Be wary of anyone that advertises their martial art as brutal, deadly, or not for sport.
This blog post is based on a Reddit thread seen on the r/martialarts subreddit by u/mma_boxing_wrestling. It has been edited and modified by the Dynasty Team.
One of the biggest red flags in martial arts is when someone tries to sell their art as exceptionally dangerous or violent. All martial arts are dangerous and violent when trained effectively - that's the entire point.
Self defense type of martial arts such as Krav Maga may teach situational awareness, aggression, de-escalation, but it won't train you to become a flexible and highly skilled fighter which requires well rounded skills in all areas of martial arts.
So when you see someone talking about how brutal their art is, your first thought should be "What are you trying to compensate for?"
A basic right cross and a simple rear naked choke are two of the deadliest techniques in the world. The only things saving you from death when you get knocked out by a punch or caught in a choke are the padded surfaces, referee, and other safety precautions. But you don't see boxing gyms advertising themselves as deadly. They keep their mouths shut and keep developing effective techniques to deliver and avoid knockout power.
Combat sports trained at a high level is "deadlier" than any self defense focused art, because it can actually be applied with full force and resistance in training and in actual application.
Talking about a martial art being "brutal", "deadly" or "realistic" is like guys complaining that girls don't want them even though they're "nice guys".
Congratulations. That's the bare f*cking minimum, and if it was true they wouldn't have to try so hard to sell it.
In spite of it's name, there is absolutely nothing "real" about reality-based self defense. You trying to punch/kick/submit someone else while they're trying to do the same to you is much more "real" than you sticking out your arm and idly standing as your partner rehearses their 6-move palm/groin kick/eye gouge combo. It's much better to learn the techniques that you can practice, like right hooks and rear naked chokes, which are "deadly" enough if you can do them right.
Similarly, it's a red flag when someone says their art was used by some military force or based on warfare or real historical combat in order to validate its effectiveness. Fighting in war is about weapons, formations and strategy. Unless you're practicing your shield wall, me playing a war simulation video game is closer to a wartime art than your 12 person LARP classes.
Just as silly is saying an art is used to train a modern military force. "Krav Maga is used by the Israeli special forces". Guns are used by the Israeli special forces. If your martial art isn't taking place at the shooting range, it's not a modern military art. Advertising it as such is clever marketing for sure, but tells you nothing about whether or not it will teach you to fight.
You should also watch out for anyone who says their martial art is "physics based" or "based on human movement". They all are. We all work with the same human body and the same physics. Literally every technique ever created is based on the same body mechanics and physics because those are universal. That doesn't make an art special, and over-emphasizing those aspects is a great indication you're talking to a martial theorist.
Finally, be skeptical of the people who make a huge point of emphasizing that sport and street fighting aren't the same. No sh*t. No one ever claimed they are. The differences are obvious and well-known. When you hear that, it's usually the first step to someone excusing their lack of provable fighting ability or dismissing guys who would whoop their ass with basic, boring "sport techniques".
The reality is that the fundamental skills and attributes of fighting are universal, and sport vs. street fighting are different branches of the same tree. The harder someone looks to split hairs about them, the more skeptical you should be.
At the end of the day, you're either training effectively or you're not, and there's nothing very special or unique about what that entails so think critically when you encounter anyone claiming otherwise.
- Dynasty Team