But let's be serious. Please explain to me how someone who has been training in martial arts as long as Van Tichelt and has competed against some of the world's best judoka gets mugged by a single assailant and ends up in the hospital after one punch? I wrote about it yesterday, and I'll keep writing about it until my fingers go numb. Turning martial arts into sports completely degrades their efficiency! Not everyone has to train to the extremes in self defense and combatives that I put my students through, but no one who has earned that coveted piece of black cloth should have to worry about this, let alone the "Bear from Brecht."
Every martial art has the potential for combative efficiency. It's not that any martial art system is better than another. There are only so many ways we can strike, throw, lock and choke each other. Your regular training methods will determine how you function under duress. It's not enough to train against a resisting opponent within the confined rule set of Olympic judo. Your attacker must be able to hold on if they want, let go if they want, punch at your face, kick at your groin or pull out a hidden weapon. Anything less is contrived and should be discarded from the realm of self defense training.
My heart goes out to Dirk Van Tichelt and I pray for a speedy recovery. It saddens me to no end when a martial artist suffers from a physical attack, because it's a problem that could be easily avoided with proper training. Are we all perfect? No. I've been blind sided before, sucker punched, hit with various objects. How we respond under duress, after being hit in the face, is the product of our training. Thankfully Van Tichelt's assailant only walked away with a cell phone and not a body count, because this could've ended must worse.
We owe it to our students to give them the tools they need to defend themselves first, and then worry about competing. Am I saying that sport martial arts should be discarded completely? Not at all. Everything has its place, and as long as competition remains only part of your martial arts training and not the complete focus of it, I see no problem at all. Competition can be a great supplementary training tool. The problem lies when we disregard anything and everything that doesn't get us closer to putting a W in our record column. Personally, I'd rather put a W in life and come home to my family at night.