This is part of a series of articles inspired by an interview with Matt Thornton. It is a collection common fallacious arguments and strategic errors regarding martial arts efficacy. From here on, when I write an assertion like, "X works," I mean:
- Substitute for "X" any specific martial art, system, or technique.
- "X" is generally applicable in a real fight.
A Bad Example of X
A video shows a fight between Adam and Bob; Adam practices art Alpha, while Bob practices art Beta; Bob wins.
The first argument asserts that Adam is a poor example (e.g., inexperienced or unskilled) of art Alpha. In some way, Adam lacks the characteristics of a pure example of art Alpha. If, instead of Adam, a better example of art Alpha would have fought Bob, art Alpha would be proven superior to art Beta.
The second argument asserts that Adam's education in art Alpha reflects an truncated, abridged, impure, or otherwise incomplete fraction of all art Alpha has to offer. With a proper or complete education in art Alpha, Adam would have prevailed. A real example from a fight in which a grappler defeated a Taekwondo practicioner is, "TKD has grappling, but you don't see it nowadays."
These are variations of the No True Scotsman fallacy. When these claims are retrospective rather than predictive, they are often attempts to conceal the fallacy of special pleading in order to discount the evidence in question.