martial art vs self defense

Reedone816

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I just read one blog article that put self defense as the opposite polar of the martial art.
He quoted the mind set in here as the point of argument.
a self defense, is an art to free from things that harmful to oneself.
while a martial art, is the art of war...

here the quote from Rory Miller's Meditation on Violence:

“Self defense is about recovery from stupidity or bad luck, from finding yourself in a position you would have given almost anything to prevent.
It is better to avoid than to run; better to run than to de-escalate; better to de-escalate than to fight; better to fight than to die. The very essence of self-defense is a thin list of things that might get you out alive when you are already screwed.”
 
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Reedone816

Reedone816

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Ok, and the point you are wanting to make or question you are asking is ...________
about the martial art, is it only about art of war, or whether ma is part of sd or sd is part of ma? or something else?
and about the term practical self defense, is there a practical martial art?
there actually many question about the intersection about those two, when are those two hand in hand and where when it split...
just curious, not trying to make a point or statement...
 

Bill Mattocks

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I just read one blog article that put self defense as the opposite polar of the martial art.
He quoted the mind set in here as the point of argument.
a self defense, is an art to free from things that harmful to oneself.
while a martial art, is the art of war...

Technically speaking, the term 'martial art' does in fact refer to the art of war. Pretty straightforward and simple.

However, regardless of what is called, most of the styles known collectively in the West as 'martial arts' are neither martial nor an art. In other words, the author you quote is simply arguing with a false premise.

As an example, in the style I train in, Isshin-Ryu, it was never an art studied by the military that I am aware of. Although it can be deadly, and could in fact be put to use in battle, it wasn't designed for that and isn't taught in that manner.

It is, in fact, self-defense. And even the name 'Isshin-Ryu' refers to this. The English translation, I am told, means "One Heart Way." Way, not art. In fact, most of Karate is actually 'karate-do' and the word 'do' in Japanese means 'way', not 'art'.

What the author is actually saying is "Westerners mistakenly refer to traditional unarmed self-defense techniques as 'martial arts' so therefore they are not really self-defense." That is a mistaken. You can call a hand grenade a biscuit, but I wouldn't put one in the oven.

The styles of self-defense we commonly know as 'martial arts' are not in fact martial arts, but they are still unarmed self-defense.
 

Dirty Dog

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Technically speaking, the term 'martial art' does in fact refer to the art of war. Pretty straightforward and simple.

Not as simple as you might think...

The term actual means "Arts of Mars", not war. While Mars was a (not THE) God of War, he was also worshipped as a protector of farmers, with his power being invoked for everything from protecting farm tools from rust to preventing bad weather.


However, it's safe to say that in addition to his agrarian duties, the Arts of Mars included everything from one-on-one combat (say... Self Defense) to mass battle. Weather war is subsumed into the category of self-defense or vice versa is debatable, but clearly both are included in the Arts of Mars.
 

drop bear

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It depends where you consider self defence starts or stops. As much as martial arts is a different mentality. Being able to mess guys up is a pretty good tool to have in the SD box.
 

Danny T

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In today’s culture, Martial Art/s refers to just about anything that can be construed as fighting in most any manner. Though I don’t understand it, even gymnastics with a fighting flair is considered Martial Art.


I practice and teach several different martial systems. Some are for sport competition but can certainly be used in a self-defense fighting situation. Some are specifically for a self-defense fighting situation. Some are showmanship and will most likely get you hurt if attempted to be used in a fight vs someone driven to hurt you.

War arts today are largely removed from what is considered martial art though a few moves can be use ‘if’ in a hand to hand situation. Very little time is spend on hand to hand combat because only a small part of combat is likely to be h2h.

When is comes to self-defense there is far more to that than fighting and very few martial systems address any aspects other than the fight.

“Self defense is about recovery from stupidity or bad luck, from finding yourself in a position you would have given almost anything to prevent.
It is better to avoid than to run; better to run than to de-escalate; better to de-escalate than to fight; better to fight than to die. The very essence of self-defense is a thin list of things that might get you out alive when you are already screwed.”

I say self-defense should have been in effect prior to having to recover from stupidity or bad luck. Doesn’t mean something bad won’t happen but one should always be in a self-defense mode. Self-defense is what you do to prevent someone or something from hurting or endangering you, your love ones, and your property. Fighting is but one and should be the very last, aspect of self-defense. Recognizing a potential bad situation and doing something to reduce it or even leaving is self-defense. Locking your doors, installing outside lighting, keeping your valuables out of sight and under lock & key is self-defense. Learning and using deescalating techniques, learning to read body language and to give off the appropriate body language. These are all self-defense and little to do with martial art.
 

Bill Mattocks

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Here is my take on it. I recognize that based on my own history and the style I train in, others may have different answers to the same questions.

Having served in the US Marine Corps, I consider military (or martial if you will) arts to include those arts needed to wage war, from the highest level strategic planning and execution to the lowest-level hand-to-hand fighting.

However, the primary mission of the military is and has always been fundamentally different from the mission of self-defense.

The military is trained to locate, close with, and destroy the enemy by fire and maneuver or fire and close combat. In other words, we kill people and break things, on command.

As Marines (or soldiers, sailors, airmen, etc), we do engage in self-defense, but that is secondary to our primary mission. In some cases, it is ignored in favor of performing the primary mission. In other words, sometimes we die in performance of our duties, and we realize that's always a possibility. Typical effective self-defense measures, such as avoiding danger and even running away are simply not acceptable in war.

In self-defense, on the other hand, one seeks the defense of self. If one can preserve one's life by running away, that's a perfectly valid solution in most circumstances. Fighting might involve deadly force, but it's not intended to inflict deadly force as a primary goal. In war, one tries to kill one's enemy. In self-defense, one tries to protect one's own life. Both may result in killing, but for entirely different reasons.

Now, having said that, let me switch my focus to the discussion of the 'do' or 'way' in Karate. In Japan, a 'do' can be many kinds of study or discipline. Flower arranging is a do. Tea making is a do. Calligraphy is a do. Karate is a do. A 'way' or 'do' is like walking a path. It's a way of life, not just a study of a particular art or method.

Sure, my karate includes self-defense techniques, even deadly ones. But they are simply part of my path. My do includes many other things besides simply learning to defend my body from injury by others.

Not to get too philosophical about it, but self-defense is only the surface layer of what I am trying to learn, what it will take the rest of my life to absorb. It's much more than just punching and kicking. It's a manner of breathing, walking, thinking about things. A way of remaining centered and keeping myself empty and humble, ready and able to learn new things. It's even a manner of fellowship with others who are on the same path.

"Martial arts' is a term often used to describe what I do. I'm OK with it, but it's not that. It's not even just a manner of self-defense. That's nice to have and I enjoy the heck out of it, but it's so small compared to everything karate-do is. It's what attracts many to karate study, but it's just the surface layer, like the skin of an onion.
 

Danny T

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It depends where you consider self defence starts or stops.

My Louisiana Law Dictionary defines Self-defense as:
The use of an action including reasonable force to protect oneself, property and/or members of the family from danger, bodily harm, or from the attack of an aggressor, if the defender has reason to believe he/she/they is/are in danger.


[FONT=&quot][/FONT]It then goes into being more specific as to the use of force in self-defense and stand your ground actions. This is a dictionary not a law book. Just defining Self Defense.
 

jks9199

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If you really want to get technical... Self defense is a claim of justification for the use of force that would otherwise be unlawful to protect oneself or another from an unlawful assault. Or it's the set of skills, both physical and mental, that enable you protect yourself from harm.

Meanwhile, martial arts has become a large catch-all term for all sorts of things, primarily physical skills, involving fighting, combat, or self defense. The term is often linked with non-Western skill sets, though it has begun to expand to recognize Western fighting methods including boxing, savate, fencing, and more. Martial arts can range from purely internally focused methods for self improvement to brutal street fighting techniques. It's large, vague term.

Self defense training is generally direct, simple techniques with little apparent refinement or perfection of motion. Good self defense training will include legal discussions, exploration of human behavior and the realities of violence, and other factors that relate to developing a plan of self protection and awareness. It's often focused on recovering and acting from positions of disadvantage in less than ideal circumstances. Martial arts training will often omit those issues, but focus on understanding the underlying principles of why it works, and developing self discipline. Many times, they're practiced in idealized situations and settings (like clean dojos with unobstructed floors, partners providing the exact expected attack, and so on). You might compare self defense and martial arts like comparing a working dump truck and a car show masterpiece, though I don't think it's anywhere near a perfect comparison. Again -- there's a huge potential for overlap.
 

K-man

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A topic which has been raised many times. There have been several really good answers above so no much more needs to be said other than, there is a small overlap between self defence and some martial arts. Some martial arts have absolutely nothing to do with self defence as Chris Parker is likely to elaborate when he sees this thread.

However, in the minds of non-martial artists, learning martial arts like Karate, WC, Krav, etc is learning 'self defence'. What they are unaware of in that mindset is that avoidance and deescalation are the first parts of self defence and if these are successful then there is no need to resort to your MA training.
:asian:
 
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Reedone816

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Whew thank you all for the insight.
In my native language martial art and self defense are translated to same word, so it really something to ponder when I saw article that differentiate one...
Sent from my RM-943_apac_indonesia_207 using Tapatalk
 

hoshin1600

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Now, having said that, let me switch my focus to the discussion of the 'do' or 'way' in Karate. In Japan, a 'do' can be many kinds of study or discipline. Flower arranging is a do. Tea making is a do. Calligraphy is a do. Karate is a do. A 'way' or 'do' is like walking a path. It's a way of life, not just a study of a particular art or method.
karate is not always a "do". the term holds connotations that do not always apply to the study of karate. i believe it would be a mistake to assume the two terms are interchangeable and equal.

Having served in the US Marine Corps, I consider military (or martial if you will) arts to include those arts needed to wage war, from the highest level strategic planning and execution to the lowest-level hand-to-hand fighting.

However, the primary mission of the military is and has always been fundamentally different from the mission of self-defense.
can you elaborate on and define the mission of of the military then define the mission of self -defense?
i do not think they are as different as you presume. i would say the mission of the military is the reason for deployment but the goal for the individual in both sitiuations would be to make it home in one piece and not in a body bag. you have to separate the entire military action (drones and tanks and such) and only focus on H2H.

there are major differences between martial art, martial dance, self-defense. H2H combat, combatives and defensive tactics. call it whatever you like but the difference lies in the mind of the practioner. two people can study and practice the same thing but the result can be very different depending on the mind and motivations of the individual.
 

Chris Parker

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I just read one blog article that put self defense as the opposite polar of the martial art.
He quoted the mind set in here as the point of argument.
a self defense, is an art to free from things that harmful to oneself.
while a martial art, is the art of war...

here the quote from Rory Miller's Meditation on Violence:

Any link to the blog itself, so we can see the exact argument being put forth?

For the record, my position is going to be yes, unquestioningly, martial arts and self defence are two very different skill sets, contexts, methodologies, requirements, approaches, and more. The similarities are largely superficial, and a degree of potential (albeit almost accidental, frankly) cross-over between the two. That said, I don't agree that "self defence is an art to free (the self) from things that are harmful to oneself", as, well, it isn't on a few levels, nor do I agree that a martial art is definitely, or necessarily "the art of war"… but we'll cover that as we go.

With regards to the Rory Miller quote, that's only a part of it… which Rory himself would definitely agree with…. in that part of the book, he's making a distinction between physical tactical uses and contexts, and, as a result, it's an incomplete and limited description.

about the martial art, is it only about art of war, or whether ma is part of sd or sd is part of ma? or something else?
and about the term practical self defense, is there a practical martial art?
there actually many question about the intersection about those two, when are those two hand in hand and where when it split...
just curious, not trying to make a point or statement...

Don't get lost in the marketing, is the real lesson there…

I know it's rather confusing… people have different definitions that they apply… the range of different "martial arts" is gigantic… what "self defence" entails can vary dramatically depending on where you are, and what's happening at the time… as well as how you feel (here's a clue: feeling 'angry' is not part of self defence)… so let's see what we've got here.

First, an argument…

Technically speaking, the term 'martial art' does in fact refer to the art of war. Pretty straightforward and simple.

Ah, Bill, I love ya, man, and it's great to have you back, but… this entire post I'm going to have to call out. Sorry, mate… you're just being way, way, WAY too literal… to the point that you remove all reality from the terms. It just doesn't work this way. I mean, on a real, basic level, martial art does not refer to the art of war… even though it can. As with many terms, both words involved here have different nuanced meanings… "martial" can mean "concerned with, or having to do with war or fighting", or it can mean "is disposed towards war or fighting", or it can mean "to have the properties of a warrior", or "to have the properties of a fighter", or "to have the properties of the military"… "art" doesn't really mean the same thing as poetry, or painting, or some other personal expression creative act, although it can certainly have that inference, it's more drawn from the term "artisan", meaning technical skills and proficiency… so, when we look at the term itself, it can't be looked at in a single, basic definition the way the article seems to imply, or you state here… it has to be nuanced, or it's simply inaccurate.

To that end, I would posit that "martial arts" is best defined as "a codified skill set designed to provide technical skills and proficiency in abilities related to, or having the qualities of, combative methods and ideas". Bit of a mouthful, but accurate, I feel.

However, regardless of what is called, most of the styles known collectively in the West as 'martial arts' are neither martial nor an art. In other words, the author you quote is simply arguing with a false premise.

Eh, no. Sorry, Bill, they are martial arts. Kinda by definition, really… as martial arts is, when all's said and done, simply a convenient term used to categorise a wide-ranging number of disparate methodologies based in a variety of cultures, time-periods, and contexts. If you don't think they're "arts" because you're only applying a simple, inaccurate and exclusive definition to the word (and here's the thing… the individual words lose a lot of their particular definitions when they become part of a larger term… the whole is greater than the sum of the parts…), then really, we're not going to agree on much on this count. Because, honestly, they are arts, and they are definitely martial arts. And, bluntly, that has nothing to do with any connection to actual usage in wars.

As an example, in the style I train in, Isshin-Ryu, it was never an art studied by the military that I am aware of. Although it can be deadly, and could in fact be put to use in battle, it wasn't designed for that and isn't taught in that manner.

Agreed. Although I would say that "never studied by the military" is really thoroughly besides the point… and only has any relevance when, again, applying a simple, strict, and inaccurate definition of a single word that is actually part of a larger term.

It is, in fact, self-defence.

Ah, now there, we'd disagree…

Bear in mind that I have no doubt that what's taught in your art can be used in a self defence physical confrontation to great success… but that's confusing application with development and structure. Big difference.

And even the name 'Isshin-Ryu' refers to this. The English translation, I am told, means "One Heart Way."

Well, actually, no… it's close, but that's not quite the translation. The name is Isshin Ryu (一心流)… the first two characters are "One Heart", but the third character ("Ryu") is not "way"… that'd be "do/michi" (道)… "ryu" means "flow, stream, style"… so you actually have "The style of one heart"… but what in "One Heart Way" (or even "the style of one heart") says "self defence"? In other words, Bill, I'm saying that no, the name of your system does not say that's it's "self defence"… it says a number of things, but that's not one of them.

Way, not art. In fact, most of Karate is actually 'karate-do' and the word 'do' in Japanese means 'way', not 'art'.

Well, that's kinda patently incorrect Bill. "Do" (道) does mean "way"… or "path"… or "street"… and is used as an implication of an all encompassing methodology (a codified skill set designed to provide technical skills and proficiency, as well as providing a larger "guide" for development both externally and internally… kinda the definition and point of "art", I'd say). You can't get too particular over literal translations from one language to another… particularly one as contextually loaded as Japanese. English is designed to be far more definite in it's usage of words… Japanese just doesn't do that. Take the name of your system for example… what exactly is meant by "one heart"? I think you'll find that the meaning is myriad, depending on context… and can even change by using different characters to write the same sounds… but even just looking at the second term ("shin"- 心), sure, it means "heart"… but it also means "mind"… and, in Japan, that's pretty much the same thing… so is it really "one heart", or is it "one mind"? Or "one heart and mind"? Or "The heart and mind as one"? Or "a unified spirit" (another interpretation without changing the kanji yet)?

To get back to the point, "do", in Japanese, is just as useful a translation for "art" (in this context) as "jutsu" (術), or "gei" (芸)… the last is most literally "art", although the concept expressed is closer to "highly skilled", when you look at it. "Jutsu" more properly refers to a practical skill set, although it is incredibly commonly translated as "art" itself… in context, of course. To say that it says "way" instead of "art" to show that it's not a "martial art" is like saying that a portrait painter isn't an artist because he uses the word "painter"…

What the author is actually saying is "Westerners mistakenly refer to traditional unarmed self-defense techniques as 'martial arts' so therefore they are not really self-defense." That is a mistaken. You can call a hand grenade a biscuit, but I wouldn't put one in the oven.

Ha, love the symbolism, but again, I don't think that I can agree with your assertion… for one thing, we haven't seen the blog itself, so don't know what the author was actually saying yet… but, more to the point, you're continuing to simplify the argument to the point of inaccuracy. We don't know what is being classed as "martial arts", mistakenly or not… we don't know the audience of the blog… it could be experienced and educated martial artists themselves, rather than the great unwashed masses, so assuming such beliefs doesn't do anyone any favours here. And finally, when looked at in the cold, hard light of reality, if that's what's being said (that traditional unarmed combative methods aren't really self defence", then he'd be absolutely right.

The styles of self-defense we commonly know as 'martial arts' are not in fact martial arts, but they are still unarmed self-defense.

No, they're not. They're marketed as such, they're promoted as being such, they're believed to be such, but again, once you look at things in the cold, hard light of reality, it all falls apart.

The only thing you really have to ask yourself is this: What context is this methodology designed for? And does that context match a realistic expression of self defence? To be blunt, I defy you to find me one traditional art that does. Isshin Ryu certainly doesn't. Nor does anything I do (traditionally), for that matter. Probably the closest today would be Krav Maga, but that's designed with a military context in it's development… it's still missing a fair bit to make it actually self defence, and requires quite a tactical alteration for it to be properly conducive to being a true self defence system and approach.

Here is my take on it. I recognize that based on my own history and the style I train in, others may have different answers to the same questions.

Cool. And mine, obviously, comes from my history and experience… which includes a range of modern and traditional systems, sporting and non-sporting, armed and unarmed, martial arts and non-martial arts (RBSD systems, to clarify… they're not martial arts, when all's said and done), purely combative and almost pacifist, as well as many, many conversations with security guards, police officers, military personnel, members of other martial art schools, teachers in other schools, teachers in my own schools, and, of course, my own experiences with real-world violence and applications of self defence, all going back over the last three decades or so.

Having served in the US Marine Corps, I consider military (or martial if you will) arts to include those arts needed to wage war, from the highest level strategic planning and execution to the lowest-level hand-to-hand fighting.

Military, yes. Martial, perhaps. Martial art, not necessarily. All three are different.

However, the primary mission of the military is and has always been fundamentally different from the mission of self-defence.

Yep. Of course, being able to enunciate the difference is important.

The military is trained to locate, close with, and destroy the enemy by fire and maneuver or fire and close combat. In other words, we kill people and break things, on command.

Partially, yeah. As you know, there's a lot more to it than that…

As Marines (or soldiers, sailors, airmen, etc), we do engage in self-defense, but that is secondary to our primary mission. In some cases, it is ignored in favor of performing the primary mission. In other words, sometimes we die in performance of our duties, and we realize that's always a possibility. Typical effective self-defense measures, such as avoiding danger and even running away are simply not acceptable in war.

Cool, yep, that's a big part of it. There's another, very big, very important distinction as well…

In self-defense, on the other hand, one seeks the defense of self. If one can preserve one's life by running away, that's a perfectly valid solution in most circumstances. Fighting might involve deadly force, but it's not intended to inflict deadly force as a primary goal. In war, one tries to kill one's enemy. In self-defense, one tries to protect one's own life. Both may result in killing, but for entirely different reasons.

Okay, cool, you're getting to it… of course, this is the difference between military focus and self defence focus… and I'd say that, so far, there's been no real relevance to martial arts focus versus self defence (or military) focus… I get that you're equating "martial" in "martial art" with "military", but it's really a fairly false equivocation.

Now, having said that, let me switch my focus to the discussion of the 'do' or 'way' in Karate. In Japan, a 'do' can be many kinds of study or discipline. Flower arranging is a do. Tea making is a do. Calligraphy is a do. Karate is a do. A 'way' or 'do' is like walking a path. It's a way of life, not just a study of a particular art or method.

Hmm… a few things… sure, a "way" can be found, or relate to, pretty much anything… it might be noted that the common term for flower arranging is ikebana (living flowers), with "kado" (the way of flowers) being far less common… that the tea ceremony is cha no yu… "chado" is again, occasionally used, but not always… calligraphy is just as easily "sho" as it is "shodo"… but the real point here is that the usage of the term "do" can definitely have the implication of a "way of life", but honestly, not necessarily. Sometimes it really is "the way (of approaching or studying) this particular art or method". People certainly can, and do, take lessons from ikebana… or bonsai… or shodo… into their life, adding to it in many large and small ways… but that's largely down to the person, and how they choose to approach the art itself (yes, each of those are known as "arts"… "chado" is the art of tea, whereas "cha no yu" is the presentation of tea… shodo is the art of calligraphy…).

So, really, yes but no. A particular art or methods can be a way of life… or a way of life can be found in "just a study" of a particular art… it is simultaneously no more than an art, and everything else.

Sure, my karate includes self-defense techniques, even deadly ones. But they are simply part of my path. My do includes many other things besides simply learning to defend my body from injury by others.

Okay. I'd point out that self defence is really not anything to do with "techniques", but that's about it. The rest is your journey, which is personal to you… you get a lot of fulfilment out of your karate, your journey, your experience, and frankly Bill, it's fantastic. It's been truly awesome watching you over the years, and I have nothing but respect for the way you have taken on this as your path. Just don't mistake your definitions for anyone else's…

Not to get too philosophical about it, but self-defense is only the surface layer of what I am trying to learn, what it will take the rest of my life to absorb. It's much more than just punching and kicking. It's a manner of breathing, walking, thinking about things. A way of remaining centered and keeping myself empty and humble, ready and able to learn new things. It's even a manner of fellowship with others who are on the same path.

Here's where we start to get to it… self defence, when you get down to it, isn't about "punching and kicking" at all… that's irrelevant… it doesn't matter what the "techniques" are… As for the rest there, some of that is your adoption of the mentality of your system, and your expression of how you understand it at this point in time… some of it is your value system (and that of your instructor and school, I'd suggest). And that's all cool, really. But it doesn't address any differences between martial arts and self defence, other than to say that you get a lot more out of your classes than just hitting people.

"Martial arts' is a term often used to describe what I do. I'm OK with it, but it's not that. It's not even just a manner of self-defense. That's nice to have and I enjoy the heck out of it, but it's so small compared to everything karate-do is. It's what attracts many to karate study, but it's just the surface layer, like the skin of an onion.

I like that you recognise how much more there is to your karate than simply physical combative techniques, but I gotta say, Bill… it is a martial art. It really is. Is it military? No. But that's not what it's claiming… it's a martial art. It's not military combatives.

A topic which has been raised many times. There have been several really good answers above so no much more needs to be said other than, there is a small overlap between self defence and some martial arts. Some martial arts have absolutely nothing to do with self defence as Chris Parker is likely to elaborate when he sees this thread.

Hmm…

However, in the minds of non-martial artists, learning martial arts like Karate, WC, Krav, etc is learning 'self defence'. What they are unaware of in that mindset is that avoidance and deescalation are the first parts of self defence and if these are successful then there is no need to resort to your MA training. :asian:

Yep, marketing and prevalent imagery in the zeitgeist… it is what it is, really.

But, to elaborate, on K-man's invitation, let's look at what self defence actually is, and requires, and contrast that with martial arts.

Self defence is concerned, as others have said (including Rory Miller), with the protection of the self. In fact, a number of people don't like the idea of "self defence", and prefer terms such as "self protection", or some such, as they feel it's more accurate.

Martial arts, on the other hand, can have any number of primary and secondary concerns… in many cases, little of what is taught has much to do with protection against an unknown, unannounced assault. If we are to generalise, though, the one thing you can say about martial arts is that they are primarily concerned with the application of combative techniques in particular contexts. Why is that an important distinction? Because most self defence is non-physical.

Self defence is concerned with modern situations as they exist in the culture of the person experiencing them.

Martial arts are almost entirely from foreign cultures… even when they're from the same country as they're being practiced in, the culture can be very different… Japan today is very different to Japan in 1642… the Los Angeles today is very different to Hawaii in the 60's when Ed Parker was developing his Kenpo system… forms of attack change… cultures change… society changes… rules change… laws change…

Self defence has to take into account legal realities in the society they're being applied in. And these laws change from location to location… in the US, as well as in Australia, they change from state to state, let alone the different cultures and mentalities of the two nations.

Martial arts really don't have to worry about the (current) laws at all… but, if you look closely, you might see traits of former legal systems in some systems… including ways around them…

Self defence needs to be something that can be learnt quickly, relied upon, is simple, easy to repeat, and (for any physical methods) needs to be simple, gross motor movements.

Martial arts aren't constrained by timelines, or the need to develop skill quickly. In fact, it's often a badge of honour, of sorts, to proudly proclaim how long it took to get to a particular rank, with people attaining what is perceived as high rank (implying high skill) in shorter times being belittled and ridiculed. The lack of urgency means that a wider number of skills can be explored, including complex actions and fine-motor control techniques.

Self defence will have a large focus on what are called the "soft skills" (or at least, it really, really should, if it's going to even pretend to be actually dealing with self defence), such as physical and verbal de-escalation, pre-fight triggers and indicators, HAOV awareness (Habitual Acts of Violence), usage of body language, awareness on multiple levels, escape plans, and more.

Martial arts, by and large, have no such aspects to their methods. And honestly, why would they? They're about what you do once you're physically in a fight… no point de-escalating there, any awareness has had it's time, we're past "pre-fight" indicators, and so on.

Self defence skills (physical) should be based as much on an understanding of psychology and the physiological effects of adrenaline as an understanding of power generation and anatomical weak points. The aim is to escape as soon as (safely) possible, so distracting techniques, attacks to "unsportsmanlike" areas etc are encouraged. Additionally, the idea of a pre-emptive strike is not only a good consideration, in many cases, it's the best option you have.

Martial arts techniques are often dictated by a range of constricting considerations, such as what was available as a target, what the culture tended towards in terms of violence (Japanese grab, Chinese hit, Koreans kick, to be rather general about it), a preference of a particular instructor, and so on. Sporting systems don't allow escape, so it's not trained… instead, "trading techniques" is given as a valid tactic. Additionally, very few arts have pre-emptive strikes or attacks as a major part of their approach… the majority of techniques are practiced against an attack, which, statistically speaking, is the lowest return tactic.

There's a lot more to this, but this is enough to start, I feel.
 

qianfeng

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Very few martial arts were used by militaries except for shuai jiao, tai zu chang quan jujustu and few others. Most martial arts were created by those who fought a lot and developed techniques.
 

Bill Mattocks

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There's a lot more to this, but this is enough to start, I feel.

I think we'd get lost in the weeds quickly if I multi-quoted my response to your post, so let me sum up.

First, I am going to stick to my guns regarding the meaning of the term 'martial'. We seem to be in agreement that the term 'martial arts' is generically used nowadays, and it's perfectly acceptable, but I believe it is still, at the root, incorrect. It reminds me of the 'Hoof and Mouth" disease that became transmogrified into "Foot and Mouth" disease because people would not say it correctly. OK, so now 'martial arts' means karate, BJJ, judo, and etc. Fine. But the term 'martial' still means military, and the martial arts are not military arts. You disagree and that's OK.

Second, having not been a US Marine yourself (I presume), please don't tell me what US Marines do and don't do :) . Our primary mission, ALL OF US, is to seek out, engage, and destroy the enemy through fire and maneuver or fire and close combat. Most of us have different jobs as well, including mine, which was law enforcement, but we're all primarily riflemen. Our oath is to the US Constitution, and while we may find ourselves policing up cigarette butts or cleaning bathrooms or dishing up chow, we all have a rifle, we're all qualified to use it, and when so ordered, we do.

Regarding your comments on self-defense, I have to agree with you. I have said on MT for years and I say to everyone who will listen that self-defense (or self-protection if you prefer) includes MANY things not taught in dojos. It includes many things that people who are supposedly devoted to self-defense simply have no interest in and will not even consider, even things they scoff at.

/ beginning of rant
It includes, for example, knowing how to spot weather. Yes, protecting yourself against a tornado is 'self-protection'. It includes knowing how to get out of your own damned house in the middle of the night when the power is off and the hallways filled with smoke. Knowing who gathers which kids. Having a rally point to meet outside the house so no one dies going back into a burning house to get a kid that is already safe, but standing somewhere else. Having an f'ing fire extinguisher and KNOWING how to use it. Smoke detectors. Knowing where to go if there is a sudden event that puts everyone out of their homes in a given area, like a tornado, wildfire, etc. Do you even know where you local shelters are? No, you don't. No, you don't practice getting out of your own homes (I am speaking to the group here, not you personally, Chris). Do you know what a cloud likely to produce a tornado looks like? Nope. Yeah, you got a wicked kick, and that's great. What if you are called upon to protect your family from a flood, which is FAR more likely than being attacked by f'ing ninjas? Yeah, right. You fail. You can't protect anyone from anything unless they come at you with fists of fury. That's not self-defense. /end of rant !!!

So yeah, self-protection includes many, many, things which do not involve physical violence. It even includes things like knowing when to hand over your damned wallet to the mugger and walk away unharmed. Assessing risk instead of exercising unrestrained bravado. But to many, self-defense means fists and feet, nothing else.

As to the rest, I appreciate the information on Japanese. I am clearly not fluent in the language or all its subtleties and I sincerely thank you. I did preface my comments on my thoughts about Isshin-Ryu by saying my definition applied to myself and I accepted that others have other definitions. To *me* karate-do is in fact a do, and speaking again for myself only, my path is that of a true do. Self-defense is but one part of the reason I train. I will say that despite your statement that Isshin-Ryu does not teach self-defense, our 'self-defense' drills seem to me to be self-defense drills.
 

Chris Parker

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Very few martial arts were used by militaries except for shuai jiao, tai zu chang quan jujustu and few others. Most martial arts were created by those who fought a lot and developed techniques.

Hmm… I'd be very interested to see the documentation for this… shuai jiao is basically Chinese wrestling, and, although part of the training methods of the Chinese military at times, it's a modern art (20th Century), and was not put in for actual combative use… Tai Zu Chang Quan is an odd thing… it claims to be the oldest internal system (circa 970 BC), yet it also claims to take methods and techniques from many "younger" systems, such as Taiji, Bagua, Xingyi… hmm…

When it comes to Jujutsu being used by "military", if you're talking old-school Japanese by the samurai, then… well… no. If you mean BJJ as part of things like MCMAP, sure… but again, that's not really anything to do with combative use.

That said, a quick look over Japans history will give you a range of systems that have basis' in battlefield usage and experience, if not the system itself being instrumental in the training of warriors that saw real battle… but it's not always what people think… what gets applied is less about the techniques and physical skills…

I think we'd get lost in the weeds quickly if I multi-quoted my response to your post, so let me sum up.

Ha, cool. I'll stick with my style, though…

First, I am going to stick to my guns regarding the meaning of the term 'martial'. We seem to be in agreement that the term 'martial arts' is generically used nowadays, and it's perfectly acceptable, but I believe it is still, at the root, incorrect. It reminds me of the 'Hoof and Mouth" disease that became transmogrified into "Foot and Mouth" disease because people would not say it correctly. OK, so now 'martial arts' means karate, BJJ, judo, and etc. Fine. But the term 'martial' still means military, and the martial arts are not military arts. You disagree and that's OK.

Yeah, agree to disagree is all well and good… but when you're using your own definitions and criteria that don't actually match the accepted definitions, it makes it hard to even discuss things in any real way. You've decided they're not "martial arts" because you don't consider it a correct definition/application of the term "art"… and you don't consider them "martial arts" because you don't see a separation between "military" and "martial"… okay… but how do we discuss things, then?

For the record, it's probably quite important to recognise that "martial art" is a Western term… and a fairly historical one… which didn't necessarily apply only to military combative methods… so, honestly, your personal definitions argue with historical usage, historical context, common usage, and so on.

Second, having not been a US Marine yourself (I presume), please don't tell me what US Marines do and don't do :) . Our primary mission, ALL OF US, is to seek out, engage, and destroy the enemy through fire and maneuver or fire and close combat. Most of us have different jobs as well, including mine, which was law enforcement, but we're all primarily riflemen. Our oath is to the US Constitution, and while we may find ourselves policing up cigarette butts or cleaning bathrooms or dishing up chow, we all have a rifle, we're all qualified to use it, and when so ordered, we do.

Bill, I wasn't telling you what Marines do or don't do… I was pointing out that the examples you gave are a smaller look at the military overall, which, honestly, I think you'd have a hard time arguing with. As far as the big distinction I was referring to, you're bringing it up yourself here as well.

But tell me, are the Marines under an obligation to only attack? Are they only useful in an aggressive form, or are they also trained for extractions, relief, rescue operations, support missions, recon, and more?

Again, this isn't telling you what a Marine does or doesn't do… but I am questioning the notion that aggression and attack is the primary role of the armed forces.

Regarding your comments on self-defense, I have to agree with you. I have said on MT for years and I say to everyone who will listen that self-defense (or self-protection if you prefer) includes MANY things not taught in dojos. It includes many things that people who are supposedly devoted to self-defense simply have no interest in and will not even consider, even things they scoff at.

Okay.

/ beginning of rant
It includes, for example, knowing how to spot weather. Yes, protecting yourself against a tornado is 'self-protection'. It includes knowing how to get out of your own damned house in the middle of the night when the power is off and the hallways filled with smoke. Knowing who gathers which kids. Having a rally point to meet outside the house so no one dies going back into a burning house to get a kid that is already safe, but standing somewhere else. Having an f'ing fire extinguisher and KNOWING how to use it. Smoke detectors. Knowing where to go if there is a sudden event that puts everyone out of their homes in a given area, like a tornado, wildfire, etc. Do you even know where you local shelters are? No, you don't. No, you don't practice getting out of your own homes (I am speaking to the group here, not you personally, Chris). Do you know what a cloud likely to produce a tornado looks like? Nope. Yeah, you got a wicked kick, and that's great. What if you are called upon to protect your family from a flood, which is FAR more likely than being attacked by f'ing ninjas? Yeah, right. You fail. You can't protect anyone from anything unless they come at you with fists of fury. That's not self-defense. /end of rant !!!

Hmm… yeah, to me, that's a different topic. I agree that it's a highly valuable (essential, with the locale giving the particulars… I don't have much need to recognise a tornado here, for example…) perspective on awareness and preparedness, however it's a form of personal safety that's fairly removed from the topic of this thread. Boundaries need to be apparent for the sake of clear discussion… this is like saying that a driving instructor should also be talking about dental hygiene, because people who drive cars also have teeth which might have issues.

So yeah, self-protection includes many, many, things which do not involve physical violence. It even includes things like knowing when to hand over your damned wallet to the mugger and walk away unharmed. Assessing risk instead of exercising unrestrained bravado. But to many, self-defense means fists and feet, nothing else.

This example is more like it… and, as far as "to many, self-defence means fists and feet, nothing else", yeah… but we can have a higher level discussion and debate, don't you think?

As to the rest, I appreciate the information on Japanese. I am clearly not fluent in the language or all its subtleties and I sincerely thank you. I did preface my comments on my thoughts about Isshin-Ryu by saying my definition applied to myself and I accepted that others have other definitions. To *me* karate-do is in fact a do, and speaking again for myself only, my path is that of a true do. Self-defense is but one part of the reason I train. I will say that despite your statement that Isshin-Ryu does not teach self-defense, our 'self-defense' drills seem to me to be self-defense drills.

Hmm… so you're grateful for the clarification on the terms you're using, but you're still going to apply a definition that isn't actually in line with the actual usage of the term… ignoring the aspects that conflict with your personal beliefs… again, Bill, I gotta ask… if you're not allowing for the terms in the discussion to have their common, and accurate, definitions… how do we discuss things? You'll just say that it means something different to you, yeah? Even when it doesn't genuinely mean what you think it does, or want it to?
 

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