Some martial arts schools teach a large number of self-defense techniques, but self-defense is not about how many different techniques you know, it is about how well you perform each one. The Koga Method of self-defense, which I taught in police tactic classes in the 1970's, was comprised of basically one technique (the twist-lock). Instead of trying to learn numerous techniques, students only practiced using one technique from all directions and under all types of circumstances. In a self-defense situation, they reacted quicker and more effectively since they did not have to think about which technique to use.
If a self-defense technique requires more physical strength, dexterity, or speed than you have, it is not effective for you. If it requires more strength, dexterity, or speed than the majority of people possess, then it is not realistic. Always keep your physical limitations in mind. Although your skills will improve with practice, there are some techniques that are too unreliable to use, so it is a waste of time to practice them.
All self-defense techniques involve body shifting (some type of movement to parry the attacker's blow) and some type of counter strike. Sometimes these two things occur simultaneously. Proper self-defense consists of four major areas of expertise:
- Knowledge of how criminals operate.
- Prevention strategies to avoid, deter, and escape would-be attackers.
- Physical defense skills and skill in the use of weapons.
- Survival consciousness and a fighting spirit.
One must be careful when learning self-defense techniques. The techniques must be effective and easy to use under circumstances one might encounter in ordinary life situations. The following are some thoughts and theories on self-defense.