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Why do instructors feel the need to claim their martial art is best for self defense?

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    Why do instructors feel the need to claim their martial art is best for self defense?

    If you think about it, 99% of the silly stuff that you see highlighted on bullshido is because someone who is promoting a certain martial art or school or training venue claims that the given martial art is the best for or is excellent for self defense. If they didn't make this claim, there's be no basis for any problem or controversy. So why do people make this claim in the first place, instead of simply stating that the martial art or hobby in question is just for fun, fitness, and/or historical exploration?

    I enjoy historic European martial arts these days. It contains grappling. If someone asks me about it, I just say that it's similar to classical jujitsu and judo and that it existed in a certain historical and social context that determined its particulars. Today, it's for exercise, fun, and historical interest. For me it's not really about self defense in modern times because it existed in a different legal, technological, and social context than we have today. I would argue that if someone is serious about learning self defense in modern times they should basically try to learn the same things the local police learn in terms of legalities, weapons, tactical aids, weapon retention, and "defensive tactics", because these things are an effort to address the full modern context of criminal violence. I am not sure why by and large people do not make this mental distinction in their martial arts hobbies.

    Recently, on YouTube, I watched someone sparring using Wing Chun. I thought that Wing Chun is basically a ridiculous way to attempt emptyhanded fighting, but that it would be a lot better if instead of throwing arm punches the guy were swinging machetes or butterfly swords. Then it would be a guy rapidly chopping you with two swords about the head, chest, and neck while straight kicking you in the knee. Obviously that would be much better than arm punching you in the chest. This is another example of context. I guess that historically Wing Chun was probably more about using weapons and the emptyhand stuff was more of an afterthought, but today it sucks because the focus has been inverted by promoters and instructors and because for most people they won't practically be able to carry around 2 swords or machetes. Wing Chun gets silly because you have instructors today greatly invest in trying to tell the public that arm punching is somehow the ultimate self defense solution for modern times. The whole thing would not be silly if they just claimed that Wing Chung was a way to chop people with swords at a certain point in history in a certain place where people had access to swords and the legal social context to be able to use them, and left it at that without making any specific claims about modern day applicability.

    Does it come down to psychology? Would the average martial arts consumer be unwilling to pay for lessons that don't purport to provide self defense, invulnerability, and/or magical powers? Is this something the consumer demands? Would taking the position that a given martial arts hobby is essentially a form of historical exploration be seen as unappealing and equivocal?

    #2
    Gotta make a living...

    So, marketing gets my vote.

    Comment


      #3
      I am going to have to parrot Ben, they are in the business of selling something. What people want to buy is self defense. Safety is one of the pillars of marketing.

      Comment


        #4
        Originally posted by Wounded Ronin View Post
        I would argue that if someone is serious about learning self defense in modern times they should basically try to learn the same things the local police learn in terms of legalities, weapons, tactical aids, weapon retention, and "defensive tactics", because these things are an effort to address the full modern context of criminal violence.
        Oh you mean like a day of shitty training at the academy?

        Or perhaps what the Marines or Army do? 40 hours of instrution gets you a black belt.
        Most cops and soldiers can't fight worth a fuck.
        The correct answer is , Bjj, Sambo,mma,boxing, muay thai or K. Karate for years of study because fighting is hard.
        You're advice isn't so hot Hommie.

        Comment


          #5
          I'd surmise, based on no particular evidence:

          1. Ego. Martial arts are all at least nominally fighting arts. Sport based arts happily develop and refine their techniques in the ring and/or on the mats, but non-sportive arts have to justify themselves as something other than light gymnastics in pajamas. The path of least resistance is to recirculate tales of the founder's or former high ranking students being placid faced badasses, or reassuring one another that the theoretical underpinnings of their training could only result in omnipotence.

          2. Marketing. The widespread public interest in martial arts is based on apocryphal stories of untouchable Asian monks and action heroes in fantasy films. Their customer base is the same that was targeted by the bully-kicks-sand-in-dweeb's-face print ads: the physically ineffective male that believes he wants to be able to fight, but isn't so keen on putting in the actual effort required. Women can be marketed martial arts as an aerobic exercise with little to know window dressing of d34dl33n3ss, by comparison.

          Comment


            #6
            Originally posted by goodlun View Post
            I am going to have to parrot Ben, they are in the business of selling something. What people want to buy is self defense. Safety is one of the pillars of marketing.
            Literally the first step in marketing is to create a need, the fastest route is to appeal to fear.

            Comment


              #7
              Originally posted by Raycetpfl View Post
              Oh you mean like a day of shitty training at the academy?

              Or perhaps what the Marines or Army do? 40 hours of instrution gets you a black belt.
              Most cops and soldiers can't fight worth a fuck.
              The correct answer is , Bjj, Sambo,mma,boxing, muay thai or K. Karate for years of study because fighting is hard.
              You're advice isn't so hot Hommie.
              I'm actually saying to rely on weapons and tools and learn about the legal context for using them. As you pointed out, emptyhanded combat is not something the "professionals" like to use.

              If you needed to become effective in self defense as quickly as possible, would you start with emptyhanded combat, or would you start training with a taser, gun, pepper spray, etc.?
              Last edited by Wounded Ronin; 4/04/2017 11:41am, .

              Comment


                #8
                Originally posted by Wounded Ronin View Post
                Does it come down to psychology? Would the average martial arts consumer be unwilling to pay for lessons that don't purport to provide self defense, invulnerability, and/or magical powers? Is this something the consumer demands? Would taking the position that a given martial arts hobby is essentially a form of historical exploration be seen as unappealing and equivocal?
                Most people want an easy fix. They also want to feel good about themselves. Fighting is hard most people aren't ready for the reality of that and that they may always suck at it. They would rather be fooled and never wake up from the matrix.

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by Raycetpfl View Post
                  Oh you mean like a day of shitty training at the academy?

                  Or perhaps what the Marines or Army do? 40 hours of instrution gets you a black belt.
                  Most cops and soldiers can't fight worth a fuck.
                  The correct answer is , Bjj, Sambo,mma,boxing, muay thai or K. Karate for years of study because fighting is hard.
                  You're advice isn't so hot Hommie.
                  That's not what he's saying in the quoted text.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Originally posted by Wounded Ronin View Post
                    I'm actually saying to rely on weapons and tools and learn about the legal context for using them. As you pointed out, emptyhanded combat is not something the "professionals" like to use.
                    This is true but if they actually knew how to fight/grapple properly their wouldn't be as many little girls getting choke slammed into concrete when they are drunk out of their minds.
                    Skipping right to a .45 acp or a stick really is skipping some stepps. Ideally I would like to see people genuinely concerned about self defense have more options than shoot everything that moves.

                    A day or a week or a month of hand to hand isn't gonna give people the ability to execute those other steps properly.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Originally posted by ermghoti View Post
                      That's not what he's saying in the quoted text.
                      Quite scab! The adults are talking! :-p


                      Yeah. .. I get that now.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Originally posted by Wounded Ronin View Post
                        .
                        If you needed to become effective in self defense as quickly as possible, would you start with emptyhanded combat, or would you start training with a taser, gun, pepper spray, etc.?
                        Sure but there are varying degrees of threats. If you train martial arts and become good at them you might not have to kill some poor schizophrenic guy that's having a a psychotic break and just needs his meds

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Originally posted by Raycetpfl View Post
                          Oh you mean like a day of shitty training at the academy?

                          Or perhaps what the Marines or Army do? 40 hours of instrution gets you a black belt.
                          Most cops and soldiers can't fight worth a fuck.
                          The correct answer is , Bjj, Sambo,mma,boxing, muay thai or K. Karate for years of study because fighting is hard.
                          You're advice isn't so hot Hommie.
                          Yeah, cops have TASERs, batons, handguns, carbines, shotguns, body armor, and most importantly, a radio, other cops to back them up, and legal sanction to issue commands and use force than non-cops.

                          Of course, self-defense training should include legal stuff, use of force, but cops operate in a different world of use of force. Maybe some intersection, but not a lot.

                          Most people dont' want to put in the effort, hence, the Krav phenomena.

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Originally posted by Wounded Ronin View Post
                            I'm actually saying to rely on weapons and tools and learn about the legal context for using them. As you pointed out, emptyhanded combat is not something the "professionals" like to use.

                            If you needed to become effective in self defense as quickly as possible, would you start with emptyhanded combat, or would you start training with a taser, gun, pepper spray, etc.?
                            Both, really, but with no context or understanding of real physical violence (as in H2H training), use of weapons is not as effective IMO. Distancing, reacting to movement and unarmed attacks has to be trained.

                            Plus, weapons, get taken away, dropped, or things happen too fast to draw and use. No H2H plus swinging a ASP is not a good combination.

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Originally posted by ermghoti View Post
                              Literally the first step in marketing is to create a need, the fastest route is to appeal to fear.
                              "Are your children going to die from what's being served in the school cafeteria? Story at 10:00", said Tucker Carlson.

                              Comment

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