Martial arts are not to be misunderstood as practices of certain styles or fancy movements. In general, 'art' is simply 'the expression or application of human creative skill and imagination' (Oxford Dictionary). In particular, 'martial arts [...] is an unrestricted athletic expression of an individual soul' (Bruce Lee). So by definition, martial arts allow a wide range of interpretation, purpose, practice, and application. In any way, even the most practical one, expressing oneself is the key to success. In a fighting scenario, it is crucial to be free of default mechanisms. Instead of being mentally bound, one should learn to express oneself spontaneously and adequately to the situational requirements. There is no time for conscious processing, no time for decisions; just do what you feel must be done... just express yourself!
Training and Abilities
So as you see, it is essential to train this 'feeling' for the situation, through conceptional rather than technical training. The more practical and applicable the martial art is aimed to be, the more conceptual the training should be. Pure martial arts training can be completely technical (and strategical for martial sports), whereas good reality-based training cannot be purely technical but requires also conceptual aspects which are not restricted by styles or traditions. Self defence training, in particular, needs additionally to address strategic and mental aspects. Self defence is much more than having the technical and physical skills to fight through various situations. It requires mental abilities to deal with the given pressure and the readiness to potentially do harm to another person in the process of self defending (which is for most of us the biggest obstacle). Furthermore, increasing awareness and knowledge how to navigate through pre-combat phases must be addressed in self defence training.
Background and Experience
My practical background in martial arts includes multiple traditional and modern, eastern and western styles (most important: Kickboxing, Systema, Judo, Krav Maga, Modern Urban Combat Tactics). The key systems having influenced my personal way of fighting the most are Practical Wing Chun (Chinese boxing) and Senshido (Canadian self defence). I travelled to six different Asian countries for a total of twelve months and was personally trained and certified by grand master Wan Kam Leung in Hong Kong, 2013 and 2019. One of my best experiences was in 2010 when I was invited by the head of Chokushin-juku in Japan, after some exchange of skills, to join an Aikido Dan class (blackbelts only).. without having a single belt in Aikido.
Dr. Philip X. Fuchs, PhD No 88, Sec 4, Tingzhou Rd, Wenshan Dist, 116 Taipei, Taiwan firstname.lastname@example.org +43 (0)680 2459 225