Reality Based Martial
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
'reality based martial arts' or
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
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.
There must be an overall emphasis on self defence and
conditioning for realistic confrontation.
The self defence must be simple, quick and effective.
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.
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,
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
Tell tale signs that the class
you are in or watching is NOT a reality based system.
Students standing in lines practicing techniques into the air
for a large proportion of the class.
Deep immobile stances.
Unrealistic attacks during self defence practice, for example the attacker uses a big
solid reverse punch from a deep stance to attack.
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
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.
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
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".
confrontation is dynamic and changes quickly, usually going from bad to worse very
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
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
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
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.
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