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Yann Golanski 08-26-2004 03:59 AM

Self defense against what???
Being a mathematician (or at lest pretending) I like to work with numbers. Sometimes on some Aikido boards there are people asking if Aikido is useful in self defense. So, guess what? I wanted to know what type of attacks are most frequent so I can suggest what training to do if self defense is the aim. I won't pass any of my conclusions -- what works for me won't work for you -- but here are some useful sites which contains accurate data and not frikking urban myths.

The website of the home office in the UK: which include a "guide to self defense" at as well as the "good to be safe" site -- Needless to say, all are worth reading.

The website of crime statistics in the UK:

I would urge anyone who teaches Aikido as self defense to at least read those data and think about what you are teaching your students. Otherwise you maybe teaching your students things that will harm them. Be warned. </Cassandra>

Of course, this is for the UK only. It seems likely (not proved) that York, gangland LA and Baghdad would require different approaches to self defense! -- and the price for the understatement goes to me. *grins evilly*

BTW, this is not a criticism of anyone here... I'm just trying to help.

ian 08-26-2004 04:06 AM

Re: Self defense against what???
Cool - thanks Yann.

I've always had this notion that a university should start a degree in martial arts where they learn about its history, real situations, self-defence and also train in a selection of different martial arts. Stuff like this would definately be on the syllabus.


ian 08-26-2004 04:09 AM

Re: Self defense against what???
P.S. I think one thing crime stats often suprises people with, is that strangers seem less likely to assult you than people you know. This is why the concept of a 'faceless attacker' and this attitude of 'better to be judged by 12 than carried by 6' doesn't apply to many self-defence situations, and thus why I personally think aikido is a superb self-defence martial art.

Yann Golanski 08-26-2004 04:39 AM

Re: Self defense against what???
Statistics (if reported correctly... </understatement>) are a valuable source to dispel most of the myths and rubbish I hear from the plebe. For example, most rapes (more than 55%) are committed by someone known to the victim, mostly their "boyfriend" (30%+). Scary.

BTW, I believe that some Japanese universities do have degrees in martial arts. I would be surprise if China/Thailand/Korea didn't have the same. But I don't know for sure. Anyone care to enlighten me?

happysod 08-26-2004 05:08 AM

Re: Self defense against what???
Ian, please NOOOO!!! (sorry, must grab a coffee as there's way too many exclamation marks here) - just imaging what would happen to a poor unsuspecting martial art once our trendy new Unis got hold of it. Before you know it, the little darling of an art would be eviscerated in the name removing competition (ie. being able to say if someone's doing it right), technique would be altered in order to meet "the changing needs of society" by people who have never even seen the ma followed by the wholesale dumping of other disciplines inside the course to help it meet research accreditation standards. (starts breathing too deeply, losing focus...)

Please, it's bad enough dealing with the normal "I've got authority" nobs in martial arts without adding the gloss of high academia arseholes to it. Look at the numbers of people who already use soke, Dr (from an unrelated field) and various ministerial titles to bolster their position - giving people a BA in applied biomechanical mayhem from the Institute of Alternative Medicine, Chipping Sudbury gives me the creeps

Yann - good stuff, but on stats I want "reported correctly with full sources appended and access to original datasets" added for obvious reasons...

Yann Golanski 08-26-2004 06:16 AM

Re: Self defense against what???
OI! Ian, Academia is not that bad. At least not where I am!

As for statistics, I've been delving into Bayesian statistics and found them much easier to understand and work with than the classical one. Peter Lee's book "Bayesian statistics, an introduction" is a good starting point. Of course, since his office is up a floor from mine, it's easy for me to pester him for more info. *grins evilly*

Yes, this was totally off topic!

jsuaikido 08-26-2004 08:41 AM

Re: Self defense against what???
Great post. I wish more people would check into the facts. Thank you.

John Boswell 08-26-2004 09:29 AM

Re: Self defense against what???

Okay Americans... click and read. Very educational.


Specific things I noticed:

Women were more likely to be victimized by someone they knew or were aquantied with where men were more likely victimized by strangers.

2 out of 3 domestic violence situations had the use of alcohol as a factor in the situation.

And then there was this:

Weapon use

In 2002, 21% of the incidents of violent crime, a weapon was present.

Offenders had or used a weapon in 46% of all robberies, compared with 7% of all rapes/sexual assaults in 2002.

Homicides are most often committed with guns, especially handguns. In 2000, 52% of homicides were committed with handguns, 14% with other guns, 14% with knives, 5% with blunt objects, and 15% with other weapons.

In each of 12 cities surveyed in 1998, victims said that less than half of the violent crimes involved a weapon.
Who is stupid enough to rob people with NO weapon?? If one of those brainiacs tries that stunt with me, their in for a rude awakening. ;) LOL

Ron Tisdale 08-26-2004 10:06 AM

Re: Self defense against what???

Who is stupid enough to rob people with NO weapon?? If one of those brainiacs tries that stunt with me, their in for a rude awakening. LOL
I know what you mean, but in my limited experience...

1) the weapon is often not displayed until the moment it is you don't really know if a weapon is involved until it's too late

2) the person you see doesn't have the's the person you DON'T see who is armed, and often behind you.

These factors often make it difficult to realize your start off thinking 'what a bozo...they're not even armed...' and end up thinking 'Ooops...' In Nairobi, there were always at least two tapped the watch on your wrist...the other stood right behind you with a knife waiting for you to screw up and resist. The look on people's faces when they got stabbed from behind was not pleasant...but it was priceless in the lesson it taught. Property is is not.


jxa127 08-26-2004 01:08 PM

Re: Self defense against what???
Egads, Ron!

My first thought, when I read about your "limited experience," was to wonder just how many people you've robbed. ;)

Seriously, though, your point about not seeing the second assailant is a very good one. We are constantly reminded in class that any aikido technique should do five things simultaneously:

1) deal with the primary attack
2) deal with the follow-up attack
3) lead the attacker's balance
4) deal with the possibility that the attacker has a weapon
5) deal with the possibility of more than one attacker

It seems like a lot to think about, but good taisabaki seems to take care of a lot of the list above.

Personally, I'm working on self defense against bears! Look at this news article:


Judo Throw Saves Man From Bold Bear

MATSUMOTO, Nagano -- A man used a judo throw to scare off a bear that attacked him while he was picking mushrooms on a Nagano Prefecture mountain Monday afternoon, police said Tuesday.

At around 3:50 p.m., Keiichi Yamaguchi, 63, a resident of Matsuda, Kanagawa Prefecture, was picking mushrooms on a mountain in Omachi, Nagano Prefecture, when an Asiatic black bear suddenly attacked him, police said.

The bear bit Yamaguchi on the hand and left thigh and he responded by hitting it on the nose and in the stomach. When he used a judo technique to hurl the bear, it ran away from the scene. The bear was about 170 centimeters long, police said.

Yamaguchi said his injuries are not serious, but he intends to receive medical treatment at a local hospital. (Compiled from Mainichi and wire reports, Japan, Aug. 19, 2003)
There are a lot of bears in Pennsylvania. I'd better get training. :D


Ron Tisdale 08-26-2004 01:46 PM

Re: Self defense against what???

Drew Ames wrote:
Egads, Ron!

My first thought, when I read about your "limited experience," was to wonder just how many people you've robbed. ;)

Luckily, the experience was limited to seeing it happen to others, not doing or being done to... :)


There are a lot of bears in Pennsylvania. I'd better get training. :D

Yeah, and the bears here are MUCH bigger than the asiatic ones!

Ron (hmmm....sumo with a bear.....) :)

martinscotts 08-26-2004 02:13 PM

aikido in university
I am not sure what the program is like, but Naropa University, in Boulder, Colorado has a traditional Eastern Arts BA, you can choose to have an emphasis in either Tai Chi, Aikido, or Yoga. The school is buddahist based, I have had a few friends attend there, but they were in a different program.

here is a link

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