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The Training World vs. The Real World

The fact is the environment and the limitations of many popular training programs reflects little of what really exists in the real world, thus giving an altered impression of reality and what to expect in the event of a real fight.

The training world, even in light of countless lawsuits, court rulings and venomous media hype, is still heavily inundated with training concepts involving unrealistic principles like; square ranges, set distances, time limits, and the obligatory “down range” area, as well as an array of artificial drills that are more aesthetically pleasing and emotionally exciting to the student than they are practical. The fact is the environment and the limitations of many popular training programs reflects little of what really exists in the real world, thus giving an altered impression of reality and what to expect in the event of a real fight. While these concerns may seem trivial to many, especially the more experienced or highly trained, they do represent a significant problem in training and the potential application of skills in a real world situation. To make this clear, let’s explore both the real world and the training world.

In our post 9/11 world it would seem that nearly everyone, of varying backgrounds, skill levels and occupations, has climbed aboard the commercial training bandwagon, staking claim on a level of expertise in the combative arena. Though the halls of this industry are lined with real, honest to goodness guys with high levels of genuine expertise, it is hard to separate the real folks from the others. Spend time surfing the various “tactical” websites and it’s impossible to find one that doesn’t purport to be staffed by world class experts; or better yet, take some time and just monitor the heated discussions and all out character assassinations that take place on discussion forums by revered proletarians who must be “in the know” after all they command droves of online minions who submerge themselves vicariously in the alleged experience of their leader. With this disparity in experience and skill often comes a lack of understanding of the realities of the world and how to apply those realities in the training environment. What I’ve come to realize is that there are a tremendous number of people taking part in some portion of the training world who actually believe in something quite different from reality, something more like anti-reality, maybe it’s the bizarro world of reality. These often charismatic exponents of this altered version of the world would be nothing more than amusement if it were not for the fact that some serious students of self defense frequently gravitate to them, in search of the secret technique that will turn Walter Mitty into a tactical Tijuana luchadore, dominating over any foe from behind their sequenced mask. Well as much as I hate to be the bearer of bad news, there is no short cut! No secret training system! No one singular death touch technique that will stop a bad guy in his tracks. Life, especially in the hectic realm of conflict, would be much simpler if the evil doers would stand directly in front of us and demanded satisfaction, instead of attacking us from our blindsides, but since most who would do us harm lack any appreciable amount of testicular fortitude, this just is not the case. A serious fundamental ignorance of the actual mechanics, legalities and logistics of conflict exist among the would-be experts in this distorted form of reality and often becomes the core of their mindset and their curriculum.

This ignorance often leads to the “creation” and proliferation of techniques and tactics that are founded on questionable or obvious false assumptions and theories. Fantasy techniques consist of a host of strange and often irrational maneuvers, psychological ploys, overly complex procedures and often with tragic results manifesting themselves as a general attitude of false confidence leaving the student somewhat less than prepared for the combative skills they so eagerly seek. Now, don’t get me wrong, a significant portion of students remain incredulous to the obvious problems with anomalous techniques, but an equally large group persists in the pursuit of the ultimate technique only fueled faster by the claims of a select few in this industry.

Read Part I: Reality… What a concept!

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