for Self Defense
There are many who would argue that traditional
karate is effective for street self defense in
the 21st Century. I would not be one of them. This comes from
a karate practitioner and instructor with 35 years of experience.
Let me clarify. I not saying that karate is useless
for self defense. No, not at all. In fact I would venture to
say that most karate instructors and students with ten or fifteen
years of experience would have a better than average chance
on the street.
After all, they have been learning to block, kick
and punch with power and focus. They are experienced with punches
and kicks coming at them at high speed. They have sparring skills.
Assuming they come from a strong traditional karate program
they are use to facing adversity and pushing themselves farther
then they ever thought they could. All important and admirable.
Then why is it so many karate students and even black belts
end up losing street fights and attacks?
The key to effective self defense is anticipating
and dealing with the effects of the adrenaline rush which is
sure to come in real street aggression. Most karate students
and well as instructors are not accustomed to this. It takes
them by total surprise. This is true of experienced tournament
fighters as well.
Effective drills to experience the adrenal rush
is part of the answer. The other part is practicing and using
techniques which require minimum fine motor control and a miniumum
number of techniques. Additionally it would be a big benefit
if the approach included the same of similar technique for similar
When we were in the process of modifying our karate
program several years ago (after becoming extensively involved
with adrenal stress training) we tried to have all frontal attacks
and most rear attacks (after an initial response) to finish
with the same series of counter attack responses. See Street
This makes it easy for someone to learn. Easy
to remember and especially makes it easier to respond during
an "adrenal dump."
Shihan Michael Pace
8th Degree Black Belt
President - Goshin-Ryu Karate Association