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Self Defense Training Vs MMA Training

Asking about self defense training and MMA training, R. R. writes in:

“My concern is facing someone who is trained in MMA or some reality-based system.

I’ve already had an altercation with a MMA guy and even though he didn’t beat me up he still got an ankle lock while I was standing and it bothers me to this day. I hope you can help me out with what to do and go into some detail about facing an experienced martial artist or athlete involved in MMA.”

R.R. brings up a number of issues – I’ll do what I can to address them all.

Facing Someone Who’s Trained

You can compete, or you can destroy. To compete, all you have to do is go strength-to-strength, skill-to-skill and will-to-will with someone. If you’re stronger, more skilled and want it more than him, you’ll win. If not… he’ll get you on one or more of those.

Or you can cheat and just take his eye.

There’s a reason they don’t allow that in competition: It blows the competition all to hell. If you’re serious about causing injuring to the man and using your self defense training, I recommend you do all the things they don’t allow in the octagon: eyes, throat, groin, stomping the neck and head of a downed man, etc.

Training for competition has two primary goals

1. To make for entertaining fights, and

2. To ensure that fighters can have actual careers

If we allow eye-gouging, bouts are over in moments, and people just aren’t going to pay good money for five-second matches. Also, serious, debilitating injuries like that are going to cut careers down to a single fight.

In order for MMA to make money, fights need to be exciting, dramatic competitions that pit fitness, skill and heart against another human, with the best of the best prevailing and the losers having the opportunity to improve themselves and return for another chance at glory.

Facing someone who’s trained is only going to matter if you throw your self defense training against their MMA training and try to overpower, out-maneuver, or outlast them. Regardless of fitness, skill and desire, everyone’s eye comes out of their screaming skull the same way. All you have to do is look at MMA videos online where a serious injury ended the fight—the most prevalent being concussions that cause unconsciousness, but also things like torn knees, accidental fingers in eyes, etc. What we’re saying is that you should start there rather than going the five rounds preceding the fight-ending injury in the ring.

Specifics? Take his eye. Crush his groin. When he’s down, kick him in the head as hard as you can. The real question is: does the situation warrant this?

Can I really do it?

If you’re having doubts about whether or not you could seriously injure someone using your self defense training, it’s because on some level you realize it’s inappropriate for the problem at hand. For the situations we’re actually training for—life-or-death violence where what you do will determine whether you live or die—there is never any question. If you had a gun, you’d shoot the person to death. But you either don’t have one, can’t get to one immediately, or the one you have has failed. That’s the time to do the work of a bullet as best you can with your bare hands and boots.

We’re not utilizing self defense training to best someone, change their mind or overpower them without any serious social repercussions any more than we’d expect to be able to do those things with a firearm.

A firearm is not a universal or even multi-use tool. It does just one thing really well: killing people at a distance. When skillfully employed, it causes debilitating injury that leads to the shutdown of the brain (or an interruption of the brain’s ability to control the body), whether by opening up the circulatory system and causing the person to bleed out or by the direct destruction of the central nervous system.

With TFT, we are training specifically to cause debilitating injury that leads to the shutdown of the brain, only using our bare hands.

Because we use our own bodies to do this work, it is often confused with fighting, competition and the mistaken belief that we can do it without really hurting anyone.

Here’s the deal… Tearing into the other guy to seriously injure him and stomp him to nonfunctional—being willing to take it all the way—is where the real power lies. In actual use, this approach allows you to stop as soon as you recognize he’s nonfunctional, without having to kill him. But it only works like that if you step in to do it 100%.

If you go in half-assed because you don’t really want to hurt him, don’t worry—you won’t. And you’ll have a real fight on your hands.

The answer is, yes, you can really do it, the same way you can point and fire a handgun. The only question is one of appropriateness. And just as the need to shoot someone during your everyday activity with your family is thankfully rare, so is beating a man into unconsciousness… or to death.

Books by Tim Larkin

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