Why Traditional Karate Is Not Effective for Self-Defense

Steve

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Yes but the competition still isn't isn't the thing you are competing at, which was the point.

For some reason some people are making the distinction between 'competitive' fighting and fighting, and disregarding the former for (????)reasons(???). They are both the same thing.

If anything, the competitive fight is MORE 'real' than the 2 minute chance encounter with the drunken shlub with the haymaker that tires after a minute(most "real" fights)
Totally. A professional firefighter is THE guy I want at my BBQ when my neighbor sets his deck on fire trying to fry a turkey.
 

Mitlov

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Totally. A professional firefighter is THE guy I want at my BBQ when my neighbor sets his deck on fire trying to fry a turkey.

Though many of those professional firefighters have no involvement in firefighter competition, and those competitions are far from the be-all-end-all of practical firefighting training.

 

Steve

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Though many of those professional firefighters have no involvement in firefighter competition, and those competitions are far from the be-all-end-all of practical firefighting training.

ah, I can see how you might be confused. professional firefighters fight fires. Professional fighters fight. Professional self defense experts do what? They generally teach... something. Karate, maybe?
 

Michele123

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I may be ay off here. I’ve read the whole thread but here is a lot in his thread. There seems to be a lot of criticism of kata. To me, kata is like the alphabet. Does knowing the alphabet mean that you can immediately start spelling? No. But it’s a large stepping stone. You need to know your letters before you can put them together to make words. The alphabet is a string of letters put together, seem Nguyen at random but isn’t a word itself. However, the alphabet helps people to remember all the letters available to make words. How many of you occasionally sing part of the alphabet in your head when alphabetizing something?

Likewise, I see kata as a way to practice and remember specific techniques. It helps to teach transitions and encourages a person to think about application. Would you do a specific kata in a fight? Hardly. But the refining of techniques, the transitions of one to another, and of course the techniques themselves are the building blocks to application. They are the letters, if you will. As such, they are valuable when understood as such and used appropriately.

Just my 2¢


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Steve

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I personally think that a whole lot of people need to get over themselves and stop worrying about how everyone else is training.

If what you do works for you and you enjoy it, then keep doing it.

The rest is immaterial.
It would sure make the discussion forum dull, like a bunch of teenagers at a party, sitting around in the same room quietly reading reddit.

There’s no reason one cannot discuss martial arts on a macro level, and not give one **** what you do or how you train. It’s pretty easy, actually. ;)
 

Steve

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I may be ay off here. I’ve read the whole thread but here is a lot in his thread. There seems to be a lot of criticism of kata. To me, kata is like the alphabet. Does knowing the alphabet mean that you can immediately start spelling? No. But it’s a large stepping stone. You need to know your letters before you can put them together to make words. The alphabet is a string of letters put together, seem Nguyen at random but isn’t a word itself. However, the alphabet helps people to remember all the letters available to make words. How many of you occasionally sing part of the alphabet in your head when alphabetizing something?

Likewise, I see kata as a way to practice and remember specific techniques. It helps to teach transitions and encourages a person to think about application. Would you do a specific kata in a fight? Hardly. But the refining of techniques, the transitions of one to another, and of course the techniques themselves are the building blocks to application. They are the letters, if you will. As such, they are valuable when understood as such and used appropriately.

Just my 2¢


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you can learn the alphabet of a language in a few days, But you will never understand that language until you speak it, with other people who are fluent. Fighting is like that, too.
 

gpseymour

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Yes but the competition still isn't isn't the thing you are competing at, which was the point.

For some reason some people are making the distinction between 'competitive' fighting and fighting, and disregarding the former for (????)reasons(???). They are both the same thing.

If anything, the competitive fight is MORE 'real' than the 2 minute chance encounter with the drunken shlub with the haymaker that tires after a minute(most "real" fights)
Agreed. I've said before - and doubtless will again - that there's more overlap than difference between "street" and something like MMA. Training for hard competition should build skills that are useful in physically defending yourself outside that competition.
 

Mitlov

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It would sure make the discussion forum dull, like a bunch of teenagers at a party, sitting around in the same room quietly reading reddit.

There’s no reason one cannot discuss martial arts on a macro level, and not give one **** what you do or how you train. It’s pretty easy, actually. ;)

I doubt any of the karateka here want a forum where there's no debate at a macro level. But I think there's are huge differences between (1) treating karate as a singular monolithic thing, and acknowledging that there are a whole host of different training approaches and teaching styles within "karate," and (2) saying "karate is not effective, and people should quit karate and train in MMA [or whatever] instead," and saying "here are more effective and less effective ways of training in karate for X particular goal."

It's not that karateka want no debate about karate at a macro level. It's about knowing the difference between style-bashing and constructive, nuanced debate about particular training methods for particular goals.
 

Steve

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I doubt any of the karateka here want a forum where there's no debate at a macro level. But I think there's are huge differences between (1) treating karate as a singular monolithic thing, and acknowledging that there are a whole host of different training approaches and teaching styles within "karate," and (2) saying "karate is not effective, and people should quit karate and train in MMA [or whatever] instead," and saying "here are more effective and less effective ways of training in karate for X particular goal."

It's not that karateka want no debate about karate at a macro level. It's about knowing the difference between style-bashing and constructive, nuanced debate about particular training methods for particular goals.
I think you’re right. But you’re saying it like it’s not an obvious given.

Im pretty sure, if you took some time in this thread and in most others, you’d find plenty of examples of people being more specific, and not treating karate as a singular, monolithic thing. I said so earlier, and it seems like you just ignored it.

Also, I’m pretty sure no one is suggesting anyone quit anything. If you’re looking to learn how to fight and don’t do any fighting, you are probably going to be disappointed, but that’s truly your problem and no one else’s. Now, if you do train in one of the styles of karate known to produce solid fighters, such as kyokushin, good in ya.

If you’re going to last around here, I’d recommend getting that chip off your shoulder. There are a lot of different perspectives around here. I’m sure you’ll find plenty to legitimately get worked up about. I just don’t think this is one of them.
 

Mitlov

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I think you’re right. But you’re saying it like it’s not an obvious given.

Im pretty sure, if you took some time in this thread and in most others, you’d find plenty of examples of people being more specific, and not treating karate as a singular, monolithic thing. I said so earlier, and it seems like you just ignored it.

Also, I’m pretty sure no one is suggesting anyone quit anything. If you’re looking to learn how to fight and don’t do any fighting, you are probably going to be disappointed, but that’s truly your problem and no one else’s. Now, if you do train in one of the styles of karate known to produce solid fighters, such as kyokushin, good in ya.

If you’re going to last around here, I’d recommend getting that chip off your shoulder. There are a lot of different perspectives around here. I’m sure you’ll find plenty to legitimately get worked up about. I just don’t think this is one of them.

While some of the recent posts in this thread distinguish between different types of karate, many others do not, like DropBear's post where he showed video of unrealistic one-steps and held it up as representative of all karate. Or your sarcastic quip "ah, I can see how you might be confused. professional firefighters fight fires. Professional fighters fight. Professional self defense experts do what? They generally teach... something. Karate, maybe?"

I'm not worried about "making it here." If you're worried about it, feel free to check my post history in this forum, the TKD, and the general forum. I think I'm getting along just fine with most people. I will admit that people who post in Style X forums (when they don't even train in Style X) about how Style X is inferior to Style Y, are a pet peeve of mine. Like I said, constructive nuanced discussion doesn't bother me even if it's critical. Sarcastic quips about entire styles and stereotyping aren't my favorite. But it's not like I'm screaming to the mods or anything, I'm just saying "come on guys, are these sorts of comments actually productive?"

If you're asking about my personal background, been doing one thing or another since 1995. I currently train in Chuck Norris' offshoot of Tang Soo Do. At my local club, padwork is a significant staple of daily practice, and free-sparring practice is weekly (our competition rules are point-stop, but our in-club sparring practice is much more continuous, with the intensity of contact dialed up or dialed down depending on who you're sparring with). Before that, I've previously trained in Shotokan karate (liked the body mechanics, but not the approach to class structure with the relative lack of padwork and free-sparring in my particular JKA region) and TKD (had an absolute blast, and I knew full well that the sparring rules weren't "realistic" and it didn't keep me up at night). Also spent about eight years training and competing in Olympic-style epee fencing.

My two sons train at the same school I train at, which is a blast. I appreciate that this style can be dialed up or down in intensity to fit the ages and fitness levels of the individuals involved, instead of being either "mellow for everyone" or "competitive fight training for everyone." The level of contact I'm personally comfortable with isn't remotely appropriate for my nine-year-old son, for example, nor would it be appropriate for a sixty-something with preexisting back or joint problems.

Since you mentioned Kyokushin, I have a ton of respect for it, I love watching videos from Kyokushin competition on YouTube (from a spectator perspective, it's probably my favorite combat sport), and I definitely would consider trying it out sometime if it was local to me (it isn't). At the same time, a lot of non-karate people have the attitude that the only worthwhile styles of karate are knockdown karate, and I don't agree with that at all.
 

Buka

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I think you’re right. But you’re saying it like it’s not an obvious given.

Im pretty sure, if you took some time in this thread and in most others, you’d find plenty of examples of people being more specific, and not treating karate as a singular, monolithic thing. I said so earlier, and it seems like you just ignored it.

Also, I’m pretty sure no one is suggesting anyone quit anything. If you’re looking to learn how to fight and don’t do any fighting, you are probably going to be disappointed, but that’s truly your problem and no one else’s. Now, if you do train in one of the styles of karate known to produce solid fighters, such as kyokushin, good in ya.

If you’re going to last around here, I’d recommend getting that chip off your shoulder. There are a lot of different perspectives around here. I’m sure you’ll find plenty to legitimately get worked up about. I just don’t think this is one of them.

Oh, I don’t know. If I was new here I’d probably be all worked up about what you said a couple of posts back. When you said...

“Professional fighters fight. Profession self defense experts do what. They generally teach...something. Karate, maybe.”

Probably tongue in cheek, you being such a scamp and all, but kind of a shot against us Karate guys.
 

Steve

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Oh, I don’t know. If I was new here I’d probably be all worked up about what you said a couple of posts back. When you said...

“Professional fighters fight. Profession self defense experts do what. They generally teach...something. Karate, maybe.”

Probably tongue in cheek, you being such a scamp and all, but kind of a shot against us Karate guys.
Maybe so. I could have said rbsd, ninjutsu, karate, wing chun. I am a bit of a scamp. I said karate, because this is a thread about karate and self defense.

Edit. To be more clear, it could be any style. You can’t teach self defense, because you can’t practice it. You can teach karate. You can teach mma. Self defense is an abstract.
 
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Steve

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While some of the recent posts in this thread distinguish between different types of karate, many others do not, like DropBear's post where he showed video of unrealistic one-steps and held it up as representative of all karate. Or your sarcastic quip "ah, I can see how you might be confused. professional firefighters fight fires. Professional fighters fight. Professional self defense experts do what? They generally teach... something. Karate, maybe?"

I'm not worried about "making it here." If you're worried about it, feel free to check my post history in this forum, the TKD, and the general forum. I think I'm getting along just fine with most people. I will admit that people who post in Style X forums (when they don't even train in Style X) about how Style X is inferior to Style Y, are a pet peeve of mine. Like I said, constructive nuanced discussion doesn't bother me even if it's critical. Sarcastic quips about entire styles and stereotyping aren't my favorite. But it's not like I'm screaming to the mods or anything, I'm just saying "come on guys, are these sorts of comments actually productive?"

If you're asking about my personal background, been doing one thing or another since 1995. I currently train in Chuck Norris' offshoot of Tang Soo Do. At my local club, padwork is a significant staple of daily practice, and free-sparring practice is weekly (our competition rules are point-stop, but our in-club sparring practice is much more continuous, with the intensity of contact dialed up or dialed down depending on who you're sparring with). Before that, I've previously trained in Shotokan karate (liked the body mechanics, but not the approach to class structure with the relative lack of padwork and free-sparring in my particular JKA region) and TKD (had an absolute blast, and I knew full well that the sparring rules weren't "realistic" and it didn't keep me up at night). Also spent about eight years training and competing in Olympic-style epee fencing.

My two sons train at the same school I train at, which is a blast. I appreciate that this style can be dialed up or down in intensity to fit the ages and fitness levels of the individuals involved, instead of being either "mellow for everyone" or "competitive fight training for everyone." The level of contact I'm personally comfortable with isn't remotely appropriate for my nine-year-old son, for example, nor would it be appropriate for a sixty-something with preexisting back or joint problems.

Since you mentioned Kyokushin, I have a ton of respect for it, I love watching videos from Kyokushin competition on YouTube (from a spectator perspective, it's probably my favorite combat sport), and I definitely would consider trying it out sometime if it was local to me (it isn't). At the same time, a lot of non-karate people have the attitude that the only worthwhile styles of karate are knockdown karate, and I don't agree with that at all.
Yeah, I went back to read your other posts. You’ve come a long way from extolling the virtues of machida and his radical new approach to training shotokan karate. Something must have happened recently that really got under your skin, because you’re posting like the typical, disrespected newbie.

I think any style you want to train and enjoy is fine for you. But you aren’t going to get very good at doing something unless you do that thing.

And, fwiw, I would never ask what your background is. I don’t want or expect your resume. I’m responding to your general demeanor.

I have always wanted to learn to fence. It looks like a blast.
 

drop bear

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I personally think that a whole lot of people need to get over themselves and stop worrying about how everyone else is training.

If what you do works for you and you enjoy it, then keep doing it.

The rest is immaterial.

I agree. Which is why I have become a tai chi instructor.

So we are totally like brothers now.
 

Mitlov

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Yeah, I went back to read your other posts. You’ve come a long way from extolling the virtues of machida and his radical new approach to training shotokan karate. Something must have happened recently that really got under your skin, because you’re posting like the typical, disrespected newbie.

I think any style you want to train and enjoy is fine for you. But you aren’t going to get very good at doing something unless you do that thing.

And, fwiw, I would never ask what your background is. I don’t want or expect your resume. I’m responding to your general demeanor.

I have always wanted to learn to fence. It looks like a blast.

Maybe my posts in this thread sound like "a disrespected newbie." And maybe a couple posters in this thread are coming off as the typical BJJ or MMA enthusiasts who troll karate forums for fun (see the post directly above this one). Maybe it's a little bit of both. Hopefully in neither your case or mine it's a reflection of our intent or our overall approach to talking about martial arts.

I disagree that you "can't teach self defense" just because you can't exactly replicate it in training. You can't exactly replicate being in space until you're there, but we still find ways to approximate it for purposes of training astronauts. They're imperfect but better than nothing.

Fighting ability comes from resistant, alive training with realistic parameters. But that's not always the same as sport competition. It sometimes is, sometimes isn't. You can have resistant, alive training with realistic parameters without sport competition (law enforcement defensive tactics training springs to mind as a common example), and you can have combat sport competition where the parameters and tactics of the combat sport severely limit its defensive utility (fencing training for a fistfight is an extreme example, but BJJ against a knife is another one).
 

drop bear

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Maybe my posts in this thread sound like "a disrespected newbie." And maybe a couple posters in this thread are coming off as the typical BJJ or MMA enthusiasts who troll karate forums for fun (see the post directly above this one). Maybe it's a little bit of both. Hopefully in neither your case or mine it's a reflection of our intent or our overall approach to talking about martial arts.

I disagree that you "can't teach self defense" just because you can't exactly replicate it in training. You can't exactly replicate being in space until you're there, but we still find ways to approximate it for purposes of training astronauts. They're imperfect but better than nothing.

Fighting ability comes from resistant, alive training with realistic parameters. But that's not always the same as sport competition. It sometimes is, sometimes isn't. You can have resistant, alive training with realistic parameters without sport competition (law enforcement defensive tactics training springs to mind as a common example), and you can have combat sport competition where the parameters and tactics of the combat sport severely limit its defensive utility (fencing training for a fistfight is an extreme example, but BJJ against a knife is another one).

Competition is quality control for live testing. It sets the skill level.

Otherwise there is too much variance to get a consistent result.
 

Steve

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Maybe my posts in this thread sound like "a disrespected newbie." And maybe a couple posters in this thread are coming off as the typical BJJ or MMA enthusiasts who troll karate forums for fun (see the post directly above this one). Maybe it's a little bit of both. Hopefully in neither your case or mine it's a reflection of our intent or our overall approach to talking about martial arts.

I disagree that you "can't teach self defense" just because you can't exactly replicate it in training. You can't exactly replicate being in space until you're there, but we still find ways to approximate it for purposes of training astronauts. They're imperfect but better than nothing.

Fighting ability comes from resistant, alive training with realistic parameters. But that's not always the same as sport competition. It sometimes is, sometimes isn't. You can have resistant, alive training with realistic parameters without sport competition (law enforcement defensive tactics training springs to mind as a common example), and you can have combat sport competition where the parameters and tactics of the combat sport severely limit its defensive utility (fencing training for a fistfight is an extreme example, but BJJ against a knife is another one).
Are all of the people who learn self defense Leo? I think most aren’t. Any example of effective training programs will be intrinsically linked to the application of those techniques.
 

Mitlov

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Competition is quality control for live testing. It sets the skill level.

Otherwise there is too much variance to get a consistent result.

Competition may introduce an aspect of "quality control," but it also injects into live testing the desire to engage in, for lack of a better term, exploitation of those rules in a way that makes no sense outside of those rules. I mean stuff like the flick in modern fencing (which, as classical fencers point out, makes no sense with an actual blade instead of an electronic scoring tip), how Greco-Roman wrestlers will deliberately try to stay face down on the ground like at 4:25 here, etc.


I'm going to offer two examples of live karate training against a resistant opponent. One is based around competition rule-set. One is based around a "push each other but don't injure each other" informal approach. Which of these two examples do you think is better at building practical fighting skill? Competition is certainly not inherently bad, but it's not inherently better either, at least in my opinion.


 

Steve

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In the absence of another application, competition is the best option. Said the other way, most people are not cops or bouncers or professionally violent people.

Training in a school without competition is like learning to walk a tightrope, with the tightrope laying on the ground. If you fall, no biggie, because you can’t actually fall. And the tension of the tightrope is off, because you aren’t actually walking a tightrope. You are approximating the experience of tightrope walking by putting a rope in between you and the ground and calling it good.

Now, you can wrap this training up in the trappings of tightrope walking, with the entire cirque de Soleil vibe... tights, shoes, acrobats in the back, and really stirring music.

Training to fight without application is like training to walk the tightrope, hoping that one day, without warning, you are 200 ft in the air with no net, and can make it from one side of the rope to the other without falling.

Competition is the net. OJT is another net. You don’t expect a private fresh out of boot camp to lead the platoon. You can’t reasonably expect a black belt to fight.

The key is to avoid getting caught up in individual anecdotes. On an individual level, you can find an example of anything. On a large scale, however, it’s pretty clear which training models produce reliable results, and they all have consistent traits regardless of the window dressing.
 
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