Hopefully everyone at the club feels pretty safe from attack whilst living their lives and I have been thinking about why that may be. I think there are various factors in this and that it isn’t just down to thinking we are good at karate from all the training that we do.
I consider there to be a number of layers involved:
The first and probably most important part of us club members keeping ourselves safe is our personality. We’re nice sensible people. The way we conduct ourselves means that we don’t often get into trouble because we don’t antagonize other people and don’t get ourselves into difficult situations. By that I mean we don’t go about winding people up, visiting rough pubs or taking short cuts through dark alleys in the wrong part of town (well unless I am out running that is).
We don’t need to defend ourselves because we simply don’t get into trouble.
Another aspect of our personality keeping us safe is that we’re the type of person who does martial arts. We recognise the benefits of physical activity and that to achieve anything worth while we need to try hard even if it hurts, which of course it sometimes does. We’re not the type of people who look for an excuse not to do something.
We have a well thought out approach to our self defence based on a number of sound principles as follows:
An unbreakable determination not to lose – basically above all else we’re trying not to get hit.
An effective but inoffensive ready position.
Always move, block and strike.
“Wherever you are you’re in the wrong place, so move.” said Sensei Alan Ruddock (aikido). Very wise words if you ask me. Always move off line, in a predetermined direction, but towards the opponent which allows you to strike quickly without moving again.
Always block – back to that determination not to be hit again.
Always strike – it stops your opponent trying to hit you by either stopping them in their tracks for a fraction of a second or puts them on the ground.
After that you can do whatever you think is best be it another strike, a lock or a takedown. The choice is yours.
Practice makes perfect so the saying goes. That’s true to a point as long as you are practising the right things with appropriate effort and application.
You need to practice something so much that it becomes second nature or stuck in your “muscle memory”. You may notice it in your own techniques or other high grades where one technique follows on from another so quickly it’s as if your body has decided it’s the right thing to do without your brain making the decision.
You can only achieve that through hours of practice. However, as a note of caution, if you do a technique incorrectly or sloppily, it is that poor technique that you will end up using, and letting you down, when you most need it. Also, bad habits reinforced by lots of practice are really hard to break. This is why we try to get techniques right from the very beginning.
Keep doing what you’re doing and hopefully you will stay safe