For reasons that will hopefully become clear some day, I keep thinking about models for defining why people do martial arts/combatives/combat sport/whatever. Listening to Dan John's Intervention triggered something in my brain. Sort of.
Dan breaks up athletic endeavors into four quadrants. You can read more about that here, or get Easy Strength or Intervention for a better explanation.
For the martial arts, I've been kicking around something similar...except that I can't organize the segments right. Or rather, they seem to function on multiple models.
The Four Things
These are basically reasons for doing the martial arts. Or doing part of a martial art. Or a drill.
The 9-1-1 Moment: A client of mine used this phrase to describe the intent of a particular drill we were working, and I told her I liked the phrase so much I'd steal it. In fact, I like it so much, that I think it fits for a whole category of types of training...that dealing with real-world violence.
This is self-defense. It's also combatives. It's also defensive tactics. At one point, I wanted these separated into different categories, but an insight from Coach Blauer proved valuable here.
Coach Blauer points out that regardless of who is engaging him, the bad guy is fundamentally the same. In other words, the psycho that the SWAT team has to try to take down after he's barricaded himself in someone's home is the same psycho that the cops were worried about tangling with during the manhunt that started after you fought this guy off when he tried to rape you. The scenarios may change, but the bad guy is still the same. The realities of the fight are still the realities of the fight. Everyone involved in fighting the bad guy is part of the same 9-1-1 call. Hence, the 9-1-1 moment.
Fitness: This is martial arts done with the goal in mind of "getting in shape." I have to be honest...by itself, I have a lot of problems with this idea. Martial arts are generally a pretty awful way to get in shape; an intelligently designed program of strength training, joint mobility work, and some solid cardio will get you in great shape without the bruises or joint damage. I know that this is a major reason for doing martial arts for a lot of people, but I still tend to think it's a bad one unless some of these other qualities are addressed.
Sport: This is martial arts done as competition: everything from kata competitions and point karate tournaments all the way up to MMA and Dog Brother's Gatherings. Sometimes it's about actually getting out there and entering tournaments or matches. Sometimes it's about just "brawling with friends" as Rory likes to say.
Personal Development: This is the catchall category for "make you a better person" stuff. Discipline, focus, meditation, self-esteem, confidence, humility, respect, etc. A lot of martial arts instructors claim to teach this, but I'm not entirely convinced that many really do. Or if they do, it's incidental rather than purposeful instruction. Rodney King writes about creating a Wisdom environment, but I think he's fairly unique in his approach to training.
The Four Models
I keep trying to come up with a visual model for this.
Continuum: I actually don't like this one very much, but it can work. I don't like it because I feel like it implies that there's an order to these things. Start with one, progress to the other. I'm sure that's some people's experience in training, but it doesn't have to be.
Quadrants: I really don't think that fits here, but it's how Dan John organizes his ideas.
Goals: This works to an extent. All of those things can be goals, but they don't all have to be. Maybe works better for organizing drills than training methods. Maybe.
Levels: I may be using the wrong term here--the image in my head is the various sliding levers on a radio or other piece of sound equipment. All of them can be moved up and down to various degrees. But, if you try to shoot them all up at once, the sound quality gets pretty gnarly. And pushing them all up the max is damn near impossible. My poor understanding of how sound equipment actually works is probably showing here.
A lot of people promise all of this, but realistically, it's tough to do so. Focus deep on self-defense, and you don't get quite as good at sport. Spend too much time navel gazing, and you discover you can't fight. Focus too much on sport, and you become an asshole. Focus too much on fitness, and you create Tae Bo.
I think this is valuable, but I need to clarify it.