not essential, but it does serve a useful purpose, it allows the coach to see if there is an issue, it allows you to work on timing, range, defence and offence all at once.

But sparring can also be a disaster.

There needs to be a point to the sparring, it needs to be carefully monitored and managed, or it can erode skills.

So here lies the issue. Poor coaching.

The coach who exudes arrogance, the coach that knows best, the coach that has their glass overflowing with ‘self-imported knowledge’ is dangerous.

In contrast, the coach who shows genuine respect, intrigue, a desire to investigate how other arts strike are usually the best.

You Can’t Teach How To Hit Hard Unless You Can

If you can’t hit hard, you simply cannot teach another how to do so.

No one is saying you need to be Tyson, but hitting with power is a must.

You must be able to hit someone, so they think ‘damn that hurt’.

This is called ‘respectful power’.

But here is the thing, it takes the same size balls to admit you can’t hit hard as it does to walk into a boxing club.

And if you look in the mirror and you are unsure if you can hit hard you need to go and find out.

You need to ask questions of your system and your instructor because if you can’t hit hard what the hell are you going to do, use harsh language to scare the attacker?

Now if you are a grappler reading this we know that you have a different focus, a different game plan.

You might plan on hitting your opponent with a planet or perhaps taking them down and choking them into the land of dreams, all of which are valid tactics.

But if striking is your game, you need to be able to strike hard, strike often and strike on target.

If you can’t, you simply are going to struggle

Thanks for reading



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  1. I still thoroughly agree with a lot of what you post, and I think its great for people with an active interest. The frank approach cracks me up, as I’ve seen the errors in teaching at many martial art clubs, and you couldn’t be more accurate.
    That being said the only thing I would say is sparring is actually essential. Both technical, and full boar. I would argue this point to the death, as you do not know how you will react without operational pressure. The closest you can train for this is in the ring or dojo when someone does try take your head off. How your body and mind reacts completely changes the dynamic of an incident. Sparring with someone you dont know, and a place unfamiliar is better yet at stimulating an event.

    What are your thoughts on this?

    1. Hi Steve, personally I am a fan of sparring and I agree in principle. However, many people run sparring sessions the wrong way. This actually causes more damage technically. I have also seen great sparring people who are poor fighters.

      You need to have a coach that can control the sparring and sadly these are few and far between these days from my experience.

      1. Agreed, and I guess that is the real issue. Coaching. Quality coaching is few and far between, and the route cause of many problems and issues that are raised here.

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