One of the most critical shifts in the practice of modern martial arts has been the shift away from the practice of techniques where the intent was to hurt your attackers instantly, to an emphasis on "sport" techniques, where the only goal is to win a medal and where the winner is often decided by a referee.
Let's look at an example of why this is a disturbing trend. This is a true example of a crime that occurred in the Atlanta area some years ago.
It started like a lot of the stories my students have to tell, however it ended up tragically because the student in question had not been taught the critical skills needed.
A girl had been jogging through a secluded park with her dog when an attacker came at her with a knife and demanded her wallet. When he was caught later his version of the story was that when he had pulled the knife, she fell into stance and began attacking him with martial arts. She had stunned him and was at the point in the fight where normally it is easy to finish someone, only , he said, she didn't seem to know how.
He recovered sufficiently to pick up a rock from the ground and knock her unconscious. By the time she woke up, he had her gagged and bound in the back of his van. Three days later he killed her, then let the dog go.
The most disturbing thing about this story to me as a teacher was that this poor girl who was obviously a spirited fighter had not been taught how to neutralize an attacker. She had been taught martial arts as a sport and she had reacted as trained and stunned her opponent, had a judge been there, he would have awarded the match to her at that point.
However there are no rules, no referees and no judges when your life is on the line. There are only the techniques and responses that your training has embedded in you.
Her teacher had not taught her to think tactically, when she initially stunned her attacker, she should have run away as fast as she could, chances are she would have been long gone before he could recover, but she wasn't trained to think that way.
Even better, the same move that stunned the attacker could also have instantly killed or rendered him unconscious, but she wasn't trained to react that way. It broke my heart to hear this story and to repeat it does so again, I wish she had been my student.
Let's contrast this with another true story of a student of mine being ambushed on a rainy night by two knife wielding attackers intent on abducting her. My student was driving home slowly through the rain, late at night on a secluded road when she noticed a man sprawled out on the side of the road, apparently the victim of a hit and run driver.
She pulled over and dashed back to see if she could help and as she got close, the man jumped to his feet with a knife. She wheeled back towards her car and found another attacker between her and her vehicle.
The difference is that when my student was done, the two attackers ended up making the trip down to the morgue. While she had to get a few cuts and bruises attended to afterwards, her fortune was infinitely better than the victim in the first scenario. The lesson to be learned is that a martial art is worthless if it doesn't teach you how to take an opponent out instantly and completely.
While I hope that none of my students ever have to use such extreme measures, I would rather have them do so than to have them or their loved ones be a victim.
If you desire to learn practical martial arts for real life dangers, schedule a lesson with me today at 843 568 5936.