Few people understand what self-defense really is
Since there is a lot of confusion on this subject, it’s important to stress some facts:
- Martial arts – The primary goal of the study of a martial art is not self-defense, in 90% of cases the reason is to discover ourselves (read Martial art and self-defense: what are the differences?)
- Combat sports – The practice of combat sports does not teach anything about self-defense, it teaches how to fight in a competitive but controlled situation (read The 6 types of martial clash)
- Warfare combat systems – What a warfare combat system teaches as nothing to do with civilian safety, it teaches to kill or be killed (read Best martial arts for self-defense)
Self-defense is the study of the best way to solve a dangerous situation, with the less possible use of violence (read Personal defense: the S.A.F.E. method).
Which martial arts are actually effective in the street and which ones are not?
In terms of self-defense, probably all those who include:
- Stress management
- Daily training
- Legal awareness
- A multidisciplinary approach
- The use of (proper / improper) weapons
And (necessarily) those who exclude:
- Only fake collaborative simulations
- Too complex / aesthetic techniques
- Too easy solutions
- Violence as the first choice
- Omnicomprehensive solutions
- Disarming techniques for novices
- Only training sessions inside a protected gym-like context
- Illusions of invulnerability / invincibility
Everything is related to the instructor
Even within these parameters, it is not possible to compile a list of names (like Krav Maga, Jeet Kune Do, etc.) because everything depends on the instructor’s mindset.
Here there are a few questions in relation to our instructor:
- Does he know what is he talking about? Has he ever been involved in a fight (even sportive, even sparring)?
- Does he know the law and the collateral risks? Does he speaks by hearsay or has he experienced firsthand what he says?
- Has he ever been involved in a self-defense situation? How has he reacted?
- Has he spent on preparing / studying self-defense more than a few hours in a stage or not?
- Has he the intelligence to distinguish between practicing violence and avoiding it?
- And above all, has he the intellectual honesty to admit what are his limits and the ones of what he teaches?
If we must forcibly reply with a long list of “no”, we are in front of a person, not necessarily incompetent in his field but that (probably) cannot teach us self-defense.
- Why martial arts do not work: 5 reasons – The most relevant problems that make martial arts useless
- Recognize a good / bad master: 5 characteristics – 5 attitudes that can identify a bad teacher
- Thanks to jasmine for this question and her donation to 6 Dragons Kung Fu
Reply in the comments and share your experience:
- What is your opinion about what self-defense should be?
Author: Master Kongling
Founder of 6 Dragons Kung Fu.