Martial Arts: Competition vs Self-Defense

It is important to understand that there is no "right" reason to train in martial arts. Some people do it to learn self-defense. Some people do it to lose weight and to get into the best shape of their lives. Some people do it to compete and to challenge themselves. Some people do it simply because it's fun. Whatever your reason for training in martial arts, the beautiful thing is that martial arts gives you so many gifts such as confidence, mental strength, focus, discipline, flexibility, cardiovascular fitness, and so much more. It encourages you to improve yourself continuously and to unleash your potential as a human being - physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually - in every area of your life.

So what is the difference between martial arts for competition and martial arts for self-defense?

In competition, there are rules, safety measures, and time limits. Competitors train specifically to achieve optimal performance within those rules. To achieve optimal performance, your cardiovascular system must be ready to go for the entirety of the bout. Your technique must be fast because your opponent will presumably have the same knowledge as you do. So you have to be faster, better, and stronger than your opponent at utilizing those exact same techniques. Your reflexes must be sharpened into peak state through endless drills and repetition. Your mind must be strong for the specific occasion at the exact time that you are set to compete. The reason why professional fighters typically have 8 or 10 week training camps is precisely to do all of the above. Another important dimension for competition is experience. The more fights you have, the better you will become. You will learn better how to channel your mind, body, and spirit at the exact moment. Finally, the rewards of competition are great. If you ask any competitor, it is the greatest high in the world to know that your hard work paid off.

In a self-defense situation, there are no rules. In some ways, it is harder than competition. In some ways, it is easier than competition. It all depends on the situation. So you have to be prepared for anything. Also, most street encounters typically last less than 1 minute. For example, generally speaking, the person to land the first strike in a street fight usually wins. The reason is that, unlike professional fighters, most people are untrained to receive a blow. As a result, cardiovascular endurance is not as important too. Also, in self-defense situations, the knowledge and skill levels often differ vastly. If an expert martial artist faces off against someone who knows nothing, it will likely be a quick and easy fight for the martial artist. On the flip side, if the situation involves knives and/or guns, it does not matter what kind of training you have. Unless you are a current and active US Navy SEAL or an Israeli Special Forces Commando, the odds of survival are very low in a situation where your assailant has a gun or a knife (and you do not have any weapons). It does not matter if you are Krav Maga expert, a BJJ World Champion, or a Karate master. The reality is that there is nothing like actual combat experience involving guns and knives. If you have never fought with a knife or you have never fired a gun at a live target, you are simply fooling yourself if you think you can do well in a self-defense situation where someone is pointing a gun at you and/or trying to stab you with a knife. The best self-defense is never to put yourself in those situations.

At Evolve MMA, we are 100% focused on reality-based technique. We only teach what works in real-life situations. Our international team of world-class instructors has had tens of thousands of fights - literally - in the ring, on the mats, and in the streets. So whether you are learning martial arts for self-defense or for competition, you will learn authentic, reality-based martial arts for the real world. Equally important, you will see excellent benefits such as weight loss, fitness, mental strength, confidence, and so much more.

Ultimately, martial arts is the journey of continuous self-improvement.

Evolve Mixed Martial Arts® is Asia's premier brand of MMA academies. With World Champions in Muay Thai, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Mixed Martial Arts, Boxing, and No Gi Grappling, Evolve MMA is the top martial arts training organization in Asia. It ranks among the best martial arts academies in the world.