How can you become a good fighter if self-defense is your goal?

Discussion in 'General Martial Arts Talk' started by Kung Fu Wang, May 16, 2020.

  1. Kung Fu Wang

    Kung Fu Wang Grandmaster

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2012
    Messages:
    8,566
    Likes Received:
    2,155
    Trophy Points:
    263
    Location:
    Austin, Tx/Shell Beach, Ca
    Today in China, people train MA only for self-defense and health. Even if they may have trained MA to the highest level, since they don't have real combat experience, if you ask them to step into a ring, it will be a totally suicide.

    You may be the best of the best in China, but when you test your skill in the global level, you will find out that you are nobody.

    When you teach your students, you tell them that they should train MA for self-defense and health. You don't encourage your students to test their MA skill against people from other MA systems.

    How can you become a good fighter (a person who can handle himself in the ring) if your goal is only self-defense and health?

    Your thought?
     
    Last edited: May 16, 2020
  2. skribs

    skribs Senior Master

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2013
    Messages:
    4,935
    Likes Received:
    1,188
    Trophy Points:
    263
    Location:
    Lakewood, WA
    I think there's two components to this.

    The first is training styles that don't really translate to the real world. Some arts may be more susceptible to this than others, but things like:
    • Not sparring at all
    • Sparring with very specific rules
    • Too much focus on conceptual drills and not enough practical drills
    Most arts are very good at fighting against their own art. Someone who is only trained at Wing Chun is going to be very good at fighting against someone who is fighting the Wing Chun way, but since nobody else fights like that, their drills may not be the most practical. Someone who is trained in modern Taekwondo may have great kicks, but if they don't know how to use them against a puncher or a grappler, they're toast. Grappling arts are the same way. A BJJ expert is going to be better than just about anyone on the ground. But take a fight on hardwood or concrete, and they'll be a lot less eager to use the majority of their training.

    This isn't true of all schools, or even all fighters within a school. Someone taking Wing Chun may go to a school that teaches all of the aspects of the art, instead of just Chi Sau. A Taekwondo fighter can learn a lot about footwork and managing range, and still has very powerful kicks. They may go to a school that teaches a lot more of the martial arts than most of the modernized ones. And a BJJ fighter may learn a lot of the stand-up in addition to the ground game.

    The second component is who you expect to fight. Let's go back to BJJ. How much of their skills are only necessary against another BJJ expert? If the average blue belt can beat the average white belt, then what do you need beyond that unless you're fighting against other highly trained grapplers? It makes sense for the sport, because that's what you're going to face. But I doubt the average person you need to defend against is a seasoned martial artist. A seasoned martial artist is much more likely to avoid a fight (unless it's a sanctioned bout). They're more likely to de-escalate or walk away from a situation than to instigate one. That's not to say it doesn't happen. Just that I think it leans heavily in favor of fighting against people of much lower skill level when you need to defend yourself.

    This is important, because a lot of the arguments I see about an art being bad are because "that wouldn't work against a high-level ______." There seems to be the assumption that in order to defend yourself, the necessary skill level is:
    • Defend punches from the heavyweight boxing champion of the world
    • Defend kicks from a gold-medal Olympic Taekwondo fighter
    • Out-clinch the top-ranked Muay Thai fighter in the world
    • Defend throws against a Judoka Olympian
    • Defend takedowns against a collegiate superstar
    • Survive the ground against a BJJ black belt
    This is not much of an exaggeration from some of the posts I've seen. I think there's an absurd standard that every martial artist needs to have skill levels and fitness level of a professional MMA fighter or Olympic competitor in order to be considered good, and that if your school isn't pumping out notorious knockout kings then you're school (and possibly your art) are completely useless. I don't think that's the case. I think the average person you're going to fight in self defense is probably:
    • Barely trained in martial arts, may have some practical experience if they've been in a lot of fights
    • Looking for an easy opportunity, and will give up when they realize you know how to fight (if you didn't de-escalate the situation)
    I may not have the take-down defense to deal with a ranking wrestler, the boxing skills to go up against a proficient pugilist, or the ground-fighting skills to go up against a submission savant. I do think I have the skills to go against the average Joe who thinks he knows how to fight.

    With that said, in the last several years that I've been in martial arts, I've gotten in 0 fights. In several years before that, I got in 0 fights. You have to go back to high school to when I watched my friend get in a fight...it was over in 1 punch. Not a KO, but the other guy decided it wasn't worth it. You have to go back to middle school for the last time I was in a fight. One throw (not even hard) and the other guy decided to keep making fun of me...but he stopped pushing me.

    TL;DR: I think some people have too high a standard for what qualifies as legitimate self-defense.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  3. Steve

    Steve Mostly Harmless

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2008
    Messages:
    16,102
    Likes Received:
    2,950
    Trophy Points:
    263
    Location:
    Covington, WA
    Learning to fight is like the least useful thing to know if your goal is to be safe. But if you want to learn to fight, you should train in a style where you fight.
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  4. Kung Fu Wang

    Kung Fu Wang Grandmaster

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2012
    Messages:
    8,566
    Likes Received:
    2,155
    Trophy Points:
    263
    Location:
    Austin, Tx/Shell Beach, Ca
    Learn to fight is fun. That's good enough reason for me. I get really excited when I block a punch with my arm, or to block a kick with my leg. When I dodge a punch with my head, I could smile in my dreams for the next 3 nights.

    I don't care about how much I may know. I do care about how much I can do. My goal is not SD or health. My goal is fun.
     
    • Agree Agree x 2
    • Like Like x 1
  5. drop bear

    drop bear Sr. Grandmaster

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2014
    Messages:
    18,525
    Likes Received:
    4,527
    Trophy Points:
    308
    If you wanted to train for self defense and actually be serious about it you would find challenges in as many areas of self defence as you could.

    So you would step in the ring Or do a bare knuckle or a dog brothers. Mabye you would go work doors or deal with domestics or whatever.

    That way you would develop a multi facited approach to self defense that is grounded in practical experience.
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  6. Monkey Turned Wolf

    Monkey Turned Wolf MT Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2012
    Messages:
    6,724
    Likes Received:
    2,004
    Trophy Points:
    263
    Location:
    New York
    I think that's the honest answer for most of us. As @Steve mentioned, actual fighting ability is one of the least important skills in self-defense. Before that are situational awareness and conflict resolution/verbal deescalation. And even if fighting ability is involved-after 1 year of training with people that can actually fight, you're already better than 95% of the population. If you want proof of that, go up to a random friend, ask for a sparring match, and see how it goes.

    Despite that, we all still train. And I'm pretty confident in my assumption for the most of us it's simply that we enjoy training.
     
    • Like Like x 2
    • Agree Agree x 2
  7. Headhunter

    Headhunter Senior Master

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2016
    Messages:
    4,390
    Likes Received:
    1,509
    Trophy Points:
    303
    My thought is....who cares. I don't give a damm about how good a fighter I am or what I can do against someone else. Majority of people are the same. They don't care about getting in fights and are just doing it for health or social reasons. You have your reasons for training and that your entitled to them just as everyone else is entitled to theirs
     
    • Like Like x 1
  8. Monkey Turned Wolf

    Monkey Turned Wolf MT Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2012
    Messages:
    6,724
    Likes Received:
    2,004
    Trophy Points:
    263
    Location:
    New York
    I already answered above for myself..but what is your reason for training then? If you don't care how good a fighter you are, why do you continue learning how to be a better fighter?
     
    Last edited: May 17, 2020
    • Like Like x 1
  9. Headhunter

    Headhunter Senior Master

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2016
    Messages:
    4,390
    Likes Received:
    1,509
    Trophy Points:
    303
    Because I haven't got anything better to do
     
  10. gpseymour

    gpseymour MT Moderator Staff Member

    Top Poster Of Month

    • Supporting Member
    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2012
    Messages:
    23,562
    Likes Received:
    6,929
    Trophy Points:
    448
    Location:
    Hendersonville, NC
    This is an assumption I've seen elsewhere. While it would be accurate for some self-defense-oriented programs, it's certainly not a universal truth.
     
  11. Headhunter

    Headhunter Senior Master

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2016
    Messages:
    4,390
    Likes Received:
    1,509
    Trophy Points:
    303
    Agreed it's a silly stereotype that doesn't have much weight to it. Yes it probably does happen but isn't the normal thing just for traditional styles. I've seen boxing gyms that don't want their students going to bjj clubs or Muay Thai clubs
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  12. jobo

    jobo Grandmaster

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2017
    Messages:
    7,078
    Likes Received:
    1,044
    Trophy Points:
    263
    Location:
    Manchester UK
    are you really suggesting that people should take up a high risk and badly paid and in this country at least mostly wet and freezing cold ,second job in order to ground their sd skills ? that seems a bit above and beyond
     
    • Like Like x 1
    • Agree Agree x 1
  13. skribs

    skribs Senior Master

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2013
    Messages:
    4,935
    Likes Received:
    1,188
    Trophy Points:
    263
    Location:
    Lakewood, WA
    My experience has been that it's either taught for self defense, sport, or both. I think self defense is a common application schools will profess.
     
  14. skribs

    skribs Senior Master

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2013
    Messages:
    4,935
    Likes Received:
    1,188
    Trophy Points:
    263
    Location:
    Lakewood, WA
    You have to realize: he's the epitome of the person I doscussed in my post: someone with such high goalposts only a professional could reach them.
     
  15. Rat

    Rat Master Black Belt

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2018
    Messages:
    1,068
    Likes Received:
    109
    Trophy Points:
    103
    Look at combative programes as the basics and easy to learn skills. For self defence combatives, add in the non physical skills to that. and then look at other martial arts as the more complex and niche skills and the skills that require you to actually think to perform rather than what you can pull off under adreline or absed around that.

    I have how ever seen soem more practical systems adopt more complex skills as a means of atribute devolopment and to give the higher ranked persons something to learn more and to devolope more. Like if i am correct, krav maga has some complex kicks in it at the end that they dont endorse using as anything more than a niche situational skill and mainly exist for atrbute devolopment and a niche skill for when you need it.


    You should be well off if you train to beat the untrained person, but that depends on how popular MA is in your area, i think some people legit live in towns where its uncommon for somone to not know how to throw fistycuffs. In that case, you probbly need to know how to fight to a semi proffesional standard and also have the fitness to back that up.


    A good anaology is police training. Look at the diffrence in role and training to say a state trooper and the SWAT team/more specilised teams. and also look at the diffrences in training from state to state/force to force. If there is a big gang problem, more training is dumped into related skills and they may have a bigger more specilised SWAT team for that.

    Probbly a uneeded anaology, but it never hurts. :p

    Addendum: i forgot about aggression training, combative programs also exist to teach you to be aggresive enough to survive a violent encounter, i think that might be a big focus on SD physical defence, the mindset of fighting rather than specfic skills, most people need it drilled into them.
     
  16. jobo

    jobo Grandmaster

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2017
    Messages:
    7,078
    Likes Received:
    1,044
    Trophy Points:
    263
    Location:
    Manchester UK
    he is someone who derives such high self esteem from his fighting ability that you wonder if other areas of his life are a bit lacking on the self fulfilment category

    it does seem he has all his eggs in one basket ! to the point of suggesting that others should get a dead end job to emulate him
     
    Last edited: May 17, 2020
    • Disagree Disagree x 1
  17. Steve

    Steve Mostly Harmless

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2008
    Messages:
    16,102
    Likes Received:
    2,950
    Trophy Points:
    263
    Location:
    Covington, WA
    I agree with the sentiment, but think you accept as a given several things which may not be the case.
     
  18. Flying Crane

    Flying Crane Sr. Grandmaster

    • Supporting Member
    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2005
    Messages:
    12,425
    Likes Received:
    2,322
    Trophy Points:
    263
    Location:
    San Francisco
    Then your goals have changed and you are now interested in competition. So go train for competition.

    There are plenty of physical skills you gain from self defense training that will translate well into competition fighting. But you need to alter your training approach to enable you to understand and adapt to the competition environment. Obviously this can be done. But likely someone wishing to do this would need to get the appropriate coaching to be successful.

    But the bottom line is what I mentioned initially: your goals have changed so your training also needs to change.
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  19. skribs

    skribs Senior Master

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2013
    Messages:
    4,935
    Likes Received:
    1,188
    Trophy Points:
    263
    Location:
    Lakewood, WA
    I think this is true both ways. And if I had a student of mine that wanted to compete in MMA, I'd make sure he's aware of that and would be prepared to take the training necessary before jumping into the cage.

    And I wouldn't even try to tell him I could teach him those skills. I would be confident that what I've taught him should give him a good jumping off point when he goes to classes more suited for MMA (that the training wouldn't be completely foreign to him).
     
    • Agree Agree x 2
  20. Flying Crane

    Flying Crane Sr. Grandmaster

    • Supporting Member
    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2005
    Messages:
    12,425
    Likes Received:
    2,322
    Trophy Points:
    263
    Location:
    San Francisco
    Full agreement. I personally have no interest in mma type competition. I don’t watch I and I don’t train for it. I would never claim to be a good coach for someone interested in that. Before Covid-19 shut everything down I was putting out my feelers into the community to see if anyone was interested in learning White Crane. I was very careful to be clear that I was not training people to fight in mma, and if anyone wanted that then they need to find someone else to be their coach.

    But like you say, if I had a student who wanted to get into mma competition I would wish him well with a new coach, but help him/her understand that he already has good tools that can be redeployed in that new purpose.

    I also always say that those skilled in mma can certainly use those skills in self defense. I think it’s a silly argument that some people make that competitors can’t defend themselves on the street, that habits built on the rules of competition would leave them vulnerable in self defense. There may be a nugget of truth in that on the theoretical level, but it is far from insurmountable and for most people it would barely even be noticed. Those same skills can translate into self defense. But I think it becomes an emotional argument where people kind of get blinded and want to claim exclusive ownership to some realm of combat training. Mma people get competition, TMA people get self defense and street fighting, and the two shall not mix. But that is a silly position to take. These are skills that can overlap and translate and be applied in either direction.123
     
    • Like Like x 1

Share This Page