“if it has limitations it isn’t self defense” M. Slane

I see a lot of “self defense” systems that come from the “non-lethal” angle. They put limitations on what their practitioners can do. This always makes me shake my head. Several of these systems claim their goal is to “restrain or stop an attack while causing minimal injury to the attacker”. I also see systems that use adjuncts such as sticks, canes, leather straps, etc. to “strike non-lethal targets to make the attacker back off”. My thought is that if you are a bouncer, school teacher, cop or the like this may be what you need to learn for your job. These people are learning a system that make them personally not as safe, they are trading keeping themselves safe for what they need to know for their job. IF you don’t have to learn such a system for your job why in the world would you learn it at all?

Quite a few martial arts take this same approach. They have a “never strike first” or a “never do more harm than necessary” warriors code of ethics. Even BJJ (which I respect immensely) has the philosophy of “patiently contain until you can submit” while allowing no punches to the throat, eye gouges or groin strikes. None of this makes sense to me! To put limitations on self defense is to put people in danger! The scumbags don’t have these codes or philosophies, aren’t worried about being non-lethal or restraining. To teach our students such things puts them behind the eight ball. The bad guys are using violence as a weapon. We must take this weapon of violence, perfect it and weald it better than they do!

Most systems and arts can teach whatever bullshit they want, it will never be tested in the real world. Heaven help their students if it ever is. I don’t know how instructors that teach these things could sleep at night if one of their students ever got hurt bad with the crap they are taught. As I tell my instructors “when someone comes to you for self defense they are literally putting their lives in your hands.” To show a small female one of these systems where they are taught to restrain and not do “too much damage” is setting them up to be badly hurt or killed. When the attacker is bigger and stronger than you, when there are more than one attackers, when you are ambushed, etc. the only thing that has even a little bit of a chance of getting you out alive is to fight like a cornered animal with all the rage, aggression and hatred you can muster. You must become a crazy person thinking only of doing the maximum amount of damage you possibly can and then to get away. You must gouge eyes, slam into throats and groins, bust knees and put people down! To teach anything else is to set people up for failure.

My favorite quote from Rory Miller’s books is “Listening to most martial artists talk about real world violence is like listening to ten year olds talk about sex”. When I do instructor training during one of my lectures I ask “who is teaching self defense?” Most raise their hand. I then ask them who has studied violence, who has studied how the scumbags think and attack? Who has read Rory Miller’s Meditations on Violence & Facing Violence? Who has read Col. Grossman’s On Combat & On Killing? Who has read DeBecker’s Gift of Fear or SGT Strong’s Strong on Defense? I usually see zero hands raised at this point. I then tell them “If you haven’t studied violence, studied how the scumbags attack, know what a realistic attack is, know what stops people or know what group strategies they use, how the hell can you think you are teaching self defense?” BE SAFE!!

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.