Category self defence
This pithy analysis is attributed to Field Marshal Erwin Rommel, but despite the clarity of his insight and his credentials as one of the greatest generals of the 20thcentury, this simple premise seems to be largely unknown or ignored amongst martial arts and self defence groups.
“I liked that drill. It wasn’t complicated like the other ones.”
Most people realise that collecting tools does not necessarily make you an able, efficient or skilful tool user.
“Hi, I’m calling about a karate class for self defence, the Leisure Centre gave me this number, it’s for my nephew.” “Can I ask how old your nephew is? The youngest I teach are thirteen years old.” “Oh, he’s four.” Sigh. Despite my websites giving my minimum ages in several places, and having no photos […]
In any unsolicited violent or aggressive event our primary aim is to remove ourselves (and others if we feel responsible for them) from danger of bodily harm. The aim is not to ‘win a fight’ for this is not consensual violence; in most cases therefore (excluding for example threats on the doorstep of our own property) we are endeavouring to create an exit.
To escape from a situation we need space to run/barge or walk through, created by the absence or inability/disinclination of prior threats to engage or stop us.
As most martial arts clubs advertise themselves as teaching self defence, and only deliver physical training, is the end result that most people who start training with a martial arts club don’t really get what they need? Rather than improving their ability to avoid or deescalate situations they end up with fighting skills of varying quality and efficacy? Does this make people less safe?
The other day a respected friend of mine made an observation about the number of clubs, particularly the pyjama dancers (as I call them), advertising that they were teaching self defence, when at best all they were doing was giving their students fighting skills.
In the UK the recent release of crime statistics indicating a marked rise in the percentage of both moped related robberies (both of the vehicle and using the vehicle as a means of facilitating crimes) and acid attacks have caught the attention of the media.
There are lots of ways to train the martial arts, and many different and differently weighted reasons to do so. There is a danger however that through misguided training weighting choices, we may actually be hindering the skill development either of ourselves or of our students or worse, reducing it.
We all build the mental worlds in which we live, and we don’t all live in the same world, even if we believe we do.
Most martial artists build their personal training worlds on the backs of four elephants, elephants that I like to think of as the Fantastic Four (though admittedly some don’t even see or recognise all of them). These elephants that hold up our individual training worlds are Legality, Training Practicality, Training Viability, and Underpinning Psychology.