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The Difference between Self-Defence Training & Sport Fighting

Sport fighting and the general perception of self-defence training is to fight and win. I say general perception because there IS real value in self-defence (and close protection) training, but it’s in the prevention, rather than the engagement, of a fight or self-defence situation.

If you want to know more about prevention, this is THE book you want. Click here for the Amazon link. Note: I don’t make anything from the sales of this book, it’s just there for you and it really is highly recommended.

If you want to know why the general perception of self-defence vs sport fighting is wrong, read on.


Self-Defence vs Sport Fighting

Imagine you’re in a car and you had to get from A to B as quickly as possible. Would you rather be in a car with a guy who had a lot of experience racing really fast for fun or a guy whose practised in a pretend car with some buddies pretending to chase him? That’s the difference between training for sport fighting and training for self-defence.

If you’re training for sport fighting, you’ll develop the real attributes you need to keep yourself safe and ultimately win a fight. That doesn’t mean very aggressive attacks or intricate technical details.

Aggressive attacks are most effective if you are at least as big and as strong as your attacker. If you’re the same size or smaller, you’re better off relying on skill rather than size to win. Think about if you are attacked by a small, aggressive girl in her early teens. I bet you that you’re pretty confident you could overpower her if she didn’t have a weapon of some sort, just based on size and strength alone. I hope this illustrates that if you’re a smaller or average size person, you are better off relying on skill rather than size.

Technical details go out the window when a real situation kicks off. Your body pumps with adrenalin. Your smaller muscles (the ones that control fine movement (aka. fine motor skills) get a lot more precise, which is why you shake when the adrenalin is flowing. Things happen too fast for you to think about the step by step process you need to do. On the plus side, you are stronger and faster, and you feel less pain.

How to leverage yourself in a fight:

You can leverage your body’s physiological response to a fight. You can execute proper control of distance, quick reactions & timing, and effective attacks and counterattacks. These are the same attributes that sport fighting develops in its participants. These are “sensitivities” you develop to an instinctive level through the training (and competition, should you choose it).

That’s what you need to defend yourself in a fight. Simple, effective, reasonably accurate movements that get rid of the threat FAST.  

To illustrate this point, my first MMA coach (who used to be a professional rugby player and looked the part) was knocked out on his first night of fight training by a lady who was under 5’6 and weighed less than 65kgs.

To close, the general perception of self-defence is wrong. The best kind of self-defence and close protection is prevention. Thinking self-defence prepares you to win fights better than sport fighting can is quite simply wrong. Sport fighting will develop the attributes you need and can apply far better than “self-defence” training will.

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