Are training for self-defense and training for sport competition the same? Absolutely not.
In self-defense, there are no time limits, any number of attackers, and no one is playing by 'fair' rules.
Are there concepts and basics of self-defense training and sport training that cross over each other? Absolutely!
Can competition help prepare you for a real world self-defense situation? Yes! Yes! Yes!
Read on to see why we think participating in competition can give you valuable skills for self-defense (and life in general!).
High Pressure Situation
Competition is a high pressure, chaotic environment. Your adrenaline and nerves hit. Some people experience a sluggish 'dead leg/arm' reaction. Palms are sweaty. Heart is racing. There is little time to think. Practicing performing in a chaotic environment teaches you to control your nerves, stay calm, think, and stay in control of yourself.
Winning/ Surviving Doesn't Mean Unscathed
Competition puts this into reality and helps break the mentality that winners are always 'at ease' and dominant. Competition helps students continue to fight and push forward even when bumped, bruised, or injured. Because your opponent will keep coming at you!
Competition gives an opportunity to fight a new opponent. Not your friend from class, not your brother/sister, but another person who wants to dominate you. Your fight may be fast or run the full clock. You don't know what skill level your opponent has in comparison to you.
Repeatedly training in tournament can greatly enhance the mental skills that are so necessary to survive in a self-defense situation: control, clarity, and calmness. It is a more fast-paced, realistic practice for the chaotic, unnerving self-defense situation.
Luckily for competitors, we do have a support group (your coaches, family, and friends), a set of rules for safety, and on-site medics. 😉