What Is The Best Self-Defense Technique?

One of the biggest arguments in martial arts is still whether grappling or striking techniques are best for self-defense.  Unsurprisingly, grappling arts advocate grappling techniques, while striking teachers hold up striking as the best method to defend yourself.  The argument ignores the best self-defense technique in martial arts.  Do not put yourself in situations, where the need for self-defense techniques is more likely.


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I first heard this concept, when I was a brand new Shotokan karate student in 1994.  A year later, I switched to training in Taekwondo under my instructor, Master Pat Weseman, but the concept always stuck with me.  In Shotokan, they had a concept called “no first attack”.

Gichin Funakoshi, who founded Shotokan karate, considered it a violation of this principle if you went to a bar, where fights were common.  By attending such an establishment, if you were forced to defend yourself, you attacked first because you should not be there.

Self-defense instructors sometimes ignore the importance of reminding students that their personal habits often determine their susceptibility to attack.  If you get out of your car in a shopping center parking lot and are engaged with your cell phone and not your surroundings, you have made yourself an attractive victim to a criminal.


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No one “deserves” to be a victim.  Sometimes, a person is at the wrong place at the wrong time but you can do several things to make yourself safer.  Don’t shop at night.  Be aware of your surroundings.  Avoid places with lots of people drinking alcohol.  Go out with a group of people.

As far as which self-defense techniques are better, grappling or striking, I don’t believe in either grappling or striking.  You should be able to choose from either depending on the situation.  No technique will work all the time.

Keep kicking!  Or punching! Or choking and arm barring!

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