1. If you are a big, sloppy tub of goo and your profession is to teach martial arts or self defense, you are failing your students and short-changing them on their potential. They will never be what they can be, because you never reached your potential as a martial artist/human weapon. Keep yourself fit! It is your job, as an instructor to do what you teach, teach a variety of things and if you physically can't perform them, it limits your students.
2. No martial art is truly effective against multiple attackers. In fact, very few men can take down multiple attackers. If you are one of those men, congrats! But it's rare. You can learn ways to maybe survive and run, but to stay and fight is silly. If effective lets you run away, then get in a position to run and run.
3. Size matters. That's why combat sports have weight classes. A smaller, talented martial artist can beat a larger untrained person easily. But as the training gap narrows, the smaller person's skill advantage disappears.
5. Saying that your technique is too lethal, you would fight dirty, etc., is fooling yourself. If you have never practiced it full go, you won't be able to make it work and a person who trains against real resistance will still demolish you. Like Randy Couture once said, "I can't fight dirty also, I just don't have to, but if you would bite me, I will break your arm and maybe bite you back."
6. Most Self Defense arts in this country are targeting hobbyists and soccer moms. Combat Arts have to water down their classes somewhat to keep the doors open/collect dues/pay rent. This is why fighters have separate work out times and fighters only open gyms/classes.
7. One-day Self defense courses are good for awareness, information and a couple BASIC techniques but ones that fill your head with too many techniques or ones that are hard to remember. Why even bother?
8. Most gyms teaching self defense courses should stop. As a matter of fact, most people are unqualified to teach self defense. Stick with whatever work outs or martial arts you teach.
9. A good sport fighter will wreck about anyone in real life confrontations, Boxing, Kickboxing, MMA, Muay Thai, Wrestling, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Yes, even with the "lethal and dirty" techniques. All the secret ninja tactics in the world won't save you versus someone that really knows how to train and fight.
10. A "street fighter" who has never trained will probably not survive a minute against a trained fighter. They are the untrained, no real clue about fighting.
11. MMA changed everything in regards to self defense, martial arts, police tactics etc. UFC 1 and 2 changed the lives of many martial artists at that time and changed the direction of martial arts in this country. All the secret and mystical stuff in the world doesn't work.
12. Most people think they can fight, and they are seriously mistaken. Almost anyone can knock anyone out with a lucky shot, but the chances significantly decrease against a real fighter.
13. Well what would *insert martial art here* do versus a knife or gun? Answer is, who knows. You have to use your head to survive those situations because most people have never and will never be faced with that situation. Also neither have the vast majority of the instructors telling you what to do in that situation. The lack of true stress inoculation in training will be the downfall of most Self Defense training. Situational awareness and stress inoculation will help you survive and not freeze up. No...hitting pads and yelling doesn't count.
14. Your 5-year-old child with a black belt doesn't impress me. But it does tell me you got swindled for what is most likely too much money for too little skill acquired.
15. The more I learn in martial arts, the more I see I have to learn. Yet there is also a truth in combat that is relatable across all ranges. If a person trains, trains in a real combat art, trains against active resistance and has stress inoculation built in to their training, they will be a hard out in their chosen sport or in a Self Defense situation.
17. If you are a good BJJ person that ever wants to get in to MMA or teach Self Defense, learn take-downs. If you are a wrestler, learn submissions and defense. If you are a ground guy listed above, supplement with some striking. If you are a boxer or kickboxer and want to get in to MMA or teach Self Defense, learn to sprawl, learn basic ground work, learn what submissions are. No one art has all the answers in combat. But some are definitely better than others.
18. Have I mentioned anywhere that conditioning matters? The more out of shape you are, the more "bad" weight you carry the more likely you are to injure yourself or just not be able to do techniques properly.
19. There are traditional martial arts instructors who are very good at what they do. Some who are very qualified and some who are great instructors that keep themselves fit. Sifting through the art that fits your needs and the instructor that you like is vital. If you see anything remotely mystical, death touch knockout crap, either head for the door or volunteer to have it done on you (because it's crap and doesn't work).
20. Pain Compliance techniques: Real trained fighters deal with a level of pain that would make most people crumble. Boxers, Muay Thai, Ground Fighters, MMA fighters, etc. All the "pain compliance" self defense stuff taught won't stop these guys. And pain compliance doesn't work well on a person high as hell or juiced up on adrenaline either. Another false sense of security.
21. Everything has a counter and everything can be Monday morning quarterbacked. To pick things apart anonymously, behind a computer or TV screen with time to perspective is quite easy.
22. Police training has made great strides in the last 20 plus years. There is still a long way to go, but I now see a whole generation of new police that grew up doing martial arts because of the popularity of the UFC. Every recruit class there are at least handful of wrestlers and BJJ folks. A better trained police officer will use the amount of force necessary and is less likely to go overboard. So if you are a cop, train, train a lot, train hard, train to keep in shape, train to make yourself better at your job, train to protect yourself and your brothers/sisters.
23. Real confrontations are ugly, very ugly. But the better trained person still has a better chance to come out on top. Bumps, bruises and dirt happens...controlling another human being is difficult
Dave Freetage is the head instructor of Grove City Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Academy in Grove City, Ohio. He is a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu black belt promoted by Arthur Ruff (now under Vitor Oliviera and GF Team), and holds rank and/or instructor certification in Muay Thai, Jeet Kune Do, Kickboxing and Doce Pares Eskrima/Eskrido. Mr. Freetage is also a Defensive Tactics Instructor and Master Ground Fighting Instructor certified by the Ohio Peace Officer Training Academy (OPOTA), and has been in Law Enforcement for over 15 years. For more information about Dave Freetage, visit his school website by clicking here.