The instructors at Smash Gyms are life-long martial artists with various backgrounds of different self-defense and martial arts disciplines.We were there when the fight world was shocked during the original UFC's which proved that a knowledgable grappling specialist could easily manhandle other high level martial artist who lacked real grappling knowledge. This brought attention to the fact that for decades the Gracie family had open challenges to other martial arts and fighting styles and had defeated countless opponents in no rules fights. We put our ego's aside and went through hard training to develop real skills, and came to the realization that our past training in combat systems with unrealistic training methods had little value in a real fight.
Through the evolution of sport fighting and MMA in the last 20 years it has become apparent that combat sport styles did very well in real combat situations. This was because of training methods. They go 100% live and test techniques. If you go 50%, you are not going live. Theories, techniques, and strategies must be tested. You must try to prove their effectiveness and not just take your instructors word for it. Sport fighters train this way and have evolved sophisticated systems of fighting. Skills in these sports have been passed down from generation to generation and evolved to be as effective as possible through natural selection and a scientific process. Professional fighters, police departments and even the US Army replaced old systems with these disciplines because the effectiveness could be proven in 100% live situations. Many lifelong martial artist came to the realization that although it was a jagged pill to swallow they needed to learn these arts after losing to these sport practitioners.
Specialist in different fighting sports became hot commodities as coaches for any serious martial artist or fighter. People who were paying attention learned that you could not be successful learning from one style. Jack of all trade fighting styles proved to be a beginner systems at best. The best fighters in the world learned they need a coach for each discipline. A specialist trainer is one that has spent the 10+ years it takes to master a real skill. Fighters realized that to reach a high skill level they needed to get out of their comfort zone, put their ego aside and step into the world of the specialist. They learned that they need to lose in 100% live situations until they could win in 100% live situations. This is how to develop real skill that is repeatable in a live situations.
While the UFC and MMA in general grew in popularity, many traditional martial artist took refuge in claiming that their style was too dangerous to prove in a real fight. When they did go live with people that understood how to produce a real skill it became obvious that practitioners of these untested fighting styles typically did not progress beyond beginner level technique in actual combat, even after many years of training. Ironically these styles are the ones that usually claim to be the most "realistic". Many of these styles focused preparing on a mentality for certain situations that never happen to make up for their lack of realistic training methods. When these unfortunate practitioners actually were challenged they were not ready for the intensity due to the lack of 100% sparring, and their curriculum of untested, unproven techniques. They would be dominated by specialist every time.
Many styles or instructors claim to have the best answers to every question. They may claim that they have the answer to beat everyone in every situation. This comes from insecurities or marketing. It may seem like confidence but it's a rouse to control students and instructors to hide their "styles" weaknesses. We all have weaknesses. Those that won't admit it, often have the biggest ones. The truth is that if you only take MMA, Krav Maga or other general self-defense fitness classes it will be difficult take reach a true level of mastery. Individuals with existing skill sets in focused combat sports will easily dominate in those styles. You will need to take lessons focused on individual disciplines from true experts in each subject if you are serious about becoming effective in self-defense and martial arts. There are no short cuts.
If you want to truly learn a subject you need to see an authority on the matter. To combine kicks and punches at the highest level you need to find a kickboxing coach. To learn to stop or execute a takedown you need to study wrestling and judo. You simply will not be able to execute or defend against those willing to do it. If you want to dominate, control or submit an attacker in a one on one fight you should take BJJ classes. If you want to learn to knife fight then find an expert! No fighting style is an expert in every situation.
For a Martial Artist to evolve techniques, strategies and methods must be tested in unchoreographed 100% live training. Practitioners must be scientific about their training. Don't just take your instructors word for it. Make it work live. True testing must occur with live resistance. In real life nothing is perfect. When an instructor shows a technique he is showing an example of an exact situation. When you go live there are an infinite amount of variables that could happen. This forces the practitioner to react and adapt the technique in a way to make it work. This leads to a deeper understanding and then to mastery.
To reach the highest level in anything, you need focused instruction. Many times the fighting styles that will give you cliff-notes of other arts were started by a "guru" that actually went and learned from specialist! They went to experts and put in the time and became skilled. You should do the same! Go to the source. If you go to one person to learn everything you are likely learning watered down 3rd or 4th hand information. In any area, there are experts that truly understand. You must spend the time in their world to really be effective. If you aren't losing, you aren't really learning. It is important to distinguish between scenario training and live training. Training partners pushing you with pads then letting you win during a difficult drill is not real fighting no matter how challenging it seems.
Combat is not a religion. Martial Arts have come so far in the last 20 years and many people still don't get it. Time and time again people have marketed end all be all to fighting styles with no substance. The best instructors have an open mind and continue to learn and evolve on their own and pass that on to their students. Fighting has been around since the beginning of time and it is now evolving at a breakneck pace. Because of the internet our ability to find, share, and test information is easier than ever before. You can find live footage of what works. There are thousands of real fight videos online. You will see virtually no fights end in groin shots, eye gouges and other "dirty " techniques that many claim take the place of real skill. You will only fulfill your potential by getting out of your comfort zone, putting your ego aside and find true experts that are willing to show you their skills in a 100% live situation. If this idea seems sacrilegious to you then you are part of a cult, not a fighting style.
Veteran martial artist have seen trends come and go and then repeat. Even now every few years a new heavily marketed fighting style shows up late to the party claiming to be the end all be all answer to fighting. These new styles are often popular because they protect the fragile ego's of the students and instructors. It is traditional martial arts packaged as realistic scenario training without the real training methods. Those with experience know this is nothing new and has been proven to be ineffective over and over.
"One test is worth 1000 expert opinions" - Wernher von Braun
Realistic Weapons training
You really get hit!
Below is realistic close combat weapons training. They use a paintball gun so you can see who really gets shot! Many theory based "experts" may criticize techniques used to win during this live test without but are unwilling to prove it in a live situation with experienced combat sport athletes. Also they may totally disregard the results of the test due to years of being heavily influenced with untested theory. If you train live you will see that individuals with combat "sport" backgrounds will dominate other styles with very little training.
A handful of Smash Gyms adult BJJ students competed in the Quake City Open BJJ tournament held in Vallejo, CA. Sam Jung placed 2nd, Ibranhim Elsakka placed 2nd, Jonathan Bialoglovski placed 2nd, Christina Marie placed 3rd, and Anthony Boyle placed 1st in their respective divisions. Great effort!
In attendance at the competition was 9th degree red belt Carley Gracie. Below are our competitors striking a pose with Carley!