Reality Based Martial Arts

When looking for a martial art or self defence system there is a wide variety of choice, however your needs should dictate the style or system that you choose. Some systems place emphasis on self defence, other on sports, others tradition, others developing harmony and inner peace.

Term that are becoming widely and in many cases WRONGLY used are 'reality based martial arts' or 'street effective martial arts' or 'street effective self defence'.

What are reality based self defence systems and reality based martial arts?

A reality based martial art or self defence system is one in which the over ridding emphasis in training is self defence that will actually work in a real life on the street situation.

Although many styles and systems claim to teach reality based martial arts, most do not, there are a number of important criteria to be used if a martial art system is reality based.

1. There must be an overall emphasis on self defence and conditioning for realistic confrontation.

2. The self defence must be simple, quick and effective.

3. The self defence must be able to be used against an 'angry' person, not just someone who is going along with the technique in the training hall.

4. The self defence must use 'fail safe' techniques. High kicks, sweeps, fancy throws are NOT 'fail safe' and therefore not reality based. No technique has a 100% guarantee, but simple strong techniques such as elbows, knees, groin shots, eyes shots, palm strikes have a far greater chance of success then a jumping spinning kick.

5. The training MUST involve bag work. Punching and kicking into air will not develop strength in the technique, nor will it show the student what happens when he or she actually hits something.

6. The self defence should not just rely on delivering pain to an attacker as the only means of defence. Self defence must also include, surprise and an attack on peripheral systems such as balance, senses, mobility.

7. The classes should include training in the areas of street and confrontational psychology. For more information about the psychology of confrontation click here

Reality based systems make up only a small percentage of martial classes available in Australia today. If it is a reality based system that you wish to learn you will have to shop around and ask questions of any prospective instructor.

TEN Tell tale signs that the class you are in or watching is NOT a reality based system.

1. Students standing in lines practicing techniques into the air for a large proportion of the class.

2. Deep immobile stances.

3. Unrealistic attacks during self defence practice, for example the attacker uses a big solid reverse punch from a deep stance to attack.

4. Unrealistic defence during self defence practice, for example the defender removing a larger attacker's grab to the collar by striking the forearms and the attacker just letting go.

5. Emphasis on high kicks and complicated techniques for self defence.

6. Emphasis on kata, patterns, drills etc during class. Reality based systems often use drills or patterns for some technique practice or as a cool down for around 5 mins in a class, not as a major basis of training.

7. Emphasis on training for tournaments. Tournaments have rules, the street does not.

8. Any self defence against knives, any other weapon or multiple attackers that DOES NOT involving seeking a means of escape as the first line of defence. The best way to defend against a weapon is not to be there when it arrives. When talking about knife/weapon defence. If an instructor does not advocate escape as the FIRST and BEST means of defence "get away from this person".

9. The promise of "this will always work". Real confrontation is dynamic and changes quickly, usually going from bad to worse very quickly. NO one technique or series of techniques are guaranteed to work, reality based training teaches a student to adapt, improvise and overcome.

10. Any instructor or system that claims to be the best or to have all the answers. Reality based instructor are always studying, learning, changing and developing their systems.

And one more for good luck,

11. Any class that has adults partnered with children during the course of training. (especially those under 12) How can an adult train for the realities of a street fight, when he/she is training along side or with a 7 year old.

Whilst a number of systems promote the notion of the family class, at Bukido the training conducted for adults is different to the training for teenagers and vastly different to the training for kids

Each person has different needs and desires for their martial art training. As I said previously shop around, but here are some guidelines.

1. Find out what self defence and/or reality based martial art experience the instructor has. Just because an instructor has extensive experience training or teaching karate or similar systems or being a competitive boxer or kickboxer does not necessarily make them a good reality based self defence instructor. Reality based experience come from being on the street, not just doing a course etc

2. If the style claims to be reality based or a street effective system, find out what reality based experience the instructor has or what experience the head of the system (he or she who decides what will be taught in the system) has.

3. Ensure that the instructor and club are members of legitimate, government accredited bodies.

4. Ensure that the instructor has all the necessary accreditation to be an instructor.

5. Remember, don't be afraid to ask questions to satisfy any doubts that you may have, professional and competent instructors will welcome your interest.

For more information on reality based martial arts check out our links page, most of the links are to reality based systems some of which Bukido Kai has ongoing association with.

Penrith Self Defence & Bukido Martial Arts

Penrith Self Defence & Bukido Martial Arts