The contrast between self-defense and sport is a seemingly constant conversation between competitors and “purists.” I recently had an opportunity to sit down with some interesting people to discuss this disparity at length on the Black Belt Tips Podcast.
Here’s a facebook live video of the podcast:
Podcast 27: UFC 2 veteran Sean Dougherty
Posted by Black Belt Tips on Saturday, November 4, 2017
The conversation features Bill Jones, a black belt under Pedro Sauer whose focus has been almost entirely on self-defense oriented jiu-jitsu, but who has made a point of exposing himself to the stresses of competition, even though he’s not an active competitor and his student Edward Whitney who has never competed and has spent his entire time in jiu-jitsu thus far immersed in a specific style of training.
The conversation also featured Sean Daugherty, a kickboxer who fought in UFC 2, and then went on to train with Ken and Frank Shamrock at the Lion’s Den and fought on Pancrase. He has also honed his grappling skills since his experience at UFC 2, acquiring a 4 stripe brown belt in BJJ, a black belt in judo, and a black belt in Shingitai Jujitsu. Sean is considered by many to be an expert level grappler with a high level understanding of lower body submissions.
For my part, I am an active competitor who used to dabble in TMA’s. I’ve trained “self defense” and honestly I feel that my time is better spent on competition oriented jiu-jitsu.
During the conversation, a few crucial points were discussed:
- The notion of the “self-defense athlete” was brought into play. Sean believes that when training for pure “self-defense” a practitioner should treat it as an athletic endeavor. Building oneself up as an athlete and learning to cope with the stresses and rigors of a combat sport is a sound way to be capable of self defense.
- We discussed the notion that it is very likely that most competitors will possess sound fundamentals, and that the fancy “competition oriented” techniques are icing on an already well established cake.
- We took a look at Sean’s progression from TMA to MMA, his understanding of sport and street self-defense, and the notions of martial arts as a microcosm of the human experience.
- Bill and Edward discussed their perspectives, where they viewed competition in the grand scheme of martial arts and self-defense. They expressed concerns over competition jiu-jitsu taking away from the fundamental aspects that made Gracie Jiu-Jitsu so effective in the early days of MMA.
To the best of my knowledge, there are few if any other conversations of this nature that have taken place. An honest look at what this often hostile debate really means. Check it out here