My thoughts on fighting:
Out of coincidence, I did spar with a gymnast (who was in far superior conditiong than I was) and I got him in both locks you mentioned (arm bar and choke) as well as an ankle lock.
I don't believe in just grappling, however. There are three divisions of fighting:
Grappling or ground fighting
Takedowns or "shootfighting"
In order to beat someone in a fight, you need to be better at two of those divisions than your opponent is. For example, if you fight someone who is INSANELY good at grappling, but you're far superior to him at takedowns and striking, you WILL win, because your experience with takedowns and shootfighting leaves him unable to get you to the ground. Ever try to takedown an experienced greco-roman style wrestler? It's friggen' impossible.
Let's say you're better at striking and grappling, but the wrestler is better at takedowns. Well, once you get to the ground he's yours, plus if you strike while on the ground, he'll be even more powerless.
Being better at takedowns and grappling while the other is good at only striking has an outcome easily noticed in the early UFC fights.
That said, I firmly, firmly believe that size DOES matter. If you have infinitely better skill than the opponent, then yes, you'll beat him, but compare the struggle if your opponent is either a 90 pound weakling and a 200 pound body builder. There's a big difference.
Also, if you get in a real fight, you're going to get hit, unless you're a character out of a Steven Seagal movie. Taking a punch from a 190 pound guy (even if he throws some garbagey "haymaker" at you) with a bareknuckle between your nose and your upper lip would floor Hercules on every possible steroid imaginable. Punches hurt, and punches from bigger people hurt even more.
I've done it all fighting wise, and lemme say that if an intermediate grappler goes up against Mike Tyson, my money's on Iron Mike.
Mark, strength matters, I agree strongly. I also firmly believe in stabalizing muscle strength against what you called lab strength. Check out www.mattfurey.com for some great ways to build this kind of strength.
But I will easily say that locks work. If you "lock" an armbar, the arm is as good as broken. I will concede however, that contrary to what many people think, people can still fight with a broken arm, ESPECIALLY in a real fight, where adrenaline flows through your body like a firehose. Consider that in medieval times, there are countless stories of soldiers continuing to fight and kill people despite having a leg chopped off. Locks work, but getting a lock doesn't mean you definately won. It means you "won" the lock.
I agree with your MA philosophy, which is being able to beat 90 percent of all living people is probably enough. It's a reason why I'm not as into MA as I used to be. I teach "streetfighting" which involves the application and defense of groin strikes, biting, headbutts, and a heavy regimen of learning to spot and use nearby weapons. There's such a thing as a fair "match", but there's NO such thing as a fair "fight".
I say this to point out that while I can safely say my fighting ability is above par, I go absolutely NOWHERE without pepper spray on my belt. All that martial arts stuff is like a back up of a backup; I am religious about pepper spray, however.
Pepper spray is better than a stun gun because you can use it from farther away. Contrary to popular believe, pepper spray works on the mentally deranged as well as people on pain killers. Pepper spray is non-lethal, and pepper spray leaves a nice UV dye so cops can spot the guy if they catch him.
I've seen people, men and women take a tazer full blast and keep advancing to the victim. I've never seen someone withstand a GOOD pepper spray.
Great pepper spray site: http://www.selfdefenseproducts.com
Plus pepper spray is small, fits in a pocket. It's a "win a fight for free" card.
And THAT said, fleeing is always the best response. That and giving in. If a guy pulls out a knife and asks for my wallet, there's a good chance I could kill him. But I wouldn't. I'd give him my wallet. In one class, a student asked me what to in a situation like "this" and he pulled one of our sparring knives and said, "Gimme the keys to your car."
I said, "You aim your arm down towards yor pocket and give him the keys." The car isn't worth losing a life, whether it's yours OR someone else's, even if that person is a scumbag.
Sorry for the rant, but I just felt like ranting. I also apologize for digressing.
We now return to how stupid "Reading Genius" is.
[This message has been edited by razordu30 (edited September 09, 2002).]