I recently got to spend some quality time with my Mentor and Instructor Guro Harley Elmore. Much of what I have written here is from his lectures and lessons. 

Very few martial artists practice or train on a full time basis. Even fewer do it for a living. Most train for recreation. Balancing work and family most come to class a couple of times a week. They practice martial arts for fun, to get in shape, and the camaraderie that goes along with training and sweating with other like minded people. 

Of all the reasons to train, personal protection almost, always tops the list. 

We know personal protection extends to much more than just fighting, but for the purpose of this article I want to explore what it takes to protect yourself in a violent confrontation. 

To simplify the process, I have broken it down into three categories: Skill, Conditioning, and Toughness.

The average person has never been exposed to real violence. Most have never been in a real fight. To be competent in your abilities, you must have a firm understanding what violence looks like. 

There are many videos on the internet that make a great starting point on studying violence. Many great books have been written on the subject. Both are great supplements to realistic training. Skill development must be based in reality and tested under pressure, otherwise you are just fooling yourself. 

Skill requires a deep understanding of your craft…In this case your craft is violence.

Repetition is the mother of all skill, unless your burning bad reps. All training creates training scars (bad habits). The trick is to create as small and few training scars as possible. 

The body is a vehicle in which we deliver our skills. Strength, speed, size…it all matters, especially when you are operating from a position of disadvantage. You may have to fight more than one bad guy. You might need to get your family to safety during. You might have to carry someone. 

Recently at an Oklahoma City Thunder game, a group of thugs fired guns into a crowd. People were panicking and running everywhere. Imagine having to move your family through that situation, having to carry your kids to safety…

Strength Expert, Mark Rippetoe says, “People that are in good physical fitness are harder to kill and all around more useful.”

It doesn’t matter how much you know, if can’t perform when it matters. 

Sometimes the fight starts with getting punched in the face. We call that unequal initiative- the bad guy caught us by surprise and now we have to play catch-up. The average person, have never been in a real fight, shuts down, gives up, or gets stuck on stupid. 

Our brains are hardwired with the Fight, Flight, or Freeze response when we are exposed to danger or perceived danger. Left untrained, it’s a crapshoot as to which one will happen under duress. Proper training makes you tougher and allows you to have better control over Fight, Flight, or Freeze.

Think about your current training. If you were getting ready for boxing or kickboxing match in the next 8 weeks would your training be different than it is now? What would be different.

If you knew you would have to fight for your life or the life of your loved ones.
How would you train differently?

The Fight of Your Life is coming! Your training should include developing your physical, mental, and emotional toughness if you want to be prepared. Your training partners should be punching you in the face, kicking you when you’re down. They should go harder on you when you’re exhausted. 

The real fight should feel like a vacation compared to your training. Sayoc Kali’s Tom Kier, says, “If you truly care about your brother, try to kill him in training.” 

The tree of training must be realistic if it is to bear fruit. It must be watered with blood, sweat and tears- otherwise stick with yoga 🙂

Coach Epps

For more information call us at 405-749-5949 or check out our contact page for other options.


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