Techniques: Specific vs general

September 9, 2020, Ashburnham, Mass - September 11, Troy Ohio 

Self Defense is a tricky and controversial business. It is almost impossible to truly test anything. The only true test would be a real life situation and yet one can train a lifetime, earn a 10th dan black belt, and never be in a real life violent situation. In fact our goal is to avoid violent situations, and if faced with them, to verbally diffuse them. We test them, full contact and with resistance in training, but yet even this is not 100% as we do know that we are going to be attacked. The true test may never come. And if it does come, unless we have video footage, we will never know what really happened. In this field tall tales are more common than the blunt truth.

As a result there is much disagreement among styles and instructors as to what is the best system. To support my claim as to the efficiency and effectiveness of IKI Krav Maga I like to use logic, besides the many cases reported to me by our students all over the world. Every martial arts style has its testimonial page, personally I think most are fabricated. So I resort to logic, not only in class and at seminars but with the written word as well. 

The issue I would like to address today is the idea of a general defense vs a more specific defense. I shall explain. There are an endless, literally, possibilities of attack. Each individual has his physical personality, there are a myriad of angles one can come at, endless ways to grab a person. If we were to design a defense for every possibility, we could not, and yet many styles attempt to do just that. As a result they only cover a very limited percentage of the possibilities. Of these their students only retain a tiny percentage, thus rendering the system all but useless for real life self defense. We want to avoid joining the ranks of the useless martial arts.

There are an endless number of possibilities of attack and only a finite number of possible defenses. The solution is to learn to Apply those Limited Defenses to a myriad of Potential Attacks. With this we must take into account differences of size, weight, strength, gender, cultural background, physical personality, experience etc. 

I have studied many martial arts, and all have value but often one needs to work hard to extract the practical value and not fall into the martial myths. I always ask myself this hard question: will I really be able to defend myself?

I landed recently in Florida, the man ahead of me going down the escalator was a monster of a man, he could have played the "Hulk", and I looked at him and asked myself again that question; would I be able to defend myself?

Be honest, be truthful, be humble. and Ask that question every day.

I write these words on 9/11, the anniversary of the terrible day when Muslims came to his land and destroyed countless lives, shook the nation and toppled buildings. If you and I were on the flight, would we have been able to do something? Is our training good enough? That is the question we must ask ourselves daily.

Now when we train for a specific attack we greatly handicap ourselves. For specific training is not only more difficult to retain but it is by its nature, very specific. If you prepared a verbal comeback for a certain comment but your adversary surprised you with a different comment, would you still be able to respond?

Comedians do not memorize skits, they learn to flow, they respond, they react, they are truly funny and gifted. We as martial artists must be the same. When we have a specific response, i.e. Technique to a specific attack, it is highly unlikely to work. Any change of direction, any surprise and we are not ready. Martial artists by their nature desire very refined techniques, the Perfect technique for every situation, but remember, Perfect is the sworn enemy of Good!

That means that by fine-tuning, by trying to find the Best, the most perfect technique for every attack, we become too focused, and too specific. We must find something close to "One size fits all". 

Our approach with IKI is to have broad, general, techniques that cover a wide range of attacks but that can adjusted real time for specific nuances. For example, the IKI Universal Block is for the hook punch, the ice pick knife attack, the push, the forearm strike and many more. With a minor adjustment it is for the straight punch, running knife attack, ax, the slash, etc. It is one key that opens many doors and leads to many options and possibilities. 

When the attack comes we are not prepared. You may think you are but you are never really prepared. This is not a ring fight. I have seen the footage; we have sensory overload, we are overwhelmed and we are not fully processing what is going on. Anything but the most basic Gross motor moves, the most natural, will fail. We use natural body movement, simple Gross motor moves that form a General Defense rather an case specific technique, for more information you will have to join us in class. 

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