How Realistic is Your Training?

Considering that martial arts are, in essence, methodologies for fighting I always consider paramount to perform a reality check of each application. This is to assess if and when a technique or combination can be useful in a self defence or real fight situation.

Please notice that some styles, like kick boxing, tae kwon do and judo are to be considered martial sports and they follow rules that are designed to allow a sport competition to take place without causing serious injuries to those taking part in it. To some extend certain martial sports train full contact and a professional or a serious amateur of these is pretty safe in a fight.

Certain styles that are pure martial arts, without sport applications, are meant to be useful for real fights and defending yourself. I am aware of a number of masters and instructors that remain pretty theoretical on the way they teach and assume that things will simply work: these people give a false, very dangerous, illusion to their students that risk to be seriously injured or killed in a real fight. It all good stating that one or the other technique will hurt an opponent, it’s another issue practicing it to ensure it works all the times.

So how do you perform a reality check? Here are some hints:

  • Have you tested your punches (or kicks, elbow or knee strikes) for real power?
  • The same strike might knock somebody down if applied to the head but just hurt a bit in certain areas of the body: did you consider that?
  • Have you considered how bad it could be hitting somebody in the face to find out that he hardly noticed the strike? What would you do then?
  • How much power do you think you need in order to knock somebody down or seriously injury them, allowing you to run away?
  • How would you react if somebody is charging you like a bull? Do you have a technique that would allow stopping or deflecting his attack?
  • Do you practice techniques that work at long, medium and short range? What about if the attacker is grabbing you?
  • Striking can be the non ideal solution sometimes. Do you practice techniques to seize the opponent and neutralizing him? Perhaps immobilizing him with a joint lock?
  • If you are below average the terms of body weight and size then you should consider training to defeat bigger people. What’s your body size compared to the average population?

I would be interested to hear comments about these issues.

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About Massimo Gaetani

Massimo is a professional coach certified by Results Coaching System. He works primarily with business owners and senior managers in organizations to boost their performance, set powerful goals about their business and careers and he supports them on their path to ensure successful outcomes. His clients to date are professionals, entrepreneurs, C role individuals and senior managers spanning a broad range of industries. Massimo supports his coaching qualifications with 15 years of management experience in small to large enterprises working in various senior positions in sales, marketing, IT and business consultancy. Find out more at
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