Traditional Karate for
There are many who would argue that traditional karate
is effective for street self defense in the 21st Century. I would
not be one of them. This comes from a karate practitioner and
instructor with 36 years of experience. Does this sound contradictive?
Let me clarify. I not saying that karate is useless for self
defense. No, not at all. In fact I would venture to say that most
karate instructors and students with ten or fifteen years of experience
would have a better than average chance on the street.
After all, they have been learning to block, kick and punch with
power and focus. They are experienced with punches and kicks coming
at them at high speed. They have sparring skills. Assuming they
come from a strong traditional karate program they are use to
facing adversity and pushing themselves farther then they ever
thought they could. All important and admirable. Then why is it
so many karate students and even black belts end up losing street
fights and attacks?
The key to effective self defense is anticipating and dealing
with the effects of the adrenaline rush which is sure to come
in real street aggression. Most karate students and well as instructors
are not accustomed to this. It takes them by total surprise. This
is true of experienced tournament fighters as well. So what can
Effective drills to experience the adrenal rush is part of the
answer. The other part is practicing and using techniques which
require minimum fine motor control and a miniumum number of techniques.
Additionally it would be a big benefit if the approach included
the same of similar technique for similar attacks.
When we were in the process of modifying our karate program several
years ago (after becoming extensively involved with adrenal stress
training) we tried to have all frontal attacks and most rear attacks
(after an initial response) to finish with the same series of
counter attack responses. See Street
This makes it easy for someone to learn. Easy to remember and
especially makes it easier to respond during an "adrenal dump."
Shihan Michael Pace
7th Degree Black Belt
President - Goshin-Ryu Karate Association
Vice President - International F.A.S.T. Defense Association