For some people, this is a topic that will provoke many ill feelings towards myself. Not that I care if people like me or not however if you’re going to hate me, let’s make sure that you’re doing it for the “right” reasons and not because you think I’m saying something that I’m not.

Let me start by saying that I have the utmost respect for both professional and amateur competitors in any full contact sport. Whether it is MMA, boxing, kickboxing… To climb into a ring or cage, knowing full well that the other person has deliberate intention to knock you out is a daunting task and requires much bravery.

I boxed, kickboxed and competed in full contact Kyokushin in my younger years… and loved it. I know what it takes to compete and I know the grueling training it takes to prepare for such a sport. So let’s be clear, this post is not about denigrating or diminishing what MMA fighters do… not in the slightest.

What this is about, is giving some clarity to the layperson. The person who has probably never trained in any full contact combatives but loves watching UFC. The person who considers what is done in the cage as REAL fighting and maybe thinks to himself, “Next time someone mouths off at me, I’ll just do a double leg takedown on him, get into a mount and ground and pound him. Then I’ll finish him off with an armbar.”

So what’s wrong with that kind of thought, when it comes to a real world violent encounter?

There are a myriad of things we could discuss, including your legal standing if you attack someone for just ‘mouthing off’ and the fact that while UFC athletes may make it look easy, you are going to fail dismally if you’ve had no training. For this post, I’m going to focus purely on the physical technique aspects.

The Takedown
There are many awesome takedowns and throws used in MMA and other combative sports. Some of them are downright amazing and require significant athleticism in their execution. The problem for a street fight arises when the takedown used, also puts you on the ground with your attacker. Now, this may be advantageous in a one-on-one sports fight in a ring. Not so much if you are on a street sidewalk or some kind of rocky surface or worse still, there is broken glass etc.

In the REAL WORLD, you want to avoid being on the ground as much as possible. Unlike a ring or cage, where you know your fighting ground intimately, you know you only have one opponent to deal with. You also know that if things do get too bad and your life is in danger, there is a referee there to stop things and to keep both of you safe.

The Ground And Pound
Being in side control or a mount may be awesome positions to have in MMA but definitely not in the real world violent encounter. You may have the best positioning skills in the world but they won’t help you if somebody kicks you in the head while you’re holding that position. Don’t believe me or think that’s ridiculous? Watch the two videos below, then tell me what you think.

The Armbar
Armbars are obviously a very effective technique and done at a high velocity can break the elbow joint of your attacker. Making it a lot more difficult for them to continue being a threat to you. However, just like the mount or side control, executing an armbar from the classical ground position again puts you in a world of danger. Any time you remain on the ground with your attacker, you are at a lot more risk than standing.

Vulnerabilities Of “Ground Fighting”
1. Exposed to damaging ground surfaces, such as hard concrete, uneven surfaces, broken glass, rocks etc.
2. Very easy and common for a third party to attack you whilst you are in your control position or executing you fancy armbar.
3. Your attacker may be carrying a gun, knife or other weapon and you won’t even know you’ve been shot until you hear the gunfire. You won’t even know you’ve been stabbed until after it’s already happened.
4. You have a restricted vision of what is going on behind you.

There are many many rules for any MMA fight! You can check out the complete list of UFC Rules and Regulations here if you’d like. Below I’ve only listed what are currently considered fouls in UFC.

In a REAL fight, there are NO RULES! Anything goes!!

If somebody tries to carjack you, if a group of thugs invades your home, if someone attacks you on the street… you can be guaranteed they are not abiding by any rules and they are definitely not following any ancient honour system.

As you read through the list below, think about how you would react to these being done to you. Think about how they even the playing field, where a smaller person or a female can cause massive damage to the largest and strongest of men. Consider the many things that are possible in a REAL fight, that are not possible in sports combat.

I don’t actually believe in fighting, by the way but that’s a topic for another time.

The following acts constitute fouls in a contest or exhibition of mixed martial arts and may result in penalties, at the discretion of the referee, if committed:
1. Butting with the head
2. Eye gouging of any kind
3. Biting
4. Spitting at an opponent
5. Hair pulling
6. Fish hooking
7. Groin attacks of any kind
8. Putting a finger into any orifice or any cut or laceration of an opponent
9. Small joint manipulation
10. Striking downward using the point of the elbow
11. Striking to the spine or the back of the head
12. Kicking to the kidney with a heel
13. Throat strikes of any kind, including, without limitation, grabbing the trachea
14. Clawing, pinching or twisting the flesh
15. Grabbing the clavicle
16. Kicking the head of a grounded opponent
17.Kneeing the head of a grounded opponent
18. Stomping a grounded opponent
19. Holding the fence
20. Holding the shorts or gloves of an opponent
21. Using abusive language in fenced ring/fighting area
22. Engaging in any unsportsmanlike conduct that causes injury to an opponent
23. Attacking an opponent on or during the break
24. Attacking an opponent who is under the care of the referee
25. Attacking an opponent after the bell has sounded the end of the round
26. Timidity, including, without limitation, avoiding contact with an opponent, intentionally or consistently dropping the mouthpiece or faking an injury
27. Throwing opponent out of ring/fighting area
28. Flagrantly disregarding the instructions of the referee
29. Spiking an opponent to the canvas on his head or neck
30. Interference by the corner
31. Applying any foreign substance to the hair or body to gain an advantage

That should give you some things to consider in regards to how UFC or any sports combat differs from REAL WORLD violence. If you have training in MMA, you’ve got invaluable skills and perhaps you can take a moment to consider how you could adjust them for the REAL WORLD.

Until every decent person is equipped…

John Wayne Legg

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