Reality-Based Self Defense, also know as Reality-Based Fighting or RBF has a certain irony surrounding it. Most people do not have a clear distinction of it as one of 3 major categories of fighting, yet most people when they enroll in a martial arts class or strip mall dojo (as I fondly call a McDojo) believethat they will learn Reality-Based Street Fighting.
The same goes for those, who are duly impressed after watching a MMA fighting match with all of the intense “grounding and pounding” with emphasis on locks, throws and grappling, also go out and sign up with a school emphasizing MMA techniques – believing – that they too are about to learn things that are extremely applicable in the streets.
Traditional Martial Artsand Mixed Martial Arts, even put together, do not equate Reality-Based Self Defense. Sorry. I know this breaks the hearts of some of you, but it is a fact. The truth will set you free, but first it will make you miserable.
Some Reality-Based Fighting Principles CAN Find Their Way Into Traditional Martial Arts Systems
Let me say that some reality-based fighting principles can find their way into the curriculum of some traditional martial arts schools. For example, I have seen eye gouges demonstrated in some Kung Fu schools, and this is fine. But the problem is that over time, perfectly good, simple and easy-to-learn street fighting techniques like this one get lost in a plethora of countless other competing techniques taught, some effective, and some not so effective, that soon distract the student from knowing which one to choose and what really works best in most common situations.
Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) Does Not Emphasize “Street Smarts” – Because It Is A Sport!
I do not want to imply by any stretch of the imagination that a MMA guy is someone you should go around picking a fight with or that he is a pushover. This kind of thinking can get you a good “a…-whipping”. But let’s face it, a great deal of MMA guys are grapplers. What in the hell are you doing grappling on the ground in the streets! This is insane! The ground is NOT your friend!
On the ground, you lose peripheral vision, and you can’t see if and when your opponent has buddies coming to the left or right of you ready to stomp your head into the ground – until you are dead. And falling onto the hard and unforgiving asphalt concrete with a 200 lb guy on top of you is not the same as falling on a soft padded mat with the watchful eye of the referee ready to let you “tap out” when things get too tough.
A “sports mindset” is not the best preparation for a life and death struggle for survival. Let MMA for the octagon, and just watch it on TV.
What Characterizes Reality-Based Self Defense
It Doesn’t Take A Long Time To Master – Where studying a martial art (as it should) may take you years and years to master and to a lesser degree so does sports and competitive fighting, Reality-Based Self Defense can take as little as 1 or 2 days of intensive scenario-based training where you are placed in simulated environments with your instructor. You would find yourself in a mock-alley ways, close-quarter rooms with plenty of furniture, or you may go outside to train on the streets – on the gravel, on leaves, on grass, on concrete or on snow.
You Train For How And Where You Will Have To Fight – The idea is to go out of the usual temperature-controlled dojos and out into to realistic modern-day fighting environments. You train in your everyday clothes and in your shoes. You practice countering surprise attacks administered and directed by your instructor whose purpose is to induce within you the adrenaline rush that you will experience in a real street confrontation – and thus be comfortable with it.
One emotionally-charged weekend of good fight response experience with a good RBF instructor can change you so positively that your self-confidence and ability to respond will shoot through the roof, and this confidence will stay with you for the rest of your life.