July 10, 2017 Martial Arts Studies

From Realism to Representativeness: Changing Terminology to Investigate Effectiveness in Self-Defence


Physical assaults are an inherent problem of modern society. One strategy available to try to prevent violence is to strengthen one’s personal capacities to defend oneself. This is the scope of various self-defence programs and systems within the civil domain. While training in self-defence facilitates the use of self-protective strategies in real life situations, it is important to ascertain whether individuals learn the skills taught in self-defence classes and whether they are able to perform the skills when these are required. In order to test the effectiveness of self-defence skills in an ethically acceptable way, instructors and scholars have to design environments in which valid and practically relevant results about the performance of the learner can be obtained. The imprecise nature and the multidimensional use of terms like ‘realism’ and ‘reality-based’ leads to difficulties
in designing such environments. In this article, we argue for the need to shift the emphasis from ‘realistic’ to ‘representative’ design in testing and learning environments, with the aim of developing transferable self-defence skills within the civil domain. The Trade- Off Model of Simulation Design that we propose is intended to help instructors and scholars to make more informed decisions when designing tasks for testing or training.


DOI 10.18573/j.2017.10187


Staller, M.S., Zaiser, B. and Körner, S. 2017. ‘From Realism to Representativeness: Changing Terminology to Investigate Effectiveness in Self-Defence’, Martial Arts Studies 4, 70-77.


Tagged: , , , ,

Contact the journal

If you would like to get in touch with the editorial team, you can leave a message below or email using the link below: