Personal Safety: Common Misinterpretations about Self-Defense & Martial Arts


“I don't need to know martial arts because I can handle myself in a rough situation,” is a common excuse people make when they feel they don't need to learn self-defense.  Here are some others, see if they sound familiar:

   “I was a good wrestler in school”

   “I'm very careful”

   “I don't have time”

  “I'm a pretty good boxer”

   “That karate stuff doesn't do you any good”

   “Karate is just a sport”

   “I'm too old/ out of shape/ not strong enough to learn karate”

   “I don't want to become a violent person”


There are hundreds of other reasons why people decide not to learn how to defend themselves.

Let's take a look at some of the facts about self-defense and the martial arts.  The ingredients that make up a martial art have been mixed together, one by one, since before the beginning of civilization.  The basics: kicking, tripping, scratching, biting, hair-pulling, hitting with the open hand, gouging, pushing, and pulling are inherent, and are used by infants in play.  More sophisticated techniques, such as punching have to be learned.  The locks, holds, throws, and aggressive and defensive techniques that martial artists employ are of a different order of complexity altogether.

The techniques that a martial artist practices are free of restraints unless they are practiced as a fighting sport.  Boxing and wrestling have always been fought within the constraints of rules, however rough and elastic these may have been.  Martial arts have only one objective: to neutralize an attack by any means, as rapidly as possible.

However, the martial arts are not simply a brutal method of dealing with one's adversaries.  On the contrary, the ideal form of victory is the kind that can be obtained without fighting and without violence.  It may be interesting to note that the Chinese character that means martial arts is made up of two characters that mean, “stop” and “violence.”

People of all ages can benefit from learning and practicing the martial arts.  The Chinese originally began practicing the martial arts not only for the self-defense applications but also for the benefits to health and longevity.  Even today, every morning in China, thousands of men and women of all ages, and children practice the martial arts to stay healthy.

It is not possible to learn any martial art quickly.  It is only after a long period of study that you become proficient and confident in your abilities.   The self-confidence you gain from learning martial arts allows you to handle stressful situations in a calm and relaxed manner, therefore handling the situation better. 

The martial arts help you become a better person.  It helps improve the outer you and the inner you.  You learn more about yourself and others, and you learn to respect the world around you.