self defence for wimps

Steve

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There are two things going on. The first is personal growth and dealing with the insecurity and lack of confidence clear in the OP. The second is self defense.

I think everyone so far has hit the nail on the head with the first major thing: lack of confidence, insecurity, and personal growth. In this area, I think if you get a kid into literally any challenging activity under a good coach, and you will be amazed at what happens. Stories like @dvcochran 's are heartwarming, and I have no doubt that this is just one example of many he could share. And stories like that are happening right now on chess teams, on debate teams, on football, baseball, and wrestling teams, on the marching band, and in any activity that provides structure, rewards hard work and consistent effort with measurable results, and provides a community of peers and a trusted coach/advisor. These things are so important for kids... all kids, so fortunately, they can be gained in any activity, not just BJJ, TKD, Karate, or ninjutsu.

If you were to say that the personal growth, building physical, mental, and emotional confidence is way more important than learning to fight, I would agree, and would recommend getting into some structured activity that resonates. The growth in confidence alone will help that person be safer.

The second point, which is self defense... that's where I think everyone is getting hung up. The key would be finding a school that provides the above elements, where the skills are likely to be transferrable to a fight. Now, here's where not everything will fit the bill.

Personally, if you want growth and also fighting skills, in America at least, I don't think a kid can do better than turning out for JV wrestling. Outside of that, Judo would be good, particularly if its available in the schools, as it is here. Then any other grappling art, just for the physicality of it. And then some striking arts, where there is a competitive outlet (because application is critical to all of this, IMO).

This is where TMA schools that lack competitive outlets fail with application, and risk doing more harm than good with confidence and growth. Because when your skill set is not grounded in application, you risk a crisis of confidence the first time you have to use your skills and realize that you can't do what you have been told you can.
 
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KenpoMaster805

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Ill recommend kendo karate and bb for kids who has autism because in my classs there this guy whose a Autism and his a 2nd degree Black Belt
 
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Jusroc

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Thanks for all your replies. Much appreciated your help on this matter.

Sorry, I should have explained, when i ask this question, I am actually talking out of the perspective as a qualified instructor who wishes to help those who otherwise are marginalised and excluded due to their disposition.

I personally think that its as much about the approach to teaching, as it is about what your teaching.

I think that perhaps the way people learn in most clubs is fine for most people, in that most people are psychologically and physically robust enough to cope under the demands that most martial art classes entail.

I am thinking about the most vulnerable in society, those who are perhaps physically weaker than most, and others who have massive mental challenges, who would simply find normal classes overwhelming but also too focused around sport style fighting, where one person does their best to beat the other.

Of course, i understand that ultimately good martial arts and martial artists pressure test their system.
However, I wonder if there are not other stages in the process (apart from drilling techniques) that
can help a person to develop the technical skills without the pressure.

When i did BJJ, and train / coach Judo, I always thought light rolling was one great approach to help people to develop the technical skills while under less pressure and less competitive spirit.

However, in my experience it is often hard to find clubs that use this (at least in the area that i live)
and even when people are supposed to be light rolling, those who are obsessively competitive (even if training for self defence) can't help themselves but to step up the level of intensity and power used,
in order to score points for their ego (often relying on the same relied techniques) rather than
using the time light rolling / light sparing to help each other to grow technically, experiment and gain more varied experience / skill in a greater area of techniques.

I am not talking about watering down the technique, but I do think that a particular approach is perhaps required for a slice of the population, who would otherwise run a mile at the thought of the idea of rolling in a normal BJJ class, or stepping in the boxing ring with a boxer/kickboxer/muay thai practitioner.
 

dvcochran

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Thanks for all your replies. Much appreciated your help on this matter.

Sorry, I should have explained, when i ask this question, I am actually talking out of the perspective as a qualified instructor who wishes to help those who otherwise are marginalised and excluded due to their disposition.

I personally think that its as much about the approach to teaching, as it is about what your teaching.

I think that perhaps the way people learn in most clubs is fine for most people, in that most people are psychologically and physically robust enough to cope under the demands that most martial art classes entail.

I am thinking about the most vulnerable in society, those who are perhaps physically weaker than most, and others who have massive mental challenges, who would simply find normal classes overwhelming but also too focused around sport style fighting, where one person does their best to beat the other.

Of course, i understand that ultimately good martial arts and martial artists pressure test their system.
However, I wonder if there are not other stages in the process (apart from drilling techniques) that
can help a person to develop the technical skills without the pressure.

When i did BJJ, and train / coach Judo, I always thought light rolling was one great approach to help people to develop the technical skills while under less pressure and less competitive spirit.

However, in my experience it is often hard to find clubs that use this (at least in the area that i live)
and even when people are supposed to be light rolling, those who are obsessively competitive (even if training for self defence) can't help themselves but to step up the level of intensity and power used,
in order to score points for their ego (often relying on the same relied techniques) rather than
using the time light rolling / light sparing to help each other to grow technically, experiment and gain more varied experience / skill in a greater area of techniques.

I am not talking about watering down the technique, but I do think that a particular approach is perhaps required for a slice of the population, who would otherwise run a mile at the thought of the idea of rolling in a normal BJJ class, or stepping in the boxing ring with a boxer/kickboxer/muay thai practitioner.
To be clear, as we talking light contact or no contact at all? Are you only asking about rolling or are you open to striking styles?

As far as the 'weaker physically' component, that has never been an issue for our schools since there is no one specific output model that defines everyone. There is no one 'perfect model'. The weaker (or stronger) person is evaluated on where they started and how they progress based off this initial model. Yes, without question this makes it harder on the instructor. It is also hard to attract people across the full spectrum of physical/mental
versus being specific to a part of said spectrum. A lot of our success has been by Not creating lines that limit or infer exclusivity. In short, we have programs that fit everyone; come in, workout, do YOUR best. This is a big area I feel some school fall short in when they can attract kids easy enough but no teens or adults.
Keeping the environment open and non judgmental is paramount for the owner/instructor. I think much like a school teacher, a good instructor learns how/when to push or not to push.

One thing that comes to mind is pad drilling. Even when with a stronger partner you are only hitting the pad so there is little to no pressure, just working on technique.
This also sounds like a great way to use forms training. A good program will teach application as a person matures into the forms.

Lastly, I strongly believe you cannot fully learn a Martial Art without pressure and contact. A person can learn the motions of a technique without contact and even practice it to proficiency. Using a kick as an example; you can see people with beautiful, high, technically correct kicks when doing pad work or forms. On their own, this does not transfer to self defense or competition.

So, what is the end game to your model? If you build you model what is the expected output(s)?
An old saying is that martial arts without contact is just a form of dance. While I will say this is better than nothing, it is also where a lot of bad bias is created about MA's and where people often over estimate their martial art skills.
You have to see both the beginning and the end to know what to do in the middle. May sound cheesy but it is true.
 

Tony Dismukes

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I realise that in many sport orientated clubs, the more competitive clubs are really focused at being as competitive as possible, and have little time to
nurture the less "competitive" individuals. In some clubs there is pretty much a sink or swim philosophy, which of course helps keep the standard up
for competitors who wish to compete.

however, when it comes to training timid nerdy types with little skill, I think that the sink or swim philosophy will result in the nerdier types never taking
to training and thus, going home without learning anything more than how to get beaten up (which actually most nerds know how to do already).

In fact, I would say that many of the nerdy types that so desperately need to learn some form of practical method to defend them self
would not likely even get anywhere near the dojo / training hall, due to fear.

So I would like to start a debate, in search for the best type of martial art for the timid.
How to train the timid and scared, the skills they need to survive.
This is less a question of which martial art and more a question of how a school is run.

Some gyms do have the "sink-or-swim" mentality you refer to. These would be gyms where either:
  1. They are primarily concerned with building a high-level competition team which wins lots of championships. They are deliberately selecting for people who are already highly talented and motivated athletes who will push each other to become even better. Building up average or below average athletes is not their intended mission. Or ...
  2. The instructor just doesn't know how to help less talented individuals develop. Perhaps their own instruction was in a sink-or-swim environment. Or perhaps the instructor is one of those naturally talented athletes who learned through instinct and experience and doesn't understand how to break down the learning experience for the less gifted.
The good news is that there are lots of gyms, even for arts with a sport/competitive focus, which are much better for helping students who are non-athletic/uncoordinated/timid/out-of-shape/"wimpy" to develop into stronger, tougher, more confident versions of themselves. The student will still have to learn to deal with contact and pushing themselves through operating under physical/mental pressure. The key is working through a gradual progression of intensity based on where the individual student is starting out.

Think of it like learning to weight lift. If you have a coach who is just trying to build a team of champion Olympic weight lifters, he might want to just focus on athletes who can already lift 1.5 times their own body weight and build them up from there. However if you have a coach who wants to help a scrawny coach potato learn to become stronger and healthier, he might start them out with just an unloaded barbell, teach them proper form, then gradually add weight as the student becomes stronger. You can do the same thing with sparring and drilling - gradually increasing the contact, intensity, and complexity of the process according to the needs of the student.

This is an important consideration for me as an instructor. 40 years ago when I started martial arts, I was scrawny, uncoordinated, weak, inflexible, timid, and wimpy. (Also definitely nerdy, although that's not really a handicap.) I was definitely in the bottom 1%-tile of the general population in terms of both physical talent and fighting spirit. Today, at the age of 57 I've spent years doing light. medium, and hard contact sparring both unarmed and with weapons. I've fought in the ring. I've competed in several forms of grappling tournaments. I still spar every week with guys who are half my age and much stronger and fitter than I am. I even spar occasionally with professional fighters (although only ones that I know and trust to stay at an intensity level which is safe for me). If I can get to this point, then just about anyone can.

I do sometimes help coach amateur and professional fighters, but I get even more satisfaction at helping along an untalented "wimpy" beginner and seeing them grow. Find an instructor who has that focus and even the wimpiest of students can gain some levels in badass.
 
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Jusroc

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Sure thanks for your advice everyone.

I ultimately want to start a club that is specifically aimed at helping those who have the biggest challengers to learning martial arts, such as people with disabilities.

I think that learning techniques and drilling would be part of the program.
And some training that is between drilling and free fighting (various levels of restricted free fighting, restricted by what types of fighters, how fast, how much power etc.).

Which would create a "kiddy pool" version of sparing, which could progressively get more intense over time training.

Please do not misunderstand, I am not saying that the various styles aren't effective, and there isn't a place for the various other types of clubs.

I just think that many of the top clubs in the various arts that produce the best competition fighters, may simply be a bad batch for those who just need some self defense skills that will help them live a more fulfilling life.

In Judo for example, it would be a wrong match to send someone who just wants to learn a bit of Judo and only has one or two evenings a week to dedicate to training with a club that creates world and olympic champions, if the only program they run is for elite level professional fighters.

I know that Gracie Jiu Jitsu include a self defence version of their jiu jitsu, which has a different emphasis to the competition version of their awesome jiu jitsu.

I am yet to find a club in the area that I live who has a class that is self defence specific.
I am aware of Gracie University, which teaches a home study course,
however, in the area that I live (which is a small Island) there are at least two really good Sport BJJ clubs,
which has some really good coach's / Professors teaching.

The clubs do seem to be competition focussed.

Where these clubs are great (if not awesome), if you do not have all your spare time to train Sport BJJ,
it would be hard to stay competitive in such clubs where most people train 6 days a week, if not more.

I know that the one of the main instructors in the island isn't into the self defense program,
but perhaps may do it simply to fulfil the requirements for the belt, while really focussing on competition training.

Bit like most Judoka in the UK only practice kata when they need to pass the technical requirements for passing their competitive black belt.

Among competition focussed Judoka, you rarely find a Judoka that is interested in doing any thing that isn't directly and obviously competition based.
 

Franzfri

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hello
I was wondering what people's opinions are with regards to the best form of self defence for wimps.

This is a question that popped into my head after being diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (at a late age) and I met loads of
nerdy, geeky, wimpy but really nice people who as a subgroup are the most likely people to be bullied at school / work / relationships
due to their disability.

Interestingly enough, when i was a kid, i also got bullied by the kids in the area that I lived and at the schools that I went to, but
I was lucky, in that, the era that I and fellow bullied kids grew up in, was the early 80s, an era that karate kid was first at the cinema / movies.
And at the age of 11, i, along with my fellow victims decided to start karate, which, due to having Autism Spectrum Disorder, I took to like a duck
to water (I guess its all those lists in Kenpo...lol)

So, during secondary school / high school, i shed my nerdy skin, or at least, swapped it for a karate nerd skin, which after training for 4 or 5 years,
i was not bad. Which was enough to stop many of the bullies from picking on me. I don't think this is how life is for most Autism Spectrum Disorder kids.

Meeting the Autism Spectrum Disorder community made me think, especially as I had spent some time training in BJJ and Judo, as well as a little MMA.
I realise that in many sport orientated clubs, the more competitive clubs are really focused at being as competitive as possible, and have little time to
nurture the less "competitive" individuals. In some clubs there is pretty much a sink or swim philosophy, which of course helps keep the standard up
for competitors who wish to compete.

however, when it comes to training timid nerdy types with little skill, I think that the sink or swim philosophy will result in the nerdier types never taking
to training and thus, going home without learning anything more than how to get beaten up (which actually most nerds know how to do already).

In fact, I would say that many of the nerdy types that so desperately need to learn some form of practical method to defend them self
would not likely even get anywhere near the dojo / training hall, due to fear.

So I would like to start a debate, in search for the best type of martial art for the timid.
How to train the timid and scared, the skills they need to survive.

Any ideas?
As a 76-year-old petite female who played taiji for 17 years, I do not think I would respond to a physical attack the same way as a fighter or aggressive person. If pulled, I would push. If pushed I would pull. The attacker would hopefully be caught off guard by my unexpected reaction and if I'm lucky, might fall in such a way for me to stomp on the attacker's ankle. Taiji fighters do not react to aggression the same way as other fighters. The unexpected can be very effective.
 

jayoliver00

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hello
I was wondering what people's opinions are with regards to the best form of self defence for wimps.

This is a question that popped into my head after being diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (at a late age) and I met loads of
nerdy, geeky, wimpy but really nice people who as a subgroup are the most likely people to be bullied at school / work / relationships
due to their disability.

BJJ would be good.

Striking arts, not a good idea, IMO. I believe that people with mental disorders should not risk getting hit in the head, repeatedly & often for sport or even SD. Maybe light sparring only. I know of quite a few kids with disorders and can remember of an adult with Asperger. He was kind of weird, and I can be a little weird myself; but almost everyone in Muay Thai class wanted to knock this guy out. I was nice to him. Another guy told me that he has Asperger; he said he can tell b/c he has it too but got treatment & was trained/taught to not make annoying & awkward comments, etc. This Asperger guy was really positive and way, way, way too complementing towards everybody & now I know why.

It's sad that you were bullied as a child; but there were reasons why (prob. b/c you did things to P other kids off), which is even more sad as it's a condition beyond your control. A little 1st grader who's def. Autistic, got jumped & kicked & stomped in the head...in freakin' 1st grade (of a high income area). His mom is a little freaky too, but highly intelligent MD researcher. Anyway, this little boy is in his teens now, and a high level BJJ competitor w/a room full of medals. He can go nuts sometimes though, but BJJ has helped him a lot & no kids dare to mess w/him.
 

Steve

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Sure thanks for your advice everyone.

I ultimately want to start a club that is specifically aimed at helping those who have the biggest challengers to learning martial arts, such as people with disabilities.

I think that learning techniques and drilling would be part of the program.
And some training that is between drilling and free fighting (various levels of restricted free fighting, restricted by what types of fighters, how fast, how much power etc.).

Which would create a "kiddy pool" version of sparing, which could progressively get more intense over time training.

Please do not misunderstand, I am not saying that the various styles aren't effective, and there isn't a place for the various other types of clubs.

I just think that many of the top clubs in the various arts that produce the best competition fighters, may simply be a bad batch for those who just need some self defense skills that will help them live a more fulfilling life.

In Judo for example, it would be a wrong match to send someone who just wants to learn a bit of Judo and only has one or two evenings a week to dedicate to training with a club that creates world and olympic champions, if the only program they run is for elite level professional fighters.

I know that Gracie Jiu Jitsu include a self defence version of their jiu jitsu, which has a different emphasis to the competition version of their awesome jiu jitsu.

I am yet to find a club in the area that I live who has a class that is self defence specific.
I am aware of Gracie University, which teaches a home study course,
however, in the area that I live (which is a small Island) there are at least two really good Sport BJJ clubs,
which has some really good coach's / Professors teaching.

The clubs do seem to be competition focussed.

Where these clubs are great (if not awesome), if you do not have all your spare time to train Sport BJJ,
it would be hard to stay competitive in such clubs where most people train 6 days a week, if not more.

I know that the one of the main instructors in the island isn't into the self defense program,
but perhaps may do it simply to fulfil the requirements for the belt, while really focussing on competition training.

Bit like most Judoka in the UK only practice kata when they need to pass the technical requirements for passing their competitive black belt.

Among competition focussed Judoka, you rarely find a Judoka that is interested in doing any thing that isn't directly and obviously competition based.
I commend you for wanting to develop programs that are good for folks with disabilities. Theres a fine line between segregating them and supporting them. Some things are accommodating the disability and others are condescending.

I am very interested in what you actually come up with. Generally, my experience has led me to believe folks are pretty amazing and can do just fine if given the support they need to succeed.
 

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