The Disservice Of Bad Technique
By Christopher Caile
I have seen it taught for years -- self-defense technique that just won't
This is the second greatest sin -- next to not teaching self-defense
against common attacks at all.
I vividly remember a self-defense seminar I once attended. And I knew
the teacher. He was a well known karate Sensei (teacher) but he was teaching
a jujitsu technique: how to defend against an attacker to grabs your lapel
with one hand.
I want to scream at what was being demonstrated, "that won't work."
I wanted to get out of my seat and show the participants how to really
defend against this assault.
The instructor was teaching the students just to reach up and grab and
then turn and bend the assailants wrist to create a "nikyo"
-- a term used in aikido and jujutsu to signify potentially powerful and
painful immobilization technique.
Everyone was being nice, so all the defendants were able to effect this
technique. But did they believe it would work against a strong, determined
The problem with this and so many other techniques often taught in self-defense
and in various martial arts is that they only work when others go along
with you. If the assailant resists -- fights back or counters -- suddenly
there is a muscle tussle, an awkward strength against strength encounter.
To make this particular technique work the teacher of this seminar needed
to teach the defender how to first distract or shock the attacker with
a technique or strike and then add an off-balancing technique to weaken
any resistance. Only then might the technique work.
But, if the newly trained self-defense students tried to use what they
learned on the street the attacker would most likely just look at them
and smile at the futile attempt to twist their wrist and move their arm
into position for this technique. Thus what they were being taught was
a real disservice to them. It could get them hurt, or even killed.
To be effective any self-defense technique should:
Be effective even if the attacker resists.
Allow a weaker defender to defeat a stronger aggressor.
Include a distraction, strike and/or unbalance if the technique is
a throw or joint manipulation.
Be quick and effective -- taking seconds at most.
Not be overly complicated in execution-- simple to apply.
Minimize the danger of counter attacks and/or the reversal of the
Be able to render the assailant unconscious, incapacitated or in
great pain (immobilization).
Be learned within a reasonable amount of practice.
In short, the self-defense techniques should be effective in real life,
on street situations against aggressive attackers who intend you harm
and will fight back.
(1) When properly done the attacker is first distracted
(or hit) while also being unbalanced. This allows the back of the assailants
hand (the "V" area of the back of the thumb and first finger)
to be easily turned (since concentration and balance is lost) into the
defenders chest and the arm is manipulated into an "S" position
(starting with the hand, wrist bent with forearm going the opposite direction
with a bend in the elbow) so the wrist and forearm can be rotated in opposite
directions while the body leans in to compress the physical structure.
About the Author:
Christopher Caile is the Founder and Editor-In-Chief of
FightingArts.com. He has been a student of the martial arts for over 40
years and holds a 6th degree black belt in Seido Karate and has experience
in judo, aikido, diato-ryu, boxing and several Chinese fighting arts.
He is also a long-term student of one branch of Traditional Chinese Medicine,
Qigong. He is a personal disciple of the qi gong master and teacher of
acupuncture Dr. Zaiwan Shen (M.D., Ph.D.) and is Vice-President of the
DS International Chi Medicine Association. In Buffalo, NY, he founded
the Qi gong Healing Institute and The Qi Medicine Association at the State
University of New York at Buffalo. He has also written on Qi gong and
other health topics in a national magazine, the Holistic Health Journal
and had been filmed for a prospective PBS presentation on Alternative
Medicine. Recently he contributed a chapter on the subject to an award
winning book on alternative medicine, "Resources Guide To Alternative