We often talk about how an organization can sometimes change the way its members see reality. Being immersed in the culture of any organization tends to change a person, and sometimes the ways a person views the world around them.
If the culture is good, this kind of immersion is great for a person. If the culture is not so good then…
One insidious element that can permeate a martial arts school culture has to do with the reality of street attacks.
No one (I hope) does this on purpose, but the temptation to view street attacks through the artificial lens of a particular art or style is powerful. The result of this split with reality is that people train differently than what is best.
Ever heard of the popular phrase “train the way you fight and fight the way you train?”
The reality is that people “train the way they expect to fight.” Your expectations of what will happen in the street ultimately guide what you end up working on and how hard you work at it.
What happens so often in training is that our perceptions of what will actually happen are slowly obscured over time by our preferences and biases.
- If you train a lot of grappling, eventually you can develop a bias towards believing that every attacker grapples and doesn’t lead with strikes.
- If you strike a lot, you can eventually develop a bias towards believing that no attacker is going to grapple you.
- If you train empty hand, you can forget about guns and knives.
- If you train patty-cake, you can forget the speed, ferocity, and viciousness of actual attacks.
This happens without anyone noticing, and no school is exempt from the temptation to do this.
Despite the difficulty in overcoming bias, there are a few safeguards to help you avoid drinking the martial art school kool-aide.
First, do brief meditations on being attacked throughout your training. When you do so, sculpt the attacker into someone who is strong, fast, and vicious… and sort of sloppy but in an effective way. Keep in mind weapons and multiple attackers. This is a great way to keep your mind and expectations sharp regarding attacks.
Second, pressure test everything you do. Skimping on this element can get you and your students/classmates in a lot of trouble if they have to use what they’re training in the street. When using pressure testing, work to expose your own weaknesses instead of masking them over with speed. Take your time to make everything solid and powerful.
“The Art of Sparring” is an in depth resource on how to pressure test your art for self defense.
Here are a few examples of the drills & sparring games we teach in that video:
The Art of Sparring is included with the Clear Defense Package that will be on sale for 3 days starting April 19th.
This is just one piece of learning to teacher Clear’s Silat. If you’d like to become a Clear’s Silat instruction check out the Clear Defense Certification Workshop in July.