Top 5 posts of 2014

First of all, happy New Year! May the best of 2014 be the worst of 2015.

Second, I always like year in review programs and articles. It’s fun and often interesting to go over the things we found important, weird, fun or outrageous, once a bit more time has gone by. It can be an exercise in adjusting your perspective by re-evaluating your opinion on those topics. With that in mind, I thought it could be fun to go over the top five posts from 2014.

I selected them simply by looking at the number of views they got, tracked by Google Analytics. I’ll list them here below and add some comments.


  1. Street fighting mistakes: being an innocent bystander There is an old saw that states humans are very bad at assessing risks and avoiding danger. I believe it is true though. We smoke when we know it kills us. We eat crap and drink too much when we knows it kills us too. We knowingly do all sorts of things that are self-destructive. The ones I mentioned here are all well documented and only very few people argue that smoking has health benefits. We know better, because we have been informed about this (over and over, for decades). But a lot of people don’t seem to know better when violence is concerned. They simply act stupid. My guess is that it will take a long time before the general population becomes more knowledgeable on what violence is really like and what the true dangers are.
  2. Open hand or closed fist striking, which is best? As most of you who read my blog regularly already know: I hate dogma. The open hand/closed fist debate has been filled with dogma for as long as I can remember, so I put down my thoughts about it. As always, “it depends” is the most accurate answer I can give. Not the answer people want to read, but it is the “truth” as I know it. Doesn’t mean you have to agree with me though. It just means that I take certain factors into account, factors that are usually left out because of dogmatic thinking. If that helps you in your training, then I’m glad it worked for you.
  3. The Idiot’s Guide to Martial Arts for Those Who Don’t Practice Them This post was triggered by an encounter with an idiot who crashed one of my private training sessions. It made me think of all the similar encounters I’ve had in the last thirty years of training and I found myself remembering a bunch of them (didn’t include them all in the blog post though.) On the one hand, this post is about the silliness and stupidity of others you have to deal with as a martial artist. On the other, I wanted to share some of the ways I handle it.
  4. Krav Maga Knife Defense Video Somebody sent me this video and I had to shake my head when I saw it. For all the reasons I explain in the post, it doesn’t seem like a viable technique to me. Which doesn’t mean much, by the way. Lots of people make techniques I think are crap actually work for them in the street. It’s never black and white. That said, the specifics were pretty bad in this case here, so I analyzed it from my perspective. Funny fact: the instructor in the video, or at least somebody claiming to be him, left a comment on this blog post which was basically a challenge. I chose not to publish it, nor to respond. If it was a troll, then ignoring them is always the best option. If it actually was him, then I can only shake my head again and move on.
  5. Are you really an expert? One of the topics that often comes up with me and my friends is the horrors of “internet knowledge”. Meaning, people have gotten into the habit of reading something on the internet and then believing they know everything they need to know about that subject. What’s worse, they’ll then argue with somebody who not only has a degree in it but also works in the field, refusing to acknowledge that somebody else might know more than they do. For some reason, people have become convinced that their opinion is always as valuable as anybody else’s. I vehemently disagree with that. There is also nothing wrong with acknowledging others as smarter and more experienced than you. Refusing to do so pretty much means you have a God-complex, which is always a sad thing to see in an adult. Anyway, this post delves a bit deeper into “internet experts”, where they come from and what some of the problems with them are.

That’s it for the top five posts of 2014. If you liked them, please share them with others who might find them useful, thanks.

My next post will be a “New Year’s resolutions” one. Should go live tomorrow or the day after.


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  1. First of all, Happy New Year! About the Krav Maga video: I rarely if ever say anything in someone else’s class if I have doubts about something they are teaching as I feel it can spoil the atmosphere of the class (but depends on the teacher’s and other students’ attitudes). This therefore leaves only blogs or forums to air concerns for the most part. If you are given false confidence about a technique especially a knife defense, the healing time or worse death far outweighs a few hurt feelings. Some may say that’s Darwinian selection but hopefully our job is to give material that can counter that selection process. On the whole though so far in my experience in martial arts, people tend to want universal answers from one source which is a low data sample that can produce very skewed views and tend to reject counter views totally as ego gratification, jealousy and/or being an aggressive bully: This business is tough!

    • I agree, but it also becomes complicated real fast. I’ve shot enough instructional videos, both with professional publishers as well as by my lonesome self, to know how easy it is to get something wrong. People often nitpick details or focus on the wrong thing or completely misunderstand what you try to show. Video lies, just like photographs lie. People think they don’t, but they are wrong, as anybody with experience in video editing and filming knows. So when I see a video of a technique, I try to analyze it from several angles and explain my thoughts as to why I (don’t) like it. I believe that’s the most honest way to go about it. That way, if you disagree with me, you can argue the points I made and we can perhaps come to a reasonable conclusion. So whenever somebody gets upset with what I write, it would convince me a whole lot more of the value of their technique if they can counter my arguments instead of replying with a verbal tirade or passive aggressive posturing. I’m more than willing to admit I’m wrong, all it takes is disproving my argument. If they can’t even explain why I’m wrong, then perhaps they shouldn’t teach…

  2. Happy New Year! The “Are you really an expert?” article is one of my favorites, I even saved it in case your blog is lost or something, but the other are cool too!

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