There is one single concern that I have with a number of modern and traditional combat and martial arts systems and that is just how much ‘reality’ is involved in the respective training.
For example, it is more and more common to see terms like ‘reality based self-defence’ coming up in advertising. That is a good thing, if what you are being taught does actually deal with reality, and training for realistic situations. Yet sometimes it quickly becomes apparent that this may not be the case at all.
For example, a good illustration of a technique might be one that is given [post] being punched in the face or struck in another area by your attacker.. If your training is continuously that that your attacker faces you head on and telegraphs their attack and your training is to counter that attack by the use of technique A, B and C, then that is great for learning techniques to use in self-defence, but is not realistic of being attacked, and is perhaps more the reason why it can be that people that have some training in a chosen martial art or combat system can simply freeze or go into a windmill attack pattern of wildly punching in all directions.
Let me state that training with compliance and telegraphing attacks are very much a valid way of training, if you don’t have compliance during the use of Aikido/ Jutitsu locks and throws then collarbones and shoulders can easily be broken or injured. Your partner is offering you the use of their body to train with and it should be done so in a manner that emphasises respect and thanks. Yet it is also just as valid to acknowledge that there are other training methods that give you the full training picture in self-defence training.
Going back to my point about being punched in the face. It is unrealistic to expect when you are attacked that your training will kick in and you will simple evade the first set of blows that come in. It is incredibly difficult to read an attack at the best of times, and it may well come from the side or even behind as is the case with the current phenomena of ‘coward punching’ in the media at present. It is a valid part of training to experience being hit albeit with safety pads and other PPE. You need to be able to pass through the feeling of shock and be able to respond with your training in such a situation and experiencing training along these lines is vital to the full training package.
At the local Krav Maga club, new students are often surprised that once warm ups are completed that the roller door is rolled up and students are moved out to the bitumen car park for training.. At the advanced levels your training starts from getting up from your back on the bitumen surface, sometimes whilst in a chokehold. Scratches and ripped clothing happen from time to time as a result. On other occasions when the roller door is taken up, students are put into the cars parked there and have to learn techniques to break chokes from the driver seat from a passenger sitting in the rear of the vehicle. On other occasions training can be held inside a charted public transport bus both stationary and moving. All are valid attempts to make people understand that your training has to be more than just the security of the mat and a compliant partner to do predetermined techniques.
It is fair to say that my thoughts on Krav Maga is that it is a wakeup call to both traditional and modern combat and martial art systems. It is a system that cuts away the fluff and teaches you basic techniques that are both brutal and effective. Yet seeks to do so in a manner of realism. Yet there is no reason why traditional martial arts and combat systems cannot be taught in the same way and cannot be as effective if your organization is prepared to go deeper into the syllabus to find the correct training techniques for these type of attacks. The Korean Martial Art of Hapkido has no shortage of techniques that involve striking, locks and close combat. It is a pre-requisite to join the police force in Korea that you have a black belt in Hapkido. In Japan a black belt in Aikido or Jujitsu is required for the same reason. Yet I guarantee you that when the local police officers use these techniques that they are used in a way similar to how they are taught in Krav Maga.
Perhaps your training is along the lines of Wing Chun, Karate or Muay Thai. You may be surprised to see just what your syllabus can extend to – [if] your Sensei – Sifu is willing to teach it in a different environment away from the Dojo / Kwoon. Yet at the same time if you are turning up for your training nights and you find yourself asking questions about how choke holds are broken, or what should you do if you find yourself on the ground. Then take it to your Instructor and have an open discussion about it and let them answer you from the content of the system. If the response is “we train standing up because the fight is not meant to go to the ground”. Then you do have a problem that you should follow up on and perhaps look for answers outside of your organisation. There is little point in proudly wearing a coloured belt that you have trained for with the expectation of realistic self-defence and not feeling that you have gained the answers that you are looking for.
No one wants to find themselves in a situation where you have to use your training to both defend yourself and to hurt people. Yet it is also a true saying that [“you should walk a mile to avoid a fight, but when one starts, do not back down an inch”]. You training has to be both realistic and effective in the best possible way. If you are not training for realism in attack, then you are not being honest with yourself and you should be prepared to challenge yourself to go further and deeper into your training accordingly.