Forgotten Key to Dominance in Street Self Defense, Pt I

One of my frequent debates is over the subject of self-defense. In this series, I’d like to introduce my basic approach to preparing students for Street Self-Defense Dominance.

We often get potential students who will come in and tell us something silly like, “I’m not looking for a full martial arts program, I’m just looking for some basic self defense.” If you’re a school owner, you know what I’m talking about. We encounter these guys all the time. Hell, many teachers even create courses just for them! But self-defense is a fallacy, isn’t it?

Let me explain with an analogy.

I’d like to win debates with scholars. I have no education. Please just give me the basics, so that when I encounter your basic, run-of-the-mill, knowitall PhD, I can defeat him in an argument with the skills you give me.

So, you do what I do, and tell this uninformed sucker that he is not going to find it–save for a few unscrupulous charlatans who will promise to fulfill this unrealistic request and thusly, take his money.

And what does he do then? He buys books. He buys videos. He tries to self-teach at home with a dictionary and a “How to Win Arguments” books or two. Except for a few equally equipped buffoons in his circle of friends–he can’t impress anyone but a guy who simply doesn’t speak English. This is what your average quasi-military, Israeli, street-oriented self-defense  seeking, unwilling-to-commit-to-anything-serious nut is going to do.

And there are a crapload of people out there willing to teach him what he claims he wants to learn. The sad thing is, he will never learn it. He is looking for a short cut, and short cuts don’t exist in the real world. Here in my town, I’ve seen a flyer that says, “Be a world class MMA fighter—or just look like one”. <— That is what most self-defense courses are promising. Don’t really become a fighter, just pretend and dress up like one. I can teach you stop an attacker who just spent the last 5 to 10 years working out, who’s had so many victims he can’t give a real number, with just a few moves–and get this:  Strength is not necessary!

B.S. Yeah, and you think you might be able to teach a guy who could barely read (or can read pretty well but lacks the qualifications) to win a debate against a scholar. Trust me, it’s the same thing.

Understand this:  the guy on  the street knocking people over the head to take their money is an “expert” at fighting. Believe that. He’s done it a lot. He’s had live practice. He can do it with his eyes closed. He has a sixth sense to spot victims. And in a few months, we are supposed to teach you how to stop him–even without making you just as strong as him? Friend, please. Just to get through kindergarten, it will take 9 months of learning 4 hours a day, 5 days a week just to get the basics. And you can’t even commit to half of that to learn how to save your life! Wow. The world really is flat.

Here’s the thing:  Self defense is an illusion. When you are attacked by a wolf, you need to be able to transform yourself into a wolf/tiger/whatever to stop him. You can’t be a sheep with teeth. Unless you live in the world of make-believe. When you want to protect yourself against wolves, you will need to equip yourself like a wolf. And if some guy will spend a prison term preparing himself to fight YOU and take YOUR money–you’d better be willing to spend the same amount of time getting ready. Don’t forget this:  A few months before announcing to yourself that you’re ready to defend yourself is not enough time.

Oh, wait. You didn’t know that you get to determine when you’ll be ready? Why do you think Krav Maga classes give out 6 month memberships? Because that way, their students can join 6 months before a mugger decides to attack them!

Seriously, preparing to defend yourself on the street is a full-time thing. There is no shortcut to preparation. The more time you spend preparing, the better the chance that you will be successful in fighting. It isn’t painless. It is very time consuming. It is life-consuming. There are no Cleft notes version of the training either. Either you learn to be a fighter, or you just sign up for a foo foo class to look like one. The first key to self-defense is to know that there is no such thing as self-defense. Only Street Dominance. And that path to proficiency is a long, uphill battle where you don’t get to know where the point of arrival will be. Don’t focus on the destination, just the journey. If some guy tells you he has a better, shorter, painless way, ask him how many times he had been punched in the mouth, and how many people he’s punched in the mouth.

If he is qualified to teach you properly, the answer to either question will be a simple “I can’t remember”. And by the time you arrive, your answer will be the same. To prepare students for street dominance, it will take a physique-altering, life-changing, full-time commitment. 6 months will barely expose you to the surface.

Thanks for visiting my blog.

Author: thekuntawman

full time martial arts teacher, full time martial arts philosopher, and full time martial arts critic

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