The Self-Defense Training Disconnect

During my service in the IDF (Israeli Defense Forces), the majority of my training was conducted at night and in simulated terrain with a great amount of stress and uncertainty. Why does the IDF train this way? Because these are the realities of modern warfare. When I transitioned to civilian life I started to notice a great disconnect in the civilian training community. Training was almost always during the day in a cushioned gym environment that was made to be comfortable and predictable.

As most police officers will tell you and crime statistics point to, nothing good happens after midnight. In fact, a large amount of violent crime happens after dark. Yet most of our self-defense training is in daytime conditions, missing the point of  how to use a flashlight for armed and unarmed self-defense. This disconnect creates a huge gap in preparedness, as it becomes a lot harder to fight when you cannot see. Also consider the numerous variables that are harder to deal with, such as; being able to see a weapon, dealing with street curbs or other dangers in the environment.

The environment that we interact with on a daily basis is significantly different than our padded gym. There will not always be a smooth matted floors to fall on or a roof to keep us dry from the rain. Students should strive to train in the harshest conditions possible, in order to prepare for the real world. One should not skip out on the range because of rain, snow or extremes in temperature. However, always consider safety when it comes to weather and training.

As humans we tend to take the path of least resistance. If it is skipping training because of weather as mentioned above or avoiding a sparring class because of fear of getting hit. When training for armed and unarmed combat one must never substitute real training and stress for comfort. As an instructor, learn to push your students to the limit (safely) without giving them an easy out.  As a student, understand that taking the path of least resistance now will only be a detrimental later.

Predictability is the opposite of uncertainty. When training becomes too predictable and too regular, practitioners lose the ability to adapt to uncertain conditions. Combat is not pretty, it is not comfortable, it does not happen at the time of your convenience. Change the variables of your training as often as possible. Simply put; train as you fight and you will fight as you trained!

Thank you for reading, 

Ron Grobman

Founder | Chief Instructor 

Tactical Fitness