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Taekwondo vs. Wrestling

RE: A Facebook discussion with Aaron VanErt:

If only I had kept track how many times I've had the "a wrestler can beat martial artist" debate...  I was going to say 'how quickly you forget', but then I realized you may not even be aware, but "Taekwondo" is a Korean word that literally translates to the "Art of hand and foot".  Taekwondo has more than just kicks in its bag of tricks.  There are a plethora of blocks, punches, strikes, grabs, twists, throws and take downs.  Certainly not as much as Hapkido or Judo, but I would be remiss if I were not to declare I've had more than one field test of pitting Taekwondo against Iowa state wrestling champions.  In most cases they lay on the ground as I've nearly taken their heads off as the lean towards me moving forward in some attempt at a take-down move.  You simply can't aggress towards me without letting your head lead the way and that just isn't going to end well for you.  In some cases when playing around I don't actually attempt to cause them serious spinal injury they CAN out wrestle me...but, I'm not a wrestler and the key is I don't intend to let the fight get that far.  But, let's break it down for fun...

Lets first assume a "law of averages", but not in the manner of which describes randomization.  I mean to speak to the 'averages' that come into play in terms of physical contests.  You don't always make that free throw.  You don't always overcome the adrenaline rush to execute perfectly.  You don't always move, respond, or react exactly the same way each and every time.  That being said, I'm still going to reference some specific field data gathered from direct personal observation, as well as things I might just make up as I go along.

As a matter of mere physics of the martial arts and the fact that the human leg of a male of average height is an incredibly destructive example of a lever in the scientific sense, you cannot discount that "my kicks" are formidable.  On a personal note, I am incredibly fast and accurate and can consistently deliver blows exceeding the necessary pounds per square inch to simulate what would occur to your body, your ribs, your head that you would typically receive in a car accident.  As soon as I notice you lunging towards my midsection I'm going to fire off a kick from my hip immediately towards your cluster of cranial nerves, which is to say, the base of your skull, your neck, etc.  I'm not aiming for your nose.  I'm not trying to catch your jaw in order to dislodge it and render you temporarily unconscious...no, I'm going to target your central nervous system faster than you can change your direction of motion and with an excess of many, many hundred pounds of force.

IF I miss and IF my adrenaline gets the best of me and I miscalculate, error, or otherwise fail to land on target...the moment I feel your shoulder strike my midsection in an attempt to compromise my center of gravity and take me to the ground, I will begin the "art of hand" portion of my training.  I can tell you from experience through contests involving Turkish carnies in Incirlik, that I can punch harder than a 1st Lt, breaking my hand in the process, in order to deliver a blow that possessed over 400lbs per square inch (408lbs, but whose counting?).  Do your Googling.  Olympic boxers can muster up to 1,066 lbs.  A study of 70 elite-level boxers could punch an average of 776lbs.  Frank Bruno, WBC heavyweight champ, could punch 920lbs.  My 408 isn't that impressive but it WAS on an unsophisticated padded wooden board from some commercially-available strength challenge machine, with the picture of a skull on it, in some back alley in Turkey.  However, 408lbs is enough...

According to resources located from medical research at Cambridge and Oxford, and the Intarwebs at large, the general consensus is that the laryngeal prominence surrounding the human larynx cannot withstand more than 5-7lbs of pressure before it is compromised.  Before your wrestler's mite can send me to the ground and the initial wind is knocked out of my lungs, I will be striking your throat with ill intent; punches, knifehand strikes, ridgehands, backfists, spearhands, maybe even just an elbow...whatever actually stands to remove your air supply.  As a wrestler, I'm sure you're familiar with the dangers of 'throat guards' or 'throat strikes' and why they're not permitted.  It's incredibly easy to result in lethal force when you go for the throat.

My attack might not be as theatrically exciting as Patrick Swayze in Roadhouse, but when my Taekwondo kicking fails me, I've many other hand-derived tools in my wheelhouse.  If my attack to your throat fails, for whatever reason, I don't care who you are...your willingness to continue the fight leaves as soon as my fingers, my thumbs, enter your eye socket and I shove your retina back towards your optic nerve.  As you instinctively pull back and raise your hands to protect your face, I will THEN strike your throat...repeatedly, until you've rolled off me and lay on the ground grunting in pain.  THEN I will stand and continue to strike your head and neck with my kicks and punches until you no longer move.  I will stomp... If a curb is nearby, I will leverage it.  I don't need to be able to lift more than you.  I don't need to be able to entwine my arms and legs with yours and pray for cauliflower ear.  I don't need weight or a low center of gravity to break out of a hold...if I can reach your neck, your eyes, or the nerves under your armpits or groin, I will debilitate you with destructive hand techniques in the event you're too close for feet.

Of course, that all assume your initial lunge didn't result in you catching a roundhouse to the neck and I've separated several of your vertebrae near the base of your skull and left you temporarily, or permanently, paralyzed.  I've fought in the street with wrestlers.  I hadn't the actual intent to kill them so yes, while they had broken noses and cracked ribs, they still eventually took me to the ground by charging and wanting to rub their junk in my face.  However, all of them (all 3, separate instances of actual brawls with wrestlers) lost their interest in fighting the moment their eye sockets were compromised or as I simply grabbed their throats, squeezed and twisted.

Unless you catch me off guard and I'm not anticipating your attack, not paying attention, or even looking in your general direction you are not going to be able to leverage any strength, weight, or center of gravity before I can render you unwilling or unable to continue to fight.  Depending on the individual and the situation I might be so inclined to utilize grabs, throws and take downs taught through the practice of Taekwondo - but it is unlikely.  They just aren't destructive enough to be worthwhile unless you're playing around.

When I engage in a fight my intent is to end the conflict as quickly and efficiently as possible.  There is no sense in messing around.  They're probably rum to be had, somewhere...and the fight is likely keeping me from it.

Now, if you want to strap on some skin tight leotards and want to rub your sweaty balls all over my leg...  Sure, I've no doubt you've the superior technique, skill, and body composition that would result in me 'tapping out' or otherwise pinning my shoulders to the ground for a 3 count.

Wrestler or not, in any other hand to hand combat scenario where it isn't two drunk people playing around, my intent isn't to out wrestle you and I don't require the use of my kicks in order to succeed.  My elbows and hands are more than capable of striking with considerable force.  Don't make me punch through 6, 1.5" concrete patio blocks to prove it.  I will.  Your brother will attest.

I cannot waltz into an actual MMA match and win 'with Taekwondo'.  But, an MMA fighter can't stroll into an official Taekwondo match and win when they have to play by different rules, either.  Put an Olympic Taekwondo athlete into an MMA ring and he'll end up bloody and beaten.  Put an MMA fighter into an Olympic Taekwondo match and he's going to end up knocked out and eliminated.  Neither of those statements prove anything other than each practitioner is not able of competing at an elite level outside of their own element.  Regardless, I can engage that MMA fighter in the parking lot after the match and with a different set of parameters end their winning streak, permanently.

There is a huge disparity between wrestling with someone and fighting with someone.  It is unlikely I can out wrestle you.  But, that wouldn't exactly be my goal, anyway.