Now on the street in a self defense situation I have no problem doing what it takes to defend myself. I will use all knowledge I have learned to destroy anyone who thinks they have the right to hurt me in anyway. And I will fight dirty as dirty can be to prolong my life. Now on the mat it is a different story. I respect my opponent and try to keep them safe and myself while free sparring or grappling. I do this by following the rules on the mat, staying calm and having fun. Do people, or I, still get hurt from time to time? Yes, it is a contact sport. Bumps and bruises mostly. Broken bones very rarely. My Sensei is all about keeping his students safe.
I had the experience recently in a submission grappling class where my opponent did some illegal and dirty moves. I did not get mad. I found it very interesting. She was actually a pretty good grappler and I was surprised in her actions. But I am a pretty good grappler too.
I had to make a choice. I could choose to play her game and fight dirty right on back. I could choose to play by the rules on the mat. I chose to play by the rules on the mat. My reasoning was and is, to teach her that you don't need dirty tricks to win. Did I win? Yes. I dominated the round and I did so within the rules on the mat.
Do I think she is a mean person? No. I found her quite friendly and nice off the mat. Maybe it is how she was taught to grapple. I don't know. What I do know is if I had chose to play her game of dirty tricks I would feel horrible now and for weeks to come. I am kind of funny that way.