The Disservice Of Bad Technique
By Christopher Caile
I have seen it taught for years -- self-defense technique
that just won't work.
This is the second greatest sin -- next to not teaching
self-defense against common attacks at all.
I vividly remember a self-defense seminar I once
attended. And I knew the teacher. He was a well known
karate Sensei (teacher) but he was teaching a jujitsu
technique: how to defend against an attacker to grabs
your lapel with one hand.
I want to scream at what was being demonstrated,
"that won't work." I wanted to get out of
my seat and show the participants how to really defend
against this assault.
The instructor was teaching the students just to
reach up and grab and then turn and bend the assailants
wrist to create a "nikyo" -- a term used
in aikido and jujutsu to signify potentially powerful
and painful immobilization technique.
Everyone was being nice, so all the defendants were
able to effect this technique. But did they believe
it would work against a strong, determined attacker?
The problem with this and so many other techniques
often taught in self-defense and in various martial
arts is that they only work when others go along with
you. If the assailant resists -- fights back or counters
-- suddenly there is a muscle tussle, an awkward strength
against strength encounter.
To make this particular technique work the teacher
of this seminar needed to teach the defender how to
first distract or shock the attacker with a technique
or strike and then add an off-balancing technique
to weaken any resistance. Only then might the technique
But, if the newly trained self-defense students tried
to use what they learned on the street the attacker
would most likely just look at them and smile at the
futile attempt to twist their wrist and move their
arm into position for this technique. Thus what they
were being taught was a real disservice to them. It
could get them hurt, or even killed.
To be effective any self-defense technique should:
Be effective even if the attacker resists.
Allow a weaker defender to defeat a stronger
Include a distraction, strike and/or unbalance
if the technique is a throw or joint manipulation.
Be quick and effective -- taking seconds at most.
Not be overly complicated in execution-- simple
Minimize the danger of counter attacks and/or
the reversal of the techniques.
Be able to render the assailant unconscious,
incapacitated or in great pain (immobilization).
Be learned within a reasonable amount of practice.
In short, the self-defense techniques should be effective
in real life, on street situations against aggressive
attackers who intend you harm and will fight back.
(1) When properly done the
attacker is first distracted (or hit) while also being
unbalanced. This allows the back of the assailants
hand (the "V" area of the back of the thumb
and first finger) to be easily turned (since concentration
and balance is lost) into the defenders chest and
the arm is manipulated into an "S" position
(starting with the hand, wrist bent with forearm going
the opposite direction with a bend in the elbow) so
the wrist and forearm can be rotated in opposite directions
while the body leans in to compress the physical structure.
About the Author:
Christopher Caile is the Founder and
Editor-In-Chief of FightingArts.com. He has been a
student of the martial arts for over 40 years and
holds a 6th degree black belt in Seido Karate and
has experience in judo, aikido, diato-ryu, boxing
and several Chinese fighting arts. He is also a long-term
student of one branch of Traditional Chinese Medicine,
Qigong. He is a personal disciple of the qi gong master
and teacher of acupuncture Dr. Zaiwan Shen (M.D.,
Ph.D.) and is Vice-President of the DS International
Chi Medicine Association. In Buffalo, NY, he founded
the Qi gong Healing Institute and The Qi Medicine
Association at the State University of New York at
Buffalo. He has also written on Qi gong and other
health topics in a national magazine, the Holistic
Health Journal and had been filmed for a prospective
PBS presentation on Alternative Medicine. Recently
he contributed a chapter on the subject to an award
winning book on alternative medicine, "Resources
Guide To Alternative Health."
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