The "best" self defense style (for Sylence)

I got to see some Krav Maga demonstrations last night. Very no nonsense, quick, strong, effective stuff technique and teaching style. I talked to some of the instructors afterwards and sounds like in general these guys are not into a lot of the bs that surrounds the self defense aspect of the martial arts. If there is a Krav Maga school near you, I would highly recommend checking it out if you want to learn some good self defense. They told me that they do a fair amount of scenario based training which is also vital. I am definitely going to invite these guys to do some seminars at my school.

So, I guess as a “style” goes it is hard to go wrong with Krav Maga (note that this doesn’t mean that other styles are or are not effective, but that in general most Krav Maga schools will be teaching good self defense where as other schools may or may not).

P.s. - Of course, keep in mind that this is based on conversations with a handful of Krav Maga instructors. As always, I encourage people to be objective and use their heads when looking at whether a particular schools training is in fact effective or not.

What more could you expect from somebody who lets people kick him to the head?

Thanks, Glitch. I’ll try and look up a school after I escape from the boondocks. :slight_smile: New Mexico doesn’t have much of a selection when it comes to martial arts. There’s Karate and Taekwondo, and that’s about it.

On another note, I bought Real Fighting and A Bouncer’s Guide to Barroom Brawling by Peyton Quinn. I found myself nodding a lot as I read them. Good, solid advice.

– Sylence

“The problem with reality is the lack of background music.” – Anon

I happen to know a bit about self-defense myself. dont underestimate me b/c im 16, i have had 5 years of experience, and can beat most adults I figure I’ll give you a few hints on hand positions.

Open Palm- where you curl your fingers at the 2nd knuckle and straighten your palm and hit with your palm in front of the wrist- good for pushing, catching fistsand breaking knuckles if you grab their fists instead of just blocking and damaging to places such as the face grab their lip if you can, and pull- ends a fight REAL quick, otherwise just smash their nose and Solar Plexus. it does decent damage, but it isnt felt right away- if you hit somebody in the chest, he wont feel it until he goes to use his chest muscles for something.

–can also punch with curled knuckles- breaks opponents bones pretty quick if you hit them in a compound block

Open Hand- stiffened 4 or 3 fingers, Karate style i think- i never took classes used for stabbing or chopping. it works if you use it a lot. personally i prefer open palm

Fist- sorta limited i think, but my friend uses it pretty well. I cant really help you with this one- youll have to ask a professional.

oh yea, and heres a personal favorite little trick- step LIGHTLY on their toe, and they will look down almost every time, so take that unguarded second to hit them in the temple. believe me, it works :slight_smile:

Good luck- Counterattackii(Fighter by trade)

Um. . . I’m not totally new to fighting, you know.

NEVER try to catch a punch! It is darn near impossible to do AND you run the risk of breaking bones in your hand. Better just to avoid the punch and nail the guy while he’s open.

It’s like swordfighting. Why dull the edge of your sword by hitting the other guy’s sword? Why screw up your ability to punch by catching the other guy’s punch?

Right, Glitch?
– Sylence

“The problem with reality is the lack of background music.” – Anon

First, I would encourage you to not be openly aggressive. We’re talking self DEFENSE here, not offense. [[credibility establishment follows :slight_smile: ]] I’ve studied aikido at least three nights a week for five years, and have some training in aikijujutsu, juijitsu, iaido, kempo, wing chun gung fu and a few of those competition style point systems. In addition to open hand, my aikido practices open hand v. weapon and weapon v. weapon.
Now, if you don’t have several years to devote to a martial art there are a few quick things that I know will be effective.

Try to talk your way out of it. Blood is a precious thing, I know, I give to the blood bank at every chance. Try not to spill any.

If you see a weapon or you think there might be more than one person who may try to attack you- run.

If you aren’t 100% sure that this person will leave you alone after a few blows are exchanged- run.

Don’t punch to the face- it’s expected, and most people who want to start some sh*t with you can probably take a punch to the head anyway. Kick to the knee. I kick a little high, so if the knee doesn’t buckle, the hip will absorb a lot of the blow, which turns the body. So you can do it again to the other knee.

Don’t kick above your hip. Anything above that will be both slow and ineffective. Sorry, but there are very few people who can kick above their head with any kind of opponent stopping power.

If you’ve never punched anything successfully before, I wouldn’t suggest starting on some guy who wants to fight you. If you need to use your hands use the open palm/palm heel but don’t do anything fancy like solar plexus shots- aim for the nose.

Hitting a guy in the nads during a fight probably won’t do much. Adrenaline is great stuff.

NEVER try to catch a punch.

Learn to run.

Hope you never have to use it,

oh damn, one more thing. If you happen to get close enough, and the person that’s attacking you has piercings- rip 'em out.

Oh, and if I misunderstood your original question: I personally like an aikido school that also teaches weapons, and wing chun is excellent for personal defense.

Good luck,

Never try to “catch” a punch. The key word being catch. The margin of error on catching a punch is a very small fraction of a second outside the dojo. Inside the dojo, it is difficult to determine if you caught the punch in time because the punch is slower, weaker and often pulled even if they are punching to miss in the first place!!

You can deflect a punch and then tie it up leaving a big opening in your opponents defenses (this also creates the added benefit of usually getting you an opening to run leading to a classic tactic of deflect->tie up/grab->punch->run). But catch a punch directly is a big no-no. You must deflect and grab, or deflect and tie up. Even the deflect and grab is very difficult outside the dojo.

The “best” (I use the term loosely) form of defense is the so called “turtle defense” where you try to take blows on the outside of the arms without moving your arms much. In real life, when the punches are coming real fast (they will be) and you are scared out of your mind (you will be, don’t kid yourself) this is the most valuable instinctive skill you can have.

P.s. - Try the following experiment. Throw a punch as fast and hard as you can. Get a friend to try to get a timing on a stopwatch. The time is in the subsecond range! Consider that to catch a punch you need to react inside of a subsecond and also catch it in the last 15% of it’s journey! I.e. if you are off by more than even a tenth of a second the punch WILL land.

P.p.s - Try another experiment. Do your quickest but still strong traditional block (for most people outside middle block). Get a friend to time it. You will notice that time to do a traditional block is nearly the same as to throw a punch! What does this mean? In order to block a punch you must react almost instanteously to the punch itself! Now, I know you’re saying “Ahh, but the guy on the street will throw nice slow haymakers”. And the answer is, if he does … great, but the real chances are he isn’t (in fact, there is at least a 50/50 chance he won’t through and punches at all but instead will harken back to his grade school days and focus on job one which is to tackle the opponent to the ground!). Expect the punches to be fast and hard, if you are ready for that than you will easily defeat those that are slow and weak!

What more could you expect from somebody who lets people kick him to the head?

Sylence, I am very happy to hear you read Quinn’s books. Most people would say, yeah I 'll go read those and then fluff it off!! Good for you!


What more could you expect from somebody who lets people kick him to the head?


Please tell me about your Aikido. How does it compare to the other arts you have studied?

I haven’t been studying Aikido for long. The more I learn, the less I am able to explain. I’m curious to know if your school (which I assume to be the USAF) focuses more on the practical, comprehensible stuff or the spiritual, weird stuff that I am steadily falling in love with.

Also, I’d like to know the order in which you’ve studied your various styles and why you dropped and picked up the ones that you did.


Since this thread is actually going somewhere perhaps I had better explain.

In another thread, Sylence asked what the best style was for self defense, to which I replied there is none. Style doesn’t matter is all in how you train.

However, since I have now seen a Krav Maga demonstration I think I can safely say that most of their schools will be teaching proper self defense which is what is key. Whereas, if you go to any other school’s style you may or may not be getting something effective.

And now back to your regularly scheduled thread.

What more could you expect from somebody who lets people kick him to the head?

** Since tymp didn’t give an email in his personal info, I would like to address his question here. It’s mostly going to be an MA retrospective. Feel free to skip**
Tymp: My main school is not USAF, although several of the schools that I train with (maybe once or twice a month to stay in touch with the guys) are. Originally I trained in the style of Shirata Rinjiro, Sensei via my former instructor (who shall remain nameless) and John Stevens,Sensei(yes, the author) and then through a couple of students of his. Part of the reason I moved on was a personality conflict with my former instructor. Currently my style comes from Hikitsuchi Sensei in Yamagata (can’t remember if that’s the prefecture or the city) through my instructor and several others (including Clint George, Sensei for those of you out west who are big into Aikido or police tactics). Hikitsuchi emphasizes martial aikido- that is, how you train on the mat is how you’ll defend yourself on the street, if need be.

I never really tried any of the more ‘flowy’ Ki styles of Aikido, although I like to watch them. I suppose I didn’t try them mostly because the students I’ve talked with didn’t know why they were doing what they were doing. A tenkan movement is useless if you don’t know why you’d do that instead of an irimi (or any other move for that matter).

I study aikido because of the integrity of the training that I’m able to get from my instructor. She’s 5’3, 105 lbs and doesn’t take any crap from anybody, least of all me at 6’5 and 260. That’s not to say that there aren’t other good styles out there, or other good teachers in other styles, or aikido. However, I don’t want to be another assembly line black belt at JoeSchmoe’s TaeKwonDo (or Karate or even Aikido) school. I met my share of those people. My instructor is wonderful, and she incorporates her own background of Iaido, Kyudo, WingChun, and others to further our aikido training. In addition, we do weapons that most aikido schools wouldn’t dream of doing. Some might intro the knife at the Black Belt level. We use it with beginners (sp?) all the way up. Also, we train with Bokken, Jou and Bo. Many of our Ken and Jou kata are from USAF (Saotome Sensei’s Kumitachi and Kumijo to name two) but we also practice the weapons from Shirata-ryu (namely Misogi no Ken and Misogi no Jou) which I brought with me and introduced to my school with the permission of John Stevens. But those are just two of our sources.

Concerning sprituality. I love Shirata-ryu Aikido, it’s full of spirituality and the technique is good (even if Stevens Sensei thinks I add too many strikes in my jou kata :slight_smile: ). But that’s not where I need to be right now. I have my religion for spirituality and I have my Aikido for a workout and martial arts training. DOn’t get me wrong, though. You can’t completely divorce the two. While we may not regularly delve into the depths of eastern sprituality in class, rest assured that we discuss Osensei’s teachings and what he meant when he talked about not harming anyone.

I agree with Glitch 100% it’s NOT the style you train in, it’s your dedication to your style and your ability to refine yourself to be the best at whatever you’re training in.

Sorry, I hope I haven’t stepped on any toes. And, if you’re interested Tymp, email me personally, we can discuss.

Masa Gatsu Agatsu Katsu Hayabi.
True victory is victory over the self; Let that day come quickly

You definitely haven’t stepped on any toes. It is nice to met other sensible minded martial artists than the raving my “sensei has a better lineage than your sensei” types. You know what I mean. :slight_smile:

Love the sig.

What more could you expect from somebody who lets people kick him to the head?

I love those chop-chop guys and how they come up with a new words for the same old stuff. The most fun I have with them is I come up behind them and pretend to stab them with a knife [no knife, just the motion]. Then I exclaim, ‘Ah ha! gotcha!’ This is just too much fun to not do anymore.

The best self defense, works for me 100% of the time, is I just say to someone that I’m deaf & they leave me alone. Yep, still works even after 30.

Huh? I don’t know what you mean.

And what exactly does this mean:

  1. That a knife is better than the hand?

Well, of course, any decent martial arts instructor will tell you that. Of course, there are plenty of idiot instructors out there who will tell you that the empty hand is superior to the knife, but they are full of bs.

  1. That it is possible to sneak up on somebody and stab them when they don’t expect, and have no reason to expect it?

Again, of course. I had a guy punch me in the back of the head in the hall when I was in university while he chuckled “Ha ha … crunch”. I say crunch because my natural reaction after being struck was to spin and strike and strike and strike. Only a foolish instructor would claim that they can protect you completely from any initial strike, it is what happens after that initial strike that counts! Anybody can punch you once, this is part of what makes facing a weapon so deadly. That initial strike is hard to stop and very deadly. Fortunately, most criminals try to intimidate with the weapon first rather than strike immediately.

  1. Assuming that you did your experiment on the street when somebody should be more aware of their surroundings, did you also make sure to exhibit the typical characteristics (sp) of an attacker?

At best, your experiment shows that we are all vulnerable to completely random attack (which is VERY rare).

  1. That if you had a knife you could defeat this chop-chop guy?

Ahhh, but you don’t have a knife do you.

Reminds me of a story (I’ll be brief). Martial artist was doing a self defense demo. Idiot in the front row was “shooting” him with his fingers. Martial artists comes to him and says “What are you doing?” Idiot says “Man, if I had to defend myself I would just use a gun. I could shoot you dead right now.”. Martial artist responds “But you don’t have a gun with you do you?” Idiot says nothing.

Mind you this was back in the 70’s were not every moron was carrying a gun. These days he probably would have pulled out a gun and shot him. And, yes, I know the guy personally. This isn’t a friend of a friend of a friend story.

How many times have you had to use your self defense technique? What were the situations? Were you being help up by a career criminal who wanted your wallet? Or is this just some idiot in a bar, or schoolyard bully?

If the second, I can tell you why this self defense works (it is a good tactic). Bully types want to prove to themselves and if present their buddies what a tough guy you are. By loudly proclaiming, “I am deaf”, you defuse any ego they might gain by beating on some poor deaf guy.

However, don’t expect this to work against a serious criminal. Just some friendly advice.

What more could you expect from somebody who lets people kick him to the head?

I think you have to go with what you know. Most fights are quick close up and wild. So a mixture of several forms would probably be best in my book. I typically believe myself that Muy Thai or the Gracie methods are the most usable since they depend on closeness of your opponent. Plus a guy who knows how to land a brutal elbow or lock an opponent and work on one part of the body is fighting as fighting should be.

Of course, I have yet to see this Krav Maga…Can someone tell me some aspects of it? What’s the discipline? Body throws, upper body, kicks, body locks? Any and all information would be appreciated. is probably a good place to start. This is where I went after I saw the demonstrations. Keep in mind this was my first introduction to Krav Maga as well. The demonstration had plenty of different techniques, and it especially focused on escaping from typical holds. I only talked to the demonstrators about what their classes were like and never actually witnessed one which is why all of this must be taken with the warning that it is up to you the student to be objective when planning on joining any school, including Krav Maga.

The instructors I spoke to were very nice and very serious. One of them is coming to my school next month to do some crosstraining with me and my students. I think this will be of great value.

As above, personally I believe there is no such thing as a best style. Self defense has very little to do with technique. A Muay Thai or Brazillian Jujutsu school that doesn’t teach the concepts in the self defense triangle will ultimately leave their students as vulnerable any other style. And of course the opposite is true. Even a seemingly “useless” style will be very effective in the hands of somebody who understands the principles of the defensive mindset, predetermined action, and instinctive action (or muscle memory).

This can be illustrated from a multitude of police reports that students of mine in the police have relayed to me. This can also be seen in the works of people who have done the necessary studies, like the people of the Lethal Force Institute, most notable Mas Ayoob.

That being said Muay Thai schools tend to have very rigourous training, but they are prone to injury since many of them focus on the kickboxing circuit, which sadly effectively places most Muay Thai schools inappropriate for the average joe who wants to learn self defense (plus because they focus on the kickboxing circuit they tend to lack scenario based training). This of course is not true of all Muay Thai schools, and again is why it is critical for the student to be objective about the school they are planning on joining and ensuring it is the right school for them.

What more could you expect from somebody who lets people kick him to the head?

I’m a traditionalist, having studied Okinawan Goju-Ryu for years and years. I have mixed feelings about the usefulness of self-defense training at the best of times, so when choosing a style I would suggest you find one that fits your temperament, that emphasizes ethics and personal responsibility, and offers you a good physical workout.

I have a problem with any style that tends to make people more agressive. You see that a lot at the typical ‘Panther Kickboxing School’ or some other martial art that simply emphasizes fighting skill. My experience in the traditional martial arts is that a lot of people start taking it to learn how to fight, but the farther up the ladder they make it the less willing they are to ever engage in violence.

Traditional martial arts also offer the benefit of learning another culture and maybe even another language while you are training. At my school we had to go and live in Okinawa for 6 mos and train at hte head school) before we were awarded our Nidan (2nd degree black belt). One of the most rewarding things I got out of my martial arts training was a deeper understanding of the Japanese culture.

When you visit a martial arts class, pay special attention to the attitude you get when you first walk in. If you sense that the young turks are sizing you up and giving you the hairy eyeball, you’re in the wrong place. If you’re greeted with smiles and a friendly atmosphere, stick around a while.

I agree with you on the focus of certain M.T being focused on the more kickboxing element. My experience wit5h it seems to be a more basis in the central fighting style of using the elbows and knees, working speed into the form. I dunno how other schools went about teaching but the person I learned from believed that you could not focus entirely on one form and that you must adapt based on your situation.

On another note, what are all the animal styles? I thought there were only seven but am not sure myself. Also, does kung fu only use the animal as basis for form or is there others? I am interested in learning about other forms.

Oh, one other thing, what do you consider the most dangerous offensive (as in fighting) style