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.
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
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.
-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.
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.
and Leo Again
...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.