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Old 10-25-2013, 10:59 AM   #6
jonreading's Avatar
Dojo: Aikido South (formerly Emory Aikikai)
Location: Atlanta, Georgia
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 1,139
Re: My forum pet peeve: "I never got in a fight - the ultimate self-defense!"

So for me:
1. "Self-Defense" is principally political terminology. It is a nice term that addresses a not-so-nice situation. It is a proactive response to a perceived threat. The [legal] problem is the action is non-specific and the threat is perceived.
2. "Self-Defense" is used socially to promote empowerment over the natural anxiety of yielding bodily control to another. In this sense, the term has been largely abused in my opinion.

At its root, "self defense" is a justifiable assault. The typical claim through martial arts is presented as "Learn to [commit assault]. If you know how to [commit assault] then you can pro-actively [commit assault] if you perceive yourself to be in danger of being assaulted." Usually, there is a tag that also claims, "learn to better understand when you perceive to be in danger. And, learn when and how best to [commit assault] to minimize the injury to your partner."

A martial art should specifically train a method of fighting. In this sense, a martial art should empower its practitioners to effectively assault another person(s). Some systems also package a philosophical component to address the experiential questions of when and why and to what extent.

I think I have said before that I feel martial arts, aikido specifically, often uses self-defense as a marketing tool to reach out to those whose anxiety over their well-being has caused them to take action. To be fair, many of these people often to not make a commitment to train once they address their anxiety (either by realizing they were tricked, or reaching a period of commitment that decreases their level of anxiety). Some will align with their training and incorporate it into their life.

Although, verbal conflict resolution is a recognized tactic of many modern self-defense programs that are legitimate. Its another tool with which you can resolve a conflict. Strategy games like chess and go were once classified as martial arts, too. Don't overlook strategic training just because its not physical.

Last edited by jonreading : 10-25-2013 at 11:02 AM.

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