5 WAYS TO CHOOSE A STREET-SMART SELF-DEFENSE SYSTEM
Often I have come across this sarcastic query, “Do martial arts really work in a street fight! Is it worth training at all!?”
That may be asking like why maintain a fire brigade since it is idle most of the time.
Any physical activity is beneficial in some manner. It could be games, yoga, swimming, cycling, dance or anything. It could improve some element of total fitness – either cardio-vascular, muscular endurance, flexibility or atleast co-ordination and quick thinking; which help in a crisis.
But, if you are in a job prone to confrontations like security, policing, hotel bouncer etc., learning fighting arts is definitely a plus. Or if your life style makes you vulnerable, like living in a crime prone locality, commuting late or transporting valuables.
But a word of caution, look out for these inherent failures in any fighting art before signing up. These system weaknesses make you victim and at worst a casualty. So choose carefully. Your life depends on it.
What are the signs that a martial art is NOT street-smart -
1) CHOREOGRAPHED MOVEMENTS -
That is nice in dance. In the street it can make one look ridiculous. Because the most shocking realization in the street is the ‘unpredictability’.
Choose a fighting method like KravMaga, which constantly exposes you to attacks from different directions, angles and timings, which makes one adaptable.
2) NO AGGRESSION TRAINING –
Having an obliging partner who holds back his punches politely, stands still till the partner goes through all the movements makes one complacent.
Choose a method which teaches you the basic skills, then escalates physical and mental stress. KravMaga classes have some energy sapping aggression training.
3) TRAINING IN A SINGLE METHOD LIKE STANDING STYLE OR GROUND STYLE
The reality is, one could be standing, sitting or on the ground when attacked. Or it could be even an attack by more than one. Or it could be in a suffocating crowd.
If you are training in a martial art which says punching & kicking will solve all problems, or just grappling will do, start praying in a street fight.
Better still, choose KravMaga which trains one in kicking, punching, grappling, restraining with locks / holds. And to face street weapons like sticks and knives too.
4) COMPLICATED AND EXOTIC TECHNIQUES
Looks great in movies. Or in a demo to school kids.
On the street it’s quick and decisive movements which count. Fancy kicks and locks fail miserably in reality, unless you are facing a still dummy. And they take years of repeated practice to be effective. Leave that to the grey-haired masters.
5) PHILOSOPHICAL MUMBO-JUMBO IN CLASS
Philosophical nuggets went along with the movie Karate Kid. A self-defense class is about facing a rapist, a mugger or a bunch of drunken goons. Learn that first before worrying about self-actualization.