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Reinventing Violence (podcast)

This podcast discusses how martial artists often try to reinvent criminal violence into a good fit for their chosen system; instead of adjusting their system to fit the inescapable realities of criminal violence.

Problem should define the solution. The “solution” should not try to reinvent the problem!

This is a widespread and insidious practise in the martial arts. Traditionalists, modernists and even “reality” based systems do it; albeit in differing ways. Because actual violence is thankfully rare, this problem can go unnoticed but it has many serious problems.

This “art over reality” approach puts students in danger if they do have to face real violence. It also promotes tribalism and division within the martial arts because we spend way too much time arguing the “merits” of various pseudo-realities, and their associated pseudo-solutions, instead of addressing the reality of the common problem.

Once reality is accepted, and self-protection is realistically addressed across the board, we can get on with exploring and enjoying all the other beneficial aspects of the martial arts from the perspective of our chosen system.

Above all, we need to remember that the only place we can “reinvent reality” is in our minds. We can make up all kinds of falsehoods to justify the way we practise, but actual reality remains unchanged!

People don’t attack with formal lunging punches; criminals don’t stand idly by when their buddy is getting strangled on the ground; criminals don’t put up a guard, square off and fight so “the best man wins”; you will have to justify your actions when measured against the actual law and not how you imagined you uber-violent “military” fantasy playing out; and so on.

Pretending reality is something other than it actually is in order to promote your chosen art as perfect and beyond criticism does not actually advance or protect the reputation of your chosen system. It harms and diminishes it.

In the podcast, we look at why people try to reinvent violence, specifically how many of the most popular systems do it, and why it is vital we all stop it.

So strap yourself in for what should be the least controversial podcast ever … but the fact it’s unlikely to be received that way ironically illustrates the very issue this podcast seeks to highlight.

All the best,


Reinventing Violence
Iain Abernethy