Traditional Karate for Self
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 35 years of experience.
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
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.
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
8th Degree Black Belt
President - Goshin-Ryu Karate Association