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With the popularity of MMA and many schools promoting this style of training I felt it might be helpful to clarify the differences between MMA and Self Defense. The differences are; philosophy, method and goal.
The philosophy of MMA is one of aggression, looking to beat your opponent. In MMA you are looking to fight. When you listen to these fighters talk it’s all about ego. There is lots of trash talk. They talk about how they will destroy their opponent. This type of attitude is encouraged by their coaches and shown to the audience as the ultimate attitude to have in martial arts and the way of success in life as well as in the ring. This attitude produces as spirit of anger or even hatred towards the opponent. This may be helpful in the ring but in can be dangerous in real life. If you walk around with that attitude on the street you will end up looking for fights even provoking someone to show off your ability.
The philosophy of Self Defense is one of avoidance. The old adage of self defense is “we are not fighters we are self defense practitioners”. In a confrontational situation we look to avoid a fight. No challenge, No resistance, No injury to me, is our motto. We do not allow our ego to rule us, we allow wisdom to rule our actions. We don’t feel the need to prove ourselves to others. We are confident in our abilities and need only use them when we are in physical danger. This philosophy produces an attitude of respect and peace. Respect towards others and the pursuit of peace in the world.
The method of MMA is brutal training designed to toughen the fighter both mentally and physically. This is done to produce the aggressive violence that makes for a good fight and a good show. As far as the fight itself there are official rules that are to be followed to make the fight fair and avoid injury. These regulations consist of, weight, age and belt level classes, approved techniques and time limits these matches also have medical personnel that can stop the fight if one of the fighters is too injured to continue.
The method of Self Defense training is designed to train a person for real life. We physically train to be fit. We learn and practice techniques to be proficient. In the real world there are no rules. If you’re attacked it will be by someone who perceives themselves as bigger and stronger than you. They will do whatever they need to rob rape or even kill you; there is no one to stop them, except you. Therefore, you must be trained to do whatever it takes to survive.
The goal of MMA is to win a match or title.
The goal of Self Defense is to avoid or to survive an attack.
By Sensei Dave Heuthe
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