I have been debating between these two lately… what do we teach?
Do we teach Self Defense? or Self Preservation?
I think that the term Self Defense is limiting. It is the gang of thugs sitting outside your house ready to attack you at any moment – which we all know is nonsense.
Yet, could Self Defense be having a strong body so that if you were to get into a car accident or take on some kind of impact, that it would do minimal damage to your body?
or is that Self Preservation?
After staring at a growling dog, you turn and have the FUNCTIONAL strength to pull yourself over the fence… Preservation or Defense?
Coming out of a bathroom only to see a guy standing there who will not let you pass… clinch knee and head takedown… Preservation or Defense?
I think that we have become a little disoriented in the martial arts. Half the industry sells “This could happen to you.” stuff. The other half is heading towards the MMA nonsense as if that is the second coming and will solve all problems related to Self Defense. Neither of these is true.
In 14 years, none of my students have come back and said, “Wow, thank you for teaching me that super special technique… it saved my life over the weekend.” Yet, I have had many students come up to me and say, “I need to stop training for six weeks. I fell and sprained my wrist (or twisted my ankle).”
So why do we train?
At Stryker Martial Arts, I think that we train for Self Preservation. I think that we are looking to live long, healthy lives where our bodies serve us and not the other way around. I think we value the idea that if we take care of our body, it will take care of us – for the long term. Meaning quite literally that we can enjoy retirement instead of survive retirement.
What does a successful training program look like?
One that provides a heart thumping, adrenaline pumping workout WITH resistance! Whether hitting a target or a bag, that resistance is vital. Hitting the air isn’t going to cut it.
There is one element that is missing though and I will share it with you in part 2. Stay tuned!