I was having a conversation with John Will last weekend, en route to seminars, which coincidentally was the same with Richard Norton only a few weeks ago. Whilst there is an important aspect, in what you learn, should work for self defence, not everything you learn has to be just for self defence. That includes Karate, MMA, BJJ, Kickblxing, Tae Kwon Do etc. This may be some relief for schools teaching their students the non-reality aspects of martial arts without the fear of getting stoned. As I've previously said, training in the martial arts is all about challenges by getting your body and mind to respond to movements.
I was having lunch with a good friend of mine who told me, some time ago, he was raring to go and start training BJJ but had realised that he is a 'stand-up kind of guy' and there was no point to any ground stuff. He surmmised BJJ was more sport than self defence, and that may somewhat be true depending how it is taught. My response to him was, 'as martial artists we like to learn and train as much as we can, and BJJ is another avenue to explore'. It didn't occur to me, at the time, to say to him, 'then why teach X-treme martial arts', which would've conclusively validated my arugment but that was something I thought of on the way home. This is not any disrepect to my friend but merely to outline the dilemna faced by Instructors today in their schools ie 'to do, or not to do' – that is the question.
In one of John Will's recent articles, he talks about the importantace of training needs to be complex enough to keep interest and the student's mind fully engaged but functional enough to be useful if required for street application. Martial arts offers the other little things such as social interaction, increased fitness and confidence (thanks, John) which all are essential ingredients for everyday good living and self defence.