Self-Defense

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    Situational Awareness Introduction
    Situational Awareness

    This is a vast topic, and probably the most essential element of self defense. Being "Situationally Aware" will, most of the time, keep you from getting into a bind in the first place. But what is "Situational Awareness?"

    "Situational awareness or situation awareness (SA) is the perception of environmental elements and events with respect to time or space, the comprehension of their meaning, and the projection of their status after some variable has changed, such as time, or some other variable, such as a predetermined event. It is also a field of study concerned with understanding of the environment critical to decision-makers in complex, dynamic areas from aviation, air traffic control, ship navigation, power plant operations, military command and control, and emergency services such as fire fighting and policing; to more ordinary but nevertheless complex tasks such as driving an automobile or riding a bicycle." (Wikipedia; Situational Awareness Definition, first paragraph of page)

    "Who would be after ME?"

    So, in essence, Situational Awareness encompasses pretty much everything you do. But there are times when you are tired, distracted, busy, or complacent when you can be taken unaware, and that is what a potential assailant is looking for. You may say; "Who would even consider ME? Why would anyone think to rob (rape, assault, murder) ME?" Well, it is not about you, necessarily. Most crimes that are committed person-to person, the criminal does not know the victim. The criminal simply saw a target of opportunity. It is about opportunity. I has nothing to do with you, personally. In cases where the assailant knows the attacker, situational awareness is still a key component in keeping you safe from assault. And there is a large element of opportunity for the criminal involved.

    But how do you achieve the omni-potent status of being "SITUATIOANLLY AWARE."

    You need to focus on your surroundings and be effective at understanding what is a threat and what is not. It is perfectly alright to live a normal life. You do not need to go out armed to the teeth, guns drawn and wearing your black belt to show all that you are ready (and willing) to destroy all potential threats. There is quite a difference in being a paranoid and being a competent, normal individual (that is more than capable of avoiding bad situations, and God forbid, defending yourself if you get in a bad situation). But how do you achieve the omni-potent status of being "SITUATIOANLLY AWARE." The simple answer is that you already are. Refer to the definition (courtesy of Wikipedia) above. You have to be at least somewhat aware of your surroundings and what is going on to function. So the trick is to train yourself to heighten that awareness. On the "Internets" there is a wealth of information. Pretty much ANY topic you can think of, anything at all. If you plug your question into the search engine of your choosing, you will get literally hundreds of millions of results relating to said question. Situational Awareness is not any different. I simply typed "Situational Awareness" into the Google Search Bar and this was the result: About 2,970,000 results (0.71 seconds). There are training courses, schools, online free training, articles (probably not as good as this one), and on and on.

    A couple of Tips........

    Here are a few tricks that you can do to begin training yourself to automatically heighten your awareness. First thing.........PAUSE. That's it. Pause. Take a moment. Stop fiddling with your keys, texting, playing Pokemon Go,
    or whatever. Look around. Assess the situation: Is it dark, and if so, is the area you are in illuminated by street/parking lot lights? Are there people in the area? If so, are these people rightfully in the area (coming form the movie
    theater, bar, shopping mall), or are they just hanging out and looking around (maybe for a target of opportunity)? What next? You have PAUSED, you have LOOKED AROUND to identify potential threats. So, now what??
    That depends. If all seems safe, or if you can avoid potential problem areas and still get to your destination safely, then you would obviously proceed. If there is a reason to not proceed, for even the simple fact that you do not feel safe
    for any reason, get the onsite Security (if that is an option) to escort you, or call the police and explain that you are alone in a dark area and you do not feel safe going to your car. In most cases, they will send an officer to ensure that
    you get to your car, into your house, etc., safely. Do not be afraid to ask for help. It is better to ask for the escort than too have to call the police after the worst has happened so they can investigate the crime.


    Lets Wrap This Up!

    So. We PAUSED. We LOOKED AROUND to identify any potential threats, and we have DECIDED a safe course of action. That is the basics of becoming more proficient at being Situationally Aware, and thus, being better able to protect yourself. It is now up to you to refine this, and have it become second nature for you. Look into getting enrolled in a training course, or research the topic more online. Be vigilant about training. Complacency will get you in trouble.
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      Michael There are good habits to help keep yourself situationally aware, such as identifying the entrances/exits when you go into a building and selecting a vantage point to see all who are coming/going. When bad actors arrive, you can know before things go down and have potential escape routes.
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      Will - Black Belt Wiki Andrew

      In addition to situational "distractors" such as texting, chatting on the phone, etc., I would also add the problem of situational "foggers or numb-ers" such as alcohol.

      Will
      Black Belt Wiki
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      Bill Emmes This is a great thread!!! So many people walk around every day with no clue of the environment they are in or what is even around them. We are easily distracted with cell phones, texting and ipods. I see young women walking or jogging with their ears plugged from an ipod or some music storage device. This is an easy target for an attacker as this person is certainly not aware of much more than what is in front of them and the words to the song they are listening to.

      I have to say this is an area that I see far too much of and discuss a lot with my peers. My male friends who think they are too big a person for someone to mess with will sit somewhere with a headset on completely disconnected with their situational awareness and do not realize how easy a target they are since they are so distracted and an attacker can very easily come up behind them and wallop them senseless!

      I am always telling my wife to look up and look around as she is more inclined to keep her eyes down as she walks. Also, using peripheral vision to see as much as you can as things outside of your frontal vision can occur. One should also be able to listen to what is going on around them and to an extent, feel it as well.

      Pause, Look & Listen are some of the best pieces of advice to gain a situational awareness of an environment that has been so well posted by everyone so far! Trust is another important tool. Trust your gut if you think something is not right and you feel uneasy in an area. Truth is, it probably is not safe!

      I try to teach my wife to look at a situation and immediately plan on how she can move quickly to escape or move away from a dangerous confrontation. Know your surroundings and be aware of the things around you should you need to act quickly. Unfortunately, people today tend to think of this as being paranoid and are too busy multi-tasking to take such advice seriously. Best advice is to slow down and simply pay attention.
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    Backpacks as Improvised Shields
    Another self-defense option is to look at improvised shields. The ability to shield off an attacker armed with a knife or club might give you a few extra seconds in order to escape, shout for help, etc.

    This ABC video looks at a program that teaches students to use their backpack as a self-defense shield.

    Will
    Black Belt Wiki
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    Is realistic self-defense training a contradiction in itself?
    There are countless providers that claim to offer realistic self-defense training. Routinely implied in in such claims is that other, more traditional schools/dojos/styles fail to address this. However, I am wondering if realistic self-defense training is possible at all. Here are some thoughts, and as always, any feedback is greatly appreciated:

    Self-defense training can never be realistic because...

    … it takes place in a non-threatening environment. There is (hopefully) no hostility, no name calling, no intimidating etc. You know your training partners, the instructors and the location. The training starts and ends at a specific time. You go there for the purpose of training self-defense and are in a corresponding state of mind, that is, you know that you will, in one way or another, engage in attacking and defending.

    … your training partner will never attack with the same determination as the “bad dude” on the street or in a bar. A training partner doesn’t act in blind rage and is cautious of possible counter attacks. This leads to a rather different dynamic.

    … there are implicit or explicit dos and don’ts in the dojo (e.g. no groin kicks, no eye gouges). You’re neither allowed to apply such “illicit” techniques, nor do you have to worry that your partner might.

    Of course I’m not suggesting that self-defense training is futile, but I think it’s very important to remember that no matter how and where you train, it can only ever be a rough approximation to a real self-defense situation.
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      Chad There are many drills that can be done to simulate real violence and the stimulation that comes with it. Name calling, hostility and intimidation are a big part of how we prepare people for violence. Groin kicks and eye gouges can be trained by both attacker and defender as long as there is a good safety coach to monitor intensity. We've had many good groin kicks landed in class(cup are recommended) but nobody has been poked in the eye. All though we can't 100% prepare for real violence we can get pretty damn close.
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      Guillaume Chan Hey @nico, this is a really interesting topic. I just wanted to react to your different points and add some others that could help you with your thinking.

      1 - You're totally right. Fortunately, some schools are getting very creative in order to train you for real situation. Some exercises can be done to put you in a stress state to practice your techniques. For example, sparring against two opponents is a great exercise to work on your self-control and cardio because this is really oppressive. Another could be to close your eyes, turn spin around for a few seconds and when you opened your eyes someone attacks you.

      2 - Unfortunately, I think you're right.

      3 - This depends on which fighting sport you practice. Some, like Krav Maga or Systema, totally encourage to kick your partner in the groin even in the dojos. It just depends on your school methods and of course our partner will have to wear adequate protection. Many traditional martial art schools tend to change toward a more self-defense approach.

      To conclude, I would say that it's true, you will never be able to simulate real life aggressions but you can try to get as close to it as possible and that will already make a huge difference. Secondly, practicing self-defense is not all about techniques. It also teaches self-confidence and attitude. Self-confidence may dissuade more than one assailant. Attitude may teach you to avoid threatening situation or how to react to it.
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      Krav Maga Genève Lior Zabari Some good points there.
      That being said, there are some techniques/methods to put someone in a allmost real situation
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    Answering "Does martial arts work?"
    This guy is my new hero. He hits it right on the head.
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      Andy [218075,Michael], great video and excellent explanation, I mostly agree in the respect that there are some practitioners (and I don't mean this in a derogatory manner it is just a fact of life) that are not physically or mentally cut out for fighting, they only attend class a couple of times a week, don't actively condition or seek out the depth/source of the principles of application for which their respective MA were originally developed. Where I disagree (and it is nitpicking really not a major disagreement) is that I still believe that ANY amount of MA training will (or should) make an individual more able to defend themselves than would have been the case had they had no MA training at all. Even the basic blocks we learn from day one as a shiny new white belt have the potential to stop or redirect a fist from the face and my contention is that just by knowing that basic block you are now better able to defend yourself (even if you are not or ever going to be in a position to take out Mike Tyson).
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      Andrew Doran Depends what you mean by work. Years ago I was teaching a youth martial arts class. When a woman entered my dojo and said my son was diagnosed with a.d.d.. Do you think this class would help my son. I stated....I didn't know; try the class for two or three weeks an see if there is a change. I won't charge for the class; in two or three weeks if there is an improvement we'll go from there. Time past an in three weeks the mom came in before class started.. She gave me a big hug an said the class had helped her son so much.. She said he's more focused an concentrates more with no problems in school.......She had tears in her eyes an a smile on her face...
      Does martial arts work.......Yes...For all the right reasons
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      Christopher Adamchek Well said
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    7 MARTIAL ARTS YOU PROBABLY NEVER HEARD OF
    Some Less Well Known Martial Arts
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      Will - Black Belt Wiki Just put up a quick wiki page on Lerdrit - http://www.blackbeltwiki.com/lerdrit

      If there are any Thai martial arts experts, please feel to add some additional info on Lerdrit on this thread and I will transfer it to the main wiki.

      Will
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      Will - Black Belt Wiki Interesting video

      I didn't have Lerdrit. A military version of Muay Thai/Muay Boran... sounds cool (and extremely effective). I will definitely add that one to the wiki!

      FYI - Others are on the wiki :)

      Jailhouse Rock - http://www.blackbeltwiki.com/jailhouse-rock
      Dambe - http://www.blackbeltwiki.com/dambe
      Kalaripayattu (Kalari Payat) - http://www.blackbeltwiki.com/kalaripayattu
      Silat - http://www.blackbeltwiki.com/silat
      Okichitaw - http://www.blackbeltwiki.com/okichitaw
      Systema - http://www.blackbeltwiki.com/systema

      Will
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      Andy Here are a couple more videos focusing on 'Jailhouse Rock' (the Prison derived martial art system, not the Elvis movie :)
      https://youtu.be/38uVH9-DCdk
      https://youtu.be/uu0VREWleck
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    Resisting and non-resisting training partners: The dojo effect
    Lately I've been thinking about two different kinds of training partners a lot: the resisting and the non-resisting one (arguably, there's a large gray area in between).

    If you foremost train martial arts for self-defense reasons (of course, there are other perfectly valid reasons), I'd argue that training with a resisting partner is crucial. However, I've seen many places promoting self-defense where this does not happen. Attacks are often just announced one-step attacks and little or no attempts are made by the training partner to block or evade counter attacks, locks and throws. This is sometimes also called the dojo effect.

    While scaffolding is certainly important to learn how to block, launch a counter attack, apply a lock or take down an opponent, the ultimate goal, in my opinion, should be to learn how to face a resisting opponent since in a self-defense situation you're very unlikely to deal with a non-resisting one.

    Admittedly, it is difficult to create a good and safe training environment that allows training with a resisting partner. After all, we don't want to hurt each other.

    What are your thoughts on this? How do you make sure you don't fall into the traps of the dojo effect?
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      Mark Winter I practice Aikido and we teach that the attacker should not resist but don't give. Make the defender move you before "going along" with the technique. But of course there are techniques (such as arm breaking and choking out a person) that can only be simulated.
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      Mary Cayte Reiland In our dojang, we make it a point to tell our students that one-step self defense training or one-step sparring are not effective in real life situations. During class, I will say that the dojo effect applies greatly to us, however, there are times when after class certain people (sometimes me) will mix it up with fighting, grappling, throws, and joint locks. It's not a perfect system, but I think we cover a lot of training with a resisting partner during these exercises.
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      Llewena Carrero What I do is initially I teach the kids/adults the technique we are focusing on in a non resistant manner. Then I ask the lower grade of the pair to do the attack, how to aim and how quick or hard they are to go. The higher grade is then to do the defence technique with (hopefully) the right level of force since they have trained for longer and 'know' the ropes so to speak.
      I also comment they should be good partners giving some resistance and some force BUT to remember its their turn next. It's funny to see kids faces go from evil smiles (you can picture what they are planning) to oh I'd better be nice and not rough looks. I walk around the class and randomly test the resistance levels and force levels and let them know they need to increase or decrease for the particular technique.
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    Best martial arts if you live in a rough neighborhood?
    If you live in a rough neighborhood or have to travel through a tough neighborhood frequently, what martial arts would you learn?

    Please no answers like buy a gun or knife. Or answers like find a new place to live or work.

    I want to hear honest answers about martial arts training. I know it also depends on the teacher (as weak teachers can make good martial arts styles useless). Would you pick something all round like mma? Something focused on selfdefense like Krav Maga? Something like cane masters (that uses legal items)? Something like Muay Thai for powerful strikes (so you can get away quickly after a powerful counterattack)?
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      Andy John that is a deep and excellent question! I am as you have probably gathered by now a (mostly) Japanese stylist but I am not going to do the expected and recommend a style that I train in. I would personally recommend Krav or one of the Russian styles (after watching some of the excellent videos sent to me by our fellow member Mike). These seem to me to be the best all round styles best suited to self defence. As for more information on the best Russian style, Over to you Mike!
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      Ray McLean It foes not matter what style of martial art train in , if you train hard and apply yourself , also stay out trouble . Then you should never have to defend yourself , no matter where you live.
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      Ced Greetings Chris, to the best of my knowledge your assumption would be correct. I have searched through my notes and references and can't find Choi Yung Sool's Japanese name which would shed some light on his history. The only thing I did recall was that my original Daito Ryu sensei gave a class on the history of Daito Ryu as it pertained to the Makimono or (transmission of techniques). It was through that class that I became aware that Choi Yung Sool was issued one which he took to Korea to eventually create Hapkkido . Sorry I couldn't be more helpful in that area. As to Goshin Aikijujutsu. Goshin 護身 is more of a reference to the system's focus which taught techniques in a more offensive and combative mindset rather than spiritual and defensive as in Aikido. My Goshin Aikijujutsu instructor was army ranger during WWII and after the war studied Aikido but blended what he knew of real combat his tradition aikido training and his Oikiru Jujutsu background. Hence the name of the style. Hopefully that answers your question.
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    Most Effective Spots on the Body to Hit in a Fight
    This video looks at spots to strike during a fight (i.e. the solar plexus). Does the video miss any critical areas that could be effective self-defense targets? Did they highlight anything that it is too difficult to strike or not a very sensitive/critical area?

    Since the title includes "on the body" maybe he meant torso since it excludes effective spots like the groin, nose, etc.

    Will
    Black Belt Wiki
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      Bill Emmes In addition to critical/vulnerable areas for striking, there are also the Meridians in the body where major nerve bundles are located that can serve as an effective striking point to seriously disrupt an attacker's momentum and provide a great advantage to surviving a serious fight. I particularly like the solar plexus as there are a lot of nerves that run thru this area and is a very vulnerable point for striking. Of course, breaking of a accessible bone such as the nose, collar bones or ribs can pretty much put a stop in any fight. A solid groin strike or knee strike can have equally debilitating effects. Also good rake of the shin bone will get your opponents attention real quick!

      I am learning more about following nerves and blood vessels/arteries as they can be very effective targets to stop or halt an opponent's attack. I was pretty surprised to know that an elbow to the armpit would hurt so much! Just when I thought a knee to my thigh hurt...this strike got my attention real fast!
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      Mike My karate back ground tells me he's spot on. Then I've been working with some Krav Guys, they have a lot of finger, ear, eye focused attacks that are effective for distraction and disengagements as well. Add the pressure point stuff to that mix and an unsuspecting opponent is in for a rather painful treat.
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      Andy [171668,Will - Black Belt Wiki], good video and overall I would say that it is mostly good advice (especially the floating ribs)! I would add though that the ribs in general are a good target when it comes to bodywork as are the kidneys, the armpits or pretty much ANYWHERE on the body where you can sink a good solid Knee, kick or punch! :) Also depending on your particular discipline, wrist and arm locks/wrenches can be very effective (depending on the circumstances and number of potential aggressors! You don't want to get tied up when there is more than one opponent)!
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    Types of Canes for Personal Defense
    This 9 minute video looks at some canes that can be used for self-defense purposes. It also looks at a cane designed with self-defense in mind (i.e. it has a semi-serrated edge).

    What type of cane does your martial arts school train with? A common everyday type cane? Or a specially designed cane?

    Will
    Black Belt Wiki
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      Andy [171668,Will - Black Belt Wiki], to answer your question, I have a collection of various sticks and canes that I train with, ranging from traditional Bamboo staffs and canes (in various lengths and thickness), 'root ball' sticks (such as the traditional Irish Shelelaigh), traditional oak Jo, Bo and Hanbo and hook handled canes (some of which where the hook is not too curved are also a good substitute for some Kama
      techniques).
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      Andy [171668,Will - Black Belt Wiki], great instructional video! One very important aspect though that wasn't mentioned is the composition of the hooked or handled cane. Many canes/walking sticks are two piece (as opposed to being formed from a single piece of wood) and are composed of a straight shaft with a separate hook or decorative handle glued on. Obviously the single piece sticks/canes are much more strongly built and are therefore far more suited to hooked cane defence techniques (you don't want to try hooking or trapping an aggressor with a hook or handle that is glued on as it is likely to come off), that being said if you train in such techniques any type of hooked cane can be used at a pinch but as this video was focused on types of canes specifically for defence I thought this was worth mentioning.
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    Speed vs Body weight
    Hey everyone,

    My Krav Maga black belt exam was this last week-end. Unfortunately I failed. One of the main reason was that, during the whole exam, the judges were unsatisfied with "a lack of bodyweight in my moves". But the thing is that they also ask us to perform the techniques with great speed.

    But the faster you perform your techniques, the more difficult it is to put complete bodyweight in all your moves because you don't have the time to. Thus, when I perform the techniques fast I cannot engage my body completely in all my moves but only partly. To meet their requirements I would have to slow down.

    I wanted to know your point of view on that matter. What's more important to you : complete body weight or speed with less bodyweight ? How do you handle this problem in your different martial arts ?

    Thanks !
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      Manie Interesting! I like the comments - all useful.
      To add something else: I find that especially junior grades (male, teens, cocky) tend to overemphasize speed, maybe under the influence of Hollywood. They then lose form (correct technique) and power/penetration. For example, a punch may be fast, but the fist wavers like a paintbrush.That is evidence that there is no kime, or put differently, that the form is poor. They must be reminded over and over again that you first get the form right and practise that continuously. Speed comes with many repetitions. I personally hate those endless repetitions, but there is no short cut. If there is any, tell me please!
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      Mitt Radates This is a key issue. Engaging the body (hips, shoulders, core, legs) during striking is not natural for some students. For those students, I have them practice the body engagement movements without actually striking. When the body engagement is smooth and natural, we add striking (straight punches, hook punches, knee strikes and round kicks). This has the added benefit that many of those movements are also part of punch defense techniques. But training on them first allows students to focus on them without the "distraction" of striking mechanics.
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      Chad People often think that in order to be fast they need to give up body mechanics. The power lost when trying to throw techniques fast is far greater than the speed lost when using proper technique and body mechanics.
      There is also a difference between what I call fast and frantic most people are frantic when they think they are being fast. Krav Maga schools seem to vary in the way a person counter attacks after a defence, from what I've seen most tend to be more frantic than fast. Fast is smooth and smooth is invisible, George Foreman during his comeback was one of the slowest boxers in the heavy weight division yet was among the most accurate punchers in boxing. That was because he was so smooth that nobody saw his body move until his punch landed and stole their soul.
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    Are punches to the head a good idea?
    Lately I’ve been wondering whether punching someone in the head is actually a good idea in a street fight, where you’re not likely to be wearing gloves. Many styles and systems teach this but there are also voices that raise concerns. The later argue that you can easily hurt or even injure your hand when you miss the target (e.g. jaw or nose) and hit the skull full force. Instead they recommend hitting with your palms. I’d like to know what opinions about this there are in the forum.
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      David Byler When I punched someone in the head I hurt my hand.
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      Ralph Palm heel strikes and hammer fists and slaps are great to the head, but keep in mind that palm heel strikes have a bit less reach.
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      Richie What makes Goju unique to karate are two things:
      low kicks (some say kick only when you can have three legs)
      open hand techniques to the face

      These two distinctions is what made me stay with Goju
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    Martial arts not practical?
    There is a lot of talk both online and offline about MA not being practical for self defense. Every MA out there have been targeted. Kobudo has been deemed unrealistic because most weapons are not found outside the dojo. BJJ has been argued to be only practical on a one-on-one confrontation. Even MMA has been accused of being limited by rules.

    How do you respond to accusations of impracticality of your style for self defense?
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      Andy [218075,Michael], fortunately nowadays there are some extremely comprehensive lists (composed by a dedicated team of MA experts) available online that tell you how effective your particular style is and in some cases they even go so far as to list the effectiveness of styles in numerical order to make it easier for us dummies who actually train in MA to see how our styles compare to each other.
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      Al W I'd rather have Martial Arts Training and not need to use it, than to need it and not have Martial Arts training

      It's better to be a warrior in a garden, than a gardener in a war
      -Sun Tzu
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      PAUL (paldo) REYNOLDS Unsubstantiated " and talk is cheap ! Martial arts is practical". I don't believe in statistics because they change too often. An example of "Practical Martial Arts" is having to actually kill an enemy combatant in the Vietnam War, in a hand-to-hand combat in which grappling tactics actually killed this enemy's neck or back vertibrea. So much for martial arts not practical ! P.S. poor memory !!!
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    Falling
    I went to a BJJ school yesterday and was asked if I knew how to "technical fall." I was not sure what he meant so when it was demonstrated I recognized it as a "reverse break fall" in Isshinryu.

    I have only been taught the forward roll, reverse roll, forward break fall (which is used when being thrown) and the reverse break fall. Are there other methods of falling taught in your style? Do you use any of these terms? Should we have a section in the wiki for falling techniques?
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      Andy Good post, it is currently very icy here in the north of England and so many people (especialy the elderly) end up in hospital with broken wrist and arms at this time of year because they have never been taught to fall and instinctively tense and stick out their arms when they slip. Knowing how to fall safely is yet another of the many extra benefits of MA training.
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      Will - Black Belt Wiki Just finished adding pages for all of the basic falling techniques (rolls & breakfalls - front, side and back) to the wiki - http://www.blackbeltwiki.com/martial-arts-falling-techniques

      Even added a page on the forward dive roll.

      Will
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      Andy A great excersise for learning how to fall without injury is to consume around 4 bottles of sake and then try to make it home. You will fall onto, into and against every conceivable object item or surface along the way yet remarkably wake up without the slightest injury (other than a fuzzy head and the feeling that someone has filled your mouth with concrete :)
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    How Impressive a Technique Looks and How Useful It Is for Self Defense
    I've often found in martial arts that the techniques used in most public demonstrations (and tournaments) are not the techniques that one would use to defend themselves. For example, a reverse roundhouse kick to the head thrown quickly but without much power can score a lot of points while sparring, but a kick to the side of the knee or a punch to the solar plexus would be a much more effective means of finishing a life or death fight.

    Do you think that focusing on impressive techniques that will win medals leads some schools to veer away from teaching their students from actually defending themselves, or is there more to this?
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      Andy @Bryce, great post and fully agree with @James. As we have discussed on several threads there are many elements to the martial arts but the 2 main facets are sport and self defence. I personally believe that at the core of 'most' traditional martial arts are techniques that can be (and indeed historically have been) used for effective self defence. Ever since Jigoro Kano developed Judo and many subsequent martial arts followed suit with the 'do' concept, greater emphasis has been put on the sporting side of martial arts and as such many of the techniques have been modified and are more conducive to sport (and MA and action movies!!!) than they are to real situation attack and defence. As James said you need to train for combat specifically (which can be done with most martial arts so long as the instructor understands the style and its roots completely and knows what works for point scoring, what works for contact sport and what works in the bars, clubs, streets etc). I will also tell you from personal experience that the most 'useful' techniques are often the most basic. By far the most useful techniques I have employed in the past are the basic blocks that were taught from my very first karate lesson onwards.
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      James I would say that some schoold definitely veer away from anything resembling realistic self defense. As I think ive said in a few posts the important thing is for the student to understand the context of what they are training for. The sporting side of karate is great fun and a good test of skill and some of these skills are transferable to a real fight however most are not. With the best will in the world a point sparring karate ka who only focuses on point sparring to win medals will be eaten alive by an averagely skilled single attacker with an aggressive mindset based on hurting them in a real world confrontation. The opponent is not going to square up and start bouncing backwards and forwards and stop hitting once they have landed one successful blow. They will be on you with fllurries of punches, scratches, bites, kicks and so may their friends. Similarly only mapping through kata without ever understanding and applying the moves in as realistic a scenario as possible will only teach you to dance and win kata competitions. In a situation where I am in danger I would drop more techniques that I have learned than those that I even think about employing. My legs wont go above the height of my opponents thigh or groin for example. In summary its fantastic that schools give their students the opportunity to compete in the various formats but people must never ever kid themselves about what their training is and isnt adequate preparation for.
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      Andy Here is an interesting article that is relevant to this topic that points out some of the differences between 'sport' Muay Thai and 'combat' Muay Boran.
      https://berniegourley.com/2014/01/23/5-differences-between-muay-boran-and-muay-thai/
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    Promotion
    I'm excited that my daughters ages 6 & 7 started karate in October and their promotions is coming up in December. Can't wait to see how they do under pressure from the judges.
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      Keston Destiny Well the promotions came and my little girls earned themselves both yellow tips. They performed two yellow belt katas and one white belt kata, they showed four different self defense techniques if attacked, and counted to ten in Japanese. It was a good day after all, little fast trackers.
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      PAUL (paldo) REYNOLDS Wish you and your daughters well in Japanese karate !
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      Al W Always good to see kids getting into Martial Arts, my daughter recently got her yellow belt (8th kyu).

      Well done to your daughters, and good luck for future promotions
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