What is the better way to teach self defense techniques?

Serious martial arts students and instructors only please. In a system that has about 100 self defense techniques to black belt, Is it better to teach many different techniques off similar grabs (i.e. arm bar, wrist lock, and shoulder lock off of a wrist grab) or teach one defense against each type of grab (i.e. wrist grab, shoulder grab, choke)? I want my students to get a well rounded system. I have done both types but I am trying to figure out what works best for the majority.

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6 Responses to What is the better way to teach self defense techniques?

  1. aikidowolf09 says:

    mix things up have them try different ways of escaping those techniques and just have them play with it. eventually the style will mold to the needs of the student.

  2. Shihan J says:

    you should break them down by rank level if you are creating a system just for self defense. to throw to much at a person at once will only confuse them and they will not learn much. breaking it down by different levels and in different groups (wrist grabs, should, chokes etc) will make it easy for them.
    also assigning names to each one (sdw1, sdw2, sds1) will make the system more organized.

    and final to be teaching you should hold a 3rd degree black belt rank in at least one style, to create your own system you should have been studying martial arts for a number of decades, not a few short years.
    if you had either one of these qualifications you would know the answer to this or at least have a better idea.
    martial arts is about self defense but there is a lot more to a system then just self defense techniques. you need to have some a structure for it to begin with and much more

  3. cunamo says:

    In my experience with teaching and being taught you always begin with the techniques that are easiest to learn; for example to could teach the defense against a regular punch and maybe a choke first, then if the class seems to pick up on that concept easily enough you could also teach them the arm bar in the same class. So in one class you would teach a couple easy techniques and one difficult technique. This is a solid rule because regardless of how experienced or tough your students are, and regardless of how quickly they learn they are in your class to learn all of your 100+ self defense moves. This includes the easy ones, so teaching them based on their skill level isn’t very effective because then the only moves they won’t know towards the end of their training will be the easy ones, and at that point it will be very frustrating to go back. Another reason that easy moves are taught first is because in self defense the advanced moves are usually built upon the easy moves: for instance you are taught to punch and block before you are taught to block, grab, lock, and break in one move. So honestly it isn’t important if any of the moves are related or not: get some paper and on one page write all of the moves (even the simple ones like a punch) down that you can think of and then on another page write them in order of difficulty to learn/apply with 1 being the easiest. If some moves are equally easy/difficult in your mind just put them in order of importance for self defense. This is a great teaching tool as well because you can type up your numbered list and hand it out to your students as a guideline for learning: this lets them know where they are at in their belt progression as well as gives them something to look forward to.
    Happy Training!

  4. Booyakasha says:

    I’ve found that each approach works well for different people. I think that keeping that variety will do the best for your students – since we all learn in different ways. The fact that you already try to show similarities between different techniques in your lessons tell me that you are trying harder to teach a good class than many that I’ve worked with – at least those who just do random techniques.

  5. shootersway says:

    Start off with a compliant partner that goes with you and allows you to work the technique.

    When the technique can be done swiftly and smoothly have the partner resist as hard as possible .Variations will then become apparent as you adapt to resistance.

  6. Bujinkan Ninja says:

    Start them off with easy basic techniques and work them up. Do not only teach them techniques, but also teach the the principle. For example, in omote gyaku (outside wrist lock) the principle is that if you turn their wrist that way… it’s gonna hurt. You don’t have to perform the technique exactly to get it to work as long as you know the principle. Give them certain scenarios in which they defend against different attacks. This way they get used to improvising and flowing in and out of different techniques. Hope this helps.

    As for how you teach the techniques, demonstrate one technique and have them partner up and practice it while you supervise them correcting their mistakes. Once they’ve all practiced at several times, show another technique and do the same thing.

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