I was presenting a seminar a few months back to a large group of beginners. One man in attendance was a high level senior boxer. He had read those words (the title of this feature) in a newsletter I had sent out and decided to sign up to the seminar to get an understanding of what was meant by that statement.
Before I explain the reasons for my opinions, let me first say that I also trained in boxing and kickboxing for many years and (wrongly) assumed I could defend myself in a “REAL” fight!
Let’s first look at the facts. If you train to a high level in rugby it won’t make you a good soccer player. If you train in a sport like boxing it won’t necessarily mean you will be good at TaeK Won Do. The former are both ball sports and the latter are both sports that involve striking and yet are fundamentally different.
Of course all sports and martial arts have many benefits. They increase self esteem, enhance fitness, improve reflexes and reactions, increase muscle tone and build character.
The Requirements of Self-Defence
However, what you need to look at when training for self defence is this – does your training create scenarios of how aggressive situations unfold on the street, in the bar brawl, car jacking, sexual assault, knife attacks and hold ups, multiple attackers, verbal aggression, understanding body language, pre-cursors of attack, attack rituals, the wants of a criminal, asocial violence and anti social violence, ambush attacks, bullying, home security, home invasion, public speaking, challenging your fears, verbal dissuasion, control and restraint, understanding the physiological and psychological responses to adrenaline release, adrenaline dump v slow secretion. The list goes on! But you get the idea.
Reality Based Self-Defence
If you are training for reality, all of the above must be trained on a regular basis.
If the system you are training in has rules and awards points for various strikes this is very different than a street fight.
If you’ve only ever train on a padded floor, this will give you a false sense of reality. If your sparring (fighting drills) has set time to finish, this is not preparing you for an aggressive attacker whom means to cause you real harm. There is no time out in self protection!
I don’t want this to come across as promoting a system that is only for macho men full of testosterone! On the contrary, we spend many hours teaching the students tactics and skills of how to avoid fighting; how to develop mental strength and knowing when to walk away.
May I add that the Hard Target system does not have all the answers either. We’re continually progressing, learning and pressure testing new techniques. And it’s not just the physical, mental progression is equally as important.
Fighting on pavements, in the dark, in a shirt & tie, inside a vehicle, or when extremely fatigued does not give me (the founder) or any HT student the right to claim we have ticked all the boxes.
Self-Defence For Everyone
My system brings together many years of making many mistakes, sifting through the knowledge I have gathered and bringing together a training syllabus that can be taught to children, housewives/husbands, young fit men in their 20’s and those not so young In their later years. I have trained people in their 70’s.
The Importance in “How You Train”
Please understand that how you train and what you train creates muscle memory and should enhance gross motor functions. And your training partners should be varied in experience, non compliant, you need to taken out of your comfort zones in every training session.
Let’s not forget about the senior level boxer! If you step in the ring with him and abide by the ‘Queensberry Rules’, he will easily dispatch you. However the street fighter (thug) doesn’t have a rule book and likes to bite off ears, stab, tear, rip, shoot! Are you prepared for the unknown?