Monday, 14 November 2011

Just how realistic and fit for purpose is your self-protection training?

There are all manner of things that I really WANT to believe, I truly want to believe that I'm capable of being an F1 driver if I was just given a little chance. I'd love to believe that because I was pretty nifty on a motorbike on the road and track that again, given that break, I'd be right up there in world superbikes with the rest of them. And I'm sure one day Pamela Anderson will be knocking at my door dressed in lingerie with a bottle of baby oil. And yes, I have probably briefly fantasised about them all, well ok, most definitely the last one.

The thing is, I'm fully aware that these are indeed nothing more than harmless daydreams, we can all choose to have them at times; it's nothing more than harmless escapism. The problem begins when people choose to have these hugely delusional thoughts in areas of their daily life that really should be approached with reasonable rationality and a basic cognitive thought process.

Imagine if we were to approach everyday tasks with the same approach, such as driving or making sure the bills were paid on time. Or how about ensuring the house was secure when we went on holiday or that we had enough fuel to get to our chosen destination and that we left on time to catch the flight?

Anyone with an IQ in double figures wouldn’t kid themselves that “it’ll be alright” and leave the house unlocked, not check the fuel gauge and leave it till the last minute as they wanted to watch Corrie before leaving to catch the flight. It's a given that the bags would be checked and packed the day before, the windows and doors would be secured, car topped up with fuel and all manner of other bits and pieces checked and crossed off the list well before the event. Of course they would, if you even suggested you leave this stuff to chance, the average person would look at you like you were just somewhat haphazard and deluded.

Now imagine approaching a more serious subject, a subject that simply must be addressed realistically, objectively, honestly and as thoroughly as possible. To approach this subject with any sort of hope for the best, that'll do and it'll be ok when it comes down to it attitude, could see you seriously injured or worse. Yes obviously I'm talking about self protection/combatives/rbsd and many areas of the martial arts that tout themselves as such.

The thing is, if you look at what's commonly touted as being effective and effectively deployed/usable in real world violence by the bulk of what's out there it falls very short of the mark. That's if it were even to get off the mark in the split second of a real no rules street fight.
A few months ago I had the pleasure and most certainly pain of attending the Core Combatives Foundation Course with its founder Mick Coup. Countless things stuck in my mind from those four days, incidentally one of which was an 18 stone prison wardens head, but one expression used to describe effective training was “always try and make the training fit the fighting not the fighting fit the training”. Simple isn't it? And when training or wanting to learn how to defend yourself, to approach your training/learning any other way is deluding yourself more than just a little.

Of course it is, if you’re setting things up so you can deliver that perfect punch or kick every time or positioning the pad mans hands every odd shot then be honest, your making the fighting fit your training. Not your training fit the fighting...

So how do we address and rectify this hit, fix, hit, repair, hit mindset? By being ruthlessly honest with ourselves and our training partners, pad man, punch bag whatever. It's hard to do as everyone loves that sound and feel of a nice punch or kick combination as it rattles off the pads, bag, shield or whatever. It makes us feel good, makes us look good....and this is usually what starts the cycle of making the fighting fit the training and not vice versa as it should be, at least if you really are serious about all this self protection stuff. Combat trouser wearing, tacticool knife and torch sporters take note...

It takes time and more than a little commitment to be truly honest with what you’re doing training wise. First off, ask yourself, is what I'm doing here really such a high percentage effective option in a real fight? Would my attacker (the pad man) really be standing there, effectively with his arms down and staying in the one place as I throw this chin jab/knee/chin jab and then stop dead still looking at him as he stands still looking at me?

In fact, is this palm heel chin jab/knee/chin jab really worth all the time you have been devoting to it considering how hard an inch and a half of bone is to hit accurately in a blood and snot tear up? What would be a higher percentage effective option here? Take that metaphorical step back and look at what's being presented, think about what's being said and properly evaluate what it is that is being claimed each time. Think, “Fit for purpose?”

And the pad man, what's wrong with getting him to move out the way? Maybe just make those pads a tad harder to hit with slight movement and if he were to move backwards, to the side or even come right back at you regardless of your chosen strikes as is the norm in reality, well at least until one of you lands the best the meantime.
There's loads of stuff you can improvise and add to in order to make your self-protection/combatives/rbsd training more effective and worthwhile. After you throw that low turning kick make sure your pad man moves out of your striking line making you work for that position to kick again. After that right hook your pad man falls to his right bringing that right pad down into an offline strike or a knee representing your attackers head.

Work the bag so it’s kept off you and at a steep an angle to the floor as possible with just highline strikes, like that pi***d up monster that doesn't stop, no matter how hard or how many times you punch or palm heel him. Get someone to run into you and push you over as you’re dealing with the first guy, forcing you to get back to your feet and re-orientate yourself and then have to engage the nearest/biggest threat straight away.

Like I said, loads of stuff you can add in change and re-format with a little thought and honesty with regards making the training fit the fighting. Of course it takes you way out your comfort zone but I don't think anyone’s actually felt that “comfortable” in a real world street fight have they? So surely it stands to reason that the training for such an occurrence shouldn't be all that “comfortable” either.

Those that are still of the mind that that spinning back fist or some jkd trapping with a little chain punching or such like will work just fine are free to carry on of course. But before they do so I would ask them to take 5 minutes and have a look at these “live drills”  from C2 foundation courses:

Now ask yourself if you really think that the aforementioned will stand up as fit for purpose. Ah yes, the C2 live drills, now that really is a wakeup call I look forward to introducing to the many......                                   

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