5 Great Martial Art Myths

The world of martial arts is rich in myths and legends. Some of these can be traced back to some basis in reality, but many appear to have simply been made up. Politics and competition between different arts can also explain some of the wild stories about death blows and guys single-handedly taking on an army. Some of the greatest martial arts myths are as follows.
  1. A martial artist’s hands and feet have to be registered as deadly weapons when he reaches black belt.
This is utterly ridiculous and quite laughable. For a start, all black belts aren’t the same. Black belt status can be achieved in some arts in one or two years, but it can take ten years or more in others. The cost of regulating martial artists would run into millions, and there’s no evidence any country has a government department to do this. This myth probably has its roots in Japan after World War two. Martial arts were made illegal at this time in Japan, and records were kept of all experiences practitioners.
  1. One martial arts style is far more effective than all others.
This is one of the most common and dangerous myths. Whilst it’s true some arts train to higher standards and involve more full-contact sparring, you can’t judge all arts unless you’ve trained in them. Judo and Aikido are often criticised as being ‘softer’ styles, but both are incredibly effective if the student trains to a good level of proficiency. One art may involve more advanced grappling work, but another may have superior techniques for dealing with weapon attacks.
  1. All martial arts are ancient.
The Shaolin Monastery is thought by many to be the starting point for all martial arts. It’s true that many of today’s arts can be traced back to China, but there is also clear evidence of combat systems developing around the world as early as 1500 BC. Some of today’s most popular arts have been developed in recent decades, and not all can be said to have been around for centuries. Krav Maga only dates back to the 1930’s, and Choi Kwang Do only started in the 1980’s. These arts may have influences from earlier styles, but they were designed for modern combat situations.
  1. You can kill a man by forcing his nose back into his brain.
This myth appears in many books and movies, but it simply isn’t true. Anyone who has studied anatomy and physiology knows that the nose is made up of soft tissue and doesn’t really have any bones. The brain is actually quite some distance away from the nose. It’s true that strikes to the head could cause lethal trauma to the brain, but not by driving the nose into the brain.
  1. Martial arts training turns people into bullies.
This is disrespectful and offensive, as well as untrue. It’s true that the odd bully is attracted to taking up a martial art, but they are generally spotted and turned away if they plan to misuse what they learn. Great martial artists are often the most peaceful and good-natured people you could wish to meet. They only ever use their skills when it’s absolutely necessary, and avoid violent situations wherever possible.