posted on May, 29 2011 @ 07:43 PM
I prefer to compare sport vs self defense. Mind you this is not true for ALL systems of combat and combat sports. But it is common in the martial arts
world. It is a trend that has been happening since ancient greece. It all comes down to focus and branching out to absorb everything.
Sport Martial Arts:
-attributes that go beyond the simple Joe karate who trains 2 times a week. Many sports fighters have excellent modern traing methods.
-They use force, direction, misdirection, momentum, against a live resisting opponent. Its LIVE application, for a live world. This is VERY important,
far more imporant that I can ever explain. Best way to explain it is to use real-world examples, its like learning math AND applying it LIVE against
an actual math-problem. That "math problem" is sparring-training (using gloves rounds, etc. against someone who doesnt stand there so you can do
moves on him, but who will oppose you because he seeks to do the same to you). Many self defense arts do not train LIVE with resistance as I will
-Over reliance on rules. In the streets there is NO REF, NO RULES, NO PADS, AND NO POINTS OR ILLEGAL MOVES. No ring, no grabbing ropes, working the
cage, goes out the window.
-Many techniques have to be altered, sports fighters are drilled constantly to avoid using illegal moves/tactics and to use legal moves. Its not easy
to forget years of leg trips into a rolling knee-bar even though you are in a small confined elevator, or two people are against you and going to the
ground wont work with a guy number 2 standing over you, moving in for a clinch against two guys, or when one is armed, is suicide. And clinches are
very important in many sports arts from mma, boxing, to muay thia.
-Many dont train self defense. They train for sport. The best schools want to spend 100% on applying their art for their sport. You dont play cricket
when you want to be really good at baseball. So many schools ignore knife disarms, multiple opponent fighting, street-fighting theories, and most
importantly, they wont drill the habit of teaching "illegal strikes" (neck strikes, groin strikes, using weapons) its against their nature, and it
could build bad habits (which is good habits for us) that they want to avoid when their are judges and referees dictating the fight.
-Theories offered for self defense, knife disarms and some schools go in depth to discuss how to handle situations, how to handle the enviornment.
-They train using "illegal" techniques (which to them are just regular techniques). These arts are in their purest form, used in the battlefield or
for self defense in an era of time where you could be killed without penalty.
- You cant use illegal techniques on someone with full resistance without causing injury, or perform it without creating so many rules and regulations
that you lose the realism, which is the problem i mentioned with sports earlier. You are not hitting a neck, you are hitting someone so heavily padded
and immobile from the padded suit that you might as well hit a heavybag. You are not hitting an eyeball if you stop within feet of impact, you are
hitting air my friend (which screws up your timing and coordination more than you could ever imagine because you will build a habit of hitting without
- The excuse of, "these techniques are too dangerous to use in sparring (sparring is a sports term, its live resistance against an opponent, which
was a PRO for sports above)". So, you end up with people who have less timing, coordination, and who never grasp live attacks against a resisting
opponent. All you have is DEAD training, where one attacks, the other defends, no resistance, and you break down training into fictional roles with
rules ( which in other words means:"hold this knife and attack me at this angle with your left hand and i do this move, ok.. go!").
-Some arts are restrictive due to tradition. The art in martial art means expression, personal style. YOU are using someone elses personal style for
combat, not yours. There is no one size fits all policy, not every body type can perfectly match a style, not everyone has the attributes the great
master had when he created HIS style (thats why people spend so many years learning martial arts, because you need to CONFORM to that persons personal
expression of combat. Style is fiction- you dont copy a painting and say you are a painter, you learn from it, move on and adapt.
So, unless I bored you with all of this, then you read it all. Final answer: learn at the pros and cons, do the math. Add, subtract, and fix one con
with another pro, and mix and match, so no cons is dominant. In other words, take the best of both worlds. Train in sports sparring, but dont neglect
self defense. Do self defense sparring with cushioned/plastic knives, both armed, one armed, whatever. But both attack, do not do "roles" and rules.
You will fall into one of the con categorizes, thats fine, as though as you dont live by it, and branch out, you absorb everything, and you wont
become too over-reliant in it.
Good examples of those that follow this principle:
Jeet Kune Do
Mixed Martial Arts that offer self defense training (might be packaged as a deal)
Older karate schools did a lot of kickboxing and wrestling
Some Kung Fu Schools train in San Shou (chinese wrestling mixed with kickboxing)
Or, if you have the money, train in two arts!