Looking for a martial art with real self defense and attack use (Bad Neighbourhood)!
I wasn't sure where to post my first thread, the military section seemed the right place though. I recently moved to Paris, France (nope, not Texas, I wish!). Unlike what most people seem to think it's not a clean, romantic, elegant and safe city like you see in movies. It's filthy, dangerous and the police is completely useless. I want to tell you a bit about what led me to this conclusion:
- When I first moved here I thought I was living the dream but then on my first day I was at one of the big trainstations in Paris, Gare du Nord. I'd been to a couple of bars to have a drink and hit on some pretty french girls and I was just coming home with this cute brunette called Clarisse. Anyway, a man ran out of the train station hand on his chest, bleeding! He'd just been stabbed and no one seemed to be helping him, in fact people were keeping their distances!
- A few weeks ago some guys got into the hallway of the building where I live and threatened to kill me if I didn't give them my phone, my money, my credit card with the code and even my "Carte Vitale" the french social security card. I gave them all that and because I wanted to make sure the door was shut when they went out so that they couldn't come back in and follow me into my apartment these bastards kicked the door back open, yelled "don't follow us" and knocked me against the wall where I lost consciousness, when I woke up there was no one there to help, no one had called an ambulance or anything...
What I'm trying to say is this: If the Police won't protect me I need to learn how to protect myself, right? I'm not very fit, I'm not fat, I'm not crippled but I don't have any predisposition for exercise if you get my meaning, I can't even do push ups and I have back pain (scoliosis). I would like to overcome that and be able to defend myself in the future. In France you can't own a gun and kill your attackers like you can in some countries, which is very unfortunate because I have no conscience when it comes to hurting those that hurt me and I'm quite a good shot. I'd need a martial art made for real combat, not sports, something that I can use to quickly knock someone out and in extreme cases when an opponent is armed and ready to use his weapon against me, kill.
I'm scared to go out at night and ever since I got mugged in my own building I feel scared to even leave my apartment and I get paranoid every time I see someone even remotely dodgy looking. Learning how to defend myself and then fight back would give me the confidence to overcome this.
What's a good martial art to learn for someone like me? I've been looking into Krav Maga, Systema and the like but I want a martial art that has good schools or teachers here in Paris, obviously if it's something too obscure there won't be any schools here. I'd really appreciate your recommendations!
Thank you for reading me!
First of all watch this:
As for what you should learn, any competitive MA is good.
Judo, BJJ, Boxing, MMA, Wrestling are all safe bets.
Krav, Systema and stuff like that are better avoided because the quality of schools can vary greatly. Some are good but many are very bad.
It seems like you want to learn how to handle weapons. In that case: FMA.
While it is great that you want to learn MA, you should keep in mind that you wont gain super powers. Unarmed against a knife? Run. Fighting against multiple attacker? No, run, Stuff like that is for movies.
So don’t be stupid and get the **** out when where are signs of trouble. Also maybe consider moving to an better neighborhood.
Also Pakour might come handy.
I hope this helps.
You should learn sneaker fu. And consider moving from your current place. Also, try to be surrounded by friends or other people a lot, and make it a point not to go out late at night. This will be far more effective than an out of shape weakling trying to learn martial arts for the first time in his life.
Quite a bit of truth here. However I would like to point out a Judo class or BJJ class is a great place to make friends.
Originally Posted by weechey
Know your neighbourhoods and practice situational awareness. Paris is an aggressive city, but I've managed to avoid all kinds of trouble there doing just that. How long have you been there? And how's your French? Thugs like targeting non-locals.
By sneaker-fu weechey didn't mean savate, but you might not be remiss learning to kickbox with shoes on. And it's France, you can do a lot worse than Paris for savate schools.
Thanks for the replies everyone.
Weapons are not an option as even carrying a knife or a stick can get you arrested in France.
As for running it's not always possible, when I was mugged they had me cornered, no escape. Some of my valuables are insured but irreplaceable, being able to protect what is mine is important to me. I speak perfect french with only a very very slight accent.
I do believe it possible to fight off multiple attackers, two at least. I mean those Spetsnatz and Delta Force or SEAL guys can do it right? With the right training even I may be able to kick some arse I think! The question would be this though: Where can one learn to fight like an elite soldier without actually joining the military?
Everywhere I went in Paris was nasty; it has the odor of urine and body odor. The people I encountered there were annoying, self-centered pricks. That having been said, it is the same as many other cities around the world. As long as you know where you are and who is around you, it will be easier to prepare yourself for whatever the situation demands.
Originally Posted by The Weakling
There is no be-all, end-all system; since firearms are banned there, I would learn to box, grapple and throw people to the ground, this only after I trained myself in situational awareness. Krav and Systema are cute and trendy, but the throat-punching and ball-grabbing won't always work in the real world.
I know a guy who used to do Judo and Kendo, but he stopped after he was mugged in New York City. After that encounter, he not only lost a tooth, but fine motor control of an arm owing to the knife related injuries.
One of my best friends lives around Paris and he's reported nothing of the sort of danger the OP has (although some paranoia), which I suspect may owe to him living outside the core of the city and having plenty of company as well as not being particularly small looking.
You can practice martial arts and you'll get stronger, but don't do it just because you want to punish the people who attack you; predators don't like to pick fights they'll lose. As you describe your encounter with muggers, you already had the right idea; you prioritised your safety, tried to de-escalate, and then tried to escape. Failing those three steps, you might have fought that person, and you might have died or at least ended up like the ex-judoka. Why not continue addressing complete avoidance and then look to combat sports for more of a positive addition?
Can I suggest a gym, some strength training, some simple exercise for a while first? Its not possible to learn a martial art if you're that out of shape and in pain. For one thing, if you injure yourself you won't be able to practice. I assume you've seen a doctor about your back?
Originally Posted by The Weakling
My TKD instructor (who was pretty awesome, despite it being ATA TKD) used to say "the first step of self defense is not being in a situation where you might need self defense." And basically, kick him in the ballz and run.
Originally Posted by DARPAChief
That said, learning some grappling (Judo, BJJ, wrestling) striking (boxing, kickboxing, muay thai, savate) isn't going to hurt. Just don't expect to not get knifed in a knife fight... unless you are a Filipino Martial Arts grandmaster of some sort.