Sam Harris on self defense and the necessity of BJJ

Discussion in 'General Martial Arts Discussion' started by Omicron, Feb 9, 2012.

  1. Omicron

    Omicron is around.

    One of the world's foremost rational thinkers has turned his attention to the martial arts, and BJJ in particular.

    Here is a fantastic essay on basic principles of self defense:

    And here he discusses why everyone should learn BJJ (of course, I agree!):

    It is a testament to rational, scientific inquiry that the principles of effective self-defense can be so discovered. Agree or not, I think both posts mandatory reading for any martial artist.
  2. Giovanni

    Giovanni Well-Known Member Supporter

    awesome article. thank you for posting.
  3. Sonshu

    Sonshu Buzz me on facebook

    I would not say everyone should learn it, there are others able to offer as much in the ground game. Judo, Sombo, Wrestling, MMA etc. BJJ is good no doubt but there are others as good.
  4. Omicron

    Omicron is around.

    Agreed, and Harris makes a similar point. The sentiment remains though that grappling is an essential self defense skill.
  5. dcwado

    dcwado New Member

    Unfortunately BJJ classes are around 150+ wherever you go.
  6. dcwado

    dcwado New Member

    Agreed. But do we need the proficiency of a black belt or would simple principles suffice? I'm not opposed to BJJ or other ground work, but what are the chances you'll be meeting an experienced grappler. I think basic principles and training in groundwork would suffice.
  7. Omicron

    Omicron is around.

    Harris makes that point as well. Really, you only need to be a better grappler than the average Joe.
  8. dcwado

    dcwado New Member

    This may be the only time I ever get a chance to be told I made a similar point to someone such as him. I read through the first article and then part of the second before stopping. Glad he made it.
  9. John R. Gambit

    John R. Gambit The 'Rona Wrangler

    This is one of the most intelligent articles I've ever read on self-defense. An excellent summation of the topic for beginners. Thank you for posting this.

    Sound advice for an untrained civilian, but if someone comes into my home and I have to protect my family, I'm going to move to engage them while my family escapes, opportunity permitting. I know with my firearms training I'm a whole lot more likely to stick my shots while dealing with adrenaline than most burglars. I would want to buy my family the time to reach help.
  10. Seventh

    Seventh Super Sexy Sushi Time

    Thanks for the links, bookmarked the articles.
  11. Sonshu

    Sonshu Buzz me on facebook

    I am now going through the article and my critique on it is this:

    He says "it is overwhelmingly likely that some of you will become the targets of violence in the future."

    This I think is sensationalism as he later goes on to say that "403.6 violent crimes per 100,000 persons in the United States" which is actually less than 0.5% of the population. So generally if you keep out of trouble you "should" be ok. Not really overwhelmingly likely though is it?

    This also depends on where you live as he rightly points out. Another generalisation he makes is this "look around you, unless you see a cop there won't be one chances are when your attacked."

    This is also a sweeping generalisation again, most violence where I live in England is outside clubs and bar's (where there are often police).

    Also he puts Geoff Thomson's book as recommended reading and then I feel discredits it by saying:

    "People who appear to know what they are talking about:"

    Geoff Thomson does know what he is talking about, a little more research would help here or perhaps its a poor choice of words. Endorsing 2 books by the guy then saying he "appears" to know what he is talking about.


    The rest in both articles is good, he is a bit too much of a salesman for BJJ though in the 2nd one as the others arts I listed do offer this as well.
  12. Oddsbodskins

    Oddsbodskins Troll hunter 2nd Class

    That per 100,000 statistic was per year, I read the article last night but think he broke it down to each person having a 1:16 chance of encountering violence in a 30 year period. Just for the sake of nitpicking, he doesn't need that many people to read the blog for there to be good odds of 'some' of them encountering violence.

    Regards the 'appear to know what they're talking about' I think I read that differently then you, I certainly didn't see it as a slight on them, possibly because it's the kind of phrase I might use myself. Understatement is under rated.
  13. John R. Gambit

    John R. Gambit The 'Rona Wrangler

    You do not appear to know very much about statistics my friend. 0.5% is still pretty likely. And of course you conveniently neglected to mention that some of these crimes are highly under reported.
  14. Sonshu

    Sonshu Buzz me on facebook

    Yes, the per 100,000 stat was an annual figure and there are plenty of morons who will fight all year for the sake/love of it, keeping the figures high.

    Also a 1 in 16 chance of getting into trouble in 30 years period across the whole of the US (and there are some crappy places there), its pretty good odds for anyone I think.

    Also the levels of physcial violence differer a lot. There is the "some guy took a swing at me" and then there is the serious stuff. So in essence its safe for 15 out of 16 people being trouble free for a 30 year period, 1 in 16 over 30 years is not overwhelmingly likely.

    As for the word on Geoff and the others its open to interpretation - It would read better to put - "People who do know what there on about" or "People who are well known in self defence circles" = thats removes any doubt.

    On the whole what he wrote is right but the overwhelmingly likely bit is not.
  15. Sonshu

    Sonshu Buzz me on facebook

    You see here are my thoughts, I am all for self defense and I mean good self defense but stats need to be put into context and can be abused:

    You would be worried about a 1 in 16 chance of an altercation in a 30 year period. 2010's figures.

    14,748 murders in the USA out of a population of 308,745,538. That’s 308+ million.

    There is HOWEVER a 1 in 4 chance of dying from cancer in your life.

    Hopefully you see my point that I agree with what he say’s in the articles and anyone who knows me on here knows I have been banging on about this stuff for year. However overwhelming odds…..nope!

    Self defense is great and you know what most of us here learn it, there is though a 15 in 16 chance that you won’t need it in the next 30 years. I am all for having it and not needing it though that’s why I did it but the odds are with me :)

    Although math’s was never my strong point.
  16. John R. Gambit

    John R. Gambit The 'Rona Wrangler

    It's not one in sixteen in thirty years! Go back to school before critiquing math you do not understand, please. You're making my head hurt.
  17. Sonshu

    Sonshu Buzz me on facebook

    Hi John

    It was Oddsbodskins that posted the ratio and I quote "1:16 chance of encountering violence in a 30 year period"., he said 30 years not me. I am not one for critiquing maths as I am not that good at it being honest and as for telling me to go back to school, well done very mature...

    You also said you felt the 0.5% is a high percent chance yet when compared to the mortality rates of cancer (around 25%) I know which one worries me more.

    My point is about the context of a few parts of the article and as a writer I would have thought you would be interested in that as well. Violence is not around ever corner and my issue here is merely with the statement:

    "It is overwhelmingly likely that some of you will become the targets of violence in the future."

    I say its not.
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2012
  18. Devil Hanzo

    Devil Hanzo Doesn't tap to heel-hooks

    I'd say it's likely that some people will become targets of violence. What's wrong with that? It doesn't say "It's a definite that all people will become targets of violence". Arguing semantics here.
  19. Sonshu

    Sonshu Buzz me on facebook

    I am cool mate, not arguing at all. :D

    If he said "its good number of you reading this will be attacked at some point in your life" I can't dispute that.

    The phrase "Overwhelmingly likely" its a bit of groovy word bending and it seemed a bit sensationalist saying implying we all will, when the numerical evidence he gives tells a different story.

    I asked 9 people in the building if they have been attacked, ranging from 22 - 54 and I am the only one who has.

    You see if a media article says "Man bites dog", nobody reads it
    If it says "Dog bites man" and its front page!!!!

    Also the point about Geoff Thompson and others "seem to know what there on about". Its like saying Tiger Woods MAY know what he is on about in golf, when we all know he does - like him or not.

    If people post articles up here they should be expecting them to be discussed openly, its what forums are for, not telling people they need to go back to school. ;)
  20. Pretty In Pink

    Pretty In Pink Moved on MAP 2017 Gold Award

    It's more than likely you will encounter violence at some point in your life, even if you do your best to avoid it. It just comes down to whether you think it's worth practicing for. xD

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