"A boxer is like a lion, the greatest predator on land. But you throw him in the shark tank and he's just another meal."
I saw this quote on a Facebook post earlier today. It was attributed to Renzo Gracie. How accurate that is, I don't know.
It's true, but it bugs me.
Yes, if you throw a lion into the shark tank, the lion will die. Of course, the reverse is also true. Throw a shark into the lion cage, and the shark will suffocate while its skeleton collapses, unable to support its own weight. And then, hey, it's just another meal.
Dump shark and lion into the middle of an ice floe in the Arctic Circle, and they're both dead. The lion might last a little longer, but not much.
A while back, I wrote about the idea that every fighting art is created by a particular group of people in a particular social, cultural, and historical context for use by those people in that context. I still believe that is true. I also believe that it means that the further you move an art away from those contexts, the further you diminish its functionality. Boxing works marvelously in the boxing ring. In the Muay Thai ring, less so. And so on, and so on, and so on.
The same goes for Brazilian Jiu-jitsu. And Muay Thai. And Judo. And the PDR. And everything else. Move it away from the area where it was supposed to work, and it works less well.
Drop the lion in the shark tank, and it dies. Drop the shark in the lion cage, it dies.
In their own respective environments, each is a dangerous predator. Outside of them, each is not.
This does not make the shark superior to the lion, nor the lion to the shark.
If you want to travel on the Serengeti, you'd best know how to deal with a lion. If you plan to swim the Great Barrier Reef, you should learn how to avoid sharks.
If you're going to the Arctic Circle, sharks and lions aren't an issue. But polar bears might be.
Once you know the territory you want to venture into, take the appropriate measures. It's as simple as that.