Fighting or Self Defense?
Is it better to strike with a closed fist or an open hand? Are kicks useful for self defense? What about high ones? Can pure grappling be applied in a real fight? Is this move/technique/combo/strike/submission effective/efficient? Is this art/style/system good for self defense? Should the knock-out blow be the primary concern? Does a kick to the nut-sack work?
There are endless debates to these questions and countless more. The reality is, there is no right or correct answer to fit any collective mold as each individual human being differs greatly in critical enough areas to make any definitive response only a half truth.
The problem arises when teaching a group of varied people with too many differences to enumerate including but not limited to: past experiences, training or lack thereof, attitude, size, weight, height, age, strengths, weaknesses, daily routines, jobs etc. the list goes on and on.
How do these things come into play? Well, a 6 foot 4 inch, 240 pound athletic, 28 year old male who works as a bouncer and a 5 foot 2 inch, 105 pound grandmother suffering from mild arthritis will require either 2 very different sets of tools, each fitting the individual’s state of being and abilities; or, a generic approach to self defense using strategies, tactics and tools that even a 105 lbs grandmum can effectively apply.
Now if you come from the school of thought that a grandmother, woman, child or disabled person cannot efficiently learn how to protect themselves, then please allow me to offer the suggestion that whatever style or system you are learning or teaching is not a suitable one for self protection. Why? Because simply stated, it’s the elderly, women, children, the disabled and those that are viewed of as weak in society that are generally victimized. If what you are teaching isn’t adaptable to those that need it most, then what you are teaching is fighting, or the more macho term that gets all the tough guy wannabes out there a hard on, “combat” and not self defense.
And there is a difference. A boxing knockout punch could arguably be very effective for the 250 pound bouncer as a self protection tool but may not be the most suitable for the grandmother with mild arthritis; however, the open handed palm strike would work equally as well for both. See what I am getting at here?
A rear naked choke may work for most adults, male and female included as a valid self defense tool, absolutely, and I’ve used it myself on more than one occasion, but an average 5 or 6 year old child couldn’t efficiently use it to render a determined adult unconscious if they managed to get behind their attacker. A savage ripping and tearing to the face attacking the eyes and throat while latching on to the head however would work for both parties here. Bonus to the adults for also having the choke as an added tool to their arsenal however.
Always been a fan of the ‘smoke em if you’ve got em’ adage, if you possess certain tools that you can work, don’t get rid of em, just add other tools to your arsenal and allow the most logical and natural of choices to YOU manifest themselves as they do. Don’t forget the ‘acid test’; in the end, you absolutely must test your skills in a well replicated scenario with proper protective equipment (best on the market today is Spartan Gear hands down) and apply them in real time/real speed, no consent situations.
Certain people can make pure Tae Kwon Do work in a multiple attacker armed attacker situation, while others have used boxing, grappling, karate, name the art or system here, successfully as well and on more than one occasion. If YOU can knock someone out with a single blow or can kick 2 people in the face without putting your foot on the ground in between, or if you can submit Brock Lesner with a pinkie twinkle, then all the more power to you and by all means, keep doing so but that doesn’t necessarily mean that your skills are directly transferable to another..
I personally live by a very simple rule when teaching self defense; if my 67 year old 5 foot mother can’t do it, then it isn’t a self defense tool/concept/move, it’s a fighting/combative one. No matter how long my mother would train for in boxing today and regardless of who her legendary boxing coach could be, she will never be able to knock out a 230 pound coked up rapist attacking her, but she would more than certainly be able to tactically position him using behavioral strategies to lure him into a vulnerable enough zone and moment where she could debilitate him with eyes and throat attacks long enough to successfully get away. Same could be said for a child defending themselves against an adult.
And also simply stated, if these tools and tactics are functional for those that are deemed vulnerable in society, then they are equally and even more dangerous in the hands of those capable of using the more combative and athletic based tools if; and that’s a big fucking if, they can get their egos in check and realize that we don’t force fit a system/style/art to an individual, but instead, we modify the system to suit the particular individual and their needs.
In the end, it doesn’t matter who thinks or believes what’s best for you but YOU. Taking someone’s opinion on something as serious as self defense or whatnot without first and foremost researching and sampling things for yourself to see what suits your sense of everything most is limiting and self oppressing; and to think that once you’ve discovered what’s best for you, is also automatically best for everyone else if fucking myopic and egotistical to say the least.
Do some shit.