Which Martial Art is Best?

Now this is a difficult question for most people to answer – even the so-called experts. Most people either give a biased opinion, fill you with information that doesn’t answer your question, make a wild guess, or simply have no idea. But I’m going to tell you straight: The best martial art is the way of fighting without fighting.

For those who don’t know, it’s what Bruce Lee referred to in the last movie he completed, Enter The Dragon. The movie aired a week after Bruce Lee died so he never got to see it on the big screen, and it wasn’t everything he wanted in a martial arts movie – Game of Death was due to be that but was never completed by Lee. Nevertheless, Bruce made a point of teaching us a valuable lesson or two in his last completed movie, Enter The Dragon. And make no mistake, this is a real style – as real as it gets; it’s not just a movie feature – we’ll talk more about how and where to practice “the way of fighting without fighting” in a moment. First we’ll look back on Bruce Lee’s movie scene.


A movie example

The scene went like this. Various distinguished martial arts champions are on ship, travelling to an island to compete in a famous tournament. One such competitor is a bit of a bully – he pushes around a young assistant on the deck without reason. The bully also approaches Bruce Lee’s character and teases him. On seeing no reaction, the curious bully asks “what’s your style?”. Lee’s character replies, “you could call it the way of fighting without fighting”.

“Show me some”, the bully says. So Bruce suggests taking a small boat to a nearby island for more space to fight. The bully accepts the proposal, gets on a little boat expecting Lee’s character to follow, but Lee drops the rope and the bully drifts away helplessly.

This was an example of how to win a fight without actually fighting. This was an example of the way of fighting without fighting.


Everyday examples

Slightly less dramatically, you’ve probably heard of people referring to a fight between an obvious winner and a wannabe rival, saying “there’s no competition”. And while this is usually an exaggeration, where it’s no exaggeration you could say the winner is fighting without even really fighting. This again is the way of fighting without fighting – mastering the art of fighting so much so that there’s literally “no fight” and “no competition”.


The style

The way of fighting without fighting is zero dimentional. You could nickname it Style Zero. It’s an empty style, one step better than a fluid style which itself is a step better than a solid style which itself is a step better than a proactive style which itself is one step better than a domineering style which is so far outcast from the greatest style that it’s lost its greatness. The prior four styles are all great though.


How and where to practice it

The best martial art – the way of fighting without fighting – is essentially “no style”. It’s formless, like nothing else. Now, where do we practice no style? No place. And how do we practice no thing? No way.

Confused? No you’re not, because this couldn’t be simpler. Perhaps you’re just out of your depth in reality to the point where it seems unreal.

The best martial art is the deepest and softest. It’s totally peaceful, not defensive or offensive – there’s no fence, no barrier, no fronting, no hostility. No pride, no ego, no preconceptions. No thing. I propose, that’s the very best art in the world, as if you didn’t naturally, instinctively know.


Popular named styles

Tai Chi and Aikido both come close to Style One, at least in principle, but it’s rare you’ll find a teacher who’s mastered such styles. Style One is the fluid – the softest of all styles except for Style Zero. Style One has an atmosphere. Style Two has a surface. Style Two is the solid like Wing Chun and other hard styles but it’s hard to find a hard style that contains true softness within it like Wing Chun (especially in Chi Sau) and that’s what ensures Wing Chun can still be great.

A great Style Two incorporates Oneness and Emptiness within it. Now what about Style Three? The Jumpy. An example could be Jeet Kune Do, although you’d be extremely lucky to find a decent Jeet Kune Do teacher – most just jump on the bandwagon of Bruce Lee’s fame and exploit his martially-lost followers.


What I teach

I’m a Tai Chi coach at Manchester Martial Arts Centre. I also have plenty of experience in teaching Wing Chun but rather say Tai Chi is what I teach because for me there’s nothing better, except nothing itself (just as TaiJi comes from WuJi according to the classics). That’s not to say that all so-called Tai Chi is true Tai Chi though! In fact, it rarely is.