It really doesn't matter what it is; IPSC, IDPA, Judo, Brazillian Jiu-Jitsu whatever, competition that draws from the protective disciplines is enjoyed and practiced by thousands of people who are genuinely interested in saving their bacon should the time ever come.
Personally I enjoy competitive venues although I'm not active in any at the moment.
So the big question is does competition have any merit in self defense and protection training?
My thesis is this:
It can improve combative skill sets, provided the competitor doesn't allow the focus of his training to win the game to overshadow the realities of proper decision making in a life or death struggle.
No competition, shooting match or cage fight will ever be able to replicate a fight for your life. There are variables in the real world that just cannot be replicated in even the best thought out games. Curbs, broken glass, parking barriers and puddles of hydraulic fluid are not present in the octagon or at the Steel Challenge. Neither are opponents who are truly willing to do anything to get what they want or kill you.
You don't have to have a 360 degree scanning procedure in the Nationals because no one is going to smoke you in the head with a socket wrench while you're standing in the box performing a reload.
You don't have to worry about the look-out in an armed robbery stabbing you in the neck with a screwdriver when you made the decision to sink a rear naked choke into a guy instead of bouncing his head off the concrete and getting to your feet when you got his back. There are no look-outs at Pride.
You have to be realistic and honest about the problems of street violence.
Criminals and predators could care less about whether they can run longer than you, shoot faster than you, or bridge out of your mount. Violence for the most part to them is a means to an end. They are not in competition with the victim and are not bound by any agreed upon rules.
It's not about who's the best man, but about getting paid.
Now on the other hand does competition raise one's stress levels and force optimal performance in the refinement of motor skills and physical attributes? Absolutely!
Jim Cirillo of NYPD Stakeout Squad fame has killed more people in gunfights than the standing army of Jamaica, and he credits his heavy competitive background as significant contribution in those wins.
I don't think that anyone would argue that being somewhat enured to impact from Golden Gloves boxing is a undesirable quality to carry into the street.
So in essence it's not so much whether competition is bad or good. It is what it is. What is essential is the conversion from competition to the street and how that's done.
And that's what we're interested in.
A good friend of mine and student we'll call "Dave" is a police officer in a neighboring jurisdiction. Dave is in his early forties and has been on the job as a line cop for over fifteen years now. He's got one shooting under his belt, has been a martial artist for around twenty years and is extremely well rounded with experience in Muay Thai, FMA, and BJJ. He's a certified Gracie LE instructor also. Needless to say he's been around the block a time or three in violent confrontations.
Dave began to get bored and somewhat stagnant in his training as we all do from time to time and decided to get into Judo.
He really enjoyed the rough and tumble of the sport and his spark was renewed. He began training like a mad man and competing.
One night on the 3-11 shift he pulls up to the sub-station just in time to see a guy burst out with a pair of cuffs dangling from one arm. Simultaneously the call comes out over the radio that a DUI suspect has just escaped custody. Dave gives pursuit.
He bails out of his patrol car and runs this guy down. After all, he runs about six miles a day and does interval work so this is like a cake walk.
Dave is right on the guy's heels and the escapee knows it, so he turns and squares on Dave.
In that split second of near collision, Dave defaults to his most current emphasis in training and snatches the guy in a double lapel grab.
Dave's next lucid moment is looking up at his fellow officers who are asking him "Dude, are you okay"?
The escapee had run a straight punch right down the middle and knocked Dave out cold. The drunk was apprehended about three blocks away after a couple of officers had smoked him with a collapsable baton when he tried to pull a citizen out of a car.
Dave realized in that moment that the guy could have just as easily snatched his gun out of his holster and shot executed him.
Did his Judo fail him? Not really. What did was his own conversion.
You can contact Southnarc via his site: http://shivworks.com/
In case you missed my other Southnarc/Craig Douglas entries I've posted, please check out:
- SELF-DEFENSE: Southnarc (aka Craig Douglas) - A "Systems" Approach to Building a Profile
- SELF-DEFENSE: Southnarc (aka Craig Douglas) - Battle Glad and Strife Eager
- SELF-DEFENSE: Southnarc (aka Craig Douglas) - The Myth of Proportional Armament
- SELF-DEFENSE: Southnarc (aka Craig Douglas) - Training Structure & the Criminal Assault Paradigm
- SELF-DEFENSE: Southnarc (aka Craig Douglas) - The Conditioning Corollary and Victim Selection
- SELF-DEFENSE: Southnarc (aka Craig Douglas) - Managing Unknown Contacts
- SELF-DEFENSE: SouthNarc (aka Craig Douglas) - Some thoughts on the "Default Position"