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MMA vs Self Defense

Rear Naked Choke Still 1

Recently it has come to my attention that there is a lot of discussion about MMA versus Self Defense.  The main argument says that the two do not co-exist.  The arguments range from training for a sport leaves gaping holes in your fighting game that will get you killed in the street.  Like wise, MMA advocates claim that many self defense programs don’t train at the high level or completely leaves out training where the MMA could surely capitalize.

Well I have a not so revolutionary answer to this fundamental argument.  Instead of MMA versus Self Defense what about MMA and Self Defense?  This is what JKD Unlimited’s MMA for the Street program is all about.  Using the proven training methods of the high level sport of MMA interspersed with the practical street concepts of Jeet Kune Do, Kali, and Silat.

It is easy to say “If I end up on my back I will just eye gouge my way out.”  This assessment is fine, but you must drill and train these specific movements.  Like the father of Jeet Kune Do, Bruce Lee said, “Knowing is not enough, we must do.  Willing is not enough, we must apply.”  There are a lot of things to consider when thinking of using sport specific training for practical self defense for the street.   For example: you do not want to get caught on the ground grappling when fighting multiple opponents.

However, that being said, it is easy to discard the entire ground range as useless.  A simple Youtube search of street fights will show you that a majority of fights end up on the ground.  It is important that you are well versed in such a high traffic range.  That way you can capitalize and dominate the range and dictate the fight.

The major strengths of both training methodologies is essential to become a functional self defense martial artist.  The benefit of the self defense minded is the no-holds-barred mindset of training.  It is important to remember not only you can eye gouge, groin strike, bite, and hair pull but so can your opponent!  It is essential to train to counter these moves that are effective and sometimes deadly.  This is not to say that MMA yields no benefit.  What all athletes and sport coaches understand is that to become an expert at something you need to spend countless hours actually doing it! For example, sparring!  Sparring is the fundamental base of all of JKD Unlimited Cincinnati’s training.  If you are going to learn to swim, you have to get wet!

The marriage of these two disciplines is the only logical approach for effective self defense.  The way to be courageous and have confidence in any situation you may be put in is to spend countless time in safe simulated versions of those situations.  A baseball player must field thousands of grounders before he can be considered a good player and, buddy, fighting is no different!