The chaotic reality of a “real” fight

The chaotic reality of a real fight

If you look around at various blogs about self-defense or ask certain people with experience of fighting. They, in the end, tend to end up saying the same thing. Don’t fight if you can at all avoid it. Why? Where is the tough man attitude that says winner takes all and I’m the main man?

The reason this tends to be stated is that a real fight or Self-Defense situation is so chaotic and unpredictable that anyone with enough experience knows that it is better to avoid it if you can. The gung ho attitude of youth is replaced with a more philosophical view based on the experience of seeing many things go wrong and many situations that start easy, end up being ridiculously difficult and dangerous.

A dose of reality

This is a quote from Kelly McCann asking his uncle, a world war two veteran, about the reality of combat and the answer came as a bit of a surprise to him.

“So what was closing with the enemy like?” I asked. “I mean, how did it sort out on the battlefield? How’d you pick a particular Jap to go after, and how did each of them target a Marine?” Johnny picked up his glass and looked away, clearing his throat. “It’s not like that; it’s a collision. It’s like the worst goddamned bar fight you can imagine—but to the death. It’s chaos.”

McCann, Kelly. Combatives for Street Survival: Volume 1: Index Positions, the Guard and Combatives Strikes (p. 2). Independent Publishers Group. Kindle Edition.

Not quite John Wayne kicking ass is it?

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Boxing skills and their use in Self-Defense

Boxing skills and their use in Self-Defense

Boxing is one of the oldest and well known of the Traditional” martial arts. Its a huge spectator sport in the modern world and was, at one time, something taught as the go-to self-defence in many countries. It was taught in school in the UK and in the United States and has a great tradition in Ireland whether in bare-knuckle boxing or gloved.

But how is boxing useful as Self-Defense in the modern world?


If you can make time to train in boxing technique, it can be very very useful when defending yourself, because,

  • You train to develop concussive punching power
  • Boxing sparring is one of the most realistic forms of sparring available
  • In boxing, the emphasis is on training to improve speed and reflexes, crucial skills when you are under a violent attack
  • The development of good footwork in boxing training helps with balance, evasion and creating counter strike angles
  • Boxing training is one of the best ways to get fit
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The use of sparring in Self-Defense

The use of sparring in Self-Defense

Most people training in any form of combat sports or Self-Defense systems end up taking part in sparring sessions. It’s an important part of training but very often it’s not really made clear as to why you are actually doing it in the first place. So let’s have a look at it and see what it does for you and how important it is to have it as part of any modern self-defense training system.

What actually is sparring?

Sparring is the process of ( generally ) two opponents attacking each other to test out their combat skills under various levels of constraints and safety procedures. 

In boxing, sparring is usually done with larger gloves, head guards and groin protection. It normally has time limits and someone checking what is happening.

In martial arts, like the Kung Fu I trained in, we would wear gum shields, often shin pads and gloves. 

What is common in both types of training, is that the levels of power and aggression are often checked back to avoid serious injuries. In martial arts training more so, normally, than boxing, but this can depend on the skill level and whether it is professional or amateur.

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Failure as a learning tool in Self-Defense

Dealing with "failure" is a part of any learning curve.
Dealing with “failure” is a part of any learning curve.

Failure as a learning tool in Self-Defense

The title may seem a bit of an odd one, so let me explain a little bit. 

To defend yourself against someone who is attacking you, you need a certain amount of know-how and skill. Realistically speaking, you will have had to train to develop this skill and know-how. So at first, it would seem odd that I would suggest that an important part of this would be failing because that doesn’t make sense.

Learning curve

The point is this. Anyone who has achieved any level of skill and knowledge at anything has dealt with failure along the way. They attempted to do something to improve and failed at it. They then went back to that something and tried again. And again! Until they were somewhere near what they wanted. To drive home the point then is that the sooner you accept that you are on a learning curve and will get things wrong, the sooner you will be on the path to better learning. The sooner you deal with failing, the sooner you will improve your skills.

How would understanding failure apply directly to Self-Defense?

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