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Self Defense and KISS.

The self defense and street fighting situation is another area in which too much information in respect of techniques is detrimental to realistic self protection

We as instructors should be aware that the majority of our students come to us looking for effective self defense and it is our responsibility to ensure that we give them a street effective awareness and fighting ability.

Over the years I have practiced several martial arts each with their various self defense techniques against all manner of attacks. Many of these defenses were not only bordering on the ridiculous but in many cases dangerous to the defender with many schools teaching several moves, often with high complexity, against the same attack.

Just the other day I was teaching a class of new students and asked whether any had been taught self defense before, one unsuspecting young fellow then related to me how he had been taught about 6 different ways to defend against a swing each one of dubious value.

And then there’s my favorite demonstration I give at the start of a self defense session when someone grabs your wrist (can’t think of it ever happening to me in a street encounter) I demonstrate a few of the of the weird and complex moves taught in martial arts schools (I speak from experience here!) when all it takes is smashing the attacker in the face with a palm heel or a front kick with the shin in the groin (or both), end of story.

Unfortunately many instructors fall into the trap of either teaching what they were taught as part of a curriculum or wanting to show how great there system is because it has so many techniques to deal with bad guys. Many instructors have never been in a real fight and would do well to critically review the self defense component of their martial art, whatever it is, with the assistance of a reality based self defense coach. I myself have incorporated the adrenal stress training of Bill Kipp’s FAST defense program as part of my schools self defense program.

In respect of the street, simplicity is best and the well known acronym applies; KISS keep it simple stupid, here are some basic guidelines:

1) First and foremost learn and develop awareness skills. If you can behave in a manner that reduces the chances of getting into life threatening situations, all the better.

2) Learn and develop a mindset of confidence and power that manifests itself in the way you think, behave and communicate.

3) Keep your eyes on your adversary at all times and develop your ability to maintain a distance that allows enough reaction time should the attack occur.

4) If a situation occurs get the job done quickly and effectively thus reducing the chances of you being hit, as the real street situation can be very chaotic.

5) If the attacker has friends you need to deal with the situation quickly and brutally so that you can deal with any other attacker and obtain a psychological edge you want to appear psychotic and let them know someone is going to get hurt remember that the majority of attacks are only carried out if the perpetrators believe that they will win.

6) In most cases with the average person you will experience the adrenal stress syndrome and your cortex access will be greatly impaired thus reducing your ability to access fine motor movement control and knowledge of complex moves. Therefore you must rely on simple moves that are easily learned and employed under stress. The only way you can rely on more complex moves is continual training on a strong set of practical simple moves with strong practical principles.

7) When it’s done get out of there and seek help if necessary.

In respect of techniques:

1) Eye gouging with fingers and thumbs.

2) Palm heels to the nose and jaw as opposed to punching.

3) Throat grabs and striking.

4) Knees in the head (when attacker is down or bent over) and groin.

5) Front kicks with the shin into the groin.


And I don’t care whether you’re a 30 year veteran martial artist, fight conditioned MMA fighter or just an average guy or women when it comes to self defense keeping these guidelines as the basis of your self defense game will give you a good foundation should the need arise to protect yourself.

Many instructors have never been in a real fight and would do well to critically review the self defense component of their martial art, whatever it is, with the assistance of a reality based self defense coach. I myself have incorporated aspects of the adrenal stress training methodology of Bill Kipp’s FAST defense program as part of my schools self defense program.

Those of us who have embraced the MMA way are in an excellent position to really provide effective self defense skills untainted by the traditional BS, be aware that many people come to us for that as they watch their heroes in the cage and believe that this will give them the most realistic approach to effective self defense.

In addition if you’re looking for a no nonsense book on useful street self defense methods check out my “No B.S. Street-fighting and Self Defense Guide” by clicking here.

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