Bullshido: Myths of Reality Based Self Defense

“Bullshido” is a term used to describe martial arts training that is fraudulent and/or ineffective. It is a term we at Krav Maga Academy San Diego use to describe anyone in the Reality Based Self Defense (RBSD) world who is teaching and more importantly selling nonsense. RBSD purports to deal with real world violence, and often criticizes or even mocks sport fighting as a “bound by rules” that in a street fight would make it less effective or ineffective. But what about RBSD and fighting systems for “the street”. Here are some common myths about RBSD and street fighting systems that will help you identify “Bullshido”.

  1. “Born on the Battlefield”: This is a common myth that applies to a number of systems both modern and traditional. The notion that the system was developed in combat seems desperately flawed. Certainly modern warfare has little to no hand to hand combat engagements, and the ones that do happen are, according to a US Department of Defense study, overwhelmingly grappling centric (over 70%). There are no lethal death strikes developed by commandos anywhere in the world. Soldiers do all of their killing with firearms.
  2. “Too deadly for Training”: This is another common myth used to avoid having the techniques stress tested. Martial arts challenges are common, the Gracie family made its name on these challenges with various members of the family agreeing to fight martial artists from all backgrounds to prove the supremacy of grappling in a one-on-one fight. The notion that a system has techniques that are so deadly they cannot be trained or used in sparring seems fallacious. If you cannot drill the technique, and use it in sparring under stress it will almost certainly be useless in a high stress self defense situation.

  3. “Master Undefeated in Street Fights”: This is a classic, and one that extends to sporting systems as well. The “master” or “guru” of the deadly street fighting system has never lost a street fight. Of course there is no witness to corroborate this, if there is it is usually a dedicated disciple of the “master”. There is no BoxRec keeping track of street fight wins, and the “master’s” record is no doubt self reported.

  4. “No Rules”: Another nonsense selling point. Rule based fighting systems are the most effective way to develop fighting skills. The rule system allows force-on-force combat while limiting injuries to allow competitors to build up a stress tested skill set. Try this thought experiment, who would be better suited to learning to deal with multiple attackers and armed opponents, an MMA fighter with 15 professional fights, or an RBSD practitioner who routinely does katas against a compliant training partner with a rubber knife? The answer is obvious and our training should strive to first build basic skills of unarmed combat THEN add in weapons and multiple attacker scenarios.

At Krav Maga Academy San Diego, we believe it is time for a revolution in self defense training. We are not alone in this. We believe that we must use all martial tools at our disposal, striking, clinching, grappling, edged weapons, firearms, and trauma medicine to increase our survivability in deadly force encounters. Our training reflects this. Our students FIRST learn the basics of unarmed combat before we ever deal with armed attackers or multiple attackers. We teach effective techniques proven to work both in the sport and realistic settings. We do not teach “theory”, we spar, we compete, we struggle, we fail, we learn. Krav Maga SHOULD be an eclectic and adaptive mixed martial arts system for self defense, it has lost its way, but we are getting it back on track.

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