Self Defense Martial Arts

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(for LEO): Review of self-defense hub - Defensive Tactic hub


"I could not use violence" - fine. Learn how bad behavior, defending your pride or clinging to way of thinking can put you in danger. Learn mental flexibility to avoid danger.

Self-defense is about defending your body from IMMEDIATE PHYSICAL injury.
Fighting is about defending your feelings, or avenging your feelings after they've been hurt.

Martial Arts: Do I have to? No

  • MA is useful for personal development but not necessary for SD. MA school wants to make sale.
  • Avoidance is better than fighting.

Self-defense is defined by law - not what you/teacher/MA instructor think SD is. In order for what you do to be self-defense, your actions must stay within LEGAL STANDARDS and boundaries of SD.
"Everyone knows what something means until there is a problem." You confess being guilty of act which is usually a crime - but you did crime in self-defense. Now YOU are guilty unless you can PROVE that it was NOT a crime but justified self-defense. it is important to know where your actions stop being self-defense and turn you into an aggressor.

Boundaries of self-defense

  1. The danger to you is PHYSICAL (not hurt feelings, respect or pride) and IMMEDIATE (not a maybe, could be, or 'he might…,')
  2. You DID NOT PARTICIPATED in the creation and escalation of the situation
  3. You STOP after the threat to you was past.
  • Physical: defending your flesh (you can photo the damage), not your emotions. Physical retaliation for emotional distress is a VERY human reaction, but security tape will show YOU STARTED the fight.
  • When danger to you stops - you have to stop. No revenge, no punishment.
  • Police arrests the guy left standing ("winner") as attacker.

SD isn't a simple issue - The EXACT same punch can be (1) self-defense (2) fighting or (3) an assault
depending on WHEN you throw it and under WHAT CIRCUMSTANCES.
It's NOT the punch or kick that matters. It's WHEN and WHY you throw it. And vice versa: What would save you in more civilized circumstances is insufficient in other circumstances. MA moves which will win a bar fight for you, will get your head blown off against a criminal.

Martial arts and self-defense - the difference - Best MA for SD? makes no sense. MA are for fight, winning. SD is about surviving, running like hell in opposite direction. Move effectiveness for SD was watered down for safety in MA sport competitions and extend the match (to entertain audience). In MA, victory is over time (multiple attacks), gaining points. In SD, you have 5 secs (3 moves) to get out of danger (or get hurt). SD = get out of danger - any MA will do, with proper training. End fight quickly - to remove your opponent's Will to fight (quick victory is better than slow hard victory). Every hitting should have goal - no repeat hits to accumulate damage/points = sport fighting.

Fantasy of using MA in Self-defense - "Fantasy solutions for fantasy problems." Each MA developed ans is best applied in context (culture, climate, surface, opponents; and what was allowed to government). Example: grappling is good to know for fight, but almost useless for SD. Karate on Okinawa was developed because all arms were banned, not because it is more effective than a sword.

Aggressive, 'fear-no-man' teaching is by someone who never faced someone more skilled.

MA vs SD - MA is for point sparring, have safety factor and prohibited moves. SD goal is in 3 moves (5 sec) - break attacker to end danger.
Logical fallacies in SD : SD is different from MA, fight, tournaments.
Wrong question: Is MA good for SD?
Right question: Is the variant of MA you are taught usable for SD (instead just to win a bar fight)?

Using MA: block, strike and run. Do not fight.
Mental Preparation - What is more important, your safety or protecting how you think? People ignore signs of danger to protect their mental model. How you normally think prevents you from implementing that solution in the available time.
1) Recognition - when situation is not normal, failing to switch to see danger
2) Palatability (people who believe 'violence never solves anything'). Attacker will not talk it out and is not reasonable.
3) Available Time (is not a fight, it is an assault). No threat display: attacker wants immediately to make incapable of resisting.
4) Appropriate response (from legal POV): self-defense is legal, over-reacting by berserk fight is not.
5) Experience with operating in an adrenalized state. Adrenal stress might free you or go berserk - both are bad.

Grappling is excellent if your goal is subdue/restrain opponent without hurting (police, bouncer, subdue drunken friend) but useless in self-defense (does not work against multiple opponents, dangerous surfaces, weapons, no rules, intent to hurt/kill). Fighting a grappler: get out his fight: inflict pain (don't try to fight out), get up. Learn grappling (focus on escapes) but don't use it for SD. Infighting is fighting in distance between kicking and grappling: half-arm.

MA may focus on different goals using different training. So pick right school

  • Self-defense/professional use of force: quick, simple brutal motions, easy to learn (for police etc)
  • Tradition/physical art/self-discipline : teaches mental focus and self-control: ADHD
  • Spiritual/health (Tai-chi)
  • Sport/tournament
  • Demonstration (film stunts, kata competitions, pro wrestling)

From fight to martial art:

  • moves/fighting methods/dirty tricks with no coherency, used on street
  • fighting systems (collections of moves/tricks during war) with goal to win combat. Simple killing system training, no legal issues.
  • martial arts (include warrior code, ethics, traditions and social relations and other factors which both temper and control its application) outside of war.
  • Decay phase: martial sports (when goal is no longer being effective in martial = war situation, but for competition, score points to impress judges, katas to look sharp).

Tournaments/sport: dangerous moves removed (insurance). Good training to perform under adrenaline stress and train moves against opponent, but - you are not in danger. Losing in SD means dead.

The goal of self-defense is not to be physically injured by an unprovoked or unwarranted attack by using a reasonable amount of force: get your way clear of the attack and escape. Not win. Not punish the attacker. No revenge.

if you engage in violence for any other reason than immediate physical preservation then both the law and society considers you to be fighting. Your pre-conflict behavior is going to be carefully scrutinized to determine if it was, as you claim self-defense, or in fact, a fight. Your conduct during and after is going also going to be carefully scrutinized to determine if it was an assault, assault with a deadly weapon, attempted murder,

Define self-defense: Everyone knows what something means until there is a problem.

If it works now, five years of training will make it work better,
if it doesn't work now, odds are it still won't work five years from now.
If the "basics" can't be learned in a short time and made to work against a wide spectrum of attacks then it isn't going to work in the street.

Basic (starting point of teaching, intro) vs Fundamental (essential, structural principle - what makes it work). Technique means effectively manifest fundamentals:

fundamentals of a punch

  • What makes a punch effective?
  • What is the purpose of a punch?
  • What are the critical components that must be present for a punch effective?
  • What is the strategic application for punching?
  • What is the optimum range of this particular punch?
  • What gives that punch power?
  • What is the structural position of that particular punch for it to effectively deliver force?

The physics of an attack are radically different when your attacker has no fear of you because you are unarmed vs. someone who is concerned of the danger you pose because you too are armed (dueling). either your training is going to get you killed when you need it or, you're going to go to prison for using it when it wasn't justified.

have a little game you can play to test this if you really are being trained in the different physics, it's called put your money where your mouth is. If you are willing to bet your life on the effectiveness of this kind of training, then you should have no hesitation to put up say, $200. Here's the deal, you don't have a knife, he does — with lipstick or chalk on it so you can count the hits. Square off and for every cut or stab he lands, you pay him $20. Figure you'd be dead after 10 hits so you can realistically limit it to $200. Put the money on the table and see what happens.

Odds are what you are being taught will NOT save your ass against a dedicated attacker. And if you use it on a non-dedicated attacker, then your ass is going to be getting a lot of action in the prison showers.

Stance is transition - movement to a stance delivers 50% of the power, hips other 50% (if stance is correct). Every stance has certain strengths and weaknesses- it can be used to launch forces and deal with incoming forces, BUT ONLY IN CERTAIN DIRECTIONS.

Use momentum to generate power - Set up a trap - control where he attacks, be prepared.

Zero Tolerance in school protects school (CYA) and will throw your kid for SD against a bully.
How to protect your child from bullying: create own paper trail, have attorney. "I'm not going to sign anything or consent to my child signing a legal document without representation." - attorney is a pro and will see thru their CYA. Worth read more.

Martial Arts school as business - how to select right one
Karate for kids - Differents schools for different goals.

  • ADD/ADHD: MA is good for such kids. Theory: ADD/ADHD is not 'disorder' but a result of a genetic hunter (scattered attention+hyperfocus) living in a society of farmers.
  • Black belt - developed in 20 cent for record-keeping in judo (instead of remembering level of each student by name/face, group by belts).

Evolution of MA
MA as business - often it is scam: there are training for dojo masters to increase revenue per student, buy certification in new styles. But styles might be radically different. MA school often behaves as cult - know what to watch for and avoid.
Are MA good for SD? - No.

  • many different levels of violence (screaming match; threat display gone physical; bar fight; robbery; SWAT action, and in between). Different conditions, different solutions (wrong if applied for wrong condition). Education to understand differences, training to gain skills.

SD Training layers (and how to judge good SD program):

  1. Common sense - Don't go there (includes knowing what behaviors will put you into conflict and moral/ethical issues involved with use of force)
  2. Diplomatic - Can you resolve this without hitting? talk, negotiate or trick your way out of it? (includes legal ramifications of hitting and weighing the repercussions vs. the need of the moment.)
  3. Strategic - When and where to hit for maximum results appropriate for the situation (justifiable use of force).
  4. Tactical - How to hit (physical application).

Kicking and punching is last ditch, most dangerous effort. With big chance of failing.
Train for the "average asshole." - bullying, half-drunk, construction worker. idea of a fair fight is ludicrous to a streetfighter. expect multiple opponents, weapons, ambushes, blindsiding, "backing up on you" and underhanded dirty tricks. Nothing like MA fight with strict rules.

"Traditional" MA - does not exist as secret "art". If something works, it is widely used. It it was so powerful, it would allow peasants to free themselves. it's 14 years old thinking (refighting hight school bullies). "Pay me and I will teach you how to fight 27 ninjas" but will not explain how you should change your thinking/behavior to avoid such problems.
"Oh yeah, I was just defending myself" (from an attack that I provoked). MA should instill self-discipline which will keep you out of a "fight."

"martial parts" of MA is connections between Buddhist ideals and "moving meditation" that greatly influenced the various system. Connection was completely lost in West by focusing on fight. Real Tao: "Can this be used for fighting ?" "Yes, it could…but that isn't really what they are designed for."

War is group effort: warrior is alone. Soldiers fight and (most of them) survive as unit.

How to evaluate MA best karate teacher: Tristan Sutrisno, Scranton, PA (and few others mentioned)
Marketing and shortcuts in martial arts - How to tell McDojo

Pride, Fighting and SD : in police experience, 99% both parties are responsible in fighting, and both claim self-defense. So you have to prove your SD. Get attorney: defending innocent person is different than defending guilty person.

Defending your PRIDE is NOT SD. Claiming SD you ADMIT you committed violence (but you claim having legal right to do it) - you are NOT INNOCENT anymore. Now YOU have to prove it was SD, and if you cannot or fail, you just claimed GUILTY to violence. It's important to tell how you tried to avoid violence. Will security tape show you closing on opponent for preemptive hit? Hitting him again after he fell down? Or trying to leave the place?

Jail for SD? YOU are responsible if your lack of emotional control (not being able to control fear or anger) started fight.
If you TRAIN for fight (mixed MA), you will defend yourself using fight (and have legal problems). In 99% cases, BOTH fighters claim self-defense - so YOU need to prove to police you really was using SD and not fight. Any training to stand and engage with opponent to 'win' is fighting -> legal problems.

Perform - know the physics of the move, and generate power . Why strike enhancers are useless for SD, and how streetfight works. Learn hit hard without them. SD training: too little violence gets you killed. Too much gets you to prison. SD is different from combat or MA training. Most violence is NOT about trying to kill you. SD to kill attacker might land you in prison.
Deadly MA training systems:

  • if they don't work, you may be dead or in hospital
  • if they work, you may land in prison (judged by 12, then raped by 12 in shower)

Simplistic answer: "just hit attacker with your keys/stick in the eye/kick in balls".

  • If it was average bum, you panicked and attacked: aggravated assault.
  • If you did that to a violent predator, pain will not stop him from shooting at you or snapping your neck.

Violence geeks are looking for super weapons. Example: Wasp: bad for defense, no stopping power: good only to assassinate people. Weapons are to avoid killing.

different situations require different levels of violence (different levels of threat and had different goals) all are real fights (with examples from his life)

Using Lethal Force - for jury, you and attacker are two citizens in dispute, with equal rights. if you choose to carry a knife (especially "tactical knife") you need to know that such a weapon is considered a "thug's weapon" in most cultures. Pulling knife you've escalated the situation. And that makes YOU the aggressor.

train for what kind of opponent? you *never know* if your opponent is average beatable badass or psycho-killer *until* you have actually engaged! You must judge the appropriate use of force on the fly! Not enough and you will be hurt; too much and you are legally defined as the aggressor! you will not know to what extreme he is willing to go in order to *win* until he has done it! your emotions and thoughts don't matter (they fit different world) - rules are different. reflexive responses, strong emotional reaction is likely to increase your chances of getting hurt.

Train for what happens most and you will be able to handle most of what happens Watch reality TV shows like COPS, attend a Toughman competition in your town. often untrained and unsophisticated attacks fall into basic and predictable categories. Those are what you need to train to handle.

Mistakes in Sport training

  • Rules
  • Trained fighter
  • Inferior opponent
  • One on One

Even if you "win" the fight win has repercussions (also Training goals are different for different situations):
1) You must be able to perform (overcome adrenalin and fear)
2) You must overcome your opponent
3) You must win in criminal court
4) You must win in civil court
5) you must survive retribution from the person you defeated

If teacher doesn't know about these problems of "winning," he was not on a winning side.

"Master" in eastern world means also assuming full responsibility for the well-being of the student - not only obedience.

Being able to articulate what you did to avoid the fight is important because, in about 90 percent of all violence, the aggressor is the "winner" of a fight. That means if you "win" a violent confrontation, the cops are going to assume that you are the person who probably started it. And the guy you dropped will lie to the police that is exactly what happened. And he is better liar than you are.

Victory in civil court is usually based on the preponderance of evidence. even if it was not prosecuted criminally. You will be sued not only for his medical bills, but lawyer fees (working on contingency) and court costs. And you cannot counter sue, such people are often, in lawyer's terms, "judgment proof" (have no money to pay you if you win). criminal + civil attorney: $20K. Or jail.

Then, you have to face the criminal's friends. "being thrown in prison for attempted self-defense,"? Your BEST chances of surviving the aftermath of violence is with the legal system. This is especially true if you acted within the legal parameters of self-defense (those guys cannot afford to lose a fight to "civilian"). If you have crossed that line, then, yes, you have a world of trouble waiting for you after you "win." your problems won't end with a body hitting the floor.

Local statuses about self-defense - what "fighting words" are same as fight. Even if guy attacked you, he will lie to police that is was in self-defense: your word against his. If they did not cal police, it is because they plan revenge. Or their friends will hurt you as witness (or if you win, you have one more charge against you).

(for LEO)

Pain as motivation in controlling attacker does NOT work well on criminals.

  • works on normal people - but criminals have higher pain tolerance (and also drugs, psychosis etc).
  • person is shock has higher pain tolerance - also in various mental states.
  • perp will act as result of pain on his own motivation, with own goals. Pain might induce him fight harder, not submit.
  • alcohol slows down mental process - including pain signal. So you might induced harm before pain stops perp from fight.

Timing is important. Pain is worst way to get perp down - is good only to keep him down after takedown.

De-escalation requires compromise (not total submission) and superior power. Long detailed - for LEO.

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