Go to a self defence course and you’ll usually get taught a hundred ways to damage a body.
Go to a self protection and you learn probably fewer ways to hurt people but also get a load of ways to avoid getting into trouble in the first place. Oh, and learn how to not be too upset about the ordeal afterwards.
Go to a martial arts class and you’ll get taught whatever interpretation of whatever some dead, probably Asian, guy used to defeat countless enemies.
But then take a look at the older and more esoteric systems. Particularly the Okinawan, Chinese, the lesser known Thai arts and Indian martial arts. You’ll see a vastly different approach to what is often espoused today.
With the rise of the UFC, and “mixed martial arts” we have developed a blood sweat and tears mindset, an “if it don’t work in the ring/octagon, why bother with it” attitude. Many non MMA’ers have turned to the so called “Reality Based” Self Defence, where the same blood sweat and tears mindset prevails. They think sports are silly and instead train for the fateful day society breaks down and we all have to wear combat pants, shave our heads and be dead ‘ard.
But there is something missing still.
The “real as it gets” MMA or the “Reality” self defence are still incomplete as self defence systems. They lack the elements made that the “old fashioned” systems complete. Systems that these modern “warriors” seem to think are usless.
But self defence, and indeed the martial arts, are about much more than hurting people and fighting. The term Self Defence can be defined as:
Defending oneself from harm using whatever means necessary The word harm could be anything that would adversely affect your well being. Not just a violent attack, but health issues, environmental issues, stress. Self Defence is about being ready and prepared to deal with anything.
Many of the more esoteric arts include support systems or training protocols that are designed keep the body and mind agile and strong, even into old age. Meditation, Chi Gung and Yoga type programs would go hand in hand with the physical kick/punch training. Hard would be balanced with soft.
It is these support systems that seem to have been forgotten in the quest for greater speed and knockout power. Yet if you wish to still be training well into your twilight years, it is these systems that will get you there. The meditations and chi gungs will assist the body in recovering from the abuse of hard training, they will calm and focus the mind, they loosen and relax tense muscles and maintain a strong will and a disciplined, agile mind.
The esoteric or holistic systems start with the individual. There is no focus on anything external, be it opponents or muggers until the student has first gained mastery of themselves.
After all, are we not our own worst enemies?