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Sports, Self-defense, And Martial Arts Training
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Traditionalists who have an "old school" outlook towards the martial arts usually possess a rather negative attitude towards training in the martial arts as a sport. The main reason they have an attitude of this nature is that they believe training for sport undermines the ability to be adept in self-defense. Because the original intent behind the martial arts is self-defense, it should not come as a surprise that there exists the belief that investing time in sportive training is self-defeating. This is only somewhat true, though. The reality is that the sportive facet of training can greatly help your ability to protect yourself. And this is because of several reasons.
First, it is vital to point out that when you train athletically and sportively, you develop an array of attributes which will effectively make the transition into real world combat. Timing, reaction speed, explosiveness, and evasive abilities are only some of the numerous attributes you'll develop. These attributes are certainly going to be helpful if you ever are in a situation wherein you need to look after yourself. As a matter of fact, they may be what's going save your life.
Stoic or non-resistant martial arts training can be lacking in the realistic energy necessary to defend yourself effectively. Instead of training in a martial arts that is lacking in resistance, it's a lot better to put hours of training time in one wherein you can train with someone that fights back. But don't take this to imply that you and your live training partner have to really hurt each other or train very hard.
For attribute development, light contact sportive sparring is in fact more than enough. And naturally, you need to always have on the proper gear and safety equipment when you're live training. This will minimize the likelihood of injuries. Nonetheless, you should expect to be smacked during a live training session. That is simply the nature of live training. The wonderful thing about live training is that you could develop some level of toughness. Toughness has the potential to help you cope with physical pain (to a degree) if you ever have to defend yourself in an attack.
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It's vital to bring up, however, that when you're training in the martial arts for self-defense, you should not just entirely take part in the sportive aspect. You'll also need to engage in scenario-based training. This type of training refers to sessions wherein actual self-defense scenarios are mimicked. Essentially, your practice training partner plays the "bad guy". Rather than sparring with you in an athletic manner, he's going to act like an opponent. Like athletic sparring, you still must wear the proper safety equipment and avoid performing this sort of training in an unsafe or hazardous way.
If you mix sportive training in the martial arts with reality-based self-defense training, you're a lot more likely to develop effective personal protection skills. Though it's best if you don't ever get to be in a position where you have to use your self-defense skills, it's good to possess such skills for ensuring your personal safety.
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