I have had the honor of meeting many other professional trainers within my field. In fact, I try to connect with many as possible at trade shows, conferences and seminars – and even online on LinkedIn.

Sometimes I have found that concepts, theories and discussion points are on opposite sides of the box. And sometimes egos are much bigger than skill levels. Because of this firsthand contact with those of us entrusted to provide defensive and safety training to officers, military, police departments and the public, I have some important points for you to consider:

No matter what style or what system you choose to study and what particular trainer you choose to follow, remember these three things:
1. Make sure they will stand behind you in a courtroom when you do use what was taught
2. Make sure what you are being taught is courtroom defensible
3. Make sure you are not the test-rat for a system and others have done this in real life BEFORE you follow whoever you are into the sunset … because they may be the only one showing up for the sunrise!

I have realized early in my life that the word reality will have a very different meaning from one person to another; and there are many people in this industry who are highly trained and never physically challenged. Every time I attend funeral it reminds me of exactly how important it is in what we do for a living.

The professionals I train and I am sure in some cases are the same ones most trainers train cannot afford to be 10-2-1, nor have 20 years to become proficient in certain technique or tactics and after we do what it is we needed to do in the situation it is the needed articulation, legal justification and having a program that is courtroom defensible is not only nice to have but in the real world it is necessary….and there are a few in jail I would say would strongly agree with this.

I have been cursed and blessed in my life as a young adult into my professional career because I have seen firsthand that the true definition of saving a life means at times you may have to take a life – this is a reality. Many in our field talk, hear or read about, hypothesize on and wonder what if, so I am concerned with the false levels of confidence that flood our industry, but are supported by very little fact.

I have had the opportunity to learn, study and develop a working knowledge of understanding in many traditional and non-traditional martial arts. Once, someone asked me about Krav Maga, for example, and I expressed how I liked their approach to physical fitness and focus on the importance of physical conditioning, and I believe everyone in this survival field has a goal that many of us believe in. But the journey students and trainers use to get to that goal and their different experience levels is where most systems vary and differ from one to another.

It is hard for any trainer to support a system they do not believe in. In 1988-1990 a few of us in the Marines were exposed to Krav firsthand, from a few commando’s from Tel Aviv who were in the US to share some tactics. We shared a few and so did they. Since then, I have followed and studied their growth commercially; most people do not stop and think of this one important point – if our own US forces have not adopted it – then it might not be as great as the hype makes it out to be …

Every system no matter where you have originated from has stolen, tweaked, borrowed, twisted, re-packaged a technique to either improve its function or delivery into their systems – there is NOTHING new, just some are easier and less complicated then others.

In the world of real combat and training, a few good tactics do not make a complete system .. and complete is where we try to focus on. I like a few of the things every systems does, and for and for civilians in general I have always said any training you can get is better than no training.

In many ways, like other traditional and mixed martial arts have done, Krav has seriously hurt an industry that is in need of tactics that are:

– Easy to execute within one’s own physical limitations
– Courtroom defensible
– Proven to work in standing and ground platforms.

Krav has done an excellent job as it penetrated the industry through aggressive marketing strategies, attractive-looking women, and a few of the real warriors from Israel who have studied a system they were born with, but overall has not helped it.

I have expressed the same about many traditional martial art systems, and MMA is not different. I have heard the expressions and comments from others in the industry and many have shared the same thoughts, comments and observations. The difference is that I am putting it on paper and stand by my opinions.

Dave Young
US Fighting Systems
Arma Training