Q&A: Practical and Recreational

Hey, there was a post when you said a modern person’s recreational skill was completely useless as a Roman soldier. Now, my story doesn’t do time travel, but I was wondering if there might be an issue in my modern day story with recreational martial arts practictioners having skill clashes with modern day jobs, anything from police officers to security guards. Whether it’s recreational first -> job or job first -> recreational.

I don’t remember that part of the previous question. The main point I was trying to make at the time was that the time traveler’s technological and scientific knowledge would be far more meaningful than any combat training.

As a general rule, someone with a practical background will have a significant (or downright insurmountable) advantage over someone with a recreational background. Someone with a competitive sports background (such as boxing or MMA) will land somewhere between these points, though it’s hard to quantify exactly where. Though, they fare well against someone with a practical background.

Police (or any Law Enforcement), military, and similar backgrounds will always land on the practical side, and their training will be kept up to date while they’re in active service. For our purposes, if a LEO also practices a recreational martial art, they’re still going to have practical combat training, though the philosophical elements from their recreational background will also be present in their personality.

There’s no hard and fast rules for a security guard. They may have old practical training, they may be up to date (especially if it’s a cop who moonlights as security guard), or they may have a sports or recreational background. The training they have will depend on whether their employer cares. A lot of security guards are simply tasked with observing, and passing that on to the police. Training them to martial arts is unnecessary for them to do their job, and may encourage them to intervene.

High end security firms will either put money into their employee’s training, or have some specific expectations for what they can do. When we’re talking about more specialized roles like principal protection (bodyguards) practical combat training is a must.

Private Military Companies will probably have military hand to hand training, though it may be slightly out of date, or second hand.

I’m going to make a slightly inaccurate generalization here: The difference between law enforcement hand-to-hand and military hand-to-hand is that the former is more interested in being able to subdue a foe, and the latter is more interested in being able to kill a foe. Now, that is a generalization, military training does have subdual options, and police can escalate to lethal force. In some cases, these will be part of the same martial arts family, or even the same martial art.

You could definitely construct a hierarchy of backgrounds, where, “this is better than that,” but that could easily degenerate into the non-productive, “my martial art is better than yours,” arguments. The simple answer is, recreational martial artists do not prepare for combat, and as a result are less suited to it. Practical martial artists train to use their abilities in live situations, and are better prepared when that happens. Additionally, practical martial artists need to continue updating their training on a semi-regular basis. This involves adapting their training to better fit the current environment their working in, and being “the most up to date” is a significant advantage.


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