“My concern is facing someone who is trained in MMA or some reality-based system.
“I’ve followed you since the beginning — and it all makes so much sense — but I still wonder ‘Can I do what these guys [TFT] are saying to do?’
“I have a family member who’s been training for almost three years in MMA and he’s the kind of guy who shouldn’t be allowed to train in any system. I’ve read your book and I need some additional insights just in case I have to fight with this family member. He thinks he’s the toughest guy around.
“I’ve already had an altercation with a MMA guy and even though he didn’t beat me up he still got an ankle lock while I was standing and it bothers me to this day. I hope you can help me out with what to do and go into some detail about facing an experienced martial artist or athlete involved in MMA."
Chris Ranck-Buhr answers:
You bring up a number of issues; I’ll do what I can to address them all.
Facing Someone Who’s Trained
You can compete, or you can destroy. To compete, all you have to do is go strength-to-strength, skill-to-skill and will-to-will with someone. If you’re stronger, more skilled and want it more than him, you’ll win. If not… he’ll get you on one or more of those.
Or you can cheat and just take his eye.
There’s a reason they don’t allow that in competition — it blows the competition all to hell. If you’re serious about injuring the man I recommend you do all the things they don’t allow in the ring: eyes, throat, groin, stomping the neck and head of a downed man, etc., etc.
Training for competition has two primary goals:
- To make for entertaining fights, and
- To ensure that fighters can have actual careers.
If we allow the gouging of eyes, etc., bouts are over in moments, and people just aren’t going to pay good money for five-second matches. Also, serious, debilitating injuries like that are going to cut careers down to a single fight.
In order for MMA to make money fights need to be exciting, dramatic competitions that pit fitness, skill and heart against another man’s, with the best of the best prevailing and the losers having the opportunity to improve themselves and return for another chance at glory.
Facing someone who’s trained is only going to matter if you throw yourself against their training and try to overpower, out-maneuver, or outlast them.
Regardless of fitness, skill and desire, everyone’s eye comes of their screaming skull the same way.
(This is why Tim & I don’t walk around like badasses — there’s nothing about Tim’s size & strength or our training and willingness to use it that prevents us from being injured. Training makes you good at injuring people, but does nothing to prevent it from happening to you. Imagine a world where everyone has a gun but there’s no such thing as ballistic armor and you’ve got a good picture of the reality of laying hands on people.)
All you have to do is look at MMA videos online where a serious injury ended the fight — the most prevalent being concussions that cause unconsciousness, but also things like torn knees, accidental fingers in eyes, etc. What we’re saying is that you should start there rather than going the five rounds preceding the fight-ending injury in the ring.
Specifics? Take his eye. Crush his groin. When he’s down kick him in the head as hard as you can. The real question is: does the situation warrant this?
Can I really do it?
If you’re having doubts about whether or not you could seriously injure someone, it’s because on some level you realize it’s inappropriate for the problem at hand.
For the situations we’re actually training for — life-or-death violence where what you do will determine whether you live or die — there is never any question. If you had a gun, you’d shoot the man (or men) to death. But you either don’t have one, can’t get to one immediately, or the one you have has failed. That’s the time to do the work of a bullet as best you can with your bare hands and boots.
We’re not training to best someone, change their mind or overpower them without any serious social repercussions any more than we’d expect to be able to do those things with a firearm.
A firearm is not a universal or even multi-use tool. It does just one thing really well: killing people at a distance. When skillfully employed it causes debilitating injury that leads to the shutdown of the brain (or an interruption of the brain’s ability to control the body), whether by opening up the circulatory system and causing the person to bleed out or by the direct destruction of the Central Nervous System.
With TFT we are training specifically to do this same job — cause debilitating injury that leads to the shutdown of the brain — only using our bare hands.
Because we use our own bodies to do this work it is often confused with fighting, competition and the mistaken belief that we can do it without really hurting anyone.
Here’s the deal: tearing into the other guy to seriously injure him and stomp him to nonfunctional — being willing to take it all the way — is where the real power is. In actual use this approach allows you to stop as soon as you recognize he’s nonfunctional, without having to kill him. But it only works like that if you step in to do it 100%.
If you go in half-assed because you don’t really want to hurt him, don’t worry — you won’t. And you’ll have a real fight on your hands.
The answer is, yes, you can really do it, the same way you can point and fire a handgun. The only question is one of appropriateness. And just as the need to shoot someone during your everyday activity with your family is thankfully rare, so is beating a man into unconsciousness… or to death.
Fighting With a Family Member
If you take all of the above commentary, hopefully the answer to this one is clear.
If the use of violence can be avoided, then you must avoid it. Period.
If you wouldn’t use a firearm to kill him, then you wouldn’t do what we train!
It sounds like he’s into social domination and pushing others down to push himself up. Classic bully behavior. If it can’t be worked out in a social context, with words, then stay away from him. You’ll have to find a way to deal with what he will inevitably say about such behavior, ignore it and get on with your life.
If you want to play his game then start lifting weights and training in MMA. If you’re going to compete with him, then train to compete with him.
Personally, I don’t recommend you play his game. It’s stupid antisocial bullshit. I’m sure you’ve got better things to do.
Find a way to minimize it, get around it, and move on using your social skills.
Any situation you make it out of alive and intact is a win.
Our baseline assumptions for using violence are that…
…you will get punched and kicked…
…if there’s a knife you’ll get cut…
…if there’s a stick you’ll get hit with it…
…and the gun always goes off…
…And it’s always armed multi-man (multiple attacker) until proven otherwise.
The goal is to break people, shut them off and get the hell out of there — not to walk out without a scratch. (If you do make it out without a scratch it wasn’t that you were good, just lucky.)
A couple questions you have to ask yourself about the situation:
- Was it avoidable?
- Did you work to defuse it?
Or did you help bring it to blows by choosing to engage with threatening language?
What you have to understand about what we train is that it’s for seriously injuring people — doing things that will, in all probability, give them life-long issues. If you’re not willing to do this, then, no, it doesn’t work.
The number one reason for not being willing to do it is because you realize the situation at hand doesn’t warrant such an apocalyptic response.
What we do does not make you a badass or the best fighter in town. It doesn’t solve social problems or improve your social standing.
It just means you can seriously injure people if you need to.
It’s kinda depressing, actually — being fully briefed on this whole violence thing means you can’t play the games anymore, can’t “teach people a lesson", or kick ass to make a name for yourself.
You’re stuck avoiding the avoidable… while training for the unthinkable.
Personally, I prefer it that way. I don’t have to play the games, or even engage; besides, I’ve got better things to do with my time than bet my life on a mere ass-kicking, ruin my clothes and good looks and spend the night in jail — and that’s if I win. (And I completely forgot about the civil suit from the loser!) None of that is worth my life.
When I use what I know it is because I have no choice and the situation not only warrants, but requires, serious, life-long debilitating injury.
Injury works identically on the trained and untrained; if you’re unwilling to use it with all necessary force, “pulling punches" or putting certain targets off-limits then it’s either because you realize the situation doesn’t warrant violence or you would really rather compete with the man.
Both cases are something completely other than what we’re working on here.
Hope this helps.