Updated: Feb 25, 2019
After twenty plus years and over 4500 fights (as a padded assailant) later I still believe that placing a student in the fight or flight mode is still one the best methods in learning how to protect yourself.
A "mock assault" by a professional, trained instructor in a padded suit is the closest thing to an actual sudden attack. If you are not training with this methodology, I believe you are missing a key component for learning and only getting "academically trained"!
In spite of what most untrained people think, it is not possible to train for every possible scenario for self-defense and to think you could be is a mistake. You can however condition the mind and the body to use the positive effects of adrenaline and lessen the negative effects to the defender.
Positive effects include better vision, increased strength and performance and could decrease the ability to feel pain! Negatives effects tunnel vision, become tense or stiffen up, auditory exclusion.
In my honest opinion, this great responsibility of an instructor should not be taken lightly or it could have serious consequences!
Way too often I see videos of seminars or training sessions in which the padded assailants begin a training scenario with a student and then completely turns off their own reactions making the scenario no different than hitting a heavy bag or a pad! Due to their noncommittal assault the student goes through motions of striking with little to no power as not to injure their instructors. I also see the student strike to ineffective targets because of the unrealistic positioning of both bodies! When mock assaults are carried out with this poor execution the student remains in a rational "mind-set" thus never truly experiencing the fight-or-flight, primitive, survival state of mind!
I realized the majority of the time the equipment or type of protective suit being used is not capable of withstanding a full-force blow such as an advancing groin kick that could lift a person’s feet off the ground or a well-placed elbow to the face. Those are two of the three best strikes a person can use to defense themselves! Eye strikes are the third!
While using a variety of safety gear over the last nearly forty years of training and instruction, the suits we use at MMA Academy provide the maximum benefits for both the attacker and defender.
Over the years people often made comical remarks of the type of suits we used but what the critics are ignorant about is how much technology that went into these custom, handmade, piece of art that have keep many, many well trained instructors AND STUDENTS safe during these mock assaults!
I recently had the honor of spending a long weekend in Northern California with the creator of the Mugger Suit, Mark.
I and select few sat and watched Mark meticulously craft this equipment with tools and jigs he created over the years of constructing. A graduate from CalTech and martial artist, he crafted this suit using different layers of foam to help disperse the energy from someone, anyone, sending a full-force strike to the head or groin!
While odd in its appearance, every inch of this suit has a distinct purpose in giving the person wearing the suit the best and most complete safety during the assaults thus providing the most realistic experience for the student in the fight! With very little concern of injury, the instructor can then push the student past a point of comfort and placing them into an extreme adrenal state which is exactly the mindset they will experience in combat!
below are examples of our mock assaults!