Martial Arts & Self Defence

Discussion in 'Self Defence' started by Simon, Jan 11, 2015.

  1. Simon

    Simon Administrator Admin Supporter MAP 2017 Koyo Award

    There are a lot of questions regarding which martial arts are best for self defence, and lots of claims from certain arts as to why their approach is the most effective.

    Here at MAP we've always said that generally self defence (SD) is a separate subject away from regular martial arts classes and this thread is here to explain why and to assist those looking for SD.

    There are a few basics that aren't covered in regular martial arts classes and that should certainly be understood by anyone claiming to teach self defence.

    • The law and your rights
    • Verbal de-escalation
    • Types of aggressor
    • Key responses to aggression

    The law and your rights

    Here in England we are bound by the same set of laws. That is they don't change from city to city, but this certainly isn't the case for other countries, so there isn't a one size fits all.

    It's important that your instructor is aware of local laws. Some countries permit the carrying of weapons, some don't, but as mentioned at the start of this thread, this isn't something mentioned in a regular training session.

    Verbal de-escalation

    You will see an attempt at verbal de-escalation in SD drills, but do they go far enough?

    Does your training partner understand their role here? Your defences will only be effective if you're given the correct cues.

    Is the attacker playing the role of a burglar, sexual attacker, someone on drugs, or perhaps someone who has had too much to drink?

    Different types of aggressor will reach differently to verbal and physical cues, so the role and understanding of the attacker is vital.

    So when you shout, "back off", who are you shouting it too? It may be that your aggressor reacts poorly to an order like that and that should be reflected in their response.

    Types of aggressor

    I personally have never been to a martial arts class where this has been fully explained, even during SD sessions.

    You may face reactive aggression. Perhaps from someone who is just having a bad day and takes out their anger on you.

    It may be pathological aggression, so drink and drugs.

    A basic understanding is necessary, as each aggressor is going to react differently.

    Key responses to aggression

    You can respond without being physical. "Help me understand what you mean", may be enough to diffuse physical conflict.

    Batari's box describes it well.

    batari box.jpg

    So already we've indicated several things that aren't included in many martial arts classes, but what about those schools that claim to teach SD?

    The problem with many classes is the level of realism. The techniques look nasty enough, but if you take a look at the following video you'll see that the aggressor stops as soon as the victim starts to fight back.

    [ame=""]The Best Krav Maga practitioner in the World - YouTube[/ame]

    Here is a good scenario based video and you can see how after just 30 seconds the practitioners are completely out of breath. This is as much from the adrenaline rush as it is dealing with two guys chasing you across the street.

    This drill could be done again with all parties in head gear and body armour and punches, kicks and elbows being thrown.

    [ame=""]Self-Defense Instructor vs 2 Street Thugs - YouTube[/ame]

    In regard to training in armour there are a couple of methods you can use.

    The first is to have one person in armour and the other without it. The person in the armour is instructed to react as they would without it. That is to say if they're hit with enough force they go down.

    [ame=""]The Approach_vol8_full_contact.mp4 - YouTube[/ame]

    Some are not so keen on this method and prefer to have all parties in armour.

    [ame=""]Self Defence Scenario Training and Pressure Testing - YouTube[/ame]

    As you can see from both examples this isn't sparring.

    While I'm sure we'd all rather face someone who had never done any sparring, sparring generally doesn't prepare you for the industrial bad language, the posturing, multiple attackers, weapons and different scenarios.

    So in summary I hope now the difference between a regular martial arts class and SD training is a little clearer.

    Train in whatever art you chose because you love it. If you do have an interest in SD then seek it out as a separate subject. You don't need to move away from your regular class, in fact SD training will enhance it, as you'll look at how you apply yourself and your techniques in a whole new light.

    I hope also that you can see not all SD classes are created equally.

    There is a place for SD in a martial arts class, as long as the instructor explains the difference between a martial arts technique and one that can be applied in SD.
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2015
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  2. LemonSloth

    LemonSloth Laugh and grow fat!

    Brilliant stuff. I think a thread like this has been long overdue. Thanks for posting this :).
    Hapki54 likes this.
  3. belltoller

    belltoller OffTopic MonstreOrdinaire Supporter

    Agree. Very hard to summerise and yet fully encapsulate such a complex, misunderstood issue but here it is.
  4. axelb

    axelb Master of Office Chair Fu

    Even though I haven't properly trained for a few years, I always try and explain this to people looking to start "self defence".

    This is a great summary reference to all the important points to consider.
  5. narcsarge

    narcsarge Masticated Whey

    Well done Simon! Tough subjects to separate and work on individually. I think you're spending the new year deep in thought!
  6. LemonSloth

    LemonSloth Laugh and grow fat!

    One thing I'd like to ask is for those instructors on here who do actually discuss SD scenarios with their students:

    1) Just how much time you spend during your teaching time discussing basic SD principles to your students? Is it something you incorporate in your main classes or something that is talked out occasionally or something else (like out of class)? Do you use video footage often or at all?

    2) Where do you source your stats from in relation to crime statistics - particularly things like knife and armed crime in a certain county/city/country?

    3) How do you train people who are playing the part of the aggressor to act appropriately? Say you're doing a simulation where (for example) the victim is in an enclose space like a pub or bus stop and the aggressor is (again, example) intoxicated in some way? Are there certain pointers/body language cues/verbal cues you instruct them to respond to?
  7. Hannibal

    Hannibal Cry HAVOC and let slip the Dogs of War!!! Supporter

    1) Its a constant theme, and with the techniques I demonstrate articulation and necessity is always included. I also give stand alone input

    2) Work :)

    3) I give them guidelines of where to go if the student does x or's akin to a script but less restrictive
  8. bodyshot

    bodyshot Brown Belt Zanshin Karate

    During my realitively short tenure here on map I have realized that Im no S.D. expert and that as the op has demonstrated there are many styles of sd training. Thanks for the informative video and keep up the good work.
  9. Travess

    Travess The Welsh MAPper Supporter

    Excellent thread Simon - Thank You!

    It really does depend on what we a running during a particular session, as to whether the subject of relevant SD is included - So Kihon (basics) and Kata sessions have very little to with Self defense, but Partner drills, pressure testing techniques and Scenario sessions will always be run to include 'Real' self Defense techniques/strategies (as outlined by Simon above)

    We will also have a handful of what I call 'Classroom sessions' each year, where we will discuss UK self defense law, Habitual acts of Violence, Verbal de-escalation, identifying relevant Vs. unrelevant physical threats, post self defense issues (Dealing with what comes next - understanding how to make a statement to the police, either as an involved party, or as a witness/bustander, for example)

    In addition to the many online sources that Crime stats can be found, especially if you search big city University sites, we have a serving Police officer, as well as a former PCO, whose input is always very helpful - Then of course there is always personal experiences of club members, for that up to date personal touch, of any local Crime/Violence issues! (from an information perspective, not a perpetrating one! Lol)

    1st part of the question is easy, as I am nearly always 'Cast' in the role of the aggressor, in the 1st instance, then others that follow have usually just followed my lead (Note: This is more due to a certain level of acting ability, than it is an innate level of aggression)

    As for the rest, as Hannibal has already pointed out, it is beneficial to have what we call a 'Scenario brief' - Which is useful for a couple of reason, 1) it provides outlines for those taking part, and 2) it allows you to chop and change the 'players' and there 'roles' to maximize the possible outcomes, and in turn the potential experience gained, from a single scenario.

    Kind Regards,

  10. John Titchen

    John Titchen Still Learning Supporter

    Discussion I try to avoid unless I feel the topic merits stopping the physical element of the lesson, but I usually get dragged into a group conversation for at least 5 minutes every lesson, particularly with the newest students. All the drills I teach are referenced to self defence principles and use of force and the law is something I cover regularly. Outside of class the syllabus has written sections on self defence principles and the rationales behind our approaches and students sit open or closed book written exams on this material at every grading.

    I used to use the British Crime Survey along with Home Office papers and other sources. I now predominantly use material from:
    Crime Survey in England and Wales
    Library of the House of Commons Knife Crime Statistics
    Papers from the Violence and Society Research Group England and Wales (eg A&E injury data)
    Home Office Statistical Bulletins
    Tackling Knives and Serious Youth Violence Programme (TKAP) papers
    Home Office Research Study Papers (eg Gun Crime: the market and use of illegal firearms)
    I combine the data picture of these with personal and anecdotal experience of violent crime from students, friends, professional acquaintances, along with observations from written media on violent human behaviour and footage of events.

    At Scenario training days I tend to follow the safety briefings by showing videos of real events and go through the body language cues. I also talk about the different motivations for action and how these are likely to affect the approach and whether de-escalation is likely to be successful. Depending on the mix of participants I may incorporate some verbal into the contact acclimatisation to see who can role play aggressively and who can't - not everyone can.
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  11. David Harrison

    David Harrison MAPper without portfolio

    A little aside, purely for terminology:

    In the theatre world, that is called a "score" (as in a musical score), to distinguish it from a script... darling.
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  12. Moosey

    Moosey invariably, a moose Supporter

    Nice intro to the subject, Simon.

    I think that if I were to ever start teaching karate, I'd stay away from any claims of teaching "self-defence" and simply advertise myself as teaching "karate" - no more, no less.
  13. Yes, moosey! Self defense is a broad term to use, in some cases, I.e there's personal protection and personnel protection each one has different aspects. By keeping things general ones keeps it indeterminable therefore one excercise your practice for different situations as and where required.
  14. Tom bayley

    Tom bayley Valued Member

    Martial art / sport art = " a system for learning how to fight".

    Self defence = " a system for learning how to avoid a fight" plus "a system for learning how to fight if necessary while creating opportunities to escape"
  15. TheGreenNinja

    TheGreenNinja New Member

    Well there is a problem with "self defense" and "the law". For example: in Sweden, if someone punches you and you block it, you are then not allowed to counter attack. The reason is because you already avoided the agressors attack and doing anything against him/her after that would be considered revenge. But in reality if you did not counter back the attacker would just punch you again. He will not just apoligize and go home you know. Same goes for most situations. For instance: if a rapist grabs a womans wrist to force her to stay against her will or pull her away somewhere she dont want to go, the law only permits that woman to do some sort of friendly release maneuver. But in reality the rapist will only attack her again and what she just did will only purspone the event. And Before you say it, its not that easy to run away from someone. Especially if the attacker is younger and in sneakers (which is often the case). So taking the law in consideration often makes self defense unrealistic and futile.
  16. Dead_pool

    Dead_pool Spes mea in nihil Deus MAP 2017 Moi Award

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  17. Smitfire

    Smitfire Cactus Schlong

    Swedish SD law seems very similar in intent to UK law.
    You are allowed to use reasonable force (up to and including lethal force), given the events as you perceived them at the time, to prevent a crime.
    I'd be willing bet a lot that it doesn't require a woman, at risk of rape, to do a grip release and no more.
  18. Pretty In Pink

    Pretty In Pink Moved on MAP 2017 Gold Award

    Seems to be quite in favour of defendants:

    "A person who commits acts which are "blatantly unjustifiable" while in peril may also escape conviction if the situation were such that the person "could not be expected to maintain control of himself". For instance, such a situation might be if the defending party were in a state of great fear or severe rage because of the peril."

    If I caught someone trying to abduct my child or something mental like that I could potentially kill that person before I got my head straight.
  19. Hannibal

    Hannibal Cry HAVOC and let slip the Dogs of War!!! Supporter

    This is yet more reason to never take SD or legal advice from the unqualified - an incredibly inaccurate post reflecting the same
    Scaremongering, half truths and outright porkies found in the UK, Canada and plethora of other places
  20. Simon

    Simon Administrator Admin Supporter MAP 2017 Koyo Award

    You could of course seek out an expert in the field of SD, learn a bit about how you'd act given certain scenarios and gain a great deal of knowledge in the legal field.

    Like ME on the 8th September.

    John Titchen's SIM Day here I come.

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