“The Realities of Street Self Defense,” by Neal Martin

“It is often said by martial artists that if they use the skills they have practiced for years in training in a real street self defense situation then their actions will be perfectly justified because they will be doing so in ‘self defense’.

To my mind, this is a very dangerous attitude to have if you are a martial artist. The consequences of such a generalized viewpoint are that martial artists begin to believe that every technique they practice in the dojo is a perfectly valid response to any situation that happens on the street. Thus we have those who think it is okay to break the arm of a drunk who took a wild swing at them, we have those who think it okay to break someone’s neck from behind or retaliate to being pushed with an over the top flurry of strikes, and all because their instructor told them it was okay to do so because it’s ‘self defense’.”

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  1. Prevention is better than cure. After that, all you can do is the best you know how at the time. There are no guarantees.

  2. …there are certainly no guarantees. Yagyu Munenori is said to have opined that all his training gave him a 7/10 advantage. in Judo, am told there’s a saying, ‘on any given day, anybody can win.’ had an awesome student who had studied in a Chinese art and Thai kick-boxing. three guys jumped him late one night. he punched out the first and was engaging the second when the third put out his lights with a bottle to the back of the head. am told that Shigemi Inagaki, who would know, opined, ‘aikido is as good as any other martial art; better for multiple person attacks’…

  3. Brett Jackson says:

    Very well said, Neal (and Nev and Charles too). Worth noting is that Aikido involves the practice of control from day one.

  4. to a certain extend, aikido is suitable for multiple person attack. however, this doesn’t mean that he is going to KO all his attackers and walk out like Steven Seagal. it just means that he’ll have a better chance of coming out alive compared to a one-on-one trained fighter that will only concentrate on eliminating his opponent from the face of this earth.

    finally, it also depends on how an aikidoka trains. he needs to emphasize on realistic attacks and resistance which i see lacking in most aikido training.

  5. I find this to be a good, comprehensive writing piece. The evasion/irimi decision must be made in a tenth of a second. After that it still might need a reversal.

  6. Hi Neal,

    Great article, great insight lets hope more martial artists obtain your level of understanding.



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