Hey Prizefighter -- 2 thoughts about your reply:

a) It seems you want to keep martial arts for people who want to learn how to fight, not who have other reasons which seem irrelevant to you or better served elsewhere (like self-defence). I disagree with your idea that martial arts aren't a good venue for learning self-defense. Although I'm happy to see that CrossFit thread, it's better to practice in situations that somewhat approximate the conditions where you use a skill, and to practice moves you might actually use. For example, in one situation where I was attacked before having any training, a guy had me in a headlock and was dragging me backward. I was in good shape, but I'm small. I had a good instant reaction -- I clawed my hand and reached backward for his eyes. However, when my hand touched his eyes, I found myself unable to follow through with enough force to cause him pain. Why? I had NEVER intentionally done anything similar to that. Inhibitions against violence prevented me using that split second. Result? I lost that split second and got well and truly beaten up. That WILL NOT happen again, thanks to me having repeatedly practiced using force with other actual people. It took me quite a few months to put any power into moves in martial arts. (And, in an unexpected result, I found that I like fighting, at least in a dojo, where emotions are not involved -- and I was a person who would not have guessed that I enjoyed fighting and would never have tried it otherwise).

b) A lot of your thread seems like blaming the victims of violence. It so happens, despite the statistics, that my own situations have been in middle-class areas, and not connected to pubs etc; however, it serves no purpose to tell a person who has just been beaten up that they should live in a better neighbourhood or should not drink with friends in celebration of something or other. Unfair things DO happen to people -- if you're always looking for ways to explain violence in terms of the victims, it seems like you're protecting yourself psychologically by blaming them (nothing bad can happen to me, because I do all of these magical things, and the world is fair and just, right?). My husband defended himself successfully against an armed gang member by using head games -- and having judo training. He was living in a very dicey area while studying for his doctorate at Johns Hopkins. There are many things people can do to aid their self-defense. Fair enough. If they weren't already doing all of them, it still doesn't make them at fault for being attacked.

Please don't encourage people who "only" need self-defense to exclude themselves from martial arts. Yes, fighting is a last resort for self-defense. War's a last resort for solving international problems. Sometimes, there's nothing else you can do.

Edited by hope (12/11/09 12:08 AM)
God grant me a good sword and no use for it. -- Polish proverb