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PostPosted: Thu Jan 10, 2013 2:18 pm 
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Reality-based self-defense (a.k.a. RBSD) is all the rage these days. It's like the evidence-based medicine mantra that proliferates discussions in health care today whenever effectiveness of care and eligibility for reimbursement come up.

At least in medicine, I have confidence that "evidence-based" means something. Often that label is given by someone only after countless randomized trials are conducted. The results of these trials are then submitted as articles for publication in peer-reviewed journals where the best in the field can reject the nonsense and argue about the details.

In self-defense, we have a much lower threshold. There really isn't a laboratory whereby we can submit maybe a couple hundred prisoners to a scenario and randomly ask groups of them to respond this way or that. Instead we are left with a historical record from which we try to make sense of what has happened. It's equivalent to epidemiological studies in medicine, where researchers notice patterns and try to make sense of them. Associations can be found, but causality cannot necessarily be attributed without the more controlled settings. In self-defense though that's all we have.

And people run with it. People propose new training methods based on these studies, and label them "reality-based." If that's the best we have, well fine. But should we be skeptical? If I'm going to put my science hat on, well I will be. And that's very healthy, even if we get a few noses out of joint in the process. Ultimately the best among us are only seeking truth. And in some cases, that can be a very elusive thing.

More later.

- Bill


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 10, 2013 5:38 pm 
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With the general concept of reality-based self-defense in mind, we have the following. And by the way, this is happening in real life. I can't make this stuff up.

A particular instructor has a self-defense class for women. In that class, the instructor wants to bring in factors such as environment into the self-defense situation. It's not unusual for people teaching such classes to suggest that participants come dressed in their "everyday clothes" rather than arrive in track suits or karate gis.

This instructor is asking said female students to come in one (or maybe more) class(es) dressed in their swimwear. And when I say swimwear, I mean bikinis if that's what they wear on the beach when tanning or socializing with the opposite sex.

It's certainly instructive to consider everyday clothes when doing karate. One reason I have started advocating the sokusen front kick over the traditional ball-of-foot front kick is because of what happens when you put a shoe on. Can you really pull your toes back and hit with the ball of the foot when wearing dress shoes? Even with flexible workout shoes, that can be a problem. Meanwhile if someone has even a half-decent sokusen when barefoot, that technique is now tethered by a whole shoe when wearing a shoe. The tip of the shoe then becomes one of the more logical ways to deliver a straight front kick.

The shoe also shows advantages to other front kick foot presentations, such as the traditional Uechi foot-blade kick. It fits in nicely in the femoral crease, the backs of knees, etc.

Meanwhile... We now have a male instructor conducting a class where women come in dressed in their common beach swimwear. This male instructor now ideally would be presenting women with partners not necessarily wearing such compromising swimwear. And I'm assuming we would want males in the picture. Otherwise, what are they training for? Is this apprenticeship for female-female mud wrestling at bars, or are we serious about teaching women to protect themselves? What have we gained with these starting conditions? What have we lost?

Are we making a valid point, or missing important points?

- Bill


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 10, 2013 9:04 pm 
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I quite like the sound of that.but not really from a martial arts perspective :oops: ..however, there is no scientific study of martial arts that I have seen, generally it's folks defending what they do, things that they have invested time in, and money.even the terms are vague and unscientific.KATA.....in judo it's a throw, in ken jutsu it's a couple of sword strokes, in China it's something usually tagged onto the end of two man training drills and conditioning, something that you can change if you want and you know the principles.or something that you think you have taken to a higher point.in Japan and Okinawa it is something that you must follow...so what's true, hard to say :lol:


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 11, 2013 2:07 am 
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I'm thinking the training can't be too rigorous, the typical swimwear would not take a lot of stress before coming off, so it can't be too reality-based.

On a slightly different subject Bill, what are your thoughts on the CrossFit fad that is gaining popularity and a bit of notoriety?

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 11, 2013 3:19 am 
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Glenn wrote:
I'm thinking the training can't be too rigorous, the typical swimwear would not take a lot of stress before coming off, so it can't be too reality-based.

Which begs the question, what is the instructor of these classes trying to accomplish?

I have my thoughts on this.

- Bill


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 11, 2013 3:37 am 
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Glenn wrote:
On a slightly different subject Bill, what are your thoughts on the CrossFit fad that is gaining popularity and a bit of notoriety?


I will comment in a separate thread.

- Bill


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 11, 2013 10:34 am 
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There is a rather popular realist-training story that Art Rabesa tells during our after-training sessions at SummerFest:

In a class, Art asked his students for examples of how they would distract and attack an aggressor. One of his attractive black belt woman students, standing in front of Art, pulled off her gi top and bra in one swift movement and while Art's attention was diverted, she kicked him in the groin!

When he recovered, Art admitted this diversion was very effective!

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"Do or do not. there is no try!"


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 11, 2013 3:25 pm 
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Art always has some of the best stories.

A few decades back at UVa we had a pervert who was hiding in the far women's shower stall to watch women coming in and out of the showers. As it turned out, this stall was Rosanna's favorite. And Rosanna was a very smart (PhD scientist) feminist with a big heart but a chip on her shoulder. So she drops her towel, swings the curtain open, and the two of them briefly had an ET-meets-Drew-Barrymore moment.

Rosanna was the first to recover - much to the dismay of the young pervert. And she wasn't gentle. Her only injury was from a shoken that missed his head and hit the wall behind him. Nudity may have been a problem for him, but not for her. She only saw red.

As the police were scouring the building, I finally found the pervert hiding with his hands over his head under a bench in the men's locker room. She identified him with a nod, and the idiot confessed.

Later in court when the pervert complained that the woman (now dressed in a business suit) beat him up, the judge couldn't contain himself.

Did it take scenario training to bring this out of Rosanna? No. It was in her when she walked into my classroom. My job with her - and every student presents a unique opportunity - was to focus and channel all the intellectual and emotional energy that she already brought to the table.

- Bill


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