Re: My Sensei can beat up your Sensei
This is a really good point that I've noticed as well. I'd love to discuss it, here's some beginning ideas:
In my opinion, expecting people to show proof of their ability is a good thing. NHB isn't a comprehensive proof that any art is universally better, but it does clearly demonstrate some otherwise ignored realities. I encourage more situations that further evaluate martial arts.
That said, what's going on in this hypothetical gym is real, and it's stupid. It's the result of many factors, most of which have nothing to do with the arts in question, but rather their appeal to a new element: competitive athletes. I see these people on a regular basis, and I understand your sentiment; sometimes I feel my faith slipping.
Comprehensively, they are a source of many new elements, both good and bad. Weight training, dieting, emphasis on cardio, fierce ethic, and a different approach to technique. They also bring steroids, weight cutting, lack of restraint, and a desire to do anything possible to win. Some of them are real assholes too.
After a bit of consideration, I might hazard, that the "hardcore martial artists of lore" are a lot closer to the professional athletes mindset than you'd like to think. All their time dedicated to aggro persuits. Perhaps lots of ignorance as to the spirt. The truely enlightened were rare among the brutally effective. It seems sensible, as success in competition meant not dying. They tended to empasize it a lot.
Realise that school is not training self defense. It is training offense; assault. A different worldview, no?
I'm sure there are many out there who are absolutely looking for the sensei who can beat up everyone else. What you encountered simply isn't for you.
MMA for me is an exploration of life. There are places you cannot go without meeting brutality and bleeding for it. I've also discovered there is a lot to learn from the hulking wrestler in the sauna. To avoid this "ugliness", would be to cheapen the expirence. My goals are not those of everyone, but are they any less worthy.
That said, not all progressive schools are like that. Just the bad ones ;D. No asshole teachers for me, no steroids, no closeminded idiots, thank you.
Sun Tzu's statment you mention has been applied in many ways. It was used to promote nuclear arms proliferation with the idea that by filling the enemy with fear of an overwhelming technique they won't even try to fight back. This was also the thinking behind the recent shock and awe campaign. I'm not sure if either your usage, or this is correct. Probably something else entirely; I havn't studied Sun Tzu. Anyone know?
I'll also point out that I don't think hardcore training is needed for self defense.
1. A bit of the right basic study will bring you from helpless to competent in a fight. After that, you suffer diminishing returns; the closer you get to invincibility, the longer it takes to get there.
2. Once competent, there are some situations that simply cannot be defended. You can learn to avoid them, but again, after basic instruction, you suffer diminishing returns.
Hardcore training of advanced technique is most rewarding for offense, competition and the spirit.