My Guest Blogger is my good friend Rob Magao. Rob is a black belt under Professor Pedro Sauer. Rob and I were sitting in a restaurant a few weeks ago talking about the differences between MMA and Reality Based Self-Defense on the Street. What we came up with was eye opening for me. I asked Rob to write down his thoughts on the subject for this blog and this is what he came up with. I share it with you now.
MMA is one of the most physically demanding sports in the world. It takes an incredible amount of skill, conditioning, preparation and mental fortitude to be a successful MMA fighter. MMA is the single closest combat sport there is to a real fight. As close as MMA is to a real fight, there are still many, many differences between the two that have to be considered when making that comparison.
On the surface MMA has rules (no eye gouging, biting, scratching, groin attacks, strikes to the throat, kicking a downed opponent etc.) just to name a few. Real street fights have no specific rules. The rules of a street fight are decided by the morals of the participants at the time. How far are they willing to go to “win”? But, the real differences between MMA and a real fight go much deeper.
MMA has weight classes, street fights don’t. Your opponent could be exactly your weight or he could be half your size or he could be 100lbs more.
MMA has gender specific divisions (male vs male and female vs. female). In the real world that is not always the case. In my job (Police Detective/SWAT) I have seen men attack women and I have seen woman attack men.
MMA places two fighters that are “agreeing to fight” against each other in a planned event. They know who their opponent will be, the location that the fight will take place, the date and time of the fight. They will have weeks and even months to prepare for it. They can train specifically to face their opponent. They can watch hours of video on their opponent and have a team of coaches and training partners to help formulate a plan of action (a game plan) best suited to be successful in beating that opponent.
MMA fighters can bring in other fighters that closely mimic the fighting style, size and strengths of their opponent. They may even find other fighters/coaches that may have competed or trained with that opponent before and know their skill set well.
MMA is one on one. Sadly, many street fights are not. MMA fighters have medical exams, gloves, mouth pieces, groin protection and a safe secure cage or ring to compete in. Real fights can take place anywhere, anytime and with no preparation or warning.
MMA fighters usually don’t have to worry about their opponent having a communicable disease (if proper testing was completed) or the opponent being under the influence of a dangerous drug such as PCP. MMA fighters don’t have to worry about their opponent pulling a knife, gun, broken bottle, dirty syringe or some other weapon/dangerous instrument and using it against them.
MMA fighters have “coaches” in their corner that can throw in the towel if they have to. They have a referee that can stop the fight if one fighter cannot intelligently defend themselves. MMA fighters can physically and verbally “tap out” to surrender. MMA fights have time limits, rounds and doctors cage side ready to give medical assistance immediately if needed.
MMA fighters are not “really trying” to kill each other. Could it happen? Yes, but very unlikely. The intent, the very purpose behind an MMA fight is much different than a real fight. It is based on competition and not survival. Unfortunately, people are murdered every day in the USA.
When I refer to the term “street fight” I am not referring to the school yard bully fight or even a minor bar fight with the local drunk (most MMA fights are worse than those). While minor bar fights and school yard brawls can be dangerous, I am talking more about an all-out criminal assault by a predator. Examples include; armed robbery, home invasions, domestic violence, workplace shootings, school shootings, random attacks, sexual assaults, muggings, kidnappings etc. I am talking about someone that truly wants to hurt you and carries very bad (sometimes outright evil) intentions with them.
I think of “ISIS” as an example of what I am talking about. All the MMA training in the world will not (alone) help you survive an attack like this. Don’t get me wrong, martial arts can help but it is not the only skill you will need to survive.
Real attacks give little to no warning. You have no say about who your opponent will be, what their skill level will be. If they have a weapon, if they are under the influence or have a mental illness. If multiple people will attack. What the environment will be; outdoors, indoors, large area, confined space, bright sun, darkness, extreme heat/cold, snow, wind rain, traffic, crowds, loud noises/alarms etc… The list is endless.
All of these conditions are not within your control. These conditions are decided by “chance” or a “higher power”. The only things you can control is are you in shape, have you prepared the best you can and do you truly have the will to survive? Better yet, do you have the will to train to survive? To train everyday for that one moment you may truly be in danger and need to protect your life or the life of another.
Finally, MMA Fighters do not have to worry about facing criminal charges for having to defend themselves. Sometimes, in a real fight it is hard to tell who was at fault and occasionally both people get arrested. Ultimately, it has to be decided in court. This could be the way the civil case goes as well if the attacker decides to sue you.
I'd rather go watch the fights.
Also see Rob's Self Defense Videos at Survival Skills 101
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