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Crackpot Mailbox: Michaël the Exile: Are Western Martial Arts a Scam Like Asian Martial Arts?


Fri, Sep 28, 6:43 PM (21 hours ago)

Dear James,

In many of your writings, you make the claim that Asian martial arts are mostly a scam designed to rob unsuspecting people out of their money by teaching them useless, esoteric stuff. After attending bastardized karate and cult-like FMA classes for many years, I couldn't agree more...

Recently, I tried my hand at HEMA (Historical European Martial Arts). Their curriculum is built like this:

- First, they teach you the Longsword (two-handed). In their view, this is the building block of their whole teaching, footwork and all.

- Then they teach you the Messer. The drills remind me of FMA exercises with stiff, highly scripted exchanges between two compliant students. This is done with leather-bound wasters called Dussacks.

- Arming medieval sword comes next, sometimes paired with a buckler - according to the instructor, this is more advanced stuff and beginners such as myself shouldn't expect to dabble in this anytime soon...

- Finally, rapiers are used by most advanced students. They are also working on a Saber class (coming soon).

After about a month of training, I must admit that I am still on the fence. Footwork, guards and many other technical points are difficult for me to learn - I often revert back to what seems more natural to me, no matter what the weapon/context is. Also, I am often frustrated by the fact that although I still struggle with the techniques, I can usually handle myself pretty well in sparring, beating most of the advanced students easily.

What are your thoughts on HEMA? Do you think this stuff is legit, or would I be better off teaching myself?


- Michaël the Exile

Michael, half of the problem with Asian-based martial arts is the American commercial interpretation of those arts.

This morning I went to Sifu Clark’s escrima class to spar. Courtesy demands that I stumble through the drills like the pattern following retard that I am. I am always the worst at the scripted partner drills. This is due to my retardation and amplified by my 20 boxing matches, 66-some stick fights and 22some machete duels. Every fight takes you another step away from scripted partner drills.

After stumbling through the drills I then coached-sparred with a student who I can’t keep up with on the drills, who was struggling with me, who knew in his heart that I would erase him in combat.

Then I sparred with the assistant instructor, who I schooled easily.

Sifu Clark explained that the drills are necessary to earn the rank in the art and that what I do is necessary to be able to apply the art in a real setting.

I am impressed that HEMA permits free sparring between different level students since the effect could be loss of confidence, as drill retards like you and me beat their asses.

The scripted duels are sold as necessary for success and you are being permitted to disprove this, which means these people haven’t gone into total commercial martial artistry yet. They, like Sifu Clark, are keeping the doors open for you by feeding the fantasy of non-fighters who seek rank through submission to a charted progression.

Most schools go all submission, just breaking the fighter in the cradle and making him into a dance clown.

Some schools—boxing gyms for instance—go all fighting, driving away the money they could use to buy good equipment and toiling in impoverished obscurity until they disappear.

It sounds like you are in a workable compromise between combative excellence and delusional excellence. It sounds even better than the school I sparred at today, because the only reason why I am allowed to come in and spar is because of my fight record and my assistance of the teacher. For instance, I am training one of his boxers this week. You wouldn’t be permitted to spar until you achieved a certain aptitude with the largely non-functional art.

Michael, so long as you are allowed to spar, especially across ranks, use the scripted drills as a warm up. Despite whatever bull shit the instructor feeds you do not believe that the drills are as important as the sparring. Do your own drills, based on what you observed works, on your own time. Do not ever speak against these bullshit drills. Play retard, like I do. I am the humblest student of the lowest student in class at drill time. At sparring time I’m king. Also, if it’s like FMA, you will notice that people who drill a lot will have an edge on you in a couple areas of sparring. Make sure you credit that to sure up your instructor’s status—as you are the creature that could possibly negate that—and also take note and drill those aspects of the script that you notice work for even inferior fighters.

Most importantly, stay in there for the saber sparring, a weapon that favors the fighter over the artist by a wide margin, and seek sparring in private with the master at some point. In the end, the master’s repute with other schools is going to come down to producing a dominant fighter, not a script mime.

Be that fighter.

That said, if the master is holding you back from shield and arming sword, which again favors the fighter over the artist, as the shield introduces added physicality, he may already be regretting having you there, may already have developed a fear that you might somehow challenge the system of which he is not only a worshipper but a priest. His insecurity is something that you must manage, for he cannot and it is there, like a snake in the grass, waiting to stifle you and ruin him.

In the end, I would expect a school like this to set up a masters only sparring session, sparring that only drill slaves of the higher rank can engage in, with a weapon like the rapier or small sword, which favors less physical fighters as a refuge for the artists to avoid facing the martialists.

Letters from Planet Meathead: A Fighter’s View of Postmodern Physical Culture

Add Comment
BobOctober 6, 2018 1:49 AM UTC

Check out the names behind the group that forked out $40m. to dox Rise Against Movement leaders, now facing charges on incitement to riot. R.A.M. was styled along the lines of Génération Identitaire. Physical fitness, boxing, eschewal of drugs, booze and pornography. Anti-anti-white. The authorities, naturally, obliged their masters.
Jeremy BenthamOctober 2, 2018 4:06 AM UTC

P.S. I should mention that boxing has been frequently used to proselytize for Roman Catholicism. For example one of the major boxing gyms in New York was run by the Catholic Youth Organization and Norte Dame is one of the few universities left in the USA that still has a boxing program ( . So it is not unknown in the West for combat sports to be used to interest young men in religion. See also the National Collegiate Boxing Association:;
Jeremy BenthamOctober 1, 2018 5:00 PM UTC

So this begs the question of whether the practice of historical Western martial arts is intended to spread Christianity, eh? The answer is absolutely not! That is what Christian Rock music is for and it would probably do a better job of it if it didn’t suck, right? Rather the purpose of Western MA associations such as HEMA is historical reenactment: to recreate and preserve certain martial arts EXACTLY as they were practiced in the distant past (hence the drills and weapons progression). HEMA: ‘Historical European Martial Arts’ - HELLO! Like in Civil War reenactment, you may not want to wear a wool shirt in July, but that’s what they did during the Civil War so that’s what you’re going to do if you want to be part of the club. Likewise HEMA’s intention is NOT to innovate and create new sword fighting techniques for the modern world or to create a new competitive sport to be an outlet for the aggressive instincts of the practitioners. Such as MMA for example. Keep in mind that there is no such thing as modern sword fighting. Dueling and all other forms of consensual combat are illegal today. All we have left are a handful of combat sports that superficially resemble the ‘real’ fighting of the past. It is plain to see, Michael, that like James, you are competitive. When you say that someone is ‘competitive’ what you are really saying is that that person is never happy unless he can beat somebody at something. Such a person greatly values being able to beat somebody at something, no matter what that something might be. So your frustration with both the Oriental MA and the historical western MA is that that neither venue allows you spend an entire ‘training session’ just beating people at sparring and instead forces you to spend what in your mind is an inordinate amount of time engaging in bullshit drills you believe do nothing to improve your fighting ability and that you do not excel at either. Keep in mind that according to the Eastern religions such competitiveness, such ‘striving’, is just as wrong as excessive materialism and just as likely to create greater suffering and lead to your unhappiness. After all, nothing in this world is permanent so eventually everyone and anyone will be able to kick your ass. In the same vein few people will want to spend a lot time do something they just suck at, and everyone can see that they suck at it. We would rather spend our time doing stuff we’re good at and that everyone else can see that we are good at. Most people take the path of least resistance in that regard. So I understand that if you’re not naturally good at the drills why you wouldn’t want to spend time working on them. Without trying to sound like too much of a smart ass then, you might try to feed your competitive instincts, your need to conquer and dominate, by participating in a purely competitive combat sport like modern fencing or boxing. Something in which all that really matters is your ability to win bouts (within the rules of the sport of course). Alternatively you can do as James suggests and just accept HEMA for what it is and use it to get what you want out of the sort of training it provides. Finally though if you cannot find exactly what you want in the ‘marketplace’ then create your own. That is what people do in our society. For example, a guy by the name of Moon Kook-jin couldn’t find the kind of concealed carry handgun he really wanted in the marketplace so he designed and manufactured his own. He started Kahr Arms Company. So think about starting your own fight club or ‘salle de arms’ where you can spar all you want and to whatever degree you want and not waste time on bullshit drills and bullshit ranks and such like.
Jeremy BenthamOctober 1, 2018 4:39 PM UTC

“Subjecting yourself to vigorous training is more for the sake of forging a resolute spirit that can vanquish the self than it is for developing a strong body.”

-Masutatsu “Mas” Oyama, 1923-1994, Founder of Kyokushin Karate

“Meditation brings wisdom; lack of mediation leaves ignorance. Know well what leads you forward and what holds you back, and choose the path that leads to wisdom.”

“It is better to conquer yourself than to win a thousand battles. Then the victory is yours. It cannot be taken from you, not by angels or by demons, heaven or hell.”

-Buddha, 563-483 B.C.

The dirty little secret is that the principle purpose of the classical Oriental martial arts (MA) in the Western World is to proselytize for the religion of Zen Buddhism. Especially those arts that self-identify as a ‘Do’, a ‘way’ or a philosophy of life, rather than merely an art or technique of fighting. Just like the true purpose of Yoga is to spread Hinduism. The commercialism of much of the oriental MA in the West is merely a consequence of the fact that even your everyday Buddhist is a human being and likes to have nice things. There are a lot of nice things to be had in Western countries, aren’t there? Buddhism doesn’t forbid materialism per se, it merely teaches one to avoid engaging in too much of it as that would ultimately lead to suffering. Buddha taught that the world is full of suffering already so the Buddhist should avoid doing anything that causes increased suffering. The inculcation of the physical discipline implicit in the practice of the various oriental fighting arts combined with Zen meditation will enable the martial artist to develop a calm and peaceful mind that will help him to ultimately achieve the state of Nirvana thereby avoiding being reborn into the suffering of this world. Perhaps even in a single lifetime. That is ALL that matters. If enough people around the world develop this calm and peaceful mind through the practice of MA that could even lead to world peace, eh? Many of you reading this probably know someone personally, someone of accidental extraction, who became a Buddhist after becoming deeply involved in the Oriental MA. So there you go: mission accomplished.
responds:October 3, 2018 10:46 AM UTC

Jeremy, thanks for all the information you have added to this discussion.