Imposing our failures onto others

Martial artists in general seem to think that just because they can or can't do something, then the same goes for everyone else. That's not only narcissistic, but self-centred as well.

The main difference between reality based systems and mixed martial arts (besides the hundreds of apparently not so obvious ones) is that reality based systems are geared more towards general population and Joe/Jane average, whereas mixed martial arts are geared more towards athletic men (more so than women).

Majority of sport oriented martial artists don't seem to grasp that not everyone concerned about their personal safety is interested in winning the next UFC. How many times have we heard "If he's so deadly then why doesn't he enter the UFC?"

The answer is simple… for one, it's not a matter of being 'so deadly' and because people who train in reality-based systems would use tools and tactics that are forbidden in the UFC. This includes the will to do whatever it takes to survive and go home as intact as possible. If you took these tools and tactics away, you would be left with a mixed martial art. Therein lies the difference. When the UFC first started, it was much more realistic it terms of a 'street fight' then it is today. Back in the early 90's, there were no weight divisions, there were no time limits and there were 2 rules and 2 rules only: No eye gouges, no throat strikes.

Today is much different. Today there are weight classes, time limits, several holds have been barred (which makes me wonder why it is still referred to as "No Holds Barred"???) and due to this, the training of these athletes have had to have been modified to fit the environment they are competing in.

So imagine training in a martial art that automatically restricts several tactics and holds. How beneficial is that in reality?

For example: One of my students, Dave, came to see me for private lessons in grappling, as he was about to enter 2 separate grappling tournaments. I began to train him and as we were going along, he stated that in his division, there were certain submissions that were not permitted. He also stated that there was a time limit and that one could win on points. Well these 2 particular 'rules' changed the dynamics of his training. No longer could he train certain holds and finishers but we also had to train him to win on points by establishing certain positions in case he got tired or was facing a better grappler.

This type of training is extremely counter productive to surviving a real fight. After a few weeks of strictly training in grappling, my student began to develop bad habits in the group classes.

In our PHASE 2 classes, all the students conceal a training knife on them and are instructed to attack anyone at anytime during the class from the moment they walk into the school to the moment they exit the school. So during the warm up session of one of our classes, another student jumped Dave from behind and pulled his blade out. Dave reflexively went for clinch and a takedown but was stabbed multiple times in the process, he got up and realized it afterwards and was very disappointed in himself.

(Now in contrast to this, so those of you who like to cut and paste my articles on other forums in order to criticize them and whine about how impossible it is to defend against a knife and this type of training proves nothing), every other student who was also jumped by surprise and had a knife pulled on them did fine. Not to say none of the fights ever hit the ground, not true, some did, and the student's grappling skills were imperative in aiding them in surviving such an attack but the point is, they didn't solely rely on grappling or mixed martial arts tactics. Their training was 'limitless' and not bound by any rules or codes of conduct or sportsmanship. They did whatever it took.

This is not a bash grappling or mixed martial article. If I were to write the piece in reverse, I would give you the same amount of reasons why a reality based fighter wouldn't fare as well as a mixed martial artist in a UFC style bout. Two different arenas, two separate set of tools, tactics and strategies.

Don't get me wrong though, I would put my money on Tito Ortiz, Chuck Liddell, Randy Couture or Frank Shamrock any day of the week in a street fight but how many Tito Ortiz, Chuck Liddell, Randy Couture or Frank Shamrock's do you know? Regardless of how hard your mother trains, she will never acquire the skills, strength or stamina that any of these pros have, even if she quit her job, quit being a housewife, quit being your mom and trained 6 days a week for 5 hours a day, she would never acquire such level of proficiency. So wouldn't you prefer your mother arm herself with psychological warfare and some down and dirty true no holds barred tactics that will allow her to stun and run a potential rapist rather than attempt to get him in a mounted position and ground and pound?

Please… before you go off thinking there's no way a 40 or 50 or even 60-year-old mother could defend herself against a rapist, keep in mind that women have been doing so since the dawn of man and without any training whatsoever. Tony Blauer always said that there are far more people who have successfully defended themselves in the history of mankind with no prior training whatsoever then there are martial artists who have used what they've learned to defend themselves. This because of their will, beliefs and mental arsenal.

A woman and her 12 year old daughter in British Columbia (sometime around 1991, or 1992) caught a burglar in their apartment by surprise, he was over 6 feet 4 inches tall and weighed over 220 pounds as described by the news. Not wanting to get caught he grabbed a fire poker and began beating the mother with it, he cracked he skull open, broke her arm and wrist. Her daughter jumped on the man and he grabbed her off his back and smashed her face into a wall knocking her flat out. The mother saw this and freaked. She attacked the man with an intense ferocity that caused him to panic and take off.

How could this be though? But she wasn't a BJJ black belt? She never competed in the UFC?!?! How odd! Gees, if she's so deadly, why doesn't she compete in the UFC? I mean, this woman just took out a man twice her size and with a split skull, a broken arm, and wrist none the less! It wasn't her technique that saved her and her daughter's life. It wasn't her arm bar, her chokehold, her ground and pound or how adept she was in her footwork or clinch work. It was her mindset. It was her sheer will to survive.

The idea behind reality based training, is in helping regular folk get back in touch with their 'killer instinct' if you will, to give them the necessary tools to be able to avoid a potentially violent confrontation through environmental awareness and profiling skills (both people and locations). To provide them with the necessary skills to defuse and de-escalate a potentially violent confrontation through choice speech and the understanding of behavioural aspects in relation to violence. To provide them with the necessary physical tools that won't get them into a 3 to 10 minute brawl with a potentially armed attacker, but instead arm them with the proper tools to stun and run if possible or debilitate someone long enough to flee.

This compiled with mixed martial arts training provides the average citizen with an enhanced chance at surviving violence. There are certain reality based trainers out there however who only advocate eye gouging and groin strikes and they think that this will stop a decent grappler, obviously, they have never fought a grappler. Statements like these make those of us who teach a holistic curriculum look bad and group us together.

Mixed martial arts and reality-based training are intertwined; you cannot take away the mixed martial arts aspect from reality-based training but you can take away the reality based training from mixed martial arts, hence the difference between sport and street.

Train diligently and intelligently.
Richard Dimitri