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#287449 - 09/21/06 10:22 AM Is this school good for realistic self defense?
zoth13 Offline
Newbie

Registered: 07/26/06
Posts: 7
I posted a while ago about trying to find a school or cross training program that would give me good realistic self defense skills. I am interested in taking the martial arts for the purpose of self-defense and self-defense only. I do however feel that you need to have alive sport style training against fully resisting opponents for any art to be worthwhile. I have Grappling, Judo and Kung Fu experience, but having moved I needed to find a new school.

I checked out virtually every school in my area, and took many free classes in various styles over the past month. Finally, I have made a decision on a school which teaches three kinds of classes at the studio. Traditional Tang Soo Do is the biggest and most frequent class. The next class offered is full contact kickboxing, and the last class offered is submission grappling. Students from the studio regularly compete in tournaments (traditional karate, and grappling) and two students are currently training for MMA fights.

After taking all the free classes offered I have a positive outlook on the school. The head instructor has a 4th degree black belt in Tang Soo Do with amateur kickboxing experience and a grappling background. The school has kind of a ďkeep what works and get rid of what doesnítĒ view on their training. Plus the school offers all these classes for only $35 a month with no contracts (one of the cheapest schools I visited).

Now I had heard some mixed things about Tang Soo Do, but it seems to me that this particular school is very focused on realism in this class, with defense against weapons and grabs, and lots of light contact sparring to learn the techniques. Also in the Tang Soo Do class there are traditional aspects as well, like forms and weapons. In the kickboxing class there is a lot of Muay Thai pad work and full contact sparring (with headgear and gloves). In the submission grappling classes there is live rolling every class. The senior students of the school seem to be in the mold of good strikers who have a solid defensive grappling base, with basic offensive submission skills.

So a student at this school gets:
Tang Soo Do as a traditional martial art base
Kickboxing for full contact sparring and Thai pad work
Submission grappling for clinching and ground work

With plenty of sparring in each and every class.

My question/concern is will this schoolís program make me able to reasonably defend myself, or is it too sport oriented? Do I need to continue looking for a more self-defense based school, or am I getting the right kind of training at this current school?

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#287450 - 09/21/06 12:08 PM Re: Is this school good for realistic self defense? [Re: zoth13]
schanne Offline
breaks things

Registered: 02/18/04
Posts: 4370
Loc: Woodbury NJ
It sounds to me like you made an excellent decission.I too have a TSD back ground and thought it was a great foundation. Since you mentioned your intention is to learn mostly self defense you should practice your ground work as well as your traditional stand up material to be well rounded.
_________________________
The way of the warrior does not include other ways... Miyamoto Musashi Schanne

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#287451 - 09/21/06 12:21 PM Re: Is this school good for realistic self defense [Re: zoth13]
Glockmeister Offline
Member

Registered: 12/22/05
Posts: 255
Loc: Lancaster, Pa
It sounds like a very good school that covers many different things at a reasonable price so i would say go for it. I have some experience in TSD and while it isn't the best for SD, I think there are some very good things you can learn from a 4th degree as far as SD is concerned. Cross trained in the other elements you mentioned and I think it would all come together nicely.

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#287452 - 10/03/06 09:14 PM Re: Is this school good for realistic self defense [Re: Glockmeister]
Hash Offline
Member

Registered: 10/03/06
Posts: 28
Sparring doesn't tend to be very useful in street fights. They tend to happen very suddenly. Are the arts tought at the school very fast, and violent? Do they teach you to quickly strike to vital points when threatened? If not, you may want to find a different school, if your interested in defending yourself.

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#287453 - 10/04/06 08:46 AM Re: Is this school good for realistic self defense [Re: Hash]
zoth13 Offline
Newbie

Registered: 07/26/06
Posts: 7
You state that sparring is not good at all for self defense. I would have to disagree with you. After a few weeks at this new school, I have improved my striking immensely. After the first few times I got kicked and punched in the head, I quickly learned to keep my hands up.

In full contact sparring you are trying your techniques (strikes and/or submissions) on a fully resisting opponent who is trying their techniques on you. If you can "win" in this type of situation, you will have a much better feel how your techniques will work.

I have been to schools where you throw punches and kicks against air, and try techniques on compliant partners. These types of drills are good to learn a technique, but you still need contact to learn how to use it against a resisting opponent. I agree that the majority of street fights, muggings etc are quick and violent, but how do you train for these type situations? What type of training do you recommend? Iím open to suggestion

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#287454 - 10/04/06 10:47 AM Re: Is this school good for realistic self defense [Re: Hash]
Leo_E_49 Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 02/24/05
Posts: 4117
Loc: California
Quote:

Sparring doesn't tend to be very useful in street fights. They tend to happen very suddenly. Are the arts tought at the school very fast, and violent?




If the sparring isn't fast and violent, then you're not sparring correctly. Admittedly, you have to limit the techniques you can use but there's definitely more value in dealing with real aggression in training than training routines which are applied against compliant partners.
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(Website by Marc MacYoung, not me)

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#287455 - 10/08/06 06:55 PM Re: Is this school good for realistic self defense [Re: zoth13]
szorn Offline
Member

Registered: 08/18/03
Posts: 88
Loc: USA
Quote:

You state that sparring is not good at all for self defense. I would have to disagree with you. After a few weeks at this new school, I have improved my striking immensely. After the first few times I got kicked and punched in the head, I quickly learned to keep my hands up.

In full contact sparring you are trying your techniques (strikes and/or submissions) on a fully resisting opponent who is trying their techniques on you. If you can "win" in this type of situation, you will have a much better feel how your techniques will work.

I have been to schools where you throw punches and kicks against air, and try techniques on compliant partners. These types of drills are good to learn a technique, but you still need contact to learn how to use it against a resisting opponent. I agree that the majority of street fights, muggings etc are quick and violent, but how do you train for these type situations? What type of training do you recommend? Iím open to suggestion




This depends on the type of sparring emphasized. Sport/tournament sparring can lead to bad habits such as: playing "tag" with an attacker, dropping the hands if head shots are not allowed, unrealistic techniques for self-defense (jump spinning kicks, etc), pulling techniques if it's no-contact or light-contact sparring, etc. etc. However, if it's street sparring designed to allow the student to recover after they have made some kind of mistake and now the attacker is aware that they can defend themselves, I would agree with you.

Although, realistic attacks are asymetrical in nature and sparring would not be a recommened course of action for practical self-defense. Think of it this way- sparring is what you do 'with' somebody. In self-defense, we want to end the altercation as quickly as possible and escape, it's what we do 'to' somebody.


What to do instead- perform scenario simulations that replicate reality as close as possible while avoiding the accidents and injuires. Use asymetrical situations that incude actual environments (if possible), abusive language, multiple attackers, weapon assaults (trainers of course) etc. etc.


Steve Zorn, ICPS

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