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How do we Know What Works?

There are a vast number of benefits to practicing martial arts and combat sports, and one of them is being able to protect yourself. In 1993, modern mixed martial arts was born. 

The resulting method is not a new martial art, but rather is the application of the scientific method to martial arts, a paradigm shift of practice, comparable to the advent of the germ theory of medicine.

The Scientific Method is a cornerstone of human advancement, and it goes like this:
1. Make a hypothesis.
2. Derive predictions from the hypothesis, as logical consequences.
3. Carry out experiments or empirical observations based on those predictions.

That’s MMA:
1. Make a hypothesis (BJJ is the best martial art, for example).
2. Derive predictions from the hypothesis, as logical consequences (If a BJJ trained athlete faces an exponent of another martial art, the BJJ player will win).
3. Carry out experiments or empirical observations based on those predictions (UFC 1, and every fight since).

In time, from martial arts in the arena, real truth emerges.

However, there is a second means to learn what works, to learn what works for self-defense. Cell phone and security cam video is now available everywhere, and that has opened up an excellent way to determine the efficacy of any particular martial art, combat sport, or technique. Call it martial arts outside the arena. This can be roughly divided into several main categories:
Mutual Combat;
Dojo Storming;
Bullchido (what doesn't work); and,
•Self Defense.

What is Self Defense?

The field is vast, and in its broadest form, encompasses defending the health and well-being of oneself and loved ones from harm. Within the confines of this context, it is the use of physical force to counter an immediate threat of violence.

Self-defense can be armed or unarmed. There are an enormous number of different approaches to developing self-defense capability, including combat sport, various forms of military combatives, traditional unarmed fighting systems, traditional armed fighting systems, and much more. Self Defense can place a greater focus on situational awareness, and on verbal and psychological methods to escape, rather than on physical technique.

Self defense is different in central ways to each of the categories of physical confrontation detailed above. It is different from Mutual Combat, in that one party is not voluntary. It is not an Informal, because it does not follow, even loosely, the rules of any combat sport, and in any case is involuntary.

With that noted, let's look at Self Defense in the real world.