Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Self Defense Scenario Training - Too much too soon?

Rick & Nathan at TDA Training warn against Teaching your Students to Fail. They conclude:

Scenario training is one of the best types of self-defense drills available. However, it’s important that students are adequately prepared. Trying to train a high-stress scenario is much like attempting to run a marathon without the proper preparation - it will most likely result in injury. (Either physical or psychological.) Remember, too much, too soon, is never a good way to train.

I come to this question with little experience in terms of how intensive scenario training can be. If scenario training is like forcing people to endure a marathon, I agree that it should be limited to those with adequate training. But I have had some training in which different attackers came at me in unpredictable and unexpected ways. I've had this training well-before I was able to handle it successfully. I liked it and am without psychological or physical scars from it.

So, 'd put it like this. The question is how to add surprises and intensity to training to avoid it feeling like rote practice but to do it without creating more problems. This is a complicated question but here, I'll stay on the principle that pressure too soon is routinely acceptable in other sports training.

In working my sports comparisons, I would ask the question of whether kids should start playing in real games early-on ....before their skills are refined. Obviously, I would avoid putting a 10 year boy into his first real baseball game when it's the playoffs, it's the last inning, his team is behind by two runs, and there's two outs. That's too much pressure (to be facing a real pitcher with a real crowd and a real championship at stake) for his first time in a real game.

But, I would put a novice player into the game early in the season even if he is going to routinely mess up so that he gets a feel for intensity and pressure. This gets him used to game situations. This will help build desire for him to improve his skills. And it will build respect by him for his teammates who have the skills and cool to handle game situations.

This is how Little League works. Every kid plays in every game. Ready or not.

It's also not a question of whether you expose the kids to high-pressure situations early-on, it's a question of how you expose them to it. Which is another question for another day.

Does this analogy make sense or is there something in scenario training that I'm missing?

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