Comparisons and Contrasts of the fighting methods of Combat Sports, Traditional Martial Arts and Authentic Self Defense Training.
Many months ago I said I was going to compare these combat methods but never got to it so here it is. When people sign up for TMA, MMA, etc, the general first assumption is they are being taught "self-defense". While some elements of TMA and MMA has some carry over to self-defense they are INCOMPLETE for self defense. I won't get into the lack of verbal self-defense, survivor's mindset, or confrontation management, etc because I already mentioned this in a earlier blog post so I am focusing on only the fighting methods on this post.
Traditional Martial Arts was created during times of war in the ancient days and contain many combat techniques that are very destructive such as tiger claw to the eyes, side kick to the knees, neck breaking, front kick to the balls, etc. However they also teach techniques that are FAR TOO COMPLEX for 95 percent of regular folks under a adrenalized state. Because of these overly complex techniques it also take far too long to master them all. A typical TMA such as Karate will take an average of 10 years to master and make use of in a fight. Most people in bad neighborhoods do not have that kind of luxury of time to train. The training should have you ready to fight within 4 to 6 months and mastery of the basics should take no longer than 1 year tops. The overly complex fighting techniques often requires a ton of flexibility, athletic ability, high coordination as well as fine motor skills that you won't have access to under high levels of stress and adrenaline making them useless in real life.
Weapons training in TMA are outdated and don't apply to today's modern weaponry and technology. When was the last time a thug came at you with a Katana, a Chinese broadsword, a spear, butterfly knives, or some nunchucks? What is the chance you can legally conceal carry these? These are not the modern weapons of todays times and while it may be fun to swing around a nunchuck you are not likely going to defend against one nor are you going to be able to legally carry a nunchuck in public places so such training is a waste of time. Some weapons of todays times include kubotans, tactical pens, a baseball bat, handguns, tactical folding knives, black jacks, stun guns, pepper sprays, military knives such as the Kabar or Fairbairn Fighting Knife, pen knives, machetes, beer bottles, a broken metal pipe, a crowbar, and so on. If you're going to train weapons then train for weapons of todays times.
The training methods of TMA are either incomplete or ineffective. Katas and forms practice to learn technique and principles are a complete waste of time. You can learn technique much faster and more directly by practicing on partners, shadowboxing, on bags and training dummies, and sparring. Teaching combat principles can be done through oral lectures, demonstrations, writing theory books, or drawing charts and tables on a whiteboard. Some TMA drills such as chi sao or hubud to learn attributes, technique or principles are also time wasters (There are too many TMA drills to address on a blog post.). Many of the principles and techniques can be learned much quicker in sparring and in the case of learning sensitivity, the fastest and most realistic way to learn this is by grappling. Another big problem with TMA is often a lack of sparring. Some schools out there don't allow sparring at all. Other schools permit sparring but make it unrealistic by not making contact, pulling strikes, and not allowing certain techniques such as leg kicks and throws. While certain blows should be pulled such as a knife hand to the throat you need to train with realism such as putting on protective gear and spar with hard full contact. To learn to swim you have to jump in the water and swim. To learn fighting you HAVE TO put on the gear and spar. You cannot learn to fight if you don't practice fighting.
Now I will admit that combat sports like Muay Thai, Boxing, and BJJ have been effective in street fights that are one on one, unarmed, fist fights as I have seen this on videos of fights and I recommend combat sports as supplemental training to develop attributes and to toughen up from the full contact training. That said, combat sports training by itself is INCOMPLETE as a fighting method because they most of the time only focus on winning particular tournaments according to the rules of the particular style they are training. In reality there are no rules besides rules of engagement and use of force laws so if your goal is self defense then you have to train accordingly. This no rules paradigm changes the way you need to train and what techniques you need to use.
As an example, boxing punches are great and need to be practiced for variety in offense but truth be told if you're not a heavyweight pro boxer such as a small size man or a 95lb middle aged woman than boxing punches will not be damaging enough against a larger and stronger assailant or rapist. Your techniques must do immediate damage without great strength or tremendous hitting power. Some excellent examples of authentic self defense techniques would be a knee to the balls, jamming your thumbs into the eyes, grabbing and ripping off an ear, palm strike uppercut below and up the jaw (AKA the chin jab), striking a knife hand to the throat, grabbing and crushing the windpipe, smacking the ears, etc. The above mentioned sample techniques are what you should emphasize in a streetfight against some drunken asshole during a house party for example. Boxing punches, round kicks to the legs, double leg takedowns should be secondary techniques to SUPPLEMENT your primary self defense techniques. Sport fighting techniques are add ons as you advance in training and build skill in fighting. Also most fights start face to face in close quarters range while MMA, and Kickboxing starts at long range. If you're going to excel at any range then let it be at close range (Sometimes called trapping range). Most combat sports don't address close range fighting and MMA makes the mistake of trying to cruise right through close quarters range to attempt either a clinch or a takedown. Very few people know how to fight in trapping range but this is the most barbaric range to fight in. Face bites, spitting to the eyes, headbutts, low punches to the balls, clawing the eyes, setting up throws, etc are some of the many techniques you can use in close range combat. Many of these close quarters tools also work wonders on the ground and when supplemented/combined with positional fighting from BJJ you can VERY EASILY counter most BJJ holds and finishing moves with close quarters techniques. It is also important to point out that most combat sports will not prepare you for multiple attackers or unarmed defense against weapons because most combat sports gyms do not address this AT ALL.
Now when you begin your self defense training the first techniques you learn will be gross motor skills that you can use under high levels of adrenaline and stress. The techniques are easy to learn and requires minimal maintenance once learned and are VERY DESTRUCTIVE WITHOUT NEEDING TREMENDOUS STRENGTH OR HITTING POWER. In self defense training, your selected techniques you will learn will do immediate damage to assure your escaping a violent encounter. Another big difference of these fighting methods is the fighting objectives. In traditional oriental martial arts the focus is on fighting to kill your enemy (just read up classical japanese texts written by old time samurai such as the book of five rings or Hagakure) this training aim will land you in prison unless you're in the military training for war. Combat Sports focuses only on winning tournament fights within the rules of the sport. In self defense your goal is not to win a fight to feed your ego. Your goal in fighting in self defense is to hurt or stun the bad guy just enough to buy you enough time to ESCAPE THE FIGHT and secure yourself somewhere safe before you report the violent crime to the police.
As you progress in training, you will be introduced to full contact sparring to develop your skill in techniques, toughen up and learn how to fight for real with some combat sports techniques introduced as add on secondary skills and sport drills to supplement your training. Now another thing that separates combat sports and authentic self defense training is although both use shadowboxing and sparring, self defense training takes it one step further by including full contact scenario training to add more reality and condition one to stress and adrenaline. Look at it as full contact sparring with simulated confrontations added before the physical fighting starts and the use of a lot of abusive language to induce fear and stress similar to what you will feel in real life. Self defense fighting methods also include fighting against multiple attackers and unarmed defense against modern day weapons. Another missing link in most unarmed combat methods today.
More comparisons and contrasts can be made such as how real self defense teaches you how to fight with modern weapons such as using a chair as a weapon or a stun gun but the above mentioned is enough to make my point clear.
Until next time,
Certified Self Defense Trainer
Certified Personal Trainer
Certified Martial Arts Fitness Instructor
P.S. I you need a self defense weapon, I sell modern self defense weapons such as Kubotans, stun guns, and pepper sprays. Text me at 787-464-1199 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
In strength and fitness training you need to be as holistic and functional as possible. To do this you need to combine as many fitness training methods as possible. The National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) has come up with the concept of Integrated Training. For a holistic workout it is crucial to combine as many methods of training as possible. NASM has mentioned 8 components of fitness training and they are as follows:
Till next time,
Ricky, Certified Self-Defense Trainer, Certified Personal Trainer
Every system of unarmed combat has basic hand to hand combat techniques that forms the foundation in the respective systems of combat and my system is no different. When I teach a introductory lesson to my students and I get to the part of introducing the student to combat techniques, I teach what I now call "The Fundamental Five". As a personal preference, I prefer teaching and practicing techniques that are easy to learn, VERY DESTRUCTIVE in combat, will cause IMMEDIATE DAMAGE, requires minimal maintenance, and are easy to remember under high stress. The following are the five basic techniques I teach:
Until next time,
Ricky, Certified Personal Trainer, Certified Self Defense Trainer
Today a lot of people have this idea that self-defense is only fight training, complex martial arts, and more and more so, the belief that combat sports is self-defense. When people talk about self-defense these days, they often relate to sports fighters. Contrary to popular opinion, self-defense is not only fight training and it sure as heck is not combat sports, at least not by itself. Many traditional oriental martial arts are far too complex to be used under a high stress situation and takes far too long to master. A typical oriental martial art takes about 10 years to complete the training and most people in bad areas do not have that kind of luxery to train for that long plus you will need to have a very high level of inner calm under a highly adrenalized state that requires a high level of real world fighting experience (Note: Sports fighting experience is NOT real world fighting experience). And combat sports, while good for advanced training after mastering the foundations of self-defense and while the training methods do improve fighting attributes that have SOME carry over to real life fighting, it only addresses fighting and even then, combat sports fighting methods is INCOMPLETE for real life fighting.
With that mentioned, there are far too many subjects besides fighting that combat sports and traditional martial arts don't even address at all. For Example:
This list is not even a complete list but will give you a picture as to what REAL self-defense training is supposed to be. The goals and training methods are not the same. While I do advocate combat sports training, I only advocate it as supplemental training as a add on once you have your foundations in at least the basics of self defense. If you're goal is to defend yourself then you should be focusing on basic self-defense training. Not combat sports or traditional martial arts. I know this may ruffle some feathers but quite frankly, I don't care. My concern is in saving lives from violent assaults and when false information is being spread that can get people killed then I have to call it out. On my next article I will compare and contrast the fighting methods (specifically addressing the fighting aspects) between traditional martial arts, combat sports, and authentic self-defense training and what the big differences are. If you need training, you can sign up for The Complete Self-Defense System or if you are nearby the Mayaguez, Puerto Rico area, you can sign up for one on one private lessons with me.
Please, train honestly and stay safe!!
Ricky, Certified Self-Defense Trainer
If I only had limited time to train, meaning only one day a week for only 15 to 20 minutes at a time because of a very busy lifestyle then which kick would I practice? The answer would be the knee kick. The knee kick is a low side kick that is thrown to a opponents knee with the intention to break the knee and destroy the opponents balance and footwork.
This kick is easy to learn, easy to maintain, and does not require tons of practice to develop. To learn it all you need is a solid surface to practice hitting. A tree is good, a brick or concrete wall is good, and even a freestanding heavybag would work. The knee kick can hit either the front or the side of the knee to break the leg. You can also kick the back of the knee to fold the leg down then follow up from behind with a chokehold. Besides breaking the knee, the low side kick can also be thrown at the shin as a pain shot and you can follow up by scraping the shin with your foot then stomping down onto the bad guys foot to break the small bones in his foot.
Come try to practice the knee kick a few times and see for yourself how really easy it is to learn!!
Until next time,
Ricky, NPTI-CPT, FSI Certified Self Defense Trainer
In today's article I will be talking about my 5 favorite fighting techniques. These techniques are simple to do, easy to learn, and are very destructive. They are as follows:
1- The Knife Hand: A very versatile attacking tool. This technique can be thrown to any part of the body and do immediate damage. The Knife Hand can be thrown at many angles and at many combinations. The Knife Hand can be thrown at high line, mid line, and low line levels and can easily be mixed in with other strikes. The Knife Hand is my personal favorite technique.
2- The Chin Jab: The Chin Jab is a heel palm strike thrown in a uppercut like movement at close range. This strike has a high chance of scoring a one hit knockout and could cause whiplash on the neckbone area. This strike can be mixed up with other close range strikes including a knee strike to the balls or a tiger claw eye gouge. If you are out of range to use a Chin Jab then you can use a straight foward palm heel strike at long range in combinations to the face or any part of the skull.
3- The Knee Kick/ AKA Low Side Kick: This kick is my personal favorite!! It is a lowline kick that is directed to either the knee or the shin. It is VERY EASY to perform under stress. Simply move into a body bladed position, cock the lead leg then thrust forward in a stomp like fashion landing the heel of your foot into the knee plus driving through the target.
4- The Ear Slap: This is a excellent striking technique that can be used at longer range or up close in close range. Smacking the ears with a cupped shaped hand position can disorient or stun a would be attacker which will stop his attack. Also this technique can blow out his eardrums damaging his ability to hear. You don't necessarily need to hit both ears with a double ear slap, just one hand to one ear should suffice and produce enough damage to buy you time to escape the attack.
5- The Straight Blast: A Chinese martial arts technique that comes from the Wing Chun style of Chinese Kung Fu (From the classical oriental arts, I feel that Chinese Kung Fu and Japanese Jujutsu has some of the best hand to hand techniques out there) The Straight Blast is also known as Chain Punching or Jik Chun Choi in Chinese. Now this technique is a advanced technique and although simple to perform and easy to learn, you first need to build a basic foundation in basic fighting skills in striking in the long, middle, and close ranges to make this technique work (You can build this basic foundation by training with me and mastering my basic self-defense curriculum or you can learn this online when you sign up for The Complete Self-Defense System)
What I love about this technique is that it bridges the gap between long range to close range. This technique when properly set up will force a opponent to go from offensive to purely defense because of the forward pressure and rapid fire punching. Once you are in close range, you can follow up with close quarters combat techniques such as a headbutt, a elbow strike, or grab the head and knee him in the face scoring a knockout. You can learn about these techniques when you sign up for my one on one self defense private lessons at my home gym or whenever you sign up for The Complete Self-Defense System online. Train diligently and stay safe!!
Till next time,
Certified Self-Defense Trainer
When you are training and preparing for violent situations, you got your primary training which would be practicing your basic self-defense skills and fighting techniques, sparring, scenario training, etc, but you also have your supplemental training which includes strength and sports conditioning training, speed and agility training, psychological skills and mindset training, body conditioning, etc. Today we are going to talk about body conditioning.
The purpose of body conditioning training is to toughen up the body, improve your pain tolerance, and harden your bones to reduce chances of injury such as breaking your hands, etc. Let's start with some basic hand conditioning. Your hand is made up of many small bones which can break if you punch a guy on let's say, the top of his skull. To make your punches strong and to begin conditioning your hands, start with punching a heavybag with bare fists. Punching the heavy bag with your bare hands will toughen your hands, teach you to maintain skeletal alignment and help you learn to prevent spraining your wrists whenever you punch a hard bony surface whenever you hit a human body. Other ways to condition your hands would be to practice palm strikes on a hard surface like a brick wall (softly at first then gradually build power as you continue your practice) or you can practice your knifehand softly on a brick or on a hard floor surface (again start soft!!).
Other bones to condition would be your forearms and your shins. Your forearms will take a beating during an exchange of punches and blows because some of the punches may land on your arms during a fight so it is important to toughen up your arms. One way to toughen your forearms is to hit them softly into a hard surface such as a brick wall or a dense heavybag. If you have a Wing Chun dummy then you can also work your forearms by hitting them softly into the wooden dummy arms. Shin conditioning is a staple practice among Thai Boxers to prepare their shins to take leg kicks, to use the shins as kicking weapons, and for blocking leg kicks. You can toughen up your shins by kicking a dense heavybag repeatedly or if you have one, by kicking softly a banana tree (a traditional Thai training method).
Also, the torso needs to be conditioned to take a beating. One good drill to work at is taking hits from a focus mitt to the chest/pecs and abdomen. Take care to not strike the vulnerable parts of your torso such as your spinal column, solar plexus, sternum, clavicle, etc. Another great form of body conditioning of your torso is doing abdominal exercises such as crunches, reverse crunches, etc.
So there you go, some basic ideas to condition and toughen up your body. Train diligently and stay safe!!
Certified Self-Defense Trainer
In the martial arts today many systems or styles have turned into a sport and focus heavily on competition. As a result, much of the training focus is on sporting technique and athleticism. While that is all fine and dandy, these sports are not optimized for self-defense nor hand to hand combat. Sport fighting techniques lack destructiveness or the capacity to do immediate damage. Ideally the techniques your practice should be destructive, easy to learn, easy to maintain with minimal practice time and should do immediate damage per each blow. If your goal is self defense then you should focus on techniques that are potential fight stoppers (what I call finishing moves) and the training method of practicing your techniques on dummies (so you can strike aggressively and with hitting power without holding back or fear of injuring someone in practice.
In this article I am going to mention a few examples of finishing moves that are not often taught or practiced frequently in sport martial arts. This will not be a comprehensive list, only a few examples. If you want more info on more destructive self-defense techniques then sign up for The Complete Self-Defense System.
1- Side Kick- A very underutilized technique that is fast and very powerful. Could be thrown to the shin to cause pain or better yet to the kneecap to dislocate the leg and take out the footwork.
2- Ear Slap- Another very destructive technique. You strike the ear with a cupped hand blowing out the ear drum and disorient a attacker as a result.
3- The Finger Jab- A Gung Fu technique where you position you hand and fingers in a spear tip shape and thrust your fingers into the eye or throat.
4- The Knife Hand- One of the most underutilized techniques ever!! This amazing technique is very destructive yet also very versatile. This strike will do damage to any part of the body and can be thrown at many angles and combinations.
This is a small example of fighting techniques optimized for your self-defense goals.
Family Safety and Self-Defense Institute Certified Self Defense Trainer.
Ps If you are in the west Puerto Rico area I can introduce you to the basics of self defense in a free 1 hour private lesson.
There are many training methods out there from the martial arts and the self defense industries. While all of them have some merit, a realistic and practical self defense program for the average joe should utilize training methods that could develop your skills fast!! One training method according to The Family Safety and Self Defense Institute and implemented by Total Fighting Self Defense here in Mayaguez, Puerto Rico as the primary training method is training on practice dummies. There are various types of training dummies but the two preferred dummies by The Family Safety and Self Defense Institute are the heavy bag and the BOB training dummy. If you don't have access to either of these two or can't afford either one than a pillow will suffice (to practice your strikes). There are many benefits for practicing on training dummies and they are as follows:
1- Many avg Joes don't have access to training partners so training on dummies can be done solo at your house.
2- Dummies don't require much space so you can practice in a small room.
3- Dummies can take a beating so you can practice with full speed and power without holding back or injuring it.
4- You develop hitting power. A crucial attribute.
5- You can experiment with different combinations at high, medium, and low lines
As you can see the primary training method should be practice on striking dummies or a hitting surface such as a pillow with occasional practice with training partners for partners drills and sparring (If you have a training partner of course.)
Till next time,
Ricky, FSI Certified Self Defense Trainer
P.S. you can see the dummy striking practice, partner drills and more when you sign up for The Complete Self Defense System.
I keep hearing all this talk about how best to deal with gun violence so allow me to give some input. First off, Gun Control does not work. Banning or limiting guns will not get guns out of criminal hands because they will not follow the law. They don't care, they just want to win and get away with murder. Besides they would simply go to the black market and get their guns anyways. Rules and regulations are just pen and paper so creating more laws will not stop the violent because they don't follow the law. Depending on the police to save you from violence is not enough because it will take around 20 minutes or more for the police to arrive while it will take a bad guy less than a few minutes to commit their violent acts. By the time the police arrived it will be too late.
So what are the solutions to the violence problem? Allow me to make some suggestions:
1- Take a self-defense course that covers basic hand to hand combat and personal safety skills such as The Complete Self Defense System.
2- Buy some security systems for your home and place of business. Also get into the habit of closing and locking windows and doors. Set up your alarms and close your garage doors.
3- Buy a self-defense weapon and get training on how to use it. (If you are in the western Puerto Rico area, I can train you in most self-defense weapons usage except for guns.)
4- Develop a multi-layered personal safety plan. The strategy should have a plan a b c etc. Your strategy should be like an onion that has multiple layers to peel away before you reach the core.