It was the mid-1980’s and I was having a conversation with an old guy I knew from another business. He owned a metal shop and the conversation got to fighting. He knew I used to own a karate school and thought I could take care of myself. He told me that he knew karate and was good at street fighting. We went back and forth for a while with our experience and I assumed since I outranked him I could win easily in any kind of fight. Well as you know in a street fight there are no rules. I squared off with Henry and as I was getting ready into my stance – he jabbed an eye-poke at my forehead!!! My ego was great and my counter punch caught him in his gut and I declared myself the winner!

 

It reminded me of my childhood cap-gun fights arguing who got who first. You see in a real fight it only matters who wins and winning most often is taking an early advantage and keeping it. Fights only last seconds if someone knows how to fight. I could not accept that a man in his 50’s could get one over on me (a fighter in his 20’s). But looking back on that incident the way a real fight would have gone is me temporarily unable to see while the old guy had his way with me.

 

I bring this up because of today’s topic, “Are the martial arts effective in a fight?” Save yourself some reading and I’ll tell you the answer now… maybe.

 

First I would like to mention that the martial arts I am speaking of include Eastern and Western martial arts. I am not discriminating here. I have always said fighting is fighting is fighting. No matter what techniques you choose to accomplish fighting – there are only so many ways to do it and everything is known. So I include karate, kung fu, wrestling, boxing, muay thai, jiu-jitsu (Japanese and Brazilian),  judo, savate and so forth… any martial art you can think of I am including in this list.

 

Check out this short video from a school owner I found on youtube, Fred Mergen, about will MMA work in a street fight to frame the arguments.

 

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Kind of an interesting title, “What is Karate…” for this article. I used to be the guy that sold dreams to people wanting to learn karate. To most Americans in the 1970’s and 1980’s, karate was a mysterious way of fighting. Perhaps they had seen movies and TV shows how a smaller man/woman/child could best a bigger, stronger opponent. So when people waked in to my studio I would tell them what was possible for them or their children.

 

The thing is there was no single idea of what karate was to people. Many wanted self defense at first but then sought to attain, rank, trophy in sport kumite and kata. Some wanted to learn some good street fighting techniques (most for self defense). The thing is as a salesman – I changed my presentation to suit each person individually. I told them whatever reasonable goal they had for karate – I would help them achieve that as well as teach then the Kenpo Karate system of self defense.

 

Before I give you my answer of what I think karate is, watch this catchy karate rap video of the period for a good idea of what people thought of karate back in the day.

 

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Today while was reading the news I saw this article, entitled, “In Rough Slum, Brazil’s Police Try Soft Touch.” Apparently in the favela’s (slums) some cops have been working with the youth to reach out with karate! After a little more research I found out about an organization called, “Fight for Peace” were this NGO (non-governmental organization) also reaches out in a favela to offer boxing & martial arts, personal development, youth support services, job training, and youth leadership!


In this post I will highlight the problems, some traditional solutions, and what I think of this organization’s approach, “Fight for Peace.” First here is the movie trailer – City of God.


 

 

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Why Self Defense Works!

Posted by: John W. Zimmer
Under: Self-defense
11 Jul 2010


A man on vacation at a bar finds himself in middle of a fight and as so often happens – it is hard to discern the good guys from the bad. Well he puts some distance between the fight and his wife and scans for exits. One of the fighters notice and comes right at him! The vacationer side-steps the rusher and give him a little push into the table – grabs his wife and makes for the exit.


I don’t know about you but I’ve been in this type of situation before and it is a little scary if you have the family with you. This website has often evaluated different types of fighting styles and self defense but why does self defense work? I mean most bad guys can fight – right? If they can fight then why can some minimal self-defense training carry the day?


In this post I will delve into the question of why self defense works and what I think are some good ways to go about learning how to fight. Let me be clear that self defense is learning how to fight. More on that in a bit but first I’d like to show you the average caliber of fighters you have to prepare for in case you ever have to defend yourself. Take a peek at this video of a street fight – there are some weapons but no one seems to get hurt too badly.


 

 

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Look Mean; Avoid Fights?

Posted by: John W. Zimmer
Under: Self-defense
8 May 2010

 

Ok imagine you are on the way to the airport in a major US city but you have to fill up the gas tank. It is 4:30 a.m. in the morning and you’ve found a station near the airport! Unfortunately this airport is near the barrio and some of the people are plain scary looking.

 

You get out but wonder if there is a way to keep people from messing with you. I don’t know about you but I’ve lived so many stories like this in my life and learned early on that you have to project an image of “Don’t mess with me!” if you expect bad guys to steer clear!

 

In this post I’ll try and explore what how you look has to do with your likelihood of getting into a fight. I mean should how you look have any bearing on your fighting ability? Do people prejudge you (wimp – duke)? Should you buy into other peoples realities and try and look the part? To start this off, take a look at this video.

 

 

 

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Robot Fighters? Iron Man 2!

Posted by: John W. Zimmer
Under: Humor, Movies
22 Apr 2010

 

As you all know by know – I try to cover the hard hitting issues in martial arts. One such area affecting our national security is how robots, androids, and super computers might be used in future conflicts. I mean are the dogs of war going to be unleashed without using real dogs?

 

One such movie that explores this idea somewhat is Iron Man! Yes as a boy I used to read about Tony Starks adventures when he put on the suit effectively making him a robot!

 

In this post I am going to explore robots in popular music, movies, TV and as a replacement for troublesome mates! To start out this humorous litany take a look at this almost top hit song!

 

 

 

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Under: karate, Self-defense
30 Mar 2010

 

I remember how often planes were hijacked to Cuba when I was young and thought that would be inconvenient to be diverted to Cuba like that. As I recall most of the time everyone was returned to the United States without harm (or at least that is my memory).

 

As you know today we are facing not only common criminals but a new breed of thugs called terrorists! Terrorists are not really new as one might argue the Trojan Horse in Homer’s Odyssey was a terrorist act but today men, women, children and pets (is nothing sacred?) strap on bombs to kill the maximum number of innocent people.

 

In this post I will attempt to show how some flight attendants are trying to counter some of this senseless violence by taking karate and self defense courses to protect passengers! I will also show some videos discussing this trend and the TSA crew member self defense course. I’ll round this out by highlighting how important it is for every day citizens to take part in their own safety so maybe some future attacks can be stopped and show a 9/11 video. Here is the recent story I saw in San Diego.

 

 

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