Sport for Combat Training

Is participation in ‘combat’ sport should or shouldn't be part of combat training? Is it helping to enhance combat skills and preparedness?

I’m observing two opposite stands on this question:

1. Sport is sport. Combat is combat. Don’t mix them.

2. Active sport practicing is a vital part of insuring combat readiness.

Well, both of those stands have a reasonable justification by there respective proponents. Let check them through.

Sport is sport. Combat is combat. Don’t mix them.

When doing sport you have a measured opponent who is not your enemy (even if it happens to be your personal enemy, the animosity will be suppressed by rules of the game and by environment of the sporting activity). Your techniques are limited not to do irreversible harm. It is just a game with rules (even the most wild imaginable ‘no-rules’ MMA contests will have at least very firm minimal set of rules: the fight by mutual agreement, no weapons or agreed weapon, clear identifiable opponent, start of fight indicator acknowledged by both sides, no help to ether side from the ‘public’, acceptance of a defeat as way out of fight) and you know well what to expect and that you will not be killed or permanently maimed on purpose and if accident happened, then you will be helped and you will likely to have a second chance.

So, nothing in this sport environment is preparing you for the real kill-or-die-no-prisoner-taken combat encounter. More then this, by making you following rules and tailoring your technique and tactic for gaining advantage in the ‘pretend combat’, sport training putting you at risk to do the same in the real combat and this may be the single deadly error.

Active sport practicing is a vital part of insuring combat readiness.

The knowledge of fighting techniques alone is worth nothing without physical ability to execute them. Regardless we like it or not the executing of fighting techniques are a physical activity. Proficiency in a physical activity can’t be obtained without repeated exercising to develop required body conditioning and, even much more critical, muscle memory. Subtle but critical nuances of fighting techniques can’t be fully understood without applying them repeatedly in contest with competent opponent.

Single error in the real combat can cost you life without second chance. So, you should learn combat skills in protected environment that as close as it possible to real combat, but without its deadly consequences, that you will have your another second chance to improve your skills.

Yes, it is a risk of erroneously applying inadequate sporting technique and tactic in combat situation, but it can be minimized by specialized combat training that follows 80/20 rule and, with qualified couching, the benefits outweigh the risk.


As we defined those two positions, let take a look where Judo finds its place in the world of combat training.

    Is ‘combat’ sport helps in ‘real’ combat?

    Military hand-to-hand combat systems and civilian self-defense

        Krav Maga & Krav Maga

    Relations between ‘combat’ sport and ‘real’ combat

        What is the best (and the worst) ‘combat’ sport to prepare for combat

        The ‘80/20’ rule

    Rules, Laws, and Tactics

       Self-defense Techniques & Tactics vs. Combat Techniques & Tactics

Home Judo Styles Combat Judo Civilian self-defense training

Combat training on the web

Share this page:
Found this page interesting? Spread the word. Here's how...

Would you prefer to share this page with others by linking to it?

  1. Click on the HTML link code below.
  2. Copy and paste it, adding a note of your own, into your blog, a Web page, forums, a blog comment, your Facebook account, or anywhere that someone would find this page valuable.