Have you ever wondered if you’re training in an antique art that’s of little practical use in the modern world? If so, you probably are! Read on and learn how to quickly adapt any style for real world use.
Most people drift through life incredibly unaware of their surroundings. When someone reports, usually to the police or emergency medical staff, that an attack came out of nowhere, it’s a sure bet they simply weren’t paying enough attention to their surroundings.
A common metaphor for states of awareness is the traffic light model. Most people are on constant green – asleep at the wheel and unaware that they’re unaware, the most dangerous state of all.
After training a while in practical martial arts, a lot of practitioners tend to walk around in permanent yellow – mindful of the road ahead, whose hanging around where, which routes lead through ambush spots or dead ends and generally paying more attention to what’s going on around them.
Hyper alert red mode is used during situations of extreme heightened alertness and real combat.
Instill some advanced common sense and don’t be a sleeping target. If you’re intuition tells you to get the hell out of there, or with practice don’t go there in the first place, then you have an extremely valuable asset that will grow stronger with use over time.
Unfortunately there’s no way to really train for real life violence without actually being involved in real life violence, in the same way you can’t really swim without getting wet. That said, here’s three useful ways to simulate different aspects of violent encounters in a relatively safe way. There’s no point getting injured working on ways to avoid violent injury right?
Full contact sparring – having another skilled martial artist try and take your head off with an aggressive axe kick really wakes you up! Any kind of rough and tumble combat sport can develop some very useful attributes – the ability to take a hit and keep on playing, the ability to pursue openings and follow through until the target taps out and the sheer physical conditioning required to play at a high level are all transferable to real life.
Just bear in mind that in real situations, there are no referree’s, no foul moves, you’re as likely to be facing multiple and armed opponents.
Actual combat sport competitions – performing live adds another layer of stress to your ability to perform physically. Nerves give you a small taste of what happens to your system when it’s put under more pressure.
Simulated mass attack drills – have the student start with their eyes closed in the midst of 3-5 pad holders and whack them off guard to begin the drill. The pad feeders will in turn present randomised targets and the student’s job is strike them with full power and speed until the next randomly chosen pad feeder steps in… with a nice hard shove!
The other pad feeders can interfere with the student by obstructing they’re movement, access to the pads or delivering the odd swipe themselves. This drill and variations of it are excellent for target focussing under pressure, and building perseverance under stress.
Hitting very, very hard. Whilst with sufficient training grappling, kicking and throwing/locking techniques can be very
effective, it takes longer to get good at them and they’re less likely to end the encounter.
Conditioning – I’ve never seen or been in a fight that wasn’t exhausting. Don’t confuse technical skill with athletic ability. It’s an obvious advantage you can have for free. There’s no disadvantage to being in fantastic physical condition, except a little time and effort. You can get in pretty good shape in around an hour a week of intelligent training.
Mindset – most people think and behave like prey. The whole notion of ‘self defense’ presupposes you’re being attacked. Adopting the mindset of a predator, and making sure you’re the better trained predator changes how you approach your training and may shift your priorities.