Some time ago we had a guy stop by for training, he was energetic, but erratic, taking an “all or nothing” approach – either full out or no out. I had to take him aside to say we're trying to find some subtle things in training, and we should be looking to heighten our sensitivity to various openings and vulnerabilities. Since he was engaging drillwork as a stress-filled scenario he was missing a large measure of it. But I guess that's what he really wanted because he never came back.
However, when civilians train Combatives they invariably adopt its inherent context, just like one does with any martial art. Train Judo, or MMA Jujutsu, and you adopt the context of competition, because that's the framework of how the techniques have been developed, taught, learned, habituated, and executed. No one ever expects some free-for-all melee or a knife to be pulled in a Judo or MMA match and that's how it's understood and trained. With Combatives, the context is confrontation, where participants train to confront and overcome aggressors.
But unlike the military and law enforcement, civilians are not employed, duly authorized, or obligated to withstand and overcome human conflict and its violence and thus makes Combatives a poor fit. Civilians must be prepared to protect and secure themselves and others with a broader range of options than those afforded by the narrow scope of Combatives, such as when personal escape or extraction of loved ones is required under dangerous conditions, or resistance from aggressors is necessary in violent scenarios. I am not saying Combatives training can't or doesn't teach such options, I'm saying its inherent confrontational context shapes the narrative of how it's understood and applied under conditions.
We're only ever as mighty as our next opponent, not because we're some Prius-driving namby with a well worn "☪☮e✡☥☯✝" sticker, but because chances are we'll actually be at some disadvantage, be it we're weaker than our opponents, like most women, or injured, or surprised. And then Popeye-ing open that can of spinach so we can "thug" others, who are in the process of "thugging" us, gets right messy. Keeping training too "essential" can get out of hand when we strip away the worthwhile character-building stuff that ought not be thrown out. So if every answer to every conflict is "Fa-Que!" and a head butt, you might want to reassess your training.
I suppose the Combater will say, "Hey, violence of action trumps technique." Yes, it sure as hell does. You can drop a bomb on an entire village just to kill one sniper. The strategy never fails, that is, provided you have a really big bomb and the stomach to drop it, no matter the collateral damage. And that's the issue here: if to overcome hard, fast, and aggressive violence of action, we ourselves are forced to action that is even harder, faster, and aggressively violent, we're on a slippery slope.We are not training simply to sharpen up a few skills or perform a bunch of formulistic techniques - it is immature to think so. No, we are training for far more important reasons: to make decisions. And to do so, we have to exhibit judgment - moral and ethical judgment - if we intend on making the right decisions.
No easy feat, since to do so involves changing the person we are and living up to the sense of internal self-worth we all hold deeply. The martial way gives us the opportunity to do so, but it's up to us to authorize oneself as a protector, a defender, a guardian of self, others, all others, as the best way to accomplish this.