Martial Arts for Self Defense

mcleod13

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I was watching a video the other day called "Modern Warriors" and it was discussing Martial Arts and its sport applications and Self Defense application. They were discussing on there how many Martial Arts are useless for self defense because you don't have time to think or you don't use it enough.

I was a little bothered by what I was hearing because the main reason I am taking TKD is for the self defense aspect. I don't need to go around bullying or causing trouble. I just want to be able to protect myself. I understand that every situation is going to be different and the best option is to run. But I am wondering, how effective is TKD or other MA for self defense? Have you ever had to use it?

BTW, my school does teach the Self Defense aspect of TKD.
 

BrandonLucas

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I was watching a video the other day called "Modern Warriors" and it was discussing Martial Arts and its sport applications and Self Defense application. They were discussing on there how many Martial Arts are useless for self defense because you don't have time to think or you don't use it enough.

I was a little bothered by what I was hearing because the main reason I am taking TKD is for the self defense aspect. I don't need to go around bullying or causing trouble. I just want to be able to protect myself. I understand that every situation is going to be different and the best option is to run. But I am wondering, how effective is TKD or other MA for self defense? Have you ever had to use it?

BTW, my school does teach the Self Defense aspect of TKD.

The effectiveness of TKD depends on the practioner...I don't agree with trying to compare arts against one another and trying to figure out which one is more effective.

Sure, it is true that the SD aspect is more useful than the sport aspect in regards to SD...because that's what the SD aspect is there for...and I personally don't care for the sport aspect, but that's just me.

But as far as the effectiveness of the art itself, that's a personal judgement call. TKD works well for me, since I'm a bigger guy, and the moves center on using power and bodyweight. I'm not suited for kung fu, or another art that uses more speed than power. I'm just not built that way.

Instead of pitting the effectiveness of the arts against eachother, the question you should ask is how comfortable are you in the art that you are currently in?
 
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mcleod13

mcleod13

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The effectiveness of TKD depends on the practioner...I don't agree with trying to compare arts against one another and trying to figure out which one is more effective.

Sure, it is true that the SD aspect is more useful than the sport aspect in regards to SD...because that's what the SD aspect is there for...and I personally don't care for the sport aspect, but that's just me.

But as far as the effectiveness of the art itself, that's a personal judgement call. TKD works well for me, since I'm a bigger guy, and the moves center on using power and bodyweight. I'm not suited for kung fu, or another art that uses more speed than power. I'm just not built that way.

Instead of pitting the effectiveness of the arts against eachother, the question you should ask is how comfortable are you in the art that you are currently in?

I think you may have misunderstood my post. I wasn't looking to compare the arts against each other. The people on the video made a blanket statement for all MA.

In my opinion, once I get better and it becomes more natural, I could see how it would be effective. However, the people making these statements have been practicing it alot longer than I have and when they said that most MA isn't effective in a street fight, it bothered me. I do think that sparring, whether it be point or olympic would be effective in helping to practice.
 

BrandonLucas

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I think you may have misunderstood my post. I wasn't looking to compare the arts against each other. The people on the video made a blanket statement for all MA.

In my opinion, once I get better and it becomes more natural, I could see how it would be effective. However, the people making these statements have been practicing it alot longer than I have and when they said that most MA isn't effective in a street fight, it bothered me. I do think that sparring, whether it be point or olympic would be effective in helping to practice.

If MA isn't effective in a street fight, then why is it still being taught today?

I can promise you, from my experience, TKD works for me in physical confrontations...I'm a recomended 2nd degree blackbelt in ITF TKD, and I've been involved in TKD since 1994.

I think if someone is making these statements that most MA doesn't work in a streetfight, you should probably consider the source.

It still comes down to how you can handle yourself as an individual. MA's certainly give you the correct tools to use, but it's up to you to choose how to use them. Sounds to me like whoever is making this statement doesn't understand this concept.
 

igillman

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MA's certainly give you the correct tools to use, but it's up to you to choose how to use them. Sounds to me like whoever is making this statement doesn't understand this concept.

BrandonLucas makes a very good point, the MA's give you the tools to use, how you use them is up to you. The MA's show you how to kick, punch and wrestle to greater and lesser degrees depending upon the flavour. The comment about not having time to think is only relevant if you are new to something. Most martial artists who have been training for quite a while can put together 3 moves in the time it takes you to do one. If only one of their 3 moves connects it is a success.

They may be commenting on some of the takedowns that get taught. We are taught some at our do-jang that I would never use because they require precision movements. Those highly technical moves have a low probability of success unless you are a full-time martial artist who has practiced the same move for years and years.

There is no one system to beat all others and there is certainly no ultimate system that teaches you how to fight successfully all the time. Martial Arts are effective ways to teach self defence, how effective they are is up to you.
 

BrandonLucas

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BrandonLucas makes a very good point, the MA's give you the tools to use, how you use them is up to you. The MA's show you how to kick, punch and wrestle to greater and lesser degrees depending upon the flavour. The comment about not having time to think is only relevant if you are new to something. Most martial artists who have been training for quite a while can put together 3 moves in the time it takes you to do one. If only one of their 3 moves connects it is a success.

They may be commenting on some of the takedowns that get taught. We are taught some at our do-jang that I would never use because they require precision movements. Those highly technical moves have a low probability of success unless you are a full-time martial artist who has practiced the same move for years and years.

There is no one system to beat all others and there is certainly no ultimate system that teaches you how to fight successfully all the time. Martial Arts are effective ways to teach self defence, how effective they are is up to you.

That's what I was trying to say, and took entirely too long to say it...if someone tells you that any MA is not effective in a streetfight, you may want to ask them where they're getting their information from...more than likely, the people who are saying this don't have enough time or experience or both invested into a martial art...

I'm quite certain that if a study was done, it would show that an MA practitioner would be better off in a fight than an untrained person....but the problem with a study like that is that things like fights are situational, and the outcome of the fights may be different depending on different variables.

The bottom line is this:

What is it going to hurt to train in a reputable SD based martial art? Do you take some guy on tv's word that MA's are useless, or would you rather be somewhat prepared in case you do need to defend yourself?
 

myusername

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I was watching a video the other day called "Modern Warriors" and it was discussing Martial Arts and its sport applications and Self Defense application. They were discussing on there how many Martial Arts are useless for self defense because you don't have time to think or you don't use it enough.

I was a little bothered by what I was hearing because the main reason I am taking TKD is for the self defense aspect. I don't need to go around bullying or causing trouble. I just want to be able to protect myself. I understand that every situation is going to be different and the best option is to run. But I am wondering, how effective is TKD or other MA for self defense? Have you ever had to use it?

BTW, my school does teach the Self Defense aspect of TKD.

Using TKD as an example I struggle to see the makers of this program's point. TKD as a complete art includes punches, open hand techniques, elbows, knees, devastating kicks and takedowns! Most other martial arts contain these elements also. I wonder how else the presenters of this show would have us defend ourselves without using any of these elements? If attacked, even the non-martial artist would use one or all of these forms of attack to defend themselves naturally without needing "to think". TKD and other martial arts teaches us how to refine these instinctive attacks and deliver them more effectively! The constant practicing, refinement, preparation and muscle memory takes away any need to think, it just becomes the way you punch/kick etc etc.
 

exile

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This has come up many, many times before, mcl. A while back I wrote the post here about it, and it speaks I think to some of the things you're bringing up. Have a look at that whole thread; it's very much on topic so far as the things you're concerned about. Take heart: trained for real combat, the TMAs are as good as you can get for personal unarmed SD. But the whole story is how you train the techs you've learned, and the kind of extreme, noncomplaint methods you use to make real combat tools of them.
 

morph4me

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Whenever I here someone say that such and such doesn't work, I always interpret it this way, " I can't do it, I can't make it work so it doesn't work for anybody." The only way you're going to know if TKD works for you, for self defense, is if you're put in a situation that forces you to use it, and I hope you never have to find out.
 

Deaf Smith

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Let me just say the attitude of many, I'd say the vast majority, of students, TKD, or TSD, or just in any martial arts, is that self defense is a low priority.

I see so much micky-mouse techniques that are 'art' that, well, if I told the head of the organizatons the truth, I'd be persona non degrata in alot of places.

I realise alot of the martial arts is 'art' and not 'martial'. Sorry, that's the way it is. As Marc MacYoung wrote, there are four reasons people take the martial arts.

1) self defense/combat,
2) the physical art/tradiition/discipline,
3) spiritital/health, and
4) sports aspect.

Few take it for #1. Very few. And thus most martial arts schools focus alot on the other three.

It takes a very dedicated student to practice on their own and learn what is needed but not taught in MA schools.

Ever see a MA school teach about indicators that the attacker will give off letting you know an attack is coming? Or sucker punchs and how to avoid them? Or impending signs of emotional destress an unbalanced person might exhibit? No?

Or the reality of what a stabbing is (and it sure ain't West Side Story.)

Well to me that's part of true self defense and what you should learn.

And tell me, are forms really needed in self defense?

But again, the martial arts have 'martial' and 'art'. And most pick the art.

Deaf
 

exile

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And tell me, are forms really needed in self defense?

I think they are; actually, I think they're the core of the self-defense content of the arts. They are the record of practical combat techniques that the pioneers of the arts discovered and recorded. The trick is in reading them for their CQ combat content, and training them under severe noncompliant conditions.

Almost every kata and hyung I've spent any time studying seriously has a wealth of brutally effective techniques, involving deflections, pins, eye/throat/head shots, groin attacks and so on. One of the kata we do in my dojang as BB form is Empi; take a look at the interpretation Paul James gives to one of the recurrent moves in Empi here. I've seen similar sequences demo'ed in Krav Maga, which has no kata/hyungs, but the ideas are the same.

And once you have the bunkai, you have to train them with someone who can simulate a realistically violent attack on yougrab and punch, grab-and-knee, attempted sucker-punch... the works. There's plenty of evidence that people like Bushi Matsumura, who used their karate as a practical working tool, took kata to be the encoding of their 'best practices'. But you can bet that they trained the apps in a way most of us would have a hard time sticking with, and I don't mean just a lot of sweat. The TMAs are built for violent application, and that's how they have to be drilled. Without pressure testing, it's true, kata are just a martial folkdance, and you're looking at style, not combat substance.
 

GBlues

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Ok for ME personally I never felt that TKD was a very effective art do to all of the really high kicks. I'm 5'3" just never seemed practical for me. However, my mother works with a guy, who son is a black belt in TKD, he's 17, well actually he was 17 at the time. Anyways there next door neighbor I guess he was about in his 40's and never grew out of the " I'm a big bully stage", at any rate he's starts trying to steal this kids bike. And the boy runs out, and is trying to get his bike back, and they get into a scuffle. This is a 17 year old kid mind you takin on a big 40 year old man. Guess what happens next.....well apparently the 17 year old kid ends up beating the snot out of this guy and is walking his bike, back to the house, and his mom sees this dude pull out a knife and go running for this kid. She screams at the top of her lungs, "A knife, he's got a knife" and this kid proceeds to spin around and kick this guy in the head, which resulted in breaking his neck! Anyways, he had to go to court, it was found to be self-defense, and now the kid has to deal with a very harsh reality of his training. But the point I'm trying to make is, that you don't get much more street effective than that.
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So what is effective? I guess what each individual can make work for themselves.
 

exile

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Ok for ME personally I never felt that TKD was a very effective art do to all of the really high kicks. I'm 5'3" just never seemed practical for me. However, my mother works with a guy, who son is a black belt in TKD, he's 17, well actually he was 17 at the time. Anyways there next door neighbor I guess he was about in his 40's and never grew out of the " I'm a big bully stage", at any rate he's starts trying to steal this kids bike. And the boy runs out, and is trying to get his bike back, and they get into a scuffle. This is a 17 year old kid mind you takin on a big 40 year old man. Guess what happens next.....well apparently the 17 year old kid ends up beating the snot out of this guy and is walking his bike, back to the house, and his mom sees this dude pull out a knife and go running for this kid. She screams at the top of her lungs, "A knife, he's got a knife" and this kid proceeds to spin around and kick this guy in the head, which resulted in breaking his neck! Anyways, he had to go to court, it was found to be self-defense, and now the kid has to deal with a very harsh reality of his training. But the point I'm trying to make is, that you don't get much more street effective than that.
icon10.gif
So what is effective? I guess what each individual can make work for themselves.

Whew... that's a hell of a story, GB. Poor kid... that's a lot to have your plate at 17 years old, through no fault of your own.

I've never been a big fan of high kicking for SD. But if there's a weapon involved, the rules pretty much all change, I think. A lot of karate and TKD techs, as built into the forms, involves closing the distance, controlling and then disabling the attacker... but with a knife, you want all the distance you can get. It sounds to me as if the luck was with him in the way things played outthe guy drew the knife early, while there still was a lot of room between the two of them. What's scary is when the knife is drawn at close range, in confined quarters....
 

BrandonLucas

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Ok for ME personally I never felt that TKD was a very effective art do to all of the really high kicks. I'm 5'3" just never seemed practical for me. However, my mother works with a guy, who son is a black belt in TKD, he's 17, well actually he was 17 at the time. Anyways there next door neighbor I guess he was about in his 40's and never grew out of the " I'm a big bully stage", at any rate he's starts trying to steal this kids bike. And the boy runs out, and is trying to get his bike back, and they get into a scuffle. This is a 17 year old kid mind you takin on a big 40 year old man. Guess what happens next.....well apparently the 17 year old kid ends up beating the snot out of this guy and is walking his bike, back to the house, and his mom sees this dude pull out a knife and go running for this kid. She screams at the top of her lungs, "A knife, he's got a knife" and this kid proceeds to spin around and kick this guy in the head, which resulted in breaking his neck! Anyways, he had to go to court, it was found to be self-defense, and now the kid has to deal with a very harsh reality of his training. But the point I'm trying to make is, that you don't get much more street effective than that.
icon10.gif
So what is effective? I guess what each individual can make work for themselves.

And that's the point. Not that any one art is better overall than another art...but instead, that art "x" may not work for you as an individual, but art "y" may work very well. And training in something is far better than nothing, IMO.

As far as the reasons people take a certain art and whether the art is more "martial" or more "art", that's simply a decesion each individual person needs to make. I choose to take TKD for reasons 1 - 3 that were listed in a previous post. I don't care too much for the sport, and the dojang that I attend is perfect for this.

All you have to do these days is research. Figure out what aspect of the martial art you're looking for and find the school that focus's on the points that you deem important to you. The dojang I attend is not for everyone...but it suits me very well, and I have no doubt in my mind that I can defend myself if I need to using what I was taught.

When it comes to MA's, there is no such thing as a correct blanket statement. When things apply to individuals, the answers are as different as the people asking the questions.
 

level7

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To say TKD is not good for street fighting is insane. With minimal training you will be a better street fighter then you were before you started.

You may get sucker punched and that's fine but I guarantee you once you recover and if you've properly trained, you'll smile a small smile and go to town on the guy.

TKD sparring is the closest you're going to get to a street fight. All you've trained for in class comes together in that match.Train hard there and you'll be ready for most situations. I train like someone is going to attack me and try and kill me.
 

Manny

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I was watching a video the other day called "Modern Warriors" and it was discussing Martial Arts and its sport applications and Self Defense application. They were discussing on there how many Martial Arts are useless for self defense because you don't have time to think or you don't use it enough.

I was a little bothered by what I was hearing because the main reason I am taking TKD is for the self defense aspect. I don't need to go around bullying or causing trouble. I just want to be able to protect myself. I understand that every situation is going to be different and the best option is to run. But I am wondering, how effective is TKD or other MA for self defense? Have you ever had to use it?

BTW, my school does teach the Self Defense aspect of TKD.


I'm by your side in this post. How many times I've herd that a blak belt has nothing to do against a street fighter???? hundreds of times but this is something wrong I guess. First of all, if I want to be a bully man, kicking everybody *** in the streets, well... afther so many rounds in the steet and been hitten and bitten for many men and offcourse kicking *** to anothers well... yes a certified blak belt maybe could be a pice of cake but... if I want to know how to defend my self of a punk I think learning a martial art, any you can mention, judo, karate,tae kwon do, wrestling (reco roman or wath ever), hap ki do, etc,etc is n exelent option. The training only allows us to defend ourselves nothing else, and yes run is a valid option, avoiding the confrontation is another valid option, fighting back must be the last option.

I think that TKD gives me a little edge sobre the average person and this can be crucial.

Don't question yourself so much, train hard and ejoy it.

Manny
 

granfire

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As a 5'5", 120-130 lbs female, getting the crap beat out of me is only my second greatest fear (or there about)

BUT, training MA - any MA, gives you an advantage: Fitness, strength and performance under pressure.

Not to mention that many thing have been ingrained in your brain from countless repetitions of forms, you have to make an effort to not do a certain sequence of moves, block/attack...

and most importantly, being used to hit and be hit the moment of surprise is less likely to knock the wind out of you, leaving you breathless. (another reason ki-haps are actually important!)

While maybe pure TKD alone is not gonna save your bacon, dabbling in other styles as well, especially in ground types to round out shortcomings definitly increases your chance to walk away from it. Of course, training defenses against weapons helps, too, but time is often too restricted and things that don't get practiced often don't work too well under pressure. You can't very wel ask your attacker for a do-over...
 

JBrainard

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BTW, my school does teach the Self Defense aspect of TKD.

The quote above is what's key, so I wouldn't worry about it too much. Many TKD schools don't teach this aspect of the art (for whatever reason). One word of caution I can offer is that you need to practice your techniques out in the elements (especially all of those great kicks). A classmate of mine who is a black belt (don't remember what dan) in TKD but now studies at our school had to fight off a group of guys one night and even though he "won," he said he is NEVER going to try a spinning back kick out on the street defending himself ever again.
Just my two cents. And that's probably about all it's worth :)
 
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