Murphy’s Law states that ‘Anything that can go wrong will go wrong.’ Actually, there are other versions of this law, all concise and to the point. The real question, of course, is who is the real Murphy, and what does his postulate have to do with the Martial Arts.
Murphy’s Law, known by other names, originated with seafarers. Iron men found that during the course of travel in wooden ships, everything would break. Thus, they drilled on fixing everything, even if it wasn’t broken, so they could be prepared for when it did break.
In 1866, in a small piece titled ‘A supplement to the paradoxes,’ mathematician Augustus De Morgan made scientific allusion of Murphy’s Law. He stated, “…illustrates a truth of the theory, well confirmed by practice, whatever can happen will happen if we make trials enough.” This bit of writing caused him to be considered (erroneously) Murphy.
The next reference to this law of chaos comes from British stage magician Nevil Maskelyne. Mr. Maskelyne stated, “It is an experience common to all men to find that, on any special occasion, such as the production of a magical effect for the first time in public, everything that can go wrong will go wrong. Whether we must attribute this to the malignity of matter or to the total depravity of inanimate things, whether the exciting cause is hurry, worry, or what not, the fact remains.”
Still, we have not found the real person, the actual Mr. Murphy behind this scientific assessment of life. We are getting close, however, when we examine a mountaineering manual printed in 1952. Mr/ Jack Sack, in an epigraph to the manual in question, stated that the law was an ancient mountaineering adage.
The preceding having been stated, the real Mr. Murphy was actually Captain Ed Murphy, who worked at Wright Field Aircraft Lab. Frustrated with the wiring efforts of a certain technician, Capt. Murphy stated, “If there is any way to do it wrong, he will.” This is the real Mr. Murphy, and his statement aligns with historical instances of the dire prophecy that is his law.
Now, the importance of this to the martial arts actually comes from military recognition of the law at work in combat. To state it simply, war is hell, war is chaos, and if the soldier does enough drilling, he will do something, maybe even something having to do with his military drilling, if he drills enough. The people who run the wars know that ammo runs out, people shoot the wrong way, and that everything that can go wrong will go wrong, and that discipline is the only possible way to confront the dreadful chaos that is war.
Which brings us to the fact of martial arts training. Simply, when that guy comes at you with a knife, or throws a bicycle at you in a dark alley, Murphy’s Law has begun, and you need a plan. That Karate Kata, that Kung Fu pattern, that endless training in martial arts freestyle…that is going to give you a path out of the chaos, and will save your life.
For a real martial arts Plan, head over over to Monster Martial Arts. While you’re there, pick up a free book on the only scientific martial arts method in existence.