You can be the best fighter in the world. You can have the best grappling, the strongest and fastest punches, kicks that can knock anybody out, and a self belief attitude that can never be shaken. Does this mean that you are an expert in self defense? No. Does it mean that you have a basic level of self defense skills? Maybe.
So what does it mean? Well, simply, it means that you are a great fighter. A combat athlete who has beaten many other fighters. Self defense is so much different to fighting though. Yes, fighting may become a part of self defense, if the worst comes to the worst, but someone trained in the art of self defense will try his very best to not get in a position where fighting is a must.
Self defense skills involve awareness, reasoning, concentration, cunningness, tactics and other attributes. Learning how to disarm a knife wielding maniac is part of self defense but must only be carried out, because the other more important skills failed.
An elderly granny may have more self defense skills than a trained fighter. Think about it. The elderly granny of the neighborhood who lives on her own, knowing that she can not defend herself if mugged, chased or raped, quickly learns of the dangerous roads, the shady characters and the troublesome areas in order to avoid them. The expert fighter though, fresh faced and full of combat victories, thinking he knows all, has no fears, but when confronted, may be able to take care of himself fine until a knife is thrust into his chest by his opponent’s friend.
To be successful in self defense one must look at the bigger picture which is something that unfortunately many martial artists do not do. Practicing every restraint, lock and disarmament will help but one has to also learn how to become aware of an intended attack. One has to learn how to calm down an aggressive person. One has to become knowledgeable of the area they live in so as to stay away from the rough parts. Plus much more.
These are all things that many could do in developing. Especially myself!