The MMA vs Self Protection Question Answered

 

 

 

This question has been around since god knows when. The answer is actually pretty straight forward. No its not going to be “well one is for the streets and one for the ring” but that is part of it.

This video below is what sparked the debate (again) This partly because people on both sides do not really understand what the other brings to the table. In most cases people aren’t willing to to try something they don’t fully understand.

Now firstly let me say this. There is a lot of BS self defence out there. Even in krav maga so do your own due diligence.  Putting all self defence instructors in one box is a little naive and the same goes for people who practice MMA or combat sports. There are people of vastly different capabilities.

 

 

To understand this fully we need to look at what each brings to the table. We are going to assume that each person is well versed in their field & only trains in that discipline.

Self defence wise we will look at what I teach. Realistic, no nonsense and gritty combatives. You should also note that I  supplement my combatives with Muay Thai, BJJ and MMA when I can. I’m not an expert in all these fields by no means, but I do cross train. This way it is unbiased! (Hint at what the answer to the question is)

MMA Pros for self defence:

  • High striking ability with extremely good accuracy, timing and the ability to chain strikes together. Plus the ability to deliver maximum power through correct body mechanics.
  • Has excellent footwork & movement. (Key for multiple attackers)
  • Excellent level of grappling, take down defence and the ability to fight and finish on the ground. Also includes tactile sensitivity to certain energies with the ability to counter from multiple situations.
  • Able to train in their chosen discipline at relatively high level of force (especially grappling)

MMA Cons for self defence:

  • Doesn’t train for typical violent engagements and focuses on mutual consent, ring craft and point scoring.
  • Doesn’t train for multiple attackers, heightening the chances of tunnel vision under stress.
  • Doesn’t train for weapons attacks meaning they either have no approach, or will approach the wrong way.
  • Likely to repeat what they know under stress which may be detrimental in the situation.
  • Doesn’t train for dirty tactics, again making it unlikely to utilize these tools under stress.

Combatives Pros for self defence:

  • Trained to recognize pre threat cues and taught to avoid conflict where possible maximizing survival.
  • Understands the law relating to reasonable force.
  • Trains to understand how the dynamics of violence works. Be first, be aggressive and get out ASAP.
  • Trains to utilize the environment and dirty tactics as needed.
  • Focuses purely on the most common violent trends and aggressive primitive attacks.
  • Trains for weapons meaning responses will be more efficient and will understand the complexities of dealing with them before the event itself.
  • Trains for multiple attackers and taught to constantly scan making tunnel vision less likely.

Combatives Cons for self defence:

  • Is designed for explosive violent events that end quickly, anything longer and the combatives practitioner may end up out of depth.
  • Doesn’t have the skill against someone who is well trained when there is no escape or weapons to hand.
  • In most cases has very limited striking ability. They will focus on power and simple strikes to overwhelm an attacker to illicit an escape.
  • Very limited grappling ability. The focus is on escaping immediately but may come unstuck if pinned and dirty tactics have no effect or cannot be used.
  • Cannot repeat most tactics at higher resistance in training due to the injury potential.

I personally feel self defence is a mindset more than anything. There are things unique to it such as the weapons defence’s.

Combatives is for that 10-20 second explosive encounter to be able to finish the threat, escape or access weapons. Anything longer than that you need added skills

There are skills that will carry across from traditional martial arts into self defence providing that you understand the context in which to use them. An MMA fighter with a Krav Maga/street mentality is formidable (look at Bas Rutten) On the flip side to that though, whether you like it or not street violence is different. It’s explosive vicious and usually from an ambush.

whether you like it or not street violence is different

If you only train for the ring you train for tunnel vision & neglect weapons. If you only train krav you going to be in trouble if the attack prolongs and you end up toe to toe with no escape.

 

 

I think purists on both sides of sport & self defence need to accept that each has useful skills. Although for different arenas it can’t hurt to train both.

The Vital Pyramid & Combative Protocol

John “Lofty” Wiseman of the Special Air Service introduced the concept of the Vital Pyramid, which has since been used as the content framework for combatives practice by several instructors. Strangely enough, despite being common knowledge in the combatives fraternity, it isn’t something that is readily enforced in regular British Military Units (From a specific combatives perspective not generic soldiering). Something I tried to get across in my time in the Royal Marines. The constant focus on peacekeeping type operations make the likelihood of close combat much more probable but severely paid lip service to. A discussion for another day.

 

The Pyramid is a hierarchy of components comprising of what is needed to survive a violent engagement. This goes for absolutely anyone! from the tier 1 operator to the civilian trying to get home safe.

What is a common argument by a lot of people who conduct no self defence training or discount it’s value is “I would just run” or “I would just shoot them” even worse is “That would never work” (In some cases this is correct) or “you cannot defend a knife so why train it?”

This type of mentality can have huge consequences. Firstly you are either misunderstanding the dynamics of violence or, training yourself into learned helplessness. This mind state can make the likelihood of freezing in a violent engagement increase when things do not go to plan.

Recently in my local area a woman was slashed with a knife in broad daylight with her child. On the local community groups the discussions were immediately awash with the type of self defence tool they should carry. Considering in the UK we are highly restricted legally to what you can and can’t carry. Also consider that even if you could or do carry a weapon (in other countries) can you guarantee you will be able to get to it?

In order to maximize success you must have understanding of the vital pyramid and it’s components, You will then be well rounded and able to adapt to most situations.

Mindset:

This is the foundation. You must have awareness, recognize body language, and understand reaction times to realistically deal with threats at varying distances. The ability to adapt & improvise. Adding to this is State Management & State access. State management is the ability to control you emotional state under stress. State access is the ability to access aggression and determination at a flick of switch. This is key. An excellent quote from Lee Morrision -Urban Combatives is “I will prevail! If I don’t I should survive” What this effectively means is you will do what ever it takes to win and if not you should survive. Rather than having the attitude of just trying to survive, it gives you somewhere to go with it and an elevated output.

“I will prevail! If I don’t I should survive” Lee Morrision – Urban Combatives

Tactics/Principle’s:

This is having an approach and understanding the generic dynamics of violence. It’s understanding that in pre-conflict situations you need to go first! If you go, you need to keep going until the threat is finished. Use gross motor movements, all the way in or all the way out! Always assume there is a weapon, always assume there is more than one attacker. This will give you the winning game plan from the start and is regularly enforced in my classes. This is far more important than the technical skills at the early stages.

Skills:

This is the technical breakdown of particular techniques and situation’s. How to punch properly, how to kick properly, how to defend edged weapon’s in particular situations, how to escape certain grabs and choke’s. As you can see this area can go really into depth. It’s pointless if the student doesn’t have a grasp of the principles. If things go wrong or they come across a situation they haven’t trained for and are unable to adapt they will fall apart.

“I can give you a collection of key’s or I can teach you to become a key maker” – Todd Fossey Integrative Defense Strategies

Kit/Gear/Tools:

The final part of the pyramid and the cherry on top. In simple terms if you have the mindset to fight and use aggression when needed, understand principles and have the unarmed skills, kit is a bonus! You will be much better placed to use the taser, baton, firearm or self defence tool at the right time rather than relying on it. It all comes down to the fact do you have a tool and can you get to it? If not you have a backup plan!

Its important to note however that the vital pyramid represents the correct training methodology. In real violence yes getting to a weapon is your priority if you have one. The Krav Maga/Combative protocol is as follows:

Before an attack

  • Avoidance
  • Pre-emptive action
  • Compliance if appropriate and if it will maximize safety.

During an attack:

  • Use of weapons or improvised tools (Chairs, bags, umbrellas etc…)
  • Long range skills (Kicks, immediate disengage options to escape and/or get to a weapon)
  • Short range skills: (clinching and extreme close quarters skills)
  • Disarms: (Absolute last priority depending on circumstances. Also assume multiple attackers and if you can realistically take the weapon, do you need to?)

Remember,that ultimately it is the attacker that dictates what happens. Is it an ambush at close range? Do you have a warning or pre threat indicator that allows you to disengage or gain space? Are they aggressive and intent on physical harm? etc.. You must train for all situation’s and have the mindset to do what is necessary no matter what!

British Krav Maga Review

Mayweather Vs Mcgregor fight prediction

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The media circus has kicked off in the prefight hype of Mcgregor vs Mayweather.

It’s been interesting watching the hype, the vast majority of both pro-MMA fighters and boxers come down firmly on the side of Mayweather winnng.

I am inclined to agree, but as always the devil is in the detail, and Mayweather has that covered.

Mcgreggors supporters point to his superior punching power and southpaw stance, but this will hardly be the first time Mayweather has faced these attributes in his 30+ years of boxing. In fact when you look at Mayweather’s sheer speed and polished skill, you have to admire the mans mastery of his art.

Given the Mayweather’s expertise in generating hype around the fight, I don’t believe for one minute he feels slow, rusty and that he is not the same fighter as just 2 years ago. More likely he’s building expectation for the fight in the hope of attracting more pay per views from those wanting to see him knocked out.

One of the main challenges Mcgreggor faces is the level of specialist expertise required to box at this level. Slight changes in distance and angle from a sport with no kicks or takedowns become highly significant at this level. Little things like Mayweather’s exact prescription of gloves and filling even manufacture is all designed to give Mayweather further advantage. May weather is a master of not getting hit and defensive use of his gloves.

‘Boxing as an organisation will never want Mcgregor to win. Defeat of an all time great by an MMA fighter will make boxing look increasingly irrevelent in a modern world’

In short, Mcgreggor is fighting Mayweather’s sport, by Mayweathers rules with Mayweather’s tools. And Mayweather is the best of the world at it… Mcgreggor says it best, “its not a fight, it’s a match with no elbows, knees or takedowns”.

Possibly a bigger problem will be the judges and boxing as a whole.

Boxing as an organisation will never want Mcgregor to win, given the choice. Think about it, one of the best Boxers of all time defeated by an MMA fighter, it’ll be seen as a nail in the coffin of boxing.

Any and every decision will go against Mcgregor, points will go against Mcgregor. Realistically Conor Mcgregor will need to knock Mayweather out to get a decisive victory. Realistically that means a decisive knock out in the first 3 or 4 rounds after which Mayweathers finess and expertise will provee unbeatable.


As a sport, boxing is consistently loosing fans and money to MMA. Yes, there are still the big fights but on the whole, the sport is diminishing. This is compounded by Boxings poor performance in the octagon and increasingly Boxing risks being seen as irrelevent or more simply as part of MMA by a new generation of fight fans.

‘Personally I’d love Mcgreggor to win. I love Mcgreggor, I love MMA  and I love an underdog. But, I’ll go for Mayweather winning’

Our Prediction
Personally I’d love Mcgreggor to win. I love Mcgreggor, I love MMA  and I love an underdog. Mcgreggor is everybit as good as Mayweather in his own arena. Unpredictable, agile and exciting to watch he is a real MMA phenomena. But, I’ll go for Mayweather winning on points. Given both fighters will have opposing stances, eg southpaw vs orthodox stance, Mayweather will rely on constant rights and lead hooks combined with counter punching – Mayweather is a smart fighter so if he can keep Mcgregor striking and out of his usual counter punching

Given both fighters will have opposing stances, eg southpaw vs orthodox stance, Mayweather will rely on constant rights and lead hooks combined with counter punching – Mayweather is a smart fighter so if he can keep Mcgregor striking and out of his usual counter punching rythm Mcgregor will be unsettled from the outset.

Mayweather’s defensive game is sublime so he’ll probably slip and move dancing around the ring relying on points and the judges to win the fight. Mayweather has not knocked (TKO) anyone out since 1999 so I’d guess the chances of a knock out on Mcgregor are slim.

The interesting thing is though, Mcgreggor was brave enough to step into Mayweathers ring, noone is under any doubt of what the consequences would be if Mayweather tried to step into Mcgreggors. Win lose or draw, Mcgreggor will be the winner – financially at least.

As the fight is advertised at $100 on pay per view, I’ll wait for the highlights like everyone else.

Paul Grey. Krav Maga Bristol

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