The majority of training in martial arts or any self defense system is spent working on techniques with the body’s natural weapons. This could be the legs, the arms, the head, the teeth. Anything that you have at your natural disposal.
Normally there would also be some weapon training and defense against weapon training. There isn’t normally much work done on improvised weapons, so let’s have a look at what that could be and if it is any use.
It’s something worth looking at, as anyone with any experience will tell you, someone attacking you would have no problem with picking up the nearest object and hitting you with it. Especially if they thought they could beat you when using it. So it makes sense that you might well do the same.
Firstly I would like to point out a common issue with some weapons, not strictly improvised ones, people may carry for self-defense. These could be a spray, a knife maybe or a kubotan stick. The issue is, that if you don’t practice the use of the weapon you are carrying, then it could actually be worse than using your body’s weapons.
Because when fight or flight kicks in and you are full of adrenalin, if you haven’t trained in what to do, you could fail. Your weapon could be concealed and the actual process of getting the weapon out is quite a fine motor skill.
Under pressure, this is a skill that could fail.
How many times have we seen videos of police officers struggling to take out their pistol when under pressure ? And this is something they train constantly to perfect.
So if you are planning to carry something that you can use legally, you must train to use it. This also applies to an improvised weapon.
A further look at Psychological techniques in Self-Defense
In a previous article, I looked at the use of psychology in Self-Defense and also the use of the voice as part of that strategy. Let’s have a more in-depth look at certain aspects of the use of psychology as a self- defense tool.
Maslow and the pyramid of needs is a good starting point when it comes to looking at psychology as part of self-defense training. This can give you a clear view of how you would really react in a violent confrontation and what type of training could help.
Where you are in the heirarchy
So, for argument’s sake,you are 40 years old and you work 9 hours a day in an office on a very good salary. You spend most of the time on the computer, you eat well and most of your life was spent studying and you are essentially a family person and not particularly very sporty.
It would be a huge ask then, if you were attacked by a young man of about 20 of athletic build and looks like he lives on nothing but Red Bull, for you to all of a sudden become the incredible Hulk and defend yourself with ferocity. If he ambushed you as well, he would be holding all the aces. The reality of what is happening may well look something like this,
Let’s have a look in a bit more detail how attacks to the legs, by kicking, can be a very powerful weapon in Self-Defense.
The area most attacked in a typical violent robbery or confrontation, is the head and rightly so. It’s the shortest route to incapacitating an opponent if done well. So what tends to happen is there is an all out free for all, with swings to the head, hoping something will land. It’s the go to attack as many videos on Youtube show.
But what about kicking?
The problem with kicking, even if you are very good at it, is that it often isn’t very effective in the melee of a real street fight. It is difficult to execute and you can easily lose your balance, making you vulnerable to counter attacks. Plus, on top of that, it uses up more energy than other techniques and you can tire quickly, especially with extra adrenaline pumping round your system. It’s draining. But in spite of all of that, they can be effective, if you keep the attacks below waist height. Kicking to the legs can be a nasty surprise for your opponent as it is a form of attack that is unexpected.
Most people, whether they are involved in Martial Arts or not, have heard of the UFC ( Ultimate Fighting Championship ) or mixed martial arts. It’s the latest fashion in combat competitions and designed to test someones all round martial arts skills. Boxing still pulls in huge audiences but it doesn’t have the variety of skills necessary to master mixed martial art competitions.
But is it something useful in everyday street self-defense?
The argument for yes is that you learn a range of exceptional skills, stamina and toughness that an average person simply doesn’t have. So if you ended up in a physical confrontation you could dominate with ease and your opponent would be in serious trouble.
Alternatively, the argument for no, is that this very same skill level and the sense of confidence it brings can land you in serious trouble as your awareness levels and thinking skills take second place. This can put you in dangerous situations that you could have avoided in environments beyond your control, where there are no rules and no sense of honour.