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Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Useless Pedantry

 Through a series of links entirely too long to bother tracking, someone gave me an example of the sort of thinking that drives me batshit in the martial arts/self-defense/combat sport community.

I posted earlier about Teja Van Wicklen and her Devi Protective Offense System. I'm still reviewing her website, but it seems like she's got some very interesting ideas going on.

Someone responded to a posting of her webiste (and Rory's comments on it), with this:

Programs designed to be used by people that don't fit the victim profile.

Not sure I understand this, given that most victims of violent crime are young men between 15 and 25.

This sort of useless pedantry occurs all the time in the...whatever the hell community this is. And it's obnoxious.

Even assuming that statistic is accurate (and I suspect it is highly skewed by both conflation of terms and the reluctance of many women to report violent assaults), how does it matter? Does it change the fact that women experience violence in a different way than men? Does it somehow invalidate Teja's efforts to produce a system that will address the needs of women? Does it invalidate Rory's point that most hand-to-hand fighting systems are created by men (usually skilled, athletic men), yet then transferred to unskilled, un-athletic, women?

I don't see how it does. It's basically just nitpicking and negativity for the sake of it.

Perhaps I'm being unfair to the person asking the question, but I see so much of this in the...whatever we are. [Side note: I have no term that I actually like for the larger group of people that includes martial artists, combat athletes, combatives students, and self-defense students]. People talk about how studying these things empowers and improves people's lives, yet feel the need to tear down everyone else at the slightest provocation. I realize that there are times when it's helpful to point out how someone is actually providing false or dangerous information, but most of the time, it's just useless locker room chatter. I'm pretty tired of it. 

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