“I’ve never had any kind of martial arts or combat sport training — I’ve never even been in a fight — but because you guys showed videos of the actual injuries in action I know what it takes to get it done. And seeing the results of those injuries allowed me to build my confidence. I mean, it was right there.”
This is precisely why we show these videos — people being knocked unconscious from a blow to the side of the neck; dropping, incapacitated & winded, from strikes to the liver, spleen, kidney or groin; crippled & taken offline by a broken knee or ankle, and so on — because it’s not enough for us to say it or even walk through it in a training environment. You have to see it with your own eyes. [...even if it means getting banned in a few narrow-minded countries like the UK.]
His enthusiasm struck me because even though this is our core training ethos — make sure your training mirrors reality — I’m so close to the center of it I often forget the impact it can have.
Making the jump from seeing violence as nothing but insanity and chaos to understanding the base principles that drive it and then knowing what to do to cut through all the noise is an enormous, mind-altering leap. It’s moving from the realm of hopeless loss… to that of the determined winner.
Seeing the actual process and results of human-on-human injuries does things mere words cannot:
1. It shows, in no uncertain terms, the all-out effort required to break the human machine.
It’s a rugged piece of gear, resilient and incredibly tough in so many ways. It only fails when conditions are just right — a vulnerable single square inch subjected to forces it can’t handle. It doesn’t break because you wish it would, or because you touched the target, or because you “did the move”. Seeing actual video of what it takes is sobering and incredibly instructive. You realize you need to absolutely plow your entire self as far through that target as you can get.
2. You also see the dramatic results of success.
True debilitating injury is not ambiguous — it’s startling and game-changing. Seeing a bigger, faster, stronger professional athlete drop and become completely incapacitated is a huge confidence builder. All you have to do is get it right and break something and that injury buys you the time to do it again. As I like to say, “Fighting is hard — injury is easy.”
On the flip side, we also show videos where people fail to cause injury, either through poor aim, lack of effort (no body weight and/or follow-through), or a combination of the two.
The classic “slap a killer” problem — person A takes a lazy swing at person B and bloodies B’s nose to “teach him a lesson”, B pulls his gun and shoots A dead. When you juxtapose these with injury videos it becomes abundantly clear what’s required to get the job done — and what we risk when we go physical and put hands on people. Screwing around is not an option.
The goal of training is not to create a new reality that only works on the mats, but to mirror the often disappointing and inconvenient reality outside. Physical examples from the real world go a long way toward killing illusion & wishful thinking and replacing them with knowledge and confidence.
I was taken aback by this client’s comments (delivered with the enthusiasm of enlightenment) because I had forgotten what these videos show when compared to the common wisdom that the fight always goes to the bigger, faster, stronger, meaner antagonist.
To me they have ceased to be instructional and have become obvious and everyday. It was refreshing to be able to see them through new eyes again, to appreciate anew why the winners win and feel the surge of resolute confidence that comes from knowing what to do and how to do it.
TFT Master Instructor