What Is The Best Form of Self Defence?
In everyday life, the possibility of finding yourself in a violent situation is slim, but not altogether impossible. This harsh reality means that arming yourself with the ability to defend yourself is a very relevant life skill, one that everybody should consider investing in.
There are countless ‘self defence’ systems out there that are worth a grain of salt – some ancient, some more recently developed. Martial arts have been practiced across the world for millennia, and while each system has their pros and cons, many are irrelevant when it comes to real life situations involving imminent violent attack. Traditional martial arts such as taekwando, kung fu or aikido are undoubtably effective ways to improve strength, speed and fighting techniques, but these aren’t reality-based systems, which begs the question – how effective are traditional martial arts in real life situations that require self defence?
What is the best form of self defence for protecting yourself in a real life situation? There are a few different factors, but there is a definitive answer.
What Are The Most Important Factors For Self Defence In Real Situations?
Traditional martial arts are complex fighting styles. Although they are commonly taught beginner level, advanced practitioners – actual advanced fighters – require years of training before they reach a level of competency that would be useful in a real life situation. When learning martial arts you are usually up against an opponent that has the same skill set as you, and in effect it is an attempt to outdo one another rather than protect yourself. This notion is more aligned with sport – not self defence.
Fight or Flight
Self defence isn’t about complex moves or killing people. It’s about neutralising a threat, disarming an opponent and staying alive. When you are put in a life-threatening situation, reflexes in the adrenal medulla produce a cascade of hormones in your body which affect the way you act and think. This is a process that every animal possesses, and in humans it is actually very complex.
Put simply, your body begins ramping up processes that prepare you to face the situation ahead – specifically, increased blood pressure, heart rate and blood glucose levels; and decreased immune system and digestion functions. You lose the ability to focus on small tasks and brain processes where all your energy is centred on the task at hand. Veins also constrict blood in smaller muscles groups and redirecting the flow to more necessary places. Basically you are in panic mode and your fine motor skills become less refined.
The reality is that these natural bodily responses would make it extremely difficult to execute the techniques taught in traditional martial arts. While there is an emphasis in these systems on ‘calming’ the brain to suppress these functions – focusing the mind and body – actually mastering that sort of control is extremely difficult and requires years of practise.
For those concerned with learning a valuable skill set for self defence, traditional martial arts are often not the way to go. There are modern forms of self defence in place that take the most relevant techniques from other art forms and consolidate them them into a sort of hybrid system. There are two factors at the core of these systems that legitimise their use in life-threatening situations: the simplicity and speed of the system, and the effectiveness of the techniques.
What Is The Best Form of Self Defence?
There are actually quite a few self defence systems that could be pretty effective in a life-threatening situation. Filipino martial arts such as Kali and Eskrima, or Silat are effective ways to learn how to ward off knife or gun-wielding attackers using hand-to-hand techniques or stick attacks. There are systems which emphasise weight distribution in order to defend against larger attackers – many akin to judo. Muay Thai is widely considered extremely deadly, even in real-life situations, but it takes years to master a level that could confidently be used in a real situation.
Where Does Krav Maga Sit Amongst All This?
Krav Maga has a compelling history that can be dated back to the 1940s, pre-World War II. It has roots in boxing and wrestling, and over the course of over a decade was developed as the core combat system for the Israeli Defence Force. The core of Krav Maga is a combination of simplicity and efficiency – a versatile system that could be applied across a variety of lethal situations that require effective results. It is a militarised form of mixed martial arts, one that takes the most practical elements of judo, jiu-jitsu and karate, plus elements of boxing and wrestling, and recontextualises them to incorporate an element of reality.
The key to Krav Maga is simplicity – learning how to neutralise an attacker by using the natural reflexes of the body as a base for defence. While it was originally developed for military combat, it has since been further developed specifically for use by civilians.
Modern Krav Maga classes teach a system that provides a full skill set for dealing with a threat, including prevention and avoidance, verbalisation, physical engagement, movement and scanning. There is an emphasis on the possibility of dealing with weapons and multiple attackers, as reality may dictate, and to utilise the body’s weaknesses (such as the groin or face) to your advantage. Etiquette isn’t a factor in Krav Maga like it is in other fighting systems or martial arts. The point is providing plausible solutions that require little effort or focus, only a solid understanding of how one’s body will react in a situation, and how to use these instincts to defend, then attack without hesitation.
There is a misconception that Krav Maga may promote paranoia, but in fact it is quite the opposite. By arming people with the tools to not only deal with an attack but also identify and prevent confrontation, it is a system that is designed to put the mind at ease. If in the chance a confrontation does occur, Krav Maga acknowledges the flight-or-flight processes – that loss of fine motor skills and the adrenaline dump – and turns them around to be used efficiently.
Krav Maga classes are designed so that it can be implemented as quickly as possible. It’s about arming anyone with the skills they need to protect themselves in the simplest way possible – nothing fancy. While learning other forms of martial arts will undoubtably sharpen reflexes and improve strength and technique, when it comes to self defence Krav Maga is by far the most effective way to protect yourself.
If you’d like to train to be Fit, Strong and Ready, Urban Kombat founder Garth Montgomery is an internationally certified instructor with Krav Maga Global. Book into a Krav Maga Induction class, or call Garth on 0408 864 851.