Through my experience and studies I have decided to start writing on the subject of practical self defense. I find this writing necessary due to the main streaming of the martial arts, the popularity of mixed martial arts and loss of the proper understanding of self defense and it’s purpose.
In terms of self defense and martial arts there are three main types of attacks or fights. This is just a simplified view but most can be fit into one of the three categories. Also one category may move into another if given the opportunity.
The Ambush: is the first type of attack. It where the subject is ‘jumped’ or as stated ambushed by the attacker(s). The level of awareness of the subject to their situation is obviously low or next to none. The ambush can be averted mostly by the use of awareness! Awareness of ones’ surroundings and to those in them and the knowledge of an attackers rituals and how they set up an attack are pivotal in avoiding an ambush attack.
The Confrontation/Three-Second Fight; is as written where one is confronted or an attacker is setting the subject up. This type of fight is usually controlled by an interview stance/fence and ended usually either through verbal diffusion, posturing, pre-emptive strike(s), or escape/flight. If a physical confrontation is not ended within the first few seconds then it usually ends up in the third type of fight, the match fight.
The Match fight; is when two or more either decide to fight or things have continued from an ambush or a three second fight. A match fight relies more on size, shape, conditioning, skill, speed, power, and physical abilities more than the other two types of fights. This is the area where most martial artists train as self defense but yet is the least “self defense” related area.
Awareness is the key in all three types of fights /attacks to avoiding them and/or to a large degree controlling these situations. In up coming blogs I shall be covering various subjects for good self defense practices such as awareness, mind-set and other such topics.
We had our friend Ainsley drop by our school (White’s Martial Arts) the other night and he jumped right into class and actually was kind enough to share some techniques with the students. Ainsley is a present day mixed martial arts fighter and former international champion wrestler. My teachings of the martial arts has always been diverse encouraging cross training and exposure to many aspects of the arts. Wrestling and other grappling arts are a large part of our curriculum and who better to show some techniques other than a champion? Here are two of the techniques worked on this night … Enjoy!
D.I.R.E.C.T Defense is an acronym first derived to name the fusion of martial art I was teaching. DIRECT Defense stands for Defense Initiated Realistic & Effect Combat Tactics Defense System. I developed this system as an accumulated result of my formal martial arts training, my extensive studies and my personal experience of over fifteen years on “the door” and personal security field. This is just a very small peek into some of our classes.
How do we train for excellence? And what is average? Excellence in context of martial arts is the quest to be your personal best! While average is settling for something that anyone else could do. Training excellence dictates we must challenge ourselves and exceed beyond our past accomplishments and others expectations. We must be in a state of constantly “doing our best” and settling for only the best of and in ourselves! The first key to training excellence is your mindset. Another key, although related to mindset, is you contribution to class. The third key is striving for technical and personal perfection. Understanding the keys to training excellence will help unlock the secrets of the martial arts and all they have to offer you the student.
Mindset is the way we percieve ourselves and the way we train. We must see ourselves as being able to accomplish any tasks we set out to perform. We must see ourselves not as limited, but limitless! Don’t train to be ‘good enough’, but rather train to be the best you can be every time! Improvement should be a daily occurrence, you might not improve in leaps and bounds everyday (nor should we expect to) but you should try to do better today better than you did yesterday. That is to say the way you train today should exceed your last performance. If you do see each class as a chance to improve from yesterday’s performance, over time you will see great results in your abilities and class will continue to be much more fun as well. Make every class count! - seek to improve daily!
It must be recognized that class is not a contest with others but a contest with oneself! Through all the series of various drills and exercises our interaction with others in class is paramount. We are not there to compete with others but to compete with our-self using the mindset of being a little better than the class before. If you compete with others you will lose the value of the class for not only yourself but also for the others students. There is no win in class and there is no lose in class, just results. A positive contribution to the class helps everyone to practice safely and effectively while giving the opportunity to develop and to improve oneself in the martial arts. Being together and helping each other grow in the martial arts is a key factor. Though the right type of training we can learn that improvement comes with effort and contribution to the class and school, creating comaraderie and a positive learning environment.
Your goal is to perform technique surely, flawlessly and seemingly effortlessly with precision. Your worst performance in training is the best you could hope for in the street or the ring! It doesn’t matter what you can do with speed, strength or surprise in class because in the street or in the ring all of that is usually lost. Strength, speed or surprise can many times be overcome by technical ability. To achieve technical perfection proper body alignment and a complete understanding of body mechanics is of the utmost importance. If you understand the way in which the human body moves and reacts you will enhance your training 100 fold. Proper form will give you the edge with little effort. Form aligns the body properly and uses mechanics to it’s advantage. Train to be technically perfect. Train slowly and surely at first. Work on form first then speed and strength will follow.
These keys to training are just an outline to help you achieve training excellence. Nothing good in life comes without hard work and sacrifice, so stick with it! I promise if you try to improve daily, if you contribute to class (and the school) and train towards perfecting your form you will excel in the martial arts and truly be Excellent and not average!
99% of personal protection is using ones brain! So many confrontations, attacks and fights could be and can be avoided or altered by using simple methods utilizing the brain instead of brawn! Probably the most important mental aspect of self protection is Awareness! Although it sounds simple for one to be aware so few people actually are. To explain awareness we may use Color Code model based on one first devised by the pistol shooting coach Jeff Cooper. The model is as follows:
Although the chart gives four Code levels awareness could be simplified even further into the fact that either; ‘one is aware on what is going on around themselves’ or ‘they are not!’. A sad factor working against awareness is apathy. “That would never happen to me!” or “Assault is illegal so I should be able to go where I want and not worry about being attacked!” Sure, these and similar ideas are great but far from realistic! One should never have to worry about violence or being assaulted but apathy to reality could get you hurt or killed! Sorry! it’s not a perfect world! Conflicts, confrontations, attacks, assaults and murders do happen. Be safe and be aware! There is no need to be paranoid, just be aware. Know that you are in control when you take action. If you are apathetic you are a victim! If you are aware you are in Control!