When it comes to combat-sports training versus training for real combat, it doesn’t have to be ‘one or the other’. After all, even the Olympics began as a test of warriors’ mettle. But, as grappling legend Royler Gracie and I once discussed at a gathering of police, sport can also derail people’s efforts to prepare for reality…

Can the power of belief make a martial art more effective — or does it make martial artists blind to the fact that their methods are ineffective? A scientific study into the power of placebos suggests that the answer to both questions may be ‘yes’.

Conditioning your mind and body to cope with pain, injury, fatigue and fear is vital if self-defence capability is what you seek. But training should leave you ready for battle, not destroyed before the battle has even begun.

A sensei is more than a teacher, and may not only be found in a dojo. The late Commando Sergeant Brett Wood MG DSM, recipient of the Medal for Gallantry, filled such a role for many, including Kinetic Fighting CEO Paul Cale. On the 10th anniversary of Wood’s death in action, Cale pays tribute to his friend and mentor.

When it comes to self-defence, you want to be the weapon and have the tool, not the other way around. An integrated combat approach is the key.

We humans are ultimately animals…though some more than others, you could say. Our best self-defence skill is realising the foolishness of aggressive posturing, to avoid getting involved in ‘alpha male’ disputes.

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