Which is More Important for Self Defense, Firearms or Martial Arts Training?


Yellow Belt
Nov 21, 2007
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The plain simple truth is that martial arts have their limitations, and anyone who tells you differently is a fool. Remember, if fighting with empty hands was all it was cracked up to be, we wouldnt have the need for any weapons. On the other hand, just because you carry a weapon doesnt mean youll ever have the opportunity to use it. Many people, especially in law enforcement, think that because they have firearms training they will have no need for hand to hand tactics, but this couldnt be farther from the truth. Statistics indicate that a police officer is more likely to be physically assaulted well before they have the opportunity to deploy their weapon. There is only one sure answer to this debate; to be successful in close combat you need both.

One of the most persistent myths about martial arts is that they remove the need for weapons training. The fact is outside of three feet you're dealing with a gun, and inside of three feet you have a real fight on your hands. Many people genuinely believe that they have to choose between gun ownership and martial arts, self defense training, but they're wrong. Historically, martial arts and weapons training have been proven to work together to create an effective form of self defense and close combat.

When primitive muskets were introduced to the samurai by Dutch and Portuguese traders, they didn't abandon their bows or swords, but they began issuing the new weapon to their infantry. Even Saigō Takamori, who led the Satsuma Rebellion that was depicted in the film The Last Samurai, taught firearms training in his martial arts schools. In actuality the rebel samurai all carried firearms in addition to their traditional weapons, and the new imperial army had many samurai serving as officers. The combinations of firearms and martial arts led to many brutal close combat fights between the rebels, and government forces before the fighting would come an end in a bloody charge.

The pioneers of close combat in World War II, who brought martial arts to the military didn't neglect weapons training. To the contrary, self defense expert William E. Fairbairn who studied various martial arts, and had a black belt inKodokan Judo was also a great proponent of realistic firearms training. During his law enforcement career he taught his students how to survive actual combat by using guns, knives, and martial arts. When Fairbairn met up with Rex Applegate during the war he was already teaching similar shooting techniques. Both men understood that in order to be ready for combat, a warrior had to be deadly with and without weapons.

You would be surprised how many dedicated martial arts own firearms. Some carry them because they regard their sport martial arts training for what it is and have no misconceptions about surviving and assault. Real fights are simply unfair, and if you're dealing with multiple attackers, a firearm can quickly deter them, giving you time to escape.

The world is not a perfect place and chances are you will be taken by surprise. Training in martial arts you will be a better able to protect yourself when your weapons are out of reach. You can't take your weapons every where, but you can still be ready for close combat.

[FONT=&quot]For a long time there has been a rift between "gun guys," and "martial arts guys," and it is unnecessary. To be effective and survive in close combat you need both good weapons and self defense training. Neither one replaces the other so divide your time between the range and the martial arts school. Both martial arts and shooting are about being in the right mindset, to do what you need to do to survive. By understanding both, your odds of survival only improve. If done correctly, your martial arts and self defense training should fall right inline with your firearms training.

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