Simulating Self-Defence Conditions

Discussion in 'Self Defence' started by Mrs Owt, Oct 7, 2004.

  1. Mrs Owt

    Mrs Owt New Member

    Hi all. I have come across some claims of instructors who market their schools as 'useful or effective self-defence' but push the family-friendly, no competition aspect. I am just curious if you think that in-class friendly sparring can actually prepare you for self-defence. I obviously think some training is better than no training, be it in a friendly atmosphere or not, but does it really even give you a taste of what you will be experiencing in a high-adrenaline situation?

    Let me explain better. I know that you cannot train kids in a scary and threatening manner to give them a real taste of an attack. But do you think perhaps competition would at least teach them to deal with an adrenaline rush? I have concerns that schools who never really put their students out there where they actually may encounter people who don't like them, or perhaps may even try to hurt them (we all know that goes on in competition) are short-changing them if they claim they are learning self-defence.

    Question #1:
    So in short, can you simulate, even in a small way, the adrenaline rush or anxiety of an attack, in a friendly class where everyone is totally comfortable and there are no unknowns? Or do you think that at least the variables, stress and competitiveness of competition may help students with learning to deal with adrenaline, fear and anxiety?

    Question #2:

    How do you instructors simulate conditions that help your students understand and get a glimpse of the stress a real attack will be like?

    **caveat**I am in no way saying that people who train for the pure joy of it or for fitness have to compete!!! I just am talking about those who train MA for self-defence or have bought into a marketing package selling it as such.**
  2. KickChick

    KickChick Valued Member

    Personally I feel you are referring to two distinctly different types of adrenaline rushes here. For one thing the competition "rush" for me is far more different than the "rush" I felt in a sd situation.

    You can train for self-defense as realistically as possible, but until the very moment you find yourself in the position to fend for your life or that of another, then you really do not know what an adrenaline rush is. Just my opinion only because I have gone through it.

    I personally like what some self defense schools are doing in my area as sort of a "graduating" from the program. They are surprised by an attack that they are made aware will occur during the course of a pre-selected group of days. This trains them to focus and hone in on their awareness skills. I honestly don't know the specifics of how they are able to track down on where their students will be at a given time and location ... but this does seem to at least simulate as closely as possible a "real" attack with applying "real" self defense skilss while being under the closest simulation of an adrenaline rush.
  3. Mrs Owt

    Mrs Owt New Member

    That is exactly what I was wondering. I had a sneaking suspicion that the two were not similar enough to be of any benefit. It is people like yourself that have had experience in both that I was hoping would answer.:)
  4. gedhab

    gedhab Valued Member

    Sparring, forms/katas, weapons, combos....everything....its all good....better than not doing it at all. Nothing can really prepare you for actual self defence.
  5. seikido

    seikido New Member

    Having also lived through a real sd situation, I can honestly say that the kind of prepared, rules-ridden sparring we do in TKD class has nothing to do with simulating a real sd situation. I don't think adrenaline is really an issue, but learning to react quickly to unexpected situations (outside the rules) is a real issue. THe closest I've found is in an aikido class where I grab a partner after class and we just attack/defend, attack/defend each other randomly and very quickly for ten minutes or so. This not only helps us find weaknesses in our techniques, but to learn to react quickly.
  6. gedhab

    gedhab Valued Member

    practising applications can be more helpful than sparring itself. in sparring people tend to get very scrappy and technique, accuracy goes out the window. if you practise a few techniques they will help you more as your more likely to instinctively use them in a fight if youve drilled them over and over. Afterall, you dont need many moves to fight, just a few will do the job.

    When someone even pretends to hit me i find myself using techniques that have been drilled into my head like a knee kick etc.
  7. TkdWarrior

    TkdWarrior Valued Member

    I think Self defense situations are about 2 things 1. attitude and 2nd is awareness.
    these can be simulated in any situations...
    now to ur questions
    KC's note about schools in her area is good reference... it can build. Plus wat you can do is start environmental training. it starts you with familiarizing the situations(ok I know no 2 situatiosn are alike). then u can start adding daily awareness routines... umm... like read this..

  8. KickChick

    KickChick Valued Member

    Training in basic (and I mean basic) self defense applications is paramount. These techniques also when applied in scenario-based training mmust be repeated over and over again until it becomes second nature. Only through repetitive training can this be successful. In moments of what I call "panic" (or this adrenaline rush) all thought processes seem to go out the door and you rely on instinct alone.... which is a good thing if properly trained.

    I have a personal experience I will share eventually I'm sure here as this thread goes on which will explain one slight negative issue with this. :D
  9. kcatcher

    kcatcher Banned Banned

    Adrenaline really is an issue.

    You can simulate an adrenaline rush by pressure testing -various ways and levels exist -or can be thought up. A good example is milling: FULL contact boxing where you are not allowed to defend, only attack. Another example is bullet man (although the suits cost a packet I hear).
    I agree that a real situation can still be a 'shock', but by pressure testing you can get close enough to make the step-up much less.

    In Canada, Shenshido is a highly recommended reality bunch who might be able to help you with making your drills more 'realistic'.
  10. oldshadow

    oldshadow Valued Member

    I believe there is really no way to simulate a real SD situation as far as your ability to cope mentally. Some believe it works to pad someone up in something like a “Red Man Suit” and go at it full contact. Some believe drills will work fine. Others full resistance sparing is the thing. Also compaction is believed by some to simulate the street. The problem is none of the above put the same stress on you as a SD situation. Full out NHB compaction,
    is as close as you can come to it in compaction. The problem is very that few people are going to be able to compete at that level. I train my students with a combination of drills light sparing up to very hard sparing. This includes all possible fighting ranges and environmental factors. Now I know that we are limited on what we can do but we try to do the best we can. This should include both the physical and the awareness aspects of SD. One thing that I find is people are taught SD techniques that will not work in a real attack. Also the SD practice is “grab me this way” or “do this”. This is fine to lean the drills at first but should end there. You have to look at the things you are defending from. As in would someone really grab me this way and would this technique work if they didn’t. One example I see is a front choke with. The attacker uses both hands on the throat with their arms straight out. This is not how you would most likely choke someone. You most likely would have your arms bent and the person you are choking close to you, you might be using one hand to choke and one hand to hit or brace. Also you need to really choke so the person feels what its like. You most also realize that what will work for one person might not work for another. I could go on with this for pages. So if there were any specific things that I can help you with I would be glad to answer them to the best of my ability.
  11. Matt_Bernius

    Matt_Bernius a student and a teacher

    The answer is no. There is no way to simulate an adrenal dump without pushing people out of thier comfort zone. Because by it's very nature a adrenal dump is caused by being taken out of that zone. Even in cases of sparring, the reason people get performance anxiety is because they are being pushed further than usual and hence outside of given zone.
    By simulating as accurately as possible high probabability attack scenario models. And by working to take people out of the class environment as much as possible.

    In my opinion, based on my exposure to
    Blauer Tactical Systems I think this is a viable way of training. However, I also admit that it is entirely reliant upon having well trained instructors and students committed to the drilling.

    What should be noted about this type of self defense training is that it takes it's participants through all aspects of a confrontation, starting at the emotional attack, moving to the verbal and finally to the physical attack. There can be no preordained outcome. The attacker must however realistically, based on research, confront the defender. Sometimes they will allow themselves to be talked down. Other times they will provide the signs of and follow with a physical attack.

    What these systems do not do is start "from the grab." Personally I think that beyond teaching and drilling of basic techinques, this is the most ineffective way of teaching self defense.

    Another thing a good self defense program will do is take people out of thier comfort zones by taking them out of thier uniform and out of the school. Both ritual (uniform) and environment (school) have great influences on our performance ability. Simply making someone wear jeans instead of a Gi can significantly throw off their reactions, or create an uncomfortable scenario that leads to a minor adrenal dump.

    And finally, people need to have a low level physical threat from time to time. The knowledge that if they miss a block they will be hit. And it will hurt. Not necessarily kill or maim them, but will hurt.

    I don't advocate that for every day training. But from time to time it is critical to uptempo.

    As noted everything I've listed above is specifically designed to take people out of a comfort zone. And that inturn presents conditions that allow for adrenal dumps to take place. While they are not going to be at the same level as on the street, it is still a useful simulation and a very worthwhile exercise.

    - Matt
  12. neryo_tkd

    neryo_tkd Valued Member

    I agree with Kickchick. Self-defence situations and competitions are 2 different things.

    I have never been in a situation in which I actually had to fear for my life, but I've been to many competitions where I definitely feel the adrenaline rush, which I don't think would be present in the same way if I were to be involved in a life threatening situation.

    When I am about to compete, I can't say that I am scared, there is no fear, I have confidence in my skills, and I definitely won't go to a competition if I don't feel ready. When I go to competitions I concentrate but I am also very happy to be there because I love it so much. Maybe it's that way because I work well under pressure unlike some others.

    On the other side, at my instructor's club and my club as well we teach self-defence and try to cover different scenarios. It's alright and necessary to show things in slow motion but I guess self-defence can't be practised that way only. I also pair up the girls with guys to make it more realistic. At grading, if the self-defence part was done without any strength and just for the sake of making a movement, my instructor would definitely fail that student. It's of utmost importance to drill it as realistically as possible, but what you said about competitions, I repeat, self-defence and competitions are 2 different things, but maybe in a general sense it might help some students cope with being nervous.
  13. Mike Flanagan

    Mike Flanagan Valued Member

    I don't believe that the stress of competition is necessarily any more effective than sparring in your own friendly club. I know at least one person (and know of others) who was very successful in competition, but just froze and allowed himself to be beaten up in a real confrontation. Whilst stressful, the full-contact TKD competition that he was so good at, clearly didn't prepare him for reality.

    In terms of simulating the reality of violence we don't do much. None of my students are really skilled or fit enough yet to be able to cope with that sort of training. But we do simulate the conditions of the pre-fight dialogue and the opening 'gambit' of the physical part of the confrontation. This is achieved quite simply by roleplay. But as Matt points out, for this to work well it requires the aggressor to be realistic - and that in itself takes no small amount of practice under the guidance of someone who's been there and experienced the reality of violent confrontation.

  14. kcatcher

    kcatcher Banned Banned

    Oldshadow is spot on on this. Lots of good advice flying around.

    Just because we cannot replicate the full horrors of a real fight does not mean that we should not try. Verbal abuse is a stress factor for many people and is a key component of many real life situations: A mugger doesn't ask politely, they use expleatives to shock and show menace. Moreso with fights that start through confrontation. If some thug has singled you out for a fight and confronts you on some pretence, they will bombard you with offensive language in a way that most of us aren't used to -this shows manace and can be a factor in inducing the adrenaline dump. So shouting rude words in mock menace during scenario training is a must.
  15. Jang Bong

    Jang Bong Speak softly....big stick

    I don't know enough to give a sensible post to this thread - I enjoy my training, and weapons work (defending against our instructor) can give a rush, but that is totally different from the feeling when some berk turns directly across your path as you are driving along the road. :eek: That is where I am getting the 'life or death' feelings from.

    What this does bring to mind is Kato from the 'Pink Panther' films. :D A good training partner, who can be trusted to go all-out yet controlled enough not to kill you could give you the chance to test your skills.
  16. Melanie

    Melanie Bend the rules somewhat.. Supporter

    Pretty much another agree post here. Zoltan Dienes has in the past (former instructor) has asked us to show up at class in our civvies and we practise attacks/defence at the uni which gives us a slight difference from the calm of the dojo. This alone for me was very different to what I experienced before. In my current job I work with "challenging behaviour" in adults and have previously been head butted, punched and slapped, etc. Naturally, I can't "defend" myself the way I have been trained to in a real life situation but can deflect and am also allowed to restrain these people if necessary in approved positions (this includes taking them down to the floor). This is the closest to near as damn it that I have had to a "pressure test", as there are no rules, no drills, etc. Who'd of thought care work would be so exciting eh? :D
  17. Judderman

    Judderman 'Ello darlin'

    What has been said has it pretty much covered. As Matt puts it, it is really about pushing people out of their comfort zones so they become aclimatised to the situation. This will not stop the adrenaline rush (which is vital, not to mention natural thus impossible to stop), but it should help you deal with the situation better.

    This is of course relative to the level you experience in training and is only a substitute for real experience. For example, at work very little phases me, but put me on the rugby field (I'm not a big guy :)) then the ol' tunnel vision sets in.

    Pressure testing is vital IMO, but it should be done in stages or you will not learn anything and probably "panic". Basic drills should be the basis of this, you can then test these against a variety of opponents to find what works for you and what doesn't.
  18. seikido

    seikido New Member

    After my experiences (twice) i really think that adrenaline didn't affect my moves in any negative way--in fact, adrenaline is probably what saved my life, as it has the odd effect of "slowing everything down" (living the life in a flash scenario)... so if anything, adrenaline might be a boost, but it's not like the adrenaline you'd get before sparring in a tournament or anything--there is simply no way to simulate that your life is in danger. I personally don't feel the need to train to respond to my adrenaline, after my experiences. I only want to get better techniques so they become natural responses for me.
  19. Jericho UK

    Jericho UK New Member

    Hi, ive not read all the responses, so i dont know if someone has already replied this already, but Krav Maga seeks to solve this problem.

    Students are taught how to defend against multiple attackers, attacks in the dark, attacks with knives etc. Admittedly, nothing will ever compare to the real thing, but Krav Maga tries to replicate those conditions.
  20. JKogas

    JKogas Valued Member

    Many people in martial arts are still under the notion that some 'technique' repeated over and over again with little in the way of resistance from their partners, is going to be enough in a SD situation. That's wrong. There is no timing developed through such practice. You HAVE to spar! But this sparring shouldn't resemble a game of "tag" such as is played in most TKD and karate McDojos. This sort of "friendly" sparring isn't going to cut it. You have to try and HIT your opponent, in the face, with a decent amount of force.

    Pretending that rehearsed self defense "moves" are going to be enough WITHOUT being willing to spar hard, is to not understand how much stopping power is needed drop a competent, committed, powerful adversary intent on your undoing. Isn't this just common sense though?

    Hell, if you want to cuss your partner out and call him names before sparring, that's all good too. Just SPAR HARD and see for yourselves what going against real resistance is about if you haven't done so. Sparring hard (knock out power) occassionally tends to show people that opponents have a will of their own and that its impossible just to "run over" your opponents because they WILL be fighting BACK! It just amazes me how many people don't realize this. Everywhere I look, martial artists completely dehumanize their potential "street" opponents, describing them as "tomato cans" and talk about how a street situation would be a cakewalk. Only in martial arts are people unwilling to pressure test their technique.

    How many scenarios can we think up? How many are necessary? Where does it end? Scenarios are ENDLESS! But delivery systems DO NOT CHANGE! Spend more of your time on developing your delivery systems against full resistance and then if you want, work a few scenarios in. You'll discover that no matter what, the delivery system will remain constant regardless of the scenario.

    Just my thoughts folks, you're welcome to your own.

    Last edited: Oct 16, 2004

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