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Venn Diagrams and Martial Arts: Tradition, Sport and Self Defence

A topic that has been coming up in conversation and discussion over and over again over the past few weeks has been the differences between combat sports, self-defence and martial arts.

To the average person with no martial arts experience, they are often overlapping, perhaps even interchangeable. Indeed, most martial arts schools advertise all three regardless of the style they teach.

But are they exactly the same? If they are not, do they overlap and to what extent? Or are they totally different, or even mutually exclusive, modes of training?

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The Flip Side: Traditional Martial Arts and Combat Sports ARE Effective for Self Defence...?

One of the things I discuss often is the separation between combat sports, martial arts and self-defence (if you don’t know what I’m talking about, read this).


Self-defence practitioners often exclaim that combat sports and martial arts are NOT the same as self-defence, and indeed there is plenty of evidence to support this claim.


On the other hand, combat sports and martial arts practitioners will always claim their stuff is effective for self-defence.


Me? I tend to sit right in the middle on this one. Do they overlap? Yes. Are there transferable skills? Absolutely! Are they identical? Absolutely not.


But can they be?

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