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Martial Arts Don't Work for Self Defense...

Updated on April 8, 2016

Almost all martial artists asked themselves the question, "could I use this to defend myself in a dangerous situation?" and in most cases the answer is yes but the real question is should you use it?

I've personally trained for years in Ninpo Budo Taijusu and MMA and one lesson my sensei taught me and I will never forget is...

Martial Arts and Self Defense are not the same thing...

What does this mean? Well it means that just because you can beat someone up it doesn't mean it's the best way to survive and protect yourself and those around you.

For example:
If a mugger comes at you with a knife and tells you to give him your wallet (and I've had this happen twice in my life), what's the best course of action in order to preserve yourself and the people you're with (if you're with someone)?

Option 1:
You attack the mugger and risk getting stabbed or getting whoever is with you stabbed...

Option 2:
You give the mugger you wallet and let him go.

Which do you think is the best option for self preservation?
Obviously the second option, and it's exactly what I did when it happened to me, it was frustrating and it made me angry but I left both instances without a scratch on my head and the money and IDs from the wallet, I got those back in no time.

You see self defense is not about knowing how to fight, it's about making smart choices that give you the best chance at survival.

For example, if you're alone at midnight in a bad neighborhood why not call a cab instead of walking? Maybe getting cash from an ATM at midnight on a lonely street is not the best idea, wait until morning... If you have a brand new phone maybe don't go showing it to everyone... If a drunk guy starts yelling at you in a bar maybe alert security instead of confronting him...

All of these choices preserve our lives every second of the day.

Fighting should always be a last resort...

I know this sounds like something out of a karate kid movie but it's true, fighting should always be your last resort, if you can avoid it, avoid it.

Here is why, there are always consequences to fighting and a huge number of dangers involved. If for example you're in one of the most common fighting scenarios a bar fight...

You punch a guy and you don't know if he has friends there, the next thing you know you get hit with a bottle on the back of your head.

And that's the least of your problems...

What happens if all people see is you punching the guy?

Now you have to explain to the police why you punched a guy in the face and your explanation better be good otherwise you're going to jail for assault.

And needless to say that can affect your work, you family life, how people perceive you and in the end unless your life is in danger it's just not worth it...

What style is best for self defense?

Let's say you're in an unavoidable situation and you have to fight, now we get technical and we figure out what are the best fighting styles for the street?

First of all there is no such thing as the best style of martial arts as the style is never as important as the artist...

However there are things you need to avoid in a real fighting situation.

For example going to the ground is never a good idea on the street, most fights as you may know end up on the ground however you should avoid staying there at all costs because in a real situation you can get attacked by multiple people and the ground is the worst place to be to defend yourself against multiple attackers.

Also you should avoid using a closed fist to strike.

Boxing heavyweight champion Mike Tyson got into a few fights outside of the ring and 9 times out of 10 he would end up with broken hands at the end of the day. It's not fun to fight with broken fingers.

If you miss a shot ad hit the top of someone's head chances are your hand is going to break, and most people don't carry around striking gloves around all day...

A better approach would be to strike with an open palm, you don't think that would work? Ask former UFC champion Bas Rutten if it works or not...

Bas use to fight in Japan during the early days of MMA when closed fisted punches were not allowed yet he won most of his fights by striking.
Using his open palms he would knock guys senseless...

Avoid using round kicks.

Muay Thai round kicks, Tae Kwon Do and Karate roundhouse kicks are more dangerous to the person throwing the kick in general.

If you're in the middle of throwing a round kick and your opponent grabs a chair to block the kick or even lifts their leg and blocks your kick with their shin it's very likely you will break you leg.

You don't buy that?

Ask UFC fighter Anderson Silva who broke his leg in that exact same way during one of his fights.

if you use kicks the best ones you can use are straight kicks and knees.

Beware of chokes...

Chokes are very dangerous, if you hold someone in a choke long enough you will leave them unconscious but hold that choke a second too long and you'll kill you opponent and you will end up with a whole new pile of problems.

Mind the gap...

Always be aware of the distance between yourself and your opponent or opponents, if you're fighting a larger guy you need to maintain distance and keep them away from you, the power of their strikes is not effective if you're too far or too close to them. But mind that if you're too close they can grab you and if they are bigger it's going to be very hard to get them off of you.

Hope this helps and stay safe...

Share your opinion with me on the comments and share this with you fellow martial artists.

Until next time.

Yamil Senior Seda

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