June 15, 2024

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Real Self Defense Vs Martial Arts

For years most self defense training practiced by people was through their local martial arts club or dojo. While most people who do teach Reality Based self defense have some form of a martial arts background, there is a huge difference between real self defense and martial arts.

My self defense background also began in the martial arts world. I trained and received my black belt in Shotokan karate. It was an excellent introduction to learning how to strike, kick, and learn throws. As I began exploring more of the world and real self defense, I found while those skills were necessary and beneficial, they were by no means meant for the stress and panic of a real attack scenario.

First of all, when you train in a dojo, respect for your training partner is paramount, which is the exact opposite to how an attacker sees you in the street. Think of it, in a real street attack, your attacker has chosen you because they have no respect for you and consider you to be an easy target. Why else would they have chosen you? An attacker does not look at a potential victim as a challenge that will make them into a better attacker.

Rather,they have sized you up as the easiest person to get whatever they are after. As Tony Blauer (self defense expert) says, “An attacker only wants one of 3 things, either your property, your body or your life”. In a dojo, your training partner does not want any of those things, so how do you train to give yourself the best tools necessary to handle a real street confrontation.

MMA and the UFC are huge these days attracting millions of viewers and fans. While these warriors are obviously well skilled in striking, grappling and many forms of the martial arts, we still set rules when they are in combat. Think of it, why are strikes such as eye gouges, biting, small joint manipulation, strikes to the back of the head not allowed? Simply because THEY ARE EFFECTIVE!

My favourite disallowed technique is that you are not allowed to put a finger into any orifice or into any cut or laceration on an opponent. That one is just nasty. There are about 20 strikes or techniques that are not allowed. Guess what? In a real street attack those are probably your best tools to utilize. Also, traditionally in martial arts we learn skills that involve complex motor skills which are just not designed for a high stress situation. When your heart rate reaches approximately 150 beats per minute all your body is able to perform is Gross Motor movements and strikes like palms, elbows, and knees. Complex motor skills can only be introduced once you are in physical and mental control of your attacker.

In a real attack scenario you are hit emotionally first. When I trained and became certified in Personal Defense Readiness through Tony Blauer I quickly realized how true this is. Most systems completely ignore this aspect of self defense and it is just as important, if not important, than having the physical tools to defend yourself. As Mr. Blauer says, “The mind navigates the body”. What this means is you can have all the physical knowledge of self defense in the world, but if you are not prepared mentally, you will not be able to use those physical skills. Real self defense training incorporates Emotional Climate training (PDR) in their drills. Instead of having a partner who cooperates with you, they provide the resistance and emotions of a real attacker. What this does is help to recreate as much as possible, all the details of a real attack.

In closing, while martial arts is a great way to learn some of the skills involved in self defense, one must learn all else that goes with the physical skills.