In 1993, in about the first second of Ultimate Fighting Championship 1, I had the same thought I had during my first fistfight -- "Hold on a second, this martial arts stuff doesn't work at all like it's supposed to!" In one night of grappling, gi chokes and literally no backflip spin kicks, it became sadly clear that martial artists were sort of playing make-believe this whole time. Thousands and thousands of ninjitsu instructors suddenly had a very silly job and I realized that the elaborate karate dance I practiced to fend off a dozen attackers was only going to be useful for seducing girls.
For a long time, martial artists held out hope that word of this MMA stuff would reach a Shaolin monastery or a reclusive tai chi master and they would enter the cage and transform into a tiger. It never happened. These stupid real people fighting stupid real fights effectively killed the mystique of martial arts overnight. The UFC showed everyone that all the crap we were learning was the exact opposite of how to win a fight, and nothing bothers an insecure man like knowing that another guy can kick his ass. I don't know how it is for women, but it seems like the same feeling they get when they walk into a club and see a woman more naked than them.
So with the existence of the UFC, martial artists and douchebags suddenly had a lot of rationalizing to do. After all, how can they think of themselves as fighters if that is fighting and they don't know how to do that? Simple: The sports organization has all these rules like no biting or groin attacks, so none of those UFC apes would know what to do in a real fight! It's a desperate attempt to keep combat as this magical phenomenon that only you, the toughest guy ever, can understand. Still, is anyone honestly insane enough to like their chances against an athlete trained in punching, kicking and grappling armed only with their idea to bite him on the dick?
Some phony badasses are more grounded in their rationalizations. They might explain that they don't do that jiujitsu crap because it's gay to lay on men, especially when you have a boner. Besides -- all you have to do is land one good punch to win a fight. This argument is like saying that you could beat Dwyane Wade at basketball because all you have to do is make a bunch of baskets in a row. It's like saying you could win the Miss America pageant because all you'd have to do is score triple points in the talent section and that only takes four minutes of perfect tap dancing.
Here are some karate chopping facts about me: I ended my childhood with two colored belts, I have a decade of Thai kickboxing and regular punch boxing training and I know enough wrestling and Brazilian jiujitsu that my cause of death probably won't be a headlock. Through the course of my lifetime, I have easily watched over 2,500 amateur or pro fights and posted several articles about MMA here on Cracked, and I personally wrote almost every word anyone says in the UFC Undisputed video games. I'm telling you all this about myself to establish that I'm an actual, professional expert on fighting, and yet every single time someone tells me about a fight they were in, something I've never seen happened.
Here's a true story about a fake story. I'm a typical nerd in that my fashion sense begins and ends with a T-shirt about a thing I'm enthusiastic about, and I have around 30 that say something about muay thai. Plus, I find that a Tapout shirt helps counterbalance my natural charm and magnetism. Three weeks ago, a bouncer saw the kickpunchery on my clothes and started talking about fights with me. Within minutes he told a story of how he once used ju-jitsu, which he explained was "more like grappling than fighting," to "tap out" two guys simultaneously outside a bar. And these guys were apparently huge.
The story made me sad. Not for those poor huge guys who got caught in the dangerous and forbidden Double Octopus Tapout, but because this idiot managed to tell the story to maybe the one person in the bar with academic certainty that he made it up. Plus, when he said he trained nearby, I started guessing from the Brazilian jiujitsu schools in the neighborhood and he changed his story to how he took private lessons way outside of town, years and years ago. This didn't stop him from telling me about the time he knocked one guy out and another guy down with the same back fist.
The thing is, I grew up in a world where you could tell stories like this. Our references for what was possible were ninja movies and the karate instructors teaching us how to catch swords with a clap. When someone on the A-Team punched you once, you fell asleep for 40 minutes. And in ancient temples, old men who totally existed could focus chi into their limbs and let people dangle from their outstretched arms. In this fantastic world of possibilities, why couldn't a small, out-of-shape bouncer dispatch multiple attackers with a move that doesn't hurt? I always wonder why these people don't go all the way and add some time travel or cursed medallions to their fight stories.
So yes, the man telling you a story about the knife fight he won by punching a rib into the lung of his dreadfully unprepared opponent is lying. In fact, it's a safe bet to say that anyone you ever meet who "won" a street fight is making most to all of it up. Or it might only be a weird coincidence that every street fight I see is two flailing unpleasant people falling into the same clumsy heap, and every street fight I hear about involves an untrained weakling settling a dispute with a flying kick. Personally, I never use kicks in a street fight because their impact is so great it dislodges all the breast implants of the nearby clapping women.