Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Common Sense

It amazes me how much plain old common sense comes into play when working in the martial arts and self-defense. As martial artists, especially at advanced levels it becomes rather easy to over-think and over-analyze certain situations. The big problem with this is, as my instructor puts it, "that belt don't mean a thing," meaning that a 5th dan black belt can be taken out by an everyday Joe on the street despite all of his training. We tend to think about all of the numerous techniques we've learned and what may be the best one to use, instead of using common sense. Here's some examples:

*In order to counter any technique or escape any situation, there is one best technique: to not allow yourself to be in that situation in the first place. As I've told students time and time again when they ask me how to defend against a certain technique, if you find yourself in that situation in the first place then you're likely in trouble. One of the few techniques I learned from "The Karate Kid" movie series comes in the second movie when Mr. Miyagi is teaching Daniel the drum technique (I'm paraphrasing here) "the best defense is to not be there." How many times did you get in trouble as a kid and remember your mom telling you "You shouldn't have been there in the first place!" Same thing.

*In continuing with "not being there," at the first glimpse of an escape possibility, running would be the best and most sensible option. In today's society, it's rare that people fight "fair;" they carry guns and other types of weapons, and tend to fight in groups. Staying there trying to finish your opponent off not only now carries legal implications, but it also gives those "unfair" advantages more time to manifest.

*As mentioned earlier, many martial artists tend to over-analyze situations and think about how many different techniques they can use. I've personally done this myself, and I know I'm not the only one because I've been in discussions with many other artists that debate the very same thing. Many attack victims prevail due to honest fear and common sense more so that martial artist that tend to think about what they're going to do. While trying to think about the numerous joint locks one can pull off when they're placed in a bear hug, simply stomping his foot would make more sense and can be more easily done!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

That is why there's a difference between self-defense and traditional martial arts training: SD is simple, using the most effective striking techniques (elbows, knees, groinkicks, palmheel) and other gross motor-skills to get the job done asap. MA-training is more intricate and usually too complicated to be used on the street by anything but high-level practioners. If you're claiming to teach self-defense you shouldn't teach beginners complicated techniques like wristlocks or high kicks since it's rather unlikely they'll be able to do this under high-stress circumstances. In most situations it's advisable to just hit him in the nose, followed by kneestrikes, elbows and groinkicks in any combination. Put them down and run, all the rest is superflous and will likely get you injured. Don't try to look cool or do everything by the book: get the job done and be safe. Most of all don't go looking for a fight and don't be overconfident.