Here’s a question I get asked a lot: how effective is boxing for self-defense?
The easy answer: it’s very effective.
It’s just as effective as any combat sport that teaches full power striking, defending against such attacks and then sparring hard to see what it’s like. In a nutshell, those are the three main components that make boxing such an effective tool for self-defense:
- You learn to generate knock out power in both hands with a variety of techniques from different ranges.
- You learn to block, slip, parry, dodge and evade those attacks.
- You practice both of the above in a live fire situation against an opponent who does his best to hurt you.
Those are the critical aspects if you want to use boxing for self-defense. If these three are consistently present in your training, then I believe you have the start of something worthwhile. However, that doesn’t mean you should go out and try to fight in the street exactly like you would in the ring. As I wrote here, here and here, (if you browse through my blog you’ll find many more entries on this topic) you should always consider the context of the art or sport you practice and compare that to the new context in which you want to use it. I’ve written at length about just that so I won’t link to it here. If you want to read all those articles, you might enjoy getting the paper or digital version of my latest book. It has all that and more.
Back on track.
How effective is boxing for self-defense
I’ve said this in the past and I’ll repeat it now: you could do a whole lot worse than to begin your training for self-defense with Western boxing. I’ll even add to this the following: you haven’t been punched until you’ve been hit by a boxer. Nor do you know punching until you’ve learned to box.
Here’s a story from my sordid youth:
After I came back from competing in my last world championships (I’d decided to retire beforehand), I trained with another member from the national team at his boxing gym. He was a boxer at heart before he started with Chinese martial arts and he’d invited me there. It was the kind of gritty, low-rent gym you find in such a bad part of town and I was the only blue-eyed pale-face there. Putting it differently: everybody was highly motivated to spar with me…
To make a long story short: I got my ass handed to me. They landed punches at will and I had a very hard time scoring anything on them. I left that gym tired and sore all over.
I learned a key lesson though: I had been depending on kicking techniques too much and discovered just how much more work I needed to do on my hand techniques. As a result, I spent a lot more time studying boxing techniques and gradually got better. I’ll never be a true boxer (nor do I aim to be one) but at least I can hold my own now.
That one session in a boxing gym taught me the value and strength of Western boxing and I’ve only seen this confirmed ever since. Many people have the bias that Eastern martial arts are more effective than their Western counterparts but I believe this is not entirely accurate. Western boxing is a prime example of that. Just to put this into perspective: the Chinese Army incorporated it into it’s curriculum, at the expense of locally developed training methods.
Given as there were plenty of Chinese martial arts styles available, this is testimony to the effectiveness of Western boxing. Especially if you know just how nationalistic the Chinese can be at times, but I digress again…
I already explained the three main reasons why boxing works so well in the street, but there is more. To illustrate this, here are some videos of actual fights so you get a better idea of what I mean.
Here goes: Read More→
I recently placed a video on my Facebook page that showed some of the nonsense that gives martial arts a bad reputation. That triggered the idea to write a series on Martial Arts Myths.
Why? Because no matter how hard you squash those myths, like cockroaches, they crawl from under your foot and multiply once again. I don’t think we’ll every be able to eradicate them so that leaves educating people, hence this article and the following ones on other myths.
That said, let’s start by defining our terms.
Martial Arts Myths: Chi projection
I don’t think it’s necessary to define “martial arts”, we’re passed that stage. A “myth” however can be defined as “any invented story, idea, or concept.” In other words: a lie, an untruth.
The concept of “chi” is more difficult to explain. The most common translation is “vital energy” though that is not entirely accurate either as in the ancient Chinese world view ghosts existed and had “chi” too. “Energy” might be a better translation but that doesn’t really work either for Western minds as science has a solid classification for the different types of energy we can measure. So we’re a bit stuck here.
“Projection” in this case means transferring the “chi” without physical contact.
Bringing all this together, here’s the the claim some people make:
There exists a skill that gives you the ability to transfer “chi” from one person to another in a combat or self-defense situation, without making physical contact.
Supposedly, you can learn to control your chi and then throw it across a distance at an attacker to incapacitate him. They call this chi projection, kong jin (empty force), ki power and a host of other names.
It’s all the same thing though: a myth.
Here’s a typical demonstration: Read More→
Self-defense against a dog is something a lot of people worry about and rightfully so. I just came across a video that illustrates perfectly how to do it wrong.
Have a look at this first:
Now you can argue that the dog owner should have kept his dog on a leash, he has no control over them, should have done this or that, etc. But that’s all besides the point when you look at the original cause of the problem:
The idiot who throws crap at the dogs/dog owner.
I wrote about this type of behavior in this article, in particular in tip #4: Get over yourself. It’s these kinds of self-righteous acts, oblivious to the potential repercussions, that lead to so many people ending up in a world of hurt. This guy is a prime example.
You want to avoid the need for self-defense against a dog? Don’t throw crap at a dog. It’s that simple.
Or in other words: don’t be an asshole. Leave dogs alone.
That said, there is indeed a need for practical self-defense techniques against a dog so I don’t want to leave you hanging. Check out this e-book my co-author Loren W. Christensen wrote, titled “Self-Defense Against a Dog Attack.” It’s not expensive and covers a lot of useful information on how dogs attack and what you can do to defend yourself against that.
Loren was trained to handle dogs back in his army days as an MP, so he knows of what he speaks. As a former police officer in Portland, he also had plenty of experience dealing with such attacks. So his book is a great place to get you started on this topic.
Just a quick reminder about my self-defense seminar in Sheffield, UK next week.
If you hurry, you can still get the early booking discount by contacting Garry right away.
If you are curious about what we’ll cover, here’s more information.
Looking forward to it!
A while ago, Lori O’Connel sent me her latest book to review. It’s called “When the Fight Goes to the Ground: Jiu-Jitsu Strategies and Tactics for Self-Defense” and has a cool feature: it includes a bonus DVD with video footage of most every technique she explains in the book. This helps you out a lot if you have difficulty learning new techniques or concepts from reading alone. Even more, the book/video combo is ridiculously cheap for the added value you get this way, so definitely a plus right there.
Here’s a short promotional video with some additional info from Lori herself:
This already gives you a good idea of what the book is all about.
That said, here’s the review:
When the Fight Goes to the Ground: Jiu-Jitsu Strategies and Tactics for Self-Defense
The book is very in-depth and covers many different aspects of the ground game focused on self-defense. It starts in the first chapter with information that gives you a basic understanding of using your ground game for self-defense instead of MMA or BJJ competitions. Lori covers how to stay safe, which strategies to use and so on.
In the following chapters she covers basics such as bodyshifting and control along with attacking vital targets like the eyes, nose, throat, ears, etc. The typical targets you are not allowed to go for in MMA competitions. She also spends time showing how to do breakfalls on concrete, which is a crucial element for effective street self-defense. No matter how well you can fall in the dojo on mats, that doesn’t mean you can do so on the street pavement. So you should definitely spend some time actually practicing these techniques.
From then on, the book is all about techniques. It starts with defending from the ground against a standing attacker. This is perhaps the most difficult scenario as you have limited mobility and options whereas the attacker has complete freedom of movement. Lori shows many different basic techniques to defend yourself there and hopefully get back up quickly.
Following chapters cover topics like: Read More→
Just a quick post to announce the winner of the Facebook contest I ran a while ago.
Here’s a pic of Stuart with his prize.
For those of you who don’t know this yet:
I regularly run giveaway contests both on my blog and on my Facebook Page. Usually, you just have to leave a comment to enter, so nothing too difficult there.
One caveat though:
I just got an email from somebody who was upset that they didn’t know about the contest, they hadn’t seen it on Facebook until it was too late. The reason this happens is simple: Facebook by default doesn’t show all my page updates in your “News Feed”.
They used to do this but recently, they changed the way it works. Now, only about 30% of the people who like a Facebook page (mine or anybody else’s) will see the updates in their News Feed. If I, as the page owner, want to make sure everybody sees that update, I have to “promote” it. Meaning: pay for it.
That’s a clever way of Facebook to make some cash for what used to be a free service. Given as they are now a publicly traded company, I get why they need to find new revenue streams. However, I’m not planning on paying for every update I make there. I’d be broke real fast…
So if you want to make sure you don’t miss out on these contests, check my Facebook page regularly.
If you hate Facebook, you can subscribe to my blog via RSS or enter your email address in the orange box in the right column to receive every blog post via email. That way you will never miss an update, contest or otherwise.
I hope this helps.
Good luck with the upcoming contests!
As promised last week, I’m doing another giveaway contest for my birthday today:
I’m giving away a free copy of my latest video, Combat Sanshou: Tiger and Snake to one lucky winner.
Entering is easy:
Go to my Facebook page, hit the like button and then leave a comment on the status update announcing this blog post.
That’s it, you’re done.
I’ll announce the winner tomorrow on my Facebook page again. So make sure to check back to see if it’s you.
For a period of 24h, I’m discounting the electronic version of my latest book to 99 cents.
I changed discounted the price a few hours ago and Amazon has already changed it in their systems. So don’t hesitate and get your copy now!
I got a call from a friend last week and he asked why I do these giveaways and huge discounts on my products. He didn’t get it and said I was losing money. Well, it’s easy really:
Because I can.
All authors rely on the support of their readers. Period. Over the years, I’ve been fortunate that so many of you have bought my books and videos, as well as supporting my blog here by sharing my posts to spread the word and commenting on them to give me your feedback. So I feel it’s only fair to try and give back when I can.
That’s why I do this and will continue doing so.
So thank you, all of you, for all these years of supporting me with your kind words of encouragement, buying my stuff every time I release something new and basically making me feel like I’m not wasting my time writing and talking to a brick wall. I plan on writing a whole lot more in the years to come.
That said, I’m signing off now to enjoy one of the few advantages of being Belgian: an awesome chocolate cake and a divine beer or two.
To my students: drinks are on me after class tonight.