Tag Archives: violence
It is possible to study a martial art and neither be learning self protection nor self defence. It is possible to study self defence and not gain an understanding of self protection, nor become proficient in any martial art. It is possible to train in ‘self defence’ and not learn anything applicable for self defence. It is also possible to study self protection but not learn anything applicable to actual self defence.
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 loss of life and terrible injuries that occurred in the low-tech vehicle and knife attacks in London earlier this month shocked many across the world.
There are many unspoken taboos when it comes to discussing events such as this, and there are many things that armchair warriors say that should be dismissed.
It is in my Sim Days where my students experience the broader context of the tactical, ethical and legal repercussions of aggression and violence through simulating how they might respond to events in multiple scenarios, whether on their own, with peers, and with children (or adults).
These are training events that comprise elements that test a participant’s response, but also give them training in more optimal approaches and multiple opportunities to learn from what they and others have experienced throughout the day.
Martial arts training can comprise aspects of self defence, but unless the art has been specifically devised for that purpose recently, it isn’t the same thing.
It’s not that you don’t do it. I’m sure that if you are a form practitioner interested in bringing a functional purpose beyond postural exercise to your forms then you do. It’s just that some people seem to pay no more than lip service to actual analysis when arriving at their applications.
One of the most prevalent myths I’ve noticed over the years in the martial arts community is efficacy of hitting men in the groin as a one-stop solution to the problem of physical violence.
“In war it is all-important to gain and retain the initiative, to make the enemy conform to your action, to dance to your tune. When you are advancing, this normally follows; if you withdraw, it is neither so obvious nor so easy. Yet it is possible. There are three reasons for retreat: self-preservation, to save your force from destruction; pressure elsewhere which makes you accept loss of territory in one place to enable you to transfer troops to a more vital front; and, lastly, to draw the enemy into a situation so unfavourable to him that the initiative must pass to you.”
Sensei John delivered a remarkable seminar, leaving us with a deeper understanding of the 5 Shotokan Heian Kata. His knowledge on the subject is staggering, spanning some 25 years of training. His teaching method was structured and pleasant and kept all of us involved and interested throughout. It was a fantastic experience for all who took part.