We have beginner classes at my school (krav maga) and all of us upper-level students attend most of them. Staying strong with your foundation makes it easier to learn the more advanced stuff (at least in my opinion.)
And, from what I have seen and experienced, it is the foundational stuff that is most directly useful for defending yourself.
In 40 years of martial arts, I've cross trained in Tae Kwon Do, Hap Ki Do, Aikido, and American Kenpo (Ed Parker's Kenpo).
As a 30 year cop, I've also been involved in more than my share of fights and the occasional life or death struggle for survival.
I've also spent many years as a military reservist, training others in firearms, OC, defensive baton, and hand to hand.
I can tell you for a fact, that once it's "on", on the street, it seldom if ever goes the way it did in the dojo/dojang.
"Simple" motor skills are your friend. Learn them, repeat them until they are completely thoughtless.
All conventional martial arts have their weak and strong points.
Most depend on one or more of the following for success, Surprise, Timing, Accuracy, Speed, and/or Power.
No one martial art is "the answer."
A well trained street combatant, will be well versed in all segments of the martial arts, stand up, ground, weapon, etc., as well as have a good understanding or a "brawl."
If you want to survive an attack, you also need an functional (working) understanding of the street brawlers/criminals mindset.
If you don't understand what make them tick, and can't see the signs of an attack, then you're probably screwed from the git-go.
The psychology of street level combat is truly an interesting study.
And any time you can AVOID a conflict, you've already won
There are a plethora of books, videos, and tutorials on hand to hand and unconventional weapon craft. Google search and you will find them. Hit up various seminars as well. Speaking of Hapkido, Grandmaster Pelligrini puts on a very good 1-2 day course. It's pretty basic, but you will always come away with something new.
The bottom line is, learn everything you can, and practice! Whether it's with a partner, full contact, sparring or with a bag, makiwara board or in the freaking air, Practice, practice, practice!!!!
Last edited by Off Duty; 08-18-2013 at 01:09 PM. Reason: "air" not "aid"
Thank you. I just feel that I am not sure what exactly to practice. Boxing against the bag seems to be the easiest, apart from having to roust a person to help hook it up. I will try and see if the rest makes sense for me, or if I am hopelessThe bottom line is, learn everything you can, and practice! Whether it's with a partner, full contact, sparring or with a bag, makiwara board or in the freaking aid, Practice, practice, practice!!!!
And thank you again to everyone for sharing the experiences & thoughts!
My Journal: http://www.marksdailyapple.com/forum/thread57916.html
When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be.
Approach self defense as you would any other area you venture to be good at. Learn everything you can about anything you can.
Bruce Lee, Edmund (Ed) Parker, the founders of Jeet kune Do and American Kenpo respectively, both took this position that you gather everything you can, then throw away what doesn't work. You sift through the hype and nonsense, to find what works for you.
If you want to do formal martial arts training, evaluate several things:
1) your personal goals-fitness, flexibility, peace and introspection (lol-yeah, I said that). Some martial arts lend themselves more to one goal than another. TKD for example, is great for weight loss, cardiovascular conditioning and flexibility.
Judo, Ju-Jitsu, etc., are grappling styles. You'll have to enjoy being thrown to the ground, and being in "very" close proximity to your opponent while you are pinned to the ground, with some nasty, sweaty body laying on top of you....ok, wait, that's something else....LOL
While studying Aikido for example, our classes always had the underlying tone of peace and compassion (while still being able to toss you across the mat or hard into the ground-we had a combat minded Sensi), while our Kenpo classes focused more on getting in, getting the job done as quickly and as damaging as possible, and getting out!
2) Your physical capabilities and restrictions.- Again, TKD involves a LOT of cardio. Bouncing, kicking (of course), and tends to lend itself well to the taller/thinner types (which I'm not-but I made it work). Kenpo tends to be a more stationary fighting style, quick strikes and minor kicks, lots of power, IMO better suited to the stockier types.
Aikido, can work for anyone regardless of age, condition or stature, due to it's fluidity of motion and the basis of using anothers force against them. Let THEM do the work! Judo- for example, while involving some of the same techniques as Aikido, has a huge grappling component which again, IMO (only) tends to lend itself better to stockier people. I've seen some great judoka that were thin/tall, but I've seem more that were not.
3) Physical limitations- Right now, I'm battling through rehabbing an 8cm anterior rotator cuff tear. Some of the techniques we do in Aikido, I simply can not do with my left side, without severe pain. I'm learning to transfer to the right side and make the techniques work. Also, and I can tell you this from experience, in a combat situation, pain (unless you are incapacitated), will not be an issue. The chemicals in your body that influence the "Fight/Flight" responses, along with some other physiological changes that go along with increased stress, will generally blank out most minor to mid range pain responses, until after the attack. It's when you finally sit down, relax for a moment, let your head quit spinning, and realized that you survived, that you start to hurt....and shake.....BTDT.
Evaluate yourself. Ask yourself if you'd be able to pull off a jumping, spinning back kick, on the sidewalk in the rain, in heels and a dress? Do you really want to go to the ground and roll around on the street where there's probably rocks, glass, nails, and all sorts of things that can quickly bring you to a dead stop? Do you have an injury or physical limitation that might prevent you from doing a number of the techniques you may learn in a particular martial art? An equilibrium issue can stop you cold in TKD!
Once you've sorted it all out, go to several schools (Dojos/Dojangs) and observe. Don't be taken in, just watch. See how the school is run, how the instructor(s) interact with the students, and how well the techniques are applied to real life scenarios.
I once had an instructor tell a class that doing a palm heel strike to the base of the nose, would "jam the BONES in the nose into the brain." I didn't say anything, but knew he had been watching too much television. The fact is, most of that "bone" is cartilage, and will shatter. It won't be pleasant, will cause tearing, some pain and a severe nose bleed, but your "brain" is going to be fine, and you'll probably be pretty pissed off about the nose bleed! It does give you time to make a secondary attack, or an escape, whichever seems more prudent at the time Better to live to fight another day.
Now, if you're goal is self defense/personal safety, I would still recommend starting out with a very open mind. Study and train in anything and everything you have an opportunity to train in.
A good street level fighter will have studied all ranges, striking/punching, kicking (yes it does have a place in the street-but minimally), grappling/ground techniques, takedown techniques and unconventional weaponry. That last part tends to confuse some people, so here's an example:
Do you carry a pen?
If so, you now have an "unconventional weapon." This is something that is innocuous, commonplace, and can be carried anywhere, on a plane, ship, courthouse, anywhere....
When employed properly, against soft targets such as the eyes, nostrils, ear canal, trachea/throat, neck, sternum, groin...you get the picture, it can be a devastating weapon and can almost immediately end a threat.
Back to the learning process...learn everything you can about the fighting arts. Boxing, wrestling (not the TV kind), etc. should not be overlooked. You don't need to obtain a "black belt", or reach Olympic/competitive status, just gain proficiency so you can employ whatever tool you need from your toolbox when needed.
Finally, and a lot of this depends on where you are located, and your own personal bent toward weapons, but I always suggest learning to shoot, and handle a knife. This includes learning how to retain your weapon, or remove one from your opponent.
If you have no opposition to them, and there are no laws restricting their use, it's always a nice option to have. If you go the route of the blade, just remember. Plan on being cut.
Remember, keep in mind your own ability to use what you've learned.
While it's always good to be in the best condition you can be, there are bound to be restrictions from time to time.
If you can, get some cardio going, learn to run. Sometimes, that's the best option!
Sorry for the Looooong reply.
Message me if I can answer any questions for you.