Self Defense vs Martial Arts?

I’ve noticed on that a lot of folks here seem to assume that martial arts is the best choice for learning self defense. But is that really true? Martial Arts generaly takes several years to gain true proficiency and that’s usually with several hours of practice a week. Isn’t there a faster, more effecient way to learn practical self defense?

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13 Responses to Self Defense vs Martial Arts?

  1. kate says:

    You get as good at martial arts as the time you put into it. If you want to go faster, practice more .
    More efficient ? like boxing ? where your only skill is limited to your arms ? WHAT are you thinking ?
    What are these other more efficient ways ? or are you just asking because you are toooo lazy to do the martial arts ?

  2. rotskor says:

    “Self Defense” is becoming an antiquated term, replaced by RBMA or reality based martial arts. Generally a person should take a two-pronged approach to being capable of defending themselves in my opinion. First pump some iron for maybe a year and also take some RBST or hybrid arts such as JKD, Krav Maga, or something from a straight MMA gym. Secondly learn to fight real dirty man. Hopefully you do this with the intention of pure defense, and no offense. Check out Paul Vunak Street Safe as a starting point. This fucker is brutal and to the point.Understood!

  3. Bradley P says:

    Ok….here’s the deal, just in case you really aren’t trolling. :)

    Martial arts, self-defense, fighting, whatever you want to call it, the stuff is like any other physical endeavor. You *do* need to practice it to get any good at it, and….if you go harder, and also train more often than usual, yes, you’ll get better at it than you would if you just did things once a week. Most folks don’t *learn* how to drive, how to write, how to play video games, *lots* of things, just by doing them only 1-2 times a week….

    Nope, they learn them by doing them EVERY DAY. As in, they take the time to learn the skill, *and also* to develop the attributes you need to physically *execute* the skill on a reliable basis. Look at the hand you *write with*, for example. One of your fingers on that hand, most likely your index or middle finger, has a callous on it somewhere from *repeatedly* holding a pen or pencil there, right?

    Your other hand lacks this attribute, because you don’t *practice* writing with that hand every day, day in, day out, like you *need it*.

    And….someone who writes freehand all the time, or draws with a pencil or pen, or who paints freehand with a brush, they are going to have *more* of a callous there on the dominant hand’s fingers than you do because they “go harder” and use the hand *more*. ^_^ See what I mean?

    Good. Having said all that….some things you can use for self-defense are *much much* more easily and quickly picked up and put to practical use than others. Boxing is one of these things, *provided* you don’t just train for the ring. Western boxing can and has been trained for bare-knuckle self-defense for decades, all you need to really do is do a Web Search on “Bare Knuckle Boxing” or “pre-Queensbury Rules Boxing”…and remember, you not only have to train for bare-knuckle use, but for the “legalities” and for “situational awareness” just like *anyone else* would for self-defense.

    Another alternative is to do an Advanced Yahoo or Google Search on either “W.E. Fairbairn” or “Fairbairn Tactics” and the phrase “self-defence” (yes, the British spelling matters, as do the quotes, you want to search the *phrases* not the words).

    Fairbairn was a revolutionary in his day, combining tactics of Jiujitsu, wrestling, kung fu and more into a system of self-defense that was *all* about being easy to learn and *all* about something called “gross body movements”: It was based on the understanding that when you are under stress and pressure and being *attacked*, your fine-motor skills go out the window, and the best you can do in that state is *brute simple caveman stuff*.

    A lot of what passes for modern “Close Quarters Combat” training owes a huge debt to Fairbairn for getting the *idea* of eclectic, military/police-style self-defense training for civilians off the ground. The stuff is simple, and it works (provided, of course, that you bother to *train it*).

    Of course, a lot of people will also say weapons, like firearms, also work, even though a) there are legal hassles out the wazoo for most people who live in *urban* areas and *need* arming, and b) most folks would *flinch and hesitate* to use lethal force, making it less than useful.

    Which is where things like “OC pepper spray” and “Pocket Sticks” come in handy. They are legal in most of the civilized world, aren’t all that hard to use and you can be taught some simple tactics on how to use these things in a weekend (again though, *training* this stuff is up to you and those you train with).

    And they aren’t lethal, which means in most situations they are useful where a nastier weapon like a knife or gun wouldn’t be. And in particular, pocket-stick skills transfer easily to lots of other things you might lay hands on–Maglites, rolled-up newspapers, rolled-up umbrellas, and such.

    So yeah….there are some *easier* self-defense type skills you can pick up on fairly quickly, *provided you committ to them and TRAIN*.

    Which I will be the first to admit, is easier said than done, *lol*. :) I need to get back into some training lately myself.

    But in the meantime, what’s the harm in doing an Advanced Web Search or three on those phrases I have in “Quotes” up there for you? All you have to do is copy and paste them really, quotes and all….

    Hope this helps, and have a good one! :)

  4. sp0rtyt says:

    A real combat situation is rarely 1 on 1. You are likely to get attacked when you are least prepared by 1 or more attackers who may be armed. This is also true on the battlefield. Self defense is mostly about situational awareness and this is the practical self defense.

  5. yupchagee says:

    There are no shortcuts. Systems like Krav Maga are easier to learn but require a very high level of physical conditioning to work. Still, if your only goal is to learn to kick butt, that is probably the way to go. I think that it’s best to learn more than just fighting.

  6. matt says:

    you need to do a professional course in control and restraint it doesn’t take as long tends to deal with more real life situations and it does work I’ve been a bouncer since i was 18 while i have had other training this is all i actually use i tend to have 3 or 4 fights per week and either i win them with communication skills(which is part of most courses) or with the things i learnt on this course and i haven’t lost a fight yet.

  7. bushido says:

    self defence vs martial arts,reality based martial arts?isn’t it all the same thing?giving it a different name makes the ppl who market it look like they know what thier talking about and gives them a platform to launch into a this is better sales pitch.i dont think there would be any ma that teaches the same way they did 10,15,20 or even 50 years ago.most still teach the traditional stuff but they also teach stuff thats more relevant to todays’s up to the individual as to what they do with what thier taught.and of cause today it’s a business in a lot of cases whether you call it a martial art or another fancy name,business is about money.making money means turnover which in a roundabout way creates a situation where there isn’t enough experienced instructers.and that is a big problem,it’s okay for ppl with all these ranks and titles to say they can teach this and teach that but all they can teach is the techniques as it’s been taught to them.due to lack of experience they cant really teach you how to apply it in a real depends on what your idea of proficiency is?of cause you can learn basic self defense quickly but thats all it will be basic,and if the person teaching you has no experience in a real situation what have you really learnt?anything good takes time and practice and it still comes back to the individual and what they want to achieve.theres good and bad in all ma or whatever name you want to give it if you dont think your achieving what you want you go somewhere else.and you cant teach someone how to think,how to fight dirty,common sense,or experience all you can do is give them the directions it’s up to them as to where they go with’s either in you or it’s not.and like they say practise makes perfect.

  8. Ray H says:

    Here’s my two cents .
    Martial arts means war arts , or combat arts . Self defense is part of that , however it does not encompass the whole of martial arts . I teach martial arts , but I also teach a womens self defense class . In the womens self defense class I am not sensei or sibak or sifu , I am Mr. Hook or instructor Hook . The class is just a defense class , there are no ranks or ceremony . I only teach them the basics of what to do in a confrontational situation . In my martial arts classes they learn theory , forms , history , and concepts of fighting both defensively and aggressively . There is a belt system , testing , and all the ceremony of classic martial arts .
    I believe those are the basic differences .

  9. Khnopff71 says:

    To the uninitiated, martial arts can seem ‘antiquated’ due to the process by which the techniques are absorbed.

    This is because, as anyone can tell you, the body needs to be muscularly conditioned to respond. In order to defend yourself properly, in any situation, your actions/reflexes must be automatic. If you stop to ‘think’, then those are precious seconds the other person has to implement their own attack.

    Consequently, you can only achieve ‘reflexive’ results from repetition; performing a motion repeatedly until the movement itself becomes your natural response.

    Thus, was the kata created. Because simply doing 100 circular knife hand blocks is entirely too boring for most practitioners, the move is thus incorporated into a series that not only offers a similar pattern of repetition to be developed, but also incorporates both offensive and defensive skills into one’s developement at once. Not only that but it also includes the preparation of such skills as proper body position (balance, co-ordination), timing, and awareness of distance and environment.

    Sure, you could learn a few simple ‘tricks,’ such as a reverse elbow to the larynx or a hand twist, but learning those alone wouldn’t necessarily teach you that performing the technique while leaning could significantly alter any affect you might be attempting to achieve. If all you are worrying about is twisting someone’s wrist counter-clockwise, how does that help you understand if/when you are leaning forward, and thus disturbing your own sense of gravity, allowing your attacker to more easily dislodge your attack by a simple pull or yank?

    That is why most martial arts techniques are learned so slowly; one cannot put a showroom car onto a track and expect it to perform like a racecar, simply because some ‘racing tires’ are added. The process by which your body is modified to take full advantage of the techniques is equally important to the effectiveness of the technique.

    Also, how do you know what techniques are ‘enough’? It is true that, in the martial arts, it is better to be vastly proficient in a small number of techniques than to be haphazzardly proficient in a wider number, but even a small repetoire of techniques need to be founded on good body position, balance, clarity of one’s mind, etc etc etc, which the technique is only a small part of.

    Does this mean that you will absolutely use every part of the kata when it comes to being in a fight; absolutely not. What it does mean that, when it comes to performing that reverse punch, your training will automatically work to center your body’s weight in it’s execution, reducing the chance that being off-center will lessen the punch’s impact or allow the attacker to more easily disrupt it.

    The better one prepares before a contest is begun, the more likely will it be that the outcome is a favorable one. Shortcuts always come at a price.

  10. jjbeard926 says:

    Technically any fighting technique is a martial art. The term martial arts however is usually assumed (by those in the english speaking world) to mean the Asian style martial arts, boxing, wrestling. Even shooting a gun is a martial art. It is an art of fighting, martial=warfare, root word=mars=the god of war.

    You can learn some basic ideas on how to protect yourself within a few hours. However, that wont teach you all you should know. For example I can teach a woman how to defend against the 10 most common rape circumstances but is she really then safe? No, what if the person just wants to kill or wants money or attacks in a totally different way then she’s been trained to fight against? More importantly what’s to say she’ll remember her training when the time comes to use it. Martial arts are a way of life, this is one of the reasons they take so long to train. They train the body in muscle memory, fitness and reflexes. They train the mind in knowledge of what to do when. And they train the spirit, whether you believe in Ki (Chi) or not, whether you follow eastern philosophy or not there is something very soothing and spiritual about the eastern martial arts. Maybe it’s because they tap into ideas and forms from over a millennium ago, but they touch our souls in ways other things cannot.

    Martial arts are supposed to teach you a well rounded arsenal of ways to defend yourself. Anyone can be taught a handful of self defense moves and will be safer then someone without any training, but to fully train takes a dedication to a martial art.

  11. quiksilver8676 says:

    Unless you’ve perfected the ability to download the fighting technices directly into the brain like in the Matrix movies. Unfortunately; that is a MOVIE, this is REALITY, so that’s NOT gonna happen anytime soon.

    That’s why Martial Arts are CALLED self defense in the first place dude, because you learn tomdefend yourself WITHOUT the benefit of a weapon against someone who may have a weapon or you find yourself in a situation where you can use it even if they are unarmed.

    No, there isn’t ANY REAL way to learn any type of self defense or Martial Arts discipline any faster or more efficiently than how much your mind can absorb the training and what kind of training ethic you have.

    If you have a poor training ethic (like only training during class, and not at home on your own.) then you’ll be a poor Martial Artist, but if you train on a regular basis in class, and train outside of class in your free time as well, then you could become a proficient Martial Artist.

    So NO there isn’t a faswter or more efficient way to learn Martial Arts, it all comes down to how well YOU absorb what the instructors are teaching you.

  12. kenpomaster43311 says:

    It’s be said that the martial arts are some thing you do “with” someone, and self-defense is something you do “to” somone.
    I train both. The martial arts is a way of life and you will learn self-defense techniques over a longer peroid of time. In my opinion, it’s the way to go since you still need to practice weekly anyway.
    Self-defense systems like “STREET MARTIAL SCIENCE”, in which I am the founder is for the people who need to learn some basic skills quickly and don’t want to have to wear a uniform and learn about other cultures. They need the “good stuff” now. Think of it as the “best of the martial arts”. Most of the techniques that are taught are basic because the students are not martial artists. You’ll devolop skill in a shorter amount of time, but will eventually top out while the the martial artist will have much more knowledge and shill in a 3 yr peroid.
    Why not train both. Combatives, or self-defense classes will give you some tools you can use right now. Take a martial art to develop skills for the long haul.
    Master R.L. Stevenson

  13. Karate Boy says:

    Yes, buy a gun, that would be the most efficient way to learn self defense. Just aim and squeeze. Just joking…..
    Unfortunately, there’s no way one can learn practical self-defense in a short time, it takes practice. That’s why there’s a belt ranking system in martial arts. Or it can be that the teachers just drag you down to get your money.

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