Making the Shift to Combative Training

Jun 29, 2023

After returning from the village with some of my long-time students, I have realized what it takes to make your system combative. The first and most important realization is that if you are an instructor, you must see the gaps in your understanding and prioritize the need to fill those gaps. One of the most crucial aspects of this shift is noticing your ego when you see that some of the concepts you have been taught, come to understand, and may have been teaching your students may fail to be combative in the current way you are using them. It is essential to keep an open mind and learn what changes must be made to make what you already do more effective.

If you are a high-level practitioner and your instructor is not on this path, you may have to forge your path to awaken this information.

As a school owner, this cultural shift must be done gradually because you have time to be good at it before introducing this concept to all of your students. A focus on safety and going slow can’t be understated, and as much as I advocate for this, I still speed up from time to time. I suggest working these ideas out with some of the most dedicated students willing to take this journey while you receive training and coaching.

The second important part is feeling is believing. That means watching combative videos will only help you so much, even if you are experienced. Much of your training must be hands-on so that you can make the proper adjustments based on feedback, not concepts or theory alone.

The third and final observation combatives are not based on techniques alone. Some techniques are more combative than others but are equivalent to styles. More important is knowing how to engage combatively, entering and exiting hostile and life-threatening situations. Another idea is knowing what techniques to choose from under pressure, giving you the best result, and how to modify techniques in real time to fit the situation and keep you as safe as possible. These concepts are agnostic to style and are something style does not address.

In closing, the primary thing I must continue to do while making the shift is to give myself time “not to be good” and work as I did at the beginning of my training. Most of being excellent at anything is ego work, which means balancing the ego, lowering my assumptions of knowledge or understanding, attaching it to the work of being good, and doing what is necessary to improve.

Providing guidance for combative training.

Master Sheldon Callahan

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