Street Fighting Moves – Interviews Christopher “Bob” Roberts – The 4 Reasons Why Martial Arts Fail

Charles – In this article we have an ex-military man, bouncer and street fighting instructor who is going to explain to us 4 reasons why traditional martial arts, your karate, tae kwondo, hapkido…is really ineffective. How are you doing today, Bob?

Bob – I’m doing great, Charles.  How are you doing?

Charles – Just great.  Hey, well let’s go right in to it.  Give us the 4 reasons why traditional martial arts is ineffective for the streets. 

Bob – Well, okay, the biggest reason is that  they teach form over function. 

The # 1 Reason Why Traditional Martial Arts is Ineffective – Form Over Function.  Let me explain.  When I talk about street based martial arts, I always tell people, yeah, I’ll beat you up, if I have to go outside get in my car and run you over.


Bob – And with martial arts, it is not a matter of whether or not you win, it’s a matter of how you fight.

Charles – Uh ah.  

Bob – Winning is the biggest part of fighting – and surviving.  So the first problem with traditional martial arts is form over function.  It doesn’t matter how you do it in the street – just do it!  In martial arts, it’s more important how you do than if you win or not.

Charles(Laughter.)  Wow!

Bob – And another thing is –

The #2 Reason Why Traditional Martial Arts is Ineffective Is The Concept of Fairness, Respect and Honor – Look, I am a very fair, honorable and respectful person, but if you go ahead and cross me on the street, and for some reason I feel threatened, for some reason I am attacked and I have to fight, I will do anything and everything that I have to do to survive, and that usually means being as unfair, disrespectful and dishonorable as possible

But you know what.  I’m still alive, still here today, and I haven’t been seriously injured, and I haven’t been seriously been beaten in a fight on the street.  So, forget about tradition.  Forget about respect.  Forget about honor.  Concentrate on winning.  And buy the guy some roses afterwards when he is in the hospital.

Charles(Laughter.)  And what’s number 3?

Bob – And –

The #3 Reason Why Traditional Martial Arts is Ineffective Is Their Concept of Traditional Clothing – You’re not going to be barefoot.  You might not even be wearing tennis shoes when you’re fighting on the street.  When I teach, for instance, women, I have them wearing skirts or dresses.  I have them wearing high heels, or high heel boots, just like they’re actually going to wear.  It’s not just a matter of learning how to fight in t-shirts and tennis shoes.  And then, there will be a man wearing a suit and full dress shoes.  That’s what you need to train in. 

Sneakers, bare feet, kung fu uniforms, silk pajamas have no place whatsoever when you are training to fight on the street. 

Charles(Laughter.)  And number 4?

Bob – Okay –

The #4 Reason  Why Traditional Martial Arts is Ineffective  Is That They Resist Unorthodox Situational Tactics – They resist teaching and sanctioning unorthodox techniques like biting and eye-grabbing or anything in a street fight that becomes obvious for you to do but you resist doing because your sensei or teacher has not approved of it.

Charles –  Bob, this has been a great interview.  Thanks so much.

Bob – Thank you.

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