I would like to announce and explain about the “MySelfDefenseBlog” YouTube channel in this post. You know the old saying that a picture is worth a thousand words, well in this light – a video is worth ten-thousand words. I have had a youtube channel for years that I’ve used occasionally, but now after watching HEMA (historical european martial arts) videos for the last couple of years, a light bulb went off in my head – hey I can do that!
In this post I will discuss the evolution of the blog to vlog on youtube while retaining the blog. Also the strengths and weaknesses of each medium and what the goals are for me as I evolve as a martial artist – dabbling into HEMA.
First here is the youtube channel: MySelfDefenseBlog. One sample video:
Writing is a great medium for information and many people are great writers. Some writers can make pictures come to life and keep an article on track – tying the opening nicely with the ending. Those type of writers might not need a vlog except for the fact that many people today do not really read much. I am a perfect example – I tend to scan stories for interest and will only commit myself to the first few paragraphs to see if it holds my interest, thereby creating the desire to read-on.
I don’t think I am unique. Many people simply either do not read much or don’t really understand a lot of what they are reading. I at least understand most of what I read but struggle with interest. So much of what I read is reduced to scanning the first sentence of paragraphs to read those that interest me – rejecting the rest – to get the gist of an article. I freely admit that I might be missing important points – but if you scan enough material about a subject – you get to know what is happening. I’m bad sometimes.
The other thing the printed word lacks is tone. I’ve had the misfortune of writing to someone on a subject with my sarcastic sense of humor and having people misunderstood my intentions… often taking a phone call to make nice with that person as the fix. Writing is really only meant to supplicate communication if at all possible. I’m a believer in learning or gathering information from many sources because of this. You have a better chance of achieving understanding if a subject matter is interesting.
Now to the matter at hand – what is one to do if they are worried that people might not be reading their material? Well (humor ahead) one could continue on the same path – contributing to America’s many cures for insomnia (reading long winded dissertations on various subjects – putting your audience to sleep).
But for me I have discovered that some youtube videos are well received by a general audience, while watching videos on sword fighting. For instance one of my favorites is a vlogger by the name of Matt Easton of Schola Gladiatoria – who talks about all facets of sword fighting including some training methods. Here is a sample:
I’m not so sure karate youtube videos that talk about fighting have such wide popularity. There are a lot of MMA videos talking about the sport though. But I would argue that any martial arts sport is far removed from actual fighting. What you might be thinking? Yes I will agree that any of those guys that are at the top of their game would do fine in a self defense scenario but what of it. Is anyone really going to argue that you have to turn most people into high-level MMA fighters before they can really make use of their fighting skills?
So traditionally eastern martial arts (for this post – martial arts coming from Asia – EMA), were taught to average people that learned karate, kung fu, jiu-jitsu to have an advantage in a street attack. Much like in my youth, young men learned from their fathers the basics of boxing for self-defense. So self-defense (karate/kung-fu) techniques such as groin shots – eye pokes – ridge hands/half-fists/chops to the throat were taught so average women and men could defend themselves.
Very true some took their skills to sport karate (point/kick boxing/catch wrestling/strike force-ufc mma) but the vast majority of students wanted something else; they wanted to know they could survive and/or win a fight while defending themselves and/or family/friends.
Sorry but in a long-winded manner I’m finally getting to my point – it is hit or miss trying to find a good karate school out there as some seem to focus on traditionalism and the true art of doing things the way their creators did things. Other schools seem to focus mostly on the sport aspect of karate – and some schools seemed to focus only on self-defense – to the exclusion of even sparring.
So what I’m trying to say is not all schools were good at teaching students how to fight – which is the only goal that I took karate to learn so many years ago.
So a lot of eastern martial arts videos seem to pander to the way the stars fight in the movies or have mysticism, or run down other methods of fighting or sport martial arts (kick boxing, mma). For the fast majority of prospective students – this will confuse them.
So my quest is to try to find a way to talk honestly about fighting – and not focus on any one method as much I am going to add this youtube channel and update it regularly. I happen to be trained in kenpo jiu-jitsu karate, kick boxing, and boxing and have had some experience with wrestling as a kid. I am also a novice at historical european martial arts (HEMA)
I find I really enjoy talking about fighting! I started taking HEMA lessons to supplement my EMA improvised weapon training that I’ve been doing for the last couple of years. It is a good fit. It is one thing to learn how the nobles and knights wielded heavy 3 pound swords in the middle ages and quite another to know how to defend against a hatchet or use a machete in a fight. What to do if one comes at you with a modern dagger (nope – preconceived techniques are unlikely to work unless the bad guy really telegraphs)!
We at SDKKD (san diego kenpo karate dojo) do our own version of mma with fencing masks – utilizing knives, sticks and tomahawks sparring as well as the more traditional semi-contact sparring most EMA styles use. We are trying to find a good balance by actually practicing with improvised weapons as part of our Kenpo Jiu-Jitsu Karate training – learning what works for us as individuals and what does not.
So I think a vlog (youtube) is a great medium to supplement a blog. This should increase interest in fighting (all types EMA & HEMA), and hopefully not fall into the trap of so many karate vlogers. It is not about you; but your audience gaining insight into modern fighting methods that may help them someday.
So that is the reason I’m retaining the blog and opening a new portal to a vlog! I hope this makes sense and if it does and you enjoy the videos – please subscribe.