Makin' it work...
That is bullshit, would never work for real, why does anyone train in that?
The common cry of those who don't see the value in other arts. But, what does work? Well I have some bad news, er...yeah its really bad.
Martial arts don't teach you to fight or win. Sounds crazy? Well, let me explain.
There is a common saying (as there usually is) that its not the art but the fighter that makes it work. Sounds a bit trite? Well, that is probably because its about as honest as you can get with any martial art. I don't care what you train in, MMA, Kick boxing, Muay Thai, Kali, Karate, Capoeira, Judo, Ameri-do-te, or Ninjutsu, none of these will turn you into a competent fighter, martial artist or 'bad-ass'.
It is how you apply the techniques that make something effective. In Ninjutsu we practice a technique called Omote gyaku, it's also called Kote gyaku in other arts, and I am sure there are other terms. That is not important. What is important is understanding the principle in the technique, adapting and absorbing that principle to make an effective tool in your tool box - one of many 'tools'.
Its been said that a kick is a kick, and a punch is a punch - catchy huh? But its really not about the technique, its about how you apply it. Much like its not what you say, its how you say it. This is all the same principle. Being able to apply the principle of a wrist lock, a punch, a kick is what makes it effective...and by default the practitioner an effective and capable martial artist.
Within ninjutsu, and at our dojo, we often say move your feet, its not that kinda club...oh, and train with intent. Intent - makes a difference between going through the mechanics of motion, and applying the principle effectively. Not perfectly but effectively. Being effective, with minimal force is the goal. Oh, and I said minimal force not no force, its a big difference.
When people hear 'use less strength' they think it means no strength and therefore feel its an ineffective approach to training. But, if you talk about using the minimum needed to make it work, it makes more sense. We always say (in addition to the afore mentioned ones) you need to be aware there will be other opponents, its NEVER one on one. If that's the case you would be ill advised to exhaust yourself on one opponent only to be subdued by their friend(s).
So when people say a particular martial art is weak, poor, or not effective, its usually one of two reasons: they are invested and committed to their own art; or they have only seen poor examples of the art. The only answer to all this is be the best example of a martial artist you can be, and train for your own arena.
So the bad news: no martial art will teach you how to fight or win.
The good news: any martial art can be effective with the right mindset and intent.
Its all down to the individual...