Working my usual weekend gig as a bouncer in a night club an attractive blond approaches me and asks if I can walk her though the club because 15 minutes before a male grabbed her arm a told her that she had to dance with him. She refused and pulled away; the male grabbed her harder then pulling her to the dance floor, lucky for her another bouncer spotted this and took care of her problem. I decide to give her my business card TACT SELF DEFENSE it reads, she tells me that she as a brown belt in the martial arts but everything she’s learned, she couldn’t remember and just blanked out. I tell her that this is normal, it is the effects of adrenaline. Most self defense programs do not think about these effects when training some one that is why 95% of self defense programs do not work and will get you hurt or killed. I proceed to tell her most of my clients are martial artists or had some type of self-defense training in the past, she nods in agreement, understanding what I mean. The next day she gives me a call for self-defense training.
That is a very high percentage and considering many people still believe in these systems, thinking they are effective, this also includes “reality based systems" or “no holds barred" people need to be educated. It is amazing what is being taught out there in self defense schools, joint locks, cross legged arm bars which require you to go on the ground. I have seen self defense instructors teach students to kick to the head or grapple with an attacker, step here, turn this way, twist his wrist that way. Bottom line to many movements to remember, which are to complicated to work for ANYONE in a high stress situation of a violent street attack.
You are being lied to, ripped off of your hard-earned money and given a false sense of security. What is being taught is to complicated to even work for a seasoned martial artist. It’s like going to culinary school and your instructor has never cooked or even turned on an oven before, how is he supposed to know how to make the meal, let alone teach you. Unfortunately people who have trained in these self-defense programs learn in horror after being assaulted the hard truth. Most self-defense instructors also do not understand the effects of adrenaline and how it affects the mind, or motor skill performance. Top it off most instructors have not even been in a violent street confrontation so how would they know what to do?
Many systems use joint locks and pressure points that require years of training to properly execute. Some techniques even when applied properly to someone who has an unusual amount of joint flexibility or high pain tolerance such as someone high on drugs will not work. A lot of self defense techniques also have to be altered to work if environments change such as being in a small space or if there is snow on the ground causing slippery conditions. Think someone is going to remember all that while they are being attacked. I don’t think so.
Here are some tips on finding a realistic self defense program
* Pick an instructor who is average or small in build they will focus on leverage techniques not on there strength, that is important if you are small or a woman.
* Make sure you check your instructor’s credentials, ask to see his black belt certificate it will state what federation he is under and when he got it. If the instructor says he doesn’t have one than he’s a fake. There are a lot of people who will watch self defense instructional tapes or train in the martial arts get an orange belt and start up a school. Anyone can go to a store a buy a black belt.
* Do you wear loose clothing and are barefoot when you train and wear protective gear? Conditions completely different from the streets. If you answered yes find a new self-defense program. Training should be as real as possible or be condition stimulus training. While training wear clothing that you wear when you go out, not gym pants, this includes shoes or boots. This will give you a realistic feel on how to move.
* Do you train under situation specific scenarios, do they have to change if your attacker does something different or if he does this than do that? And then you ask what if he does this question making everything to hard to remember and confusing
* Do methods consider every type of enviroment? Street, bus, rain, living room in confined spaces.
* Can you perform these techniques even if you are injured?
* Do these self defense methods require constant practice and you have to separate techniques for empty hand, weapons or multiple attackers. Bottom line techniques should be quick and easy to remember.
* Training should be focused equally in physical techniques and mindset conditioning.
How you train is how you will respond in the real world, training should be as real as possible so you can get out alive. Stay safe.
Norm Bettencourt is the founder of TACT Self Defense which specializes in crime prevention, self defense education & combat tactics for mind, body & spirit. For more information go to http://www.tactselfdefense.com