combat, goals, kung fu, martial arts, military, self defense, sports, Tallahassee

Can Combat Martial Arts Translate into Sports Fighting?

Jason, I’ve read your blogs. Got me thinking, can someone who studies a combat martial arts, for street fighting, be any good at sports fighting? Does it translate well?

This is an excellent question.  It brings up several important questions, like:

  • What are your goals and motivations in training?  Are you looking to compete in a specific venue, or are you wanting to train for fights on the street or other combat situation (e.g., war)?taekwondo tournament
  • What type of training are you receiving?  Are you learning principle-based training applications that free you up to express yourself, or are you studying a martial art system program?
  • If you started learning a certain way for a specific goal and have changed your goals, why?  What brought on this change?  And, do you get the sense that you can achieve your new goals where you are?

We can go on and on, but this is a good start.  You see: The transition from no rules, all out war, street-fighting and competition-sports can be difficult for most people.  I, myself, tried it, and found the rules of sports-competitions difficult to adjust to.  My instincts, at times, were to do things illegal in those events, which caused hesitation, correction of behavior (which during combat means a delay in action allowing one’s opponent time and space to do as they wish), and other things of the sort.  My training was not in these events; therefore, my actions were not restrained to the rules of those events.

I did okay, but not as well as I’d, personally, liked.  (I won three of four fights over the course of a weekend: two TKOs and one decision.  The last one I lost by decision.)  I had to make a choice: Train differently to become good at the sports-competitions or stay where I was and learn combat martial arts.  I opt’d to get my certification in tactical fighting Wing Chun.   For me, empowering myself to live through street fights and war meant more than isolating my behavior to the sporting arena.  That was and is me.

But, fighting is fighting; and, one that learns principles of fighting and is adaptable to the rules of sports-competitions may enjoy them from time to time – without their interference on other aspects of training (e.g., tactical fighting).  One has to be willing, at times, to adjust training to acclimate to the rules of engagement; otherwise, the adaptability of the individual has a lot to do with their ability to shift back and forth between the two.

From left to right: Sifu Yost, Devon Pool, William Asse, Sifu Ellington

An example of this includes two of my own students: William Asse and Devon Pool.  While we teach tactical fighting, here at the Yost Wing Chun Kung Fu Academy, they recently competed in the Central Illinois Martial Arts Invitational and won gold medals.  We did redirect their training over the last two-to-four weeks, but did so to have them adapt the principles they were learning (and could use in the event) to help them win.  Now, they are back to tactical fighting.

These two men are willing and able to adapt to the rules with guidance from me and the other Sifu, here at the kwoon.  And, if you are like them, you will be able – under the right guidance – to do the same.

I hope that answers your question.  If you have a question you’d like to ask, write to

Empower yourself to life! ™

©2018 Yost Wing Chun Academy. All Rights Reserved.

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