There are some stark differences between combat sport and real combat. It’s very important to understand those differences, once you do, you’ll realise that sport for self-defence is generally a bad idea.
Sport has rules, reality does not. Obvious right? Sure, but have you considered the consequences of training a martial art that has rules and how that affects your mindset in reality?
You can’t get X’d and you can’t X
So in sport martial arts, your not allowed to do certain things and you also don’t have to worry about certain things being done to you. That leaves you vulnerable to certain attacks and also limits how you will respond in reality.
Example: you’re pinned on the ground and you can’t get out nor land any strikes that has any effect, what do you do? Did you even consider grabbing, squeezing and twisting his twig and berries?
Saved by the bell / referee
In reality, there’s no one that’s going to save you by stepping in or ringing a bell. You’re on your own and suddenly, you feel exposed.
Would you climb into an MMA ring if there was no referee and the fight was to the death?
I wouldn’t…not because I don’t have confidence in my training, but because if you’re smart, you’ll simply avoid combat if you have a choice.
No sport prepares you to face or handle weapons that threaten your life. Think you’re going to just punch a guy that wants to stab or shoot you? I’m afraid if you though you would, your time here on earth would be limited.
In combat sports, your mentality is to fight, not to asses, observe and try to defuse the situation.
This mentality is what gets many people killed in reality. The mentality to fight when being faced with a criminal that has the element of surprise is in most cases a terrible mistake.
In the ring, you really just have to focus on one other person, your opponent. You never have to consider that someone else might also be a threat. So by design, your intentions are focused on a single person and multiple attackers is not part of your thought process, nor is protecting someone else.
Many sport martial arts also use an array of protective gear. At the very least, they all have at least gloves in common. Think it’s a good idea to punch someone with a fist without gloves on?
Your hand will more than likely break within the first few seconds of a real life fight, and I’m not worried about the pain, but the functionality of that hand when that has happened. Will you still be able to disarm and use a weapon with that broken hand?
In conclusion, sport can teach you a lot of fundamental skills about movement, striking technique etc which is a positive.
All in all however, sport is probably going to get you into more trouble than anything else when it comes to the brutal reality of real life combat…