I was thinking today...during an 8 hour flight I had plenty of time to do so...
My train of thought went something like this: a bench press guy crawls under an enormous amount of weight, sucks in some air and blasts the ever living shit out of the bar with his arms. He grunts, groans and farts while sweats pours over his distorted face. Finally, the weight is now at arms length. He rests for a second possibly reconsidering this feat and quickly realizing his scrawny spotter was probably not the best choice. He lowers the weight to his chest, barely touches and slams the weight back into the air a second time, a third time, and so on until a set of 8 or 10 is completed. He's pumped; veins punching through his skin as if mutant, sub-dermal worms were trying to burrow their way back to fresh air. He looks around to see if any hot chicks noticed. If not, he waits until a cute one walks by and he restarts his activity.
Then I thought, how would a skinny little BJJ guy do a bench press? He would shrimp under the same bar, smirking as if he had today's lotto numbers and didn't want to brag. Shrimping some more, and nearly off the end of the bench table, the BJJ guy aligns the bar across his hip. A quick surge upwards, lifts the bar off the rack and his locked arms simply guide it to his hips as he lowers his bridge. A couple of bridge pumps just to show it works and back on the rack the enormous weight goes. Shrimp back out and the scrawny BJJ guy asks the over-roided freak next to him if he wants to arm wrestle. As the gorilla sets up his arm the little BJJ guy arm drags him and chokes him out.
That last part was just for my amusement.
The moral to this story is simply I believe martial arts and exercise are complete opposites. Exercise sticks one's body into a mechanically disadvantaged position, forcing the person to muscle out of everything. Which by definition, what exercise is supposed to do. Martial arts on the other hand seem to be the opposite. For example, in BJJ we use levers, weights, pulleys (gi's) and circles to manipulate opposing forces (our opponent). Nothing in BJJ or any Martial Art I've studied has ever required a practitioner to increase their strength specifically to oppose a force.
So lets break this down a bit. Martial artists cheat like card shark, by lying, stealing and general misdirection when dealing with opposition. Exercise guys jump right under that bar, bite that bastard and lift it with their teeth, if they could.
Speaking of teeth, here's quick true story on this very subject. When my dad taught Shotokan he used to have everyone lay on their backs and lift their head and feet off the floor a few inches and hold for what seemed like a century. Shaking and fatiguing, fighting off flies in the Arizona heat, some of us opted to use our favorite Martial Art technique: cheat like Tiger Woods at a model convention! Our method was simple, bite our gi collar. Gnashing away at ones gi gave us a lever to hold our fat little heads off the hard concrete floor. (yes we trained on concrete, outside!) Of course my dad quickly caught on and he would run around like a rabid badger, pissed off; ripping our lapels out of the mouths of the room full of gi piranhas. Yet we survived, and that was what the Martial Arts seemed to be about. Get the task done, anyway possible, with minimal effort and most importantly survive.
One note, I'm not bashing exercise! Merely stating the two are polar opposites in means of getting the job done. They certainly complement each other. Exercise gives one speed, coordination, agility and fast twist response -- all necessary for a successful Martial Artist intent on catching his little bastard students cheating :)
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