They’re impressive to look at, but these styles might not serve you in a fight.
It’s a subject that’s been discussed numerous ways on several different sites over the years, but Bullshido is, besides a large target, a very irresponsible way to introduce people to martial arts. The trick of Bullshido is that it still appears to bank on the idea that many people don’t know that much about martial arts and will believe anything they see so long as an ‘expert’ is advising them what to do. This is why individuals such as Steven Seagal have been able to become so popular over the years, at least until the internet became such a big deal and started outing those who’d relied on word of mouth more often than not.
To be fair, Bullshido is entertaining since it does provide a few good laughs, even if it feels petty to do so at times in regard to those who believe their own hype. But when it comes to martial arts, it’s better to realize that it’s not quite as glamorous as Bullshido makes it appear, but it’s definitely worth it. Unfortunately, another thing that Bullshido has done pre-internet is to convince a lot of people that some styles are a lot more effective than they really are. With all honesty, it’s not just the style, it’s the practitioner that makes a style effective or not. After all, the person performing the art has a chance to evolve and adapt to the shortcomings of their chosen style, if they so desire, and create something that’s both traditional and new at the same time.
But, a lot of times people just want to believe that what they see in the movies and on TV is accurate, so Bullshido is still very much a thing. Not only that but several styles that aren’t really that useful in a real fight are given a lot more credit than they tend to deserve.
With that in mind, here are ten of the least effective martial arts.
10. Tai Chi
One thing that every reader should understand is that there’s nothing saying any, or all, of these styles, are worthless and should never be practiced. Far from it, in fact. Plenty of martial arts are great exercise and in some instances can be a lot of fun and allow people to enjoy the support of a community and feel accomplished. But when it comes to an actual fight, Tai Chi is just one of many styles that aren’t going to help you. For one, it’s more about slow and ponderous movements rather than quick and effective self-defense. Not only that, but Tai Chi as an exercise is great, but as a combat style, well, it’s already been disproved as efficient or useful. If you want to find a quiet spot in the park and enjoy this style along with several others, go for it. But if you’re in a street fight, abandon all ideas of parting the horse’s mane or gathering your Chi.
Does anyone remember the strange way that the majority of kids fought back in grade school? Apparently, a Russian martial artist (using that term loosely) figured out how to create a style that doesn’t require a great deal of work and hearkens back to the days when slapping and waving your arms at an opponent was useful. From the low and deceptively harmless kicks to the rapid-fire sounds of hands slapping madly at one’s own body, this style is something that might make an opponent fold immediately…after laughing hard enough to get a serious stomach cramp.
8. Sumo Wrestling
Without any intent to dishonor or discredit this time-honored competition, calling Sumo wrestling a martial art is kind of dodgy in the opinion of many people. It’s true, the combatants do need to train, they do need to understand what they’re doing, and they certainly need to have plenty of skill for what they do. But another truth is this: outside of the Sumo ring, they’re not that effective. There’s a reason why Sumo wrestlers no longer compete in MMA, kickboxing, or any other contact sport. It’s largely (no pun intended) because they’re dedicated to one style of fighting, and pushing someone around is only useful when you’re in the Sumo ring, executing a pass block, or simply trying to get a bit of distance, or imposing your will. Other than that, a Sumo wrestler is a little too easy for even the average fighter to handle.
7. Wing Chun
The Ip Man movies and many others gave rise to the knowledge of this style in a big way, even though it’s existed for far longer than all that. Unfortunately, what it’s also done is elevate a style that makes people think that if you have hands as quick as Donnie Yen and several others, you can kick some serious ass and take on ten people at a time. First of all, NO. If you take on ten people at the same time, you’re going to get your butt kicked, no matter who you are. If they take turns striking you, sure, there’s a chance. But outside of the Hollywood set, no. Apart from the lack of grappling, this style has a few devastating moves, if you can make them work. But while there is a big debate about how effective this style is in self-defense, it has more to do with a person’s dedication to the style than the actual style itself. All in all though, Wing Chun is not the style that’s going to get you out of a jam if you run into a grappler.
As one of the more impressive fighting styles out there, Capoeira is, unfortunately, one of those that are extremely difficult to master and at the same time isn’t bound to be as effective on its own. When used to supplement other styles, if a person can make it happen, this could be a sight to see. But all alone, Capoeria leaves a person open in a lot of ways to a counterattack, and not only that, but a lot of the movements take time and space to set up. This isn’t going to work if a person is rushing forward and not keen on giving their opponent the needed space. It is fun to watch though.
5. Kung Fu
The movies tend to make a lot of people believe in the fiction that could or could not be true since it is possible for an individual to take on a style and make it work. But the fact remains that in the movies and on TV, a lot of the exaggerated moves are bound to make an opponent laugh instead of stare in awe. Kung Fu is a style that’s lasted for a long, long time. But before the internet, it was easy to be impressed by the flashy moves and supposedly deadly techniques. After reading and learning firsthand how this style really works though, it’s a good workout, but only deadly in the right hands.
A lot of people should be able to admit that growing up, the mention of ninjas was exciting and even kind of terrifying in a way. Just imagine, a person clad in all black that snuck around at night and could take out the armored, impressive samurai that they supposedly clashed with, if they struck in the dark and were skilled enough to make a clean kill. But in this day and age, ninjas are more often the stuff of movies and TV than anything else, since the training is kind of like comparing the CIA to the Marines. It’s a weird comparison, but it feels right.
3. Yellow Bamboo
Just imagine if people could actually channel balls of energy into their hands and fling them at their enemies. Yeah, it’s ridiculous, but it’s also a disturbing thought since the impulse control, or lack thereof, that many people display in this day and age makes it clear that Yellow Bamboo would be outlawed at some point. But thankfully the energy that this cult…pardon me, GROUP, preaches about and attempts to channel is likely more impressive in their imagination than it could ever be in reality. It’s kind of easy to impress people when your followers are willing to act like they’re having a seizure after you thrust your palms at them. It’s a dig, but groups like this are easy targets, and more than that, it’s better to call them out than to buy into the message they’re selling.
2. Dillman’s No Touch
The idea that a person could project their Chi into the air and incapacitate someone is interesting in a way since it does sound like a great way to avoid conflict. Seriously, think about it, the ability to fend off an attacker without having to touch them, bloody your knuckles, or risk your overall health, is kind of cool. But the thing about this is that no one had to out Dillman back in the day since he did it on his own. Once he made it clear that if you lift your toes in the right way or place your tongue in a certain spot in your mouth, his legend was over and the ridicule was on track to keep going for a while.
The obvious reason why this style is being mentioned has more to do with Steven Seagal than anything else. But, getting down to it, aikido is heavily reliant on being quick enough and capable of grabbing, locking up, and flipping your opponent around. In the movies, it looks pretty cool, but in reality, it’s more likely that you won’t be quick enough and your opponent will close the distance before another wristlock can be applied. Seagal makes this style look a lot easier than it really is, and a lot more effective.
WTR? (Why’s That Radass?)
There’s a good reason for calling out certain martial arts, and it’s not nearly as petty as some might think. It’s the fact that martial arts, which are primarily used for self-defense, are meant to inform and instruct people on how to take care of themselves and instill a sense of self-discipline that can help them feel good about what they’re doing. Those who teach styles that are notably bad and not even close to effective are con artists and are best avoided. As for the rest, that’s up to the individual. Pick wisely, or just sit back and laugh.