In this thread there seems to be the notion by some martial arts enthusiasts that even when the participants are vastly mismatched in size and power that there will always be room or opportunity for some sort of “fists of fury” martial arts action that will bring the big bruiser to his knees if he’s fighting a considerably smaller and less powerful, but more highly trained, opponent.
In stand up fighting with rules I wouldn’t question this supposition, but in a no rules, real world street brawl scenario I have to question this optimism. I haven’t had a real fight since high school, which was the typical clumsy, pummelling , grappling nonsense, so I’m not speaking from any substantive martial arts experience here. Beyond that, the only grappling experience I had was high school gym wrestling, and the occasional scrum with my brother who was approximately my size and strength.
The main things that make me question the effectiveness of martial arts technique in a real street brawl was two experiences. One of my real estate leasing clients was a very strong (for his size) and wiry man who weighed about 150 lbs, and taught Brazilian-style “go to the ground” fighting techniques. This man has multiple martial arts titles in a variety of fighting disciplines, and competed regionally and possibly nationally. He also tended to be a bit “cocky” in the way he carried himself, and had had his share of bar fights.
I was asking about the effectiveness of his style, and the point he made to me was that if you can’t control the action on the ground, you have little hope of prevailing unless your opponent has a heart attack. He went on to describe a fight in which he was semi-seriously injured by a random belligerent, out of control drunk, who was his size, but being a laborer of some kind was very strong and muscular, and just would not go down, or allow himself to be choked out. He finally prevailed by getting him pinned with the assistance of the bouncer until the police came.
The point he made to me was that martial arts can sometimes give you the edge in confrontation, especially in an open stand up confrontation, but thinking that there are magic, killer moves when things get real messy is nonsense, and that if there is large disparity in mass and reach your best bet is to avoid the confrontation if at all possible unless there is some real chance of taking them out quickly.
Beyond this, re the effectiveness of female martial artists (and again my practical experience in brawling with women is non-existent) I had the occasion where a woman I dating, who was an experienced martial artist, wanted to show me how she would defend herself against me. She was medium-small height and about 130 lbs but very strong for her size, with excellent upper body strength (for a woman) . She was utterly unable to break any grip she had me assume, and was unable to throw or leverage me because I was taller, stronger, and more massive than she was. She was genuinely surprised, because she sincerely expected things were going to go her way.
After twisting, beating and scratching the crap out my forearms and ribcage she conceded that I was too big and strong for her to handle. Prior to this discussion re her various fights with large men (in a martial arts training context) her conversation was always peppered with “Then, if it was real fight, I would do this, and that would kill them or paralyze them”. The nose into the brain palm smash seemed to be her favorite prospective technique in life and death scenarios. (she was a barrel of fun).
Anyway, between these two experiences, and in my limited experience with clumsy, youthful scrums, it always seemed that the stronger, heavier person with the best grip was probably going to win unless you hit them with something and knocked them out.
Having said all this, the question is - Do martial artists, and especially female martial artists, have an reasonable degree of self confidence about their real world chances in a down and dirty fight or not, or does their training tend to make them overly confident?