Quite often we see the glamour and excitement of self defence routines usually at tournaments and exhibitions. They are usually unrealistic and cloud the student’s perspective on the reality of self defence. But that is OK if it is done purely for entertainment value and creativity. However, the opinion of the few Instructors, who are skilled in Reality Based Self Defence, will agree they have a duty of care to their students. What concerns me is the ‘wow’ look on some of the unwary students’ faces. The truth is, it is only the most simple and effective techniques with a good base of street knowledge, will work.
Most Instructors are not aware what they teach will actually work in a hostile environment. Jack Nicholson’s quote from ‘A Few Good Men’ – “you can’t handle the truth” is what I want to say to those who bombard their students with Walt Disney techniques. This can prove dangerous to the student who believes they are ready to do battle. God help anybody who thinks they can defend against a knife. However, the good news is martial arts is not just all about self defence and that is probably why, in this day and age living in a more passive society, most martial arts schools do not have to prove themselves. I don’t believe this blog will offend anyone because I have no doubt evey Instructor believes what they teach will work and that might be the problem. A good Instructor either has the experience or will seek training from an expert and then might reassess the self defence component of their art. I, like some others, have the experience, through many misfortunes of coming into contact with bad elements in the past. Although, this may give me the right to say I am qualified, I still seek training from the experts because there is always more to learn.
This does not negate the fact we have very good Instructors and schools but I believe the importance of this subject is to ensure students are aware. Next time you see a demo, enjoy it for the entertainment, and clap as loud you want. But as far as being practical, ‘if it’s looks too good to be true, then it can’t be true.