Acronyms, Definitions and Terminology

Some words and acronyms mean different things to different people. Today, I am going to present a list of key terms and their meanings from my viewpoint. Some peoples opinion differ to mine I am sure. But when I speak about these things in posts, it is from the perspective of these definitions.

Awareness- Awareness encompasses all the skills, tactics and techniques we use during the pre-attack stage of conflict. It includes being able to recognise potential hostile activity from a distance. It includes the state of mind of actively watching your surroundings and like the namesake suggests, being aware of your surroundings from a security perspective.

It includes knowing what higher threat environments are and having the presence of mind to know when you are in the vicinity of such environments at that time and knowing what that means and appropriate actions that may be required. It also includes knowledge of such soft skills as verbal de-escalation and non aggressive posture. Finally, it also includes a prior knowledge and understanding of the physiological and psychological effects of combat on the human body.

Combat Sports-Combat sports are combative systems which actively compete in tournaments. Such systems include boxing, greco roman wrestling, kick boxing, muay thai, brazilian jiu jitsu, judo, shootwrestling, MMA and other hybrid systems. These systems are credited with teaching effective systems with an emphasis on being able to apply techniques on a 100% resisting opponent, as is needed to succeed in competition.

Common criticism of such systems highlight their one on one and unarmed nature. Supporters and practitioners highlight that if you cannot deal with one unarmed attacker, how can you possibly entertain thoughts of defeating more than one attacker or an armed one?

FMA- Filipino Martial Arts. Generally, Filipino Martial Arts are the most effective systems in using low tech weapons such as edged weapons and impact weapons being the quite common knife and stick as seen on the streets and homes today.

The good Filipino weapon systems place a high emphasis on being able to apply the learnt techniques in full speed sparring against a resisting opponent. This is a key element of all modern, effective systems such as the combat sports. The Filipino systems have a reputation for being the most effective systems for today's weapons.

MMA-Mixed Martial Arts. Mixed Martial Arts is the system of fighting seen in competitions such as the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) and the Pride Fighting Championship plus many others. MMA systems are well known for being effective systems of unarmed, one on one combat that covers all ranges being standing, clinch and groundfighting and using strikes, body manipulation and submission holds. MMA also utilises modern training methods with an emphasis on applying techniques on a 100% resisting training partner. This involves progressive training methods such as live drilling and sparring and wrestling.

Modern Training Methods-Modern training methods are those methods which are used primarily by combat sports systems and some RBSD systems. Modern training methods provide a
shortened learning cycle compared to older methods. Modern training methods generally involve the following cycle; A technique is first learnt, the technique is drilled in a limited manner, the technique is drilled in a less restricted manner and finally the technique is applied in free sparring or wrestling or a realistic scenario. From the beginning, the emphasis is on being able to apply that technique on a resisting opponent.

Modern training methods also allow for almost 100% effort. This can be achieved by limiting the techniques that can be used and/or wearing appropriate protective equipment. Typical systems include Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (submission wrestling with no strikes), boxing (gloves and mouthguard) and RBSD (FAST Defence bulletman suits).

This is the benefit of modern training methods. The training is hard but also realistic in that the training partner is resisting up to 100% and the practitioner is under stress and feels the effects of stress and still is able to apply their techniques in this environment, in training.

By using modern training methods, systems quickly realise what works and what does not work and can be thrown out. Older training methods relied on doing a technique thousands of times to develop muscle memory. The problem with this method is that for sure, the practitioner can do a good technique but still has not developed the skills to know when and how to apply it on an attacker. Modern training methods negate this by having the student apply their techniques under pressure in training against a committed attack. The more intense the training session, the closer it is to reality.

Reality Based Self Defence. This phrase means different things to different people. Some people call what they do RBSD without really knowing what it is. Some people have a few different techniques they practise in t-shirt and shorts and call it RBSD and some do the same thing in military uniform and call it RBSD. What you wear has no impact on anything except looks.

RBSD attempts to give the student tools that work in real high stress situations. RBSD takes into account the physiological and psychological effects of combat. Generally, under stress we lose fine motor control and get tunnel vision plus more which is all factored into the tactics and techniques taught in RBSD systems. It tests what is taught by putting the student in realistic scenarios one is likely to encounter out in the world which stimulates the 'fight or flight' response.

Typically, they begin in the pre-attack stage of conflict and depending on responses, continue into the attack stage and post attack stage of an encounter. RBSD systems also tend to teach verbal strategies for diffusing situations before they go physical. This is an area lacking in most martial systems and generally is where all encounters begin in the real thing.

RBSD is a term that some don't like, even those that teach it as they believe all self defence should be reality based. Also, RBSD has a bad name in some areas due to poor systems that are taught and sold with the teacher dressed in military fatigues in a system aimed at civilians in a bid to sell that particular system.

Regardless, good RBSD systems cover many areas not covered by conventional martial arts.

Self Defence- Self defence generally means defending against an attack. An attack comes at you, and you defend against it. It is reactive in nature. Self defence generally does not include tactics of the pre-attack stage of conflict. It is the specific area of dealing with an attack. The tactics and techniques taught are physical in nature such as punching, kicking or otherwise physically dealing with the attack. This is different to Self Protection...

Self Protection- Self Protection includes areas covered in self defence. However, the main difference is that Self Protection also covers the pre-attack stage of conflict which encompasses all of the soft skills including awareness and how ensure awareness is maintained.

Self Protection is more pro active where as Self Defence is more reactive. It is just terminology but the difference in these terms and approaches leads to a different approach on the ground so to speak. Being pro active and being aware on the street will see you less likely to be caught by surprise whereas a reactive approach or one dealing with punches and kicks to respond to an attack are more likely to be caught by surprise. Self Protection encompasses more aspects of conflict, much more than just Self Defence.

Soft Skills-
Soft skills are non physical skills used in the pre attack stage of conflict such as verbal de-escalation, awareness and an understanding of body language both from a distance and up close, immediately prior to a confrontation going physical. Soft skills and awareness go hand in hand and often are just different names for the same thing.

TMA-Traditional Martial Arts. TMA are styles with strong traditional heritage. The styles country of origin has a strong influence on these systems such as the wearing of a traditional uniform, using the language and formal customs such as bowing and paying deference to senior members and instructors. Such styles are generally Asian in origin.

Typically, techniques are taught and 'applied' in a static environment which is far removed from today's likely situations and modern training methods. However, other aspects of the way of the warrior such as humility, honour and respect are emphasised which is sometimes sorely missing in more modern systems.

I'm a little different to most. I am of the opinion that Judo and Muay Thai are Combat Sports and not TMA's. Obviously Muay Thai has been around for a long time and could quite easily be categorised as a TMA but I personally don't call either muay thai or judo this for the following reason.

My main difference of opinion is that systems such as Judo and Muay Thai have an emphasis on being able to apply their techniques on a 100% resisting opponent and prove their strategies in a competitive environment. They are not static systems which depend on theories and likely outcomes. They actively go out there and test each other in a relatively free-form environment. They utilise modern training methods.

To me, this is primary difference. This is my main area of separation between combat sports and TMA. Not uniforms or countries or anything else. The fact that they compete and use 'modern training methods' is the main thing separating TMA from the combat sports for me.

What are your thoughts on these acronyms, definitions and terminology? Agree or disagree and why? Have I left anything out?