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.


embedded by Embedded Video

YouTube Direkt


Full Story »

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.



Full Story »

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.



Full Story »

Under: martial arts
6 Jul 2009


This post is an update of the last housekeeping post. From time to time I change the look and feel of the blog to try and stay in-line with my goals for this site. What are my goals you might be wondering?


This website was created so I could help people understand how the martial arts might help them in their quest for self-defense prowess! Some other goals I have are to reach out to people of all walks of life, preferred fighting styles and just try to take some of the mystery out of self-defense. On that vein before I get into Ikigai’s eBook, the new links and upcoming stuff – here is a funny self-defense video  (with a little colorful language) taught from the reverse perspective!


Full Story »

Women Fighting Back! Kung Fu & Karate?

Posted by: John W. Zimmer
Under: Self-defense
29 Apr 2008


Many of you may be wondering what is the best style or martial art for self-defense? There are many good martial arts schools that teach adaptive self-defense moves that also teach the traditional martial arts. People often ask me what is the best way to learn self-defense. The short answer is to find something you like for the time commitment you want to make, and then follow through.


Almost any martial art will work in self-defense if one practices but it must be suited for the student. For instance if a woman wanted to learn how to fight in two weeks, I would not suggest a formal Kung Fu or Karate school (unless they also taught self-defense courses), but rather a self-defense course. If a woman wanted to learn an art form as well as some practical self-defense then almost any martial art will be good (Kung Fu, Karate, Jiu Jitsu, Judo, Aikido and so on). Here is a short video of a Kung Fu school with a self-defense offering.


[kml_flashembed movie="" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]


Full Story »