Originally published Jan09

Two important thoughts to consider:

  • In all things, it is better to make friends than enemies, so learning the art of negotiation or mediation is an important aspect of any self-defense training program.
  • If you cannot protect yourself, how can you protect those you care about?

How people get their exercise is completely a personal choice; however, exercise with no other goal than to lose weight is less effective than a program such as martial arts, which also provides a goal of self defense. An exercise program with only the goal of weight loss is less heartening and less interesting than an exercise program that has a double benefit. This is why exercising with a friend or training buddy is more effective. The bonus interest or goal is spending time with a friend. Additionally, without that extra incentive that provides additional interest or heart, an individual may lose the will required to continue with a weight loss or fitness program.

It is therefore advisable to choose a training program that gives multiple incentives to continuing the program. For example, a self-defense training regimen gives a sense of well-being; improves self-confidence, dexterity, balance, endurance, strength, and provides you with skills that may enable you to defend yourself. Notice I said “may?” The bully down the street may train in martial arts too. For this reason, to preserve the element of surprise, and to keep yourself on the right side of the law; never gloat, never get in someone’s face and announce that you can beat them up now, or wave a weapon in someone’s face. If you start a fight, you are the one who goes to jail, because you are the one in the wrong.

A Martial Art (art of war or fighting art), by strict definition is any of the fighting skills and not simply Asian hand-to-hand fighting. This includes the use of knives, swords, rifles, pistols, canons, tanks, planes, and helicopters. For this forum the common use of the term will do to apply to Asian hand-to-hand fighting, since it is a common-use term for it.

The Martial Arts (Asian hand-to-hand fighting) are actually a wide range of fighting styles from aggressive offense to strictly defensive in nature. I have heard it recommended that a person should learn both an aggressive and a defensive fighting style in order to be well-rounded.

  • Defensive: If someone attacks you at close-range, a defensive style allows the defender to use the aggressor’s attack against them. If no one attacks, no one gets harmed.
  • Offensive: If someone is attacking you or another person, the offensive method allows you to stop the attack or make yourself the target in order to prevent harm to another.

Please refer to rule #5 in the courtesy rules. You are responsible for your own choices.