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#435623 - 01/14/13 10:52 AM Price of staying safe
aplant Offline
Just interested.
Member

Registered: 01/08/13
Posts: 31
Loc: UK
On another thread while discussing the value of training the following comment was made:

Quote:
Martial arts is a hobby/activity that if seriously undertaken will take years to get good at


This got me thinking, how much does it cost to learn to defend oneself - and do martial arts represent value for money?

- How much does it cost to learn to defend yourself from say 3 years of martial arts training?

- Alternatively how about self defence courses?

From a quick google search:
6 hours self defence for 64.80 - Courses for the general public

3 Day self defense course for 540 H2H self defence


- Or the cost of books or DVDs ranging from 3-100's (amazon search)

- How much are legal self defence weapons?

Also is anyone aware of any good evidence (I don't know how this would be measured?) of how effective all of these interventions are?

I would consider the most important self defence intervention to be free and taking only education, not 'training'. i.e. avoiding being in places and situations where you are more likely to be attacked, being vigilant and taking preventative measures e.g. arrange transport home if you're going to get very drunk.

Even when we are fully trained 'self-defenders!' When someone tries to mug us, we rightly hand over the money and run!

I am aware that there are other benefits of training e.g fun! But I thought it might be interesting to look at this from a purely functional POV

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#435626 - 01/15/13 12:07 PM Re: Price of staying safe [Re: aplant]
cxt Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 09/11/03
Posts: 5822
Loc: USA
aplant

Good questions! And IMO ones that need to be really considered.

Wish I had equally good answers.

I guess it depends on how people define things.

IMO you can get "better" on a fairly quickly. But is "better" going to be enough?

You can teach someone how to play basketball pretty quickly--but how good are they going to be with just a "bit" of practice? You might be able to sink baskets pretty well in practice---but can you do so in the chaos of the game with people trying to stop you?

After a year of practice would you be able to play well vs. folks that have spent MANY YEARS playing basketball?

If you spend 5 years in dedicated practice, chances are you would be pretty good--but would you be good enough to play college ball?

I guess it dependes on how good you "need" to be.

Interms of "self-defense"--kinda depends on how exactly you define it. If you don't hang out in doddgy places with sketchy people, if you are smart about where you go and what you do, if pay attention to what is going on around you, if you don't get drunk and stupid in public places, etc. then you will IMO/and experience drastically reduce your chances of needing to be able to fight.

Sure, trouble can always find you--but I can almost assure you that if you go looking for it--it WILL find you.

"When someone tries to mug us, we rightly hand over the money and run."

That is exactly what I would do. I'm not carrying ANYTHING worth bleeding or going to jail over.

I was always taught that martial arts were a sort of "last ditch" kinda-thing. You used it only when you couldn't run/couldn't get away or couldn't get to a weapaon or something you could use as a weapon.


Edited by cxt (01/15/13 12:08 PM)
_________________________
I did battle with ignorance today.......and ignorance won. Huey.

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#435629 - 01/16/13 09:57 PM Re: Price of staying safe [Re: aplant]
Matakiant Offline
Member

Registered: 02/08/11
Posts: 117
A big reason of why I train martial arts is so I don't have to give my money a would be mugger and run.

As always this age old ''awareness&avoidance'' is pretty and all but just like you said yourself cxt trouble can find you anywhere. And I would say the trouble that finds people that actually are aware and avoiding can be a lot more dangerous than the typical drunk fight.

This question of why/what is martial arts and to defend yourself or not to or only to as an absolute last ditch effort is a seperate argument.

But in terms of ''price to pay'' that is purely individual... Self defense is more intent than technique. That being said technique is still absolutely necessary but the rate at which someone learns technique differs not only based on the time they put in but their ''talent'' as well.

Not to mention the efficiency of the training.

Also I feel a lot of people gravely misunderstand something when they think that 3-5 hours of training a week in a class with 1 instructor is their path of learning martial arts. It takes a lot more hard work than that to really get effective, wether in sport or self defense.

I don't think you can measure the price.. People are different and there is more to self defense than your ''fighting skills'' also the mental side of it you can't really learn in a class room.

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#435639 - 01/20/13 11:00 AM Re: Price of staying safe [Re: aplant]
Ronin1966 Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 04/26/02
Posts: 3113
Loc: East Coast, United States
Hello aplant:

Fun questions!

The physical capascity to defend ourselves is a question of muscle memory, and partner training. Can it be done with a book, a DVD, etc. certainly. What such methods will lack entirely however are other people. We need big, small, fat, gigantic, old, young training partners to learn several things that videos, books cannot teach on the physical level.

The most critical component of self protection as you say is NOT putting ourselves in situations/places where trouble is likely to be found. Avoiding the avoidables.

A very large friend, was an auto mechanic. Insanely strong. Every week, every few weeks he would open up with a new story of his latest 'trouble' he had with a women, at a bar, in the city, or with friends. They were absolutely incredible stories...

"...Midgets, diners and cops..." we loved to call his stories. Most times he would put on his "white hat" and play the role of "sheriff" (ie protecting somebody he thought needed it). A crazy girlfriend, or some damsel in distress would start a literal fight with somone at a diner, bar etc. He would get involved. There was always something, typically in places there should not have been possible to have any trouble. Church crazy

Finally one day one of us asked him hey Al (made up name) you ever considered getting a new bunch of friends to go out with?
Once he figured it out, stop attending the bars where the blood always flew... stopped playing "sheriff"... he stopped having most problems.

Now the PROBLEM with "free seminars" becomes lack of an engrained response. I can learn all kinds of things at seminars, but unless I practice making that sushi an insane amount daily for months, it will never become the habit, we require at critical moments. Spend 3, 6 months doing something until it becomes habitual you have a technical base, a developed skill to work from.

Different bodies, different temperments are necessary as training partners. Self restraint is a critical skill of training. Starting out breaking our training partners is not a good idea.

What do we pay for that knowledge... time, often money. How much of either depends a lot on the person. How effective... in the papers all the time. 90 year old grandmother kills attacker, three teen thugs attack the wrong person... however such situation specticles are unfortunate. Standing over the bodies of an assailant is not required.

Protecting ourselves then running away (IMHV) a much smarter approach.

Merely my opinion, I could surely be mistaken,
Jeff


Edited by Ronin1966 (01/20/13 11:05 AM)
Edit Reason: clarifications

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#435646 - 01/23/13 04:16 AM Re: Price of staying safe [Re: aplant]
Leo_E_49 Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 02/24/05
Posts: 4117
Loc: California
aplant,

The premise of your question is that you can buy physical safety like you can buy a t-shirt at the store. The problem is that self-defense doesn't work that way. Self-defense is a part of your lifestyle and whether you like it or not, your decisions on a daily basis affect your personal safety.

A good self-defense is a relatively complex set of techniques, habits and strategies which you carry with you everywhere. The best kinds of self defense are multi-faceted and include several stages, trained responses and a consideration of the legal issues which may arise as a result of your actions.

In the same way that you can exercise to keep fit, you can train martial arts to get better at physical self defense (if you train right). If you stop exercising entirely, your fitness decreases.

Martial arts aren't the kind of thing you can learn for a few years and then stop doing it and expect to keep the full skill-set you had during your training. I know this from experience, having stopped training Tae Kwon Do over 9 years ago now, I can't say that I have any ability remaining in that martial art. If I can largely forget 14 years of training, I suspect that most people will easily forget a few hours or days of training.

The problem with books is that they are at best theoretical additions to an existing skill-set. Would you trust someone who's only read a book about driving to drive a car? How successful do you think they would be on their first try? Why would this be any different for self-defense?

Some would argue that instinct could kick in and pure aggression is good enough. The problem with this argument is that instinct only just puts you on par with everyone else. Everyone has instinct but unless you're very lucky, your assailants will also have experience and maybe even training too. Training in MA is simply a way of stacking the odds in your favour (if you do it right, and there's a huge debate over what the "right" way to train for self defense is. I'll refrain from commenting on that, check the Self-Defense forum for opinions). In terms of actual statistics, I have none and I'm not sure that they even exist, any evidence I could give you would be anecdotal. Mechanically, many MA techniques are provably effective at causing injury and/or restraining people.

There are definitely benefits to self-defense classes and books/videos. In a class, you're likely to learn some basic skills for physical self defense but more importantly, you're likely to learn the stages of self defense and methods for awareness and avoidance. These are often overlooked and I think they are more important than physical self defense on the whole.

Martial arts are certainly not enough to guarantee your safety. Nothing really is. I think that you can get a lot of information relatively cheaply about the stages of criminal behaviour and principles of self defense (particularly awareness and avoidance) in books written by Geoff Thompson, Marc MacYoung (http://www.nononsenseselfdefense.com/), Rory Miller, and others (I'm reading through Verbal Judo right now which is quite an interesting read). The problem is that when worst comes to worst, you may have to rely on your skills at physically defending yourself using force and these books can't give you that.

Since physical self defense is probably the last line of defense you have, any advantage you can get with it is valuable. This is why I think that training MA is value for money.


Edited by Leo_E_49 (01/23/13 04:27 AM)
_________________________
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(Website by Marc MacYoung, not me)

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#435647 - 01/23/13 08:58 AM Re: Price of staying safe [Re: aplant]
Prizewriter Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 10/23/05
Posts: 2573
Another thing to remember is martial arts are, usually, perishable skills. In other words, if you aren't training regularly the skills tend to fade over time. So if you want to optimise fighting skills, it is going to take a long-term investment and commitment.

Another factor to consider in physical "self defence" training is flight training. Sprint training, running endurance, climbing, parkour etc.... All skills that can be trained.

It amazes me still that people in the martial arts community have often rationalised that training flight skills is either not important or much less important than fight skills. I don't get that. If all you've trained to do is fight and you can't run the length of yourself, you're limiting your "self defence" options right from the get go. I sometimes wonder are such individuals really interested in self-defence or just reacting violently when there may be other avenues available. I'm not saying you can always run away, but if you get the chance and you can't take it because you have awful flight skills, well...
_________________________
"Let your food be your medicine, and your medicine be your food" Hippocrates.

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#435649 - 01/23/13 11:18 AM Re: Price of staying safe [Re: aplant]
cxt Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 09/11/03
Posts: 5822
Loc: USA
prize

"perishable skills"

Very well put.....sadly enough. You have to be willing to put in the time if you expect it to work. And you have to keep training it to be able to use it to best effect.

That may be exactly why many of the "old masters" only taught a few kata and, relatively speaking, a small list of techinques. They needed to keep the list kinda sparten in order to have the time to train it in a dedicated and diligent fashion.....maybe.
_________________________
I did battle with ignorance today.......and ignorance won. Huey.

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#435650 - 01/24/13 10:28 AM Re: Price of staying safe [Re: Leo_E_49]
aplant Offline
Just interested.
Member

Registered: 01/08/13
Posts: 31
Loc: UK
Leo,
Quote:
The premise of your question is that you can buy physical safety like you can buy a t-shirt at the store.


This was not what I was trying to put across. What I was thinking about was perhaps the exact opposite.

Many people train MA for the primary reason of self defence, many with the belief that they will then be 'competent' to defend themselves.

To become competent in any style (agreed competent not being a defined standard) will take years and will be a significant investment.

So I realise self defence training is far more of a...gamble than a purchase.

My thought was are we putting our money on the wrong horse in MA? And also self defence products.

I agreed with pretty much all your post but then you made the following statement which I think is a commonly held view (of flawed logic IMO).

Actually, my post premise was intended to raise debate against this statement.

Quote:
Since physical self defense is probably the last line of defense you have, any advantage you can get with it is valuable. This is why I think that training MA is value for money.


I think this is the human nature response to focus on the worst case, low probability outcome.

It is the like driving to the beach after a couple of drinks without your seat-belt on, then not going for a swim in case you get attacked by a shark.


Also consider:
-For many people the advantage they get from MA may make very little difference anyway e.g. 5'2 woman vs. 6'2 bloke
-There is debate on what is effective MA
-May some MA hinder Self defence?


Prizewriter says:
Quote:
Another factor to consider in physical "self defence" training is flight training. Sprint training, running endurance, climbing, parkour etc.... All skills that can be trained.


Ronin says:
Quote:
Avoiding the avoidables.


and Leo Again
Quote:
...you can get a lot of information relatively cheaply about the stages of criminal behaviour and principles of self defense (particularly awareness and avoidance).....


All this can be done for practically no investment.

So is martial arts training really value for money?
Or is someone whose priority is only self defence backing the wrong horse?

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#435652 - 01/25/13 10:53 AM Re: Price of staying safe [Re: aplant]
cxt Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 09/11/03
Posts: 5822
Loc: USA
aplant

Yeah, it can be done for practically no investment--but "common sense" is almost never "common." IMO.

If your asking questions about "value" then eventually you get to value for "whom?" And how much "money" are we talking about?

Good questions--but they are pretty subjective ones.

"is someone whose priority is only self defense backing the wrong horse?"

Again, good question. The only thing I can think to answer it is a buddy of mine.

He is ex-military (not that really matters since he was a engineer and not a member of SEAL Team 6) he has a concealed carry permit and he spends about an hour in the gym every day--mainly weight and cardio and trains in martial arts 3xs a week.

I asked him why he does all that--and my paraphrase to his long amswer/s was:

"Good health is medicine--the better shape I'm in the less I spend on healthcare"

and

"I'd rather have it and NOT need it than NEED it and not HAVE it."

I'm guessing that if you polled people you'll get 2 basic groups:

1-Those whose training "worked" when they needed it.

2-And those whose training did not.

Problem is there are so many human factors that will effect the use/application of martial arts training that its almost useless to try and squeeze any concrete conclusions out of it.

Think of it like school, here in the US people of the same age often are in the same grade, same class-room, same teachers, same text-books, same homework, same assignements, often realitively the same socio-economic background. Not exact, but a pretty decent similar background.

And yet people get widely different grades/outcomes--some get "A's", some get "B's" some get "C'" some just barely pass and some fail.

Why should martial arts be any different?

Maybe "backing the wrong horse" has as much to do with the rider as it does the horse itself?


Edited by cxt (01/25/13 10:57 AM)
_________________________
I did battle with ignorance today.......and ignorance won. Huey.

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#435654 - 01/26/13 03:15 AM Re: Price of staying safe [Re: aplant]
Leo_E_49 Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 02/24/05
Posts: 4117
Loc: California
Originally Posted By: aplant
Leo,
Quote:
The premise of your question is that you can buy physical safety like you can buy a t-shirt at the store.


This was not what I was trying to put across. What I was thinking about was perhaps the exact opposite.

Many people train MA for the primary reason of self defence, many with the belief that they will then be 'competent' to defend themselves.

To become competent in any style (agreed competent not being a defined standard) will take years and will be a significant investment.

So I realise self defence training is far more of a...gamble than a purchase.

My thought was are we putting our money on the wrong horse in MA? And also self defence products.


Sorry for the misunderstanding.

Originally Posted By: aplant

I agreed with pretty much all your post but then you made the following statement which I think is a commonly held view (of flawed logic IMO).

Actually, my post premise was intended to raise debate against this statement.

Quote:
Since physical self defense is probably the last line of defense you have, any advantage you can get with it is valuable. This is why I think that training MA is value for money.


I think this is the human nature response to focus on the worst case, low probability outcome.

It is the like driving to the beach after a couple of drinks without your seat-belt on, then not going for a swim in case you get attacked by a shark.


It comes down to utility. The probability of entering a violent situation can be reduced but never fully eliminated. Even with a small probability, the cost of being unable to physically defend yourself can be extremely high. Your life or the life of your loved ones could be in danger, and it's hard for most people to put a finite value to that.

Utility is very personal and subjective, it all depends on how low you think the probability of being attacked is and how much you care about mitigating the effects of an attack in the unlikely case that it does happen. Most people who come to this forum believe that it is worth a great deal of time and effort to prepare for this possibility.

Originally Posted By: aplant

Also consider:
-For many people the advantage they get from MA may make very little difference anyway e.g. 5'2 woman vs. 6'2 bloke
-There is debate on what is effective MA
-May some MA hinder Self defence?


I will address your points in order:
1. There is a difference between being at a disadvantage and being helpless. Martial arts are designed to apply force effectively, reducing the importance of physical size and strength. It takes very little force to render someone unconscious or to break a limb (I have done the latter by accident during training I regret to say, I only found out what had happened the next week). You will find that women can very effectively defend themselves, even with a size disadvantage, if they are properly trained. In Judo for example, women who I train with who are a foot shorter than me are capable of throwing me while I'm resisting (I weigh about 190 lbs).
2. The debate will rage on, it's hard to say exactly what's the most effective because you can't actually stab someone in the eyes with your fingers or palm strike their groin during training. I imagine that both of those will be effective in some circumstances, but would it be better to train boxing? I'm almost certain that it is, but I don't really know for sure.
3. Yes, XMA in particular is just a dance. Other MA may be trained poorly and create unrealistic expectations for students, which could cause over-confidence and lead them into trouble. It's usually possible to see this kind of Dojo for what it is before you start training there and avoid this problem.

Originally Posted By: aplant

Prizewriter says:
Quote:
Another factor to consider in physical "self defence" training is flight training. Sprint training, running endurance, climbing, parkour etc.... All skills that can be trained.


Ronin says:
Quote:
Avoiding the avoidables.


and Leo Again
Quote:
...you can get a lot of information relatively cheaply about the stages of criminal behaviour and principles of self defense (particularly awareness and avoidance).....


All this can be done for practically no investment.

So is martial arts training really value for money?
Or is someone whose priority is only self defence backing the wrong horse?


Good question. I have explored many of the other options, particularly reading about interpersonal communication, body language, tactics for evading conflict, etc.

Despite all that, I still think that training hundreds/thousands of hours of physical self defense worth it, because I don't trust the rest of my defenses to be perfect. I don't take huge risks but I personally feel that some of the "worst case scenarios" (or even just bad scenarios) are bad enough that it warrants the time and effort.

I don't even train primarily for self defense, but I think that some kind of long-term preparation is warranted.

My personal viewpoint about self defense is that it's much more complex than just fighting, just interpersonal skills or just avoidance. I think that you need all of this including MA to really have a good chance of staying safe in all circumstances.


Edited by Leo_E_49 (01/26/13 03:34 AM)
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(Website by Marc MacYoung, not me)

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