There is a huge demand for so-called reality based self defense. I find this a rather amusing thought; surely nobody would want to partake in self defense training in which the techniques were not real?
However here lies the problem. By its very nature training is “artificial” – that’s why it’s called training. OK, I guess that seems obvious but my point is this: Every student must develop eyes that see and should not be scared to question what they have been shown. If the techniques don’t seem to work you owe it to yourself to say so.
If they do work (and they should) then all good and well.
As I said earlier training, by its nature, is artificial and it remains the responsibility of instructor and student to make it as “real-world” as possible. That means for example that when learning defences against a knife attack the knife should be dealt with and trained with “as-if” it were real, although it may actually be wooden or plastic.
In the same way students should practice with spirit and energy to avoid what can best be described as “dead” training. That meaningless task of merely going through the motion, doing the technique half-heartedly.
There is a flip side to this coin. Trying to make it too real when either the instructor or the student (or both) aren’t truly proficient enough. Just recently I heard news reports of a student being shot in the abdomen while being taught firearm disarm techniques. OK that sure was “real-world” but in truth is counter productive to the student, the class and the instructor no matter how “real-world” the training was sold as!
Lastly, many a soldier has said that their training never adequately prepared them for the real thing. That’s intersting because they fall back on their training time and again – and it’s the best that can be done for them ahead of time. Interestingly most will actually do what they were taught. What I suspect they mean is that no training environment could fully prepare them mentally for the life and death reality of the situation.
My martial arts teacher once asked the Grand Master of our art how long should be spent in basic training – to which the reply was “it depends!” When pressed on what he meant by “it depends” the Grand Master clarified his statement by saying that in peace time one could dedicate an entire lifetime to basic training – but in times of war training may be as little as a week or two, if you were lucky!