What do martial arts look like?
During my childhood martial arts have been portrayed by personalities like Bruce lee, Chuck Norris, Jet li, Jean-Claude Van Damme and Jackie Chan. All of these movie stars had something in common, they displayed lightning fast and at times acrobatic kicks and punches.
These are the images ingrained in my mind of what martial arts looked like. When one asks the question what does martial arts look like the images of those actors bring to mind martial arts like Jeet Kune Do, Thai Boxing, Karate, Kung Fu and Boxing. Even boxing had its moment in the spotlight with movies like Rocky and Raging Bull. Two boxers displaying fancy footwork and devastating punching combinations. Nowhere in these images and remembrances of what martial arts looked like in my childhood do I even come close to remembering or recalling two opponents rolling around on the ground trying to choke or joint lock each other. The grappling art of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu has not entered the mainstream media or the screen of Hollywood. However this grappling art which combines intelligence, body movement, chokes and joint locks is gaining popularity in every major city in the US. The art has not been glorified on the silver screen but instead has been tested and proven effective in tournaments, fights and military combat.
So when someone asks me what do martial arts look like I can confidently talk about people like Rickson Gracie, Royce Gracie, Renzo Gracie, Marcelo Garcia, Jamie Cruz and Andrew Valencia, real life action heroes. However these men do not portray the mainstream images of Hollywood martial arts but instead display intense grappling as they try to choke and submit their opponent with full and technical force. If you were to ask me today what martial arts look like, I would show you Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, if you were to ask me 30 years ago, I would show you Fist of Furry. What does martial arts look like when you close your eyes? What do you see first?
Below is an example of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu in action!