On Fighting Style

I am often asked what style is best to fight with. The answer is easy, but very few truly understand it.

Just as with any other sport or martial art, as we are learning we see particular ways others use to get the job done. Many people adopt a particular style of movement, walk, motions and favorite strikes and special maneuvers.

Part of the problem arises when people pre-program themselves with patterns and particular ways of doing things, so much so that they become predictable and fail to adapt when needed.
Fighting is a living breathing thing, it grows and changes constantly. There is no one “right” way to fight but there can be many “wrong” ways. Any style which claims to be all encompassing will have flaws.

There are many, many ways of throwing shots, moving and fighting. To limit yourself to a “style” of fighting effectively imprisons you withing a particular mindset and way of thinking. You will see combat and your options only within a narrower scope and it will eventually lead to defeat, often leaving you confused as to why.

So my answer, which is similar to the thoughts of Musashi and Bruce Lee, is to have NO STYLE. Learn all ways, all styles you can. Incorporate these things into you fighting abilities. Choose what works for you but remember all.

Try to avoid setting yourself up in a predictable “style” by always throwing the same shots, blocking the same way or moving in a certain fashion. Most fighters are predictable, following particular patterns almost always. If you observe them long enough, you can figure out how to one shot or two shot most fighters. This is not to say that you shouldn’t have favorite ways of doing things, just that you should flow with the fight, let it develop and be able to adapt to whatever happens.


Empty your Cup…

Most practitioners of the martial arts reach “plateaus” at which their forward progression seems to cease. Some feel that training harder, or training different, will help them break through this “barrier” and allow further progression. Other fighters, usually high caliber, feel like they are at the top of their game, and hence cease to progress further.
Both groups are usually stopped by the same issue; their Cups are Full.

When fighters train and compete they achieve merit, gaining skill and knowledge. This serves to bolster the confidence, pride and sense of self. Unfortunately, it is easy to lose perspective, let the ego take over and to feel that you have attained some higher level. When a fighter becomes “Full of Himself” then he ceases to learn. This is what is meant by a “Full Cup” as it can hold no more and any excess just runs off.


The Fighter’s ego is like the Cup. It is healthy to be confident, but when the ego becomes filled by success and achievement over time the practitioner ceases to be the bottomless vessel into which knowledge can be continually poured.


emptycupThis is why you must “Empty Your Cup” when training in the Martial Arts. You must always be open to learning, growing and progressing as a warrior. Devoid yourself of Ego, empty your cup before every practice and be ready to accept what the Way will teach you next.


We all get full from time to time so whether it’s simply a mental reminder or an actual physical demonstration one should empty their cup every now and then to make sure they return to being the student and can be filled again.


In this way you can enter the field, unfettered by pretending to be greater than you are and becoming completely open to learning. This is why they say that true Masters are always Students and it is how Students become Masters.