I have seen the future and it has no rules.
Historically, the available means to demonstrate the effectiveness of any given martial art were argumentation, demonstration, and anecdote. The UFC 1 debuted a concept as simple as wheels on luggage - to find out what approach works best, have exponents of various arts fight each other.
Over time, the parts of each martial art that work against a dangerous opponent came into view. Today, martial artists have readily available the best of jiu-jitsu, wrestling, boxing, muay Thai, judo, kickboxing, sambo, sanda, taekwondo, and karate. Call all that martial arts in the arena.
However, the rise of cell phone video and security camera footage has opened up a second means to determine the efficacy of any particular martial art or technique. Call it martial arts outside the arena, or for shorthand Street.
Martial Arts On The Street can be roughly divided into several main categories:
•Self Defense: The proportional use of force to protect against an unprovoked attack that objectively threatens imminent injury or worse.
•Mutual Combat: Legal in only a few states, this is when two people decide to fight each other on the street, outside of any organized sporting context. There are typically some rules, either explicit or implicit, that include no weapons, and can extend all the way to punching only - no kicking or wrestling.
•Dojo Storm: These typically involve a skeptic or rival, who wants to test his or her own skills vs. a coach or fighter at a gym.
•Bouncer: Part of the job involves dealing with aggressive behavior or non-compliance with statutory or establishment rules.
•Informal fight participants engage in contests held, often loosely, under boxing, wrestling, MMA, etc rules, outside of any recognized sporting organization. Location can range from the gym to the backyard to the beach.
•Style vs. Style: MMA was born from these, and although the practice has largely died out, they can cast clear light on reality.
These stories of Martial Arts On The Streets illuminate what works and what doesn’t, and like martial arts in the arena, it can be entertaining too.