[I:http://martialarts.surrey-sussex.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/AlCase28.jpg]To learn the martial arts one needs to come to grips with three things. You will see these things in every real martial art in the world. If you don’t, then the fighting style you are learning might not actually be a real art.
The first thing to be learned are forms. There are people who look down on forms, deride them as mere dances, and that sort of thing. The truth of the matter, however, is that forms contain all the tricks and techniques, and they provide a learning platform which not only leads one to learn how to fight, but far beyond.
To do a form requires a stable stance, and that is the moving platform you will be using to deliver powerful self defense techniques. By doing martial arts forms you will learn how to relax, and learn how that relaxation creates power. Lastly, every time you do a form you are strengthening your body, even as you practice fighting techniques.
The second thing to be learned is the self defense techniques themselves. Self defense tricks teach one how to move the body, how to set up for any situation, how to stay calm in the middle of the fight. The thing to remember is that every time you do a self defense technique you are practicing a small kata.
Now, techniques aren’t totally street oriented, and one will have to tweak them slightly should one have to use them in a street fight. However, the classical power you have developed by working on techniques will come out in your street defenses. Your punches and kicks will draw on that classical martial arts power you have been practicing.
The third thing to be learned is freestyle itself, and this is where everything comes into play. This is where you get to try to try out the tricks, and tap into that classical power you have been building. Remember, freestyle training is as close as you can get to the chaos that happens in a fight.
When freestyling you must learn how to control yourself, and not be a danger to your partner, and yet build the ability to inflict great damage should you wish. This is a difficult thing to learn, but it is at the real arts. Anybody can learn how to fight, but only a real artist can learn how to control himself in the middle of a fight.
To summarize, one can learn how to fight easily, but that is not what the arts are all about. What is important is to test yourself, to learn about yourself, and learn how not to be a fighting animal, but a human being with great power. This is what one is doing when they learn Martial Arts.