Martial arts have been in existence for thousands of years. Its original purpose was for either war or defense. Martial arts were trained with a life or death purpose.
The landscape of martial arts has changed drastically since ancient times. It is now a business, a sport, and a fitness workout. Combative self-defense is slowly being phased out of the martial arts world.
My school has not been one of the many that have lost focus of the true purpose of martial arts. Every day we do at least one self-defense or combative move. We focus very little on sport. We see competition as a means to test our abilities, but not a realistic combat scenario.
MMA is by far the closest that it gets to a real street fight, but there are still rules in place to protect the fighter. There is no possible way to safely compete in realistic combat situation. Attacks to the groin, strikes to the back of the head, and head-butts can be too dangerous for every day competition. In order to prepare yourself for these attacks train to both implement them into your game, and to defend against them.
At least once a week take some time out of your training session to train for street confrontation. Know when certain illegal attacks are available for both you and your opponent. Realize that in certain positions on the ground, that the back of your head could be vulnerable to strikes.
In the clinch realize that your opponent may be able to bite or gouge. Just realizing that these attacks are available prepares you for uncomfortable situations that may arise on the street. It is important not to be surprised or stunned when these kinds of attacks are thrown at you.
Realize that it is never a good idea to be on your back in a street fight. I know many jiu-jitsu practitioners, myself included, that like to play the guard game. That doesn’t mean that it is the best idea in a street situation. It leaves you open for strikes, and eliminates your ability to get away if you need to.
Practice all of these techniques in the gym; they may save your life in a life or death situation. While these situations are rare, they do happen, and you do need to be prepared for anything. Visualizing what you would do in any given situation is an important aspect for both self-defense and competition.
The trained fighter will always have the advantage over the untrained. MMA practitioners are some of the finest athletes on the planet, and are the best at their craft. There are many “illegal” attacks that many of us do not train, these techniques can be devastating. Be aware of these attacks, and mentally implement them into your arsenal. Take these suggestions and try adding them to your game, so that you are always prepared for the worst.