Fighting and Self Defence are two different things.

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Paul_D

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“The techniques and tactics used to win a fight are far from an ideal fit when it comes to the physical side of self-protection.” Iain Abernethy World Combat Association Chief International Coach​

The reason you are unable to understand the difference between fighting and self defence is understandable. You have never experienced criminal violence. If you are a young male the form of violence you are most likely to be a victim of is street fighting (consensual violence) and wanting to defend yourself from this leads you into the mistaken assumption that fighting is self defence. If you are a martial artist and your experience of violence is consensual violence (combat sports) then this is the only violence you know of. This makes it harder to view violence in any other form.

This then leads you to assume that fighting sills, and fighting arts (MMA in particular) hold the answers to self defence. However ask yourself this, why do none of the world’s leading authorities on Self Defence recommend MMA as the answer for self defence? Ask yourself further, why are the only people who think MMA is the answer to criminal voice, people who a) are worried about getting into drunken pub brawls/street fights b)do MMA and c) do not understand the difference between fighting and self defence?

When people who understand the difference attempts to explain, two things happen. One, someone saying “This is not ideal for self defence” is taken as being “Combat sports are useless”. Clearly this is not true, and yet this is exactly how it is taken, people come flying out of the woodwork to defend their beloved combat sports. But saying something does not work in a different field is not an attack or an attempt to demean its inherent value. I myself after all am a UFC fan, but the knowledge that it is not ideal for self defence does not mean that I think any less of it. The second thing that happens is that you counter with “I know this works, I did it in the dojo/cage/ring”. Again this error is understandable. The problem is what works is dependent on the criteria being used to decide what works.

Kicking someone in the groin and running away works for self defence, but it does not work for combat sports as you will be disqualified for use of illegal strikes and for failing to engage with your opponent. Conversely, triangle choke someone in the ring and you win, triangle choke someone in the street and his mates stomp your head flat. That fact that something works in the dojo/ring/cage does not mean it works in a live self defence situation. The reverse is also true. These techniques have not changed of course, but the criteria used to judge success has.

The success of a skill or techniques cannot be divorced from the criteria used to judge success. It is not enough to say “this works” you have to say this works in the ring, but not in the street. This works in the street but not in the ring, or this works in situation a, b or c (as applicable) when x, y or z (as applicable) are being used to judge its effectiveness.

Fighting takes place at fighting distance, in a fighting stance with your hands up in a guard. Self Defence takes place at sucker distance, you will be attacked without warning, in fact criminal will use the three of the four D’s (dialogue, distraction ,deception) to lull you into a false sense of security before using the last of the four D’s (Destruction).

While “fighting skills” have some crossover value, physical self-protection is very different from “fighting”. It is faster, closer, more emotional and way more chaotic. The techniques and tactics used to win a fight are far from an ideal fit when it comes to the physical side of self-protection. - See more at: http://www.iainabernethy.co.uk/article/problems-street-fighting#sthash.DAlrcbHp.dpuf

If you were fighting someone and they didn’t respond it would soon become boring. You want that exchange of techniques, you want the back and forth, you want that test of skill. When a self defence situation gets to the point where physical invention becomes necessary it is not a “fight” you are looking for. You don’t want the other person to “get a go”. There is no bobbing and weaving, no guards, no exchange of techniques, no exploratory jabs look for “holes in his game”, it will not look like a fight, it will not resemble sparring, it will have no similarity between the skilled exchanges of two trained martial artists.

There is also the misconception that “if it works against a skilled fighters” it will work against a criminal. This shows a lack of understanding of the nature of criminal violence. Whilst it is true that skilled fighters are better at fighting (consensual violence) than criminals, they are not better at criminal violence. A criminal has no intention of fighting. He wants what you have, and he will chose the easiest and safest way for him to get what he wants. From The Little Black Book of Violence:- Criminals, bullies and thugs do not want to fight – they want to win. And they’re downright eager to cheat their way to victory because they don’t want to get hurt in the process.

He will not ask for your wallet and when you refuse get into a fighting stance and offer you a “square go” with you, with the winner getting your wallet. He will ask you if you have a light, or the time, as your brain is temporarily engaged with the question, or whilst you are looking at your watch or getting a light, he will attack. He will strike without warning and continue to do so until you are incapacitated. At which point he will alleviate you of your possessions. Your skills at sparring in the gym, or rolling at BJJ have no bearing here, he is not fighting, he is not engaging in a contest of skill. He will not make any attempt to play your game on your terms.

In his book Dead or Alive: The Definitive Self Protection Handbook, Geoff Thompson writes “The attacker may ask his victim a question and then initiate attack while the victim is thinking about the answer. This distraction also switches off any instinctive, spontaneous physical response the victim may have. A man with twenty years of physical training in a fighting art can be stripped of his ability by this simple ploy. I have witnessed many trained fighters, who are monsters in the controlled arena, get beaten by a guy with only an ounce of their physical ability.”

If you are sucker punched and taken out of the game before you realised you were even in it, your ability as a fighter counts for nothing. Several highly skilled boxers and MMA fighters have been stabbed, killed, mugged, beaten and hospitalised by people with no “fighting” training or skill. Conversely people with no fight training are able to protect themselves. Being familiar with the rituals of violence (i.e. the process and methods used by those adept at criminal violence:- muggers/sexual predators/etc) will allow you to spot the warning signs, and attack pre-emptively before fleeing. Assuming a person’s self defence ability, or self defence techniques themselves, can only be judged by their ability to function when sparring or rolling in an MMA gym/ring/dojo is like judging a table tennis player on his success at Wimbledon.

In his book The Complete Urban Combatives, Lee Morrison writes “The physical side of the equation is pretty simple: just develop two or three effective strikes that can be executed hard and that work well. Drill them until you reach a level of unconscious competence, which comes from practicing strikes for several thousand reps with visualisation and real intent on the impact equipment until they become a part of you.”

Now ask yourself how successful would you be in the ring/cage/dojo if you only had two or three techniques? Not very, and yet people with the experience all say the same thing, you need to develop a small arsenal of gross motor skills which will work under stress. None of them suggest we should all sign up to our nearest MMA gym and spends years developing the huge range of techniques and skills necessary for success in MMA.


Distance
Fighting in the ring or street takes place at sparring/fighting distance. Self defence takes place at a much closer “sucker punch” range. The skills needed to bob and weave in and out of striking range as your opponent bobs and weaves looking for his own openings have no relevance to two people who are static and at arm’s length. For self defence you need to develop the ability to explode, without telegraphing, from a normal everyday stance. This skill has no place in the ring, but the fact that it has no place in the ring, does mean it has no value outside it.

Opponents
Combat sports usually take place between two opponents. Self defence will often involve multiple attackers. So whilst tying an opponent up in the cage and kneeing him will work in the cage, try it in the chip shop on a Friday night and his mates will be busy stabbing you. Again, what “works” cannot be divorced form the criteria being used to judge success.

Training
In a combat sport your opponent will be trained/skilled in the art of fighting. In self defence the criminal is not highly skilled or trained in martial arts. He is however highly skilled and experienced at criminal violence. He will not fight you, he will not play your game. He will play you at his game in which you are not trained, and unless you are familiar with the rituals of violence you may not even realise you are being in the middle of the criminals “interview” process.

But what if your assailant happens to also be a highly skilled/trained boxer or mma fighter? In self defence terms, nothing changes. You need the non physical self defence skills to be aware that a situation has the potential to turn violent, and use your non physical skills to avoid it ending that way. If a violent ending is unavoidable then your gameplan remains the same, you are not trying to engage in a consensual fight, you will attack pre-emptively continuing to strike until the treat is neutralised and then flee.

Weapons
There are no weapons in the ring or cage. Criminals will utilise weapons

Objective
The object of a fight is to out score your opponent on the score card, or win by other means dictated to by the rules. The object of self defence is to create the opportunity to escape. Therefore training yourself to rush in for the finish once you have knocked your opponent to the floor is the exact opposite of what you should be doing for self defence. Rushing in to “finish off” a downed criminal crosses the line between self defence and assault.

In self defence your only objective is to create the opportunity to escape.

Starts
Fighting starts when the bell rings. In self defence there is no pre agreed starting point for things getting physical, in fact a mugger, sexual predator, etc will do everything he can to disguise the fact he is about to attack.

Legality
Fighting in the street (engaging in consensual violence) is stupid, dangerous and illegal. It leaves you open to the legal consequences that engaging in it bring. Criminal convictions, loss of employment, the possibility of begun sued by your victim. Self Defence is legal, whilst it is a common misconception that people are convicted for self defence, the reality is that they are convicted on the statement they gave the police, as they have no training in how to give a statement and fail to include key phrases into their statement. You will not lose your job for defending yourself.

In conclusion; Fighting is not self defence. If you are sparring/fighting in the street you are breaking the law. The skills of fighting, whilst having some cross over value, are not the ideal solution to self defence. The measure of self defence is not its ability to function under sparring, or in the ring/cage or dojo. The skills needed for success in one area are not the skills needed for success in the other, and in fact many skills needed for success in fighting are the exact opposite of the skills need or self defence and vice versa.

Finally and more importantly, if you want to get good at fighting, train for fighting. If you want to get good at self defence, train for self defence.

For further information on the differences between fighting, martial arts, and self defence, and why the skills which will bring success in one will not by default bring success on the other I recommend you listen to the free audio book The Martial Map, by Iain Abernethy.

The Martial Map (Free Audio Book) | Iain Abernethy
 

Tez3

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He shoots, he scores. Nice one son. :)
 

jks9199

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Another key difference is that, in a sporting environment, competitors regularly do something that nobody would suggest is generally wise in true self defense, and may even change justifiable self defense into criminal assault: they break, and re-engage. A fighter gets the better of his opponent, and knocks him down, he goes to a neutral corner, allows the opponent a chance to recover... then they do it again. In a self defense situation, that's the time to make your escape. In law enforcement use of force, it's the time to control and cuff. Re-engage a downed assailant, and you most likely become the assailant.

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drop bear

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So before we even start with the technical issues.

The reason you are unable to understand the difference between fighting and self defence is understandable. You have never experienced criminal violence. If you are a young male the form of violence you are most likely to be a victim of is street fighting (consensual violence) and wanting to defend yourself from this leads you into the mistaken assumption that fighting is self defence. If you are a martial artist and your experience of violence is consensual violence (combat sports) then this is the only violence you know of. This makes it harder to view violence in any other form.

Sorry. There are plenty of martial artists who have experienced violence. If you are going to insult people on your first paragraph then you are going to have issues with the rest.

Street fighting is not always consensual to put a blanket description like that on the concept does not work.

One punch deaths (which are the big deal here at the moment are quit often not consensual and are instead a predatory attack.

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As for the last. Those lucky guys who have not experienced fighting outside a gym. This is a tricky one. Quite often they can be technically proficient but maybe less tactically proficient. And here it becomes this big grey area.
 

drop bear

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Another key difference is that, in a sporting environment, competitors Regus do something that nobody would suggest is generally wise in true self defense, and may even change justifiable self defense into criminal assault: they break, and re-engage. A fighter gets the better of his opponent, and knocks him down, he goes to a neutral corner, allows the opponent a chance to recover... then they do it again. In a self defense situation, that's the time to make your escape. In law enforcement use of force, it's the time to control and cuff. Re-engage a downed assailant, and you most likely become the assailant.

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I don't think that has an effect one way or the other. As nobody will break after 3 minutes and have a minute off.
 

drop bear

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Distance
Fighting in the ring or street takes place at sparring/fighting distance. Self defence takes place at a much closer “sucker punch” range. The skills needed to bob and weave in and out of striking range as your opponent bobs and weaves looking for his own openings have no relevance to two people who are static and at arm’s length. For self defence you need to develop the ability to explode, without telegraphing, from a normal everyday stance. This skill has no place in the ring, but the fact that it has no place in the ring, does mean it has no value outside it
Self defence tip. Don't sit in the pocket.

 

drop bear

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Kicking someone in the groin and running away works for self defence, but it does not work for combat sports as you will be disqualified for use of illegal strikes and for failing to engage with your opponent. Conversely, triangle choke someone in the ring and you win, triangle choke someone in the street and his mates stomp your head flat. That fact that something works in the dojo/ring/cage does not mean it works in a live self defence situation. The reverse is also true. These techniques have not changed of course, but the criteria used to judge success has.

OK. Here is an idea for this one. Kicking someone in the groin won't work if they are on top of you. In which case you may be better off trying for the triangle.

Now I have mates. I could hold him down so they could stomp his head flat. (Why do S,Ders have no friends anyway)

The other important thing to realise here is you don't always do triangles. It is a tool in a tool box. So I may be concerned that the guy on top is punching my face off and need to address that before his friend come.
 

drop bear

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In his book The Complete Urban Combatives, Lee Morrison writes “The physical side of the equation is pretty simple: just develop two or three effective strikes that can be executed hard and that work well. Drill them until you reach a level of unconscious competence, which comes from practicing strikes for several thousand reps with visualisation and real intent on the impact equipment until they become a part of you.”

Now ask yourself how successful would you be in the ring/cage/dojo if you only had two or three techniques? Not very, and yet people with the experience all say the same thing, you need to develop a small arsenal of gross motor skills which will work under stress. None of them suggest we should all sign up to our nearest MMA gym and spends years developing the huge range of techniques and skills necessary for success in MMA.

How successful would you be if you drilled and used basics in the ufc?


Do you see a huge range for techniques?
 

Bill Mattocks

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The reason you are unable to understand the difference between fighting and self defence is understandable. You have never experienced criminal violence.

Is that so? Your basis for this is?
 

Steve

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What is The same thing as self defense? Is working as a cop the same as self defense? I think many of the same arguments could apply here. What about being a soldier? Is that the same as self defense? Is training in a self defense oriented school the same as self defense?
 

ballen0351

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Dogma mostly.

We just get told stuff about self defence. Whether any of it is actually the case is a different story.
yeah kinda like well if I can fight in the safety of a gym im good on the street...
 

drop bear

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yeah kinda like well if I can fight in the safety of a gym im good on the street...

Also dogma. And of course not really true. If i get attacked by an elephant in the street i am in trouble.

The issue there is you take a nuanced idea translate it into the dogmatic statement you are used to and then dissagree with it.

And if that black and white statement is wrong. Then obviously the gym does not provide an advantage to people looking to defend themselves.

(and here it gets really epic)

If a gym does not provide an advantage then anything that is not a gym must. So therefore a self defence school is the better method for self defence.

One little mistake in the basic premise leads into a huge lie.

What people have missed here is the self defence school has not given any evidence as to why it is the better alternative it it could be more flawed than the sport method. At this point we just don't know.
 
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ballen0351

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Also dogma. And of course not really true. If i get attacked by an elephant in the street i am in trouble.

The issue there is you take a nuanced idea translate it into the dogmatic statement you are used to and then dissagree with it.

And if that black and white statement is wrong. Then obviously the gym does not provide an advantage to people looking to defend themselves.

(and here it gets really epic)

If a gym does not provide an advantage then anything that is not a gym must. So therefore a self defence school is the better method for self defence.

One little mistake in the basic premise leads into a huge lie.

What people have missed here is the self defence school has not given any evidence as to why it is the better alternative it it could be more flawed than the sport method. At this point we just don't know.
Cute and all but I never made any of those statements.
 

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Another key difference is that, in a sporting environment, competitors Regus do something that nobody would suggest is generally wise in true self defense, and may even change justifiable self defense into criminal assault: they break, and re-engage. A fighter gets the better of his opponent, and knocks him down, he goes to a neutral corner, allows the opponent a chance to recover... then they do it again. In a self defense situation, that's the time to make your escape. In law enforcement use of force, it's the time to control and cuff. Re-engage a downed assailant, and you most likely become the assailant.

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I really don't think anyone is going to knock someone down, and sit in a corner and wait for someone to recover. If they're in a situation where they just can't escape, they'll either choke them out or pop a joint in order to give them more time to escape.

I also find the comments about the Triangle Choke bizarre. We have documented cases of women using the triangle choke to save themselves from a rape attack. I've personally used it to save my hide in a self defense situation. So clearly its a technique with strong self defense applications.
 

ballen0351

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What is The same thing as self defense?
Nothing and no two instances of self defense ar ethe same. Im working tonight and could fail and die
Is working as a cop the same as self defense? I think many of the same arguments could apply here. What about being a soldier? Is that the same as self defense?
No a job doesnt = self defense.
Is training in a self defense oriented school the same as self defense?
No as I said many times training cant compare to real life.
You seem focused on the physical aspect of self defense which is is a very small part of the equation. Im speaking about the mental and moral aspects that are far more important.
People always talk about flight or fight but there is a 3 option I see often and it is freeze in fear.
No amount of training can prepare you for real violence. I've seen people spend 4 years of their lives getting a Criminal Justice Degree, spend a year going through the applications, psychological tests, physical fitness test, polygraphs, back ground checks. Then spend 7 months in the police academy getting all kinds of training. Only to then watch them quit 3 weeks after they graduate when for the first time in their lives someone tried to really hurt them. Reality hits them and they cant do it.

Ive talked to victims of violent crimes asked why they didn't run or fight and they say they couldn't they froze.

Ive seen highly trained multi-year veteran officers freeze and not respond to "Shots fired officer down" calls

Its not the Job or training that matters its the life experience, for example this past weekend I chaperoned a Christian Youth rally 5000 teens from all over the area attended. One of the guest speakers Grew up in a gang-infested neighborhood in LA. He lost 2 brothers, 1 uncle, and 4 cousins to gang violence. He had to defend himself every day of his life growing up. He had zero training in any martial art. I have no doubt on the street today he could survive. Put him in a ring he would get destroyed by a trained fighter. Why? because fighting and self defense are different.
Are there people that train MMA that have this mental aspects sure. Can physical skills taught in an MMA gym work sure there are only so many ways to hit someone an MMA punch is the same as most other punches.
The physical portions of self-defense as I said any training is better than no training.
The flaw for me happens when people say well if I can fight in a gym I can defend myself in real life....While it may be true on an individual level the gym or MMA have little to do with it

Now reality based self-defense programs do a better job then an MMA gym especially one focused more on winning matches but even Reality-based programs have safety precautions and students have a reasonable expectation they are not going to die if they mess up
 

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Ballen, if you think I'm focused on the physical aspects of self defense I invite you to read one of my several posts on the subject, where I go into detail what I think self defense and the related training is. If you can't find them, let me know and I'll provide a link.
 

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Paul your spot on.
for those who disagree, i hope you never have to learn how wrong you might be thru direct experience.
i will never try to change the minds of people. its a fools errand. all i can do is profess what i believe to be true, at that moment and teach to those that are willing.
i like to say MMA is not real fighting. it is however, a real application of skills. two dudes at a bar who get into a fight is not self defense. its a "monkey dance" of two willing idiots.
the argument over what works is a matter of perception.
"the turtle in the well, will never know the vastness of the ocean"
every ones life experience is different. this experience will condition the vision and narrative in ones head on what real violence looks like. people will never agree on what true violence is and what works under those conditions unless we all share the same vision and narrative.
it is not MMA VS traditional, not techniques not training that determines success. , It is determined by what your internal narrative is and how that matches up with the circumstance you find yourself in at the moment that the SHTF.
 

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Ballen, if you think I'm focused on the physical aspects of self defense I invite you to read one of my several posts on the subject, where I go into detail what I think self defense and the related training is. If you can't find them, let me know and I'll provide a link.
naa I'm good
 

Steve

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Paul your spot on.
for those who disagree, i hope you never have to learn how wrong you might be thru direct experience.
i will never try to change the minds of people. its a fools errand. all i can do is profess what i believe to be true, at that moment and teach to those that are willing.
i like to say MMA is not real fighting. it is however, a real application of skills. two dudes at a bar who get into a fight is not self defense. its a "monkey dance" of two willing idiots.
the argument over what works is a matter of perception.
"the turtle in the well, will never know the vastness of the ocean"
every ones life experience is different. this experience will condition the vision and narrative in ones head on what real violence looks like. people will never agree on what true violence is and what works under those conditions unless we all share the same vision and narrative.
it is not MMA VS traditional, not techniques not training that determines success. , It is determined by what your internal narrative is and how that matches up with the circumstance you find yourself in at the moment that the SHTF.
imdont think the issue here is what you think it is. I think everyone on this forum understands that MMA is not self defense, or that fighting is not self defense. It's the implication that other things are. That training in RBSD is self defense. Or that how yiu train is self defense. It's not. I hope you never have to learn how wrong you are to believe otherwise.
 
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