I had good parents so did their best at raising me. That does not mean they did not make mistakes, but I knew that, no matter the outcome, that they were always doing what they thought was best for me. Most martial arts are doing their best at teaching students the right thing to do. They make mistakes, but, if they have good intentions, they will see their mistakes and correct them. I am a loyal student of Taekwondo, but I am not enamored with its mystic. If it is wrong in its teachings, I tell my students why. If other arts are wrong in their teachings, I tell them why. As stated above, no one really care what an art does in its patterns, but if they are wrong in their fighting or self-defense teachings, then they need to change.
If you practice any technique enough, you may become proficient at it and it may get the job done, but that does not make the technique the most effective and efficient way to get the job done. A well trained ballet dancer using ballet kicks will probably win a fight against a lesser trained fighter in Taekwondo. An example of a practically useless technique used in fighting is the boxing bolo punch, which is an upper cut performed in a large circular motion.
The boxer Ceferino Garcia is credited with developing the bolo punch in the late 1930’s. When asked how he developed the punch, he said it came from the upward swinging motion he used to cut sugarcane as youth in the Philippines. The bolo punch is usually used as a feign to distract the opponent from another punch, but if struck by a bolo punch, you will probably be knocked out. It was used effectively as a punch in the ring by Kid Gavilan in the early 1950’s. Two of the most famous cases of a fighter using the bolo punch were when Sugar Ray Leonard avenged his loss to Roberto Duran and when he defeated Thomas Hearns in their second fight, but in these cases, Leonard only used the punch as a distractor. If practiced enough, the bolo punch may be used effectively under certain conditions, but it is not taught by reputable trainers since it is practically useless and is usually only used to “showboat” or to be different from other fighters.
If vertical punches work for you, that is great. However, I content that it is only because you trained yourself enough to be good at vertical punching, not because vertical punching was the best way to punch. I content that if you had spent the same amount of time training with horizontal punches instead of with vertical punches, you would have been an even better fighter. This of course is impossible to prove either way, but it is a viable contention considering the facts.
Just because grand master “whoever” said something, it does not make it true. The hundreds of believers who drank poisoned Kool-Aid in Jonestown believed their master, Jim Jones, who said they should drink it, and he believed it was the right thing to do. The follower’s of Heaven’s Gate leader, Marshall Applewhite, followed him in suicide believing his hype about a space ship hidden behind the Hale-Bopp comet was coming to get them to be true. One who uses reason, logic, and common sense is seldom lead astray.
Sometimes martial artists who present evidence to explain their theories of fighting methods distort the facts or rearrange the order of the facts to justify their conclusions. The evidence they present is factual; it is just not presented in its intended order or it is taken out of context. To see an example of this, watch this new trailer for the movie "Shining" http://www.ps260.com/molly/SHINING%20FINAL.mov
The easiest and most natural way to do something is usually the best way. Trying to change the natural movements of humans is usually man’s effort to show his superiority over nature or simply to be different from the martial art being taught next door.
Vertical punchers have been preaching their cause for 100 years with virtually no converts. Why? If vertical punching is so much better than twist punching, why are other martial artists not converting to its use? Is it tradition? I think not! Tradition has always been a low priority American society. Change is more the norm; so much so, that some seek change just to be different. This seems to be the case in respect to vertical punching.