Are you serious about learning effective, real-world and street-ready self-defense?
Maybe you've taken a few classes, or actually enrolled in a martial art or self-defense program.
Or, maybe you're like one of the countless students around the world who are going the "self-taught" route and learning from dvds, books, online video training, or even from articles just this one.
Regardless of how or where you train, if you've been doing your "homework," and trying to gather as much information about what it takes to actually be able to survive a real attack on the streets of today's often dangerous world, you probably have a few questions regarding the different approaches, programs, theories, or systems being offered both on and off the internet.
One of the most common questions that I get from students and prospective students who are serious about getting the most effective training they can find is...
"What do think about "XYZ" system or martial art?" Or, said another way... "Which martial art or close-quarter-combat self-defense system is the best?"
Now, they really don't ask about an art or system called "XYZ." I wrote that to act in place of any number of hand-to-hand and close quarter combat fighting systems. That means that you could replace my "XYZ" with an martial art, including:
- Ninjutsu or Ninpo-Taijutsu (the self-defense system of Japan's ancient Ninja families)
- Aikijujutsu (one of the unarmed combat arts of the Samurai)
- Tae kwon do
It could also replace any number of self-defense systems like:
- Krav maga
- EDR (Emotion-based Defensive Response)
** Please note that, contrary to popular belief, MMA is not a self-defense system, but rather a "form" of competitive, sport fighting. Just like boxing, collegeate wrestling, or judo, I would never say that these pratitioners cannot defend themselves - only that what they practice, because of the rules, weight classes, etc., was not designed for street fighting and self-defense. **
I think you get the picture.
Either way... this article serves to answer that question in much the same way that I typically respond to it each time I hear it. And it is that... I believe that all training has its merits. The trick is to know what to use and what not to use from any given martial art or self-defense system.
That being said, I tend to avoid discussing any given system, but rather spend my time discussing the principles, concepts, and best practices that any good combat system should have for it to be useful for today's dangerous world. That way, you can gauge any system's value on your own by comparing it to the combat principles that I, and many other qualified experts, talk about.
Again, I believe that there are just as many skilled and successful practitioners who are experts in their own rights at different types of martial arts and self-defense systems, as there are different systems themselves.
Unfortunately, many beginner students (and even teachers) - those who really don't know what to look for - try to judge one system against another solely on techniques, skills, and what "looks" like it would be effective. I say "unfortunately," because there is much more to physical self-defense and combat than merely the physical, step-by-step techniques or so-call "karate kata" (empty-hand forms) - more than what you can "see."
To give you just a small example about these "invisible" secrets that you must be proficient with if you are going to rely on anything more than luck if you;re going to survive a severe, life-threatening attack from a determined attacker who wants to beat, break or kill you, I'll list a few of them here.
These include: strategic positioning, projection of your own intention (or not); picking up on your assailant's intention (before and during his attack); using his own emotions and strategy against him, assessing what type of fighter he is or training he may have simply by the way he moves; assessing his strengths and limitations based on the environment, the clothing he's wearing, his size and build, and so much more.
And don't forget that this also includes probably "the" single biggest factor in whether you can learn what you need to in "any" system. And that is the background, level of understanding, and real-world experience of the instructor - the person in who's hands you place your life, until you become an expert yourself!
So... as you can see by my description above... to truly gauge a system's validity, you need to know more than what the system's techniques "look like."
If you are one of the countless thousands who simply want to know, "which one is best," I know that this doesn't directly answer your question but, you see, I give the same kind of answer about the art of Ninjutsu - the art that I teach. I tell students and other all the time that I don't believe that Ninjutsu is the only "best" self-defense system out there. I DO however, believe that it gives the practitioner many more options than practically any other program or system that I have ever encountered. And, any combat-hardened veteran, or close-quarter combat and self-defense expert with real-world street self-defense experience will tell you... the number of choices and options you have, significantly increases your chances of being successful (read: "surviving") in any situation.
Even with the martial art of Ninjutsu, just as with almost any other, you still have the teacher's understanding and experience level, and other factors - including the ones that I discussed earlier - which determine whether what you are learning, is anything near what you'll need to be the survivor in a real-world attack.
Do you understand?