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The ABC's (and D) of Self Defense Training

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Many martial
arts schools require that students use the basic techniques and
principles that they are learning and use them to create their own self
defense routines. The purpose of this is to help the student learn to
combine their techniques and train them to fit different situations, in
different environments and against different opponents. While self
defense routines or drills can not truly simulate a real self defense
situation, they do help a student better understand the purpose and
intent of a technique, and how they can be linked together to achieve
different goals. Self defense routines, sparring and practice of basic
techniques form the best possible training combination to prepare you
for real life situations.The ABCD of Self Defense Routines was
written by Sisuk Mike Evans. Mike Evans is the Head Instructor of the
Medford, NY branch of the Shaolin Kung Fu Studios. He has been a
student of the Shaolin Lohan system of kung fu and a Disciple of Sigung
Moses Arocho for over a decade. As you go through
your training, more and more responsibility is placed on you to
integrate and internalize what you have learned into the very fiber of
your being. One of the more basic ways we test this transformation is
by asking the student to create self defense routines for their rank
test. While true self defense is something that must happen
spontaneously in response to a particular situation, this portion of
your test allows you to express your personality through the
application of the material you have learned. When we judge self
defense, we are looking for very specific things, including
effectiveness, reality, control, and adherence to the tenets of the
system. This last component is a tricky one.Many students go to
extremes: from trying not to "hurt" one's opponent to trying to "Kill"
one's opponent. While we are generally a pacifist system, we must
remember that, if the decision is made to defend ourselves, then we
must execute that decision to the best of our abilities while causing
the least amount of damage necessary to reach that end.One of
the training mnemonics I use when teaching effective self defense is
"ABCD". These are the four elements that must be in each self defense
technique you develop. Let me break this down for you: A - AttackIf
there is no attack, then there is no reason to defend. Yelling,
screaming, and name-calling are not attacks, and therefore do not merit
a physical response. On the other hand, when creating a self defense
routine, make sure the attacks are realistic...not just someone
sticking out a hand and calling it a punch. If your partner is supposed
to be punching you, make sure that punch would connect if you miss the
block, if he is grabbing you, make sure he latches on.B - BlockThis
element includes not only blocking but moving, ducking, parrying, and
anything else that stops you from getting hit. If you do not have these
elements in your routines, then you may as well stop, because you just
got hit!C - Counter/ControlOnce
you have realized the attack, and stopped it from damaging you, it is
time to take take control of the situation. The counter portion of this
element includes everything from shifting your position to actually
striking your opponent for stun factor. The control portion denotes the
fact that you have put yourself in a commanding position, either
through accurate and powerful striking, through locks and throws, or
simply by putting yourself in a controlling physical position (ie
behind your opponent).D - DeterBasically,
"deter" means to stop your opponent from getting back up to attack
again, either through submission style locking, knock out, physical
inability (ie you shattered his leg), or various other means of
deterrence. Many students either leave this part out or are simply not
sure how to do it. If you have gone through all of the trouble of
blocking, countering, and controlling, yet do not stop that attacker
from continuing, then you have done nothing more than made him angry.
While every self defense technique doesn't necessarily end up with your
opponent on the ground, it is a good idea - especially when you remain
standing.So remember, make sure your self defense
techniques contain all of the ABCDs - any less and you are probably
ineffective, any more and you're probably showing off (which is against
the humble nature we should be striving for, and can be potentially
illegal in a real situation). And if you find out that your techniques
aren't working, keep an open mind, realize your mistakes, and learn
from them. Only through SELF-correction do we grow better.

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8/28/2015 1:55:37 PM UTC