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The_Greek
10/24/2012 12:43am,
Hello everyone,

I've been lurking around the forums for quite some time due to the entertainment factor and the fact that I appreciate the straight-up, no BS attitude when it comes to training to fight. I would like to get your personal opinions on the very serious topic of self-defense. But first, a little back story:

My first martial art growing up was TKD (McDojo) which I did for 2 years as a child. Then came Karate (McDojo) which I did for 5 years and attained my McBlackbelt. although I was doing quite good for myself and winning 1st place at the regional tournaments (point sparring) and managed to TKO someone with a kick to the thigh in a "street" fight. Thats when I believe our "sensei" was getting nervous that I might out perform his much older son, so he arranged a supposedly friendly fight between the two of us. I was hurt badly (the kid was 3 times my size) and from then on lost my will to fight. Later in high school I went on to dabble in Boxing, kung fu, Muay Thai, greco-roman/freestyle wrestling, and MMA but never very seriously. Fast forward to today. I am 27 years old, I have not practiced any fighting art for over 12 years and my reflexes are so slow I feel like I am and old man.

Recently I was caught off guard (off guard in that I was not aware of my surroundings) at night with my wife by a hardened criminal. I will not go into details, but at the moment he was in my face with his hand in his pocket clutching what surely was a knife, and as I was planning my strike, I realized that had it come down to life or death to give my wife a chance to escape, I don't think I would have lasted long enough for her to get far away enough. The fact that I do not feel able to protect my family (when aversion and running are not possible of course) terrified me so much that I vowed that I would learn to fight again. Another factor in my decision is the rising homicide/crime rate here in the city.

So now, I would like to ask you much more experienced fighters some advice on a deeply personal choice. I have narrowed my options down to 4 arts which I would like your opinions on with regards to how effective they would be to let me "die slower" while defending my family:

Boxing: I am aware that in the street fights tend to last between 3 - 8 seconds. Getting a KO ASAP is a big priority when dealing with someone who wants to maim you. Simply put, I am thinking that pugilism with throws, eye gouges etc. is the quickest way to inflict serious damage on someone. Here in Canada there is a lot of snow on the ground in winter and kicking might just not be an option. Hands, however, are unimpeded by weather, terrain, and are often the first things used in a pre-emptive attack. Also, I feel that the footwork will keep me out of harms way long enough for my family to make it to safety. I am currently reading Jack Dempsey's Championship fighting and enjoying it. I have a non-profit boxing place were olympians train about 20min from my place. I think its $50 a week for 4 or 5 days training.

Muay Thai: I am partial to kicking and have naturally very powerful and disabling kicks. Muay Thai speaks for itself, though my concern is that kicks are not an option when someone is in your face or has a knife. I wont lie to myself and say that I will be looking to be in a protracted clinch with a huge black guy fresh out of prison trying to knee him while he has a knife. I do have an excellent Muay thai place about 25 min from my place. It is $100 a month for unlimited classes during the week.

Judo: I have personally been TKO'd by a throw from someone on the street, which solidifies my approval for throwing as an effective means of defence. As mentioned under boxing, the heavy clothing worn here for the fall/winter months would make it very practical. I don't know much else about Judo. There is an excellent place about 25 min from me with gold medal national and olympian judokas for $74 a month for 4 classes a week I believe (not sure on the price).

Escrima: Weapons defence. I am concerned about it just being less effective than the previous three options in terms of punching/kicking and throwing. Have studied Dan Inosanto's book on FMA for some time and played with the footwork concepts on my own. I have an excellent place 20 min from my house for $50 a month, but sadly it is only one lesson a week.

I work on a ship half 5 out of 12 months a year, so this will greatly affect my choice. I will not have any sparing partners during this time. Also, although I would love to cross train grappling and striking, I cannot afford it at this time.

Could some of you please bless me with any criticism of my logic here? Am I being unrealistic? I would appreciate your opinions very much.

Like Water
10/24/2012 1:39am,
Boxing: The cardio alone will get you to safety, if there's no family to protect. If you ever find yourself in a hand to hand situation, you really can't go wrong with it. The gym you mentioned sounds like a great place to train: except did you really mean 50 dollars a week? That's at least 4 times as expensive as your average boxing gym.

Muay Thai: This isn't TKD here, you don't have to be in kicking range to utilize Muay Thai. Your boxing might not end up as refined as at that Olympic boxing gym, but you will learn to properly throw those hands. Learning to utilize the clinch is also very helpful in non-getting-shanked situations. Side note: "black guys" aren't the only people fresh out of prison or wielding knives.. You said to criticize your logic.

Judo: Highly recommended around here for self defense purposes. Very cheap, very effective. Hitting someone's head with the sidewalk can be a lot more useful than your fists, in a lot of situations.

Escrima: I'm not knowledgeable enough to give advice here.


Verdict: As always: combine boxing and judo, and work on your 40 yard dash.

slamdunc
10/24/2012 4:30am,
Verdict: As always: combine boxing and judo, and work on your 40 yard dash.Welcome to Bullshido.^^^^^^^^

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thrutch
10/24/2012 5:22am,
Depending on how quickly you want to be proficient, I'd say go with the Thai gym for starters. The fact you've already got some kicking ability and experience will give you a slight leg-up in that you're not starting as a complete noob. MT classes & sparring will hone what you've got into something that can actually do serious damage in a pressure situation. To get to a similar level in judo, i.e. where you could be confident of landing a throw on someone, would take a bit longer I believe.

erezb
10/24/2012 6:15am,
Well you already mentioned great MA and people gave you good advice. So ill talk about other stuff:
1. The MA you study (especially the full contact ones) does not matter as much as the frequency , As Geoff Thompson wrote in his book, if you think training twice a week is enough to make you a tough street fighter you will be disappointed. I think a minimum of three times a week is required to get those fighting reflexes and form. So make that an important issue while choosing.
2. I see a lot of young dad's and family men coming to my boxing gym, relatively late in life, and definitely not your regular young clients. I have noticed that this new "need" to be the protector of your family, with the lack of confidence in one's abilities drive them to start doing a relatively tough MA like boxing.
The problem is that they usually don't lest more than a few good months, and though they improve, and get an ego boost, i don't think they gained anything substantial. My point is, don't born quickly. Don't start going 5 times a week like a man on a mission just to burn out, and stop altogether after 4 months.
When choosing, choose the most comfortable art/place. If you have a half alright Karate or traditional JJ 5 minutes from home, with good guys that are fun, and an option to train enough and with enough realism, i would go for the latter especially if it means not driving for almost an hour (back and forth) even if it is to an excellent boxing gym.
You need to think of this as an important and constant Hobey/passion. Basically most of your fitness should come from your MA.
Find a place that fits best with your schedule and life stile.
P.S if you like kicking, do MT. A good knee with an elbow is a powerful combo even against a big black guy. You can always improve your boxing with some sparring with ex "boxers" that train with you MT. Good luck.

SteveM
10/24/2012 6:49am,
Welcome to Bullshido. Of the four options you listed, only Escrima/Kali/FMA is actually intended for use against armed opponents. In the other arts you will no doubt develop some skills useful against knife-armed opponents, but this will be incidental to your training, not the primary focus.

jnp
10/24/2012 7:22am,
Boxing followed by Judo for unarmed self defense.


Welcome to Bullshido. Of the four options you listed, only Escrima/Kali/FMA is actually intended for use against armed opponents. In the other arts you will no doubt develop some skills useful against knife-armed opponents, but this will be incidental to your training, not the primary focus.
What he said.

Scrapper
10/24/2012 7:35am,
Judo has never failed me in real-life encounters. You learn to control the entire opponent, standing or on the ground; with an entire spectrum of force options. You can put them down nicely and hold them, or you can smash them to the ground and choke them out.

You will leave your first class with one or two throws that will work right away (usually O goshi and/or O soto gari) and that don't require insane amounts of fine motor control. The skill progression in judo for a dedicated student is pretty fast. In my opinion, judo is the first self-defense art you should learn.

Now, when you add BOXING to judo, you can find yourself becoming a very problematic opponent!

ermghoti
10/24/2012 9:12am,
Not to be that guy... but keeping your eyes open, and not walking into an ambush is waaaay better for self-defense than punching a guy with a knife.

The_Greek
10/24/2012 11:44pm,
Wow, I didn't expect to get so many informative replies! Thanks guys.

I guess I will narrow it down to either Muay Thai or boxing. I would love to learn Judo as I think it is a beautiful art (I have a bunch of training videos) but I think it would be in my best interest at this time to focus on one thing to become effective quicker. Hopefully in a year I will be physically (I am riddled with nagging leg injuries from a mountain marathon last year which have left me unable to run, or even walk in some cases... another long story) and financially able to learn Judo as a supplement to the striking.

erezb brought up a good point about burning out in the beginning which I was hoping someone could clarify. How many days a week would you guys recommend someone at my age and injuries train to make measurable progress? I was considering 3 times but would appreciate hearing if I should train less or more in the beginning.

Like Water
10/25/2012 12:13am,
Three times a week was a solid recommendation. Less than that results in some very slow progression, or (at least for me) once you hit a certain point, no progression at all. Twice a week will only maintain my level of proficiency at this point.

Depends how long the classes are and what your schedule allows if you want to go more than that, but I'd recommend three to start. If somewhere down the line you fall in love with it (likely) and decide you can handle more than that, by all means. But you have to see how it works out with your injuries. If you need a little extra time to recover after classes, respect your body and take that time. Better to train smart, and be able to keep training long term than to jack yourself up and put yourself out of the game for weeks or months at a time.

RynoGreene
10/25/2012 3:50pm,
Boxing. For reaction time and a stripped down system of highly effective techniques, I don't think it can be beat. I think you'll get the most out of it in the least amount of time.

I've met some boxers who only trained 3 months (given, maybe 5 days a week), and already looked like somewhat competent fighters. With Judo and Muay Thai I can't say this, even though they're awesome arts. They're just more broad, and it takes a bit longer. With escrima/arnis/FMA, quality of instruction and combat effectiveness is highly variable depending on system and style of instruction.

The_Greek
10/26/2012 9:45am,
Thanks for the info Like Water, I think I will go for 3 times a week and monitor my injuries carefully.

RynoGreene I think your right... I am going to go with boxing. I just called the place up (Beaver Boxing) and they are asking $45 a month! Can't beat that. The Muay Thai place wanted $135, and the Judo Dojo wanted $80 a month + $80 Gi. I will leave that one until later.

The fact that it is possible get somewhat decent at boxing in such little time is encouraging.

Regarding escrima, the place is "Young Forest FMA" and is run by a man who's philosophy is basically use whatever strengths you have and when it comes to Escrima techniques "if it doesn't work for you, don't bother with it!" It seems to have lots of sparring and a very loose class structure with about 10 students to the instructor, who goes about showing people different thigns based on what they are interested in learning.

Like Water
10/26/2012 2:41pm,
Thanks for the info Like Water, I think I will go for 3 times a week and monitor my injuries carefully.

RynoGreene I think your right... I am going to go with boxing. I just called the place up (Beaver Boxing) and they are asking $45 a month! Can't beat that. The Muay Thai place wanted $135, and the Judo Dojo wanted $80 a month + $80 Gi. I will leave that one until later.

The fact that it is possible get somewhat decent at boxing in such little time is encouraging.

Regarding escrima, the place is "Young Forest FMA" and is run by a man who's philosophy is basically use whatever strengths you have and when it comes to Escrima techniques "if it doesn't work for you, don't bother with it!" It seems to have lots of sparring and a very loose class structure with about 10 students to the instructor, who goes about showing people different thigns based on what they are interested in learning.Honestly, that's outrageous for a judo dojo. If you ever do want to try it out, search around for a local judo "club" and see if you can't find something cheaper.

In any case, you can't go wrong with the boxing. The learning curve may seem steep at first when you're sparring with the more experienced guys, but you do seem to be able to hang with them much more quickly than with grappling. Just stick in there, train smart, and have fun. It's supposed to be fun!

Nerdmrt
10/27/2012 3:11pm,
Hey Greek, I live in the same town as you (I recognize the names of the places you checked out). I pretty much agree with advice that you already got from this thread so I won't repeat any of it.
2 comments/requests:
1) let me know what you thought about beaver boxing when you try it. I remember calling them a few years back and they were pretty dismissive when they found out that I was over thirty and was more into boxing for self - defense than competition (back then I had > 5 years martial arts training). They have a good reputation though.
2) I did train with young forest FMA a few years back. Really nice bunch of guys. Seemed to know their stuff. Generally speaking however, I wouldn't recommend FMA as the first martial art to someone trying to acquire self defense skills. The learning curve is too long and the pure striking aspects are not as refined as boxing or muay thai. That being said, all of the toughest fighters I know incorporate FMA training.
Good luck!

erezb
10/27/2012 5:02pm,
Dude, Boxing IS great, however, if you are going to a purely competitive club, you are likely not to get a lot of attention from the head coach. Also, be careful not to become a punching bag to some asshole that want's to feel tough after he got his ass kicked in the ring by some real boxers My point is, identify those nicer ones that won't **** you up. Befriend them, show some respect, and be quick to ask for them to lower the intensity if it gets rough. There is no shame in asking for a soft sparring session, because with some of those new competitor fighters, sparring is full force. Take your time, and don’t hit hard if you don’t want to get hit hard back. Good luck.