Streets of Rage…

Posted: June 13, 2013 by beforethefire in Discussion Topics, Humor
Tags: , , , , , , ,


Allow me a moment to rant about one of my pet peeves: when people refer to “the street” when talking about martial arts training. I know this is a term used by many legitimate, tough, intelligent martial artists to describe the conditions of combat outside the training center or competition, but I still hate it. It’s a generalization, an ill-fitting blanket term, for the infinitely complex problem of interpersonal violence, but paints it like a scene from a bad movie.

I mean, who doesn’t imagine a mugger wearing a ski mask or some sort of brawl between one martial artist and a bunch of bad guys wearing leather jackets when they hear that term? I’ve been in a handful of violent confrontations in my life, but usually my assailants were just stupid kids, not the inhuman skinheads featured in much of self-defense literature. In my humble opinion, “the street” is a term that paints a very limiting picture of who we might have to defend ourselves against.

This is what people think of when they talk about "the street"...

This is what people think of when they talk about “the street”…

I also feel like this term can limit our training. Many martial artists categorize techniques into “street techniques” and about everything else. What is the definition of a street technique? Usually, one that’s so effective, you can’t actually use it in training against a fully resistant training partner for fear of maiming or killing him. Pardon my raised eyebrow. A technique you can’t actually practice? So how do you know you can actually do it? I heavily disagree with martial arts trainers and instructors who shy away from controlled sparring in class because of this philosophy. Often, these martial artists criticize MMA competitors and other combat sport practitioners for training with too many rules to be effective. Because of the “street” philosophy, many martial artists are missing out on opportunities to develop their most basic and critical fighting instincts.

And as for those rule-based martial artists, I’m not actually all that worried about their “street” worthiness. I’ve actually read several news articles in recent months with headlines like “MMA Fighter Stops Bank Robbery”, and “Man Attempts to Carjack Cage Fighter, Ends Up in Hospital”. Google them if you like, they’re very interesting. In these stories, you’ll find the good guys used very basic, well practiced techniques like the Rear Naked Choke or Rear Mount Control to subdue their attackers. No groin kicks, no eye gouges, no throat ripping. It goes to show, most basic techniques that you can pull off against a fully resistant opponent in a competition might actually work quite well against real-life combatants, especially since they tend to be less trained than competitive martial artists and lack rules to protect them, just like you.

Lastly, I would like to point out that martial arts training is not so neatly separated into “street” training and everything else. Be more open minded with your training. If you want to categorize your training, use things like “law enforcement”, “non assaultive”, or “battlefield”. Fighting is, after all, a form of problem solving that can be applied to a wide variety of problems, and not just for muggings, home invasions, or random street brawling. All fight scenarios have rules of some kind. I do not believe in true combat situations where an accountable fighter is free of any rules of engagement. I would recommend training the strategies and tactics that allow you to accomplish a wide variety of goals in a fight, such as escape, incapacitate, control, and survive. You will be more likely to adapt to most violent encounters in which you may find yourself.

What kind of training do you think best prepares people for real fights?

  1. bearshouse says:

    A fellow student recently began training in BJJ. We have trained in Karate together for several years. In comparison, you cannot really pracitce many Karate techniques on an opponent. It is too destructive to practice with full power, force etc. We use Kime, but it never allows one to experience the full potential of you ability to damage, Jujitsu however, one has to actually and correctly apply the technique all the way to the point of not return. Full potential of a technique is realized. We tap out before anything is destroyed.

    There is a lot of value in training techniques that can be applied in real time, with real force against real resistance. While nothing is not important, training for real fights has to come from being in real fights….. but to avoid destruction, we must employ safety with equiptment or restraint with rules or kime or tap out.

    thanks for the post, good topic
    and i think master Ken is hilarious

    • Thanks for reading. I agree, Jiujitsu’s offers great opportunity to exercise full force on an opponent. If only there were a safer way to practice striking. Sometimes I wish I had Wolverine’s healing powers just for the sake of no holds barred training! I look forward to your comments in the future.

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