Please take a look at Articles on self-defense/conflict/violence for introductions to the references found in the bibliography page.

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Hey, Attention on Deck!

Hey, NOTHING here is PERSONAL, get over it - Teach Me and I will Learn!

When you begin to feel like you are a tough guy, a warrior, a master of the martial arts or that you have lived a tough life, just take a moment and get some perspective with the following:

I've stopped knives that were coming to disembowel me

I've clawed for my gun while bullets ripped past me

I've dodged as someone tried to put an ax in my skull

I've fought screaming steel and left rubber on the road to avoid death

I've clawed broken glass out of my body after their opening attack failed

I've spit blood and body parts and broke strangle holds before gouging eyes

I've charged into fires, fought through blizzards and run from tornados

I've survived being hunted by gangs, killers and contract killers

The streets were my home, I hunted in the night and was hunted in turn

Please don't brag to me that you're a survivor because someone hit you. And don't tell me how 'tough' you are because of your training. As much as I've been through I know people who have survived much, much worse. - Marc MacYoung


The postings on this blog are my interpretation of readings, studies and experiences therefore errors and omissions are mine and mine alone. The content surrounding the extracts of books, see bibliography on this blog site, are also mine and mine alone therefore errors and omissions are also mine and mine alone and therefore why I highly recommended one read, study, research and fact find the material for clarity. My effort here is self-clarity toward a fuller understanding of the subject matter. See the bibliography for information on the books. Please make note that this article/post is my personal analysis of the subject and the information used was chosen or picked by me. It is not an analysis piece because it lacks complete and comprehensive research, it was not adequately and completely investigated and it is not balanced, i.e., it is my personal view without the views of others including subject experts, etc. Look at this as “Infotainment rather then expert research.” This is an opinion/editorial article/post meant to persuade the reader to think, decide and accept or reject my premise. It is an attempt to cause change or reinforce attitudes, beliefs and values as they apply to martial arts and/or self-defense. It is merely a commentary on the subject in the particular article presented.

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Self-Defense and Karate Self-Defense

I have spent some time watching video's, both on DVD and YouTube, and am finding it hard to believe that what is taught will work. First, complexity over simplicity. Most of what I have seen or witnessed, including my own of early years, seems way to complex and disconnected from what the lizard brain would handle during a violent encounter. 

Take a look at what is available regarding what is promoted as street fighting. There are a few that are caught on video phones coming straight from the streets, bars and other establishments where it comes fast and furious and in my perception the complex techniques taught as bunkai and/or self-defense are just not realistic to work. 

It makes me wonder just what is being taught and why is it being accepted as self-defense. It also makes me wonder if it would be accepted in legal and socially moral terms as self-defense. Most of what I see goes past a perceived point of no return taking defense into the realm of fighting (Note: fighting is illegal). 

Another perception is never, ever is it discussed that once a technique or combination achieves its goal of pushing an adversary out of the offensive into defensive role do they speak of stopping the technique or combination and moving fast away from the conflict. Then, my favorite one, is never, ever do I see them approach self-defense sessions or instructions in a whole and complete manner, i.e. never or ever do I see them first discuss and practice how to avoid it completely, how to avoid it by discussion (provided it is a nature where verbalization is possible), and to avoid it by deescalation (also part of the discussion aspect), then the physical defenses and finally what should be done once you reach a safe zone and have to deal with the aftermath, i.e. medical, psychological, legal, civilly, etc.

Is it possible what I am seeing is more a matter of "the way" as a philosophical character building model? Not meant to be for self-defense although you constantly hear the instructor talk about defense against this or that attack. Why do we tend to remain solely in the realm of the physical and leave all the other stuff up to the individual on their own - if they actually know of and understand the entire spectrum of self-defense?

I realize just how much I was involved in this model of teaching, learning and fooling myself and others into thinking this was self-defense but the why concerns me more today than ever before in my involvement with karate and self-defense. Is it a matter of ignorance and acceptance without question? If so, how do we get folks to question such training and practice? Why are we so focused on analysis and explanations without first working out if what is being analyzed and discussed even works? My favorite self-question is, "why did it take me so long to discover I was wrong and why oh why didn't I figure this out years ago?" Maybe it is good in the beginning but when you leave out an analysis of whether it works in reality or not you lose a lot of ability in violence and why don't we push to leave this level of infancy and reach for the adulthood of martial systems? 

Got any answers for me?

1 comment:

Zacky Chan said...

Looking back I feel extremely lucky to have had my first martial arts experience be with a karate instructor who (1)never failed to mention the importance of avoiding the fight (2)getting finished as quickly as possible and getting away (3) and simplicity. However, it took a while for me to realize the dangerous nature of a lot of the techniques I was training into my system. It wasn't until reading about connections between the law and combat (particularly from this blog) that I learned that just because a "situation" occurs, I don't need to start flipping out the most dangerous techniques on the planet. My teacher was perhaps telling me about that as well, maybe I just didn't listen. Great post.