There is no dichotomy in sport training methodologies and self-defense training methodologies. It is absolutely true that any sort of training needs to match the venue being trained for. If I am training for a boxing match, spending time drilling takedown defenses is not likely necessary. That said, training for the venue of self-defense absolutely requires sport training methodologies.
I love the eye jab or biuji. I am a Jeet Kune Do man after all. I have entire strategies built around it and teach it to every student who comes into my school. It is a technique and tactic that will not fly in any sort of sportive venue, MMA, boxing, or kickboxing. It is advocated by many instructors who say that training for the street is different than training for sport. Here in lies the fallacy.
I cannot throw a biuji with any sort of accuracy or assurance in self-defense if I haven’t learned to box. A boxer trains to throw a jab against moving targets, his opponent’s face, while his opponent is actively trying to jab him back. A jab can target an entire face, which in a boxing match, is actually hard to hit. How can I rely on my biuji hitting an eye, which much smaller than a face, if I can’t throw a jab?
It is for this reason so many legitimate self-defense instructors have background in sport training systems and incorporate sport training methodologies into how they teach self-defense. I had the opportunity to train with Kelly McCann last year. A good portion of the Combatives training was spent on developing basic boxing skills. I know I can face smash an opponent because I know I can throw a cross. My Jeet Kune Do sifu, Harinder Singh, is known for teaching the dirty grappling system of Kina Mutai, which incorporates biting and eye gouging. Many say that if they had to fight a trained grappler, they would rely on dirty tricks like biting, but the difference between what Sifu teaches and what others teach is that he actively trains Brazilian Jiujitsu in a sportive fashion to develop his skills and abilities in grappling, so he knows with absolute assurance that he can employ those nasty bites when he needs to.
Will strategies and tactics require different approaches in training for a sport competition versus a self-defense situation? Absolutely, but that line is nowhere near as hard, the issue is nowhere near as black or white as some would have us believe.
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