Would Your Martial Art Save You From Zombies? • Martial Arts Journey


Would Martial Arts Help in a Zombie Attack
Zombies are extremely popular these days. We’ve seen hundreds of movies, video games
and short clips including these infamous creatures. They were shot at, stabbed, pierced and fairly
often enough – dealt with – using martial arts. Yet if a zombie apocalypse would overtake
our world – would martial arts really help us survive? And if so – which martial art
would be best for it? Hi, my name is RokasLeo and this time we are going to look at a brief
history of martial arts and zombies. Although the origin of the zombie concept
dates back all the way to 8th century Kongo, in popular culture zombies came to major attention
in 1920’s when a few different books about zombies were published and in 1930’s when
the first full feature film about zombies called“White Zombie”came to the screen.
Yet the zombies most massive success became obvious in 1968 with George R. Romero’s
“Night of the Living Dead”. While survivors would defend themselves against
zombies in various ways – using martial arts as a means was still uncommon back in
the day, at least in the Western culture. Some Eastern movies would be more keen on
using martial arts to fight the reanimated dead, yet their fighting styles were mostly
surreal, relying on super human skills and feats.
Martial arts in the zombie world of the West became more common in 2002, with the release
of the first Resident Evil, a movie loosely based on a Japanese video game of the same
name. The main character Alice, portrayed by Milla Jovovich, in the movie successfully
uses her martial arts not only against zombie people, but also zombie dogs. Yet the whole
film is still clearly not seeking to portray realism and Milla’s martial arts skills
here can’t be really considered as a serious reference. Unfortunately, same applied even
more in later Resident Evil movies and video games too, with the second movie turning Milla
Jovovich’s character into a superhuman. Eventually though we end up at a TV series,
based on a graphic novel of the same name, which has achieved massive success and spent
a great deal of time in the world of zombies, while also trying it’s best to maintain
a sense of realism (as much as one can do so in a world filled with reanimated, flesh
eating people). “The Walking Dead “started airing in 2010, yet it hasn’t shown signs
of martial arts until the end of season 2 and beginning of season 3, with the appearance
of the Japanese sword wielding character Michonne. She successfully uses her sword skills, which
based on her movements, could be classified as a mix of traditional Kenjutsu and some
improvisational forms, to get out of many difficult situations. In season 5 we also
get re-introduced to the character Morgan Jones, who later reveals to have learned both
Aikido’s skills and philosophy, although he mainly ends up using his staff movements,
which actually do not come from traditional Aikido staff forms, but rather from movements
of the staff used in Karate. Although these are only two characters who display martial
arts skills in a zombie world which is more closely tied to realism, we can begin our
analysis here of what could be useful to us in discovering if martial arts would help
in such a situation. As mentioned before, Morgan’s character,
based on the show, is officially using Aikido, yet 90% of the time he sticks to using his
staff, which actually makes sense. In most zombie related fiction, a zombie bite can
lead to deadly results lead by a strong infection. Also, biting is often times the main way of
attack of a zombie which makes being in close distance with it – most dangerous. This partially
explains the success of both of our martial arts characters, in using their longer distance
weapons. Other characters in the show also use various bladed and blunt weapons, such
as knives and sticks, yet having no martial arts experience, their more easily wieldable
weapons do not give them as big of a distance and also often times gets stuck in the body
of the zombie, because of lack of proper technique. Considering these facts, using a martial arts
based weapon actually makes sense, thus giving us a first plus in having martial arts skills
in a zombie apocalypse world. One could quickly argue that using martial
arts is by far inferior to using firearms, yet the TV show tackles this subject quite
well too. Despite having access to firearms – first of all the ammunition is not endless,
while a staff or a sword can last much longer. Also, in various zombie material, including
the show, zombies are attracted to loud noises, such as gun shots, thus giving yet another
plus to using martial arts as a silent solution. Although up until now we spoke more about
using martial arts weapons, we should obviously consider the vast majority of open-handed
martial arts, developed to fight in hand to hand combat. Even bladed and blunt weapons
would eventually worn down or even break, or could be lost in the midst of a fight,
(same thing applies to firearms too), making hand-to-hand combat a preferable solution.
We should again consider the danger of zombies in a close distance and that each strike could
end up being a zombie snack, but if there are no weapons and no way to run, having to
choose between having hand-to-hand combat experience and not – the first case is obviously
strongly preferable. This point yet again gives another plus to knowing martial arts
in a zombie apocalypse. Nevertheless, not all of the points are so bright.
No matter how polished ones technique is, using martial arts weapons or hand-to-hand
combat still requires physical strength. Killing a few, would not necessarily be a problem
to a skilled martial arts practitioner, but most likely the number of zombies would be
almost endless, with so many people being infected. Thus, when we start counting fighting
hundreds of zombies using physical skills, the human body would start to reach it’s
physical limits and come closer to exhaustion with each kill, making a firearms, running
away or simply avoiding zombies entirely a much more preferable tactics, than trying
to beat them all with our skills. Speaking about the great number of zombies,
there is one more thing we need to take a look at. As in many martial arts movies, zombie
movies often times also present the “one attacker at a time while others bouncing around”
phenomena, which is not really realistic too. In movies and other popular culture, usually
one, or at most three zombies will walk towards a character at the same time, while others
will be still keeping their distance, to give enough space and time for the survivor to
deal with them in a step-by-step manner. Yet considering that most likely there would be
hundreds of zombies in most places, in reality they would not coordinate between themselves
to attack in a comfortable way. There is a great chance that there would be a whole wave
of them coming simultaneously, giving very little time and space for a martial artist
to deal with each one of them at a time, using his skills. Although, we should still consider
the martial arts ability to mind the surroundings and use it to their advantage, a skill practiced
by some of the more traditional martial arts, as a great benefit. So that potentially compensates
for the previous disadvantage. Last thing we will look at this time, will
be the difference between which martial art will be used. Although we will look more in-depth
at which martial art specifically would be best to know for a zombie apocalypse, it already
quickly becomes obvious that not all martial arts would fit the case. Martial arts which
rely on very close distance, should already be considered twice before applied, since
a zombie can see that as an invitation to dinner, rather than a clinch. Although – a
very skilled martial artist should be able to control an opponent in his guard or clinch
effectively enough in order not to give space for a bite. Yet while there are pluses and
minuses here, there is undoubtedly another big, related disadvantage. Zombie fighting
is not a sport and while one zombie is held in a guard or clinch, others won’t wait
for their turn and will begin the feast. That doesn’t mean that some other skills of these
martial arts could not be applied, but we should stay conscious that not all martial
art techniques will prove to be useful. We could continue to look at advantages and
disadvantages of martial arts in a zombie world for a whole another video, yet it becomes
quickly clear enough that having martial arts skills, rather than not, in a zombie infested
world, would, in the end, be a great advantage. Nevertheless, we also have to admit, that
a zombie apocalypse is not the most likely event in our lives. Even having to use martial
arts skills in the street without consciously getting into trouble, is becoming less and
less likely in modern world and countries. That is why it’s important to remember that
training martial arts is not meant only to use it in that one possible apocalypse or
a fight, but rather that it is a great tool for self-development and development of character,
which we Will be able to use and apply so often in any life decision or situation in
our own, Real lives. What do you think about using martial arts
in a zombie apocalypse world? Do you think they would be useful? Or would you simply
prefer not having to fight zombies at all? Let me know in the comments, I always appreciate
your thoughts. Also, don’t forget to like the video and subscribe to know when the next
part, where we will look at which martial art specifically would be most useful in this
case, will come out. While you wait, check our other Brief Martial Arts History videos
shown here! This was RokasLeo and see you on the virtual mat again soon!

33 thoughts on “Would Your Martial Art Save You From Zombies? • Martial Arts Journey

  1. Best unarmed martial art to use against zombies would be boxing. Modified gloves with a large spike/chisel on each.
    Best non-gun martial art would be medieval combat arts though would require suitable armour, shield etc.
    If you had a large enough group kitted out like medieval soldiers then you could destroy a group of zombies many times your number without making too much noise. Keep the firearms as a last resort.

  2. Spear fighting and a knowledge of armor and shield work would be more useful. Fitted armor is left out of zombie movies because the writers need a plot device to kill off characters.

  3. Another cool video!  I also mentioned this in one of mine about iai.  When people ask me why I do swordsmanship, my answer is to look them in the eyes and say, "zombies."

  4. Sensei Rokas, I think it would absolutely be advantageous to know martial arts skills i a zombie apocalypse scenario. many martial arts and combatives programs teach multiple attacker scenarios as well as improvised weapons and tactics, eg minding and using surroundings to ones advantage. Fighting methods also teach skills like pressure management and nerves as well as keeping ones self safe against other survivors.

  5. In World War Z (the book, not the joke of a family movie), a martial art is created to fight/dismantle the zombies. If zombies were to do their thing, I'd definitely use weaponry because I think that in addition to weapons and the way training to use them teaches a body to move, you'd do well against them with a weaponized extension of your body. I wouldn't allow any of my skin to be exposed while fighting a zombie because the risk of being infected is just too great and, in my opinion, makes using literal hand to hand a bad decision. Hahaha, this was a fun question!

  6. Martial arts are developed mainly to confront opponents of comparable skill. Zombie stories like the idea of the heroic lone survivor battling zombies hand-to-hand with only a toothbrush, but realistically that's a pretty dumb strategy.

    Zombies are mostly dangerous due to sheer numbers in "human wave" attacks but they lack strategy, in that they are more a dangerous pest than an enemy. So I think the best weapon is the living brain's ability to think and plan, to use tools and organize in groups. Somethings as simple as a Roman testudo formation could prove a highly effective zombie defense, but better still would be building industrial-scale traps for luring zombies into kill zones where they can be disposed of efficiently (crushing, grinding, freezing, boiling, burning, dissolving in acid, encasing in concrete or whatever works) without any need to ever engage them in personal combat.

  7. As a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu practiotioner myself I think that grappling something that can make you a zombie with one bite or scratch is extremely stupid. Striking – not a good idea too but with front and sidekicks you can at least keep it at bay and make it fall without too much risk, next you just grab a crowbar and smash it's head. Melee weapons could be really good, that's for sure. I think that bows and crossbows would be good because they are silent.

  8. Zombies would be the only time I could ever use Kendo effectively in a real fight 😛
    Alas zombies aren't real.

    "Her movements could be classified as a mix of kenjutsu and some improvisational forms"

    It looks like Kenjutsu mixed with baseball.
    She is wasting far too much energy. Zombies would be simple men strikes.

    Naginatajutsu would be pretty good (assuming you were outside)

  9. I guess it is more of a side note, but Martial Arts could be seen as a valuable tool in this hypothetical world also against aggressive people seeking to either take what you have, or those that see you as a threat/detriment. It would definitely take man back to a point similar to more dangerous times when Martial Arts was more prevalent for survival, back before widespread rule of law and order or readily available firearms.

  10. +AikidoSiauliai you should really mention the character of jesus-paul monroe in your video, who use fancy kick, usully seen in katare and TWD against horde of zombies

  11. using weapon does count as martial art
    since zombies are mindless
    doing high kicks is effective otherwise i would use close range attack
    i think the best martial art would weapon based such as ninjutsu kali and many other
    krav maga will be useless
    shockingly i would say taekwondo is the best to use against zombies

  12. I practice Tai Chi and I know a few moves that I WOULD use against a zombie such as pushing. It won't kill one, but I can send people flying with a single push and I haven't even been practicing for a year. If there was a horde I would use basic Capoeira and evade to escape. The only problem is, I live in Tokyo so I'll be dealing with an army of em. XD

  13. for me i think one of the best would be judo or something like this, just having some protection in the arms and aim to the takedown to run or if posible stump on the head, or maybe in conjuction with a weapon, you throw them to the ground either being the slow ones or the fast ones and while them being in the ground you can beat them easily or escape

  14. You forgot about the character, Jesus (also in the Walking Dead). He is a martial artist who frequently uses kicks along with knives to kill zombies

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