The current popularity of the Ultimate Fighting Championship is undeniable. UFC fight card results have become fodder for water cooler discussions across North America. Mixed Martial Arts gyms are becoming increasingly prevalent as techniques like kimura's and omaplata's have become part of our vernacular.

Recent articles in The Globe and Mail (From the couch to the cage), and in The New York Times Magazine(Gladiator), are documenting the growing interest in MMA and the training centres sprouting up across North America as a result.

It's easy to think this type of training is the answer for surviving street violence. The athletic prowess of professional MMA fighters is awe-inspiring; the level of physical conditioning and the fighting skills they posses are impressive. But does ultimate fighting equate to the reality of an authentic street confrontation?

By authentic, I'm referring to a confrontation where you are being attacked and are the perceived and targeted victim. The heavyweight belt is not at stake - your life is.

There are three significant differences between combative sports like the UFC, Boxing and other MMA professional fighting competitions and an authentic street confrontation (i.e. street combat).

In the street there is:

1. No Consent
2. No Preparation
3. No Awareness of intent

A professional fighter has had typically six to ten weeks to prepare for a fight. He knows when he's going to fight, where the fight will take place and who will be standing at the other side of the octagon waiting for him.

This is not to diminish the battles a full contact fighter faces every time he walks into the octagon. There's a high probability for serious physical injury whether he wins or loses the fight. The distinctions listed above however are significant.

The Reality of the Street

Visualize the following situation: you're leaving your favourite restaurant with your significant other; you've had a few glasses of wine and are feeling good and relaxed, thinking about the rest of your evening or that rare Bordeaux you just enjoyed.

As you walk to your car you're approached by a stranger brandishing a knife. He demands you hand him your wallet.

The physiological and emotional changes you're experiencing at that moment are significantly different than those experienced by an ultimate fighter walking into the octagon to defend his title.

The threat of injury and/or death to yourself and your significant other are very real. How you take control of your fear and the psychology of this confrontation will dictate whether or not you get home in one piece.

Author's Bio: 

Andrew Netschay's experience spans more than 20 years of intense training and research.

In 1992 Andrew founded Confront Systems Inc. in Vancouver, Canada. This progressive company has helped people to enjoy the freedom of feeling safe in their communities by arming them with psychological and physical tools. Confront provides both private and corporate seminars that focus on the realities of confrontation, and conflict resolution.

Andrew Netschay is currently featured in two best selling books: The Action Hero’s Handbook and The Action Heroine’s Handbook; both written by David Borgenicht.

Andrew has produced the three-part television series Street Defense: Empowerment Strategies, and is regularly featured in articles and books related to negotiation and confrontation.

His experience as an educator, working with law enforcement officers, professional athletes and survivors of domestic abuse, assault and rape has placed him in high demand as a guide to empowerment and safety.