Is self-defence really necessary?

Gyakuto

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Lot of newbies posting questions on here cite self-defence as a major reason to start the martial arts. My question is if there are lots of attacks, muggings etc in the USA (this is predominantly an American board) that require you to be able to defend yourself? I have never met anyone who’s been attack or mugged although I’ve heard of bar room scuffles after drinking too much.

Is the USA a particularly violent place to live?
 
As a fellow UK resident I cannot shine any light on the American situation. Martial arts often seem to attract those seeking to protect themselves from violence. After a short period of attending a school the emphasis changes toward learning the art by becoming fitter, flexible and more skilled. A fair number of people also find the competitive aspects a big draw too. In my experience, those who come solely for self-defence purposes usually shift their perspective, or leave.

America is obviously a much bigger country than the UK, but I would imagine it's more or less the same. There will be areas which are more violent than others, just as certain elements of cities and various locations in the UK are dangerous if you are unaware of the signs and don't belong there. It will interesting to hear what our American cousins have to say on the topic.
 
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Lot of newbies posting questions on here cite self-defence as a major reason to start the martial arts. My question is if there are lots of attacks, muggings etc in the USA (this is predominantly an American board) that require you to be able to defend yourself? I have never met anyone who’s been attack or mugged although I’ve heard of bar room scuffles after drinking too much.

Is the USA a particularly violent place to live?
Depends on where in the USA. Some places are extremely dangerous and others are very safe. Sometimes those places are in the same city only a few miles away.
 
The media paints it as such. Most people are able to avoid fighting if they want to.
Agree that most are. It’s an odd thing to me that many Americans believe there is more danger than is real, and many other Americans believe that the dangers of some places are over hyped. I have lived in both realities. I know of a couple places where I could drop off a real tough guy that will find out how tough he isn’t in short order.
 
I can't speak about the US but my personal experience living in Belgium taught me that I needed to learn to defend myself. For context, I grew up in a modest but loving family and we didn't have any of the classic risk factors associated with a violent upbringing (e.g. alcoholism, domestic violence, involvement of relatives/friends in crimes, etc.). I also tended to avoid going to dangerous places or provoking fights.

Yet, my first physical assault was at age 6 (two older kids I'd never met walked into the school restroom and thought it funny to bash my head against a wall while I was peeing). During my teens and early twenties, I've been involved in at least 20 cases of physical violence, sometimes involving weapons. That's about once every six months.

At age 16, as I was talking with a friend of mine (also a pretty regular dude) some guy came out of nowhere and punched him in the face. He was the ex-BF of a girl we knew and he couldn't stand seeing my friend talk to her. Strangely enough, that same friend of mine got assaulted a few weeks ago: some random guy in the street started beating him up before realizing he had mistaken him for someone else and leaving.

At age 18, I was boarding a train and felt a hand on my shoulder. A big guy started screaming that I'd made him drop his weed and that I'd better apologize to him. A friend of mine jumped in and grabbed the guy by the collar and showed him he was bigger and could yell louder.

At age 20 or 21, I was driving on the highway and, after overtaking one car that was zig-zagging, I saw that car accelerate and voluntarily crash into us from the side, almost sending us spinning off the road. He then parked his car right in front of ours, barring the road, so we were immobile in the middle of the highway, with other cars passing by at full speed. Then he got off his car and started punching my window screaming that he was from the Hell's Angels, that he'd put a bullet in my head and that he'd find out where I lived and would burn down my house. I was with my mother and little sister and we just stayed safely in the car until he was gone. I called the police while he was threatening us but they never came and never even investigated the incident even after we filed a complaint (they told us that since no one was injured they wouldn't bother to retrieve the footage from the highway cameras).

I could go on with the examples, and there are even more situations that I've defused or avoided thanks to experience. I've started training martial arts quite late and I've never been in a street fight since then, apart from once grabbing the wrist of an aggressive guy and showing him my strength.

I'm certainly an outlier because I've faced a very high number of assaults compared to most people. However, a lot of the people I know have faced interpersonal violence at least once in their life, including physical assault/bullying, robberies, sexual assault, etc. My point is that there's a (small!) portion of the population out there that's willing to harm you and that it's good to know how to deal with that.
 
I live in a fairly safe place; typical small town in the south. I have only had to draw my weapon once since I retired; thankfully I didn’t have to use it.
 
Lot of newbies posting questions on here cite self-defence as a major reason to start the martial arts. My question is if there are lots of attacks, muggings etc in the USA (this is predominantly an American board) that require you to be able to defend yourself? I have never met anyone who’s been attack or mugged although I’ve heard of bar room scuffles after drinking too much.

Is the USA a particularly violent place to live?
Depends on where you live.
 
Very interesting accounts.

My feeling is that the perception of violence is much worse than the actual threat of violence. It’s rather like the fear of child abduction is overhyped, although it does happen occasionally. It also appears that it’s young men who are in real danger of violence whereas us older codgers do not frequent the places where we might enter into conflict after all, nothing good ever happens after 9pm 😄
 
Very interesting accounts.

My feeling is that the perception of violence is much worse than the actual threat of violence. It’s rather like the fear of child abduction is overhyped, although it does happen occasionally. It also appears that it’s young men who are in real danger of violence whereas us older codgers do not frequent the places where we might enter into conflict after all, nothing good ever happens after 9pm 😄
I think it’s more about being prepared for violence.
 

Is self-defence really necessary?​


If you can

- block/dodge all punches and kicks that your opponent throws at you, you have achieved your 100% "self-defense" goal.
- knock down your opponent before he has chance to attack your wife, you have achieved your 100% "protect your loved one" goal.

We train MA not only to protect ourselves, but also to protect our loved one. As far as to "help good to fight against evil", that goal may be hard to achieved.
 
Lot of newbies posting questions on here cite self-defence as a major reason to start the martial arts. My question is if there are lots of attacks, muggings etc in the USA (this is predominantly an American board) that require you to be able to defend yourself? I have never met anyone who’s been attack or mugged although I’ve heard of bar room scuffles after drinking too much.

Is the USA a particularly violent place to live?
Self-defense and so-called 'street fighting'. I never cease being amazed by such questions. Get in a lot of 'street fights' do you there Ace? Like every time you step out of your house, or on odd weekends?

In my 60+ years, most of the fighting as an adult that I have done has been either related to my time as a Military Policeman in the Marine Corps in the 1980s, or a couple fights I got into at drunken parties in the first few years after I got out. After age 30, nothing.

I *could* engage in fights. I know how to get into them. You go to a bar and you get mouthy and pushy, and shazam, you're in a fight. But I don't go to bars, and I don't seek out fights. So they don't happen to me.

I've never been robbed or mugged; my apartment has been burglarized, my car has been broken into. My wife used to live in NYC and she was mugged in Central Park, which I am led to believe is a rite of passage for New Yorkers. I've been approached on the street in Milwaukee and Chicago by people I am convinced were planning to rob me, but I persuaded them it would be a bad idea with my presence and attitude. I'm not that imposing, I just carry myself a certain way. My wife calls it my war face.

Yes, there are dangerous places in the USA. Some people cannot avoid them, due to their economic circumstances. I am fortunate not to be in that situation, and I am thankful that I am not.

But people also create their own dangerous situations. They engage in road rage, they hang out in bars and run their drunken mouths, they hang out with 'friends' who get them into stupid situations.

And some people just like to fight.

One of our students in my dojo is an old-timer who has been in many street fights; he is a scrapper and has always enjoyed it. But he doesn't do it anymore. He told us about his younger brother, a real bar brawler of the old school who liked to visit bars just to start fights and see how tough he was. He got shot in the face and died after starting one such fight.

I train for self-defense in a general sense. But in reality, I train because I like to train. It gives me something I need deep down inside; it's not being Billy Bada$$. Fighting to fight is stupid.
 
Very interesting accounts.

My feeling is that the perception of violence is much worse than the actual threat of violence. It’s rather like the fear of child abduction is overhyped, although it does happen occasionally. It also appears that it’s young men who are in real danger of violence whereas us older codgers do not frequent the places where we might enter into conflict after all, nothing good ever happens after 9pm 😄
When I was a magistrate, we often detained miscreants by electronically tagging them and thus confining them to their abode for long stretches of the day allowing them an hour or whatever at 1pm to go out shopping….whatever we decide. Anyway, we used to laugh that such imposed confinement would have absolutely no effect on us older people! who were tucked away in bed by 9pm with a mug of cocoa 😃
 
Self-defense and so-called 'street fighting'. I never cease being amazed by such questions. Get in a lot of 'street fights' do you there Ace? Like every time you step out of your house, or on odd weekends?

In my 60+ years, most of the fighting as an adult that I have done has been either related to my time as a Military Policeman in the Marine Corps in the 1980s, or a couple fights I got into at drunken parties in the first few years after I got out. After age 30, nothing.

I *could* engage in fights. I know how to get into them. You go to a bar and you get mouthy and pushy, and shazam, you're in a fight. But I don't go to bars, and I don't seek out fights. So they don't happen to me.

I've never been robbed or mugged; my apartment has been burglarized, my car has been broken into. My wife used to live in NYC and she was mugged in Central Park, which I am led to believe is a rite of passage for New Yorkers. I've been approached on the street in Milwaukee and Chicago by people I am convinced were planning to rob me, but I persuaded them it would be a bad idea with my presence and attitude. I'm not that imposing, I just carry myself a certain way. My wife calls it my war face.

Yes, there are dangerous places in the USA. Some people cannot avoid them, due to their economic circumstances. I am fortunate not to be in that situation, and I am thankful that I am not.

But people also create their own dangerous situations. They engage in road rage, they hang out in bars and run their drunken mouths, they hang out with 'friends' who get them into stupid situations.

And some people just like to fight.

One of our students in my dojo is an old-timer who has been in many street fights; he is a scrapper and has always enjoyed it. But he doesn't do it anymore. He told us about his younger brother, a real bar brawler of the old school who liked to visit bars just to start fights and see how tough he was. He got shot in the face and died after starting one such fight.

I train for self-defense in a general sense. But in reality, I train because I like to train. It gives me something I need deep down inside; it's not being Billy Bada$$. Fighting to fight is stupid.
Same here. I’ve done much more fighting in the military than now since I’m retired. Thankfully I live in a nice rural area.
 
My wife used to live in NYC and she was mugged in Central Park,
A: Why do you want to go to Central Park? people get mugged there all the time.
B: I'm a bit short on cash today.

The following really happened in Central Park.

A ran pass B in Central Park. B found out his watch was missing. B ran toward A and asked to have his watch back. B got back his watch from A. When B came home, he found out that his watch was on his table.
 
Very interesting accounts.

My feeling is that the perception of violence is much worse than the actual threat of violence. It’s rather like the fear of child abduction is overhyped, although it does happen occasionally. It also appears that it’s young men who are in real danger of violence whereas us older codgers do not frequent the places where we might enter into conflict after all, nothing good ever happens after 9pm 😄

Me and my wife have seen more than a couple legal cases involving two senior gentlemen who had had a disagreement and ended up slapping each other. BEWARE THE OLD CODGERS :D
 
Me and my wife have seen more than a couple legal cases involving two senior gentlemen who had had a disagreement and ended up slapping each other. BEWARE THE OLD CODGERS :D
In Devon, when there’s only one ‘cream tea’ left, old people will fight over it.
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That’s like the last crawfish down here! 😂
 
That’s like the last crawfish down here! 😂
People from neighbouring Cornwall fight with Devonians over whether one puts the cream on first then the jam on top or the other way around (Cream first = Devon, Jam first = Cornwall)
 

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