Practice Evidence Based Martial Arts

There’s a whole lot of cult like weirdness in the Martial Arts world. It’s often times very hard to discern the efficacy of techniques, so many of them are steeped in urban legends, mis– and dis-​​information and just outright lies. So how are we to make our way through the myriad of methods that “master” teachers tell us will effortlessly defeat the bad guys and protect our lives? By using empirical evidence based procedures.

Let’s break down what I mean by “empirical evidence based procedures.” “Empirical” means “of the senses,” for our purposes as martial artists , this means primarily the visual (sight)and kinesthetic (feeling) senses. “Evidence” is empirically observed results. And “procedures” mean a well thought out methodical process. Another way of saying this is that we are going to apply the SCIENTIFIC METHOD to our martial arts training.

The scientific method refers to a body of techniques for investigating phenomena, acquiring new knowledge, or correcting and integrating previous knowledge. To be termed scientific, a method of inquiry must be based on gathering empirical and measurable evidence subject to specific principles of reasoning. The scientific method is a process, consisting of systematic observation, measurement, and experiment, and the formulation, testing, and modification of hypotheses.

The way that we can apply the scientific method to the martial arts, essentially becoming martial scientists is by first forming an HYPOTHESIS, such as ” finger locks are an effective way to control an attacker.” Then we can devise a TEST to see if that is true. We could pick ten students and have them attack us, catch them in a finger lock and see if we can indeed control a resisting attacker with a finger lock. After that we can EVALUATE THE DATA of our test and see if the empirical evidence proves our hypothesis true or not. Then from there we can MODIFY our hypothesis if necessary and do further testing.

This is the best way I know of to keep everybody honest and cut through all of the dogma and silliness that has plagued the martial arts for so long. I challenge you to become a martial scientist by practicing Evidence Based Martial Arts (EBMA).


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