What the heck do racecars and eye gouges have to do with one another? Stay with me for a minute and I will explain.
One of my pet peeves when it comes to self-defense is whenever an “expert” will denigrate combat sports such as Brazilian Jiu-jitsu or boxing, or any kind of competition like Practical Pistol shooting by saying if you engage in any of those things, you are building reactions that will cause you pain, suffering, and death on the street in a real life altercation.
They insist that doing even one competition or practicing with any idea of a sport context with rules will instill training scars that are impossible to overcome. Any hint or suggestion that there is anything that limits what reactions you can have will be apocalyptic in results.
Here is the problem with that idea – they do the same thing in their own training courses! Whether it is a firearms course or a combatives/H2H class, there are rules and procedures that are just as limiting as any competitive rule set. Don’t believe me? Well, answer me this. When was the last time a one-dimensional flat piece of paper attacked anyone? So if we practice shooting against that target, and never against a real 3-D person, why won’t we go into shutdown mode when confronted with the real thing?
Another example – When was the last time a self-defense situation was initiated by someone shouting “Up”, or “Bust ‘em”, or “Threat!”? Of course the answer is never, but those are all typical firing commands in street oriented/tactical/non-competition shooting classes. And yet the exact same people, who will say that going off a buzzer in an IDPA match will get you killed, will then have the equivalent stimulus! It is just so hypocritical.
If competition/sport oriented rules ingrain habits that will dominate your subconscious and cannot be overcome in high stress situations, then why do we not see literally thousands of automobile accidents take place every year where professional race car drivers are driving in normal traffic? After all, professional drivers (NASCAR, Indy racing, sprint cars, etc) spend hours a day, practically every day, on a track with no oncoming traffic, no traffic signals, and they are only turning left. If competition ruins you, then every self-defense oriented shooter should be vocally and loudly demanding that all professional racecar drivers should be banned from normal driving.
And yet, they don’t, because it would be ludicrous and stupid! Too bad that does not stop them from applying the same poor logic to self-defense and their magical fight stoppers like eye gouging (See? I told you I would tie it all together!) that somehow will be accessible even if you never actually apply them in real time against a resisting opponent. If driving on a circular track for far more hours than any person ever spends shooting does not warp your real world reactions, then shooting IDPA/USPSA or competing in a judo tournament won’t either. Period.