The other day, as I am sometimes want to do, I decided to look up my old kung fu school on google. I received incredible training at this school from some impressive martial artists. According to my experience, the training was oriented entirely around practicality, addressing both self-defense situations and fighting on the street. I mention this, because I don't want anyone to assume I am trying to criticize or delegitimize the school. I am not. It is one of the best schools in which I have ever trained, and it is a scientific and highly effective system. During my investigation I found a section of a DVD produced by the larger organization, titled something to the effect of "[Kung fu style] for real world self-defense." The DVD featured the Grand Master, under whom I have attended seminars and consider to be a great teacher himself, demonstrating different responses to various attacks one might hypothetically encounter on the street. The section of the DVD I watched supposed that the assailant was trained in Choy lee fut and threw some sort of gnarly punch that a Choy lee fut practitioner might throw.
In Mr. Abernethy's podcast yesterday, and in a number of other sources I have read, ancient masters make the claim that karate is designed for use against untrained assailants. Many groups with which I have trained make a similar assumption, that your attacker is going to be a blindly belligerent brute, not a student of fighting methods.
All of this alerts me to a certain reality about the modern day. With the popularity of martial arts training, including high school and college wrestling and boxing, and the ubiquity of martial arts entertainment, be it movies and television or UFC, what is the chance that a given attacker has had zero exposure to martial technique or strategy? More importantly, what is the chance that they have received meaningful instruction in the martial arts in some way?
Initially I felt training against a choy lee fut attack waisted time and to call it "practical" was absurd. However, it does reflect the growing presence of the martial arts, a presence that may force students to redefine or refocus their traing goals in the future.
How do you account for the possibility of encountering trained assailants? Do you even feel such practice is valuable? Thoughts?