I trained many years in Kung Fu, fought in full contact competitions and am a qualified instructor at The Combat Academy in the UK. The aim of this blog is to look at what modern self-defense training actually is and what it most probably should be.
One of the things often overlooked in self-defense training is developing the use of your voice to help in a self-defense situation.
Yes. It may seem a bit odd but training to use your voice in the correct way is an essential tool in controlling a possibly violent situation.
If trained specifically and in isolation, it can have a positive effect on all aspects of any training system. This is because it has a direct route to increasing confidence and with increased confidence you,
breath better under pressure
you have better self-control
because you have a higher level of control, you have a clearer focus and deal better with the tunnel vision that pressure brings
project a more all-round confident persona which can affect your assailant’s belief in their own ability to carry out an assault
If you look around at various blogs about self-defense or ask certain people with experience of fighting. They, in the end, tend to end up saying the same thing. Don’t fight if you can at all avoid it. Why? Where is the tough man attitude that says winner takes all and I’m the main man?
The reason this tends to be stated is that a real fight or Self-Defense situation is so chaotic and unpredictable that anyone with enough experience knows that it is better to avoid it if you can. The gung ho attitude of youth is replaced with a more philosophical view based on the experience of seeing many things go wrong and many situations that start easy, end up being ridiculously difficult and dangerous.
A dose of reality
This is a quote from Kelly McCann asking his uncle, a world war two veteran, about the reality of combat and the answer came as a bit of a surprise to him.
“So what was closing with the enemy like?” I asked. “I mean, how did it sort out on the battlefield? How’d you pick a particular Jap to go after, and how did each of them target a Marine?” Johnny picked up his glass and looked away, clearing his throat. “It’s not like that; it’s a collision. It’s like the worst goddamned bar fight you can imagine—but to the death. It’s chaos.”
McCann, Kelly. Combatives for Street Survival: Volume 1: Index Positions, the Guard and Combatives Strikes (p. 2). Independent Publishers Group. Kindle Edition.
Boxing is one of the oldest and well known of the Traditional” martial arts. Its a huge spectator sport in the modern world and was, at one time, something taught as the go-to self-defence in many countries. It was taught in school in the UK and in the United States and has a great tradition in Ireland whether in bare-knuckle boxing or gloved.
But how is boxing useful as Self-Defense in the modern world?
If you can make time to train in boxing technique, it can be very very useful when defending yourself, because,
You train to develop concussive punching power
Boxing sparring is one of the most realistic forms of sparring available
In boxing, the emphasis is on training to improve speed and reflexes, crucial skills when you are under a violent attack
The development of good footwork in boxing training helps with balance, evasion and creating counter strike angles
Boxing training is one of the best ways to get fit
Most people training in any form of combat sports or Self-Defense systems end up taking part in sparring sessions. It’s an important part of training but very often it’s not really made clear as to why you are actually doing it in the first place. So let’s have a look at it and see what it does for you and how important it is to have it as part of any modern self-defense training system.
What actually is sparring?
Sparring is the process of ( generally ) two opponents attacking each other to test out their combat skills under various levels of constraints and safety procedures.
In boxing, sparring is usually done with larger gloves, head guards and groin protection. It normally has time limits and someone checking what is happening.
In martial arts, like the Kung Fu I trained in, we would wear gum shields, often shin pads and gloves.
What is common in both types of training, is that the levels of power and aggression are often checked back to avoid serious injuries. In martial arts training more so, normally, than boxing, but this can depend on the skill level and whether it is professional or amateur.