Wednesday, June 30, 2010

The biggest problem with martial arts and self defense

Martial arts and self defense as taught today is about fighting when it should be about surviving.

Why is it that way? The reason is simple - the majority of self defense is derived from martial arts. Martial arts are about fighting.
Also, all competitive martial sports are about fighting.
These two things encompass (almost) the entire world of self defense and martial arts today.

If we are serious about the goal most people have with studying self defense - survival - then we must rethink everything we are teaching.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Which martial art do I recommend to people?

I get a lot of emails asking "what martial art should I take?". I kind of answered (in a long winded way) in my post about ALL sorts of martial arts you could study. Thing is, the people who end up on my blog are generally looking for the arts that *I* would study and want to study something similar.

Currently, Krav Maga is always the first one I recommend to people who have never taken a class before or have very limited experience. Krav Maga is the best thing you will find for every day self defense. Even the seasoned practitioner can learn something here.

To those who want to learn weapons or have experience I always recommend Kali/Escrima/Arnis. It's great for anyone who is well-experienced in an art already and is comfortable with themselves self-defense-wise.

Personally I think both of them are still significantly lacking in many respects (which is why this blog exists). Unfortunately, I have yet to find a style that I would recommend over either of them.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Escape and distance creation

The first concept for components for a new martial art. This relates directly with goal-based martial arts.

I very unscientifically estimate that around 99% of personal assault should be met with the goal of escape. Distance creation is directly related to escape. What can it give you?

  • The ability to completely avoid a fight
  • Time to survive, yell or people to see you
  • Space
  • Time to think
  • Time to find a weapon

Escape and distance creation doesn't necessarily mean getting out of a hold. It doesn't mean pushing away even. It can be as simple as stepping backwards or giving a verbal warning.

Typically, modern martial arts teach us to restrain, attack, defend and escape all at equal levels of importance.

Rare are the cases for the average person in which you would need to do something other than escape or create distance. Generally, if nothing else is at risk other thank your own life and safety, you should not consider doing anything but escaping.

Some will argue that modern martial arts teach escape "too". The real question is not whether or not they teach it, but why, since it is the 95-99% case, it is not trained 95-99% of the time.