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"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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Are Martial Arts Self-Defense Drills Realistic?

Caveat: Please make note that this article/post is my personal analysis of the subject and the information used was chosen or picked by me. It is not an analysis piece because it lacks complete and comprehensive research, it was not adequately and completely investigated and it is not balanced, i.e., it is my personal view without the views of others including subject experts, etc. Look at this as “Infotainment rather then expert research.” This is an opinion/editorial article/post meant to persuade the reader to think, decide and accept or reject my premise. It is an attempt to cause change or reinforce attitudes, beliefs and values as they apply to martial arts and/or self-defense. It is merely a commentary on the subject in the particular article presented.

This article is mine and mine alone. I the author of this article assure you, the reader, that any of the opinions expressed here are my own and are a result of the way in which my meandering mind interprets a particular situation and/or concept. The views expressed here are solely those of the author in his private capacity and do not in any way represent the views of other martial arts and/or conflict/violence professionals or authors of source materials. It should be quite obvious that the sources I used herein have not approved, endorsed, embraced, friended, liked, tweeted or authorized this article. (Everything I think and write is true, within the limits of my knowledge and understanding. Oh, and just because I wrote it and just because it sounds reasonable and just because it makes sense, does not mean it is true.) 

I have participated in a few training sessions where the teachings were about self-defense techniques. In my earlier/younger days I actually taught some similar models but today I question that a lot. The more I see demonstrated, the more I see via Youtube and the more I read on martial arts self-defense drills the more I find myself asking the question, “Are martial arts self-defense training realistic?”

My questions arise from my studies over the last decade or so. Since I retired for active, on the dojo floor, teaching I have had time to reflect, train, analyze, train and practice what I thought was self-defense and now find through those efforts, not so much self-defense. In reality as to my perceptions, perspective, studies and beliefs most of what is taught as self-defense is not. 

It is not realistic. As I am starting to understand that unrealistic teachings from martial arts will not suffice to protect you in a real self-defense situation. There are way to many missing components and aspects to self-defense to be realistic martial arts self-defense. 

Coming to this conclusion meant that I had to admit, to myself, that what I was doing was not sufficient or ever relevant in most cases toward self-defense or even fighting in general. 

First, the complexities to self-defense to those who actually open their eyes to what it is, is mind boggling. Self-defense, just the academic parts necessary for true self-defense in the physical, starts long before the very first fist or foot is applied on the dojo floor. The complexities will become apparent to anyone who delves into the literature on the subject (see bibliography for a good start). What is often left out is in my mind criminal if not taught in the dojo.

Second, the actual knowledge and understanding to just the narrow topics of conflict, violence and violent conflicts are astounding and I conclude from my perceptions, observations and limited experience are missing in practically all martial arts self-defense curricula. Even the bare bones list provided by a source of what is required for realistic self-defense training are not found in most. 

Third, and I say with a lot of confidence, the most critical component necessary for realistic self-defense training is missing in just about all martial arts self-defense, i.e., the adrenal stress condition in self-defense aspect is just not there. We think it is because we do experience an adrenal stress response in competition but sport tournament type stuff is just not exact enough for self-defense and even if it is all the other aspects mentioned toward a full understanding, notice I didn’t say complete, of what we face if we have to experience self-defense is also a necessary part of the whole.

Understand, I am not saying what you train in will NOT work but I am saying is that most likely that training will be a crap shoot if you are faced with violence, i.e., what kind is it and was it avoidable and so many other questions whose answers are seldom discussed except in the most cursory way must be addressed for self-defense. 

Finally, I have spent just in the academic study over ten years or so on the subject of self-defense as a primary meaning behind the study of martial arts that I have not yet studied all there is just because the guys who are producing that material/references are still writing about the subject while not even glimpsing the end of that tunnel. 

The only redeeming factor is that my conclusions on martial arts self-defense is that the roll of the dice, those chances of any one of those students actually ending up using their training is so remote it ain’t funny. I make the assumption that the reason we don’t see more about martial artists failing or being prosecuted are such that only one of about a thousand will have to face that kind of violence. Those whose chances are much higher tend to live in environments where violence and conflict are still a part of living, or more prominent anyway with higher rates of severity, while most others live in relative safety and security. 

Maybe I am full of shit, then again maybe not. For me, I would not want to gamble my life, liberty or pursuit of happiness to be obstructed by ignorance of such a view of reality. In the end, I don’t wish to rely on luck as to the realistic applicability of my martial arts self-defense, in defense. This is such a complex issue that my mind is just running with the bulls as ideas, thoughts and concerns just keep popping into my consciousness just thinking of this question. 

Primary Bibliography of Self-Defense (Some titles have RBC drills included):
MacYoung, Marc. "In the Name of Self-Defense: What It Costs. When It’s Worth It." Marc MacYoung. 2014.
Miller, Rory Sgt. "Meditations of Violence: A Comparison of Martial Arts Training & Real World Violence" YMAA Publishing. 2008.

Bibliography Articles on Self-Defense/Conflict/Violence

The main page leading to the articles I have chosen as a starting point to attain knowledge of conflict, violence and self-defense is: http://ymaa.com/articles/society-and-self-defense where you can navigate to the below or you can simply find a title below and click for direct access to the articles. Most of these are actually introductions to the references written by the authors themselves. It is advisable to start here then move on to the more in-depth stuff in their publications. This section will get you a beginning understanding necessary in phase one of learning self-defense. 

I.M.O.P. Principle—Intent, Means, Opportunity and Preclusion http://ymaa.com/articles/2014/10/imop-principle-intent-means-opportunity-and-preclusion
Introduction to Violence: Scale of Force Options http://ymaa.com/articles/introduction-to-violence-scale-of-force-options
Facing Violence: The Unconscious Stuff-Finding Your Glitches http://ymaa.com/articles/facing-violence-the-unconscious-stuff
Violence: What Everyone Needs to Know About Fighting http://ymaa.com/articles/violence-what-everyone-needs-to-know-about-fighting

Secondary Bibliography of Self-Defense (Some titles have RBC drills included):
Ayoob, Massad. “Deadly Force: Understanding Your Right to Self-Defense”Gun Digest Books. Krouse Publications. Wisconsin. 2014.
Branca, Andrew F. “The Law of Self Defense: The Indispensable Guide to the Armed Citizen.” Law of Self Defense LLC. 2013.
Goleman, Daniel. "Emotional Intelligence: 10th Anniversary Edition [Kindle Edition]." Bantam. January 11, 2012.
Miller, Rory. "ConCom: Conflict Communications A New Paradigm in Conscious Communication." Amazon Digital Services, Inc. 2014. 
Miller, Rory and Kane, Lawrence A. "Scaling Force: Dynamic Decision-making under Threat of Violence." YMAA Publisher. New Hampshire. 2012
Miller, Rory. "Force Decisions: A Citizen's Guide." YMAA Publications. NH. 2012.
Miller, Rory Sgt. "Facing Violence: Preparing for the Unexpected." YMAA Publishing. 2011.
Miller, Rory. “The Practical Problem of Teaching Self-Defense.” YMAA. January 19, 2015. http://ymaa.com/articles/2015/1/the-practical-problem-of-teaching-self-defense
Elgin, Suzette Haden, Ph.D. "More on the Gentle Art of Verbal Self-Defense." Prentice Hall. New Jersey. 1983.
Elgin, Suzette. "The Last Word on the Gentle Art of Verbal Self-Defense" Barnes & Noble. 1995
Morris, Desmond. “Manwatching: A Field Guide to Human Behavior.” Harry N. Abrams. April 1979.
MacYoung, Marc. “Writing Violence #1: Getting Shot.” NNSD. Amazon Digital. 2014.
MacYoung, Marc. “Writing Violence #2: Getting Stabbed.”  NNSD. Amazon Digital. 2015.
MacYoung, Marc. “Writing Violence #3: Getting Hit and Hitting.” Amazon Digital Services, inc. NNSD. April 20. 2015. 
Elgin, Suzette. "The Gentle Art of Verbal Self-Defense" Barnes & Noble. 1993.
Elgin, Suzette. "The Gentle Art of Written Self-Defense" MJF Books. 1997.
Maffetone, Philip Dr. “The Maffetone Method: The Holistic, Low-stress, No-Pain Way to Exceptional Fitness.” McGraw Hill, New York. 2000
Strong, Sanford. “Strong on Defense_ Survival Rules to Protect you and your Family from Crime.” Pocket Books. New York. 1996.
and more … see blog bibliography.
Jahn, C. R. “FTW Self Defense.” iUniverse. Amazon Digital Services. 2012
Jahn, C. R. “Hardcore Self Defense.” iUniverse. Amazon Digital Services. 2002.

Bibliography of RBC Drills (Some titles have RBC drills included):
MacYoung, Marc. "In the Name of Self-Defense: What It Costs. When It’s Worth It." Marc MacYoung. 2014.
MacYoung, Marc (Animal). “Taking It to the Street: Making Your Martial Art Street Effective.” Paladin Press. Boulder, Colorado. 1999.
MacYoung, Marc. "A Professional's Guide to Ending Violence Quickly: How Bouncers, Bodyguards, and Other Security Professionals Handle Ugly Situations." Paladin Press. Boulder, Colorado. 1996.
Miller, Rory. “Drills: Training for the Sudden Violence.” Amazon Digital Services, inc. Smashwords. 2011.
Quinn, Peyton. “Real Fighting: Adrenaline Stress Conditioning Through Scenario-Based Training.” Paladin Press. Amazon Digital Services, inc. 1996

My Blog Bibliography
Cornered Cat (Scratching Post): http://www.corneredcat.com/scratching-post/
Kodokan Boston: http://kodokanboston.org
Mario McKenna (Kowakan): http://www.kowakan.com
Wim Demeere’s Blog: http://www.wimsblog.com

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