Leaving aside the MMA side of things I do, right now I am mostly working Silat for my continued education. For my current situation I only need an art that provides basic self protection and gives me a greater depth to my understanding, which coincidentally has a lot of cross over into the other arts I study and also in to other areas in my life. Well actually that’s no coincidence as truth is truth whatever the endeavour.
One of the things that happens when you switch to a different (read traditional) method is that come up against your and others bias. Firstly I get statements like “well that traditional training just does not work” and then when you prove it does; you get “well it may work on untrained people but try that on an MMA guy”.
Today I want to write about the self protection fight, or as I prefer to call it the struggle. I call it the struggle because no matter how good and well trained you are, if someone attacks you with genuine intent to do you harm it will not be an easy fight. Even if you put up your fence and do a text book one punch knockout ala Geoff Thompson, it will still be a struggle mentally, physically and spiritually.
To explain the fight further I am going to refine what most people define as a fight (or struggle in my case) by removing the things that I consider are something else outside of self protection but that are often used as data to prove a point:
MMA - Wanderlei
Firstly sportive contests such as MMA and Muay Thai are just that, sportive contests and that’s not to say that you cannot use MMA skills for self protection, because you can. However both MMA and Muay Thai also have their limitations for self protection because they don’t train for weapons or ambushes. If those two areas are not built into your art, you will be lacking. Typically there are many other pay offs to training in sportive arts such as improved health and fitness etc.
Traditional challenge match
Secondly match or challenge fights, these are fights when two martial artists get together to have a one on one contest. The motivator can be style vs. style or just you don’t like the other guy. A friend and I once took part in some Wing Chun vs. Wing Tsun challenge matches in the eighties. We did not train Wing Chun, just Muay Thai but turned up to fight anyway, which freaked a lot of people out. In a way despite the lack of rules, these matches were much like sportive matches in that they lacked the ambush and weapons element.
Things I would consider to be in the realms of self protection fights can be broken down in to two areas:
Rage incidents, a good example would be when you cut someone up on the motorway or any situation where people get agitated due to overcrowding etc. I also would include alcohol or drug fuelled incidents in this category.
Ambushes, a good example would be muggings or possibly revenge or racially motivated attacks. These may planned or spur of the moment actions but either way, you are likely to be behind the timing curve.
Both rage incidents and ambushes have a few things in common, you are likely to be unaware they are about to happen and there is a likelihood they will involve weapons and possibly multiple adversaries. Both these short falls can be addressed by your training, you can learn about improving you awareness and what South Narc calls MUC (managing unknown contacts) skills here: http://www.shivworks.com/.
You can learn about the fence from Geoff Thompsons books and videos and also how to deal with the post fight situation here: http://www.geoffthompson.com
MMA and the above awareness and verbal judo skills actually make a great fix for self protection issues.
The Clinch Pick
Weapons defence is a different matter because that has to be pre-built into your art right from the start. I think it’s much harder to take MMA and bolt on knife or weapon defence. Not impossible as people like the Straight Blast Gym have added the STAB knife defence program etc. I am not a fan of the bolt on system and prefer to use an art that has the weapons defence built in from day one such as Silat. You still need the above awareness skills and to drill in an “alive” fashion and that will be the topic of my next post.