Why most martial arts don't work in self defense.

Discussion in 'General Martial Arts Talk' started by Kung Fu Wang, Mar 5, 2020.

  1. Kung Fu Wang

    Kung Fu Wang Grandmaster

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    Find this discussion in another forum. IMO, some valid points are made here. What are the proper solutions? Your thought?
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    Here's a detailed explanation why most martial arts don't work in self defense.

    1. Wrong assumptions - Martial artists make many wrong assumptions about the streets. They assume it's going to be a fair fight. They assume they're going to face one untrained opponent. I could go on and on. When you're on the streets, you're not in your turf. You're in the criminal's territory. Street attackers don't follow your dojo or MMA gym's rules. They go by street rules which often has no rules.

    2. Trying to control too many variables - The second biggest problem with most martial arts is they try to control too many variables. They often do demos. with compliant partners and spar with people of the same style. They add rules of what is and is not allowed in sparring. Truthfully, you can't control everything that happens in the streets. There's going to be things outside of your control. You can't really predict how your attacker will attack. All you can do is make educated guesses.

    3. Unrealistic scenarios - Most martial artists engage in very unrealistic scenarios. They assume a street attacker will attack the way in a controlled manner usually in the defender's own art. That's far from reality. Most attackers attack chaotically with wild punches, kicks, bearhugs, bodyslams, headbutts, tackles, sucker punches, etc. It's going to be too fast and chaotic for your techniques to work.

    4. Unrealistic techniques - Most martial artists have unrealistic techniques. They're too flashy to work in combat. They usually think in sequences. The problem with sequences is you're assuming your attacker won't react or resist. They usually resist the moment you try to do your first technique which makes it harder for you to execute your second one.

    5. Unrealistic mindset - Most martial artists train with a sports mindset. They don't know the difference between an attack and a fight. An attack is a violent act meant to hurt you without your consent whereas a fight is agreed on. In a fight, there's some degree of respect and protection via. referees, mats, gloves, etc. That doesn't exist in a real attack. Street attackers have no problem bashing your skull in with a pipe. There's more blood and guts in street attacks than there is in fighting.

    6. Impractical exercises - Martial artists often engage in pointless work outs like flow drills and forms. Flow drills don't translate well to real combat for several reasons. 1) Your attacker won't stay in one range. Your attacker will start in one distance then move to another. 2) There's no intent to attack. People who do flow drills often attack with the intent for their partners to defend and counter then repeat. Martial artists say "well the point of flow drills is to practice your reflexes, speed, coordination, etc." Well, getting those benefits practicing flow drills is the equivalent of playing patty-cakes with your hands. Forms are also useless. You can practice your techniques on an imaginary opponent all day, but things completely change when you're dealing with a real attacker. Martial artists think they're improving their stance, structure, techniques, etc. by doing forms. They're in for a rude awakening when they get attacked and can't maintain their forms under pressure via. getting rammed against, getting punched wildly, etc.

    7. Ignorance of weapons and multiple attackers - Most martial artists neglect training against multiple attackers and armed attackers. They'll say "no art can deal with such situations" or "run" to justify bad training. If they do train against them, it's usually scripted and too flashy to be realistic. In fact, most martial artists who get attacked on the streets end up hurt or killed by weapons and/or multiple attackers.

    8. Ignorance of stress - Most martial artists don't realize stress can greatly decrease your performance. It's not enough to simply spar full contact. When you reached a certain level of stress, your brain forgets complex motor skills because it's not necessary for survival. That means all your flashy techniques become useless. You'll get tunnel vision, stiff muscles, difficulty concentrating, difficulty breathing, etc. If you don't know how to manage stress, your techniques will suffer and might find yourself getting beaten up regardless if you had the right training or not.

    9. Wrong techniques - Martial artists often train with the wrong techniques. They think if a punch or kick lands, it works. Nothing could be further from the truth. If it doesn't end the threat fast be it by breaking your attacker's limbs or knocking him/her out, it's not helping you defend yourself. Like the case with Meredith Kercher. She was a Karateka who got jumped by two people who plotted to kill her with knives. She fought for her life using Karate. She still got stabbed multiple times with knives, raped, and died with a sit throat. People can take Karate punches because they don't pack as much as power as other arts like boxing.

    That's why most martial arts are impractical for self defense.
     
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  2. Flying Crane

    Flying Crane Sr. Grandmaster

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    I don’t know about most martial arts. I only know about what I train, and what I trained in the past.

    I don’t care about the issues that other systems may or may not have.

    The guy who wrote that nonsense: f**k him.
     
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  3. Tez3

    Tez3 Sr. Grandmaster

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    Exactly. It's just a huge generalisation by someone who wants to show he 'knows better'. He doesn't.
     
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  4. skribs

    skribs Senior Master

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    I'm mixing up your numbers a bit in my quotes below.

    Is your position that "most martial arts don't work, and here is why" or that "of the martial arts that don't work, these are the most common reasons why"?

    I think this is very true. The common complaint is that people train against unresistant opponents. However, first you must define what "resistant" is, because some people have a different definition. To some people, resistance only comes in the form of competition (meeting force with force to win a prize), but resistance can come in other forms as well. Simulating a self-defense scenario isn't going to be the same as simulating a match.

    However, what you highlight is something I've brought up before. A lot of arts are only really trained to deal with what that art teaches. Take for example:
    • Taekwondo, where a 1-step punch defense deals with a lunge punch. The type of punch you see in TKD and Karate forms, but I've never seen in a real fight
    • Wing Chun, where you master the game of fighting for a dominant striking position, but it's a game nobody else is playing
    In a lot of arts, if your opponent doesn't fight in the way your art does, you're left trying to figure out how to respond to their art and their way of doing things.

    Some techniques are unrealistic because they don't work. Others because they're low percentage or inefficient. There are some techniques that don't work because you haven't figured out how to make them work.

    The funny thing about these points is that a lot of people will take the mindset of "you can't win against weapons, so why train against weapons?" This is false (as you can easily find security videos of bouncers and store employees disarming folks). It kind of goes back to my point before - people are generally only trained to fight against themselves. Someone who takes an unarmed art is only thinking of effectiveness against an unarmed opponent.

    I will say that someone who has a high level of skill against an unarmed opponent is more likely to win against an armed opponent, than someone who has had bad training against armed opponents. A good grappler is much more likely to control the guy with a stick, than someone who learned some cool moves and never used them to actually fight someone.

    I'm going to disagree here. If you do full contact sparring, you're getting used to the stress. If you have testing or competitions, stress is involved. If you don't get stressed while getting to a high level in your art, something is seriously wrong.

    I'm going to disagree here as well. For one, the story you presented (while a good indictment of the problems of martial arts) doesn't seem to line up with this point. It feels more suited to point #7 about multiple attackers and weapons. We don't know from your recounting of the post why her martial arts failed her. However, it's tough when you factor in:
    • Planning
    • Coordination against a single opponent
    • Weapons
    • I'm going to go out on a limb and say they were probably bigger than her as well
    As to your other point, I agree and disagree. I agree that people don't understand what will and will not finish a fight. Even something like BJJ, would your opponent actually give up after you threaten the armbar, or will they sucker punch you after you release them? Will a dislocated elbow actually end the fight, or will they stab you with their good arm?

    But BJJ is also an example where you don't need to end the fight immediately. You might just need to pin them down and get control until they cool off or realize you're not worth fighting. Or you can protect yourself and control them while working towards that choke or limb destruction. If your style is about defending until you find an opening, that's different than thinking you have an offense when all you're doing is tapping your opponent.

    I'm going to disagree. Most arts will give you a good chance in the majority of fights you get into. Not fights in the ring (where the other person is a trained fighter), but against the average joe who wants to pick a fight with you.
     
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  5. skribs

    skribs Senior Master

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    @Kung Fu Wang

    What is your solution? You've presented problems both with the sport side of arts (not looking at self-defense scenarios) and of the traditional side (training methods that don't involve pressure testing). What is your method that solves all of these problems?
     
  6. wab25

    wab25 Black Belt

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    He brings up a good point... ignorance. Unfortunately, he doesn't realize that he is guilty of ignorance... ignorance of how scenario training, kata and flow drills should be used for example. Unfortunately, many Martial Artists are also guilty of that same ignorance. They can also be ignorant of what they are training, are they training a game of tag, a sport with rules, a historical practice or an actual killing art. Unfortunately, many folks are ignorant about what they are ignorant about. Its great to train in a game of tag, or sport or historical practice... so long as you know what you are training and what you are not. People get into trouble when they find out they were actually training for tag, when at this moment, they need a surviving type art. People put themselves into a situation to find that out, when they don't realize what they don't know.
     
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  7. Bruce7

    Bruce7 Brown Belt

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    I am sorry hit wrong button my reply is father down
     
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2020
  8. wab25

    wab25 Black Belt

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    Sure, you can and should learn to deal with stress in your training. The issue brought up though, is that all this stress we have in our Martial Arts training, always carries the expectation of us going home when we are done, with the possible exception of visiting the hospital... but even those are relatively rare for how "deadly" we perceive our arts to be. In a real attack, there is no expectation of you going home. Being dead is a very real and possible conclusion. There is no way to really train that. There is also no way to predict how you would respond. Even if you responded last time correctly and saved yourself, thats no indicator that next time, you won't freeze up. Dealing with someone suddenly trying to kill you, right now... is very different than dealing with a full contact opponent, with rules, a ring and a ref. Thinking you can deal with the stress of someone trying to kill you, just because you can deal with the stress of an organized competition... will get you into a position where you will find out.
     
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  9. Bruce7

    Bruce7 Brown Belt

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    I agree with alot of what you are saying. I think it has alot to do with your teacher.
    My teacher fought behind enemy lines during Korean War.
    He was both traditional and practical.
    I have used what he taught us in many fights.
    We were trained against multiple attachers.
    Spareing was done with no pads.
    Sparing was done with no time limits.
    That was 40 years ago, I don't know if that is practable now.
    If someone is hurt, you might get sued.
     
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2020
  10. dvcochran

    dvcochran Senior Master

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    I agree with Tez that it is a huge generalization. But there are some good points made that everyone training any style MA style should look out for and be aware of.
    Training with resistance often gets batted around. Of course it is necessary but how/when do you say 'that is enough resistance' to say a skill works against it. There are just too many variables, and the magnitude of each of them change based on the conditions. Remember, you want to be able to return to class/training for many years.
    I have had broken bones and knocked out from competition. Does this constitute enough resistance? In the regular training of self defense I would say No. It was a totally different environment and no matter how physical it was, somewhere in the back of my head I never thought I may be killed or greatly harmed. Yes the breaks and knockouts sucked but I was up and going the same day so I did not see/feel the same magnitude as what is possible in a SD situation.

    One of the most dangerous things anyone training can do is mentally think of things like one-steps and forms just as a series of movements. Sure that is how they start out and either lack of mental translation or lack of repetition will keep them that way. That is non-productive dangerous training whether it is the instructors fault or the practitioner.

    When people talk about things getting lost in translation and over time, this list is a very good example.
    Do some of the newer training styles have merit? Sure. But it is a load of crap to say No style of MA training works. Just a bunch of fodder.

    Is your martial arts class is surprisingly similar to your aerobics class? Then, yes; Here's your sign.
     
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  11. Kung Fu Wang

    Kung Fu Wang Grandmaster

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    I believe in:

    1. Entering strategy - move in safely without being kicked and punched.
    2. Finish strategy - finish a fight ASAP.

    Whatever the training that can achieve these 2 goals will be my training focus.
     
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  12. Kung Fu Wang

    Kung Fu Wang Grandmaster

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    Many people attacks that person who starts that thread in another forum.

    I have no interest about the person who made those statement. I'm only interested about the statement he made.

    By using his statement, I can examine my own training to see if my training has any weakness or not.

    For example,

    4. Unrealistic techniques - Most martial artists have unrealistic techniques. They're too flashy to work in combat. They usually think in sequences. The problem with sequences is you're assuming your attacker won't react or resist. They usually resist the moment you try to do your first technique which makes it harder for you to execute your second one.

    I like to attack, let my opponent to respond, I then respond to his respond. I won't assume my initial attack will work.
     
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2020
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  13. Headhunter

    Headhunter Senior Master

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    Sounds like a lot of rambling of a guy trying to sound smart. All martial arts have the potential to work in self defence it all depends on the practitioner and how that martial art is trained
     
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  14. Tez3

    Tez3 Sr. Grandmaster

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    There probably are good points but they have all been raised, discussed, raised again, discussed again ad nauseum and I really can't find anything more to add than all the things I said last time, and the time before that...…….
    I know newer posters will find this more interesting so having added my tuppence worth I shall retire almost graciously :D
     
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  15. skribs

    skribs Senior Master

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    Yes, but also a lot of people who do scenario training, kata, and flow drills don't know how they should be used.

    To be fair, I missed that this was a post you were copying, and had assumed it was you that wrote it.

    I think it's important to recognize the gaps in your training. I think it's important for a traditional guy to recognize the need to pressure test, and for a sport guy to think about self-defense scenarios.
     
  16. Kung Fu Wang

    Kung Fu Wang Grandmaster

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    In the other forum, everybody attack the person who starts that thread. What I don't understand is, why not just discuss the subject and leave the person along?
     
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  17. skribs

    skribs Senior Master

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    As bad as a lot of the people on this site are, this is still the least toxic martial arts forum I have found. And, like I said - this guy said things that would be against the traditional arts (about how flow drills and forms have problems) and about sport arts (that they don't think about weapons). So right there he's angered everyone.
     
  18. Kung Fu Wang

    Kung Fu Wang Grandmaster

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    Just like the 8 steps preying mantis master Wei Shao-Tang said, "When your friend poured you a cup of tea, he could throw the hot tea on your face, and then beat you up."

    Does your training cover that?
     
  19. Tez3

    Tez3 Sr. Grandmaster

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    Hell, yes, I'm English!
     
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  20. Kung Fu Wang

    Kung Fu Wang Grandmaster

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    Sometime we may forget that "sport" is only the path and not the goal.

    When I was young, I used to train how to dodge tennis balls while standing in a small circle. IMO, the new generation may not include "how to dodge a throwing object" in their training.

    123
     
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