This is a short post about the expansion of MySelfDefenseBlog.com. You see I, like over a billion others of you have tried facebook and other such sites and for me it is maddening! I’ll go over the pros and cons and then what I really think. I’m not trying to sway anyone else to my way of thinking but this is more of an explanation of why I’m expanding the scope of this blog.
As a young parent one of the things I had to deal with early on was how to keep my kids safe from all threats. Now most of the worrisome things were in the home like falling objects and hot things. But as your kids grow most parents find out more and more are out of their control. Bullies at the playground and school can be worrisome as well as muggers and rapists to and from school.
What is a parent to do? I learned early on I had to teach my kids how to fight. Not so formerly as you might think from a Kenpo instructor but playtime at the Zimmer household was dad against the kids! This helped make my boys tough. It did not make them bullies because I was the opponent – not all of my kids friends. So the first time I had to teach my youngest how to fight he was being harassed by a group of kids at the end of the block on his way to 7/11 (convenience store). More on how that turned out later.
Over my karate career I have taught lots of kids how to defend themselves! But back in the 1970’s and 1980’s a parent had two choices, Boxing or Karate! Wrestling was not a choice but most boys knew some how to wrestle. It worked fine against someone who did not know how to fight. Girls did not learn wrestling in school.
Your choices today include, Boxing, Karate (kung fu, kenpo, taekwondo), Jiu-Jitsu (traditional and BJJ), Muay Thai, Judo, & Wrestling, and MMA has even come out in some circles as a martial art (and their are schools).
I will make the point that if your children need to learn self-defense – then Boxing, Karate, or Muay Thai should be taught. I will explain this and why wrestling, judo, jiu-jitsu, and even mma (if ground work is stressed) does on lead itself easily to self-defense.
First here is a video of children learning striking via boxing lessons for your perusal.
When I was a kid watching Batman and Robin, I used to see the dynamic duo picking up common objects laying around and use them as weapons! I mean the bad guys already had weapons of some kind before they attacked. The really cool thing about an improvised weapon is it can even the odds and take the advantage away from your attacker!
In this article I will talk about improvised weapons and how one might add some of these into your sparring workouts. Why would a martial artist want to train with common object as weapons? Why not train with only traditional martial arts weapons? The short answer is you have to improvise with what you have if attacked. Take a look at this video I found that does a good job of sparring with weapons but not so much realism when it goes to the ground (more on that later).
When I was a kid I used to watch old karate movies and I used to see the master punch the bad guy and he would go flying! As a gullible kid it seemed that karate punches were almost magical. As I grew up and learned a bit of karate – I learned how to break boards and bricks and thought I had a good punch. I mean all of the board and bricks were scared of me.
That was always the argument when I first got into karate – did boxing or karate have the most powerful punch. Boxers thought they did and the formal karate guys thought the did. Well I’m not going to sway any boxers opinions here but in this article I’m going to discus boxing vs karate punches, where the power is generated and some differences. And I will give away my secret to throwing a really power punch… relax.. more on that later but first here is a video that frames the question very aptly.
As you might know from reading this website I tend to focus on self-defense over martial arts (MA). Martial arts are interesting to me in the various forms such as studio sparring, tournment fighting (back in the days of the legal groin kicks), sport (boxing, mma, kick boxing) and what I started karate lessons for – self-defense so many years ago.
So while sport MA are fun to watch – they have no basis in reality as they have rules. I hear some of you yelling to the screen that (insert sport here) works in the street (insert expletive here)! I want you to know that I think any top fighter in any sport will do ok on the street. I don’t disagree.
But – with rules you leave out targets that I as a self-defense practitioner can take advantage of – for instance the groin, eyes, throat, knees and such. I also know some of you have iron nuts and not man (or even a woman) can harm you… sure they are… I’ve stopped listening to fairy tails when I was a boy. So lets agree to disagree on this point and get to the point of this post.
Historical European Martial Arts (HEMA) daggar training is one type of improvised martial arts training we are starting to use. Here is a video of some basic HEMA dagger sparring for your perusal and then I’ll speak how Kenpo Karate initial movement can blend effectively to make the dagger an effective improvised weapon.
Maybe late one night/early morning, you are walking to your car from a night club with friends and you get attacked! What do you think your considerations would be? Do you have confidence in the way you train and the tools of your martial art?
Let me just say I have always considered fighting – fighting! I mean (and for my purposes I only use fighting for self-defense) whatever method of fighting you choose – it should be inclusive enough to have methods to take on most kinds of attacks. So if the odd thug that wants your wallet or pack of dogs attack you, or that ever popular fight over the quarter on the pool table happens to you and you cannot use your deescalation techniques you have perfected over the years – you will have to fight back.
To me fighting not only includes unarmed methods but using weapons with my martial art methods. This includes various improvised weapons (as I call them in Kenpo). To me this does not include depending on a weapon for self-defense but rather on my training.
Here is a video that initially speaks to improvised weapons that I like up to 2:20 and then it starts going into specific weapon martial arts methods. While I certainly agree that learning some of other martial arts can help if you need to use that type of weapon – I do not think you need to be an expert in eastern stick or knife fighting to use a stick or knife with karate for instance. So with that disclaimer please watch the beginning of this video and I’ll comment later.
How I got to the point on writing on America’s moral decline in view of self-defense is interesting I think so here goes. When I was a kid I was raised as a Roman Catholic and questions of right and wrong were easy. We had a book, church and traditions. I remember making the mistake of befriending a kid of low moral character who taught me the, “Harry Cemetery” rhyme. As it is no longer considered immoral to recite it I will post here to make my point.
This is Harry Cemetery
If you good you go to Heaven
If your bad you to to Hell…o everybody…
My mom did not seem to understand the finer point of linguistic nuance (you see I did not really say the word, “Hell”), grounded me and told me that I could not play with my (former) friend anymore.
You see morality viewed through the religious context was simple to understand. That was in 1968. You see a great number of Americans viewed morality in the same context. It was abhorrent to view morality (right and wrong) though a purely secular context.
Well as you know America was not perfect back then (as in any other time in history for any nation) but we as Americans seemed to mostly agree on the definition of right and wrong. We had crazies back then but they were not very demonstrative. The information age had not happened yet (Al Gore had not created the internet yet ).
So fast forward through the 70’s, 80’s, 90’s to the 21’st century, now many moral issues that were bad in the early 1960’s are now ok as viewed by progressives. I won’t go into all of the changes as that will distract from my main points. There is one issue I will speak to here… how the crazies seem to think life is cheap. First here is a quick video with some of the issues.