When most people, especially instructors are asked whether they train realistically, their answer is usually ‘yes’. But when you see them do their “realistic” “stuff”, it seems pretty far and out of touch from reality. It seems that their concept of reality is different from the actuality of it.
Recently, I asked an individual a simple question, “How, would you say, a real violence training should look?” The individual replied in a very cliched way and went on about how the opponent should come at you aggressively, yelling and stuff, etc. I asked him in return, “Would you see it coming?” He didn’t have a proper answer, but yet tried to say something and ended up saying just “Yes”.
Now, here’s the first problem of things with this. Most tend to see these things from a purely physical perspective. Not many seem to focus on the pre-violence situation. No verbal cues, no physiological changes, etc. etc. In fact, most don’t even acknowledge it even exists. Which kinda poses a problem when we are “training for violence”, doesn’t it? I mean if you don’t train to see it coming, what are you preparing for? To get out barely alive and half dead?
So, realistic training? What does that entail? Well, if you ask me, the drills should focus more on the pre-violence cues than anything really, physical aspect of it should not be choreographed, no matter how “aggressive” the other guy is, (let’s be honest here, he‘s really not truly angry or aggressive in most cases). Superficial aggression is utterly useless, you don‘t have to kill them, but all of the pseudo aggressive and “hard” movements are nothing but taps in actuality, are you really gonna learn how it feels to get hit by being tapped on your chest?. For real? No. No no… Just no.
Let’s take a situation here, if I am in a big fancy Martial Arts studio, and I’ve been told to rush and charge this guy in order to demonstrate “the harsh reality of violence”, and I charge at him, but the guy knows I‘m coming, ‘cause, you know, He Told Me To! He‘s READY for his “moves”, there is no sudden jolt to his nervous system, no emotional stress, and I didn’t try to get a rise out of him by calling his mom an individual who asks money for pleasure, not to mention, I‘m not gonna actually make contact here, it‘s gonna be an acting show, a choreography with taps that look “hard”.
So my questions are, “Is that really reality?” and “Are we really showing the actuality of it or are we just showing what we think and we want people to think is reality?” I mean in a real assault or an attack, very rarely people do see it coming, and even when they do, they’re still overwhelmed by the sheer aggression, it’s sudden, our hands are shaking, our legs feel weak, our stomachs are churning and we’re basically too busy crying and asking ourselves questions like, “What the hell is happening?” and “Why the fuck is this happening to me?”
I’m pretty sure, that most who just train for their kind of “reality”, where the guy they know is coming, charging at them without any purpose, without thinking about any of the events leading up to the escalation of the situation and violence, that kind of individual will not only, not see the threat coming, but they will crumble under pressure due to the aggressive nature of the actuality and suddenness of violence, as they won‘t see it coming like they did in their fancy studio. Not to mention, fail miserably to deescalate the violence in the first place due to lack of verbal skills necessary to not provoke the guy even further by challenging or insulting him.
So, my opinion here is that, the best training is something that encompasses every subject related to violence, which includes not only physical, but verbal, psychological, emotional, biological, societal, moral, consequential, tactical and a very important aspect; Legal.
As far as the physical training goes, scenario training is great, but without purpose, it loses it’s purpose, which is to mold your brain to handle and resolve or combat threats if/when you come across them by utilizing our brain’s neuroplasticity. Blindly creating aggressive scenarios without any situational context and escalation, is just inviting more trouble and is not training for the actual thing, it’s just training for more senseless violence. So please, Train smarts and common sense, rather than senseless violence.
Finally, my question to you, the reader; What are you gonna train for? ‘The reality of violence?’ or ‘The actuality of it?’.