You train several hours each week.

You can punch and grapple, and your awareness levels are on par with Jason Bourne.

And then it happens, the moment you have to protect yourself, and you get your ass handed to you.

You wake up with a crowd around you, and your jaw hurts like hell.

But hold on, what went wrong? You were sober,  you had a strategy and had read more on martial arts and self-defence than the average bouncer.

Like it or not you made a mistake, and it was quite possibly a training one!

In this article, we will look at the mistake that most people make in self-defence training and how to fix it.

Are you ready? Let’s begin.

The One Training Mistake That Will Get You Hurt

Ok so you are wondering what the mistake is, I will get straight to the point.

It is a lack of training feedback!

Confused? You won’t be by the end of this article.

When I say training feedback I do not mean filling in a sheet of paper after class; I am talking about the feedback your body receives in its training.

If you take Defence Lab, for example, you will see that we use drills with the focus pads. We often have a student in their first-week, training against 3 or more attackers, and they get hit by the pads.

They don’t get hurt, but the ‘feedback’ is through contact on the body. It is a bit like that board game ‘Operation’.  The one where you get a little shock as you remove the parts of the body.

You need feedback like this in your training because if you don’t get any then how will you ever learn?

One of the things that are ever so common in self-defence training is the misuse of padded suits. What is a potentially great training tool is seen as some kind of ‘uniform.’

However if this is overused, you lose the feedback.

Now I know people will rush to defend their use, and this is great but ask yourself why boxers don’t use them? It is because boxers need to be able to get caught. If you think about it, if the boxers were sparring and never got hurt they would go into the ring with really weak defence. This, of course, could lead to a quick knockout.

The human body has it’s own system of feedback, and we call this ‘pain.’

We developed our pain system through evolution because it is like an ‘alarm’ that something is wrong, and our body is being damaged.  Pain allows us to take action.

We also see over compliance in self-defence training. This is when someone just does as you ask and gives zero realistic feedback. You can usually see it when someone holds the focus pads for their training partner.

Rather than move the pads around, using footwork to change angles and force your training partner to adapt, instead we see the pad holder with their feet stuck in place.

So why would a lack of feedback cause you to be defeated in a street altercation? Well in truth feedback shows you the holes in your game and forces you to fix them.

The attacker, on the other hand, is looking for an opening or an opportunity.

When I was boxing, I used to hate to spar in head guards. My vision would be restricted, and I struggled to move my head quickly. More importantly, I could get hit but not feel anything. There was no discomfort in my training and without this, we will not grow.

Feedback does not have to be full on sparring where you try and knock out the training partner. It can be light, just enough that your body ‘feels’.

Boxers do not ‘spar’ hard all the time. They control their power because they are there to learn. So when they get caught by a punch, they need to figure out ‘how they got punched’ and fix the issue.

Head Guards, shin guards, padded suits and other such items have their uses. Yet your body has a central nervous system that allows you to feel pain, impact and discomfort.

If you do not embrace the need for feedback in your training, you will leave gaps in your defence and trust me when I say that, the average street thug is highly skilled at exploiting vulnerabilities.

Just try and give them as little to exploit as possible.

Thanks for reading.