One of the things that I think is vitally important in our training and teaching is to “clearly define environment”. What I mean by that is to designate in which context any given methodology, technique, tactic, training method, etc is to be utilised.
The most common failure of this that I see is people mistaking martial arts, fighting and self-protection to be one and the same. There may be some crossover, but they are still very different and teaching one as the other can be highly problematic.
Teaching fighting as self-protection will ignore vitally important things like personal security, awareness skills, the law, escaping, de-escalation, and a host of other things all of which are way more important than “fighting skills” when it comes to real self-protection.
Martial arts generally include personal challenge, an appreciation of culture and history, and are an in-depth lifelong study. I love martial arts, but the person who comes to us for self-protection instruction does not want or need many aspects of the martial arts nor are they looking for a life long study. They do however need other things which are not generally included in martial arts study.
Fighting also needs to be further defined in to “what type of fighting?” Is this a MMA fight? A boxing match? A judo match? A street fight (a term I massively dislike)? All have different ways to win and therefore we need to clearly define what a “win” is in order to get people to do what is needed to win in that specific context.
Personally, I train for and teach all three, but I am very careful to define exactly what we are going at any given time. We can do all three, but when we mix them up in to an homogenous lump by failing to define the environment and context we end up doing all three ineffectively and inefficiently in my view. Sure, there is some crossover, but there are vital distinctions and by over exaggerating the value of the crossover – and never clearly marking the distinctions – we end up teaching one as the other by default. This is a very common and very problematic situation.
I’ve posted this in the self-protection section as that is where I feel the confusion between martial arts, fighting and self-protection is most prevalent and can be most problematic (potentially fatal even).
I think this confusion between martial arts, fighting and self-protection could be a very interesting topic to explore and I’d be very interested in everyone’s thoughts on how best to clear up this confusion? I also think it would be valuable to share what people feel are common examples of this confusion in action?
All the best,