Can a good martial artist who is not a very good fighter teach someone how to fight?

Can a MA who is very knowledgable in regard to fighting theory and concepts (angles of entry and body positioning, body mechanics and human anatomy, use of leverage, etc) but a very good, or experienced "fighter" teach someone else how to fight effectivly?

Thoughts?
Sparring is not fighting. It is just a training format where you can experiment and see what MIGHT work for you in a fight.

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13 comments

  • Yes, of course. Sometimes a skilled professional can lack the ability to teach. Other times a very knowledgeable but mediocre person may be able to pass their wisdom along to somebody who can put it better into practice and gain leverage. Students can and do outperform their masters. I hope I explained it well enough for you.

  • It is possible, but unlikely. The student would need to be exceptional. It is much better to be a great teacher, and a not very good fighter. To teach, you must be able to teach. There are a lot of schools out there that are run by great fighters, who can’t teach very well. Those schools tend to not do very well.

  • I think that someone without experience in actually using the art against another person, such as in sparring, would not be able to do more than give the student a good understanding of the basic moves. A good martial artist must know how to effectively apply their techniques, so if they don’t have the experience sparring, then they haven’t really completed their training as a martial artist.

    Think of it as someone who has driven lots of arcade road racing games trying to teach someone how to drive a real car. All the basics are there, but none of the experience on how to successfully and effectively apply it.

    I agree with those answers above too. No matter how good you are at doing something, if you can’t effectively teach that to your student, then the student can’t excell in that either.

    I know that in teaching martial arts to others I discover how extensive and sufficient my own understanding of the techniques and concepts behind them are. I also can evaluate the effectiveness of my training of the student by seeing how their own understanding and proficiency grows. Sometimes I have to stop and go back and look at my own technique to discover if I have left an important detail out when I teach them. It is easy to take for granted the techniques that you yourself use so effortlessly, and there are details that you do automatically, without thought, that sometimes get left out when you teach it to someone who has never done it before.

  • what’s that old saying??

    those who can’t do… teach!

    some people are blessed with the understanding of body mechanics, timing etc. but their bodies just can’t execute as well as they wish they could.

    Others are natural fighters. It depends on who you encounter. Some one can know a lot about fighting, have a passion of studying fight footage, know all about angles and timing etc. but just can’t physically do it.

    Does that make them a bad martial artist??? I don’t think so.

  • Yes, but they may not be able to teach another individual properly, but then again, teaching is one thing, actually perfecting the technique is another.

    An instructor can only do so much to pass on the knowledge to a student, it is up to the student to further his or her own training to better themselves or evolve as a Martial Artist.

    but an instructor who hasn’t fought, or has lost fights doesn’t mean that they cannot teach another individual, it may be more difficult to tech the individual(s) how to defend themselves, but it is possible.

  • You ever wonder why all those martial arts techniques (well if he did this I’d to this this and this) never seem to work. It’s all about the basics, the moves that work because they are simplke and functional. The jab, a great punch, not technical like a kata, however, can be 10x more useful. I’ve seen some people say, hes gunna try top close and clinch and I’m gunna do this (slow motions a elbow, two punches and a palm strike) Then when the action comes, you MAY get the elbow in. Some MA have totally over thought a fight. You have to get down and dirty. It’s alot harder to think and use your skills with an opponent who wants nothing more than to beat you, and hes not moving at half speed like you trained.

  • Yes, my dear friend, there are many good coaches and trainers who are not good fighters who did preform great with there fighters. It is the knowledge and the ability to let a fighter preform to its best that creates a top fighter.

  • yh but depends on the art hes teaching

  • "Those who can’t, teach"
    This statement has truth in it.
    Just because someone can’t get in the ring and fight does not mean they can’t teach.

    The Joyce family is a good example of this. There father is very old and would not fight (I don’t even know if he is alive anymore). But just because he can’t fight doesn’t mean he can’t teach his system.

    This is how things get passed down, the older students pass it to the younger students.

    Or, what if there was a person that was a very good fighter but got a severe injury, they could still teach.

    Also, keep in mind. A fight is willing physical competition between two egos. Self-defense is a situation where a person fights to preserve their well being against their will.
    Very different concepts.
    A person may be very good at self-defense but may not be a good fighter.

  • Of course. A good fighter is not necessarily a good teacher by any means either. There’s an old tale of a boy who watches a samurai practicing sword kata. The boy compliments the samurai, and he in turn offers to teach the boy. The boy, however, instead says "teach me where I can find your teacher"! I think that this makes a lot of sense, I would rather learn from someone who had taught great fighters to become what they are, than to learn from the fighter himself.

  • Look on almost ANY NFL sideline, and ask if someone who can’t DO, can still teach.

  • Are the best boxing trainors always the best fighters? Do the best athletes always make the best coaches? Of course not!

    Martial arts is no different.

  • No. Can a blind person teach a blind person to see? If it is not useful, it is not good martial arts.

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