Martial Arts and Self Defence

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Kozushi

Level 7 Valued Member
I had started another thread mainly to discuss how to become proficient at some martial arts I have done, but it moved into a discussion of the usefulness of various martial arts for self-defence which I think was getting fairly interesting. I think though that some of my posts gave the wrong impression of me preaching from a pulpit rather than theorizing, and I'm sorry about that. I'm really just theorizing! I'm no authority on real violence!

A major reason for doing a martial art over any mere sport is the thought that in a pinch it can help get you out safe or alive, or at least give you a better chance of this. This, which I think is a true motivation for a lot of people, might beg the question of how effective martial arts of various kinds are for real self-defence, and also what self-defence really means in this context.

Something that I think martial arts training has taught me is how vulnerable we all are to harm and injury. If anything, I think I've learned a very healthy attitude of a lack of confidence in dealing with any kind of violence - it's so darn risky!

I'd also like to say that I doubt that self-defence is the main reason however for people to do martial arts. I think it's a kind of compromise where you get several things:

1. The benefits of any sport.
2. A unique kind of sport with an exotic or meditative flare to it.
3. Definitely some kind of skills if cornered and having to fight for real though.

When I'm thinking of self-defence, I'm thinking about things like road rage or mentally disturbed people suddenly coming at you, not about getting involved with organized crime or the likes! Even one nasty run in with someone unreasonably belligerent and out of their normal mind could leave you dead or handicapped. Yes, I do believe martial arts training works and or helps.
 

the hansenator

Level 6 Valued Member
Something that I think martial arts training has taught me is how vulnerable we all are to harm and injury. If anything, I think I've learned a very healthy attitude of a lack of confidence in dealing with any kind of violence - it's so darn risky!
In my old kali class they'd have us practice "knife sparring" partly to give us a reality check. There's some rules for safety but basically you put on a pair of bag gloves, grab a short stick, and go for it. Besides being a lot of fun and great conditioning, you learn pretty quickly that all those techniques and disarms you've been practicing are very difficult to apply. This is also a format where beginners can do really well against more experienced students because technique is the least important part. Someone could have poor technique but if they're faster or have better timing/reactions/distancing/etc they could leave you wondering what just happened.
 

Raid

Level 4 Valued Member
Self defense for me, is training for sudden violence. There are martial arts out there that can prepare you for it, and some that are best left for sporsts/fun/hobby....just my two cents..
 

Kozushi

Level 7 Valued Member
In my old kali class they'd have us practice "knife sparring" partly to give us a reality check. There's some rules for safety but basically you put on a pair of bag gloves, grab a short stick, and go for it. Besides being a lot of fun and great conditioning, you learn pretty quickly that all those techniques and disarms you've been practicing are very difficult to apply. This is also a format where beginners can do really well against more experienced students because technique is the least important part. Someone could have poor technique but if they're faster or have better timing/reactions/distancing/etc they could leave you wondering what just happened.
We used to do the wooden or rubber knife stuff from time to time. One guy got the knife and the other nothing. It was clear that no matter what the guy with the knife would kill the guy without it pretty quickly. Maybe against someone who has lifted up a knife to scare someone away and doesn't want to kill you could apply a disarming technique, or a child or something like that, but anyone else, you're dead, it's very clear.
 

jef

I am a student of strength.
Certified Instructor
I have done my share of martial arts (shotokan, judo, kick boxing, even some krav-maga, etc). I never reached a super high level, I was just a decent and dedicated student.

I had the opportunity, during my short time in the army a long time ago, to "train" with some commando NCOs. It was not their "secret commando training" : it was just that they were kind enough to train martial arts with us on thursdays afternoon. It was a light active recovery for them.

There were some reality check...

1 - Sparring one to one
Go on the tatami. Put the gloves on. Spar with your opponent (punches and kicks). I was doing well.
Reality check : one of the commandos took a glove from the floor, and throw it to my face, while I was sparring. "You just received a bottle in your face, get your hands up, protect yourself !". It hit me right on my temple and my ego.

2 - knife
They were though guys who had real combat experience. The 115kg with no body-fat giant would still say "We, as humans, fear knives. It is an ancestral fear. It is in our genes". When a real tough guy says that, you start to listen.
Reality check : put on a white T-shirt. Have your opponent (an absolute beginner if you wish) use a red marker as a knife. Then fight. You may be shocked by the number of red lines on your shirt before you "win" the fight.

3 - back on the floor
In a MMA fight against one opponent, it can a good tactic. What did our commandos think of it in a real-life situation? "Once you are on the floor, you are dead".

4 - More than one opponent
We had a few sessions where we would be put in a 1-to-2 or 1-to-3 situation.
1-to-2 was already barely manageable for me, against 2 opponents who were A LOT less experienced than I was, in a scenarized situation and a fight that would last 20s.
1-to-3 was just impossible, even though the other 3 were almost beginners.

Martial arts can give an edge. But in a real life situation, for most of us...
 

Hasbro

Level 5 Valued Member
20 years ago I did about a years worth of taekwondo classes. My dojo was too much into competition style which in my opinion didn't carry over well for real life situations so I gave it up. Limited strike areas and pulling your punches wasn't my cup of tea.

Been thinking about starting back up again with a local Krav Maga school but don't have the funds right now. I still to this day practice my kicks and strikes when I go to the gym. I guess front kicks, side kicks, round kicks, and elbow strikes will always serve you well. I figure if I can relax and cover up to withstand the first 20 sec or so then my opponent will likely lose all his wind and I'll be in good shape to end it.

If that doesn't work I can run pretty damn fast. :)
 

North Coast Miller

Level 7 Valued Member
Some of my thoughts in random order:

- all MA traditions are effective if applied properly

- the individual instructor can make the difference, not in terms of technique but in terms of making your mental state conducive to survival. This is more important than perfect technique, but if both are lacking you're better off not programed at all rather than being poorly programed.

- 80% of SD is having the "Go-time" factor, recognizing it is a real situation and responding. Most of us will need to get hit first, or at least swung on, pepper sprayed, attempted take down etc before the "Go-time" kicks in. It is important one has the tools to survive the first couple seconds on autopilot.

- relative to the above, most of us will get hit from the side or back first. Your MA abilities for SD need to be basic, applied instinctively, and be defensive and mobility oriented. It is very different from a combat or LE skill where yielding ground is not an expected option. SD = hurt and away

- your technique should be capable of inflicting deadly harm if necessary, as escape is not always an option.

- you need to be mentally prepared to continue with blood, pain, impact-induced confusion, loud noises, angry faces, multiple people shouting etc, all at the same time. The momentary environment won't be anything most of us are familiar with. Refer back to "basic, instinctive, defense and mobility oriented".

- you should be prepared to use a weapon, either improvised or something you have on you, as the odds are multiple attackers, individuals trying to take you to the pavement, or individuals brandishing weapons of their own = deadly force response will be legal and appropriate (and possibly 100% necessary to safeguard your life).

- in the US, handguns are everywhere. Hurt and away, and I mean get the heck outta there. If you have injured someone badly and feel it is prudent to contact the police, get somewhere safe first.

- If you live or work in an environment where SD is likely rather than speculative, get a CC permit and learn safe gun handling. Your personal SD should still be defensive and mobility oriented with the added dimension of clearing your firearm at close quarters. The same techniques can be applied to pepper spray or a small edged weapon.
 

Kozushi

Level 7 Valued Member
Probably the most street-applicable martial art I've done is fencing. It helps you get those red marks on that t-shirt fast.
 

Kettlebelephant

Level 6 Valued Member
I have done my share of martial arts (shotokan, judo, kick boxing, even some krav-maga, etc). I never reached a super high level, I was just a decent and dedicated student.

I had the opportunity, during my short time in the army a long time ago, to "train" with some commando NCOs. It was not their "secret commando training" : it was just that they were kind enough to train martial arts with us on thursdays afternoon. It was a light active recovery for them.

There were some reality check...

1 - Sparring one to one
Go on the tatami. Put the gloves on. Spar with your opponent (punches and kicks). I was doing well.
Reality check : one of the commandos took a glove from the floor, and throw it to my face, while I was sparring. "You just received a bottle in your face, get your hands up, protect yourself !". It hit me right on my temple and my ego.

2 - knife
They were though guys who had real combat experience. The 115kg with no body-fat giant would still say "We, as humans, fear knives. It is an ancestral fear. It is in our genes". When a real tough guy says that, you start to listen.
Reality check : put on a white T-shirt. Have your opponent (an absolute beginner if you wish) use a red marker as a knife. Then fight. You may be shocked by the number of red lines on your shirt before you "win" the fight.

3 - back on the floor
In a MMA fight against one opponent, it can a good tactic. What did our commandos think of it in a real-life situation? "Once you are on the floor, you are dead".

4 - More than one opponent
We had a few sessions where we would be put in a 1-to-2 or 1-to-3 situation.
1-to-2 was already barely manageable for me, against 2 opponents who were A LOT less experienced than I was, in a scenarized situation and a fight that would last 20s.
1-to-3 was just impossible, even though the other 3 were almost beginners.

Martial arts can give an edge. But in a real life situation, for most of us...
Thanks for this.
A friend of mine called me a "p@#$y" when I answered his question "What would you do if someone were to attack you with a knive?" with "Run away!"
He thinks because he goes to a MMA class once per week he's able to handle every situation and I'll always tell him he would end up dead instead.
 

dc

Level 6 Valued Member
Thanks for this.
A friend of mine called me a "p@#$y" when I answered his question "What would you do if someone were to attack you with a knive?" with "Run away!"
He thinks because he goes to a MMA class once per week he's able to handle every situation and I'll always tell him he would end up dead instead.
you're definitely not a p@#$y if you feel like running away, not always the best option though, that's how I got stabbed in the back.
 

Kozushi

Level 7 Valued Member
missed any major arteries & vital organs, plus he was kind enough to leave it in there which slowed the bleeding.
I'm also curious as to how you got yourself out of that kind of lifestyle. I assume you're American and it's way worse there, but I've trained with quite a few guys up here in Canada through the years who 'went the wrong way' - drug dealers and such, and I don't think any of them really got out of that lifestyle, at least not during the time I knew them, and some did not come to good ends.
 

Harry Westgate

Level 6 Valued Member
@Kozushi be careful not to assume too much; there may have been nothing wrong with his lifestyle, rather he just found himself in the wrong place at the wrong time.

I'm sure @dc can clarify this though.
 

Kozushi

Level 7 Valued Member
@Kozushi be careful not to assume too much; there may have been nothing wrong with his lifestyle, rather he just found himself in the wrong place at the wrong time.

I'm sure @dc can clarify this though.
He wrote about having gotten involved in the wrong things on another thread. But, yes, very good advice - it's not fair to make assumptions, I agree.
 

dc

Level 6 Valued Member
@Harry Westgate i appreciate your concern, but kozushi is correct I mentioned it in another thread. There was a lot wrong with my lifestyle & myself at that time. I was a violent criminal who abused alcohol, drugs & people. It was not a wrong place at the wrong time situation, I chose to be there & I was there with bad intentions.
@Kozushi im Australian, leaving that lifestyle is not a decision you can take lightly, you tend to know a lot about other people's criminal activities & once you are no longer regularly incriminating yourself said people can become suspicious & paranoid. It's funny how the universe works if you are open to it, "ask & you shall receive". I was fortunate that two events happened that would've devastated me in the past, but at that precise moment gave me a way out that appeared as if I was forced. First: I misjudged the person I was doing a debt collection from. I assumed he was a businessman with a drug habit that owed money, he was, but he was also very powerful person in the criminal world. I disrespected this individual & he lost face, not good. I was given an ultimatum via my employer to leave town or I may get shot next time we cross paths. My employer wanted to negotiate my staying, then the second event happened. Second: I again misjudged a persons standing within our network, we had a disagreement on how to treat women. This person was very big earner for my employer, after our disagreement he was unable to earn for a period of time.
I was very close to my employer which pretty much saved my skin. It was agreed that I would leave the city I had been living & working & not return for a period that was not specified, it's been 8 yrs & I have not been back. I'm comfortable talking about this as the chances of us crossing paths & you knowing who I am are virtually zero.
 

Kozushi

Level 7 Valued Member
@Harry Westgate i appreciate your concern, but kozushi is correct I mentioned it in another thread. There was a lot wrong with my lifestyle & myself at that time. I was a violent criminal who abused alcohol, drugs & people. It was not a wrong place at the wrong time situation, I chose to be there & I was there with bad intentions.
@Kozushi im Australian, leaving that lifestyle is not a decision you can take lightly, you tend to know a lot about other people's criminal activities & once you are no longer regularly incriminating yourself said people can become suspicious & paranoid. It's funny how the universe works if you are open to it, "ask & you shall receive". I was fortunate that two events happened that would've devastated me in the past, but at that precise moment gave me a way out that appeared as if I was forced. First: I misjudged the person I was doing a debt collection from. I assumed he was a businessman with a drug habit that owed money, he was, but he was also very powerful person in the criminal world. I disrespected this individual & he lost face, not good. I was given an ultimatum via my employer to leave town or I may get shot next time we cross paths. My employer wanted to negotiate my staying, then the second event happened. Second: I again misjudged a persons standing within our network, we had a disagreement on how to treat women. This person was very big earner for my employer, after our disagreement he was unable to earn for a period of time.
I was very close to my employer which pretty much saved my skin. It was agreed that I would leave the city I had been living & working & not return for a period that was not specified, it's been 8 yrs & I have not been back. I'm comfortable talking about this as the chances of us crossing paths & you knowing who I am are virtually zero.
I guess it's hard to collect from bigger criminals. Interesting story. So you were basically 'fired' - which is a very good thing, because it was a safe way out of that way of life!
 

Tirofijo

Level 5 Valued Member
Craig Douglas (AKA "SouthNarc") runs a 2.5 day course called ECQC (Extreme Close Quarters Concepts). Students are taught shooting from retention (when the bad guy is at very close distance) but the highlight of the course is unscripted exercises (called 'evos' or evolutions) where the participants arm themselves with training knives and simutitions (marking rounds fired from pistols), put on helmets and fight force on force. The 'bad guy(s)' are not role players, so in other words they are free to do what they want and go 100%, rather than follow a script and go at slower speeds, which is usually how it goes with role players.

Most (but not all) of the participants come from a gun-centric background. The key takeaway for those guys is that that having a pistol or a knife isn't going to solve all your problems. If you find yourself on your back, with the opponent mounting you or even in your guard, there's a good probability you may lose your pistol when you draw it if you haven't controlled the limbs.

And of course, the "I'll just draw my gun and shoot him" crowd has their eyes open when they get taken down before they have a chance to draw, because you can't just brandish your weapon at every person that approaches you on the street. And you can't go through life yelling at people to 'back the f up'. So again, the takeaway is that just having a gun or knife doesn't mean you are prepared.

More than a few people have taken the class and then enrolled in a BJJ gym. You may not want to go to the ground in a fight (i wouldn't) but you might find yourself there against your will, at which point you'll wish you had at least the basics in BJJ.

It's on my very short list of classes to take. Here's a video that shows a bit of the course.
 
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Kozushi

Level 7 Valued Member
I have done my share of martial arts (shotokan, judo, kick boxing, even some krav-maga, etc). I never reached a super high level, I was just a decent and dedicated student.

I had the opportunity, during my short time in the army a long time ago, to "train" with some commando NCOs. It was not their "secret commando training" : it was just that they were kind enough to train martial arts with us on thursdays afternoon. It was a light active recovery for them.

There were some reality check...

1 - Sparring one to one
Go on the tatami. Put the gloves on. Spar with your opponent (punches and kicks). I was doing well.
Reality check : one of the commandos took a glove from the floor, and throw it to my face, while I was sparring. "You just received a bottle in your face, get your hands up, protect yourself !". It hit me right on my temple and my ego.

2 - knife
They were though guys who had real combat experience. The 115kg with no body-fat giant would still say "We, as humans, fear knives. It is an ancestral fear. It is in our genes". When a real tough guy says that, you start to listen.
Reality check : put on a white T-shirt. Have your opponent (an absolute beginner if you wish) use a red marker as a knife. Then fight. You may be shocked by the number of red lines on your shirt before you "win" the fight.

3 - back on the floor
In a MMA fight against one opponent, it can a good tactic. What did our commandos think of it in a real-life situation? "Once you are on the floor, you are dead".

4 - More than one opponent
We had a few sessions where we would be put in a 1-to-2 or 1-to-3 situation.
1-to-2 was already barely manageable for me, against 2 opponents who were A LOT less experienced than I was, in a scenarized situation and a fight that would last 20s.
1-to-3 was just impossible, even though the other 3 were almost beginners.

Martial arts can give an edge. But in a real life situation, for most of us...
Of course, but imagine two trained martial arts people against two or possibly three untrained ones who are just angry, or the lone road rage incident where one is an untrained raging lunatic and the other is a trained martial artist or combat sports guy. Having said that, I think martial artists learn pretty fast how vulnerable not only their opponents are but they themselves are, and the first instinct you learn to or should learn to listen to is the instinct to de-escalate things, get out of there, or otherwise try to avoid an actual fight. Sometimes posturing and threats work, and in my mind, it's a way of showing the bully that he had better not attack you - it actually can de-escalate things by scaring the bully off, or if you pull knives or other weapons out - this can help too if it's truly needed, HOPEFULLY NOT THOUGH.
 
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