One-time SD seminars/short courses. A bit of a rant.

Discussion in 'Tae-Kwon-Do' started by ETinCYQX, Aug 22, 2013.

  1. ETinCYQX

    ETinCYQX Master Black Belt

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    This has nothing to do with Kukkiwon, ITF, TSD, HKD, any style at all.

    While my involvement in Taekwondo and standup martial arts is not as prominent as I would like right now, I am still a 2nd dan and still an instructor so I feel it's necessary to comment on what I perceive as a dangerous or destructive trend.

    Without any disrespect intended, and with no one teacher or black belt in mind, the idea that one can learn effective self defense in a few classes, or a two hour seminar, is frankly ridiculous. The principles of combat are essential to self defense. There isn't a chance that any respectable black belt, in any style, doesn't realize this, and yet these seminars and four week courses keep popping up.

    What this says for our community, as martial artists, teachers, combat athletes and coaches is far from positive. Is our integrity worth that little? Can we afford as a community to teach a couple of wrist locks and a punch to people who feel a need to defend themselves, and let them out in the world believing they can fight off an attacker? I wouldn't think so. Of course there is profit in it, but in my mind it's nothing short of predatory. It's not that different from the recent Team Lloyd Irvin scandal, just a different focus-the promise of being a championship fighter rather than the promise of being able to defend oneself.

    Furthermore I'd like an opinion on this. It's something I feel strongly about, obviously. Do you think that effective self defense can be taught in a seminar or even a few weeks of a course? Can effective self defense be taught without an understanding of combat? Sure, techniques can. What happens when the technique fails, and our theoretical student has no idea what to do next? One cannot teach every circumstance, but one can certainly teach principles and ideas, that are applied and used to arrive at the next step.

    I think all of you understand the perception of martial arts instructors in North America-to some they are superhuman, to others they are snake oil salesmen. Taking advantage of the first group will only make the second grow. :)

    Also, I fully understand the criticisms of KKW taekwondo in general. That's not the point of this thread, I would very much appreciate a sensible discussion of the matter at hand. Thank you.
     
  2. dancingalone

    dancingalone Grandmaster

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    You'd have to define what "effective self defense" and "taught" mean in this discussion. Do you primarily mean instruction of physical martial defense skills? I ask because a plethora of self-defense and rape prevention courses exist that are focused
    primarily on situational awareness and mental conditioning. They are considered successful and useful by a variety of organizations, including some prominent law enforcement agencies. The majority I know about last less than 8 hours in total.



    I don't think self-defense is the same as combat. Combat, as most mean it, is either a sport dueling situation or alternately outright warfare using modern weapons. If I manage to talk myself out of a tricky situation, is that self-defense for purposes of discussion? If so, sure I think you can accomplish a lot in a single day.

     
  3. ETinCYQX

    ETinCYQX Master Black Belt

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    Good point, the verbal part is important too. I was referring mostly to physical skills, but the verbal skills discussion is valid too.

    I would define combat as just about any physical altercation. What I mean by understanding it is understanding what you do and why it works, not just "do 1, 2, 3, and 4 and bad guy falls over".
     
  4. RTKDCMB

    RTKDCMB Senior Master

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    I am an instructor so I will respond. I have never held or attended a seminar on self defence. If I were to hold one it would be for students who were already studying the art I was teaching. As far as self defence courses go, all of the ones that I have taught I have always explained to students from the get-go that will not be able to defend themselves against 10 people or a skilled fighter/martial artists after just a few lessons. The idea behind a self defence course is it is just an introduction to self defence to get the students to start to think about what they are doing. Get them out of the habit of just wildly swinging with no regard to where they are hitting or preventing themselves getting hit. Teach them a few basic striking techniques (such as punch, backfist, front kick, palm strike etc) that they can remember easily, some basic blocks, nothing too fancy or complicated. Show them some good areas on the body to target for maximum effect and some simple escapes from holds (many people, for example, don't know how get out of a simple wrist grab until you show them something simple like turning your wrist so that it can slip between the thumb and forefinger and release using a leverage move). Teach them some situational awareness and simple tips to avoid trouble. At the end of the course encourage them to continue their education by joining a martial art. With a self defence course they may not be experts in self defence but its a start.

    If you try to convince the students that they will be unbeatable after a few lessons just so that you can charge them 100 bucks each would be irresponsible.
     
  5. jks9199

    jks9199 Administrator Staff Member

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    You can introduce some ideas. You can teach a technique or two, though the students won't really retain or understand it without more practice. You can give some awareness and guidance on avoidance. You can, if you want to go down that road and know how to do it, use operant conditioning to build a solid counter-ambush response.

    If I'm asked to do a short (couple of hours, one-time only) self defense event, it's focused on some safety principles and realizing the difference between real violence and social violence. Give me a full day, and we'll get into some hands on stuff building on what people already have and know. Several sessions over a couple of weeks? We'll look deeper into things, and reinforce solid principles and reactions throughout. Some of this will be tweaked with different audiences. Teenage girls would get a different class, especially the shortest version, than martial artists or cops.
     
  6. aedrasteia

    aedrasteia Purple Belt

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    thanks jks. can you talk/describe this?
     
  7. Gwai Lo Dan

    Gwai Lo Dan 2nd Black Belt

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    Ethan,
    I agree that a weekend course is just a little practice that may stay with the untrained student "only a little".

    Since you like Judo, I had to bring up the old news story of the guy who tried to carjack a van...and unbeknown to him, inside the van there was a judo team in town for a self-defence seminar.
    http://www.deseretnews.com/article/932192/Judo-club-foils-carjack-attempt.html?pg=all

    So for good defence, be young, athletic, well trained, and with your friends!
     
  8. arnisador

    arnisador Sr. Grandmaster

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    I would agree with the sentiment that there can be an effective self defense course in a two hour seminar and that it would be about avoiding conflict and likely include no physical training at all for the students. Walk in pairs, know where you're going, don't get in the car, etc. But for physical techniques? It could make a difference but not very often at all, and more b/c the person would have gained (false) confidence and tried something than b/c the technique per se worked.
     
  9. jks9199

    jks9199 Administrator Staff Member

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    Since I haven't put one together recently, I'll brainstorm a little here. The idea is simple: especially in a very short class setting, I would tailor the lesson to the audience. So, running off the top of my head, I would address things like web safety, acquaintance rape, and maybe show a couple of simple techniques to deal with someone at close range. Some of it would depend on the environment, too... Can I do much hands on? Or is it a lecture only environment? I'd probably get into some dynamics of violence stuff, too, because it's important to recognize the difference between social and asocial violence.
     
  10. Earl Weiss

    Earl Weiss Senior Master

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    Before productive discussion can take place we would have to define what is meant by "Effective Self Defense."

    This is typicaly geared toward people who fear being the victim of an assault and it typicaly involves females fearing an assault. The goal is survival, as opposed to destroying the attacker. It doesn't take a lot of practice to learn awareness and avoidence, learning to bite, scratch, stick fingers in eyes, and throw a low kick or knee. This stuff is easy to teach and easy to learn. Developing the mindset to use it when needed is another issue.
     
  11. aedrasteia

    aedrasteia Purple Belt

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    thanks Jim
    I'd like to know more about how you see this. Sure - you could do hands-on, or whatever you think is most important.

    Have you done many classes with young girls? How do you put this together - what's the driving issue?
     
  12. Brian R. VanCise

    Brian R. VanCise MT Moderator Staff Member

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    Our short IRT self defense courses geared towards new beginning students and people practicing for a little while focus on Awareness, Avoidance and Action. Frankly there is only so much you can do in a short period. As jks9199 mentioned you can focus on social and asocial violence mixed in with simple things like being aware of your surroundings, walking in pairs, avoiding certain places, locking house and car doors, etc. You can in a short period of time focus on a few strikes and really drill them in. Jab, cross with the palm heel strike, elbows, knees, some grappling defense geared towards getting up and getting away. While you may not be making someone into a martial practitioner during the course you may be giving a person some easy skills that may keep them safe or may allow them to have a chance to defend themselves in violent altercation. I have taught a few people who thanked me for what they learned because it helped them get out of a situation.

    Not everyone wants to be a black belt nor a life long martial practitioner but everyone can use some common sense self defense information and training!
     
  13. SJON

    SJON Blue Belt

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    Personally I think you can teach people rather a lot about self-defence in, say, an 8 hour one-day seminar. Enough, certainly, to make some essential changes in understanding, physical ability and ability to handle adrenaline.

    But first one must understand that there is a big difference between:

    1. Self-defence, fighting and martial arts.
    2. Being good at fighting/MA and being good at teaching SD.
    3. Having an instructor certificate and knowing something about education (or, more accurately, educational psychology).
    4. The conscious decision to stretch material thinly and keep it fun with a couple of really cool techniques and not too hard/unpleasant in order to increase number of customers and allow repeat events (i.e. standard commercial MA philosophy) and the idea of having a moral obligation to deliver what you’re advertising (i.e. self-defence).
    5. The kind of one-day seminar that convinces middle-class kids and housewives that with a backfist, a couple of boxing punches, several wrist locks and a kick in the balls they will be able to defend themselves against a predatory thug; and the kind of one-day seminar that shows them what violence really looks like and how/why it happens, teaches them to hit really hard with a couple of techniques, shows them a couple of escapes that work for the vast majority of common holds and gives them the opportunity to use them under a certain amount of pressure (or fear).

    Cheers,

    Simon
     
  14. jks9199

    jks9199 Administrator Staff Member

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    I haven't done a lot of these, and especially not lately. I was brainstorming, thinking out loud there -- but also looking at what I see professionally, and what I hear as being real concerns. I don't really need to teach a teenage girl how to walk safely down the worst streets of Anacostia; the ones that have to do that don't need me! The rest aren't likely to be there. But they are likely to find themselves at parties with guys who go might go too far. Or on dates with guys who won't take no for an answer. Or pressured to send their boyfriends a picture that they probably shouldn't... And they do need to recognize the different sorts and causes of violence; they'll almost certainly be around a Monkey Dance, and might need to save a friend's hide when they get wrapped up in it -- or when the girl causes it. (Yeah, they need to be aware of that power, too.)

    In terms of hands-on -- it all depends on the time and the environment. Best case, I have enough time to work them gradually through the silly phase where they're all super self conscious and playing to avoid being seen as taking it seriously and being bad at it into a point where they can actually learn.
     
  15. aedrasteia

    aedrasteia Purple Belt

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    Thanks Jim - maybe we can get a conversation going about this, with others jumping in too.

    your comments make some sense to me - (smile) most of what i do in my classes and short stuff too,
    doesn't remotely compute with instructors and MAs.

    re: dates and guys - so many girls in classes are dealing with intrusive/harassing behavior from men,
    not guys who are their peers (same age).

    " Best case, I have enough time to work them gradually through the silly phase where they're all super self conscious and playing to avoid being seen as taking it seriously and being bad at it into a point where they can actually learn."

    In my experience, it hits very very close to home - the more real ( and uncomfortable) the activity or discussion, the more intense is the anxiety and fear. And more silliness/goofing around.

    In my experience, taking it seriously means coming very close to revealing how much
    this is a part of their lives.
    'Playing', acting silly and blowing it off is coping with stuff that overwhelms them.
    They are really seriously scared and intimidated by whats happened to them, to friends
    to other women, to their moms. Acting goofy and silly holds all that at a distance.

    Took me a while to get that.
    and more time to figure out what it meant for me.
    and what to do with all that.

    thanks again Jim. Please post more. Others too
     
  16. jks9199

    jks9199 Administrator Staff Member

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    But when a student -- whether a formal martial artist or a self defense student at a seminar -- is in that defensive goofing around mode, they are too busy distancing themselves to actually learn. It takes time and the right environment to get past that. The dynamics are different for men vs women, cops vs civilians, adults vs kids... You want a cop to take you seriously, be ready to walk the walk, and don't ******** people who spend their time ferreting out ********ters. Make it something meaningful and applicable to them -- but not something that's going to make them feel silly or disrespected. You want teenage girls to take you seriously... Well, I think you have to start by being sincere and treating them with respect... and I'm sure it's not that simple. (Gotta wonder about some of the dynamics if you get a group that know and socialize together...) Teenage guys need activity, they need some goofiness, but they need to realize that you're beyond the Monkey Dance with them...
     
  17. Kong Soo Do

    Kong Soo Do IKSDA Director

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    I'm going to cautiously enter this discussion. I'll state upfront that no disrespect is intended towards anyone and I'm using the above quote only as a springboard.

    As a professional that uses SD techniques on quite a regular basis (my last hand-2-hand altercation against a violent, resisting felon was Saturday of last weekend. The time before that was just a few days earlier. Although command presence and verbal de-escalation techniques are a specialty of mine, some people just aren't of the mood to cooperate), it is my observation that the vast majority of martial artists do not have a proper concept of self-defense or what it takes to train for it. The training the vast majority of modern martial artists receive is entirely the wrong training methodology.

    Whereas a multitude of blocks, strikes, kicks, locks, throws, chokes, escapes etc can take years to fully master, effective....and I stress effective SD can be learned by a serious student in a very short period of time if the proper methodology is used in the instruction. A typical law enforcement specialty course in some method of defensive tactics (self defense) is 40 hours. I've been to courses as short as 16 hours. These specific courses now form the backbone of our agencies DT program due to the training methodology (gross motor skill and flinch response) and retention in long term memory. To be specific, our edged weapons course initially was 16 hours. Refresher training is needed only on an annual basis. Now to a martial artist that has been ingrained in a different training methodology, 16 hours of edged weapons training with only annual training sounds absurd. Yet the effectiveness rating of this program in real world violent altercations is 90%+ and in fact is the only system of edged weapon defense that I am aware of that tracks real world officer-involved altercations and their outcome. And we are just one of many agencies nationwide (as well as other countries) that use this system. It is simple, effective and brutal. We also use the SPEAR system which again was initially a 40 hour course (for instructors) but is now only 8 hours for Officers/Deputies with annual refresher training. And it has been used effectively in our agency since the mid 90's. And again we are just one of a plethora of agencies that use this system. And again, it is simple, effective and brutal to the point of the normal outcome of the badguy is bloody incapacitation. And to be clear, this is when the Officer/Deputy is confronted with a situation where hands-on is the only option and is necessary to protect the life of the Officer/Deputy, another person or allow the opportunity to transition to another tool i.e. taser, O.C. spray, baton or firearm as appropriate. There are other methods for less force of course.

    Now this doesn't mean that L.E. are bullet proof or badasses. And I can't speak for agencies that don't use these methodologies, of which there is also a plethora. But I can speak to the ones that do, and this training is effective provided the Officer/Deputy trained with a serious purpose. No training will overcome a lax attitude or complacency.

    The point is that effective SD does not take a long time to train, nor does it need continual reinforcement training. Annual training has shown to be effective. Semi-annual may even be better. Monthly training may even be better. But statistically, with the type of training I'm discussing, Officers/Deputies have effectively defended themselves in H2H altercations (read self defense of themselves or others) months or even longer after just the initial training which was likely only 40 hours in duration or often much less. But as long as it is based upon the flinch response and gross motor skills it will be retained in long term memory and that has been borne out by those that were originally trained in WWII combatives by the likes of Faribairn, Sykes, Applegate, O'Neill and others. Didn't make them supermen, but it made them pretty damn deadly. It was more offensive than defensive due to the requirements, but the methodology remained the same i.e. simple techniques/movements (gross motor skills) and the flinch response.

    Now take what I'm saying in perspective. There are a LOT of fly-by-night SD programs out there that are pure crap. Taught by people that have never actually used what they teach and no statistics as to how effective it would be against a live, violent, resisting attacker. But then I've discussed a TKD school that will give you a BB in HKD after one weekend of training and no prior HKD experience as long as your check clears. So it is all a matter of the source material, training methodology and the instructor(s) actual experience level.
     
  18. WaterGal

    WaterGal Master of Arts

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    That's very interesting, thank you for sharing! Do you guys also have physical fitness requirements that officers have to maintain? I know that you have to meet a certain standard before you can become a cop, but what about after?

    What I'm trying to get at is that a strong, physically fit 30-year old man who's been in a few scrapes and is used to dealing with violent people has a natural advantage in a fight. So it makes total sense to me that they can learn to defend themselves with only intermittent but detailed training.

    But what about someone like, say, a teenage girl who doesn't exercise much and who's never been in a fight? I wonder if the kind of classes you describe would be enough to teach someone like that to defend herself. I feel like someone like that is going to need more long-term training just to get/stay in shape and learn about how to fight and how to deal with being in a stressful, close-quarters situation.
     
  19. WaterGal

    WaterGal Master of Arts

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    Going to second this. When I was a teenager, even when I was very obviously underage (and I've always looked young for my age), probably 90% of the sexual harassment I got was from grown men. I don't know what kind of man thinks it's cool to catcall at an 8th grader walking home from school wearing a backpack, but it always creeped me out big-time.
     
  20. Kong Soo Do

    Kong Soo Do IKSDA Director

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    You're very welcome and you pose some good questions. First, yes our agency has a physical fitness standard both for hiring and for annual testing. The standard(s) will vary widely though from agency to agency. Some are in line with the military and others...well, not so much. Personally I don't think they are tough enough overall, nor do they take a persons age into consideration. If you watch those reality cop shows on TV you'll see the wide range of standards. Some cops look like they just stepped out of the Marines and others look like they've stepped out of Dunkin Donuts.

    In regards to the teenage girl, I'd say that a LOT has to do with her mindset. Yes, exercise would be a substantial benefit. Not just for defense but for overall health. Additionally, a physically fit person will be able to manage the stress of an altercation or a sustained injury far better than an unfit person. But the mindset is ultimately the most important thing for her or anybody. Is she going to curl up into a fetal position if a guy calls her the 'C' word? Or will she adopt a command presence posture and show she won't be intimidated? A girl or woman (or anyone) can be taught a plethora of SD techniques (both physical as well as verbal, mindset, situational awareness etc.) in a short amount of time that can be extremely useful in avoiding a situation, escaping a situation or making it through a situation if necessary. In some ways, a woman may have a momentary edge with the advantage of surprise. In otherwords, the perp may not be expecting resistance of the type that a woman can bring to bear and a well placed (and unexpected) chin jab/cow catcher/elbow spike, vital area strike will go a long way to ruining their plans. It is a matter of receiving some simple training and then actually putting it into use (at least as far as the non-physical stuff which can keep her out of harms way to a great extent). The bottom line is that some regular exercise and/or physical SD training can go a long way for her. But a well designed, gross motor skill SD program based on real world situations can go a long way as well if that is the only thing she does for herself. I've seen many smaller framed women put much larger men on their butts because they learned some simple, gross motor skilled techniques and weren't afraid to use them.123
     

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