On this page you will find some classifications and
clarifications of modern martial styles based on our own experiences
of different types of commercial schools currently marketing their
self-defence training and consultancy services in the industry.
If they are happy with what they do, then all is
well. More often than not, much of the self-declared 'pros and cons
'are little more than marketing hype and many are less than
honest about what they actually (can) do or, let alone what they say others
don't do. Let the buyer beware!
Classical Martial Art Styles & Schools
Classical schools of martial art, which whilst often very good technically
for traditional techniques and skills of warfare, have never really been updated to
include modern knowledge systems or adapted to modern day conditions. The
wider knowledge of general and modern security management principles and skills are
usually missing. They have become cultural antiques to be preserved as they 'have
always been', and are rarely taught in their full and true form to foreigners,
particularly where Chinese and Japanese arts are concerned. The learning cycle is usually
a very long term one, with much politics on the way. Whilst many practitioners may have
some knowledge of modern knowledge systems and security management, they are not integrated back into the original system.
Esoterical martial Art Schools
Esoterical martial art schools are those that for historical or other
reasons have chosen to modify the original arts and concentrate on the health or character
building aspects of martial arts training. In many cases it was because the keepers
of the systems (Chinese & Japanese) did not really want to teach the true arts to
foreigners or any other undesirables. These days, in order to compete commercially,
many instructors are starting to promote the martial side more, but are usually lacking in
realistic understanding of self-defence or in right the training methods. They have become
wrapped and cloaked in katas and forms as a way of teaching and recording their
system whilst controlling and filtering their students for many years before the real art
is ever revealed, if at all. In some cases the practical self-defence knowledge has
already been severely diminished or completely lost.
Styles of martial art that for commercial reasons or other reasons have
chosen to focus on the sporting application of martial art skills. To facilitate
relatively safe sporting competition, practical techniques are banned, the rules of combat
changed and padding and safety gear is worn. This completely changes everything!
Equipment interferes with technique and practitioners regularly change techniques and
tactics to fit with the rules and the equipment in order to score points and win a trophy.
Most such combat sports are thus forced to concentrate on one particular aspect or set of
martial art skills, to the complete detriment of all other real life practical aspects.
The nearest thing to real life has come in the form of the 'Ultimate' tournament and other
similar inventions. However, there are still rules, both official, backed up by monetary
fines and unspoken ones that are part of a code of conduct for everyone's safety, not to
mention legal permits for actually holding such tournaments.
Schools of martial art, usually commercial that approach self-defence
training as if it were a game of football in which there only existed corners, goal
kicks, throw-ins and penalties. Usually these are commercial quick-fix systems
designed for the less educated public or for soldiers who normally fight with machine guns
and have only a handful of weeks to learn anything at all about hand to hand combat. Syllabi often consist of a few basic, brutish and
power (strength and mass) based techniques that are
more suitable for bigger, less flexible men and
any novice or fool to
They are usually derived from
and hence extracts from other more sophisticated arts
Traditional martial art classes consisting of 1 week (Actual training time
if you are lucky) of 101 favourite combat tricks from their particular style. usually
techniques taught are all the really nasty ones with little regard for appropriateness in
the situation, usually to over-compensate for the students lack of skill and confidence.
In a similar vane, over aggressiveness is also taught as an over-compensation for the same
reasons. There is a big difference between this kind of aggressive over-reaction and the
cool psychology actually needed based on mind states such as focus, determination and
intent. Apparently strength, fitness, skill, brains, psychology and conditioning have
nothing to do with it! This is another commercial quick-fix confidence trick!
Security Management schools
Schools of self-defence based on the knowledge and practical experiences
of current day security professionals with little more than the most basic techniques and
aspects of true martial arts. The training includes modern defence devices that were not
available in the days when the classical systems were devised. The principles however are
always the same, and these people are constantly trying to reinvent the wheel. Experience
is always a vital resource, but experience depends on the knowledge, training and skills
you already have before dealing with those situations. The psychology knowledge is
equally basic and limited. In all fairness there is always a limit to what can be
taught to complete beginners within the training time available, but this is little
consolation when you are hospitalised because you created more problems than you solved. A
little knowledge can be a very dangerous thing.
Non-violent (psychological) self-defence organisations
Currently there are several groups or individuals trying to sell
non-violent self-defence using purely psychological and communication skills. Whilst the
studies of these psychological schools have provided a valuable addition of modern
psychology knowledge to the world of martial arts and security management, to sell and
teach them as something independent and usually in complete ignorance of the physical
aspects and imperatives is quite foolhardy in the extreme. Worse still it demonstrates a
clear lack of understanding even of the psychology of the situations they purport to
teach! All good self-defence schools recognise and teach that non-violent methods are the
best and most commonly useful approach for security, beit it in the modern or historical
context. Unfortunately, this is somewhat difficult to achieve without the back-up
and integration of congruous use of physical methods and principles. They are but two
sides of the same coin!
Legally and by default, the only self-defence we can use involves
wrestling and restraining techniques. This simply is not practical for most people. This
fact is attested to by the fact that so many door monitors are mountainous men of such
physical mass and power that they would not need technique to over-power a client in a
wrestling match. This miss-match, whether with human giants or more powerful
predator animals, is exactly why weapons were invented in the first place! Striking
techniques are essential to self-defence in combination with the wrestling skills. Yet
despite this, some wrestling sport combat exponents are still teaching self-defence
courses labelled as non-violent self-defence, preaching lesser techniques and similar
psychology and communication methods as the quasi-psychology groups.
So, who are we and what do we do?
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