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Self-defense

CHRISTIAN MONTES, HEAD JIU JITSU & KICKBOXING COACH

Ask a 20 year Martial Arts Veteran and Head Self-defense Instructor at Ronin Athletics :

Our Head Coach, Christian Montes has trained in Reality Based Self-Defense Systems (RBSD) for over 20 years.  Starting from his early teens, he’s trained in Boxing, Jeet Kune Do, Filipino Martial Arts, Jiu Jitsu and Mixed Martial Arts.  He answers your questions about Self-defense.

 If you cannot find the question you’re looking for.  Feel free to submit your question at the bottom of this page, and Coach Christian will have an answer for you. 

What is self-defense?

Self-defense refers to various modalities of training that typically refer to, but are not limited to, martial arts training - empty hand fighting skill set. As the concept of self-defense training has evolved, a closer look at scenarios involving real world violence (bullying, muggings, robberies, ego fights/assaults, adductions, etc) takes into account things other than the most high percentage fighting tactics and strategies, this includes such things as … verbal and non-verbal assertiveness, reading body language, situational awareness, and boundary setting.  The physical martial arts curriculum of a self-defense system should also include tactics and strategies that address being attacked with a weapon and being confronted by multiple opponents

What is the best method of self-defense?

The best method of self-defense is one that addresses the reality of real world violence. From the physical perspective – it is generally understood that most real fights happen in close quarters, in what is typically referred to as the clinch and in often making its way to the ground. Martial arts that specialize in dealing with range that most fights take place and the most common attacks (haymaker punches, headlocks, tackles, grabbing and hitting, WEAPONS etc) 

In regards to the non-physical – it should also promote psychological and verbal strategies, along with situational awareness to help someone deal with the realities of a confrontation and most importantly neutralize the threat or avoid it altogether. “The hardest fight is the one you walk away from” “Most fights are avoidable and the result of egos and alcohol” “If something is material and replaceable, give it up, it’s not worth your life”

Self-defense is a term that gets thrown around quite frequently in both martial arts and combat sports. Boxing and Wrestling, for example are very specifically competition sports (amateur, professional, and recreational) This does not mean that these skill sets aren’t useful if confronted in a street assault situation, on the contrary, the attributes developed in these areas of training are highly effective and rather useful, but the overall goals of the sport and context by which the training is presented, are not specifically meant to deal with all the other aforementioned variables of self-defense. Therefore, self-defense in that regard is a by-product, not the main focus of this training.

The pitfalls of systems that solely focus on self-defense training tend to be that they often fall into a martial arts (marketing) niche that tends to fetishize violence to some degree and rather than promote the confidence to walk away and avoid questionable scenarios, it almost feeds the paranoia that might lead one to it. These systems are often recognized by over-dramatic appeals to a fear of being assaulted, unrealistic physical results, claims of connections to a elite military fighting style, and ultimately training that is not testable or live, and ironically don’t resemble the real world skills that are attained through combat sports

What is the best Martial Art for a Street Fight?

In a street fight scenario, it is common to think that you are going to be confronted by someone bigger and stronger, where their intent is to do you great bodily harm and/or knock you out. In this situation, rather than risk being knocked out yourself by standing and trading blows, it is more advisable to neutralize the opponent in the clinch, smother their powerful strikes, and eventually take them to the ground where you can allow them to exhaust their strength advantage, from here the smaller person, has the option of neutralizing the opponent with a choke or joint lock, or even just escape, wait for help, get compliance and withdraw, etc 

Out of all the more common martial arts, Gracie Jiu-Jitsu, embodies these strategies and technique. They don’t espouse striking against an opponent, unlike other grappling arts, their context and focus is the assumption that your opponent is bigger and stronger and trying to do you harm, rather than this is a grappling skilled opponent in a tournament setting.

How can self-defense help you?

Self-defense training can often be both empowering and beneficial. Whether it’s a child being bullied, or an adult dealing with the threat of being violently confronted or assaulted, having the ability to defend oneself and their loved ones can give one the confidence as an individual to navigate successfully navigate through such scenarios. This is a quality which usually permeates into other aspects of the their life and may ultimately help them improve as a person by building character, patience, and “piece of mind” that often helps them deal with the daily rigors of their life

How long does it take to learn self defense?

It's depends on the system of self-defense being practiced. If the curriculum is focused on identifying and neutralizing high probability assault scenarios, then it would only be a matter of weeks to learn. One does not need to achieve mastery or a 'black belt' in a martial art to be self-defense ready.

Is self defense necessary?

Self-defense is a necessary part of human development. In one's life time physical, mental and emotional assault will happen and learning to respond with equal force is a necessity. While we live in a more civilized world today, there are always different challenges and pressurs we face. Learning self-defense not only teaches one about enduring physical pressure, but also mental and emotional ones as well.

Can I teach myself self defense?

Yes, it is possible to learn basic self-defense on your own. However, practicing on a non-cooperating partner allows you to sharpen your technique and push yourself to further development.

Do I need to be in good shape or have any experience?

It depends on the martial art. Some disciplines have a higher barrier of entry than others. Jiu Jitsu, is by far the lowest barrier of entry as it was designed for the weaker and smaller individual to develop their strength and confidence.

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