"If all you hammer everything in the world would look like a nail."
If all you knew was MMA, BJJ, TKD, JKD, NHB or any other initial than everything you do is based off of your training and experience. Someone who is a professional boxer is going to adapt their skills to self defense. It's typical and most people can't help it. If all you knew was Brazilian Jujitsu than everything you teach will be based or derived from that skills set. Which has some success when teaching other BJJ experts but it fails miserably when teaching people with little or no experience.
In fact the vast majority of self defense systems offered are a tangent or a variation of a sport art. They use the primary art as a delivery system for the lethal or "illegal" techniques. And in theory and practice this works, provided you have the same base skill set to enable you to deliver the lethal or illegal methods.
This is nothing new people have always attempted to adapt ring fighting methods to the street. There are literally dozens if not hundreds of texts on how to adapt whatever fighting style to the street. Most have good ideas but one of the many places they break down is the "assumption of skill."
The problem is obvious, professional fighters have a lot more time and effort invested in their primary method and take critical and fundamental things like hip position, physical conditioning, scrambling ability, striking or strangling ability for granted. They can make their self defense work because they have years and even decades of hardcore training and sacrifice (along with the genetic disposition) that enables them to move, understand leverage and body positions as well as distancing. Trying to learn a sport based self defense from a professional fighter is worse than learning how to parkour from a gymnast(Wow, I think that analogy hurt my head). But while they're flipping over a fence, you're trying to lift your leg over it.
Personally, the hardest thing for me to do was to take myself out of the equation. when you start teaching the general public you're quick to realize that most people have never participated in ANY contact or combative activity in their lives so having to break the SDTS content down and deliver it in a way that yielded timely results was both rewarding and challenging. It was one thing to teach motivated, former athletes or determined law enforcement and military personnel but a completely new set of challenges for those people who know that they have a need for self defense but were prohibited because of the perceived time invested or the physical requirements.
There is no doubt that more athletic people took to the training faster, but I have to tell you after a handful of months they all could perform the SDTS and you couldn't tell the athletes from the non-athletes.
Self defense is a formula of Distance, Position, momentum and balance coupled with techniques while under stress and on any terrain will inflict more injury to your opponent than to yourself while simultaneously taking into consideration weapons and multiple attackers.
Technicality any method of self defense can be adapted to this and The Self Defense Company has it's fair share of instructors from many styles of martial arts, but when you're teaching to the general public or people with no working knowledge of a particular art, you need to abandon the "assumption of skill."
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Damian Ross is CEO of the Self Defense Company and developer of The Self Defense Training System, the most lethal and effective self defense system in the world, The Guardian Defensive Tactics Police Combatives Program, 60 minute Self Defense and the Family Safe Program. Mr. Ross also founded the Self Defense Instructor Program that helps people develop their self defense careers from the ground up. Mr. Ross is originally from Ridgewood, NJ where he was a High School Hall of Fame Athlete in football and wrestling as well as a varsity wrestling coach. He then went on to Lehigh University where he was a varsity wrestler and football player. Mr. Ross has 3 black belts, 4th Degree in Tekkenryu Jujutsu, 2nd Degree in Judo, 2nd Degree in Tae Kwon Do. In addition to his martial arts experience, Mr. Ross spent 8 years in the professional security and personal protection business. He is internationally recognized as one of the foremost authorities in reality based self defense.