Sports vs Traditional in terms of Self Defense

drop bear

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In my opinion, self-defense involves a whole host of things that do not involve fighting at all. Some would argue, including me, that the ultimate self defense is to not engage in fighting.

So to me, what sets self defense apart from sport/fighting/traditional martial arts are:

  1. An emphasis on situational awareness, where you identify potential threats and avoid them before there's an issue.
  2. Evasion - knowing how to get out of an area once you identify a threat without calling attention to yourself.
  3. De-escalation - if you can't avoid a situation, talk your way out of it.
  4. Mindset - what is the predator mindset? What do they want? What are they looking for in a target? How do they distract you? Where might they hide to gain an advantage? What are some pre-contact cues? Under what circumstances do I strike first?
So I should be aware of threats, avoiding threats, evading threats, and talking my way out of threats. This should be successful the vast majority of the time.

If ALL those things fail, now I need to fight. In that case, I prefer gross (vs. fine) motor movements as my brain will be flooded with adrenaline and I'll have a very difficult time remembering any complex techniques. One of my favorite combinations I learned from a Kelly McCann video where you gouge/claw with one hand, then hit them with a hammerfist, then claw/rake/hold with one hand and continue beating them down with the hammerfist. I think McCann refers to it as a "rake and cycle" technique. And if I can place a tool I'm carrying or improvised weapon in the grip of that hammerfist, all the better. It won't be pretty, and it may not work as expected, but you keep going until you can get away or stop the threat.

When I train in this kind of "fighting," it's called a "scramble." I don't know what my partner is going to do, and therefore I don't know what I'm going to do,. I have to figure it out and deal with whatever the situation is until I can stop the threat or get away. We don't go hard with gear, but that may be something we do more of in the future. I've had a bloody lip and nose and host of bruises from scrambling, so you do learn to take some punishment - which is a whole other skill.

After the confrontation, you have to be ready to talk to the police. You may get involved in a lawsuit. Or you may have some guys looking for you out for revenge (another reason to avoid conflict to begin with). Did they get a look at my vehicle when I got away? Are they local guys I might see again? Do I need to avoid places I didn't need to avoid before? Do I have proper home security just in case? There's a whole host of other issues there.

Are sports better or worse for that though?

I mean you can get your head kicked in at a sports club if you lack social skills and awareness.

 
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Oily Dragon

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Are sports better or worse for that though?

I mean you can get your head kicked in at a sports club if you lack social skills and awareness.

I think this is at the core of the whole duality dilemma between fighting and self defense. It's a union of both.

Yeah, the best overall self defense is to be really aware and adaptable in situations, trained and all that, AND be as physically and mentally fresh as possible, which is something sports provides and combat sports most definitely.
 

Oily Dragon

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Yeah. It's a tricky one that.
Well I don't need to tell you this, but adrenaline improves mental focus, it doesn't cloud it, unless you're poorly trained. Otherwise it would be pretty useless for fight or flight response. It's our Danger Zone hormone.

He said "my brain will be flooded with adrenaline and I'll have a very difficult time remembering any complex techniques"

If anything, adrenaline is (if you are trained well) focus your vision into the moment and you're going to not care about remembering complex anything, you're going to be in the zone, controlling your breathing, and allowing your (well trained) animal instincts to take over.

What SUCKS is the dump, that's not the adrenaline flooding your brain, it's the adrenaline dropping in your overall body after the rush. Combat athletes like you and I are prepared for this, many people will just collapse, hurl, or both.

Birds don't just fly, they also fall down and get up.
 

The Gray (Hair) Man

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Are sports better or worse for that though?

I mean you can get your head kicked in at a sports club if you lack social skills and awareness.

Sports can be good. Facing off against a real person, experiencing getting hit or submitted, trying to make a technique work under duress and against an unwilling opponent are all good things. If it's you against a single opponent, it's likely a lot of that will transfer and you'll do well. But if you face an armed opponent, or multiple opponents, or multiple armed opponents, even if you're great at your sport, things are going to get really difficult. So it depends on the situation.
 

The Gray (Hair) Man

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Well I don't need to tell you this, but adrenaline improves mental focus, it doesn't cloud it, unless you're poorly trained. Otherwise it would be pretty useless for fight or flight response. It's our Danger Zone hormone.

He said "my brain will be flooded with adrenaline and I'll have a very difficult time remembering any complex techniques"

If anything, adrenaline is (if you are trained well) focus your vision into the moment and you're going to not care about remembering complex anything, you're going to be in the zone, controlling your breathing, and allowing your (well trained) animal instincts to take over.

What SUCKS is the dump, that's not the adrenaline flooding your brain, it's the adrenaline dropping in your overall body after the rush. Combat athletes like you and I are prepared for this, many people will just collapse, hurl, or both.

Birds don't just fly, they also fall down and get up.
I agree to a certain extent. Your vision is focused because you get tunnel vision. If your opponent is in front of you, that isn't an issue. If there are people outside that tunnel vision coming at you, it's going to be challenging. You're going to have a hard time hearing things, which may or may not be important, depending on the situation. Breathing is definitely necessary, but if you have 2 or 3 guys coming at you at once, it could be tough to control. You will absolutely fight using instinct, and a trained person should do better than an untrained person under the same circumstances.
 

Oily Dragon

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I agree to a certain extent. Your vision is focused because you get tunnel vision. If your opponent is in front of you, that isn't an issue. If there are people outside that tunnel vision coming at you, it's going to be challenging. You're going to have a hard time hearing things, which may or may not be important, depending on the situation. Breathing is definitely necessary, but if you have 2 or 3 guys coming at you at once, it could be tough to control. You will absolutely fight using instinct, and a trained person should do better than an untrained person under the same circumstances.
Adrenaline is what your body produces if you need to kill something, escape something, love something, hate something.

How martial artists handle adrenaline is so fundamental, and primeval...
 
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