7 Deadly Sins of Street Fighting: E3 Pride

A martial artist on the ground uses his legs to control his opponent's hips.

Author Matt Numrich (bottom)

Read Part 1, on range gluttony in the martial arts, here.

Read Part 2, on technique or attribute greed, here.

“E3” is a term I coined in reference to the qualities a martial arts technique needs to function dependably in a fight or self-defense situation. It must be effective, efficient and easy. Some martial artists proudly adopt a move as their go-to technique because it looks cool or because they’ve done it for so many years, but when a life may be on the line, that’s not enough. Here is a breakdown of the three E’s:


Your techniques have to work against different-size opponents and in different environments. A spinning kick may serve you well in the dojo against a fellow student who’s your size, but can you do it in a narrow hallway against someone who has 75 pounds on you?


Of course your moves must be quick and economical, but so must your training methods. Practicing a technique for hours every day might make you a candidate for “most dedicated martial arts student of the year,” but it’s best to examine your methods to see if there’s a way to reduce your training time while still seeing similar results.


The moves you do should be able to pass the “junior-high-school test.” If they’re not easy enough for a 13-year-old to do, forget it. When you’re under stress, your mind goes to mush. The best way to prepare for that is to make sure the techniques you depend on are easy ones. That way, stress won’t affect them as much — unless you fall prey to the seventh sin.

Redemption: Focus on effectiveness, efficiency and ease of execution, and in no time you’ll be a better fighter.

Read Part 4 here.

Text and photo by Matt Numrich, M.A.

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