The reality of combat is chaos and unpredictability, whether it’s in a sport setting or in self-defense. Everything from the environment, physical conditions, emotions and even clothing changes the dynamic of a situation. Gaining the building blocks of technique through controlled training while important, will never refine the skills needed for actual combat and application.
Sports vs. Self-Defense: In sport based combat, everything varies from style, system, focus and sport. In Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu ground based technique is broken into gi and no-gi and even subsections of submission only and timed rounds. While something like Judo, focuses mainly on throws from the stand up. The same with Muay Thai, Kickboxing, MMA or any other combat based sports. Everything about combat sports is niche based and while it is still combat, it is regulated combat and knowledge of those regulations dictate the techniques used.
While in self-defense, the variables are just as great and even more unpredictable. Unlike sport combat, where you have some sense of control of what condition your body is in and the rules going into the fight, self-defense you do not. You could be attacked by someone with a weapon. You might not even know if they have a weapon until the last second. Could your assailant have friends? Is your body in peak condition or are you sick? Are you in the best emotional state? In a self-defense situation everything is unpredictable and knowing how to operate in chaos, is key to surviving.
What is Considered “Live” Training?: Live training can be considered anything that is not static or limited to a certain amount of steps. This can range anywhere from pad work to full contact sparring. The exact phrasing of “live” drilling or training and what it entails, is more semantics than anything else. There is not defined form of live training. As long as the drills creates some type of resistance or active component that allows for more realistic training, as if they we facing an actual opponent, then it can be considered “live”.
Why is Live Training Important?: Live training is important to build SPEED, TIMING, POWER, AWARENESS and proper APPLICATION.
The importance of SPEED!
When your training is focused solely on hitting a pad or static object, using a training partner to practice static technique or simply shadow boxing, you cannot build the proper SPEED to hit a moving, intelligent and thinking target. As Bruce Lee once stated, “boards don’t hit back” and don’t move either. Live training helps to build the proper speed and quickness to hit something moving and aware of your objective.
After SPEED comes TIMING. You need the speed to keep up with a moving target but, you need timing to actually hit it or accomplish your goal. Anyone can sit in front of an open net and score a goal. However, once you add in a goalie and maybe a defender, it becomes more difficult. Now to make things more difficult, the ball is no longer standing still and has been passed through the air to you, you still must make the proper timed decision, to accomplish your goal. This is the same for live training. You must learn to properly time your technique, in order for it to be accomplished efficiently.
Execution of POWER!:
Live training also allows for you to learn the proper amount of POWER needed. In a sports scenario, efficient output of power to last the allotted time is extremely important. While in self-defense, ending the fight quickly is of the utmost importance. Knowing how much power to use at any given time, can only be understood from live training. Understanding adrenaline dumps, nerves and learning how attack a moving target with the proper timing and speed, plus adding the needed power, can only be accomplished from a live drill.
Creating situational AWARENESS!
After understanding the physical aspects of a live fight or drill, you must understand the mental. Mike Tyson once said, "Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the mouth” and it is a reality you cannot understand, until it actually happens. The emotional and physical elements associated with live training help to instill the realities of a real fight and what can actual happen.
Knowing how to APPLY technique:
Everyone says what they will do or could do but, until you have someone actually attacking you, will you be able to follow through with the last piece…APPLICATION and putting all the pieces we spoke about before into action!
What Are The Benefits?:
The benefits from training live aren’t only your technique, live training will help build your physical fitness as well. Learning to move, defend and attack, no matter the style or situation will help build strong cardio, fast twitch muscles, endurance and functional strength.
Only through active, live training can you accomplish real martial arts. While practicing techniques on a bag or with a willing participate are great to hone and refine technique, it cannot mimic the actual elements of a real fight. Only through live training can you learn to use proper technique and apply techniques as you would in an emergency.