Combat Effective is a slogan that gets tossed around a lot in the martial arts and self-defense markets, but what is combat effective? What makes a martial arts self-defense system combat effective? Is Mixed Martial Arts combat effective? How about Traditional Martial Arts like Karate? The answer is universal, its a meaningless term used to market a system of martial arts and more correctly books, videos and classes for teaching "combat effective" systems.
To begin with we have to address violence; not all violence is equal. There are three distinct types of violence and a situation can be disguised as other forms of violence, can mutate into other forms of violence and quite simply unless you understand the different types of violence and the different reasons for those types of violence you are not combat effective and may very well become socially ineffective.
Types of Violence:
Here we will examine the three distinct types of violence individually, and we will see where combat effectiveness can mean "Overkill."
Social Violence: Social Violence is the use or threat of violence to maintain or gain social dominance. This is were fighting over a mate or fighting over someone correcting a statement comes in. This is a simple case of fighting to prove one's alpha male/female status. Generally speaking social violence is mock violence, a lot of "barking, growling and a few snaps" but no real "bite." The intent is to inflict minor injury and show whose tougher or right. The video below shows what social violence looks like, I'm not saying being punched & kicked doesn't hurt but the intent is rarely severe injury or death...
Criminal Violence: Criminal Violence is both an extension o social violence and in some ways a form of combative violence. The goal of social violence is material gain, it is the threat or use of force to take possession of material property from another; this includes the my sacred of material property one's own body.
Combative Violence: Combative violence is far based in intent, it is the intent to do serve injury an or death. The intent to kill, cripple or maim. In the videos below those using such violence are more concentrated on the goal of doing damage, not showing who is superior or in gaining a material possession. Combative violence is also called Asocial Violence.
Violence & Culture:
Here in a America we don't have a single ethnic culture but a melting pot of ideas and cultures. I myself I'm from West Virginia and with a last name like Collins you can bet I am of Irish Descent. A large part of "Hill Billy" culture in West Virginia is "Being a Man" an it is the same with Irish-American culture in general. Being a man as different implications to different people but the common themes are self-responsibility and self-sufficiency; to include being able to defend one's self and family. We often take to using the "fighting Irish" stereotype to well... cause trouble. The Irish Americans aren't alone many African-Americans during the 40s to the 70s and even in the present new millennium have a sense of fighting a guerrilla war against an oppressive "White Government." Most often you are talking about the poor and that were most criminals come from, the poor. Even with the spread of communism the "Guerrilla Identity" of the poor struggling against the rich and middle class has held.
As such, violence especially social violence is a theme of the sub-culture(s) that surround the poor in this country. Social violence is generally more acceptable then say the criminal violence of a robber or rapist and certainly more acceptable then the violence of combat. Because social violence is common among the poor and often under-educated masses being able "hold one's own" is seen as an important virtue. By comparison, someone using a knife, gun or other weapon in social violence is seen as cowardly. Most of all is this minor point of fact; not all violence is combat or a life or death struggle.
A combat effective system must deal with situations which are not life or death, dealing with a drunk uncle or friend who wishes to show how tough they are. Would you kill a friend for trying to have a "contest" with you? How bout that drunk uncle? Combat effectiveness is more then dealing learning to "kill with your bare hands" or "use techniques illegal in MMA competition." Combat effectiveness is dealing with a sliding scale of violence, knowing when to be combat effective. Knowing how de-escalate stress based social violence, knowing when people are posturing and when someone intends to do you harm, knowing how criminals size up and target their victims. Finally, combat effectiveness (at least in my opinion) needs to deal with conditioning the mind to respond with tactics and to react to the tactics of an aggressor under al three forms of violence without consciously having to go own a mental check list. This implies at least in part a bit LARPing; Live Action Role-Playing the threat conditions and the reaction to the dangers in a realistic setting.