Today, people the world over will trip and brain themselves, tear out their own knees, catch a hot one in the eye or groin and end up in the hospital as a result. All that’s required is body weight in motion and to have it land on that one square inch that can’t take it. And this is only considering single-person accidents—we haven’t even gotten to the stuff people will do to other people on purpose.
This is why the comparison of technique, style or system is pointless—everything has the potential to cause real injury. Every punch thrown can knock someone out, or at least make them stumble such that they fall and smack their brain against the concrete.
In other words, every punch can kill.
The physical laws of the universe (and the physiology subjected to them) don’t know—or care—if that punch was thrown by a boxer, a Karate black belt, or an MMA practitioner. All that matters is that the physical tolerances of the anatomy were exceeded. Even if the punch is an untrained, wild haymaker injury will occur given the right circumstances.
If technique, style and system don’t matter, then what does?
The two elements that make injury the most likely outcome are accuracy and correctness—getting that one square inch (like the eye instead of the forehead) and hitting it hard enough, and with enough follow-through, to disrupt human tissue.
If these elements are left to chance, that is, untrained, then chance will be the deciding factor for effectiveness. If they are made the primary focus of training, with technique, style and system coming afterward—or as a natural consequence of those principles—then injury becomes the most likely outcome of your actions, regardless of approach.
In other words, any technique that strikes important anatomy hard enough to break it will work.
Arguments of superiority, e.g., “System X is better than Style Y” are pointless when you understand what really works in violence—anything that is accurate and sufficient to tear human tissue will work, regardless of how stylistically ugly it may be. And real, untrained violence is uniquely ugly.
I have seen “devastatingly effective” killing arts rendered useless by poor intent and bad practice; likewise I’ve seen “wishy-washy, ineffective” styles become hideously useful in the hands of someone who just wanted to get the job done above all else. The intent to cause harm, and the adherence to accuracy and correctness is what makes the difference, not technique, style or system.
With TFT, our goal was to suss out the base principles that are present in every successful use of violence—regardless of the credentials of the practitioner—and find a way to reliably train those principles to make injury the most likely outcome.
This approach meant we had to abandon a lot of really cool, really fun stuff we’d learned in the past… it just didn’t meet the standards of effective violence. But this does not mean that TFT is “better” than any given martial art or combat sport, or that those approaches “don’t work”. The only arbiter of success in violence is debilitating injury—we respect results, regardless of who obtains them or how. When injury happens it happens for the same reasons every time.
We do believe that we have the most direct method for training to cause debilitating injury, that we can train people to be effective in less time than any other training regimen. We’ve had people get results after watching just a few videos (something I wouldn’t have believed if it hadn’t happened), though I put more stock in our two-day live training, with all the hands-on experience, mat time, and personal tweaking by instructors.
But don’t confuse a streamlined training methodology, proven over decades, with bravado. I know how to injure people, but that knowledge doesn’t make me immune to injury in turn. Walking around chest-thumping and belittling martial arts and combat sports with delusional physical superiority is a great way to get killed by someone who decides to call your bluff and ends up getting it exactly right.
Our goal is to train the most direct path to debilitating injury, unhindered by the speed bumps and zig-zags of political correctness, social niceties, the unconscious rules of competition, or worry about what the other guy might do. We want the same results the untrained sociopath gets, but without all the life-threatening trial and error.
Anyone can get game-changing, fight-ending injury regardless of training or approach—everything is dangerous. We just work to make it the most likely outcome given the realities of physical laws and physiological limitations.
We break things first… and worry about style later.
TFT Master Instructor