The Arrogant Kung Fu Guy and Riding

I just came across a funny little article on tvtropes. “The Arrogant Kung Fu Guy” in the context of an Initial D scene where guys with “professional technique” lose a battle to street drivers. Yeah I know, cue weeb jokes.

This is actually something I see all the time everywhere. Track riders who say there’s no way street riders could be good. Trackday riders who don’t think there’s anything to learn from MiniGP. Even guys that blast parking lot practice as a waste of time.  It goes further than that, relatively new sport and supermoto riders who think cruisers or sport tourers can’t turn. Just because it’s not something you’ve seen succeeding, doesn’t mean it’s not possible. Car guys have seen this for years in the form of muscle car guys suddenly getting gapped by sport compacts dragracing, and in the form of big body cars being surprisingly nimble in the right hands.

A certain amount of belief in your own training style is absolutely necessary. Otherwise, if you don’t believe it works, why are you practicing that way? It’s what riders tell themselves to justify that they’re not wasting time doing Activity A instead of Activity B.

The problem that this “there is only my way to success” thought process creates, is that it becomes a barrier to learning. When you become the “tiger style is superior, there is no way dragon style can defeat it” rider you encounter two problems: 1) you shut your mind off to incorporating any useful techniques from the other style (because how could they be any good they’re not from your style) and 2) you are in for a rude awakening when you suddenly get beat by some factor of the other technique you were too arrogant to see. You also deny the fact that because different techniques and approaches solve different problems, innovation comes out of the differences. Like MMA combining both traditional martial arts and wrestling, grappling, boxing etc. out of diversity comes progress.  

Yeah, shut up Sergei, what does this mean to us for practice? Two simple things: cross-training will help your main discipline and there is more than one path to success. Even if the “10,000 hours” theory has long been debunked, you do need a lot of time training for whatever you do to get good at it. If the MiniGP kids high level of competition when they switch to big bikes shows us anything, it’s that getting very good at SOMETHING will make adapting to the next adjacent thing pretty easy. A karate master who is open to learning can pick up a boxing or Systema technique much quicker than someone who thinks their discipline is the only one of value.

In bike terms: Parking lot practice is good. MiniGP racing is good. Flat Track is good. Big Track? You guessed it... also good. Enduro? Awesome. Gymkhana/motorcycle rodeo is probably pretty good too (I just don’t know enough about it). Street… guess what, also good (though don’t go quite so hard/fast since there are a lot of unknowns and a much higher cost of failure). Whichever path you take your training regimen, doesn’t mean that’s the end goal or the only way, it’s just another tool in your skillset.

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