This is Krav Maga, Not Self-Defense

Two different perspectives on the same event, inspired by John Zimmer’s post on Kung Fu and self-defense…

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Adira walked down the street, wearing a comfortable summer ensemble: tank-top, shorts, and flip-flops. Twenty yards ahead, she spotted two idle and suspicious men sitting quietly. To a Krav Maga expert of her status, they were no concern. She casually walked past them.

Suddenly, the nearest man lunged forward. Continue reading This is Krav Maga, Not Self-Defense

The Martial Artist’s View of Freedom

You’ll never know what freedom really means, until you’ve been pinned against the wall with no hope for escape.

Google defines freedom as “the condition of being free; the power to act or speak or think without externally imposed restraints.” Popular culture and public schools promote this childlike view of freedom, wherein our supposed inherent rights are actually another person’s liabilities. Continue reading The Martial Artist’s View of Freedom

Free Self-Defense Lessons From Jerry Springer

Jerry Springer

Years before The Ultimate Fighter and pay-per-view MMA specials, talk-show host Jerry Springer pioneered “reality” fighting entertainment.

While Jerry Springer’s talk show environment is obviously somewhat contrived, his guests’ fighting technique is in other respects spontaneous and natural. So how do the lessons taught in the average martial arts dojo compare to combat performances on Jerry Springer?

Dojo Fantasy: There are no rules in a real fight.
Jerry Springer Reality: Continue reading Free Self-Defense Lessons From Jerry Springer

Xingyi And The Myth of The Defensive Martial Art

Around a decade ago, I attended a seminar with a famous Shanxi Xingyiquan master. Aggressive and direct, Xingyi is one of the few boxing arts known to have been used in preparation for organized warfare. Its emphasis on straightforward practicality was combined with enough subtlety to earn a reputation as one of the original Chinese “internal” martial arts.

After the seminar was over, I bought a T-shirt to commemorate the occasion. According to the text on the back of my new shirt, I was now an unofficial member of “The International Association of Defensive Martial Arts”.

Nevermind that we had spent the last 6 hours eviscerating each other with spears, sabers and bayonets, metaphorically speaking. Nevermind that, according to the principles of Xingyi and all other respectable combat arts, the use of purely defensive techniques is forbidden. Despite all this, in public, we were expected to present ourselves as practitioners of self-defense. Not offense. Continue reading Xingyi And The Myth of The Defensive Martial Art

92 Year-Old Woman Disarms a Mugger

Pauline Jacobi had just finished her grocery shopping at a Memphis Wal-Mart, when an uninvited guest entered her car. “Give me your money,” he demanded, “or I’ll shoot you.” Undaunted, Polly gave him more than he asked for… Continue reading 92 Year-Old Woman Disarms a Mugger

These Tough Guys Did Martial Arts…For Health

Do you know how martial artists spell irony? R-B-S-D.

RBSD, or reality-based self-defense, is a blanket term for martial arts training that purports to focus on practical applications. In truth, however, these applications—gross motor skills such as the straight punch and Thai-style knee strike—can only be deemed “practical” within a fiat-based reality.

Reality as measured by the CDC is strikingly different. Among the leading causes of death in 2005, assault ranks in 15th place—behind heart disease, diabetes, and a host of other illnesses. In the USA, death by suicide is 50% more common than homicide. Statistically speaking, influenza is far deadlier than any fatigue-clad RBSD play-warrior, or the threats they would prepare you to face.

Despite the indisputable fact that sickness is the greatest danger to the average person, martial arts for health have somehow earned a bad reputation. Continue reading These Tough Guys Did Martial Arts…For Health

Analyzing The James T. Kirk Fighting Method

Captain James T. Kirk vs. Gorn

In the year 2266, captain and crew of the USS Enterprise embarked upon a thrilling mission, to make out with sexy female aliens. After encountering significant resistance from angry male aliens, Captain James T. Kirk developed a unique hand-to-hand fighting method.

With trademark moves such as the flying flop-kick, Judo chop and double-fisted hammer attack, Kirk triumphed over his scaly, bug-like adversaries. But will his method work for you? Read our analysis to find out. Continue reading Analyzing The James T. Kirk Fighting Method

The Unwritten Rules of Mixed Martial Arts

Last week, we considered the evolution of mixed martial arts, specifically:

How do we define the ecosystem of mixed martial arts? Where are its boundaries?

The most obvious boundaries of MMA are its official competition rules. Techniques carrying the highest risk of injury are typically banned:

  • Headbutting
  • Eye gouging
  • Hair pulling
  • Biting
  • Fish-hooking
  • Attacking the groin
  • Striking the back of the head, or spine
  • Striking the trachea

Significant as they are, these explicit rules do not fully capture the difference between a sporting event and a “martial art” (when conventionally defined as an art of life and death, killing and self-preservation). The majority of rules governing MMA fights are implicit. Continue reading The Unwritten Rules of Mixed Martial Arts

Five Reasons Why Sitting Meditation is the Ultimate Self-Defense

5) Personal protection experts agree: “the best defense is not being there” when trouble starts. If you are sitting at home meditating, then you obviously aren’t there.

Cung Le kicks Frank Shamrock
Cung Le kicks Frank Shamrock

4) Some expert fighters, such as Cung Le, throw punishing high kicks. Sitting down renders you completely invulnerable to these kicks! They will sail right over your head, missing you completely. Continue reading Five Reasons Why Sitting Meditation is the Ultimate Self-Defense

James Barton’s Virtuous Science of Self-Defense

James Barton writes in,

I thought that you might be interested in the alternative martial art that I am developing. It is quite unusual and has a strong focus on character improvement. I would value your questions, comments and criticisms.

Readers, I encourage you to visit the Virtue Science website, read some of James’ material, and formulate your own opinions before proceeding to my commentary below. Continue reading James Barton’s Virtuous Science of Self-Defense