About Realfighting

When most people discover that I publish a reality-defense website and teach a defense program, they automatically ask, "which system is best?" I usually respond -- "for the street, nothing beats a good reality-based-defense program." However, having said that, I have to acknowledge that the majority of individuals teaching any type of self-defense course also claim they are teaching "reality-based-defense," even when they're NOT!

It's similar to the time when Bruce Lee became popular, almost every karate and tae kwon do school in the U.S. advertised they were teaching "kung fu" (ironically, at that time Bruce Lee already abandoned kung fu for his own system). Essentially, the term "reality-defense" has no real value anymore.

The Realfighting Program
When asked about the Realfighting program (to paraphrase Montreal's KidPower) "we teach skills, that anyone can use to deal with a wide spectrum of situations from the smallest of daily intrusions right up to dealing and winning a dangerous physical attack.

As we all know, not every situation is life threatening, therefore we teach environmental & situational awareness, living an avoidance lifestyle, threat assessment, deescalation, verbal & physical boundaries and threat preparedness. If the situation does escalate we advocate physical deescalation through controlling the aggressor or employing preemptive strikes. Technically, for unarmed fighting, we teach "MMA for the streets," adapted for the streets; and for armed defense, "we teach an amalgam of proven techniques designed to improve your odds of survival."

The Realfighting Website
Realfighting is a site about what works and what doesn't work in a "real fight," in a typical urban environment. We cover the entire spectrum including pre-conflict, conflict and post-conflict phases. We've been called a cross between "Consumers Reports" and "Mythbusters" for real world self-defense. In a world where political correctness demands that everyone say nice things about all the fighting styles, we don't, we state the blatant truth; "for self-defense in the 21st century, traditional martial arts are not as efficient or as practical as reality-based programs.

After spending much of my life in martial arts and fight sports, I realized that theatrical (traditional) martial arts alone did not offer an effective solution for self-defense; in fact, unless you are in the top percentile of extremely talented martial-artist's, it may actually worsen your odds for survival. Sports fighting however is effective (for unarmed conflicts) but it requires serious dedication, usually many years of intensive training. The downside of sports fighting of course is that they don't teach weapons defense, but again, no one said they should, it's sports fighting.

The Origins of Realfighting
The Realfighting website actually began in 2000 as a personal blog, a place to compile my research about what really works in the street. I consulted many friends and associates who were top fighters and instructors around the world and put together their experiences and insights, specifically about things that worked for them consistently in real situations. After a few months of uploading these observations I started to receive emails from around the world regarding the articles, and the site was officially born.

Realfighting was the first site on the Internet devoted solely to reality-based defense (it sill is the only major reality-based site). Our main focus is self-defense for the street, whether it's deescalating a shoving match or disarming a handgun. Most of our articles originate from a variety of sources including: soldiers, law enforcement, professional fighters, trainers, teachers, educators and even a few shady characters. In addition to articles about self-protection and survival, we also probe important issues regarding mental preparedness, nutrition and conditioning.

The Realfighting Defense Program
Realfighting also offers a defensive fight program. After the website went live, we immediately received numerous requests for instruction. We focus on teaching real world defense for situations that can possibly occur in a typical urban environment. We don't teach the military or SWAT like everyone else claims to do (although some of our students come from those areas), -- we teach self-defense for the street.

Self-Defense for Executives and Professionals
The majority of our students are working professionals; doctor's, attorney's, businessmen and women looking for an effective yet easy to learn program for self-protection. Many of our students have previously studied martial arts or martial sports but don't have much time to continue their studies due to family and career responsibilities.

Two Self-Defense Programs
We offer two programs; #1) Walking Without Fear," this program focuses on basic survival skills for the street and is for individuals who don't have the time, nor interest in pursuing a long-term self-defense program. And #2) the "Realfighting Program" which is a more intensive workshop for students who are interested in building solid skills in a variety of categories. In all cases we don't believe you can learn to defend yourself in a few days, however it doesn't take years either, just a few months for the basics.

History of Reality-Based Defense
Reality-based systems started appearing in the U.S. and England around the same time, between 2000-2001. Many groups started experimenting with a more realistic approach to self-protection by simplifying traditional styles and other combat systems in an effort to make them easier to learn yet still be effective. The early influences were combatives as well as some traditional stylists who adapted and streamlined more elaborate traditional arts. The main problem was that traditional martial arts never proved that effective against modern street criminals and alternatives were sought to remedy this. Some individuals having spent their lifetime involved in their arts started seriously questioning whether much of what they learned had any real functional value.

Most Street Violence is Weapon-Based
Another important element in the development of "Reality-Based Defense" was the realization that physical violence was usually initiated with some sort of weapon; either a knife, gun or impact weapon. And realistic methods of dealing with these sort of attacks were developed. Theatrical (traditional) martial arts are still to this day teaching primarily unarmed defense skills and when they do teach weapons, they do so against weapons that you will never encounter outside of an action movie.

Realfighting's two Programs

Walking Without Fear Program
The "Walking Without Fear" Program was created for individuals who are not interested in, nor have the desire to pursue a long-term self-defense program but desperately need a defensive solution for their daily life. These people are looking for a short-term course that will prepare them with the fundamentals.

The Realfighting Program
The "Realfighting" Program is for individuals who enjoy learning and practicing concepts and techniques that will protect them from all types of violence. It doesn't take years to master the basics just many months. We don't train people to become professional fighters, we teach them how to nullify an attack and escape to safety.


The Realfighting Advantage

At Realfighting we reinvent the wheel all the time, we don't take anything for granted, we research, experiment and aggregate concepts and techniques that work specifically for certain situations. There is no one underlying philosophy that binds and limits their use. For example, many traditional systems employ the same perspective of defense whether they are fighting in an unarmed situation or against and armed attacker, that doesn't make sense at all. The principles needed to defend yourself against an unarmed situation or edged weapons, guns and impact weapons are all different.

No Philosophy or Religion is Needed for Effective Self-Defense
Unlike traditional martial arts we don't try to supplant your core beliefs with values from other cultures and religions. If you are looking for a way of life, look elsewhere, we only teach you how to defend yourself from personal violence. If you're looking for a physical workout, go to a gym and do it properly.
Just a Few Simple Defensive Moves are Enough
I've seen a few good reality-based programs but the main problem always seems to be that there are too many techniques; in most cases, you don't need more than a handful of moves to take care of business (but you do need to know many escapes from common holds). Another issue is that some techniques look great in a movie but are awkward to perform and ineffective in practice! We emphasize a few proven techniques and then escaping to safety. Remember, you're not training to be a professional fighter, or kung-fu movie star, you want to get home safely.

Non-Athletic Defense Solutions
In an effort to attract more students, many well-intentioned self-defense instructors resort to powerful but unnecessarily athletic counter measures. Yes they work, but they also cause you to exert more energy than needed. In addition, these movements cannot be performed by the average individual. Another problem is that many established systems try to fit you into their techniques matrix, a good reality-based program should be flexible enough to work around your phsyical limitations.

Controlled Resonse Tactics
Too many combative and Reality-Defense schools teach an all-out, "To the death" approach. Well, that's fine if someone is threatening your life, but a fender-bender, or accidental bump in the park does not warrant smashing someone's face or killing someone. What it will do is get you a long-term prison sentence. We teach "Controlled Response Tactics," that is, recognizing a less-than-lethal approach and understanding the "use of the [legal] force ladder," i.e. applying techniques appropriate for that threat level.

Employing the Pareto Principle for Self-Defense
The most valuable resource for most people today is "time." Most individuals are not interested in spending years learning self-defense. They do however want an easy to learn, yet effective defense program that can be learned in a reasonable amount of time. To that end we have adapted the Pareto Principle to our self-defense program (also known as the 80-20 Rule).

This principle states that if you focus on the 20% of what really matters (of any subject or endeavor), you will often yield an 80% return. We have distilled (and continually evolve) the most effective concepts and techniques from MMA, combatives, weapons systems and scientific research on how our minds and bodies work to produce a compact and effective system of self-protection for the street that can be easily be assimilated by the average person.

A Weapons Centric Approach for Self-Defense
A major problem with defense training today is that no one teaches weapons defense first, it's relegated to the senior or advanced students, but that's a major mistake. If you read the local newspapers in any major city, you'll notice that 95% of all street violence, robberies and attacks occur with weapons: knives, guns, impact weapons -- even cars. Yet specific weapons defenses are rarely taught first.

We start from the expectation of a weapon being deployed first, either openly or covertly. In addition we prefer preemptive attacks (instead of waiting to get hit as in many traditional martial arts) when we feel things are heading in a bad direction. These two but vital points are omitted from the vast majority of defense programs.

Scenario Reinforcement Training for Self-Defense
It's been shown that when individuals go through a simulation of an event, the brain actually believes it went through that event, even though consciously, we know it's untrue. This has been demonstrated with pilots through their flight simulations training. This is also the way the army trains soldiers, with live fire. The general effect is that when we encounter a life-threatening event, our conscious mind shuts off and our primitive brain goes into action. If we train under stress in a realistic scenario, the primitive brain will automatically respond the way it was trained. We use these methods to insure that our training works.

For more information email us or
call us at: 212-255-1040

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