"The founders of Martial Arts weren’t gods or saints, but real, ordinary men and women. They worked with skill and instinct, but not magic. "
This page will outline some commonly believed martial arts myths and then go some way to explain why they're not true! Most people have heard that you can push your nose into your brain - Not true! Lots of people believe you need to be mega fit to practice martial arts - Not true! Read below to see many more.
This page will be updated regularly so check back and see why more martial arts myths get debunked.
1: You can kill somebody by shunting their nose up into the brain -
While any blow to the head can prove to be fatal, the idea that the nose bones can be driven into
the brain is a complete myth. Firstly, most of the “bones” in the nose is actually cartilage and the
bones that are present are relatively fragile. Even if the nasal bones weren’t completely shattered,
the holes in the skull are fair too small to let them through, only big enough for nerves and blood to
pass through. An upward strike could break these bones but they couldn’t be shunted through the
much denser bones of the skull. A death caused by striking here is caused by shock transmission,
concussion or ruptured blood vessels; not forcing the nose into the brain!
2: You need to be *insert physical attribute* to do martial arts -
Strength? Flexibility? Dexterity? Agility? Coordination? Any other physical attribute to be effective at
martial arts. Having these things certainly won’t hurt your ability but having them isn’t a compulsory
part. The whole ideal of many martial arts is to overcome a person who is physically in a better
position. Another myth is that people need to get fit before they start a martial art. They don’t.
Doing the martial art will help you get fit. But more than that, the earlier you start training the better
off you’ll be.
3: Black belts originated from really dirty white belts/dying them different colours -
So these stories are often told down the generations of martial arts schools, they’re interesting
stories but that’s about it.. Firstly is the idea that students only had one belt and as they progressed
they dyed their belt to the next colour. But because you could only dye it darker than the colour
before, it would eventually wind up brown and then black. Sounds plausible, except the idea of using
coloured Kyu grades is a relatively new idea. Jigoro Kano, founder of Judo, supposedly decided his
students (students of another master – Kawaishi) in France (and the rest of the western world)
needed rewarding or they would stop training, this was in 1935. However, prior to this in 1886, Kano
had already distinguished between white and black belts.
The other myth tells the story of white belts training hard and never washing their belts as it was
seen to represent their knowledge. With a long time in training the belt would get stained with
sweat and dirt and eventually turn black. So a martial artist with a black belt clearly had been
practicing for a long time! Unfortunately this tale is also just a myth. Kano gave 2 of his senior
students the rank of Shodan (first black belt) before the Gi and belt were used to actually train in. At
this time the black belt was purely ceremonial and therefore wouldn’t have turned black with dirt.
Black belts and Gi’s we would recognise today didn’t come about until 1907.
4: Martial artists have to inform would be attackers of their skills -
This has got to be one of the silliest myths on this list. The only advantage you have is the element of
surprise. Why would you throw that away by telling your attacker that you are willing to fight back?!
And probably also give away the style you are trained in, it also takes away some of your self
defence argument. It could be seen that you have entered into the engagement and haven’t shown
you are unwilling to fight. Unfortunately this myth is still prevalent, recently I was told by a student
that his boxing coach had told him this, the worst part is the coach probably believed it too having
been told by his coach.
5: You can learn from books and videos -
You can learn from books and videos, that’s not a myth. But if you wanted to study martial arts then
books and videos are only supplementary to proper face to face personal instruction. Can you learn
to swim from a book alone? Probably not. You might be able to get a general idea of what to do but
until you’re dropped into a pool then you won’t know if what you think you know actually works.
What if it doesn’t work? You are going to need someone to tell you where you are going wrong, or
how to improve. No book or video is going to be able to tell you that.