Like most young people, my teenage daughter has a saying ‘get real’ (typical teenage response which means nothing). However, that could mean a lot in the Martial Arts which have come a long way from the mystical perceptions of the 70s & 80s where they had people believe they can beat their opponent with one strike. This may be true depending on how well the person is trained, where the strike is placed and who they come up against. But that is usually not the case.
There has been a long struggle of ‘belief versus knowledge’. Belief is when you accept something to be true or real, or have faith in. Knowledge, on the other hand, is to be sure of something; have true information about. Many Martial Arts Instructors are very good at giving students the right information but sometimes an Instructor needs to investigate further. If I want to know about BJJ I go straight to a BJJ expert, if I need information about reality based self defence I go straight to the experts etc. This is how I keep my students well informed.
Getting back to ‘get real’ (bless my daughter), there are probably well over 1,000 ways you can defend yourself but there is only one way to do it. I remember, at the age of 12 years, whilst walking in formation to the park for lunch, I was being picked on by several much stronger lads. I absolutely ‘lost it’ and beat them all senseless (that is with no martial arts skills at that age). I only knew one way, which in this case, worked! This illustrates a paradox; a trained fighter has a huge artillery of weapons to choose from which could result in too much time being wasted in choosing the right technique in a real fight. Whereas, the novice has no idea and nothing to choose from which can be an advantage for them where time is valuable.
There should only be very few simple and effective techniques to draw from in a real situation which means practicing them over and over again. It comes down to putting aside your beliefs and using your knowledge.