Street Defense Program
Zenith believes that we all train in the martial arts for a many reasons, however traditionally it was used to defend ourselves against attack. On research the same is still true today because of today’s social problems.
Most confrontational situations would involve you being at varying distances from your opponent or multiple opponents. You may be at kicking distance or closer hand to hand. You may be in a seated position or on the ground; your opponent or opponents may be armed or unarmed. Your immediate environment will be varied (as most attacks occur at night) it may be dark, the ground hard, uneven and wet or slippery, your space may be confined or crowded with other innocent bystanders or other hostile persons. The threats encountered may be anything from simple verbal harassment through to something physical and life threatening. With all situations the emotions of fear and anger will be present in the situation, with their attendant degradation of psychological and physical functioning. This is the nature of all confrontations.
Zenith Martial Arts is foremost a system that emphasizes choosing the right response for a particular set of circumstance and to be able to handle the emotional stresses and strains connected with any altercation. Confrontations occur in stages and the response is dependent on the stage. For the ‘fight’ stage the response may be escape, compliance, talking to defuse, posturing or fighting with a degree of force, or any combination of the above as required achieving a chosen strategic objective. For any given confrontational circumstance, the choice of threat response is unique to the individual concerned.
Zenith Martial Arts (Budokan) has developed a self defence system which incorporated techniques gained from the following: Traditional Aikido and Karate at its core, with Close Quarter Combat and Weapons techniques gained from may years serving with the military, as specialist systems in their own right these systems can easily be combined and taught, as most of the techniques are easy to perform as they use natural body movement, and therefore adequate to use as a natural defence against any attack as mentioned above.
But most of all Zenith Martial Arts feel that attention should be given to the teaching of application and method. Any rudimentary study on the science of learning, will tell you that method is fundamental to successful knowledge transfer and skill development.
The ultimate goal of Zenith Martial Arts and the Street Self Defence program is the development of individuals, as we all must take responsibility for who we are, how we act and the consequences of those actions. If the world was more tolerant and we learned to be better effective communicators, there would be much less need for fighting and therefore self-defence training in the first place.
Zenith Martial Arts takes account on a number of matters related to Street Self Defensive training in general. These views impact on the structure, content and methods of training.
Violence Response the Last Option: An aggressive response to a confrontation should be your last option unless circumstances force it. Within our classes we teach that confrontation should not become a contest of egos. This applies particularly to males in general and children who can easily feel ‘their pride’ is on the line. The consequences are potentially serious even should you ‘win’ the encounter (no one really wins a street confrontation you only survive it). Entanglement with the police, hospitals, courts, can have an adverse impact on work and home life and the possibly of revenge attacks may await anyone who uses violence negligently or without due cause.
Personal responsibility: Have the courage to make your own decisions that you believe are in your best interests and then take responsibility for the consequences. In our classes we will teach students not to allow yourself to get into a positions where you hand responsibility for decisions you should be making over to someone else. In the self-defence context this means don’t be goaded into violence by pressure from others – you’re the one that will bear the consequences. And that ‘others’ pressure doesn’t have to be other people, it may be your ego or your emotions.
Good Attitude: Some systems encourage students to develop an aggressive ‘tough guy’ attitude, to be feared. This particularly appeals to the young and immature, those who are often full of fear themselves and have a poor self image. They confuse being feared with being respected, the two are worlds apart. The Zenith system will continue to strive to encourage students to have greater self-esteem and true confidence will manifests itself into one being humble and unassuming on the outside while being strong and resolute on the inside.
Be Your Best: We are all different and we all have a different potential. To make your goal to be “the best” is clearly unrealistic and is taken on board the measure of worth that others have defined. There is always someone bigger, fitter, and more skilful around the corner. If truly being your best and being the best coincide then this is fine. All you can ask from yourself as the Royal Marines Commando’s say is strive to ‘be all you can be’ but not at the expense of your own values. That shows weakness.
Determination is everything; the capacity to succeed at any endeavour is a function of many attributes. But many a gifted person has failed to achieve through a lack of determination. In the pursuit of any goal the two hardest things in life often are the ability to get going and the ability to keep going in the face of hardship and difficulties. As the saying goes: ‘As the going gets tough the tough get going’.
Why is it important of learning Self Defence?
Australian national crime victim’s survey 2004 showed that over 10 out of every two hundred people interviewed and that had reported a crime, had experienced a rape or attempted rape or a violent attack of some kind during the 12 months preceding the survey (these statistic are rising year on year).
Violence sometimes comes despite the best possible avoidance measures, and when it does, there is often no opportunity to summon help. In those cases, we are forced to face our attacker or attackers alone, using only our resources and knowledge to survive. Fortunately, people who are properly trained and confident in their ability to protect themselves can do so effectively.
“Fighting back” is a difficult and uncomfortable subject for many people to think about, but it does not have to be that way. Being a victim stays with you for life, at that point you will never be the same person again. It’s not as hard as you think to learn to defend yourself, but it’s much harder to recover from the physical and emotional effects that are caused from intimidation, bullying, rape or violent assault especially for young children or women.
The number of adult women sexually assaulted in Australia each year is almost 99,000 (victim survey for over 18s).
The highest incidence of sexual and other assaults reported to police in SA is actually in the 15-25 year age group.
Sexual and other physical assaults in order are likely to occur in:
In the home.
In or around licensed premises.
In the workplace.
The percentage of adult victims/survivors of sexual assault who knew the offender is 65%.
Statistics indicate that a lack of resistance did not increase a woman’s chance of avoiding rape or injury.
Usually fleeing or trying to flee was the most effective but least used strategy.
The more combined strategies involving strong physical aggression together with verbal resistance were used the better the likelihood of avoiding rape.
The most frequently used tactic of talking was ineffective.
All women who did nothing to resist were still raped. These women usually suffer from post event guilt.
People, who acted immediately, aggressively, and vigorously when circumstances forced it, were most effective in resisting. Initially aggressive victims were found to be twice as successful in warding off a rape and other attacks than those who were not.
Zenith’s Training and Application Methods
Any system that aims to deal with the various forms of verbal and physical assault that occur in present day society, must base its training on being as realistic as possible to what really goes on in the street, the attacks and the actions of our ‘opponent’ in training must be as close to the real thing as possible (within the bounds of safety). From Zenith Martials Arts perspective the following aspects of street confrontations must also be covered:
Dealing with the Bodies natural Adrenalin dumps: It is common for all participants in a confrontation to experience heightened emotional states, ranging from being anxious, fearful or even panicked on the one hand or agitated, angry or enraged on the other. These emotional states will impair the individual’s ability to think clearly and perform complicated actions particularly requiring fine motor control. If not controlled such heightened emotional states will also detract from an individual’s ability to co-ordinate or even to move.
It is common for the ‘victims’ of an attack to experience a state of mental confusion as they try to make sense of the situation and decide how to respond. Because a confrontation, especially a violent one is so out of the norm for the majority of the people and the emotional state is high the primitive survival responses of the person’s mind usually assume control. The Zenith system will focus on trained allowing the strongest and most natural habit to win through. Given the likelihood of emotional stress and mental confusion, in initial stages of training students should be taught techniques that are based on and take account of the body’s natural responses to particular attacks. For example, we lean forward slightly, send the hips back and close the legs when someone tries to kick us in the groin. A well thought out system will therefore have a single solution that applies to many problems rather than a unique solution for every situation.
Verbalisations and body language: It is the nature of confrontations that what is said and especially how it is said combined with body language can escalate or de-escalate a situation. The Zenith system will teach and encourage students to become more observant to their surroundings and how to notice body language and to ignore verbalisation that distract victims from pre-empting a possible attack and to defuse verbal abuse to stop or delay physical attack giving the victim time to think and plan responses or escape plans based on circumstances. It is important that if one is going to be attacked, that the attack not be a surprise as this places the defender at a significant psychological disadvantage.
Weapons: weapons may be present and one should not assume that because a weapon is not visible that the other person or persons are not unarmed. It is not uncommon for weapons to be produced during a physical attack. Further, a weapon does not have to be a knife, club or gun; any everyday object such as a chair, bottle, and billiard cue or a hot cup of coffee may be used. At Zenith Martial Arts we will instruct students on how to deal with this type of confrontation in terms of disarming an assailants to the use of everyday objects to use as weapons, barriers or constraints to support your defence if the circumstances dictate it.
Low-level assaults: It is no surprise that low-level confrontations (verbal exchange, pushing and/or grabbing) are more common than serious assaults. These are confrontations where a striking, locking or throwing response is excessive. Zenith will teach all students especially children to give these more common scenarios the attention it deserves, especially the verbal and body positioning skills and various stranger danger procedures required to defuse a situation.
Environment Training: Confrontation can happen anywhere and is notably chaotic it is essential that training incorporate this element. In addition students must be capable of assessing and making decisions with incomplete and ambiguous information. The stress of a chaotic situation should not unnecessarily heighten an already elevated emotional state. Student must be competent at executing techniques without complete freedom of action or by necessity a perfectly balanced position. Situation awareness and situation assessment training: The skill of knowing what is ‘going on’ and ‘what to do about it’ in a circumstance of potential threat and therefore stress. It includes the ability to perform an environmental scan and identify elements of the environment (objects and people) that may either be of assistance or pose an additional threat.
Reacting to situations of disadvantage: As the advantage is often (initially) with the aggressors, students must be trained in conditions that are not in their favour. Reacting instantly and spontaneously, fighting against multiple opponents and defending from positions of disadvantage is part of the Zenith system.
Fear management: An understanding and acceptance of fear as part of any confrontation must be instilled in students. Exposure to anxiety inducing activities during training will provide the student the opportunity to come to terms with fear and allow them to devise mechanisms for managing their own fears.
Role Playing Scenarios: will give the student the opportunity to experience the dynamics of a confrontation in a controlled environment. Such role-plays must within reason and safety include all elements of a real confrontation such as (bad) language, volume and tone of voice, hand and body actions, environmental factors etc. Such role-plays will allow the student the opportunity to practice situation awareness and assessment skills as well as tactical decision making in a situation of controlled stress.
Full Self-Defensive spectrum: As physical street confrontations may cover the full spectrum of body combat. The Zenith defensive system incorporates the following, from the standing position punching/striking, blocking, kicking, standing grappling, ground defence grappling (them up you down), ground fighting (you are both on the ground), weapon threat, weapon attack, multiple opponent attacks, throws and take downs, control and restraint techniques, and use of common objects as weapons. Weapons and multiple opponents are not necessarily present at the beginning of a confrontation. So all training and most especially any on the ground must be trained to accommodate the possible introduction of a weapon or other opponents mid-fight. Participants in close range grappling and ground fighting are particularly vulnerable to this possibility. Additionally, in conditions of poor visibility (due to poor lighting or physical chaos) all hand attacks should be treated as though they are weapon attacks (knife specifically). It is too much to ask a defender to discern an empty hand from one holding a knife.
The law as it applies to self-defence: to be socially responsible, the Zenith system will convey an understanding of the law of the land in respect of self-defence. When to use physical force and guidance as to the degree of physical force permissible given the circumstances.