The author casually tries to put this man in the same leagues as other atheist such as Richard Dawkins. But in my view Dawkin's is a sane individual trying to cope with an insane world. I cannot say the same about Mr. Harris after reading this article.
To claim that they aren't in the same league is pretty bold, especially when Dawkins himself seems to disagree.
Most martial artists have done knife-defense drills where their partners attack in a very stereotyped way--lunging forward with a single thrust and leaving their arm out there so that you can perform the technique. This is just a pantomime of combat, and it is dangerously misleading.
This was why I found traditional martial arts like karate to be daft. They only seemed to teach you defence against someone else who punches like a karateka.
The effects on ego tend to weed out a lot of assholes, and between this and the mental challenges of the sport, it is one of the reasons I've come to love it. (Ryron & Rener also do a pretty good job of distinguishing between self-defense and sport jiu jitsu, at least in the videos I've seen from them.)
It's more to build muscle memory, self awareness of the body and a knowledge of the mechanics of combat. For the most part, I think traditional martial arts can be seen as a form of dance. It's not something to be applied as much as interpreted. Many of these disciplines were used to train actual soldiers, warriors, and peasants after all. I think their real value comes in not taking them at face value though.
Obviously ymmv in regards to any particular art.
"Pressure points are very real," said the sensei. "Anyone who doesn't believe it can come up for a demonstration afterwards." The class laughed nervously. Afterwards I approached him and said I was skeptical, and asked if he could demonstrate on me while I stood there and did nothing. The class gathered around us in a circle. I really thought he'd make a believer out of me, and just hoped I could refrain from peeing myself in front of everyone.
It was all bullshit. No matter which nerves he tried to poke or prod, it just wasn't that painful. He then tried to deflect attention from his failure by showing some cool way he could put me in an arm lock, which would only work as long as I didn't jerk my arm away while he was doing it. I think he honestly believed that he was a lethal killing machine. The problem with idiots like him is they tend to convince too many students that they're actually learning self-defense.
Punching them in the throat always works though.
I don't remember what happened to that fighter, but I know he didn't win through pressure points.
Good thing the lower-level students show very little technique during sparring.
...we don't know what happens after death.
You're thinking of the people who are what I'd call "anti-theistic", that is, explicitly opposed to the concept of deities, religion, or mysticism in general.
Allowing for the idea that anything interesting might happen to consciousness after death strikes me as atypical for anti-theistics.
There are gnostic/agnostic atheists.
Sure, lots of atheists come to atheism through (at least, in their own description) a form of empirical positivism where rejection of anything that is not a necessary explanation for observed physical phenomena is sort of the default belief position, which would put life after death in the same category of disbelief as deities, but just because that's a common aspect or justification of atheism doesn't mean that it is intrinsically linked to atheism.
Why do you think so?
I would therefore expect someone who thinks, after considering all evidence (or the lack thereof), that there are no dieties to also believe, based on similar evidence (or lack thereof) that there is no experience after death. Harris has not (as far as I know) said that "we don't know" if there are dieties.
Indeed, here's an old interview where Harris criticizes agnosticism as "not an intellectually honest position":
This assumes that a hardcore atheist must arrive at that position by being a hardcore positivist/empiricist. This is an unwarranted assumption.
There are plenty of kids on the internet who claim gnostic atheism with their "proofs" which usually involve various simple paradoxes that have been resolved by more serious philosophers plenty of times.
By your question, it seems like you may have misinterpreted what I said.
(Did I miss a story somewhere?)
BJJ also assumes a set of rules, not unlike boxing, wrestling or karate. You're not allowed to take a bite out of your opponents arm while they are choking you, or pull their ear off, or stick your thumb in their eye.
BJJ is also often practiced wearing a gi which allows for different techniques than if your opponent were wearing say, a t-shirt (or no shirt at all).
However, what differentiates jiu jitsu, wrestling and boxing from a lot of "traditional" martial arts is live sparring. I think that people who practice a martial arts with an emphasis on live sparring will have an enormous advantage if a real fight because live sparring is a close simulation of the real thing. Yes, your opponent won't follow the same rules. But, you're only good at what you train. And in order to train something regularly and not get constantly injured (or worse), you need to have rules.
Chael Sonnen, an MMA fighter who will fight for the UFC light heavyweight belt, makes a great observation in this interview. His observation is, in MMA, figure out what techniques were illegal in your opponents main discipline, and do those: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=33BrIxAu7-M
(Yes, Sonnen does a lot of trash talking before his fights, and is full of hyperbole. Don't let that fool you. His analysis of MMA is some of the best I've heard.)