Podcast episode 36: how to argue martial arts and self-defense?

This podcast came about because a few things came together one after the other. It got me thinking about all those silly (heated) arguments on the internet about martial arts and self-defense. We all know these happen, but what would be a better way to discuss these topics? That’s what this episode is all about.

Enjoy!

The links mentioned in the episode:

Thanks for listening!

 

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You’re surrounded by killers while pretending you are not

Just this weekend, I taught a self-defense course for teenage girls ages 17-18. It was set up after the recent murder of Julie Van Espen here in Belgium, which sparked outrage and shock throughout the population. A concerned parent went beyond just that and did what most people don’t do: he took action. Through a mutual friend, he got in touch with me and we discussed the course before setting it up. I talked about how prevention and avoidance is at the heart of it and how the girls shouldn’t expect to be bad-ass Wonder Woman warriors at the end of it. He understood and communicated this clearly to the parents of all the participants.

During the course, I had to burst some bubbles about self-defense and what it means to keep yourself safe. This happens every time I teach a new group, as most people have a very distorted view of the realities of violence. To be clear, this is through no fault of their own.  We simply live in historically unprecedented low levels of violence for a large portion of the population: it’s been 75 years since the last war over here, which hasn’t happened in at least a millennium.  In daily life, most people are also not confronted with violence. It just isn’t a part of their lives. So it’s no wonder they have erroneous information and opinions on it.

It’s my job to punch a hole in those myths and try to recalibrate their world view.

There are many aspects to doing that in a way one that actually gets results instead of resistance. That is also difficult, at best, as it encompasses lots of information. For example:

Most (unfortunately, not all) teenage girls have not yet experienced what it is like to have an adult male use his full strength against them.

Even if they have fought with boys before, those kinds of conflicts rarely escalate to that point. What’s more, an adult male is at a different strength level than a teenage boy, and it is a completely different experience when facing the one instead of the other.  For instance, an adult man has on average 70% more upper body strength and 50% lower body strength. Those numbers should give you pause as a woman/girl, but experiencing it is a whole other dimension of understanding.

To get them startedon that path, I show them the video of a man viciously attacking two young women, striking them like he would another man. Then I take the most athletic girl in the group in a (gentle) bear hug and lock my arms so there is no more give in them. Then she can do whatever she wants to break free.

She never does.

I am above average strong and have experience handling people who don’t want to be handled. In this case, the girl increasingly realized she was stuck and at my mercy and began to feel uncomfortable. Which is when I immediately let her go. I obviously made sure I didn’t hurt her, nor let her hurt herself trying to get out.

Then I repeated my point that as a woman, fighting head-on against a man is generally a losing proposition. The odds are against you as there are factors beyond your control that put you at a distinct disadvantage. Once the girls finished expressing their “that’s not fair!” outrage, I explained that this is why the prevention and avoidance techniques I spent most of the course teaching and roleplaying with them are so important: If you can avoid a fight in which you have terrible odds, then that’s a win. You only fight when you have no other choice. But when you do, you do so with all you’ve got because you know just how much trouble you’re in.

As an aside, the smallest girl of the group understood that just fine. She hit the pads with ferocity and had no problem simulating deep eye gouges while wrenching the attacker’s neck. Though her stature makes her more of a target, she has the right mindset when it comes to defending herself…

As another aside, if you have teenage girls or young women you want to keep safe, give them my podcast episode on Self-defense tips for young women

Click the image for the video

Another example, and the point of this post:

The murder of Julie Van Espen is at the extreme end of the violence scale and is not the norm. Teenage girls are more likely to face other acts of violence, but a stone-cold killer is more horrifying than those. So it is natural to focus on that specific danger and ignore the other kinds that are more of a direct threat. I explained the statistics of violence and how unlikely they are to become the victim of such an extreme crime. Obviously, they should not ignore the possibility, but there are more common threats and prevention is the best approach in all cases.

What I didn’t talk about is the part I’ll mention here, as that’s a message for adults: [Read more…]

Podcast episode 35: Interview with Nick Osipczak

This was a fun interview with Nick Osipczak, former MMA fighter in the UFC and tai chi chuan practitioner. We talk about his fights and training, how gegot started with Tai Chi Chuan, his painting, CBD business and lots more.

We had some issues with the connection every now and then, so keep listening if it cuts out occasionally.

Enjoy!

The links mentioned in the episode:

  • Me, competing in a Quinda tournament many years ago.

Gerard Thibault's Mysterious Circle

Gerard Thibault’s Mysterious Circle

 

Thanks for listening!

Please like, share and leave a review!

Please support the podcast and get access to loads of unique content in return:

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Podcast episode 34: Pentjak Silat and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu for Self-Defense

Last June,  I did a special Q&A month on Patreon. I didn’t get to all the questions, so I am working my way through them in various places, including in this podcast. Carlos asked me about the effectiveness of Pentjak Silat and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu for self-defense. In this episode, I try to give a nuanced opinion on both these arts.

Enjoy!

The links mentioned in the episode:

  • 10th Planet Jiu Jitsu:

 

Thanks for listening!

Please like, share and leave a review!

Please support the podcast and get access to loads of unique content in return:

https://www.patreon.com/wimdemeere

Subscribe to the podcast and automatically get the latest episode:

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