Stay Away From Tossed Salad!

No Tossed Salad“I take the best techniques from every system,” “I use whatever works,” etc., etc., etc.  Eclectic or hybrid systems are nothing new. T hey have been around for a very, very long time.  These systems are everywhere today, but not all of them are created equal.  You see, a lot of these systems look liked tossed salads.  Everything is mixed together in the same bowl, but everything remains separate.  You still can tell the tomatoes from the peppers, and the dressing from the croutons. 

This tossed salad approach to building a fighting systems is one that you should avoid.  “But why?  I could use the best techniques from every style!”  Well, yes you could.  You could collect what you believe to be the best techniques from many different arts, but that doesn’t mean you have created the best system.  Let’s say I take the sleek, aerodynamic hood from a Lamborghini, the self-inflating, off-road tires from a Hummer H1, the suspension of a Ford Raptor, and so on.  I have some of the best parts from some of the best vehicles, so now I have the best automobile around, correct?  No, you don’t.  What you have are a bunch of random parts that most likely won’t even fit together.  Let us say for the sake of argument that you do manage to piece all these parts together.  What you would have is a ridiculous looking car that is so poorly pieced together that it would barely functions, if at all.

“But I use whatever works!”  Again, you are displaying faulty logic.  If you decide something works, you are making a judgement about the result, but you are not looking at why it works.  What is the framework and structure that allows it to work?  Again, we see that things are not always a good fit.  A German Suplex works, but would it work in my self defense curriculum?  Absolutely not!  My students are not wrestlers.  They are not trained and conditioned to use the principles of wrestling, which allow wrestlers to make German Suplexes work.  “Does it work?” is the wrong question to be asking.  You need to be asking, “Do these things work within the framework of my fighting system?”

Think back to Chemistry class.  You want a compound not a mixture.  Mixtures, like tossed salads, can be easily separated into their individual parts.  A compound is a strong, unique structure that is formed as a result of bonding different elements.  As my friend Chad McBroom explains in his book Solving the Enigma, you want to create an amalgamation.  So be mindful, think it out, and avoid tossed salad!



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Fernan Vargas
Chief Instructor - Raven Tactical International
Fernan Vargas is is the founder of Raven Tactical International, and is an industry-recognized trainer who specializes in Defensive Tactics, Modern Weaponry, & Martial Arts. As a certified Law Enforcement DT Instructor, Vargas has taught law enforcement officers at the local, state, and federal level, as well as security officers, military personnel, and private citizens from around the world. Vargas is the author of numerous books one edged weapons, impact weapons, and empty-hand combatives.

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