There have been a LOT of "Self-Defense" oriented threads on here lately. Some arguing the effectiveness of Karate and Kenpo, others arguing about whether or not grappling is worthwhile for self-defense, and others talking about "which style" is best for self-defense.
Guys, guys, guys...............................
If you haven't been in any REAL fights (on the street) that you are talking theory, and you can argue ALL DAY LONG and still not have a clue!! And, just because you've been in a few fights on the street and had something work for you, doesn't mean it would work EVERY SINGLE TIME!
Here is the formula I teach at my school for self-defense. This comes from my own experiences with street fights, sport fights, reading hundreds of books, training thousands of hours, and learning from anyone/everyone I could find that seemed to make any kind of "sense."
1. There are three fights in every self-defense situation
a. AVOIDANCE: The fight to control your own emotions and influence that of your adversary(ies)
b. FIGHTING: The actual physical fight against your opponent
c. AFTERMATH: The fight with the legal system, both civil and criminal, as well as possible retribution
Obviously, if you can keep the fight from going "physical" by removing yourself from the situation, talking the guy down, appeasing him by buying him a beer, WHATEVER............... THAT is the absolute best solution for "self-defense." DON'T FIGHT!! If the fight doesn't occur, you don't have anything to worry about! Some will say this is overly simplistic, but face it: Self Defense is about "Defending" your very being; ANY physical fight puts you at risk. REAL "self-defense" means not having to "fight"
Now, sometimes the fight is unavoidable. When you fight, you are no longer engaging in "self-defense," in my opinion. You are now engaging in "Self OFFENSE." I don't care if it is MMA, BJJ, Kenpo, Boxing, Muay Thai, Savate, Karate, Taekwon do, Kali, knife work, kickboxing.......... whatever!! There is nothing "defensive" about any of these arts, what they teach you is for the purpose of kicking someone’s ASS (at least in theory), so you are being OFFENSIVE, not "defensive." This is why I make such a big deal to all of my students and on my posts about there being a difference between Self-defense and Fighting. You practice self-defense UNTIL you need to fight; you practice self-defense AFTER the “fight” is over. However, fighting is one aspect of the "bigger" self-defense process that I outlined above. But it is NOT "everything."
AFTER the physical confrontation, you may or may not have to deal with criminal consequences for excessive force, homicide investigation, or whatever. You may also have to deal with civil lawsuits. And, it doesn't even matter if you didn't start it - even if you can win the case without question, you still have to deal with the pain in the ass of "defending" yourself in a court, to PROVE you really weren't the "bad guy" of the situation. Sometimes, you can even go from "avoidance" to "aftermath" withOUT the actual "fight" taking place. A lot of people don't realize that in many states, just putting your hand on someone can be treated as "simple assault."