Martial arts for self defense

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Gerry Seymour

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Fighting is self-defense. You have to fight against bad guys to defend yourself. When your fist meet on your opponent's face, he will no longer bother you any more. It's better for your fist to meet on your opponent's face than for your opponent's fist to meet on your face. Self-defense doesn't mean that you don't fight back. You do fight back and that's "fight" by definition. Of course you can run, but when someone attacks your family members, you just can't run away and you have to "fight".

fist_meets_face.jpg
Not at all the same. I will not, under any circumstances, do something I think will cause real harm to someone in a sparring match. That takes away weapons like kicks to knees, etc. If I'm attacked, I do not mind causing damage.
 

Kung Fu Wang

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Not at all the same. I will not, under any circumstances, do something I think will cause real harm to someone in a sparring match. That takes away weapons like kicks to knees, etc. If I'm attacked, I do not mind causing damage.
There will be no argument there that all illegal moves in sport will be good for self-defense. But legal moves in sport will also be good for self-defense as well. For example, the skill to take your opponent down is good for both sport and self-defense. When your opponent is down, to kick him on the head may be illegal in sport, but it's an excellent finish move for self-defense.

 
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Gerry Seymour

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I should also add that some of us have bodies that don't let us do some of what we'd love to do in an MMA gym (or, in fact, used to do). If a good ground fighter gets me to the ground, I probably don't have reasonable recourse within safe technique because of my knees and feet - just can't get enough leverage without leaving myself limping for a few days. I'm still competent against someone who tackles me and tries to beat me, but if they have trained for any length of time in BJJ, they can probably beat my basic ground game now. Once upon a time, that would have been far less true.
 

drop bear

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Not at all the same. I will not, under any circumstances, do something I think will cause real harm to someone in a sparring match. That takes away weapons like kicks to knees, etc. If I'm attacked, I do not mind causing damage.

So you increase your skill by stripping away your tricks and just rely on your basics.

I do mma. I don't punch people when I wrestle. My wrestling improves. When I can punch people I can use that improved wrestling to punch people more effectively.
 

ballen0351

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Fighting is self-defense. You have to fight against bad guys to defend yourself. When your fist meet on your opponent's face, he will no longer bother you any more. It's better for your fist to meet on your opponent's face than for your opponent's fist to meet on your face. Self-defense doesn't mean that you don't fight back. You do fight back and that's "fight" by definition. Of course you can run, but when someone attacks your family members, you just can't run away and you have to "fight".

fist_meets_face.jpg
And none of that is simulated in sparring so... Two guys agreeing to spar with a defined set of rules isnt self defense
 

FriedRice

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That will tell you if it works for sparring, and whether it works against well-trained individuals. It is a mediocre measure of effectiveness on gravel, among chairs, facing three drunk guys who may or may not have a knife somewhere among them.

Well if you can't do well vs. someone in an MMA gym, then you'll do pretty awful anywhere else.

Think.....if most to all of the fighters at an MMA gym is lighting you up to where you can hardly even touch them, then wouldn't it be pretty much worse if they had a knife too?

And have you ever trained at an MMA gym's mat in the summer time before? It's like a Slip 'N Slide because there are puddles of sweat all over. We can't sprinkle gravel on our $5000 mats just for you, but I'm sure someone would go spar you outside on the gravel, dirt, cement, etc. But wouldn't it hurt real bad should you get picked up and slammed into the concrete?
 

FriedRice

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Ok.

But as you point out, sparring is fighting not self defence.

I think FreidRice is confusing fighting with self defence.


Punching someone in the face, works just the same in the ring as it does in the street.
 

FriedRice

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Not at all the same. I will not, under any circumstances, do something I think will cause real harm to someone in a sparring match. That takes away weapons like kicks to knees, etc. If I'm attacked, I do not mind causing damage.

I get kicked to the knees often in hard sparring, sometimes with the oblique kick.... not a big deal. Just say you want to go hard, and any fighter at an MMA gym would know that you want to go full power for knockouts.
 

Dirty Dog

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I get kicked to the knees often in hard sparring, sometimes with the oblique kick.... not a big deal. Just say you want to go hard, and any fighter at an MMA gym would know that you want to go full power for knockouts.

I think the oft-mentioned point is that there are different ways to kick the knee. Some hurt. Some trash the knee. Nobody is trashing your knee, obviously.
 

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Well if you can't do well vs. someone in an MMA gym, then you'll do pretty awful anywhere else.

Think.....if most to all of the fighters at an MMA gym is lighting you up to where you can hardly even touch them, then wouldn't it be pretty much worse if they had a knife too?

And have you ever trained at an MMA gym's mat in the summer time before? It's like a Slip 'N Slide because there are puddles of sweat all over. We can't sprinkle gravel on our $5000 mats just for you, but I'm sure someone would go spar you outside on the gravel, dirt, cement, etc. But wouldn't it hurt real bad should you get picked up and slammed into the concrete?
Meh.
 

ballen0351

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I get kicked to the knees often in hard sparring, sometimes with the oblique kick.... not a big deal. Just say you want to go hard, and any fighter at an MMA gym would know that you want to go full power for knockouts.
and even "going hard" has rules
 

drop bear

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Do you think we do not understand this?

Generally yeah, people don't. A critique on how training isn't self defence with no better solution.

What is the point?

Here we go a few posts later.

"That will tell you if it works for sparring, andwhether it works against well-trained individuals. It is a mediocre measure of effectiveness on gravel, among chairs, facing three drunk guys who may or may not have a knife somewhere among them."

"And none of that is simulated in sparring so... Two guys agreeing to spar with a defined set of rules isnt self defense"
 
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drop bear

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I think the oft-mentioned point is that there are different ways to kick the knee. Some hurt. Some trash the knee. Nobody is trashing your knee, obviously.

Because you don't let them. And the knee is a pretty strong joint. And as shown in competition a lot harder to break than the self defence experts have led us to believe.
 

Dirty Dog

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Because you don't let them. And the knee is a pretty strong joint. And as shown in competition a lot harder to break than the self defence experts have led us to believe.

Next time I'm reducing someones dislocated knee, I'll be sure and tell them that they aren't really hurt. Because drop bear said so.
 

drop bear

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Next time I'm reducing someones dislocated knee, I'll be sure and tell them that they aren't really hurt. Because drop bear said so.

After you have kicked it out street style.

If we use mma as an example there is no kick to the knee that is banned.
 
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Phobius

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It is easy to destroy a knee with a kick. I am saying this from a personal experience of spending 5 years in recovery. European football, soccer, and the guy misstook my knee for the ball. Given of course that my leg was in the air moving towards him.

I still think one should consider how many parts in the foot that are weaker than the knee and ask what it will do to your foot. In my case the guy kicking me was out cold and was still last I heard.

In self defense it is a reality that people will hurt themselves to hurt you in some cases. Quite frankly not all attacks in self defense are planned nor logical or sane. Expect your opponent to harm himself in order to harm you. Do not expect such a behavior in sparring or MMA fights.

Problem exist with TMA not handling themselves in an MMA fight, those scenarios are important. But another problem is an MMA fighter that constantly wrestles on the ground in fights and never get to try it against someone that without knowledge of ground game just attempts to punch the guy in the head for all he is worth. If you are black belt in BJJ then great, Noone can probably harm you in ground game. But if not, you are most likely being knocked out. Not all can be black belt in self defense.
 

Paul_D

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You are confusing fighting with self defence, it is a common mistake.

Fighting is self-defense.
Fighting in the street is illegal, self defence is legal. How then can they be the same thing? This audio book will explain the differences (and the similarities) between fighting, martial arts, and self defence. It also explains why people often confuse them as being the same thing, and why this confusion leads to people wrongly assuming that the ability to fight means you have the ability to defend yourself.

The Martial Map (Free Audio Book) | Iain Abernethy

You have to fight against bad guys to defend yourself.
No you don't have to at all. You are saying have to fight so the only possible solution to a self defence situation is violence, which is simply not true. You can walk away, you can use verbal de-escalation. Even if you have no choice but to act physically, you can strike pre-emptively and continue striking until the threat is neutralised, then run away. None of these three options are "fighting".

This is a self defence technique.


It does not look like two people sparring/fighting in the gym. Why not? Because it isnt, it is a self defence not a fighting/sparring.



When your fist meet on your opponent's face, he will no longer bother you any more. It's better for your fist to meet on your opponent's face than for your opponent's fist to meet on your face.
I dont think you will find anyone that would disagree with that.

Self-defense doesn't mean that you don't fight back.
It does not mean that you dont take physical action no, but you dont engage in a fight. That is the point.

Muggers, sexual predators, drunken idiots trying to glass you because you were starring at my girlfriend dont stand six feet away in a fighting stance with their hands up in a guard and spar with you. They will be close enough to sucker punch you and then they will use distraction have you got the time mate? before they strike, in order to increase their chances of success. That is not a fight. Criminals dont want a fight, as there is the chance they could lose. They simply want attack you until you are no longer in a position to stop them getting what they want. They dont want the back and forth exchange of techniques that happens during a fight, they dont want to out point you or defeat you, or test their skill. They dont want to play your game (consensual violence/fighting) they want to play their game (criminal violence). Fighting is not a blanket term for violence, it is a specific term in which two or more people engage in consensual violence to test their skill or defeat their opponent.

Criminal violence (i.e. What self defence skills are designed to protect you from) is a very different animal to consensual violence. Fighting in the street like a pair of drunken idiots is NOT self defence.




You do fight back and that's "fight" by definition.
No it isnt. A fight takes place between two or more WILLING competitors. By definition in self defence at least one persons is UNWILLING. You do not fight a criminal. Fighting is a back and forth exchange of blows between skilled martial artists. You do not want a back and forth exchange, you do not want him to get a go.

Of course you can run, but when someone attacks your family members, you just can't run away and you have to "fight".
No you dont fight you protect them. If you train to fight, then when you knock someone to the floor you will rush over and keep hitting them until the ref comes over waves the fight over and pulls you off. Nothing wrong with that, well done, you have won. But if that is what you are trained to do, then that is how you will react under pressure. So you strike someone pre-emotively in self defence, and then the fall and are dazed. Your training kicks in and you rush over and follow up with additional (unnecessary) strikes, instead of choosing to flee when you had the chance., Now you are no longer defending yourself, now you are committing assault. All of the witnesses that have now turned round to see what the commotion is will see a dazed and defenceless man on the floor and you beating the **** out of him. This is the statement they will give to the police, and this is the statement that will convict you in a court of law. Imagine CCTV footage of that being played in court!

Fighting is about defeating an opponent. Self Defence is about creating the opportunity to get away from people who want to harm you.

When you train for self defence, when you strike pre-emptively and they fall and are dazed you dont rush over to defeat them you back away with your hands up palms out (to show all the witnesses that you dont want to fight) and then you get the hell out of there. Witnesses will give statements to the police saying they saw a man on the floor dazed and you backing away showing you didnt want to fight. The CCTV footage of that will look a lot better for you in court (in fact if you know how to get key phrases into you statement, it will never even get to court).


Fighting is as a term which refers to people engaging in consensual violence, either in the ring or in the pub car park to settle an argument. It starts six feet apart in a fighting stance with your hands up in a guard, and it needs certain specific skills. The purpose is to defeat or win over your opponent. It is also illegal in the street or pub car parks. Sparring is a fighting skill.

Self defence is about dealing with criminal violence, not consensual violence. It contains at least one person who does not consent, it will take place at sucker punch range, the purpose is not to defeat an opponent, but simply to create the opportunity to flee. It is perfectly legal, and more importantly it requires a different skill set to fighting. Sparring has nothing to do with self defence.

If I kick someone in the groin and run away this works for self defence. Does it work for fighting? No, because I will be disqualified for use of illegal strikes, and for failing to engage with my opponent (running away). Conversely, if you triangle choke someone in the ring, you win. Triangle choke someone outside the chip shop on a Friday night and his mates stomp your head flat. By no definition can a technique that ends up with you dead be argued to work for the purposes of self defence, and yet it works in a fight and so people who can fight assume they can defend themselves. They are different things, so they need different skills, and just because one skill or techniques works in one field does not mean it will work in the other. Hence sparring in an MMA gym has nothing to do with self defence. If what you are doing in the street looks like sparring then you are not defending yourself, you are fighting, and you are breaking the law.

Like I say, listen to the martial map podcast, it will explain why:-
Martial arts, self defence and fighting are three different things
Why people make the mistake of confusing them as being one in the same
How the skills needed for success in won DO NOT automatically transfer to success in the other.
 

Paul_D

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Punching someone in the face, works just the same in the ring as it does in the street.
Of course it does, no one is saying it doesn't. A good punch is always a good punch.

By your "test" for self defence was sparring in an MMA gym, but you cannot test many self defence techniques with sparring (see the Lee Morrison video I psoted). So using sparring as a test for effectiveness is flawed is good for fighting techniques, but it is flawed as a test for self defence techniques.
 

Paul_D

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Well if you can't do well vs. someone in an MMA gym, then you'll do pretty awful anywhere else.
Getting good at what you do doesn't mean you will be able to beat a criminal at what he does.

The only thing doing well in an MMA gym will show is how well you can do in an MMA gym. Boxers & MMA fighters have been beaten, stabbed, killed, and hospitalised by people who have no skill or training.

There is no doubt who here was the better fighter, there is no doubt who would win if they sparred in an boxing or MMA gym.. But the point is a criminal will not fight you, he will not play your game on your terms by your rules. he will do what he is good at, he wil paly his game, by his rules. So any test of your fighting skill is only a test of your fighting skill. The benchmark for self defence is only fighting when you A) do not understand the difference between fighting and self defence, and B) do no understand the nature of criminal violence.

The fact that you do not understand these different does not make the people that do understand them wrong.

If you want to get good at fighting, train for fighting, if you want to get good at self defence train self defence but dont make the mistake of assuming that getting good at fighting means you are good at self defence, or that getting good at self defence means you can win trophies in an MMA ring.
 
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