Martial Arts for Self-Defense

Dear Fellow Survivalist;

We’ve been talking about defending yourself and your home. As part of that, we’ve talked about weapons, including some alternate weapons that you might want to consider, as part of your defensive strategy. But we haven’t touched on unarmed combat yet; so I thought we should.

Before I get into this, I think I should say that I am not a martial arts expert. I took some lessons a long time ago, but never progressed very far. I’ve always preferred armed combat to unarmed combat, so have put more effort into learning how to use both traditional and non-traditional weapons for self-defense and the defense of my home.

That’s not to say that I’m against martial arts; it’s more that I never really had the time or interest necessary to put into it. I’ve always thought it would be cool to be a Bruce Lee or Chuck Norris, but I didn’t have the focus or drive necessary to put in all the effort required to develop that level of skill.

So, are martial arts worth learning? I’d have to say the answer is yes… and no. A lot depends on you as an individual, as well as the challenges you’ll face. What we see Chuck Norris do in the movies is just that… movies. It’s staged. And while Chuck is really doing those moves and often sparring with people who are receiving those blows, he’s pulling his punches and they’ve rehearsed what they are going to do.

Real life is rarely as neat and tidy as a Hollywood set. Enemies don’t line up, coming at you one at a time. The guys with the guns aren’t going to set them down, just to prove their prowess in hand-to-hand combat. They’ll use the guns. It may not make for such dramatic action scenes, but it’s a whole lot easier to kill a guy using a gun, than kill him with your fists or your feet.

On the plus side (and it’s a big plus side) learning martial arts means that if you don’t have any weapon at hand, you still have the ability to fight. That’s worth a lot and it could be worth a whole lot more in a post-disaster situation, where weapons and ammunition are rare.

For that matter, someone who has attained a fair degree of proficiency in martial arts would probably be able to overcome most weapons in the hands of amateurs. While catching a bullet in your teeth is nothing more than showmanship, snatching an arrow out of the air is possible. So is the ability to get inside the blow of a melee weapon, like a club or sword, and take out an opponent with a blow to the solar plexus.

What this means is that if things ever get bad enough that criminals and marauder are using weapons other than firearms, the person with martial arts training would have a huge advantage in defending themselves. Add in training with martial arts weapons, and they would be a force to contend with.

On the minus side, any criminal you come up against today is going to be armed, most likely with a gun. While some of them are actually stupid enough to get within arm’s reach with that gun, others are not. I don’t care who you are, you can’t move faster than a bullet; and once you demonstrate your martial arts ability, they’ll be much more motivated to keep their distance and pull the trigger, before you can disarm them.

That’s the problem. You and I don’t know what tomorrow may bring. Assuming that someone is going to try and mug us sometime, we don’t know if it will be with a gun or a knife. So we need to be prepared for both. We don’t know if a natural disaster is going to occur, so we need to be ready for that as well. From that point of view, every method of self-defense we can learn is worthwhile, as it might help save our lives someday.

If your time is limited, I’d concentrate on learning a few key blocks and blows that you could use, as well as disarmament techniques, rather than try to become an expert. Hopefully, you’ll never meet Chuck Norris in a fight, so you don’t need to know how to do everything. Besides, if you ever do meet Chuck in a fight, that would mean you’re the bad guy, and bad guys don’t deserve to win.

At the same time, it would probably be worthwhile learning how to use some sort of martial arts weapon, especially something like a Bo Staff, rather than something that everyone recognizes, like nunchakus or sais. That way, you could carry a walking stick and use it as a weapon if you had to; much like people who carry tomahawks as part of their survival gear see their tomahawk as both a weapon and a tool.

Finally, I would recommend counting on your martial arts training as your primary means of fighting, but rather keep it as a backup. Chances are, you’re going to end up dealing with an armed assailant. In any real such situation, you want every advantage you can have. Part of that means having better arms than they do.

So, go ahead and practice martial arts, but don’t forgo your trips to the shooting range to do it. And like always, keep your powder dry and your survival gear close at hand.

Chris and Dr. Rich

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