Remember the Environment!

Don’t let the title fool you, this is not a post about going green or saving the planet; this post is about self-defense. Many people are aware of the sport of Mixed Martial Arts, more commonly referred to as MMA. This form of martial arts competition is a sport. A fun sport to watch no doubt, but it is just that – a sport.

It incorporates techniques from various martial arts, but it is not the total martial arts package. With that said, what I want to address today is the importance of the environment in martial arts.

Why do you train martial arts? Many of you are in it to learn self defense. While the techniques presented in MMA and the UFC are some of the same techniques we teach at our academy (Progressive Martial Arts Academy in Oak Ridge, TN), we will also teach you how to defend yourself with and against weapons, with and against grabs and strikes not legal in competition, and with consideration of other various factors that separate competition and reality.

For example, in a real life-threatening situation, you will not be on a soft mat or canvas floor. You will be faced with the reality of concrete surfaces that may be littered with broken glass, rocks, nails or even covered with rain. This is not a very forgiving surface to land on. Your opponent will be wearing more than spandex shorts and gloves. It’s possible that you will be shoved against a wall or grabbed from behind by a surprise attacker. Your environment may present objects that both you and your opponent could use as weapons. There may be a curb stone right behind you that, after successfully holding off your attacker, you trip over, giving them time to recover and attack again!

These kind of things make training how to safely fall, roll and stand back up some of the most important self defense techniques you will ever learn. Maybe even more importantly is training to make sure that you don’t end up on the ground at all, where in competition that might have been your strong suit.

Just something to keep in mind – be prepared for reality.