The following was inspired by Phil Elmore's Article "Choose a Weapon, Not a Toy."
Later, I would be fortunate enough to discover the truth about defensive tactics. Those techniques and principles would evolve into the Self Defense Training System twenty years later.
Like most people, my early training and perceptions of the martial arts consisted of sport and Hollywood martial arts. All of those methods appeared to work when everyone involved was on the same page. Later I learned how to determine what should be used for self defense and what is best left in the dojo or octagon. Sometimes it can be tough be cause a lot of individual techniques seem to cross over. But is you use this simple criteria you will be able to determine the street value of your martial art.
What constitutes a trick or a tactic? What qualifies as a legitimate self defense technique? There are a few generalizations to determine if your training is sport, art or defense.
The maneuvers must feel natural.
When you're under adrenalin stress you only have control of your gross motor skills. You will not have the ability to perform techniques that involve using smaller joints like the fingers and the wrist. Since your blood flows from your extremities to bring oxygen to your major muscle groups and organs, the control you enjoy in the dojo is no longer there. Techniques that use larger type motions and only major joints are to be chosen over others. An example, an edge of hand blow would be MORE advantageous than a ridge hand or a single knuckle (ippon ken) fist because while the ridge hand and the single knuckle require you to contort the hand, the edge of hand remains in a close to natural position.
You must not feel awkward
Styles that force you to assume unnatural positions and deep stances for fighting situations will not hold up under real conflict. Life or death situations demand fast and decisive actions. The longer it takes you to move, the less valuable time you will have. Never choose style over utility. Sweeping motions and stylized movements of your favorite kung fu movie take way too long to pull off against a determined, fast moving attacker. Even your MMA techniques (though a lot more effective than your modern day martial art)will still train you to use "legal" and "safer" techniques. MMA, believe it or not, is designed for safety. As is boxing, wrestling, judo, etc. The point of the contest is not to kill or be killed. As a result, all of the methods that are considered lethal have been eliminated from your training. Not only have the individual techniques been eliminated, but all of the tactics used to secure those techniques, all the ways to open a man up to make him susceptible to those lethal methods are left out as well.
In the SDTS all of your training is geared to open your target up to the lethal techniques.
You must be capable of delivering repeated and unanswered punishment to your target
Techniques like punches, edge of hands, chin jabs and stomps can be delivered in rapid succession while techniques like back kicks, spinning kicks and other techniques that require time to execute are to be avoided. It's not that anyone ever got knocked to kingdom come with a back kick, its just that you can miss a lot more with a back kick and it can't be repeated as fast or as accurately as a front kick or a reverse punch. In the Self Defense Training System you are trained to keep your target off balance by constantly taking ground, moving forward and attacking him. With each strike you or causing damage to him and his balance. With each attack you will break him down bit by bit.
You must be able to deliver your attack without being injured
If you depend on pads, wraps or protection when you train then you will not be prepared to use those methods in the street. A busted hand is useless in a fight. You won't be able to strike, grip or fire a weapon. In The Self Defense Training System you prepare the surfaces you plan to fight with for the harsh reality of contact with bone, clothing and muscle. You will prepare both the weapons you attack with AND your vulnerable target areas for the punishment of a knock down, drag out fight. Anything less is tactically irresponsible.
Your techniques must be able to produce reliable, repeatable and predictable results
That jump spinning back crescent kick looks cool as hell but you can't hit your target with the desired effect 100% of the time. While a good old reverse punch is repeatable and a heck of a lot more accurate and reliable. Strangles that are trained to get your opponent to tap are a little different than the ones that are designed to asphyxiate him. You can't secure that joint lock 100% of the time, all the time on everybody but you can sure as hell knock 'em cold with an edge of hand. All of the core techniques in Module 1 of the Self Defense Training System
are repeatable and delivered the intended effect on the recipient 100% of the time.
Your attacks must cause more injury to your target than to you.
The guy who wins the fight is the the guy with the least amount of injury. Striking with an unconditioned fist to a skull or an elbow causing your fist to shatter is not what you would consider effective. Opting for the right type of conditioning or other, more durable parts like your edge of hand, heel of hand, elbows, forearms, knees to name a few are much more capable of causing more damage to your assailant than to you. It's obvious that if you do choose to use a closed fist in combat that you condition it properly. Unfortunately most people lack the time and the knowledge to do this correctly. In module 6 of the Self Defense Training System we show you step by step how to condition your ENTIRE body for combat.
Self defense is not a game. It does not look pretty. You will sustain some type of injury ranging from the minor to the extreme. Get over it. What you don't want to do is die trying something stupid and useless. When you sacrifice utility for style you will fail. Self defense is not about style, it's all about results. I don't care if you use a brick, your fist or your car. Remember, it's not a matter of who's right, only who's left.
Damian Ross, CEO The Self Defense Company
Damian Ross is CEO of the Self Defense Company and developer of The Self Defense Training System, the most lethal and effective self defense system in the world, The Guardian Defensive Tactics Police Combatives Program, 60 minute Self Defense and the Family Safe Program. Mr. Ross also founded the Self Defense Instructor Program that helps people develop their self defense careers from the ground up. Mr. Ross is originally from Ridgewood, NJ where he was a High School Hall of Fame Athlete in football and wrestling as well as a varsity wrestling coach. He then went on to Lehigh University where he was a varsity wrestler and football player. Mr. Ross has 3 black belts, 4th Degree in Tekkenryu Jujutsu, 2nd Degree in Judo, 2nd Degree in Tae Kwon Do. In addition to his martial arts experience, Mr; Ross spent 8 years in the professional security and personal protection business. He is internationally recognized as one of the foremost authorities in reality based self defense.