"The Author, it must be remembered, writes from his own standpoint!"
My personal "Interpretive" Lens!

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"One thing has always been true: That book ... or ... that person who can give me an idea or a new slant on an old idea is my friend." - Louis L'Amour

"Ideally, your self-defense will never get physical. Avoiding the situation and running or talking you way out - either of these is a higher order of strategy than winning a physical battle." - Wise Words of Rory Miller, Facing Violence: Chapter 7: after, subparagraph 7.1:medical

"Read not to contradict and confute; nor to believe and take for granted; nor to find talk and discourse; but to weigh and consider..." - Francis Bacon

Warning, Caveat and Note: The postings on this blog are my interpretation of readings, studies and experiences therefore errors and omissions are mine and mine alone. The content surrounding the extracts of books, see bibliography on this blog site, are also mine and mine alone therefore errors and omissions are also mine and mine alone and therefore why I highly recommended one read, study, research and fact find the material for clarity. My effort here is self-clarity toward a fuller understanding of the subject matter. See the bibliography for information on the books.

Note: I will endevor to provide a bibliography and italicize any direct quotes from the materials I use for this blog. If there are mistakes, errors, and/or omissions, I take full responsibility for them as they are mine and mine alone. If you find any mistakes, errors, and/or omissions please comment and let me know along with the correct information and/or sources.

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How many self-defense techniques are too much for practicality?

Hmmm, not sure I am the one to answer this question. I am sure of my personal feelings toward it tho and that is I prefer to keep them simple, few and as practicable as possible as related to violence as I see it in the street. Street violence for me is a good part monkey dance tribal oriented model but I also want something that will be there if I encounter a predatory violent attack.

I tend to feel that one, depending on how and how much they train, should keep it all simple and oriented toward natural body movements and natural instinctually driven responses, i.e. if you learn a technique you want it to be something that mimics somewhat the instinctual responses you might have in a survival mode. 

I feel we tend to think that having a tool box chocked full of techniques is the only way to truly be ready for self-defense. I am not totally convinced this is practicable. There are arguments for both sides but I feel that the brain in a crunch under the adrenaline chemical flood tends to go simple and too many choices will not produce a good blended response in the moment when needed the most. 

I agree it is interesting and fun to learn as much as you can but I do feel, personally, that what you learn for quantity must be tempered with adequate focus and attention on what you mind needs encoded when the stuff hits the fan. It can be done, I believe that many of the professionals out there have done this and done it well but where it tends to fall through the cracks is for those of us who rely on sporadic training and a mind-set that falsely believes that what we do in the training hall is enough. This is especially true of the persons who attend a few classes and assume it will work without any additional ongoing training and continuous practice.

The amount or quantity of SD techniques will be an answer only an individual can make for themselves. Don't listen to what I feel is adequate or excessive simply because that is what is adequate or excessive for me personally. Only you can say for yourself and you can only discover this through practice, practice, practice and training, training, training. You have to discover what works for you and what does not - for you, not me or others who will like me have a definite opinion :-)

This is why I would recommend strongly those who take self-defense attend seminars by those professionals who live this life daily and have accumulated the experience that says, it worked/works for them and then use that to gauge what works for you, they will help with that in the seminars, etc. i.e. Rory Miller, Marc MacYoung and many others. 


  1. I will complicate the issue. The question might be rephrased as how many principles are too much for practicality? When we understand what techniques possess in common rather than focusing on the details that make them different, the number of technique diminishes quite substantially. This is not purely a philisophical discussion, it is based on biomechanics and a systems/holistic view of martial arts rather than an analytical/reductionist view.

    1. Hi, John: Very astute of you. This is exactly my point, the focus should be on applying the fundamental principles of ALL martial systems regardless. But, quantity of techniques much like quantity of black belts in different systems and styles dictate things when in reality a person with solid mastery of principles will actually easily earn grades in all the systems provided they are also based fundamentally on those principles.

      How often do you really hear someone teach such principles as part of the fundamentals or basics of any system, style or branch of martial arts?

      I feel that the material and teachings in this area are gaining ground simply because I hear, read and observe it more today than in my early years. This is very good as is your comment because - you are on the money with it.


    2. p.s. your comment absolutely does NOT complicate the issue as it is really a simple one.