Why does everyone seem to think that complicated
techniques are best for self defense? Why do martial artists
scoff at simple techniques? Is there really a better way?
For years my goal was to simplify my self defense
system. I knew that only the most basic, direct and simple techniques
would really work on the street, when the heat was on. I spent
years looking for a better way. This search brought me to seminars,
special classes, bringing in guest master instructors and watching
scores of videos.
I picked up a technique here and another one there.
I found simpler, more direct and easier techniques than what
I was teaching. Slowly I incorporated these changes and modifications
into my system.
But it wasn’t until I had the chance to fight
the “Bulletman” that I really learned what would work on the
Let me explain. I was sitting in a national martial
arts convention. This guy was up on stage talking about adrenaline
stress response training. I had never heard about it at the
time. The instructor was talking about the effects of fear induced
adrenaline on the mind and body during an actual street attack.
I was intrigued.
A little later in the demonstration they asked
for a few volunteers. Several men and a women were chosen to
go up on stage. The next thing that happened had most of us
feeling the effects of adrenaline, right in our seats.
Another instructor comes out in this weird looking
suit. He has football shoulder pads and some obvious groin protection.
On his head he wore a huge piece of headgear which I found out
later was a professional football helmet with four layers of
special density foam padding wrapped in silver tape.
They called this ‘monster’ the Bulletman, obviously
because of the silver round headgear that looked like the top
of a bullet. One of the volunteers was asked to come out. The
instructions were to try to maneuver around the Bulletman without
getting too close. If the Bulletman attacked they could strike
him full force into the groin and head.
The action began… The Bulletman starts screaming
at the guy. He shouts obscenities at him. He taunts him. He
faints attacks as he threatens the guy. I could feel my gut
shaking just sitting there. Then suddenly the Bulletman attacks.
The poor guy attempts some foolhardy kick which embarrassingly
misses the mark by about a foot. Next a punch that had less
impact than my eight year old grandson could muster. After a
few more minutes of this hideous display a women instructor
blows a whistle and the whole thing is over.
A few more volunteers and about the same result.
Now here is the interesting part. Everyone of these volunteers
were experienced black belts. Some were school owners with a
dozen years or so of experience. So whey did this happen?
They fell prey to the natural effects of adrenaline
on the mind and body. Adrenaline is the natural result of fear
induced aggression. It really can’t be stopped but it can be
focused and used. These black belt volunteers had tried to use
their dojo (and dojang) techniques. What they hadn’t anticipated
was that the adrenaline had dulled their senses. It minimized
their fine motor skills, it gave them tunnel vision and even
affected their cognitive thinking.
Without taking this adrenal rush into account,
effective street self defense cannot be accomplished. To be
effective, each technique must be simple, direct and not require
fine motor coordination . Additionally the techniques should
build, one upon another so that a minimum number of total techniques
(regardless of the type of attack) need be learned and practiced.
Within a few months we brought this instructor
and his system into our school. We not only took the seminars
but learned to teach this technology. We had many chances to
see what would work against a fully armored, attacking opponent,
that we could wallop full power into his vital areas. Besides
being a lot of fun we sure learned a great deal.
Next we went to work to adapt, modify and overhaul
our system of self defense to employ this new found and proven
knowledge. The result is a new video based training program
Self Defense 101