Thanks to Urban Samurai for digging up this vid. Check out his article Why the Dog Brothers are Snapping at the Heels of the UFC, for the details of who these guys are and what they do.
Man! While I have to respect the “money where your mouth is” factor in this, I just can’t see myself doing it more than once or twice as a “field testing” or a “been there done that” sort of thing. I suppose I can say the same thing for boxing/MMA competition (as compared to training). I’m all for hard and realistic training and that includes testing it’s effectiveness every once and awhile. I have dabbled in a bit of boxing and MMA and sparred a few rounds myself. It proved a few things to me:
One: Any martial artist who trains for self defense should get in the ring and see what it’s like to REALLY hit someone and really get hit every now and again.
Two: Getting my lights knocked out on a regular basis (read daily or even weekly) isn’t for me. At least not at my age, lifestyle and goals. If I was younger and fighting like that was my moneymaker perhaps things would be different; but I have a job and family obligations that the risk of brain damage from frequent concussions or the increased risk of permanent injury from training just cant justify.
Do I have to get into a gunfight to see if my firearms training will work? Of course not and perhaps firearms fighting is an unfair comparison to unarmed self-defense on this issue; but advances like Simunition and AirSoft allow me to get close (minus the factor of fearing death of course) to the “real thing”. Even then, one will not see what happens when real people are hit by real bullets. There is a school of “training thought” that believes that the “tag your out” approach to training, where you “lie down and die” after being hit, has resulted in people “giving up and dying” when hit with a real bullet in what would have been a survivable wound. What about knife fighting? Short of really seeing what a knife can do to an opponent, most “knife fighting” competition is simply touching an opponent with a dummy knife assuming that touching the right spot a number of times means victory. Even in this example, I would have to think that if you removed the head gear and gloves and were going totally “without rules” you would likely see different results.
It’s my opinion that the real value in this sort of thing is the “its not over till its over” approach to training. Boxers, MMA stylists etc. do not do the “point sparring” thing where the action stops and points are awarded to the first person to “tag” the other. They “fight” and work against an opponent who isn’t going to co-operate with their “style” or “be a good Uke”.
Which wraps up this post with what perhaps is a conundrum for those who train for self-defense or work in a profession of arms. How does one train for “realistic effectiveness” and longevity at the same time? It also causes me to ask myself many questions. I recognize the need to train realistically and see the benefits of training against resisting opponents, but do I HAVE to fight like THAT to see if what I am doing really “works”? How often? What happens if training like that results in an inability to do my job? Am I a “wannabe” if I don’t train like that? If I train in this manner am I worried about my “effectiveness” or my Ego, and what are the real reasons these guys do this? The mention of “Fight Club” in the Dog Brothers article is telling. When it comes to this sort of thing I think that reason and testosterone/ego/self-image come in equal doses. In like manner I can recognize the allure of “measuring myself” in doing this balanced with the niggling thought of “am I rationalizing a reason to not do this out of fear?” in my refusal to do so.