“The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting”.
Sun Tzu, author of The Art of War
Ultimately the traditional martial arts are about self defence. That is why they were designed as the efficient fighting systems that they are (if trained correctly).
There are plenty of health and fitness benefits you can gain from your martial arts training, if you do not want to approach it from a self defence angle, but it does help your understanding of your chosen art if you learn a little about the real world applications behind the moves and techniques that you are performing.
When you talk about what is most important in terms of self defence, most people will talk about this technique, or that technique, which part of the body to aim for, where you should position yourself and so on….
I come from a slightly different angle first of all – well actually I agree with the correct positioning – that is as far away from the situation as you can be!
Why put yourself or your nearest and dearest in danger, or even a hint of danger? If you know there’s a part of your town that’s best to avoid in the evening if you can, then avoid it! If there’s a bar or a nightclub that often ends up spewing fights out onto the street, then don’t go there! Don’t let your ego take over and don’t go out looking for a hint of trouble, better to avoid it altogether. Now I’m not saying to not be a confident individual, just be confident and sensible!
Secondly, if you have come across some trouble, or trouble has found you, do your best to talk yourself out of the situation or around the situation to avoid it. This comes back to confidence and not being egotistical again. If someone is starting on you in a bar or on the street, it’s important to negate their aggression and clearly state that you are not looking for any trouble. Do not fight fire with fire or the next thing you know the whole situation could have exploded and suddenly you’re confronted with one or several people. One of the best things to do is just to simply walk away.
The third rule of self defence is one that you can do something about in a pro-active way: make sure you are well trained! Martial arts training, done correctly over the years, will make you a more confident individual, capable of first of all avoiding the situation, then negotiating your way out of a situation and lastly – IF ALL ELSE FAILS – fighting your way out of a situation. However, do not be fooled, situations on the street are an extreme and dangerous situation, not like the environment in a training hall! However, you can stack the odds in your favour by training hard and regularly in your chosen art, keeping yourself fit and healthy and making yourself more aware of what is around you.