Some weekend, I went to a friend’s house to enjoy a barbecue. At one point a friend of a friend came over to pick my brain about martial arts. He wanted to improve his health and get back into shape without injuring his back again.
He wanted to learn a good sport martial art that would give him a workout, but also teach him self defense. He looked confused when I told him that he wouldn’t be learning self defense, and the best he could hope for from most martial arts schools was a good workout.
The fact is most people don’t realize that sport combatives like boxing, mixed martial arts, wrestling and fencing are just sports.
I am not taking anything away from them by any means.
All take a lot of skill, training, and heart to compete in, but at the end of the day they only simulate real life combat.
In boxing for example, there are rules governing what moves a fighter can and cannot use in a match.
Head butts, elbows, and biting are all fouls that could end a boxing match, but are perfectly acceptable in a street fight for self defense.
In Kendo, a shinai (bamboo practice sword) can pass across the neck and do no damage in a match, but in real life it could sever an artery ending the fight.
Sports are games and they are meant to be fun. And no matter how competitive they might be, nobody is ever supposed to get hurt or die.
I had to laugh some weeks back when I saw a website advertising deadly mixed martial arts (MMA) techniques that had been banned by Ultimate Fight Championships (UFC).
Of course they had been banned from the UFC because it is a sport. And as difficult as it is, as great as those athletes are, it is simply not kill or be killed combat.
So what happens when things escalate to kill or be killed combat?
Where do combative sports fit in?
And is it even worth your time to do these sports?
Listen, if you train in combat sport, just realize that it is not self defense training.
Sure combat sports have striking, grappling, and weapon usage, but they are just the beginning of real close combat training.
But what is VITALLY important for even the most die-hard self-defense or martial arts junkie is that it is ONLY combat sport that can provide the conditioning for actual combat.
The two MUST fit hand in hand with one another; otherwise both camps are kidding themselves.
A chilling example of this principle involves the first family to fall victim to the BTK (Bind, Torture and Kill) serial killer Dennis Rader.
It was January 15, 1974 when 15-year-old Charlie Otero came home and found his mother father and his younger brother and sister dead at home. The victims had been tortured before being killed and the females had been masturbated on by the killer.
In the years to come this modus operandi would become all too familiar to the police in and around Wichita Kansas.
As the police investigated the Otero family murders they found no reason for the murders, and the family was by no means an easy target. Joseph Otero, 38, had been a career Air Force man and an excellent boxer.
His wife Julie, 34, had extensive Judo training, and all the children were known to be skilled in the sport as well.
People that knew the family thought they were well trained in self defense, but they weren’t. They had no idea how to deal with a killer like Rader as they were conditioned to fight with rules, regulations, and etiquette.
Again, if interested, use combative sport training as a fun, entertaining way to get fit. But unless you plan on bringing a referee to that critical moment when you will be called upon to defend yourself and your family, I suggest tuning off the pay-per-view crap and investing in some REAL self defense training.