Updated: Dec 27, 2020
You may be asking; What is pressure testing?
While there are many opinions, we are going to go with our definition (I mean... I am the one writing this). Pressure testing is the difference between reality and theory in your self defense.
I started out in “traditional” martial arts. I was blessed to have an instructor that believed that self defense was not real unless you could actually use it when someone was fighting back. In fact, my first 2 instructors were like that. I didn’t realize at the time they were actually going against the grain when it comes to traditional martial arts. After I received black belts in Kyokushin Karate and Combat Kenpo, I made an assumption that my instructors were normal and all martial artists made sure that techniques would actually work before passing it along to their students. I was very mistaken.
As I was instructing at my own school, and having the perpetual white belt mentality, I continued to train with other more knowledgeable instructors. I was honestly shocked at how much people were teaching techniques that would never work in an actual situation. After training with many instructors, in many different styles, I eventually gave up on training with traditional instructors because 90% of what they were teaching was not practical. I moved to training with reality based self defense instructors.
The big question here is; Why is so much of what traditional martial arts instructors teach not practical? That’s a simple answer. No one challenges them. There is no pressure testing. Either because of pride or ignorance, most instructors do not allow anyone to actually fight back. I’ve seen this many times with my own eyes. I have never been one to publicly challenge an instructor, and I don’t suggest that anyone should (come on, be a decent person), I have been in the middle of a situation where someone tried to get their Japanese JuJitsu instructor to grapple with me and “show me how its done”. The guy refused. Why? For fear that it may hurt his god-like status among his students. He may have wiped the floor with me, I have no idea, but he knew I had extensive BJJ experience and would not take the risk. Not only that, he wouldn’t grapple with me later when no one was around but the guy who suggested it, himself, and I. (His student was very persistent). I trained with him off and on for several years, and never once did he allow anyone to fight back against what he was doing.
Now, I am in no way suggesting you should learn a new technique and immediately try it full speed, full contact, and full resistance. That’s not right either. You should build up the speed, power, and resistance as you go.
If you are learning self defense and you never test the techniques you are learning against an unwilling opponent, you probably need to rethink your training. If you are an instructor and do not test the techniques before you teach them, or do not have your students attempt the techniques against resistance, you are being irresponsible.
Stay Alert, Stay Safe, and Train Hard… And Pressure Test Your Techniques
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