I think your fear initially was out of being aware of how easy it is for someone to surprise you and attempt to harm you or steal your money and dignity, not in attempting a sport you have no interest in or which you have not time to dedicate.
Yes sports are great. When you apply yourself to them they give you great fitness and most of the time help your health and make you feel great.
Competitive fighting sports are geared to "fighting" in a civilized way as much as they attempt to have the "brutal cheeky appeal." No civilized society allow killing for gambling purposes! If you never fail you never learn how to win. It is possible that you improve over time or you just were successful against one opponent and not the other, or it was not just your day.
The question is do you compare apples to oranges or not. Getting Knocked out will not teach you how to give it. With a good Knock Out it just happens and you do not feel the pain. Other complications might cause you a headache the next day or if more severe, internal bleeding.
The fact that you are willing to take the risk to be KO’d might give you the status of fearless or brave but the question is what is on the stake. If not much, and the odds you might get brain damage, you might suffer from it before you got KO’ed.
Obviously if you are a boxer or a grappler or an MMA fighter you get money and fame for fighting and if you put the bread on your family’s table you are a respected man. It is up to your coach to decide when it is time for you to go to the ring.
Is that the answer for anyone that want to learn self defense? To limit yourself to punching only or grappling only, or to fight people of your own weight? Well even if you did, perhaps your coach would have spent more time with the athlete that will bring him fame.
Can athletes defend themselves better than average civilians in a fight? Perhaps in some cases yes and some cases not. Just the fact that they are used to one routine or another that happens in the ring might get them in a bad spot when they fight for life and death against more than one opponent.
If their tactical mode is to wait for the window of opportunity, they might miss the only chance they had in real life when keeping safe distance from the opponent is not an option due to lack of time.
Obviously a good athlete is in better shape than the average thug, but some thugs have athletic background, and some just use a knife or a Pistol in the good case scenario.
Would you send your son or daughter to spar in the same environment of competing athletes to try and spar to the end even if injury involves? Would a coach of a fighting sport be willing to put an unfit student with the fit ones? Usually Fighting Sports Gyms dedicate hard training for a specific one sport or another.
If they offer self defense classes many times they use the same training they would provide for the ring fighter. They might add slight variations but often forget to include an essential part.
Absolutely better fitness than the average gym, harder work and good skills, but not self defense skills not comprehensive self defense skills.
If a Martial Art school has only few people that become champions in a competition, it means that they either worked harder or had a better aptitude for learning. It also means that the instructor did not have a great aptitude or patience to teach everyone.
Perhaps the system did not allow to slow down the training for the slow students. Perhaps this component was not built in. But if you program all students quickly in every step of becoming more efficient with their fighting skills, you equalize their potential.
An approach to throw a student into sparring before he learns all the pieces of the puzzle and to connect between them could bring many students to repeat their errors without even knowing it and develop bad habits.
Yes some students could be just smarter quick learners and in better shape, but really should that matter when you teach someone how to fight for their lives?
It is the instructor that needs to program the students in the skills. If all of his students let's say can ride a bicycle or drive a car, there is no reason they would not be able to complete the Pure Krav Maga Curriculum.
Of course you can design your school on the Dojo system where it becomes an art. People just attend a lesson one at a time learning one technique or one partial technique and honing it for few months, lets say a perfect hip throw. Why should not it be perfect? Perhaps you did not take your opponent out of balance or he did not serve himself to you in the right angle? Perhaps you did not grasp the whole complex motion demonstrated by the instructor so fast maybe a hundred times.
Perhaps he never explained to you what is a hip throw what it is used for and when can you use it and how you can execute it and when you cannot use it and how you cannot execute it and why...
Then you might stay there few years and you might see the light and you might not. Now really if you did master a hip throw did you master unarmed combat. Did you try to apply it against a charging boxer, a Karate kick, Mack the Knife?
The student: Students need to digest and understand every aspect of what they do. Sometimes when they learn just by mimicking they do not grasp the essence.
In a normal martial Art school only select students become good. The rest just pay the rent and get general fitness out of the deal.
The reason could also be that the instructor favors one student over the other or that that particular student has a greater aptitude to learn from trial and error subconsciously.
The Instructor: Some want to teach, some do not want to teach fearing to deplete their capital of income source or fearing that their students will use their knowledge to open a competing school in the same neighborhood.
Is it possible that a Pure Krav Maga student misses the essence of Self Defense and Hand to Hand Fighting? Unfortunately yes. Some take the course with prior experience looking at it as another technique to be learned and added or other ways to solve the same problems they were taught with their old system.
Sometimes people go through the training that show them why their old material could be useless in a more efficient attack, but their mind is just not there.
Well if they read English at the moment and go back and read the book at least once or more, their minds will make the connection in more depth. The reference is complete and there.
The course is intensive and it is possible that someone's attention span missed an essential part but most likely as the course progresses the instructor will put him or her in their place and remind them of the missing element.
Without a solid plan which is the road map you and your students will get lost. Many times Imrich Lichtenfeld had told me that he believed that there are no bad students but there could be a bad teacher. He himself had told me that when he felt he could not learn something he changed his teacher.
The training Time: Since the coordination required for Krav Maga is very basic, and you do not need endurance, if you are in good health and do healthy activity you have a good starting point.
The essence of Krav Maga fighting starts from the neutral position or fixed position your body was when you noticed danger. If you have the time to run away and avoid the danger you probably could be a fortune teller or you can see the future.
Most self defense scenarios start when your opponent is too close for you to run. Obviously do you think your opponent will just stand there and wait for you to get comfortable in your standing position so you can attack him with your favorite method and from your favorite angle?
The curriculum: Some intensive curricula are designed to teach the same material that takes years to learn by feeding it. In Pure Krav Maga the Curriculum is comprehensive to use your body in maximum efficiency considering all the options available. You just pick whatever is more efficient out of the myriad of the possibilities at any range. The instructor serves it for you on a silver spoon.
Myth: Pure Krav Maga is less techniques and more repetition. Truth while many martial arts had specialized in one aspect of Hand to Hand Combat they have often neglected other areas and preferred one form over the other.
The fact that all students use the same methods of attack and defense leave huge gaps from a point of unarmed combat. The correct or right ratio of use of various methods from various angles and various distances is critical to make your life easier during a confrontation. If there is a way to do if faster and better, Pure Krav Maga has it. The reduction of the collective martial arts techniques is because when your methods of attack and tactical navigation are synchronized, you do not need many of these techniques.
Perhaps specialized systems have more specific names for each variation of techniques, while Krav Maga has principles of striking leveraging, blocking and kicking instead.
In Pure Krav Maga you have enough application of these principles in enough scenarios to the point that in real life the student will encounter a problem he will be able to use his judgment and resolve it.
Perhaps if forced to a boxing match or wrestling match he would not perform very well since he would limit himself, but if he had to defend himself he would do much better.
Each branch of sports fighting indeed contribute greater skills in that sport and its limitation require better performance from its athletes, but if you know “all” the short cuts you might just finish the job first without even sweating.
To use a limited Martial Art that uses let’s say only punching or only kicking or only throws and arm bar and to be able to use these techniques successfully at all ranges, you would had needed to train against proficient opponent in all ranges and all skills and test the system to work consistently.
In a MMA fight you had a boxer fight Jujitsu, or a Muay Thai fight a boxer, or a wrestler fight a boxer, or just one participant that had more skills than the other in one area.
The question that comes to mind is that if that boxer or grappler did have the essence of his branch of fighting. Let us assume the all were very proficient in their skills. If you start the fight from a distance, kicks are the first useful attack as you close the gap, then fists, and then knees and elbow, and then perhaps grappling, and then choking, plucking, tearing and biting. If you limit each area somewhat you do not give each one of the participants a fair chance to use the skills he developed fully if he did.
Occasionally you have athletes come to MMA fights sure of their specific skills and sometimes they win but sometimes they proved wrong. Of course if the mentality is you win some and you lose some that is ok, but not an option when you are training to fight for your life someday.
In Sparta each citizen was trained in Boxing from a young age taking blows to his head to learn to resist the distraction and pain, but when they fought they fought with weapons.
In every fight there are scenarios of close contact where there is not really any room to put the weapon to use or the weapon could just fall out of your hand or malfunction, or you can get attacked when you are not carrying any weapon. This is what Pure Krav Maga is for.
In Pure Krav Maga you learn not to project your attack, or defense capabilities, you also learn not to expect your opponent projecting his attack. You always build your defense on his positioning as he gets close to your space and never on his projection.
From his positioning you derive at the most efficient move he can execute and move in blocking it and counter attacking him as soon as you noticed a slight motion on his side. If you were aware that something is about to happen and were sure of it, you should already had attacked him before it happened.
Blocking is never according to your opponent's projection since it could be a feint and it could be too late.
In Pure Krav Maga you could say that the essence of Fighting is extracted from Kung Fu, Jujitsu, Boxing Wrestling and Aikido but in addition it is extrapolated to consider any motion of war that the human body is capable of.
Does that mean you learn the counter attacks done in boxing, judo jujitsu? No! You learn how to escape or go with the throw or restraining attempt taking your opponent's soft pressure point like throat groin or eye, with the same motion, or execute a cervical spine leverage.
As for strikes the motion is closer to boxing than Karate but yet modified due to the constraint of reaction time which is a very favorite topic in Pure Krav Maga that without it nothing is Krav Maga.
In Pure Krav Maga you learn how to punch with intensive mind programming not with constant practice. So you get to do it almost perfect in the first hour of training.
Well what about kicks you may ask? Are they taken from Karate? Muay Thai, or Chinese Boxing? Are kicks the essence of Karate? Not really.
While in Karate and Chinese Boxing or some styles of Chinese Boxing masters already thought about how to reach the human body's pressure points from each direction, Pure Krav Maga not only perfected the mastery process of each angle of approach but clearly restricted and changed the style of kicking according to each direction and height.
In addition it added a tactical solutions to distinct when and where you could use them or what would be a better solution with using your hands or why you would not want to use them. But it kept teaching the attack from all angles so students can practice defensive moves against them.
One of the main difference between the Pure Krav Maga kicking is that it puts as much weight on the precise execution and drive of the power as it does in the non projected lunge into the target.
While most MMA nowadays resorted to boxing motion with the hands Karate Kicking from a boxing stance but using boxing tactics to walk up until reaching the opponent's territory and lunge the kick from the spot most of them have not yet mastered the lunging kicks.
When the original Karateka had his legs open wide and then closed them and opened them again to gain momentum over distance, the Krav Maga kicks start form a closed legs stance pushing them into a lunge using gravity's help in the start of the motion and almost like jumping forward landing on the base foot comfortably to execute the kick forcefully and accurately.
In addition it is sorted out in perspective according to the best solution in each distance and angle. So really Pure Krav Maga is not going through the training of other martial arts, but going through the training of their essence if they have any.
So if you are looking for fun, daily challenges of the unknown fame of winning competition or being brave and losing hoping you win some, hoping you will be the star one day, take MMA. You might get injured but most likely you will not lose your life. If your dream is to become a boxer then put all your efforts into it. If you do not like to grapple then take Muay Thai, and you can beat your opponent with kicks punches knees and elbows.
If you want to develop your muscles in wrestling skills you can either take wrestling or Judo or Brazilian Jujitsu especially if you want to wear long pants instead of the tights.
Brazilian Jujitsu concentrates on mastery of all the counter to the throw and restraint attempts using Jujitsu.
If you want to learn traditional Jujitsu you will learn a little more than competitive throws and restraining techniques but bet involves in less competitions. The sparring mostly consist of the sport of Judo with perhaps few more chokes and arm bars.
Many Karate styles starting to Mix nowadays and turn into MMA schools which is popular. People start to feel comfortable or see a necessity to have variety of skills in various positions and ranges. If you want the fame and fitness learn civilian Krav Maga.
If you are looking for an activity class for yourself and your children, get the best available program next to where you live.
But if you want to learn self defense quickly learn Pure Krav Maga and if there is no school close to you, get the Pure Krav Maga - Self defense Mastery Training DVD's after you have read the book and find yourself someone to train with.
It would be up to you and him or her, to become challenging training partners to each other. But you get all you need provided with the book and the training DVDs and the rest depends on your persistence.
To get an understanding in depth of all the whys hows and and when read the book first...