You don’t have to be the best martial artist in the world to successfully defend yourself from a threat.
You don’t even have to be a good one.
Just ask Joe Torrez, a 1-5 professional mixed martial artist who found himself in a life and death situation when four men allegedly stormed into his home with intent to harm all inside.
One of the attackers reportedly wielded a street-made shank, while another grabbed a knife from Torrez’ kitchen. Fortunately for Torrez, despite the fact his MMA training had often failed him inside the cage, it proved to be more than enough to dispatch his assailants.
He permanently immobilized one of his attackers, severely broke another’s jaw, while the remaining two commenced a hasty retreat.
It was another clear example of how effective martial arts training can be in self-defense situations.
If Torrez wasn’t a dedicated student of the martial arts, things could have easily gone very bad for him, his wife, and his two-year-old son — who were also present during the home invasion.
Respected Brisbane martial arts instructor Master Adam Wilson agrees with that assessment.
“One of the best things about learning martial arts is you get the fitness from other sports, plus it’s a real skill that might one day save your life, or at the least keep you out of trouble,” the 6th Dan Taekwondo Black Belt said.
That statement holds true for kids or adults studying traditional or mixed martial arts.
How did Torrez’ MMA training help him during the altercation?
An obvious benefit Torrez derived from taking martial arts classes is the confidence that comes standard. Most folks would have frozen up in shock if they found themselves in similar situations, but Torrez didn’t hesitate when it was time to engage his assailants and protect his family.
That’s because martial arts training prepares one for high-stress situations. And that reality isn’t lost on many police and military organizations around the world — which is why most have some sort of martial arts/combat program.
Torrez wasn’t just able to keep his composure throughout the altercation, he was also able to execute techniques he had picked up over the years. That comes naturally as a person drills techniques repeatedly until it becomes a part of said person’s muscle memory, meaning the techniques become a part of the practitioner’s natural reflex actions.
Obviously, if Torrez hadn’t drilled techniques to the point where he could execute them on command without thinking, his chances would have been little to none against four attackers.
Lastly, Torrez’ mixed martial arts training gave him an endurance edge against his assailants. It’s no secret, martial arts training typically involves getting off your couch and working up a sweat. As a professional mixed martial artist, Torrez was obviously no stranger to pushing his body physically, something his attackers likely weren’t used to.
Call it nature’s way of evening things out, but the reality is: the average troublemaker isn’t the type of person that regularly works out. Thus, when — even — a part-time martial artist and some street deviant — who downed a few beers with a side of meth hours before attacking — get tangled up in an altercation, the latter’s endurance is likely to fade faster. That’s one of the reasons why middle-aged police officers — wearing a 20-pound utility belt — often run down teenage offenders with ease.
While Torrez’ story might seem out of the ordinary, similar scenarios play out all across the world on a regular basis. Generally speaking, those who are trained in the martial arts typically have an advantage over untrained ones when things get physical.
That’s one of the important benefits of studying the feudal arts.
Will martial arts training teach you how to defeat four attackers at once?
No. Training gives you the tools needed to successfully defend yourself if the need arises. Every combat scenario is different, so the more fighting techniques you have picked up over the years, the more likely you will be able to ward off any would be victimizers.
By consistently taking martial arts classes, you will also improve your physical attributes. A decent training program should increase your speed, flexibility, power, cardio, agility, and balance, characteristics that can sometimes determine who prevails in a physical confrontation.
Your physical qualities aren’t all martial arts training improves though. Mental attributes like confidence, awareness, and critical thinking under pressure are all improved by regularly drilling and sparring techniques, attributes that are equally important in self-defense situations or everyday life.
“Most people only think about the kicking and punching in martial arts, but it’s the extra things like being more confident, focused, and resilient, that are the real benefits,” Blight added. “You can use these at work, school, everywhere.”
The martial arts have been around since the days of early humans, and they aren’t going away anytime soon given their continued effectiveness. The next time you find yourself staring at a bunch of people wearing ninja uniforms thorough a glass window, don’t be intimidated. Feel free to interact with them; it will likely lead to the most enjoyable hobby you’ve ever tried, a fun recreational activity that just might save your life one day.
David is a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and boxing practitioner who has watched and studied MMA for the past 9 years. Send him your questions @davidkingwriter.