3 BLACK BELT
What’s your opinion o the material that’s being taught in thecivilian sel-deense community?
I really don’t have much to do with the civilian sel-deense com-munity, but it seems that there are ar more “armchair” instructorsthan there are instructors who have a personal relationship withreal violence. That’s apparent rom some o the DVDs and vid-eos I’ve seen. The techniques are way too segmented, way toodeensively ocused — pretty impractical.There are two problems with that. One, the armchair instruc-tor doesn’t understand how the body dysunctions in a potentiallylethal encounter or what you can expect your body to reasonablybe able to do. Two, it means students who pursue sel-deenserom an armchair instructor oten don’t understand that there’snot a painless way to learn because you have to be put underduress in training to do it. You have to have a technique done toyou in order to eel the eectiveness, and you have to do it toothers to see that you can achieve an acceptable result. Thereare, o course, a lot o well-intentioned teachers; they simply lackexperience with violence. There are also a lot o students whosee training as more o a social event.
To overcome that obstacle, must a student o sel-deenseseek out a teacher who has rsthand experience with vio-lence, or is it sucient to study under a teacher who’s stud-ied under someone who’s experienced it?
You can learn rom someone who’s been properly trained butwho doesn’t have rsthand experience. It’s critical that your in-structor understands what the physiological eects o imminentdanger are and how those eects diminish response ability, aswell as how street violence occurs. The problem is, in the martialarts, a student usually has a subordinate position with respect tohis instructor, and the student should never question the instruc-tor. You can’t ask, “Who are you and why should I listen to you?”Unortunately, there are a lot o charlatans who can look the partto a newbie.The second part o the solution is or the student to personallyembark on a journey to understand what real violence is, howquickly it happens and under what conditions — including howa human being reacts under duress. There’s a ton o literatureabout what you can and can’t do when you suer tunnel vision,auditory exclusion and physical dysunctions.Ater that, the student needs to nd an instructor who will puthim in those positions in training so he has to deend himselunder duress — using sensory overloading, stressors, etc. Thenthe student will learn whether he really needs a right-hand tech-nique, a let-hand technique and a two-hand technique — or justone technique that handles all those variables, which is what webelieve. Choice reaction time should be minimized to increasethe likelihood o success on the street.
What aspect o civilian sel-deense needs more emphasis?
You need to learn equally about when you’ll be expected to ghtand how you’ll be expected to ght. You might be able to do acertain technique every time in a sae environment — and thencompletely ail on the street in an unamiliar environment [be-cause you’re] under duress and in a compressed time cycle.
Is too much time spent on empty-hand sel-deense and notenough on weapons deense?
There’s a liability issue related to that choice or instructors whodeal routinely with the public, and rightully so. In our litigioussociety, people might be able to come back on an instructorwho reasonably and accurately taught techniques beore put-ting the responsibility on the student to perect those techniquesand judge when to use them. A guy learns how to take away aweapon on Thursday and then tries to do it on Sunday outsidea restaurant during a street robbery and gets shot. Now he’scrippled. He’s suing his instructor. That’s not a concern or the
IMMINENT ATTACK: Kelly McCann(let) assumes a nonthreateningguard position when he is con-ronted by a threatening stranger (1). He visualizes striking the assail-ant beore the man can attack him,then executes a stop-hit ace mashas soon as he detects increased physical aggression(2). To createthe correct hand shape, McCannorients his ngers as i he’s hold-ing a sotball. The movement is ex-ecuted by vaulting orward of therear oot, thus propelling the hand into the opponent’s ace. McCanndoesn’t step orward and pull hisweight, nor does he strike with hisarm. Rather, he uses his whole body or power.