Having taught martial arts for nearly two decades, you come to notice certain learning habits people have that come from societal influences. For example, in Western society, people have don’t feel comfortable “failing” at something. When they attempt to do something, they want to do it as close to perfection as possible, which influences the way they practice a skill.
In Jiu-jitsu, some will start a technique then stop half-way through as they realize they’re not getting it quite right. If I let the student keep doing this, it would be entirely possible to see that student stop and re-start a technique over and and over without actually getting through it once before the class is called to see the next technique. Another way the unwillingness to fail can manifest is when a student either asks lots of detailed questions, or spends a lot of time talking about it, analyzing how it’s supposed to work, etc. These types will spend so much more time talking about it, fooling themselves into thinking that simply talking about it will make them better at it, that they don’t spend as much time practicing it. These types strategies for avoiding looking foolish or “failing” at a technique can hurt one’s mentality towards self-defense, as well as one’s development as a martial artist. (more…)
There are a lot of different martial arts out there with a lot of different styles of hand positions that are used as their main fighting stances. The hand positions that are adopted are generally developed around the goals of the art. So in determining how you should hold your hands, you should keep this in mind. (more…)
In my book, When the Fight Goes to the Ground, there are chapters detailing a variety of ways to defend against specific types of ground combat situations, from hold-downs and submissions to kicks to the head and knife attacks. We demonstrate each move in detail, which might lead one to believe that our goal is to provide a form of ground defense that is no more than a “if this, then that” type of prescriptive approach, when it is quite the contrary in reality. While I do go into detail about true self-defense being adaptive, and that the “techniques” I show for defending against various situations are only to serve as examples of the principles in action, it is difficult to make this point clear to readers. The less experienced are more likely to simply take the examples and practice them alone, rather than fully explore the principles behind them. (more…)
When practicing self-defense techniques in Jiu-jitsu, we often have to play the role of attacker so that our partner can play the role of defender (described in more detail in my post, The Importance of Role-playing in Martial Arts Training). In our dojo, our students are quite friendly with each other, and as a result, they sometimes have a tendency to take it easier on each other when playing the attacker role, particularly the newer students. This phenomenon was happening on the mats the other day.
A Side Headlock Gone Sideways
A number of my students were working on defenses against various types of headlocks. I noticed that many of them were struggling to get a feel for the technique. Something looked odd about the way a couple of them were doing it so I stepped in and had one of the students in question do the attack on me, in this particular case, it was a side headlock, so I could demonstrate the defense again for them. As I suspected, the student playing the attacker role was only taking on the position of the side headlock, but not really applying it with any intent. (more…)
I’m what I like to call a little blind. My vision is close to perfect, but at a distance things become a little fuzzy. I always joke the reason I wear glasses or contact lenses is so I can tell the difference from a garbage bag and a black bear from a kilometre off while driving. I know, it’s not very funny.
Last week, Lori Sensei discussed how taking your eyes out of the equation can help you learn techniques that require a great deal of tactile feedback. That your eyes can sometimes provide you with misleading information, making it more difficult to do a joint lock. Today I’m going to look at the importance of vision in self-defense.
While I am only a little blind, I always wear corrective contact lenses when I work security. I primarily work event security, which usually entails the consumption of alcohol by patrons. Over-consumption by these patrons can occasionally lead to aggressive and assaultive behaviour by patrons against each other or event staff and security.
I’ve been grappling for a number of years now, and have developed a variety of different submissions into my repertoire. Like many people, I’ve come to have a few submissions that have emerged as my “go-to” moves that I come back to time and time again. One such move is the triangle choke. A great number of my successful submissions have been from the triangle, especially against larger/stronger opponents. (more…)
We’ve been writing this blog for over 7 years now, and there are a number of articles we’ve featured that have received the most interest. Some are more recent, some go back a while. Today, we’re going to feature the top 10 articles related to self-defense in the history of our site. Here they are below. Enjoy!
In my last post, I talked about my favourite 5 stand-up strikes for self-defense, based on simplicity, ease of learning and application, and versatility, as per the tenets of my style, Can-ryu Jiu-jitsu. Today I’d like to do the same for ground defense, covering the vital targets that give the most bang for buck in terms of self-defense, all of which are covered in my newly published book, When the Fight Goes to the Ground: Jiu-jitsu Strategies and Tactics for Self-Defense. (more…)
“I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times.” – Bruce Lee
Every so often a someone asks me that if I was only going to learn one strike for self-defense, what would it be? I don’t really have an answer for this, because I don’t believe that there is a magical strike that will be all things to all people in all scenarios, even if they practice it 10,000 times. I think Bruce Lee would probably agree with me, despite the evidence to the contrary above. When you take the concept to the extreme, the point becomes that much more plain, like in Episode 2, Season 1 of Enter the Dojo (below). (more…)
My friend James is a west coast swing dancer. He does it for fun, exercise, social activity, and simply because he enjoys it, much like the reasons I train in the martial arts. Every month or so, we get together for brunch and get caught up on each other’s lives and inevitably he ends up talking about dancing and I end up talking about martial arts. I used to do east coast swing dancing and other forms of ballroom for a couple of years back when I was in university, so I can also relate directly to his dancing experiences. Over the years, I’ve come to realize that partner dancing and partner-based martial arts training have quite a lot in common, despite their very different appearances on the surface. It’s no surprise to me that Bruce Lee was both a great martial artist and ballroom dancer. What the two things have in common really boils down to one thing: body control. (more…)