I really did want to write a neat post about martial arts. For the record, as much as I am involved in the "community," if that's a term that applies---and that's arguable in of itself, I consider myself a fighter, a sparing partner, more than anything else. Like an upcoming post that will compliment this better, I'm not going to resort to foreign terminology or pretend to have groundbreaking insights; rather, I'm going to share some things with the MGTOW-minded if they're curious.
I've benefited from my experiences. Even right now, as I sit here and type this, I'm bruised up, sore, and even nursing a couple of minor sprains. The swelling isn't bad at all. I don't injure that easily, but contact fighting of any sort---especially when you jump into the fire again and again, you'll get roughed up a bit. In BJJ and Judo I submitted others more than I got submitted (I tend to be a stubborn bastard and rarely tap, unless I'm dead tired/gassed out), and went further than I originally planned, but going further always reaps rewards.
It's the nature of the game; regardless if reality defense instructors decry, "that's just sports combat," let's face it: it is the closest you can get to the real thing, and sometimes it's at a level that your armchair hack will never experience. It surprises some when I say that ring, mat, and cage fighting is more difficult than your typical bar brawl with a liquid-courage emboldened asshole. That's until they decide to check out how intense Muay Thai, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Judo, boxing, and even contact Karate (yes, I wrote that) really are in a good school/dojo, with solid fighters in their ranks. I'm not surprised at the amount of would-be students and tough guys that quickly drop out.
I claim no marital art greatness at all, but I pretty much enjoy giving nearly everyone a hard time, improving my skills and trying to strengthen my weaknesses. To say I've reached a level of mastery in anything would not only be hubris, but prevent me from learning more and evolving. It's probably one of the reasons it doesn't bother me I don't have a black belt in any art---I seriously desire to discover that next level and bust up any plateaus.
I've rolled my eyes at the bullshit spewed by co-workers and lounge lizards that could not understand what I do, or why I do it. Even then, it's just "Karate," and giving them a curt and informative "basics" of what I'm engaged in is often futile. Even with the UFC's popularity, I rarely talk about it unless people are more receptive. And on another angle, don't even get me started on the mysticism and armchair theorists that refuse to test their subjective arguments. And I'll bet most of the mockery and dismissal comes from fear and misunderstanding; no doubt about it, if I pummeled them in stand up/striking or choked out/arm barred them out in BJJ within a moment, it would pretty much shut them up.
Okay, my two cents worth of advice post is coming up eventually---I'm almost itching to write it now, even with time being of the essence. I will leave with this, however, which is so common now that it's practically a given---if you have the time, money and the means, cross train. The benefits outweigh any cons, and you'll get a taste of what you like and what you don't. No one style has everything (regardless of what any instructor claims) . . . constantly learn, research, practice. Yeah, I know that's pretty obvious for the most part, but I'm amazed at how many people---even serious practitioners,don't even break out of their self-imposed circles to broaden their horizons.