I think that’s a really elegant (and funny) way to get a point across when it comes to design, but it’s also really important for training in the martial arts for self defense purposes.
Training in class, as we get better over time we also tend to make things complicated. After a while you’re going to go beyond the basics and start working on fancier, more complicated techniques. That new jump-spinning kick… that berimbolo-to-armbar combination… or that crazy new double stick striking pattern.
This is totally normal. And it’s also OK: these new techniques and combinations might not be directly relevant to self defense, but working on it helps keep things interesting and gives you new challenges to overcome. Also they might give you the edge in sparring (you’re sparring, right?) against your regular training partners who might be wise to all your old tricks.
On the one hand, training all those fancy techniques makes doing the simple simple stuff seem like a walk in the park. But on the other hand it can make you overthink things.
So its really important to emphasise that if push ever comes to shove in a self defense situation should go with your most basic, your most foolproof techniques.
Use the KISS principle: Keep It Simple Stupid!
A streetfight is NOT a sparring session.
The stakes are much, much higher because you can’t rely on anybody to stop the fight if you get tagged, and tapping out is not an option if you’re caught in a choke. If you lose you could literally wake up crippled or dead. So you’re in an extremely stressful situation.
Also the number of things you have to worry about is much higher. Instead of focusing on just sparring with one partner you also have to worry about weapons. You have to keep scanning for other attackers. You have to think about the legal implications.
With that much mental plate-spinning stress your most basic tools will be the most reliable.
Forget the fancy stuff and use your straight right cross… grab him with your Thai clinch and keep hitting him with straight knees… take him down, take the back and choke him out…
For a little bit more on this topic, including a story about when I way overthought a situation, check out the video below:
We started with one of my favourite quotes so we’ll finish with another. Here’s Albert Einstein on simplicity, and it applies just as well to martial arts and self defense as it does to theoretical physics…