View Full Version : My Thoughts About Reality Defense and a Response to Goldust

3/22/2014 6:53pm,
Hi everyone! New here....

About a week ago I came across this thread titled "Reality Defense in Phoenix, AZ a McDojo?,"
wanted to add my opinions about the school and the review by the member named Goldust, created an account, wrote what I believe was a fair, polite and even-handed reply, but it has yet to be posted by any moderators. I'm not sure if my post was simply lost or something else was going on, but this is my third attempt to make my thoughts heard.

At the time I'd written this post I had not seen the video posted by Goldust featuring the knife fighting and the sparring. So it seems that, at least according to the evidence thus far, Goldust's review is more accurate than I originally suspected. I've also since talked to someone else who knows Troy and has trained some of his students and they also said Reality Defense does not do any hard contact sparring.

I'm still trying to contact someone from the school so I can come in to watch and participate in a class so I can see for myself. I may update this post after this class (assuming I can get a hold of anyone...)

Regarding the video posted by Goldust, I mostly agree with everyone's comments about the sparring and the knife fighting. However, I do know that many times in this art, the drills are done in very close quarters to enhance a student's reaction time and skill level, but would never be done in real life, and this may be one example. I will ask about this when and if I can get an appointment. But, when I first saw this I was stunned. It was not anything like I had learned. The blocks themselves looked OK but I was taught to move back with the attack to provide a margin for error and more reaction time. But, as I said, it may have been a skill developing drill only. I believe the stick fighting segment was too short to draw any definite conclusions.

My original response to Goldust's review begins now.

I've been thinking about looking into this school myself. I am very familiar with the art being practiced, since I've been training in it for nearly 15 years and I am an instructor, formally at the headquarters in Phoenix. This school, Reality Defense, is a splinter school from a former student/instructor of the art. I don't know much about him, having joined the school a number of years after the split. However, I've thought about going down and sparring some of the students to see the quality of the instruction.

I've viewed a few of their videos on their website and judging from those the students seemed relatively skilled, but I'd have to watch them in person or spar them to know for sure. Just in the videos I watched on their website I know there are a few things I'd change if I were teaching them...

Having said this, I'd like to address Goldust's review of the school. Having not actually viewed a class at this location myself I'm not doubting what this reviewer saw. I am skeptical, however, that he/she can deduce from watching a single sparring session all of the skills practitioners of the art possess. Of course, it could also be that this particular location does not have quite the quality of instruction as I received, since I was able to train directly under the founder himself and his top instructors.

With these points in mind allow me to address the complaints put forward by Goldust.

Goldust writes,

“They fight out of a southpaw stance with their hips completely squared off facing their opponent. In addition they also put a majority of their weight on the lead leg. This forward leaning stance looks wide open for leg kicks. One of the things that I noticed when they were sparring is that since they do not throw kicks, all of their attacks and defense is primarily focused above the waist. I think that someone who kicks well could leg kick the hell out of them. I don’t think that they would see it coming. That squared off stance is also begging for a good solid kick right down the middle in my opinion. Apparently they lead with the right because most people are right handed and they want the closest weapon to the target being the most powerful one. They also do not believe in set up punches like jabs because their idea for self-defense is to unload as quickly and as hard as possible and to then disengage and get away. They do not use kicks because they feel the risks outweigh the benefits.”

I'm not sure who Goldust talked to about kicking, but practitioners of this art do indeed kick, and do incorporate kicking into sparring (along with knees, elbows, even headbutts!, grappling, etc.) depending on a student's level. Having said this, there is an emphasis on upper body striking since keeping both legs on the ground provides better stability and better mobility. Also, most confrontations start within arm's distance anyway, so why practice techniques that are usually used outside that distance?

As far as kick defense is concerned, practitioners of the art are taught kick defenses as well (at least where I trained... again, I'm not familiar with this particular branch).

It's possible their lead leg had the majority of weight on it. Personally if I were teaching them, I'd tell them to keep a 50/50 weight distribution between both feet as much as possible, so as to facilitate easier and quicker movement in any direction and to, yes, even lift the leg to check leg kicks.

Goldust writes,

“They seemed to favor the lead right frequently thrown with the thumb facing upwards, it appeared to be delivered with adequate power. The left cross was also delivered with for the most part proper mechanics. The right hook and uppercuts however were poorly thrown most likely due to the lack of proper hip rotation as a result of the squared off stance that they favor. I saw little evidence of knees or elbows; although that does not necessarily mean that they don’t use them at other times.”

It's actually because of the squared hip position that the lead jab had as much power as it did (among other reasons I won't get into here...), which I why I'm confused by the other comment about the hooks and uppercuts being too weak and this being caused by the squared hip position. This confuses me, because the opposite is true.

Think about it. What is one of the main things a hook requires for power? Rotation, right? Well, if you're standing with your body at a 45 degree angle to your adversary with your right foot forward and you pivot to your left, how much rotation will you get from your hips? Not much, since your hips are already partially rotated in the direction you need to go. However, if you are standing square, and you turn your hips to your left, now you've got a lot of distance, providing more power to your lead side, whether it's a straight punch or a circular punch. Hopefully that made sense. If the students' hooks did indeed lack power my guess, without seeing for myself, would be another issue. Maybe they did not rotate enough and simply “arm punched.”

Yes, as I mentioned before knees and elbows are practiced and also are used in sparring.

Goldust writes,

“I was not impressed with the footwork at all. I observed them crossing their feet with alarming frequency and keep in mind that these are the senior students. They also appeared to have poor “awareness” of their surroundings. What I mean by this is that while “sparring” they generally did not seem to be aware of their location in the room often getting backed into corners, nearly tripping over equipment etc. They also had the habit of leaning away to avoid punches, which combined with the tendency of crossing the feet would most likely make it difficult to avoid being bull rushed into a wall.”

Assuming this is entirely accurate, this is indeed disturbing and needs to be corrected. Snap backs are taught, but should be used judiciously, along with other forms of head movement, footwork, and defense with the arms.

Goldust writes,

“They do not appear to believe in moving the head to slip punches as in Boxing but instead rely on blocking/parrying/sweeping the punches aside with the hands. It appears that they have some theory that if you are in constant motion as you see in boxing, always moving your head, that this is a bad thing. It had something to do with if you are constantly moving your “camera” (your head/eyes) and the opponent is in constant motion as well that it will be harder to hit the target than if you don’t move your head (or something to that effect).”

I've never heard of this “theory” in all my years of training. As a matter of fact, the founder stresses head movement. In fact, I recall an entire class on just that. Again, assuming this description is entirely accurate it needs to be corrected.

Goldust writes,

“The sparring that they do consists of very light contact, they appeared to be pitty patting each other with soft strikes playing tag. No head gear, one guy was wearing glasses no less so this shows you the level or lack thereof of serious contact. The gloves looked similar to the gloves used for point sparring contests only with probably double the padding. One person would get in the middle and “spar” 30-second rounds against each of the “attackers” while they largely played the part of “defender”. They would commonly get into quick exchanges of soft pitty pat strikes and parries before breaking off the exchange with an odd sort of “hop step” to “reset” before starting over again (all done with the habitual foot crossing). Many of them did not appear to have the greatest stamina either as they appeared to get quite winded after what did not appear to be that intense of a pace. Another problem that I had with the sparring is the fact that since they claim to be training for self-defense for “the street” why is it that all of the “attackers” used a southpaw stance? Their sparring and defense was based on someone who fights and attacks the way that they do but how many people in the street are going to attack you southpaw? The light contact sparring would also not appear to adequately prepare someone for a legitimate assault from a motivated attacker.”

Assuming this is all accurate, this is also bothersome. I'm surprised one of the students could wear his glasses, since I always had to take mine off, or suffer the consequences... I would agree light contact of this sort would not prepare someone for a real fight, but it must be remembered that there are different kinds of sparring. Perhaps you just didn't see a full contact session? So, I think that's a little bit unfair to make such a generalization after watching just one session.

A good instructor ought to have their students learn to defend against opponents in all types of stances and a wide variety of attacks.

But back to the different kinds of sparring. Where I trained, there was no-contact sparring where the goal was to learn how to flow from offense to defense and vise versa. There was the light contact with the smaller gloves (which I believe it seems is what this reviewer witnessed), there is full contact where we would wear mouth pieces, 16oz boxing gloves, and headgear. Finally, we sometimes substituted the smaller MMA gloves when incorporating grappling and ground fighting into the sparring sessions, which leads me to Goldust's next paragraph...

He writes,

“They also did appear to have any knowledge of even the most basic clinching, grappling, pummeling techniques whatsoever. From what I gathered they believe that their striking is so innovative, so devastating, so unstoppable that it would be impossible to even get close enough to even try to clinch or take them down. And if by some miracle you did get close enough to attempt a clinch or takedown they have the “Ferocious Five” at their disposal, “The five techniques that will work against ANY grappler to end the confrontation immediately.” One of the things the really shocked me was for all of their talk about how they are all about “no rules fighting for the street” and how MMA is “just a sport” they practice a very limited and very light contact sparring.”

Well, practitioners of this art are (usually) very skilled, powerful, and fast strikers, with good grappling defense, so I'm not surprised by this comment. However, I was also taught how to fight on the ground, how to sprawl, how to fight in a clinch, etc.

Assuming this kind of training isn't done since the reviewer only witnessed one session, it would be a shame that this particular instructor either doesn't know these skills or doesn't believe these skills are necessary. His students are missing large portions of this fantastic art.

As far as the “ferocious five,” these are tools just like a jab, front kick, or a hook, and must be applied at the right time to be effective. They can be a grappler's worst nightmare when done right or can simply be an annoyance if done incorrectly or at the wrong time.

As far as this last comment by the reviewer: “The typical RBSD student does not spar, and if they do, the sparring is VERY soft. The general RBSD student does not make a good training partner for anyone who is serious about learning how to fight.”

Once again, I don't see how making generalizations such as this is anywhere close to fair. To give a personal example, several years ago I went to visit my old judo school (which also taught kickboxing) after I'd been training in this reality-based art for a number of years. I sparred one of the students who had been in several cage matches and he wasn't able to hit me, or take me to the ground. When he tried to shoot in, I stuffed his takedowns with the techniques I learned in this reality-based art and punched him in the face several times.

I hope my review of this review is helpful and helps to clarify things a bit. I think that this reviewer simply took this single session he witnessed and made too many generalizations. On the other hand, assuming some of the things he described are accurate, there are certainly some changes that need to occur in the way the art is taught to this particular instructor's students.

3/23/2014 1:36pm,
Welcome to Bullshido!

3/23/2014 1:53pm,
Welcome to Bullshido.

Is it possible that your other posts pending moderation or something?

It is Fake
3/23/2014 2:10pm,
There was a spam invasion, the owner turned up the filter and new posters get moderated. Some people slip through the cracks.

3/23/2014 6:02pm,
Thanks. And thanks for the info This Is Fake... Looks like I found the thread you were talking about. I was expecting to get some email notifications for replies to posts. Is that an option?

3/25/2014 11:45am,
I was expecting to get some email notifications for replies to posts. Is that an option?

Nevermind. I figured it out. I'm a fast learner. :- )