There’s a trueism in elite teams. You don’t create extraordinary operators in training. You discover them in selection. Then you polish them in training.
Want to have a stable of extraordinary fighters in any martial art? Make the training tough. Make the training so tough that 90% of your people drop out. The people who stick with it will be tough and strong and endurant and have high pain thresholds. They will be able to hold with anyone else. Don’t think for a second that it validates your training. They were selected, not trained. Your training did exactly jack shit. If you set the selection bar high enough, you can be an unbelievably crappy trainer and your students can still hold their own.
This is on my mind. Jess had her first muay thau fight months ago now. I’d heard it’d gone well but didn’t get any details until we could sit down and talk during the Boston trip.
Looking at Jess, knowing Jess (and please, Jess, if you read this find the compliment in it. I am so proud to know you) you wouldn’t think of her as a fighter. Slender, unathletic, health problems. Not exactly social. Not the kind of person you think of as a fighter, much less a muay thai fighter. But she trained, she trained hard with a good coach…and she kicked ass.
Selecting for heart is cool. But training heart is hard and time consuming. There are no quick fixes, no program that will make someone brave. It has to be grown over time and it takes an extraordinary teacher to make that happen.
To do it in sport is incredible. To grow heart in SD is critical. Selection in a self-defense school is toxic. You wind up training only the people who have no need. Those with a true need for SD, the victim profiles, would never pass a selection-based process.
There are very few who can do it, even fewer who bother. And almost no one bothers in a competition-based school.