Trash Talk Tuesday: Straw Man

Time once again for us martial arts bloggers to learn:
1) How NOT to make a case for or against someone or something
2) Why certain comments set our teeth on edge
3) How to stay focused when discussing our arts

It’s Trash Talk Tuesday!

Sempai Susan:  I think the tournament organizers should be more flexible when it comes to team kata divisions.  Our dojo is small, so we don’t have three gals the same age or three guys the same age.  Even if we mixed gals and guys, the most we’d have is two people roughly the same age.  The rules really ought to be revised to allow smaller dojos to have a better chance of competing in team kata.

Sempai Sally: I can’t believe you’re trashing the way tournaments are run!  Obviously you think having divisions is bunk.  I’ll bet you want beginning middle-aged women to have a chance to fight 16-18 year old advanced men!

Uh oh – ten pushups for Sempai Sally!  She’s building a straw man – a fake argument that is easy to knock down.  It’s easy to argue against the opinion that having divisions in tournaments is a bad idea.  It’s much harder to build an effective case against Sempai Susan’s actual opinion about team kata divisions.  Sempai Sally is blowing things out of proportion in order to divert the argument and make Sempai Susan look bad.  Politicians use Straw Man a lot.

Here’s one of many responses Sempai Susan could give…

Sempai Susan:  I’m not saying that at all.  I’m just saying it’d be fun if we could put together  a team kata or two and actually compete.  You know, you do Bassai Dai pretty well – whaddaya say we grab Sempai Steven over there and try synchronizing even if we can’t compete?

If you’d like to learn more, you can follow along in the book The Fallacy Detective by Nathaniel Bluedorn and Hans Bluedorn.

Author: Joelle White

I began training in Karate in June of 2014 after a 27 year hiatus.

2 thoughts on “Trash Talk Tuesday: Straw Man”

  1. This is an interesting piece of writing! It reminds me of Sensei Andrea’s post about, “Even Martial Arts Has Bullies.” The part when it says how people are getting into arguments over which style is better. Have a Merry Christmas! 🙂

    1. Merry Christmas to you, Anwar! Thanks for stopping by and reading. I created “Trash Talk Tuesday” for a Google+ group, the “Martial Arts Bloggers’ Network.” A few of the peeps on there are high school age and might not know these tactics have labels and are therefore recognized as bad reasoning. From time to time, we do see some of these things (hence Sensei Andrea’s article). Anyhow, good to “see” you again. Take care!

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