A talk about what works. Please participate.

Discussion in 'Self Defence' started by Combat Sports, Nov 13, 2012.

  1. Combat Sports

    Combat Sports Formerly What Works

    Because of my deep interest in the issues presented in "Tao of Jeet Kune Do" by Bruce Lee I became very interested in "what actually works". I read and re-read that book several times and plan to do so again now that I have plunged back into the martial arts world. And back into situations that cause me to have to break up violence.

    My personal training is limited. Money always held me back. But I read books like crazy and have always been into strategy. I also got into a lot of fights due to my childhood. (I lived in an area where I was a racial minority and was often targeted with violence for that reason.)

    My children recently became old enough that bullies are now an issue and this kind of re-lit the fire of my interest in this topic, along with the fact that I am a journalist who covers protests and other events in the Occupy movement. Though Occupy itself is a peaceful movement we end up in some of the worst neighborhoods in the country and I often find myself needing to break up fights. I have very strong verbal skills for this and I have yet to have to do anything physical. But being exposed to people who are so stoned on crack or meth that you cannot reason with them has also become a problem. (Not Occupiers, but the homeless people who tend to show up looking for food or a fire.)

    I felt helpless because I realized I knew how to hurt people. What I was not confident in was my ability to deal with people like that without hurting them. While at the same time not getting myself hurt.

    In my journey to do this I think back on the various fights I have been in and what worked and what did not.

    I also watched the evolution of the UFC and where it is today. And I remember why Bruce Lee refused to get into competition because he did not want to learn habits that would hurt him in street fights. That said, I also fully understand where MMA people are coming from when they point out the effectiveness of training in an environment where all of your techniue can be resisted. Bruce Lee advocated hard sparring during his training.

    I have seen a lot of arguments about various strategies and whether or not they work. The Wing Chun vs. MMA argument in particular seems to be a hot one. Grappling vs. Striking, etc.

    As someone who studied Tao of Jeet Kune do I don't seek supremacy for my style. Jeet Kune Do without hesitation absorbs that which works, and casts out that which does not.

    I realized however that this topic is a difficult one. Because what works has so many variables to it. I have met Wing Chun practitioners who have absolutely destroyed people in street fights. So the idea that Trapping and all that not working does not really fit my experience. That said there are people who have seen people doing Chi Sao tactics get destroyed by MMA fighters.

    So when we are talking about "What Works?" there is also the huge variable about what works on WHOM. In a streetfight against an average thug I see Wing Chun aggressive chain punching working just as well as an MMA fighter taking someone out with Muay Thai or grappling.

    But, one thing I learned from the streets was generally you get to beat one guy's butt pretty good. Then he shows up with five or so of his buddies. This is a situation I do not want to be rolling on the ground for. HOWEVER it is a situation that will likely put you on the ground. So knowing how to defend yourself on the ground is critical. But going down there on purpose as you see some people suggest is a bad idea particularly depending on the terrain.

    So after kind of setting the one for this conversation, I will ask that people first of all remain completely respectful. Talk about WHAT WORKED for you. Give examples of it. I encourage people to post videos of real fights to talk about what you would do or what you learned. I have several of my own lined up.

    Lets have a free exchange of our own expiriences and try to get to the bottom of it. Remembering that many things you learn in competition will absolutely help you in a streetfight. HOWEVER many things you cannot do in competition would be great in a streetfight.
  2. Considered

    Considered New Member

    When I was a teenager I was attacked by a psycho guy who knocked me out. At that time I was studying martial arts, so I should have been able to deal with him, but I was unable to because I was afraid - and that made me freeze. When I was in my mid-twenties I was attacked on the street by another psycho, and I defended myself successfully, I was able to do so for 2 reasons:

    1. I had learned to still my mind
    2. Lots of training

    When this guy came ranting and raving at me I didn't have time to be afraid because I immediately centred myself, I concentrated completely on the present moment, when he attacked I was more aware than him, so it was easy to deal with. Afterwards I realised that when someone attacks, in that situation, they are generally dealing with at least 2 different things in their mind i.e. their anger/reason and their physical actions... which is an advantage if you are defending because you've only got one thing to do.

    Secondly, in terms of being effective with my own actions, because I was dedicating plenty of time to training I was able to deal with him effortlessly, and while he may have walked away with a few minor bruises and a dented ego, no blood was shed, no bones were broken, and I hardly hurt him at all.

    So, I would say good awareness of the moment and plenty of training are important factors.

    There is quite a good book that talks about the moment of action, in that context, here:
    [ame="http://www.amazon.com/The-Zen-Way-Martial-Arts/dp/0140193448/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1352775856&sr=8-1&keywords=zen+way+to+martial+arts"]The Zen Way to Martial Arts: A Japanese Master Reveals the Secrets of the Samurai (Compass): Taisen Deshimaru, Nancy Amphoux, George Leonard: 9780140193442: Amazon.com: Books[/ame]
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2012
  3. Considered

    Considered New Member

    ** second message posted in error
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2012
  4. Combat Sports

    Combat Sports Formerly What Works

    Good stuff!

    Good stories.

    What you are touching on is a crucial part of self defense that I have seen many people neglect. And I am wrestling right now with how to impart it on my children.

    Beyond any fear of the opponent we are grilled with "Don't hit!" at a very young age. It gives us this hesitation. The day I finally got in a fight and won completely I had to spend about 20 minutes meditating to get myself to the right mindset. I had to overcome years of being yelled at never to hit anyone. I was in a rare situation where initiation of force on my part was to prevent someone from continuing to victimize me. Most people don't have this kind of time to prep.

    I have been teaching my kids "It's ok to HIT BACK." and so far it seems to be working.

    Not sure if you read my other post with my background, but I studied "To Shin Do" which is the Stephen Hayes McDojo version of Ninjitsu. It still has a lot of solid tech to it, but the whole time I was in the dojo I got the feeling that I could beat up a lot of people in the class who would know what to do, but would they be able to do it? Tank Abbot had no style at all but he would win fights in the UFC against people who were high ranked in traditional martial arts because point sparring and all that does not prepare you for someone who is coming after you with what Cus said about Mike Tyson "Bad intentions..."
  5. Considered

    Considered New Member


    An important aspect of the multiple attacker scenario is going to be footwork, I noticed that a lot of martial arts have really clever footwork for changing range and angles/direction.
  6. Combat Sports

    Combat Sports Formerly What Works

    Absolutely, but another critical way to success in multiple opponent is being able to deal with opponents very fast, even if it's just temporary. Throws are good for this but so are very well placed strikes.

    This video is slow to get started, but once it is going you will understand why I consider it a must see.

    1. The people he is fighting are not trained.

    2. He uses rapid strikes and strong footwork to take out what looks like a dozen or so guys.

    [ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_4ehL45sTJQ"]Boxer fights angry crowd (UNCENSORED) - YouTube[/ame]
  7. sensei_dez

    sensei_dez Valued Member

    I think you guys are right on the money. Having the intent, the focus, and drilling in those reactions so you don’t hesitate, that’s what makes a martial art work. One misconception I often see about martial arts is that you’re supposed to take those fancy elaborate movements in kata, and cut and paste them into a fight, you’re not, and that doesn’t mean that artform doesn’t work.

    That video was perfect I’ve seen goju ryu guys, TKD guys, and kenpo guys sparring and in every case it goes back to that, hands up, on your toes, throw solid hits, kenpo people don’t try to fancy techniques, TKD people don’t do jumpy spiny head kicks. Basics are what hold you in a fight in my opinion. comments?
  8. gapjumper

    gapjumper Intentionally left blank


    You hesitate, you are in trouble.

    You stop and "decide" which technique to perform next, you are in trouble.

    You hit someone, wait to see what effect it had before you do something else, you are in trouble (unless you hit like Tyson!).
  9. John Titchen

    John Titchen Still Learning Supporter

    Hi What Works?

    I recommend you read Gavin De Becker's Protecting the Gift:
    [ame="http://www.amazon.com/Protecting-Gift-Keeping-Children-Teenagers/dp/0440509009/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1352798493&sr=8-1&keywords=protecting+the+gift"]Protecting the Gift: Keeping Children and Teenagers Safe (and Parents Sane): Gavin de Becker: 9780440509004: Amazon.com: Books[/ame]

    and Asken's Warrior Mindset
    [ame="http://www.amazon.com/Warrior-Mindset-Dr-Michael-Asken/dp/0964920557/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1352798749&sr=1-1&keywords=warrior+mindset%5D"]Warrior Mindset: Dr. Michael Asken, Loren W. Christensen, Dave Grossman, Human Factor Research Group: 9780964920552: Amazon.com: Books[/ame]

    As good guides to put training and approaches into context.
  10. Combat Sports

    Combat Sports Formerly What Works

    I will look into that.

    I hope more of you will share your own self defense stories and feelings on what tech works and what does not.
  11. YouKnowWho

    YouKnowWho Valued Member

    Old saying said that if you are good in "foot sweep", you should be able to take care 80% of your opponents.
  12. ap Oweyn

    ap Oweyn Ret. Supporter

    Sometimes. I was in a situation where I saw a skateboarder mouthing off to a bunch of frat guys who were lined up to get into a bar. Two of them broke off from the pack and started bouncing this kid off the nearest car. I broke in, tried to talk things down, hesitated in throwing the first punch, and bought myself enough time to be informed that they were undercover cops.

    Would have made for a very notable birthday for my girlfriend at the time if she'd had to bail me out of jail for hitting a LEO.
  13. Dean Winchester

    Dean Winchester Valued Member

    Edit: wrong thread.
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2012
  14. Dean Winchester

    Dean Winchester Valued Member

    That's down to them though isn't it?

    If there is a concern for your safety and you can legally carry then isn't it worth investing time, money and effort in getting some solid firearms, force and legal training behind you?
  15. gapjumper

    gapjumper Intentionally left blank

    Should undercover cops really be acting in that way?

    And that wasn't really the type/timing of hesitation I was meaning to discuss.
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2012
  16. Sketco

    Sketco Banned Banned

    That's the point though. You weren't expecting it, he wouldn't have been expecting a night in the tank. Have you met my friend Murphy?
  17. Combat Sports

    Combat Sports Formerly What Works

    I think the point is that suggesting that firearms work in self defense situations goes a little too close to the many times I have heard people suggest that their firearm is why they don't need training.

    A weapon is only useful if it is present. This is why people don't train Katana for self defense as you are rarely going to have one when you are attacked at the bar, at the club, at a concert, etc.

    There is another reason, you have to weigh carefully when and if you are going to use your firearm and under what circumstances. People talk about "not escalating" well if you kick it all the way up to firearm that's the maximum escalation there is.

    Now, all of that said I do advocate that people who can carry, do. When I was hanging with the people at Occupy Flint most of the people camping there were armed most of the time. However, one does not get to pick when they are attacked and what they will have on them when it happens. We should be able to defend ourselves in as many situations as possible.
  18. Dean Winchester

    Dean Winchester Valued Member

    Well again that's their problem and doesn't take away from a firearm being a useful tool. I think that's how you have to look at all this, what tools are available and what training for those tools is required.

    Indeed. However the sword comparison is somewhat off, a sword in an archaic weapon that has little place in society in most countries today the same can not be said of a handgun.

    These are legal to carry in some parts of the world and they are relevant in today's world. You can get the appropriate training for them and they can be a tool in your self protection kit.

    Just because there are times when you will be without is no reason to disregard their place and usefulness.

    Again that is not a reason to ignore them. At the opposite end of the spectrum there will be times when they are valid. You need a wholistic approach to training, everything from soft skills through to the various levels of force.

    You can limit the possibilities and make you a difficult and unappealing target and while I admit taking your gun into the shower with you may be a little paranoid being able to carry while you are out along with the good soft skills would be very handy.

    For everything else there's Judo. :D
  19. ap Oweyn

    ap Oweyn Ret. Supporter

    Nope. Which causes one to wonder what they'd have done to that thing I affectionately refer to as "my head" if I'd punched one of them.

    I know. I'm simply pointing out that, sometimes, it's not quite as cut-and-dry as we like to make it sound.
  20. John R. Gambit

    John R. Gambit The 'Rona Wrangler

    I'm a little unclear about what focus you want this thread to go in WW.

    Is this your primary question? You want to be able to restrain an attacker without damaging them?

    If so, there are systems designed specifically for less-lethal force taught to LEO/military/security. You could also study aikido, though personally I'm not a fan. You could take judo (probably most economic), BJJ, wrestling, etc. Basically you're restricted to ground or stand-up grappling. It's a lot easier to damage someone than control them, so you'd hafta study your butt off and maintain excellent endurance.

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