All these self defense threads

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." 

Another thing that sometimes has to be dealt with is retribution.  You accidentally bump into someone at a bar, they swing at you, and you kick their ass................. And then you later run into them again.  Maybe the same night, maybe the next, maybe a week later.  But this time, he's got six guys backing him up, or he's got a weapon........... in any event, he wants "payback" and your life is about to get worse.  Just another reason to use the "Avoidance" more fully, and not have to "Fight" at all.  This is especially true in smaller, more rural areas, where people are well known and easily found.  There is a little more anonymity in big cities, where you aren't as likely to run into the same people again, and nobody knows your name and the club across town.

Most people only talk about the "Fight" aspect of the process, when they talk about styles.  Probably 'cause that's the one people FEAR the most - hey, nobody wants to get their ass kicked.  So, here is the REAL DEAL when it comes to "fighting:"

a. You better know how to move around on your feet to keep from getting hit
b. Knowing how to use your hands, elbows, knees, and feet are a huge bonus.  Doesn't mean every boxer or Muay Thai fighter is gonna win ever fight, but they certainly have an advantage on their feet over people who have not developed a skill base in those sports/arts.
c. You better know how to move on the ground.  While I disagree that 90% of fights end up on the ground, I would say that at least half of them DO in most areas.  Geography affects this, as every town & city seems to have it's own subculture on how fights go.  But, you NEED to know how to grapple, in case you find yourself on the ground, and especially if you end up on your back.
d. Submissions can end fights if the other guy doesn't know what they are and gets scared.  But even if you brake the guys arm, if he's all drugged out on coke, pcp, heroin, or something........... he's not scared, he's not feeling the pain, and he's still got another arm to pound your face in with (as far as he is concerned).  Knowing how to find on the ground is essential, but it's not EVERYTHING.  It's just another piece of the puzzle.
e. ANYTHING that you practice against a resisting opponent is going to “help” your fighting skills.  That is just basic logic!!  “I would never grapple on the street” is only said by people who haven’t been taken down in a real street fight.  No, it isn’t the most DESIRABLE place to be, but sometimes you don’t have a choice in the matter.  On the flipside nearly EVERY fight starts while STANDING, so to think that you JUST need to take it to the ground is equally as naïve – sometimes you CAN’T take it to the ground!

The "sport vs. street" argument is real old too, guys.  Matt Thornton wrote an article on his website that I agree 100% with, but many of you didn't read it right.  Sport training helps you to develop a "delivery system" that includes distancing and timing against "live" resistance.  It is flat out the best way to develop fundamental skills.  BUT.......... sport training isn't EVERYTHING.  You still need to train in AVOIDANCE and prepare for the AFTERMATH.  Just learning how to pound the piss or submit someone is NOT "self-defense."  Again, that is "self-OFFENSE."  What are you going to do when you've got your 9-month-old baby in your arms and something is going down?  Don't tell me you can hold the kid AND still whoop someone's ass at the same time, fool.  There are times when you just CAN'T fight, and you NEED to find alternate solutions.  THAT is what I refer to when I talk about "street” And the judge and jury won't care if the guy vandalized your car first......... you put him in the hospital, YOU are the bad guy in their eyes.  (FACT here guys, it's happened to a lot of good people - all in the name of "self-defense," but the law calls it "excessive force.)

Yes there are schools that practice a bunch of mystical death touch shit, but even the average person can usually smell the stink of their claims.  (Except the lazy ones looking for the magic "red pill" that will solve all their problems without having to really work).  When many of us talk about "street," we aren't talking about biting, eye gouging, or stuff that is "too deadly to practice."  We are talking about the other stuff that the sport training DOESN'T cover.  Thornton, Blauer, Harris, myself, and others have all taught for years that you need BOTH!  You need the sport training to develop your "delivery system" and have real skills, you need those skills in all major areas (standup, clinch, ground), AND you need the "awareness" of your surrounding, basic psychology to talk someone down, and an understanding of the law to know just how far you really can go before you put a hurting on YOURSELF.  Sport AND "street" guys.  The "street" part is the true "self-defense."  The "sport" training is for FIGHTING, when your "self-defense" isn't working.

Adam LaClair

some red pills can solve a lot of problems...

That was a damn fine post. Good work man, makes me think a bit harder

Great post, I agree completely...

One question though... when you say...

"When many of us talk about "street," we aren't talking about biting, eye gouging, or stuff that is "too deadly to practice." We are talking about the other stuff that the sport training DOESN'T cover. Thornton, Blauer, Harris, myself, and others have all taught for years that you need BOTH! You need the sport training to develop your "delivery system" and have real skills, you need those skills in all major areas (standup, clinch, ground), AND you need the "awareness" of your surrounding, basic psychology to talk someone down, and an understanding of the law to know just how far you really can go before you put a hurting on YOURSELF."

Are you claiming that Thorton doesn't include "eye gouges" and the like in his teaching?

BTW, I belive that the concepts and techniques taught by the SBG group are increadible...

“to PROVE you really weren't the "bad guy" of the situation.”


Good thing I have moved back to Norway, since here I am innocent until proven guilty.

Nice post by Adam LaClair.  I have said it before, but I think anyone who trains with Adam LaClair is truly fortunate.

Gary Hughes


i dont know what the plm with folks is theycan grasp this common logic of sense... basically as i was saying all along as well as BRuce Lee philosophy ...A D A P T

Adam has answered all our questions and inquests now we can do away with the multi-street vs sport, fighting from the guard, phone booth, bath tub, kitchen cabinet (whatever) and etc " threads!!!

BJandCabbageFan - I don't believe I'm any different from anyone else on here - if you have too much money, I'm more than happy to help take it off your hands, LOL

tedfornes - not as long as a lot of people spend arguing the same old tired arguments over and over and over again on these forums, year after year.  I don't get involved often, but I tell it like it is when I do.  Also, this is a very complicated topic, that changes greatly from country to country, state to state, and sometimes even between two towns that aren't that far apart.  Subcultures and laws both vary greatly.

HonkeyStyle - no, I am not making that assertation.  I teach eye gouges myself, I'm sure SBG does.  The difference however is the "too deadly to practice McDojos" who just use eye gouges and pressure points as a one-size-fits-all answer to everything, versus those of us who teach the consequences of eye gouging someone (smaller person against larger, sometimes okay - larger person to smaller - RARELY deemed as anything other than excessive force). 


McDojo use of excessive force eye gouge: If someone grabs your and you think they might try to rape you, just kick them in the groin and stick your thumbs in their eyes as deep as you can, then run away
Legal use of eye gouge defense:  I'm on the ground (and on my back, opponent in my guard) trying to wrestle a knife out of someone's right hand.  As I offbalance him with my legs he sticks his left hand out to post - I use might use one hand to continue to restrain his knife hand, while using my other to poke him in the eye, possibly making him drop his knife as he flinches to protect his eye, or creating a distraction that hopefully allows me to set up a sweep, take his back, or lock the arm holding the knife; My life is on the line, and his eye is not equal to the value of my life

To Gary (and the rest), thank you for your compliments and support.  The Underground doesn't HAVE to be a big playground of juveniles ALL the time.  Some of us actually come here because we LIKE other people, not just to cause mischief.  :-) 


P.S. To The Top for the "truth"

For all you ignorant trolls who refuse to see beyond the methods that you used to beat up your little brother after he had gone to bed last night, may you one day find wisdom, and may the CORRECT have mercy upon your souls..............



The correct is dealing with the AFTERMATH of this outstanding post.


Adam LaClair posted:  "For all you ignorant trolls who refuse to see beyond the methods that you used to beat up your little brother after he had gone to bed last night, may you one day find wisdom, and may the CORRECT have mercy upon your souls.............."

I like that.

Adam makes a good point about retribution. I know of an instance where a guy beat the crap out of his GF's EX-BF and the guy drove by his house later on and shot him in his driveway.

I only do BJJ (sport style, with the gi and everything) and I've been undefeated on the streets for over 30 years.

I agree. Like I've always said, the best martial art for self defense in any situation is track and field. Even though it's not a martial art...

Also violence begets more violence. You might feel like a bitch for avoiding Joe Shortdick as he mouths off in the club or whatever stupid environment you're in, but he'll get his. Eventually someone'll oblige him, and he'll suffer. One way or another. And you won't!

TTT for Adam.

and... a thought.

Most people spend most, if not all, of their training time working on one small aspect of a fight..The actual physical confrontation.

Using Adam's terminology..the Avoidance and the Aftermath are much more important yet most schools don't even address these issues.

Good post Adam. Although you should try to be a bit more in depth next time.


LOL, thanks Seamus.  Yeah, I know - that was a short post for me.  I'll endeavor to write with more depth in the future.  ;-) a Star Wars fan, you are officially my Yoda. Awesome post.

As you probably know, I posted on previous threads covering these subjects. Hopefully you don't consider me one of the ignorant trolls you speak of, but one of the juvenilles? Yeah, I got a little pissed off a couple of times, and as I apologized to Pulsar and all members of the UG, once again, sorry for engaging in a pissing match. I was reading the forum long before I ever began posting, and there were already PLENTY of guys on here that behaved in that matter.

My debate has been over one simple stance, being that nearly all MA's may have something to offer, whether it be for MMA or for the street. Never stop learning, because you never know. Keep in open mind. To deem the teachings of any particular MA "useless" because it doesn't work for you, or because a black belt in Karate or Kenpo hasn't won a title in the UFC, is insulting to a fighter that has incorporated any forms of any style into their own, and been successful with it, whether it be in the cage or on the street.

I agree with every aspect of you breaking down self-defense. Especially the avoidance. In my line of work, in my place of employment (a night club), avoidance is always the first, the smartest, the most effective, and the SAFEST way to handle a hostile situation. We are known for having courteous bouncers, and for the way we handle near-fight situations, or even near-brawls. The local police would even back us up on this. We're not like the big city clubs where if you even lay a hand on someone, you get the shit kicked out of you by every bouncer.

I fought alot in high school. I was a popular white kid in a school that was 73% hispanic, and I wouldn't take shit from anyone. That wasn't a popular stance with most of the chicanos. It continued on into my early 20's. I'm 27 now, I've been in the bar business for nearly 10 years. I'm old in my eyes. My body fat has gone from 7% to about 7,000%, lol. I'll fight if I have to, but I'd just as soon joke around with you a bit, point you towards a cute girl and buy you a beer. Less stressful.

Just my 2 cents. Once again, awesome post. Nice meeting you.

You must type really fast. That post would've taken me 2 hours.