Practical weapons defense without offense

MBuzzy

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Also, if you don't practice weapons how do you practice practical defense against them? Please don't be offended by this question as it is not meant to be a jab I am just curious to the philosophy of your school on this subject.

This is a continuation off of the weapons thread. I really think that it deserves its own discussion here.

The question was raised as to whether a person can effectively be taught to defense against weapons if they are not trained in how to use those weapons offensively.

To me, there are two parts to this question.

Part 1) Can the attacker provide a realistic attack without previous weapons training?

Part 2) Can the defender be aware of how the attacker may move or react and how the weapon is wielded without having a background in the offensive use of the weapon?

****Now...for the sake of this discussion, we will assume that the questions of realistic self defense, standardized curriculum, etc don't enter into the discussion. i.e. we know that you can only simulate what a real attack would be like, that subject has been beaten to death; and we know that any standardized curriculum has a certain level of effectiveness due to the way that standardization is done. We can assume that standardization is to build muscle memory and to provide a construct for testing, etc. It is obvious that in a real confrontation, stances and exact movements wouldn't be done exactly as they are in standardizations.
 

miguksaram

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This is a continuation off of the weapons thread. I really think that it deserves its own discussion here.

The question was raised as to whether a person can effectively be taught to defense against weapons if they are not trained in how to use those weapons offensively.

To me, there are two parts to this question.

Part 1) Can the attacker provide a realistic attack without previous weapons training?

Part 2) Can the defender be aware of how the attacker may move or react and how the weapon is wielded without having a background in the offensive use of the weapon?

First, you are the bestest for breaking this off into a whole new thread. :) Ok, now for my two cents worth:

1) Yes. Any fool can pick up any weapon and start using it, in fact you are more likely to be attacked by someone with no weapons training than you are with weapons training. Is the attacker using it to its full potential?

2) Yes. The body can only move in a finite way, so it stands to say that you can defend against a weapon without knowing about the weapon.

Now will weapons training help you? Most definitely. If you understand the weapon and how it is used and what a skilled person with a weapon can do, you will have a better chance at knowing the ability of your attacker and thus know better defenses against them. It also holds that if you are skilled in the use of the weapon you will train at a higher level in your defense skills. Just like sparring...when you fight with a black belt you try to fight with a higher skill level than if you would with a white belt.
 
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MBuzzy

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My opinion on the matter....

1) I certainly think that there is a limit to how effective the attacker can be without any weapons training. I know that the "attacks" that we use in our standardized curriculum are not standard practice, nor are they the kinds of attacks that someone trained in weapons use would use.

BUT, If you're being attacked with a knife on the street, what are the chances that the attacker knows how to use the weapon? More than likely, they are just swinging the knife or stick around aimlessly and with some basic training, they can be disarmed. There are ways to tell if they are trained though...how they move, how they react, how they hold the weapon, etc....which leads me to part 2.

2) I do think that for the defender to be able to respond effectively, they should have some very basic knowledge of how the weapon is used. Mostly so that they can recognize how attacks are coming, how the weapon is being held and if the person has any training.

But, in general terms, we are practicing for muscle memory, so giving a person the basics of how to defend themselves can only help. Hopefully in a real situation, they will retain enough to be able to react.
 

Makalakumu

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From my point of view, I think that the more you are familiar with a weapon and its use, the higher your success rate will be when it comes to surviving an encounter with that weapon. The reason being is because then you will know the ins and outs of how to use that weapon, you'll be able to better anticipate attacks, counter attacks, and combinations. You'll be better equipped to see openings where you can successfully defeat your opponent. You can practice a set of standardized weapon defenses until the cows come home, but until you really know how to use the weapon, you won't be able to see the entirety of the threat.
 
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MBuzzy

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One unfortunate point at most schools is that the weapons defense that is taught (again, aside from the standardization issue) is lacking anyway. For example, in my style, we are taught 5 knife defense and 4 bong defenses. Each of those are for a different angle of attack. But in hand to hand defense, there are at least 4 different defenses for every conceivable grab.

I would must rather see more variety and different options. I've found that the more ways you know to react, the better chance you have of just doing something in a stressful situation. Granted, the majority of my stressful situations are not real endangerment scenarios....but still.
 
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MBuzzy

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So what if your attacker isn't trained and you are? Doesn't that change the equation? They aren't going to react how you expect them to.
 
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MBuzzy

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That's why everyone wants to legalize Pot! Anyone that uses it doesn't get violent, they get hungry and they would probably NEVER risk their bong!
 

JT_the_Ninja

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1) Sure. The ITSDF (well, C. S. Kim, anyway) teaches defense against knife and sword (and they're phasing in gun defense, which is another can of worms). For knife and sword defense, we learn basic ways of attacking (there really are only so many basic ways to attack, you just have to recognize and react), with emphasis on drawing the sword back (you can't just tap someone with a sword) and aiming the knife at the intended target, rather than randomly forward. With the sword, one thing instructors are always reminding us is that there's not a big chance (unless our name is Drillbit Taylor or Jet Li) of being attacked with a sword, but a bat or long stick? Possible. Either one of those is going to use a similar swinging motion.

2) I think this follows from what I said above. Sure, you might be surprised occasionally by something unfamiliar (I guess? Do lightsabers exist?), but that's only until you see what's familiar about it and use what you know. The key is reacting and taking control of the weapon in your opponent's hand(s).

The way we train is this: we are taught some standard defense moves for each style of attack (straight, overhead, from the side, low), and after we have them good, a common exercise is to have the partner with the weapon attack with any of those, so that we have to react without knowing what is coming until it comes. Also, at a test...you pass if you defend yourself. Don't get cut/stabbed, get control of the weapon. Check and check means you can counter and (maybe) walk away unharmed. Obviously, we don't counter to the point of causing more pain than necessary in a class setting (and we *DON'T* take the weapon and then stab the opponent...legal issues), but you know when you've won the encounter and when you've just been ginsu'd.

EDIT: This means improvisation (from what you know of other self-defense techniques) is always on the table...hope that's clear.
 
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jks9199

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For realistic training in weapons defenses, you need some basic familiarity with how the weapon is supposed to be used. This way, you'll understand the dangerous aspects of the weapon. To make an absurd example, you can threaten me all day with an empty gun with the muzzle pointed at you. You ain't gonna hurt me that way... Some of the standardized gun defenses don't recognize the way a person really is likely to use the gun, just as many of the standard knife defenses don't recognize the realities of a knife attack.

But you can't stop with the "proper" way to use the weapon; you also have to recognize the way someone really uses it. All the preparation for the clean, economical movements of many Filipino knife attacks won't do crap for you against the "sewing machine" repeated stabs that are common in real attacks.

And you can't neglect the differences that come from different weapons; a baseball bat isn't quite the same as a short stick, and a machete attack isn't the same as a shank, dagger, or katana.

None of this is to say that there aren't some commonalities and general ways to prepare and react. But the better you understand the weapon, the more likely you are to know how it can be used against you. You don't need to be an expert... but a decent grounding is definitely going to help you.
 

harold

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All good points. My two cents worth. As a law enforcement officer for the past 29 years, the fact is that most people are assaulted with a weapon of some sort.Knives and clubs seem to be the weapons of choice as a convicted felon has no worry of additional punishment for possessing a knife or club. As we all probably know, the repeat offender rate in this country is over 50 percent and the preferred weapons inside the walls are edged weapons followed by blunt weapons (sticks,pipes,etc.)
The human body functions in a pretty basic way, we are built to move our arms either overhand or underhand and side to side. Once you recognize the weapon, you should recognize its characteristics (knife, stick, bat etc) and you should recognize its limitations (range).
Basic concepts should be practiced using edged weapons, bats, sticks, etc. so that you will have the basic muscle memory to minimize your injuries.
Practice weapon defenses just as often as you practice anything else. Weapons are a reality of our 21st century world.
 

tellner

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As a law enforcement officer for the past 29 years, the fact is that most people are assaulted with a weapon of some sort.

Oh? The UCR and NCVS are pretty clear: The vast majority of simple assaults, most aggravated assaults, almost all rapes and a sizable minority of robberies involve no weapons. I'm not discounting your experience, but that does seem to be the nationwide trend for at least the past thirty years.
 

harold

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Oh? The UCR and NCVS are pretty clear: The vast majority of simple assaults, most aggravated assaults, almost all rapes and a sizable minority of robberies involve no weapons. I'm not discounting your experience, but that does seem to be the nationwide trend for at least the past thirty years.

Not in my part of Tennessee. Simple assault does not require the use of a weapon.Aggravated assault requires serious bodily injury or the use of a weapon. Having workd quite a number of cases, and taken a number of reports, my experience has been pople are attacked with weapons.My main reason for replying to the post was to express my observations that martial artists should, in my opinion, practice weapon defenses.
 

Montecarlodrag

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This is a continuation off of the weapons thread. I really think that it deserves its own discussion here.

The question was raised as to whether a person can effectively be taught to defense against weapons if they are not trained in how to use those weapons offensively.

To me, there are two parts to this question.

Part 1) Can the attacker provide a realistic attack without previous weapons training?

Part 2) Can the defender be aware of how the attacker may move or react and how the weapon is wielded without having a background in the offensive use of the weapon?.

1- Yes, even more with a sharp weapon. They can do damage by themselves. Any attack by any bladed weapon is to be taken seriously.

2- Yes. You don't need to know how to drive a train lo learn how to stay away from it. You only need to know:
a) Blades kill
b) pointed weapons kill
c) Fire guns kill.
d) Baseball bats and any other strike-weapons also kill.

So, a realistic defense-against-weapons program can be implemented in the dojang, one which works. You only need to emphasize a few things:

1- No weapons defense is foolproof. There is no guarantee that you will overcome the aggression without injuries even if you master the techniques.
2- You are always at disadvantage and the most likely result of that situation is you being injured or killed. If you are involved in that situation on the first place, it means things got terribly wrong long before.
3- It is always better to run and be called coward, than staying and being called dead.
4- The thing which will help you the most is speed. The fastest you are, the better your chances of survival.
5- There is no need of fancy movements or back spinning roundhouse kicks when defending against weapons. Short, effective and fast punches are better than fancy kicks or complicated grabs and throws. Emphasize the attacks to weak or vital body points of the aggressor, don't have mercy (they won't be as mercyful).

My opinion is: there is no need to develop standarized techniques. It is not one step sparring, it's real-life situations. Students tend to have problems remembering which one is the technique #5 and which one is the #17.
It is better to teach them the best ways to defend agains a given attack, and make them practice them and develop a defense-reflex, rather than making them memorize a number of techniques that won't be useful.
 

JT_the_Ninja

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My opinion is: there is no need to develop standarized techniques. It is not one step sparring, it's real-life situations. Students tend to have problems remembering which one is the technique #5 and which one is the #17.
It is better to teach them the best ways to defend agains a given attack, and make them practice them and develop a defense-reflex, rather than making them memorize a number of techniques that won't be useful.

I wholeheartedly agree there. One of the things that's been drilled into me constantly when working on self-defense, especially weapon self-defense, is not to freeze and try to remember what to do. You just do it. Even with grappling self-defense, if you freeze up trying to remember what you're supposed to do next you're dead. Nobody's ever going to grab you and stand there, like "Hey, I'm grabbing you...now do something." You have to react as soon as possible, which is why you need to train the basic moves into your muscle memory, so that they can be recalled without thinking.

It's really a simple concept: (1) get out of the way; (2) get control of the attacking weapon/hand; (3) remove the threat; (4) remove yourself from the situation. You just have to work on doing, as opposed to thinking.

I'm not gonna say I'm perfect at this, of course, but that's why I keep training.
 
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MBuzzy

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I wholeheartedly agree there. One of the things that's been drilled into me constantly when working on self-defense, especially weapon self-defense, is not to freeze and try to remember what to do. You just do it. Even with grappling self-defense, if you freeze up trying to remember what you're supposed to do next you're dead. Nobody's ever going to grab you and stand there, like "Hey, I'm grabbing you...now do something." You have to react as soon as possible, which is why you need to train the basic moves into your muscle memory, so that they can be recalled without thinking.

It's really a simple concept: (1) get out of the way; (2) get control of the attacking weapon/hand; (3) remove the threat; (4) remove yourself from the situation. You just have to work on doing, as opposed to thinking.

I'm not gonna say I'm perfect at this, of course, but that's why I keep training.

I ALSO agree, except I would add that I believe that it is important to find the balance between learning a lot of different techniques and building muscle memory of single techniques. That is a hard balance to strike; on one hand, you should have a way to react to any threat, on the other hand, in a stressful situation, you will fall back onto muscle memory. Therefore some level of muscle memory must be built.
 

JT_the_Ninja

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Exactly. That's why I said the basics. How to avoid, block, counter. That's why we really only sorta have standard weapons ho sin sul; you learn some examples of what to do, but you pass the test if you (a) don't get stabbed/sliced and (b) get control of the weapon from your opponent.
 
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MBuzzy

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True, although I would personally enter ANY edged weapons scenario with the understanding that you WILL get cut. It isn't inevitable, but you have to be prepared to be cut....the key is learning to control where the cut is.
 
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