Monday, September 16, 2013
The Ability to Perform
Students are commonly taught a multitude of techniques, that are intended to deal with an equally numbered amount of situations. Because of this, students often become confused (overwhelmed) when they are required to instantly perform a particular response (during an actual confrontation). They have too much information to reference through.
The purpose of a martial “art”, is not to bestow a laundry list of responses to the student. That could be accomplished by their purchase of a book. Being aware of a response, does not make one capable of utilizing it.
This is often the problem seen with "Female Self-Defense" classes. The average student doesn't know what constitutes a "good" technique, from a "bad" one. They are also shown far too many techniques. These types of classes should only instruct simple multipurpose (types of) techniques.
The more preferential techniques, can be utilized to respond to a wider selection of threats. Regardless, there are prerequisites to the utilization of any technique (by anyone).
“You must be knowledgeable of the technique”
Having (only) “seen” someone perform the motion, does not enable yourself to perform that motion/technique. This commonly occurs from a student having seen their “instructor” perform the technique, yet not having practiced it themselves (sufficiently) to have acquired the ability to utilize it (ie. They assume they “know” the technique). This is commonly rectified through the practice of the application within a class environment (where any questions can be addressed).
“You must have the physical ability to perform the technique”
This isn't a reference to “strength”, but a comment upon the amount of prior practice that has been put into the performance of the technique. It can also refer to any personal injury's that may prevent the ability to perform the required motions. Physical differences amongst students is addressed (again, in class), and any individual differences (in application) can be corrected.
There can additionally be situational considerations (ie. emotional relationships) to consider for the manor that the application will be utilized as well (“family”).
Environmental conditions can often preempt the ability to perform certain motions also.
“The technique must be multipurpose”
Too often, students are taught (simplistic) techniques that are only adequate in response to a single situation. These techniques should not be considered “defensive” applications. They are only taught for example purposes. A (truly) Defensive Application, is not a singular “situation” method of response.
Any Defensive Application should be capable of being (slightly) altered, in order to respond to any threatening (physical) aggression. Regardless of the confrontation “type”, they are a constantly fluid situation. The effectiveness of a technique, is proportional to it's ability to be modified to work in those varying situations.
“The situation must allow for the technique to occur”
Every Defensive Application possesses certain prerequisites. These can include situational, physical and informative. When any of these are lacking, the ability to (effectively) perform a technique can be compromised. Through (yes, again, “class” time) practice of the application, these variables can be addressed.
These standards are obviously crucial when attributed to "Female Self-Defense" classes. Having instructed (and dealt with, LOL) a number of these types of classes, I've had to contend with the "empowerment" issue. This particular phrase is one that has lead to an inordinate level of "discussion" time being utilized (during the instruction of a class).
Though agreeing that a reasonable (yet, limited) amount of time should be included within a class of this type, it is commonly excessive (IMO).
"Empowerment", does not come from talking about what could/has/might occur (whether it's positive incidents or not). Actual "empowerment", is acquired through the physical ability to perform the instructed motions. That doesn't necessitate the ability to neutralize any aggressor, only the ability to prevent being (seriously) injured (until one can attain help/assistance) or having the ability to escape the threatening situation.
Ability is only gained through (repeated) physical practice. 90% of any Female Self-Defense Course, should be in regards to the physical practice of the instructed techniques.
From my own experience (from talking with female victims, attending Officer's and reading the Police reports), the majority of the physical abuser's of women, are their own husbands, boyfriends/girlfriends (as well as the children), of the women who attend these types of courses.
When we taught these courses (regularly) we didn't allow spouses or family members to attend (or even watch) the classes. The attendees were provided with “simplistic” techniques (that were only) for showing to their spouses in regards to “what they had been working on”. We were certainly not so naive as to understand that (many of) our students were routinely grilled over what they had been shown during the class (and often by the very individual for whom they were learning to defend themselves from).
Very often the instruction of common leverage principles had to be shown. Though (more often) understood by male students, females were commonly not as often familiar with the (direct) application of those principles (instead, believing that "strength" was a requirement for the successful implementation of a technique).
Women are fully capable of performing effective techniques (mentally). Too often (IMO), they have to be shown/taught that they can do so physically as well. The provided guidelines will give them the references to evaluate their own performance in learning to do so.