Saturday, 16 June 2012

Is this art good for self-defence?

Well, It has been a couple of months since my last blog for which I apologise, I have had a fair amount going on including getting my coursework submitted for university, exams as well as preparing my demonstrations and workshops which I did at this year’s Martial Arts Show Live in Birmingham and also redoing my website which you can find at

So, let us get on with the months blog, Ever since I started training in the martial arts, my focus has always been self-defence.  Competition has never been an area that has interested me. So naturally as an instructor it is the self-defence orientated arts that have always drawn my attention over the years.

Before getting in to the guts of this article, I would like to point out that unless I am being specific about something, when I talk about self-defence I am including self-protection, and personal safety within that equation, remember though this is only for the purpose of this article. So with that cleared up, let’s move on.
A question I am commonly asked is, “is this art (insert an art here) good for self-defence”. I know I am not the only instructor out there to be asked this. You just need to check out a martial arts forum or similar to see the question bounded around everywhere. Now in my opinion, answers people give are often poorly informed.

I will not apologise for the content of this article; I am positive it will raise a few hackles but if it can create some debate all is well and good. What I am going to do is attempt to look at the broader picture and for this article will take it that the person I am trying to advise is just your average member of public, someone who may only have 3-4 hours maximum a week to train.

Before one can give an informed answer there are a few criteria that need to be taken into consideration: first of all and the most obvious - what is the art that one is actually asking about? Then, other criteria include the person’s long term and short term goals as well the time they have available to train.

One art that is commonly recommended for self-defence is western boxing. When I see or hear that I really need to ask myself why? As an art and combat sport it is superb but as a self-defence system it has some serious limitations. First and foremost as a sport it is governed by rules; by their very nature these rules put massive restrictions on oneself if self-defence is your aim.

Other negatives that boxing as an art has with regards to self-defence include: boxers wear gloves / wrap hands, only punch, grappling not allowed (to a degree), train against one style or type of attack (punches) - not grabs, kicks attacks from the rear etc. No threats or verbal aggression, no weapons, no ground fighting, single attacker not multiples. Naturally there are some positives that one would gain from training in boxing and this includes punching power, foot work, fitness and ability to take a shot amongst others. But before giving out advice, especially on faceless mediums such as forums, then one really needs to know more about the back ground of the person asking the question.

In closing, I do not have anything against the sweet science and art of boxing, I have just used it as an example for the point I am trying to make. As usual, I hope this has given you something to consider and welcome any questions and feedback.

Until next time, train hard, stay safe and have fun.


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