1. Always choose reality over tradition
Martial arts has a rich history that should be studied and understood. Ultimately, I have respect for tradition and when put in their proper context many arts have valuable information. However, martial arts also teach a lot of BS frankly. Some practitioners know they’re teaching impractical techniques but to keep in line with tradition they’ll continue teaching it.
However, we as reality-based martial artists must avoid this attitude. Your safety depends on your ability to use your martial skills. So practicing something because it was done 1,000 years ago isn’t a good idea. Therefore, to avoid this problem you want to always innovate in your close combat training, stay up to date with modern events and societal problems, and be aggressive in testing your methods.
Always seek new creative ways to accomplish goals in your training faster. Avoid teaching things solely because they’ve been taught that way in the past. Theres always a new way to increase speed and develop hitting power. Subtle details to prepare for confrontations through realistic scenario training. New psychological insight can help you reach students that have a hard time developing ruthlessness to prepare for self-defense. Now, a lot of “new” information is often recycled stuff from the past but don’t shy away from improving things that can be more efficient.
3. Stay Modern and Up to Date
It’s important to stay up to date on modern problems so you can provide adequate solutions for your clients. Frankly, ain’t too many people attacking each other on horseback with samurai swords. So, I know it might be your tradition to practice this but for self-defense I don’t want to drill this. However, criminal trends like the knockout game, car tampering as a setup for robbery, feigning sickness to set up a home invasion happen frequently. The subtlety of various crimes and the nuances of how the ruses are performed means self-defense experts have to stay modern.
We must seek to know every trick that criminals use, every tactic and weapon they utilize to harm civilians. History doesn’t favor the civilization that doesn’t keep up to date with “modern warfare”. A similar thing happens to martial artists that don’t make sure what they’re teaching works. For example, believing that violent criminals will get into a stance with you throwing spinning back-kicks doesn’t work well on a elevator against a sneak attack. It’s fun to train in a gi but sometimes it’s more beneficial to put on a winter coat, jeans and boots to get a feel for fighting in “regular clothes”.
Test, test, test, and more tests. Read about every person in the news that fights back against violent assaults. These are more reliable than anything we can recreate in the training room. From this, we get real reliable info on how assaults are being carried out in the real-world. If you can get access to people who have encountered real violence this provides excellent references for what really works and what doesn’t.
Of course, engage in some form of reality-based “physical testing” that allows you to ensure what you’re teaching works today not just 500 years ago. In previous blog posts I’ve talked about how you can make this type of training realistic. Practice your skills against sneak attacks, multiple attackers, groundfighting on staircases and the like. Implement as many different parameters as you can to reflect how violent assaults happen.
In short, you must make a decision. Either you’re going to be fully committed to reality or tradition. Neither one is better than the other it’s just about which one you’re interested in. So, with that guys hope you’re staying safe and good luck!