People tend to be attracted to things that are different, strange, exotic, or flashy; therefore, some people are attracted to fighting styles that are different, strange, exotic, or flashy. Once they began to train in one of these fighting styles, they tend to dwell on its good attributes, while ignoring its bad attributes. Proponents of each fighting style think their style is good for "realistic" self-defense and many think their style is "the best" for self-defense.
What is a realistic self-defense situation?
Since self-defense means having to defend yourself against an attack, it is assumed that you did not cause a confrontation or deliberately enter into a confrontation where you would have to defend yourself, and thus, that you would have had no notice or preparation for the situation. However, the attacker would be prepared for the confrontation by choosing the time and place for the attack and being mentally prepared for the attack. Your being surprised and the attacker being prepared means that in a self-defense situation, one of more of the following factors will probably be present:
- Conditions, such as weather, terrain, time of say, clothing worn, lighting, etc., will not be ideal for you and may or may not be ideal for the attacker, but the attacker chose to attack at the time and location for a reason.
- You may or may not be expecting an attack but the attacker has planned the attack and has prepared for it. You will probably try to end the confrontation as quickly as possible with minimal injury to yourself or damage to your property. Your attacker may also want to end the confrontation quickly but he or she is not concerned about personal harm and is certainly not concerned about harming you.
- You may be thinking about the consequences of defending yourself or injuring the attacker, such as your job, your family, lawsuits, etc. However, your attacker is only thinking about harming you, with no consideration for the consequences.
- While you may not want to injure the attacker seriously, the attacker intends to injure or kill you.
All these factors mean that the attack will be unexpected and will occur at the most inopportune time and place, under the most inopportune conditions. So, will your fighting style work when you really need it?
Will it work?
Just about any self-defense technique works during a training class and just about anyone may defend against and escape from an opponent during a training class. However, things will be much different during a real self-defense situation.
Police officers train and qualify on combat pistol shooting courses regularly, and yet, during a real gun fights, most of their shots miss the perpetrators. Why?
It is easy to hit a target that does not shoot back! When bullets are coming at you, you tend to think about dying, not just about hitting the target. It is a different situation for you to face down a large, powerful, mean mugger in the dark who is intent on taking you out as quickly as possible so he may steal your property or rape you than it is for you to face a fellow student in a training class.
No matter how realistic the class training may be, it is not the same as when the opponent is intently trying to seriously injure or kill you. Even in a professional full-contact match, the opponent is not trying to seriously harm you or kill you; the rules prohibit techniques that are deadly and a fighter would never fight professionally again if he or she purposely tried to seriously injure or kill an opponent. When someone is intent on killing you, nothing short of killing him or her will prevent the person from getting up and trying again. Any technique you use had better work the first time, you probably will not get a second chance.
No-contact fighters, such as traditional Taekwondo practitioners, think their techniques would be effect in a real self-defense situation. Contact fighters, such as sport Taekwondo practitioners, think that because they get hit on a chest protector or on a foam helmet with foam covered feet and hands that they are more prepared for a self-defense situation than would be a traditional Taekwondo practitioner. Full-contact fighters think that, because they take hits from an opponent whom they respect and with whom they choose to fight, it makes them better prepared for facing a person who is intent on killing them.
Mixed martial artists think their grappling skills will keep stop an attacker, but their training partners are not not taking bites of flesh from their neck or gouging their eyes. All these fighters are better prepared for a self-defense situation than people who have no self-defense training would be prepared, but all these fighters are living in a fantasy world. An attack made in anger with the intent to kill is infinity worse than an attack from the same person in class or under rules of competition. When an evil person is intent on killing you, you have be even more ruthless.
To be effective in self-defense, any technique must be capable of taking out the attacker and you must be able to use it will the intent of taking out the attacker. When it comes to real self-defense, you need to know how to perform properly and powerfully what should be effective techniques, but more important, you must be able to perform the techniques with the intent to take out your attacker.
Do not be fooled by intricate techniques that require both people to be in the right position at the right time. Do not be fooled by the use of pressure points. Do not be fooled by techniques that work in class against fellow students. Do not be fooled by techniques that work in choreographed demonstrations. Do not be fooled by techniques used by highly skilled professionals under competition rules. Ask a police officer who has had to arrest a 100 pound teenage girl strung out on PCP if any of the control techniques worked? Do control in this situation it usually takes, one officer on each arm and leg, and one officer controlling the head, and this is just to control the girl.
For self-defense, you only need to be proficient at few simple, effective techniques that are easy to use under all conditions, and, most importantly—you must be ruthless in their application.