Competition vs Fighting? Is it that different?

A great number of people in the Self-Defense/Martial Arts/Tactical communities love to pontificate about the differences in competition and “real” fighting.  There are endless debates and articles on it. I just read a truly awful and wildly superficial one by a well known personality. Everyone always makes points about the differences and whether they matter or not. I want to address something that NO ONE has ever addressed.

The simple fact is this: ALL training, whether it be firearms, knife, H2H, self-defense oriented, or competitor oriented, are exactly the same in one critical area that I have yet to hear most reality based self-defense (RBSD) focused proponents deal with. That area? The simple and undisputable fact that every time a person trains, he KNOWS HE IS TRAINING! And therefore, the training has little to do with RBSD and in fact, is identical in preparation to a competitor!

You can be working eye gouges and pre-emptive strikes. It does not matter, because when doing so, you and your partners know it as well. There is an acceptance of what is happening. That is the exact same situation as preparing for competition. Trying to argue that there is something inherently different based solely on the physical techniques is ludicrous and has no bearing on reality.

Rather than using your intent or physical actions to differentiate yourself, you should be focusing on the actual performance under the same conditions in which you need to use the actions and intentions. That is how you get better.

And guess what? The jury is in. We have  an overwhelming amount of evidence as to what works for real, in the stress and chaos of battle. What works are the same things that work under the stress and chaos of high level competition. Those are the things we can rely on, not the unproven methodologies based on how we would like things to be. That is documented fact.

Rely on stuff you can work consistently in training against a resisting opponent, with opposing will, malevolent intent, and freedom of action.  Not fantasy.

One thought on “Competition vs Fighting? Is it that different?”

  1. That’s a good post Cecil. I think sometimes the two things can get separated. For me, although the drilling is important to learn for the technical aspect of the bjj, I think that most of my training is taking place in the free rolling that we do. Because each time we roll, we change partners so it’s different pressure constantly, it’s as close to any self defence live drills exposure I can get on a daily regular basis against someone who wants to put me in a bad position, keep me down, submit me, rolling with the guys with regard to the difference in size and strength, so you’ve got the resistance element in there. And when I’m doing all of that, the rolling becomes my ‘competition’, my ‘fight for survival’ self defence wise.

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