Under: karate, Self-defense
27 Oct 2014


I want to learn karate so I can protected myself against “any” attack! How often do you hear people saying that they can protect themselves because they know how to fight? I’ve heard it all of my life and bought into it sometimes. For instance if you have muscles – no one will want to fight you on the beach because you are not an easy mark (assuming muscles equate to fighting ability). Or you are a prize fighter superstar and become a jerk in a bar… thinking no one “can” get the best of you.


This over or sometimes no confidence is common among karate students. Students take lessons to learn how to protect themselves after all. In this post I’ll go over what karate can and cannot do for you as part of your self-defense strategy.


Once when I was working restaurant for a living (a long time ago), one of the cooks wanted to know how to win a fight with a karate guy. I was honest with him and told him his he had better sucker punch first and hard because if he did not get a fast advantage – he was going to pay dearly. More this story later but please read on if you want to hear my thoughts about karate protecting you from an assassin’s attack.


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As readers of this blog know self defense issues are near and dear to my heart. Often times I read other websites recounting rules of self defense strategies and I wonder – what? I mean often times there are no hard and fast rules. I see non-fighters talk about yelling fire, or kids grabbing a leg and hanging on and I wonder – have they ever tried this stuff?


Well I was offered a look at Mr. Martin’s book, “Self Defence Tips Everyone should Know” and not only enjoyed the read – found it refreshing to have it written by a fellow fighter with similar experience working the door! So what I am saying is if you like the way he  gets his point across – you don’t have to worry about the content being sound. In this post I will highlight some of the issues and solutions Neal Martin provides in his self defence book.


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Rape Escape! Do You Have a Plan?

Posted by: John W. Zimmer
Under: Self-defense
9 Apr 2011

We here at My Self-Defense Blog strive to keep self defense in peoples minds! For girls and women the risk of rape is a real possibility at some point in their lives. There are other dangers like assault, robbery, kidnapping but the real fear I think is rape for many women.

Generally I try to make the point that women should take a martial art ( judo, karate, boxing, wrestling, jiu-jitsu, kung fu, muay thai, aikido…) or even a short term self defense class! I make this point but I know that if it is not in the woman’s interests why would she go to all of the effort and expense to take this on?

In this post I will try to deal with this subject realistically within the realm of possibility and talk about what a good plan should include. To start this topic off, take a look at yet another self defense course going around and then we can talk.


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Self Defense Classes; Buyer Beware!

Posted by: John W. Zimmer
Under: Self-defense
9 Feb 2011

I am almost ashamed to be writing about this but before you read too much into the title, I want to assure you that most self defense classes are probably good. I even continually endorse kids, women and even men take these courses if they need a quick edge and/or are not willing to learn a fighting art. Researching for this post I found what I thought was a good story on a Los Angles self defense class and then it gave me pause!

I am a life long karate, judo, boxing, wrestling, kung fu, and any other fighting art I could find – enthusiast, so for me to say whoa… something is rotten in Denmark – is quite a a feat. You see like any other endeavor martial arts has its share of fakes and fly by night organizations – just as any other industry does but for the most part – the worst you can be harmed is to learn a mediocre fighting style that does not really work. Many people will start with one school and then end up taking up another and finely “get it!”

So in this post I will talk about one more thing to be aware (or beware) of when you consider signing up for a self defense course. I’ll also speak to what a self defense course should contain and other considerations. Ok if you are ready – please watch this video and see if your alarm bells don’t go off near the end and we will talk. There is a 15 second commercial and if you want – skip through this and get to the last minute to see the punch line.



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Under: Self-defense
5 Sep 2010

When I was in Junior High School I took an opportunity to take Chito Ryu karate lessons from a teacher’s assistant (TA). You see he had heard me and a few other students talking about how we wanted to learn karate. We (the students) found out that the TA had attained a brown belt in Okinawa while we was in the military. I think classes lasted about three months before he left but that was my first exposure to martial arts proper (if you don’t count books and movies)!

That first exposure to martial arts came in handy because I learned the basics of throwing kicks and punches as well as the importance of self-restraint and discipline. It was kind of funny but karate was not normally taught in school and would not have at my junior high unless the volunteer promised not to do any real sparring. You see wrestling and boxing were taught in physical education (PE) because they were generally accepted forms of fighting that were well understood by most males.

I was very happy to learn that California state senator, Christine Kehoe introduced Senate Bill 1290 to put self-defense training (of any type) into California school’s PE curriculum. Read the legislative analysis above to see details of the bill if Governor Schwarzenegger signs it into law:

SB 1290, as amended, Kehoe. Physical education: self-defense and safety instruction.


Existing law requires that all pupils in grades 7 to 12, inclusive, except those excused or exempted pursuant to a prescribed provisions of law, attend physical education courses for a total period of time of not less than 400 minutes each 10 schooldays. Pursuant to its authority to issue program guidelines to serve as models or examples, the State Board of Education has adopted physical education model content standards for California public schools.


This bill would require the State Board of Education and the Curriculum Development and Supplemental Materials Commission to include self-defense instruction, as defined, and safety instruction, as defined, in the next revision of the physical education framework for pupils in grades 7, 8, 9, 11, and 12.

In this post I will talk about the wisdom of teaching all children basic self defense moves and why doing this in junior high and high school is the perfect opportunity. My guess is you can already see my bias but I will try to frame this argument within the urgent need for our children to have an idea of how to keep safe in light of the rash of child abductions. Also I do not have a preference of the type of self defense as I think boxing, wrestling, karate, judo, jiu jitsu or mma could all give children an edge if accosted.

Take a look at this video with California state senator Kehoe being interviewed by Chrissy Russo (Fox 5 – San Diego) to set the stage for this discussion.



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When to Fight? Why is this a Question?

Posted by: John W. Zimmer
Under: Self-defense
22 Aug 2010

Reading blogs and comments I think the question of when to fight or run can be a bit confusing to those who have never faced this decision. I mean if someone confronts you behind a bar on the way to your car – what do you do? Your best choices are to diffuse, acquiesce, frighten, flight or fight normally but most do not see all of these choices.

  • Diffuse = talk your way out of a confrontation – maybe offer other outcomes the attacker likes
  • Acquiesce = I mean take the lesser of two evils… give up your wallet if you can do it safely… I would not suggest giving up your life
  • Frighten = if he pulls a little knife on you  – You pull out a bigger knife, gun, or pepper spray
  • Flight = this is if you have a reasonable chance at success – you can get away
  • Fight = if there are are no other reasonable choices – you are left with fighting for your life – note this makes sense even if you think you have no chance at success – you might just get a momentary advantage and run away

Disclaimer – I am not really talking about how reasonable it is to just give up. There are some discussions about taking acquiescence to the next level - let the attacker have their way and hope they will let you go. While it is my opinion that this not a safe choice as you leave the power of your life in your attackers hands – a person you already know has no regard for your safety. So that being said if giving up your purse or wallet does not sasify the attacker – you have to make the best decision for you – and (hopefully) live with the consequences.

Most have heard of the fight or flight response where the body prepares for action when stressed but what of the actual decision? How does one decide the proper course of action? While I’ll touch on the different choices above, the main point of this post is how and when you make the decision to fight!

In this post I will try to help the reader see the decision making process that one goes through if confronted with a fight or flight response in a trained fighter. The reason I am speaking of the “trained fighter” is I am not going to deal with how unprepared people deal with attacks – I think that is understood… they use the more simplistic fight or flight response and depends on the body for formulate a split-second plan. While that might just work – there is not guarantee that not any forethought will allow someone to mount a successful escape or defense! Take a quick look at the fight or flight response in this video.



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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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