Sunday, December 11, 2016

How to train for combat realism

You or someone else has probably been training hard to get in the best possible shape, practicing all the techniques taught in class, and sparring alot. After extensive training, it feels like the student is ready to defend him or herself in the street. When the situation presents itself however, the student may end up getting beaten to a pulp. This is the case for many martial artists and instructors. The reason? Improper training.

You can know all the right moves and have many quick reflexes but if you don't train realistically for combat, what you've learned won't be applicable. If you've been sparring with a Karate fighter, how likely is it for a skilled Karate fighter to attack you? If you've been practicing techniques with a cooperative partner, how likely are you to apply those techniques correctly on a violent person who's not cooperative? If you practice drills, what good will they do in actual combat?

It's unlikely that you will face a skilled fighter training in the same style as you and more likely that you will face an attacker who's reckless. Worse, you may freeze up despite all the training that you did and lose instantly as others have. Learn all the martial arts and techniques you want but they can't save you when you don't train for the streets. Why? Failure to manage stress and other psychological factors such as intimidation. Many street fights don't even begin with attacks, they begin with intimidation and threats on your wellbeing. To illustrate my point, watch the following video taken from "Beyond Scared Straight" and pay close attention to your reactions to the bald large inmate.

How did you feel? Do you think you could confront someone like him face to face? What if suddenly, he started swinging at you with aggressive and relentless brute force? If you can't manage stress in training, your performance suffers when you enter the real world of self defense.

According to Dave Grossman, professor of psychology, high levels of stress impair your ability to perform complex motor skills. In other words, you wouldn't be able to recall what you've learned in class under high levels of stress. How can you train to be combat ready?

1) Get rid of bad habits - Before anything, you must change your perspective on how you view self defense. Stop thinking of it as UFC ring fight because there are no rules in the streets or winning. There won't be time for you to both jump around and figure each other out before you get said person into a submission hold then make him/her tap. This is a fight for survival. You don't know if the other person is armed, has friends, is on drugs, so on. Be sure to also not look at combat from a point of techniques. Principles are far more important. Techniques are just tools to help you accomplish your goals rather than being the foundation of self defense. Practice effective and simple techniques. Flashy techniques look good but are often impractical and too complicated to perform under stress.

2) Simulate real combat - Combat systems such as Krav Maga and other military forces simulate as much of the real world combat as possible. According to Gestalt principles in psychology, we tend to see patterns in similar objects. The more you intensely train under stress in training as if your life was at stake, the more you'll retain what you've learned and perform at your full potential. If you've mastered sparring with a partner using the same style as you, try someone of a different style. Try sparring with people of different sizes, of different levels of violence, etc. Spar with multiple attackers. Do mock scenarios where you will be ambushed suddenly with seemingly real weapons or unarmed attackers. Keep it as free as possible making sure your practicing good form, following principles, and proper techniques.

3) Practice stress management - During training, you would want to also practice managing your stress. Have a partner or several try as hard as they can to intimidate you as you keep your cool under pressure. In Dave Grossman's book on combat, a study was done on three groups of rats put under stress. The first was dropped in a tub of water and it took 60 hours for them to drown. The second group was only held upside down above the water to create stress. After they were done freaking out, they slowly calmed themselves. They lasted 20 minutes before drowning. The last group was put under the same treatment except they were put back into their cages to recuperate. This was repeated several times until the rats got accustomed to it. Stress inoculation therapy is a great method in changing the way you view yourself and help manage your levels of stress under intense situations. Use a method called tactical breathing which involves taking one deep breath and holding it for 4 seconds before exhaling then repeating the same process three times. This technique is used by snipers in order to improve accuracy and focus.

Above all, have a strong willpower to endure everything you go through. Fight with everything you have because your life is at stake. If you enjoyed this post, subscribe to my blog for updates, more advice, and exclusive content in the near future. I'm proud and excited to offer a FREE sample chapter of my E-book "Jeet Kune Do: How to build your own fighting system for self defense!" It's essentially a step-by-step guide on how to make your own self defense system suited to fit your own needs using Jeet Kune Do. If you would love to receive your FREE chapter of my e-book, click on the link below and share a post via. social media then it's yours for FREE! Be sure to also fill out the survey on the right and provide feedback on my blog. Leave questions, comments, and suggestions below.

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