Karate for Self Defense


Traditional Karate for Self Defense

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 be done?

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 Self Defense.

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


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