I do believe there is a place for basic “self defense” for casual people who don’t want to do “martial arts”. By this, I mean you offer them;
1. Awareness; avoid it, de-esculate it, escape.
2. Adrenaline response. Introduce some adrenaline because it is your enemy. “Self Defense” as it is involves big gross motions, simple stuff, threat elimination, and RUNNING LIKE HELL.
Face it, not everyone wants to train. So offer them some “tricks” and some advice and maybe they won’t ever face any real violence. But “self defense” in this country, in this time, in this society has become a joke and dillusion.
I had a guy who is a “black belt” in one of those new “fad” modern self defense systems. Why he is training with us I have no clue? Well, the other day after sparring, where he was KO’ed, he was attempting to justify his experience.
HIM: “if I could have only used my elbows or head butts”…..
ANSWER” You were KO’ed by punches. In fact, as soon as we started punching you curled up in a ball in the corner.
If I can land punches at will on you, don’t you think I could have elbowed you as well? Or pushed you down in the corner and soccer kicked you in the head? Or knee’ed you in the face? If you can’t handle my relatively controlled so called “kickboxing” offense, what do you think would happen in a complete no rules assault where I wasn’t being “nice”?
Let’s deal with something that should be obvious. NOTHING is a real fight, period. Unless you scatter the ground with crap and broken glass, get a gang of buddies, use concealed weapons, and beat the hell out of eachother, with a curb in your school to smash teeth on, you aren’t going 100%…
We are talking about degrees of realism. The fundamental tension is between safety and rationality in training vs. the realism of a potential threat. When you put on boxing gloves and do drills, you aren’t going 100% and trying to kill eachother, and it isn’t a real street fight BUT….
1. You are hitting with a lot more power than most “one step” and other pre-arranged drills that some “traditionalists” do.
2. The punches are being thrown in real range (ie if you didn’t block them, they’d hit you).
3. The punches are being thrown as they would be (ie actual angle and positional relationship) in a real fight
I have bad news for the “self defense” guys, with gloves you can go harder than you can without, without getting injury, which means you can do it more, and more often.
Whether you are aware of it or not, you are inducing adrenaline response. Basicly, most students forget 1) how freaked out they were doing the drills the first time and 2) how we did the drill a lot slower and lighter the first time(s).
After a few weeks, you are actually going harder and faster, and are more relaxed doing it. If you took someone without the previous training and dropped them in the middle of say, a three week experience person at this drill, they’d be lost. But the change is subtle over time so you often don’t see it.
Being able to do it in something APPROACHING realism is “aliveness” and it is the key to whether something is going to work or not.
NOW GO TRAIN!