One critique I hear from martial artists who find out that other martial arts schools don’t spar, is that they are enabling their students of developing a false sense of confidence.
My take is that more often than not, these are folks who are lazy at teaching, and don’t have the vocabulary, insights, patience, and skills to help shape the mindset to prepare every day, average people to engage in combat. It is the old approach of throwing somebody into the deep end of the pool and have them try to survive.
So the question is, if you are indeed developing a connection with combative energy, but are not actively sparring, with full contact, full resistance, are you developing a false sense of confidence? The quick answer is NO. Don’t let them make you believe that. They are bullying you.
There are people with absolutely NO, ZERO, NONE training whatsoever in martial arts or any combat practice, who have stood up to bullies and attackers, and have even gotten into fights, and have prevailed. Why? MINDSET.
Here’s the hard reality that a lot of martial arts and fighting experts don’t want you to know - you can live your whole life without doing martial arts. Millions (billions, actually) have. If you value your life, and you are not one to put up with someone who is trying to oppress or intimidate you, your mindset is protecting you. You don’t really need martial arts. Martial arts can certainly help, though!! If it does end up going down, aren’t you glad you had some training?
I’ve seen and heard many stories of people who trained martial arts for years and years, get beat up in a street fight. They didn’t have the mindset. That have all the combat attributes. They have all the techniques. They’ve even done endless amounts of sparring. They still got their ass kicked! Was it because the attacker was more skilled? NOPE, NOPE, NOPE, NOPE!!!! It’s because the attacker could smell your fear, and intimidated you.
Embracing the combative energy and developing the mindset to fight - to actually be violent, when necessary for self defense is actually the thing that can save you.
I will admit, though, that there are some places that teach people to be confident about their abilities, but they really lack the technical skills. I, too, find this problematic. But we live in an information age, now. If you want to learn how to make your straight punch as strong as you possibly can, there are a plethora of free videos on YouTube out there. So in my opinion, when it comes to the technical information, there’s no excuse for using a lot of low percentage movements, when it comes to training for self defense.
Even in BJJ (Brazilian Jiu Jitsu) - there is so much emphasis on the guard (you are on your back, with your opponent in between your legs). While it is important to know what to do if you wind up there, but for the love of life, do you really want to put yourself there in a real self defense situation? Especially when it’s possible that someone could kick your head in? So, don’t go to the ground, if you don’t have to…and if you do, do everything you can to stay on top. That’s your focus. Now, in case things don’t go your way, then yes, let’s practice some guard moves, but practice in the context of your trying to get back on top or enable and escape.
Some of these ideas are disruptive to industries. I understand that.
Look. If you practice high percentage techniques for self defense (the knowledge, data, and methodology for that is all open source, at this point), and you practice developing your reflexes with it, and engulf the mindset with raw combative energy, with a meditation on your relationship with violence, I don’t believe that you are building false confidence. I believe you will stand up for yourself. I believe you will fight to survive. You might win. You might not. That is never a given. But, you will fight. And that’s the most important thing.