Why most martial arts don't work in self defense.

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Why most martial arts don't work in self defense.

Postby johnwang on Thu Mar 05, 2020 2:18 pm

Find this discussion in another forum. IMO, some valid points are made here. What are the proper solution? Your thought?
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Here's a detailed explanation why most martial arts don't work in self defense.

1. Wrong assumptions - Martial artists make many wrong assumptions about the streets. They assume it's going to be a fair fight. They assume they're going to face one untrained opponent. I could go on and on. When you're on the streets, you're not in your turf. You're in the criminal's territory. Street attackers don't follow your dojo or MMA gym's rules. They go by street rules which often has no rules.

2. Trying to control too many variables - The second biggest problem with most martial arts is they try to control too many variables. They often do demos. with compliant partners and spar with people of the same style. They add rules of what is and is not allowed in sparring. Truthfully, you can't control everything that happens in the streets. There's going to be things outside of your control. You can't really predict how your attacker will attack. All you can do is make educated guesses.

3. Unrealistic scenarios - Most martial artists engage in very unrealistic scenarios. They assume a street attacker will attack the way in a controlled manner usually in the defender's own art. That's far from reality. Most attackers attack chaotically with wild punches, kicks, bearhugs, bodyslams, headbutts, tackles, sucker punches, etc. It's going to be too fast and chaotic for your techniques to work.

4. Unrealistic techniques - Most martial artists have unrealistic techniques. They're too flashy to work in combat. They usually think in sequences. The problem with sequences is you're assuming your attacker won't react or resist. They usually resist the moment you try to do your first technique which makes it harder for you to execute your second one.

5. Unrealistic mindset - Most martial artists train with a sports mindset. They don't know the difference between an attack and a fight. An attack is a violent act meant to hurt you without your consent whereas a fight is agreed on. In a fight, there's some degree of respect and protection via. referees, mats, gloves, etc. That doesn't exist in a real attack. Street attackers have no problem bashing your skull in with a pipe. There's more blood and guts in street attacks than there is in fighting.

6. Impractical exercises - Martial artists often engage in pointless work outs like flow drills and forms. Flow drills don't translate well to real combat for several reasons. 1) Your attacker won't stay in one range. Your attacker will start in one distance then move to another. 2) There's no intent to attack. People who do flow drills often attack with the intent for their partners to defend and counter then repeat. Martial artists say "well the point of flow drills is to practice your reflexes, speed, coordination, etc." Well, getting those benefits practicing flow drills is the equivalent of playing patty-cakes with your hands. Forms are also useless. You can practice your techniques on an imaginary opponent all day, but things completely change when you're dealing with a real attacker. Martial artists think they're improving their stance, structure, techniques, etc. by doing forms. They're in for a rude awakening when they get attacked and can't maintain their forms under pressure via. getting rammed against, getting punched wildly, etc.

7. Ignorance of weapons and multiple attackers - Most martial artists neglect training against multiple attackers and armed attackers. They'll say "no art can deal with such situations" or "run" to justify bad training. If they do train against them, it's usually scripted and too flashy to be realistic. In fact, most martial artists who get attacked on the streets end up hurt or killed by weapons and/or multiple attackers.

8. Ignorance of stress - Most martial artists don't realize stress can greatly decrease your performance. It's not enough to simply spar full contact. When you reached a certain level of stress, your brain forgets complex motor skills because it's not necessary for survival. That means all your flashy techniques become useless. You'll get tunnel vision, stiff muscles, difficulty concentrating, difficulty breathing, etc. If you don't know how to manage stress, your techniques will suffer and might find yourself getting beaten up regardless if you had the right training or not.

9. Wrong techniques - Martial artists often train with the wrong techniques. They think if a punch or kick lands, it works. Nothing could be further from the truth. If it doesn't end the threat fast be it by breaking your attacker's limbs or knocking him/her out, it's not helping you defend yourself. Like the case with Meredith Kercher. She was a Karateka who got jumped by two people who plotted to kill her with knives. She fought for her life using Karate. She still got stabbed multiple times with knives, raped, and died with a sit throat. People can take Karate punches because they don't pack as much as power as other arts like boxing.

That's why most martial arts are impractical for self defense.
Last edited by johnwang on Thu Mar 05, 2020 2:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Why most martial arts don't work in self defense.

Postby GrahamB on Thu Mar 05, 2020 3:28 pm

What if the "fight" doesn't happen in a "street"? There's a lot of assumptions about other people's assumptions going on here.
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Re: Why most martial arts don't work in self defense.

Postby johnwang on Thu Mar 05, 2020 4:23 pm

GrahamB wrote:What if the "fight" doesn't happen in a "street"? There's a lot of assumptions about other people's assumptions going on here.

Just like the 8 steps PM master Wei Shao-Tang said, "When your friend poured you a cup of tea, he could throw the hot tea on your face, and then beat you up."

Does your training cover that?
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Re: Why most martial arts don't work in self defense.

Postby GrahamB on Thu Mar 05, 2020 4:26 pm

Or domestic abuse.for example - more likely for women than any random street attack.
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Re: Why most martial arts don't work in self defense.

Postby everything on Thu Mar 05, 2020 6:24 pm

IF 3 is true, there are "self defense" arts and classes that focus on exactly those types of scenarios. But IF they are wrong, it probably won't help much. Normal people get killed by other normal people all the time. Violent criminals kill other violent criminals all the time. And now people are feeling very vulnerable to viruses. To be relatively safe from all of that doesn't have much to do with MA, IMA, what-if scenarios about MA, weapons, prepper things, etc.
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Re: Why most martial arts don't work in self defense.

Postby yeniseri on Thu Mar 05, 2020 7:43 pm

Trying to explain martial realty to CMA people is like talking to a wall! Everybody does it differently but no one wants to pressure test and see where they really stand with 'no holds barred".
An infamous talk encounter with my CMA freinds on how I was able to slap someone in the face (that was a long time ago ;D ) or something like that was that as he attacked me, I stepped on his fooot/toe ankle and as he looked shocled I slapped him in in da face. They looked and me and said "That wasn't taiji". Oh well. I am real peaceful fellow in my old age.... ??? ;D
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Re: Why most martial arts don't work in self defense.

Postby johnwang on Thu Mar 05, 2020 11:47 pm

yeniseri wrote:Trying to explain martial realty to CMA people is like talking to a wall! Everybody does it differently but no one wants to pressure test and see where they really stand with 'no holds barred".

What do you think that make CMA to have this kind of attitude?
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Re: Why most martial arts don't work in self defense.

Postby Bao on Fri Mar 06, 2020 1:44 am

Why should they work? How do you test if they work if you don’t go out looking for fight?

...So why would you even want proofs that they work? :-\

But if they can teach you important things about yourself and about how to better use your own body, are they still totally useless?

Even the legendary military strategist Qi Jiguang, who taught civilians Chinese boxing to keep them fit, regarded martial arts practice only as basic training, that it could teach some body skills, but that they really didn’t teach anyone to “fight.” And certainly he was very clear that they were not for the battlefield:

“These skills will not prepare you for battle, but they can supply you with extra strength. Therefore they too should be a part of military training. On the other hand, civilians who do not have much strength can also learn much that is useful from these skills...
  Boxing arts do not seem to be useful skills for the battlefield, but they exercise the hands and feet, and accustom the limbs and body to hard work. Thus they serve as basic training.” - Qi Jiguang, 1560
Last edited by Bao on Fri Mar 06, 2020 1:47 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Why most martial arts don't work in self defense.

Postby northern_mantis on Fri Mar 06, 2020 6:51 am

Anybody remember the name of that heavyweight boxer who saved Princess Anne in the UK by sparking out a guy who had a firearm?

Becoming good at a martial sport or rugby or something similar would probably be your best bet given the almost unlimited self defence scenarios, then hopefully when the time comes you'll also be able to do what needs to be done. Or you might freeze and miss out your time to shine.
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Re: Why most martial arts don't work in self defense.

Postby Trick on Fri Mar 06, 2020 7:44 am

thats why you shouldnt do your MA as an MA--its useless that way. Its about mindfullness cultivation. do your taiji a day keep the violence at bay, with fight in your mind be sure goe astray. 8-)
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Re: Why most martial arts don't work in self defense.

Postby dspyrido on Fri Mar 06, 2020 2:42 pm

I can't think of any martial art i trained for more than a month that did NOT have any self defence value. CMAs included. The skills learnt helped me out of many situations. Granted in my earlier years I could have avoided some of them but chose not to.

I started martial arts for self defence. These days it's far more than self defence but I have never forgot that reason. It guides everything I do otherwise it's not a martial art.
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Re: Why most martial arts don't work in self defense.

Postby salcanzonieri on Fri Mar 06, 2020 3:40 pm

stepping on the foot is a good tactic
Last edited by salcanzonieri on Sun Mar 29, 2020 7:32 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Why most martial arts don't work in self defense.

Postby marvin8 on Fri Mar 06, 2020 3:56 pm

Bao wrote:Why should they work?

Because a class should deliver what a martial art was designed for to help people defend themselves.

Bao wrote:How do you test if they work if you don’t go out looking for fight?

With aliveness: movement, timing and energy

Bao wrote:...So why would you even want proofs that they work? :-\

To not have a false sense of security, be harmed, lose one's life, lose time and money taking a noneffective martial art class.
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Re: Why most martial arts don't work in self defense.

Postby johnwang on Fri Mar 06, 2020 4:27 pm

Bao wrote:...So why would you even want proofs that they work? :-\

I had made this work in the street before (Hawaii 1983). Why? Because I might have saved a girl's life that day and that made me happy.

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Re: Why most martial arts don't work in self defense.

Postby C.J.W. on Fri Mar 06, 2020 5:04 pm

My short and simple answer is that it's because most traditional martial artists do not train to fight anymore and lack actual fighting experience.

In the olden days, when people had to rely on martial arts in order to survive on the battlefield or fight against bandits, they had to make sure their techniques worked -- or else be dead.
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