“Experience is no substitute for training, Training is no substitute for experience”

-Sgt. Rory Miller

How do we train for a combatives encounter where our lives may hang in the balance? We must develop a system that builds skills that will function under the rigors of a deadly force encounter. The question is how we determine which skills will work best in these scenarios. There are two primary sources of these techniques and two processes for validation.

The first is the “Reality Combat” method, many so called reality based self defense systems claim they do this however almost none do. This method takes skills and attempts to test them by recreating the internal chemical and physiological responses the body experiences in a critical incident, then demanding the practitioner perform a set of techniques to neutralize a threat. The techniques that fail for a large part of the training group are expunged. Remaining techniques are put into a hierarchy based on their efficacy in the validation training.

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The second method of validation training is the sport method. Sport fighting techniques are much easier to test. Due to the rule-based nature of the systems, there are safety guidelines which allow techniques to be applied with a great deal of force while risks are substantially mitigated. Long story short, sport techniques get far more force-on-force validation training.

The reason for this is largely that a technique, a rear strangle for example (rear naked choke), is validated across decades, across different sport applications, across different geographical locations, and can be viewed on video working on the toughest fighters in the world. This validation method is extremely good, if it works on high level fighters no doubt it will work on low level or untrained ones as well. So, this validation training is far more pervasive than the reality combat method.

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What separates one from the other is largely the tactical environment. Tactical is simply a fancy way of saying the “context” or “environment” where the combative encounter occurs, what are the environmental factors, and the degree to which they are relevant to me as I make decisions.

For instance, a sacrifice throw (Judo: a throw where you bring your body under your opponent to achieve an ippon/scoring throw) may be very effective in a sport-based environment, the training may validate it effective, but the contextual environment in a critical incident may make it foolish (hard surface, weapons in play, multiple attackers, etc.…). Thus, the validated training from sport must also pass the tactical and stress validations of “reality combat” training. The sport technique may also be too complicated or time consuming to be used in a critical incident, but again only a real validation test will make this known.

Any serious combatives system must draw heavily on sport techniques as they are the most highly validated, but it must rigorously test them as well. Many RBSD systems simply make up their own techniques (read: Wing Chun, Jeet Kun Do, Krav Maga, Keysi) and then test them repeatedly on compliant attackers. This produces a much lower level of practitioner than it would to simply turn a wrestler or boxer loose in a street fight.

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If you are training sport for self-defense (BJJ, Muay Thai, etc.…) you will need to add more serious validation training. If you are training in RBSD but do not test your training with the rigors of regular sparring, then you will need to. If you train in either but do not do tactical assessments and validation training (real validation training, not your friend trying to hit you over the head with a pool noodle, or faux stab with a rubber knife) then you are going to be in for a rude awakening.

Don’t fall into the trap of training complacency. Just because your training is physically demanding does not mean it is validated properly. If you are serious about critical incident preparedness, then contact us for some validation training methodologies guaranteed to bring your level up a notch.

Validation Training: Putting Your Combatives Skills to The Test
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