Monday, March 17, 2008

Martial Arts and Street Self Defense

The martial arts interest me, and they always have. As a youngster I collected ads for martial arts courses from comic books and old Popular Science magazines. I pored over them, looking for variations the way some kids did with their stamp collections.

I did not enroll in an actual martial arts class until I was 48 years old. Then I learned 3 valuable lessons about martial arts:
  1. Martial arts training is not a magic bullet; it is hard work;
  2. Regardless of what various proponents claim, the primary purpose of the Eastern arts is to teach the Buddhist version of morality and self-control (see "Martial Art as Way");
  3. Some of the most effective techniques have been excised from the curriculum of the majority martial arts schools (because of liability, perhaps).
If you think about it, martial means military. Properly, martial arts should be training in close quarters combat (CQC), not civilian self defense. The main objective of such training is to eliminate the enemy with one's bare hands. Period.

Thus, most "martial" arts are, in reality, civilian arts. (There are exceptions.) I'm not saying that martial arts training isn't useful. It can be quite useful, BUT you must learn to discern which skills and techniques are transferable to an actual street confrontation and which might put you in jeopardy of your life.

More on this, later.
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