There’s an old saying in the martial arts that, “Pride goes Before The Fall.” In the realm of self defense training, regardless of whether you train in a martial art, or in a modern self defense system, there is a world of difference between “thinking” that you can defend yourself, and actually having the skills necessary to survive a real world attack.
The truth is that there are countless schools of martial arts out there professing to be teaching people how to protect themselves, lead by teachers who are sport athletes with no real-world self defense experience. There are even more so-called self defense experts popping up every day on the internet who are more than ready to sell you some magical, “silver bullet” system for mastering the art of self defense “in 30 minutes or less!”
What both of these are selling is not sound, solid, and proven self defense ability.
No. What both are selling amounts to nothing more than the abstract, “feel-good” qualities of:
- Peace of mind
- a Sense of security, and…
But, in reality, none of these things are real. They are only states of mind and feelings – both based on what we “think” we can do, rather than on any actual results.
Now, don’t get me wrong, or get your panties in a twist.
I never said that the techniques being taught are not effective. Well, most of them anyway.
After all, EVERYTHING is valuable – in context.
But, here are a couple of things I want you to think about as you go through your training – even if you are already a black belt or instructor (of course, even if you are – you ARE still training… right?!):
1) Does your instructor spend more time complimenting you, than he or she does correcting you?
While we all need to know that we are getting things right, and that we are progressing – we are training under a teacher to break old habits, learn better ways of doing things, and to get direct feedback so that we can progress – how we get feedback about that progress can make a huge factor in our success. And often – more often than not – that feedback takes the form of having our mistakes pointed out to us. I would highly suggest that if you are training for effective, real-world self defense ability, and you have a teacher who is always patting you on the back…
Find a different teacher! They’re feeding your ego and breeding a sense of false-confidence!
You need a teacher who will not only teach you what you need to know. But also one who will not patronize you, or create a false sense of confidence.
2) Do you train solely on your own without the benefit of direct feedback?
While it is possible to get a lot of information from sources like books, magazines, self defense dvd’s, and even online video directories like YouTube, you cannot limit yourself to them. Because… the one thing that you cannot get from these sources is…
Direct feedback from the teacher who wrote the article, or is demonstrating the technique in the video.
This feedback is the single greatest benefit of training face-to-face with a qualified teacher of self defense (see above). Without it, you would be surprised to find out that what you “think” is being conveyed, is not what’s is being done at all.
It’s amazing how our ego can convince us that we are really doing one thing, when in reality, we are doing something VERY different!
3) Are you trying to learn self defense with the same training partner?
Worse than this would be to try to learn with no training partners at all, but what most people fail to realize is that you are not training to learn a martial art system. I know that sounds confusing but what I mean is this…
Anyone can simply learn the skills and step-by-step kata within a martial arts system – even attain rank for their skill and progress – but this is not the same as learning how to defend yourself against a live human being who is trying to beat, break, or kill you!
To effectively learn self defense, it is important to train with as many different body types as possible – as well as with as many fighting styles as possible!
The reality within self defense is that you don’t know who your attacker will be, any more than you will know…
- Your attacker’s size
- What, if any, kind of training they possess
- If they will be armed or unarmed
- Whether or not they will have help
- How far he or she is willing to go in their attempt to hurt you, and…
- Many other unknowns!
So, you owe it to yourself to work with as many different partners as possible, and with as many different situations or attack scenarios as possible. If you don’t have anyone to train with, start a training group in your area. If you are a member of a dojo or self defense class, avoid limiting yourself to training with only one or two “friends.” Get around and work on different bodies and with different personality types – especially those that scare you the most!
Self defense is a very deep subject and one that requires attention to detail…
… and a commitment to getting the kind of training you’ll need to survive – not just “think” you can survive!
Effective self defense requires more than just a few “karate moves.” It involves the ability to think strategically, and understand how to defend yourself with as little wear-and-tear on you as possible.