March 23rd, 2010 14:17 EST
The Respected Warrior - American Kickboxing for all around Self-Defense
There are many questions out there as to what Martial-Art or style of fighting is the best training for self-defense. With the many styles and forms of martial-arts out there it really depends upon the individual themselves and their skill levels.
Every self-defense situation will be different from the next one and so on. If you are confronted by an attacker on the street to determine what technique you will use to defend yourself against that attacker and save your life or yourself from potential harm will depend on how the attacker is planning on inflicting damage to you. When you train diligently in the martial-arts you will learn to just react to defend yourself. Your moves will flow like a free-flowing waterfall automatically.
If the attacker confronts you with a gun then you probably would want to comply at all cost with the attacker. Don`t try to be a hero when he tells you to give him your wallet and suddenly you think you are now bullet proof and can take him out despite he is holding a Smith and Wesson .357 Magnum at your head, probably not a good idea to go against what he tells you to do just to save the $2.00 you have in your wallet.
Maybe your attacker is coming at you with a knife or some other weapon other than a gun. If you are trained in the martial-arts and are completely mentally ready then the odds are a little more in your favor to take out this degenerate trying to hurt you.
Most fights on the street are fist fights. If you are trained and mentally ready then you can defeat your attacker in a one on one fight on the street. The best defensive style for this is kickboxing. Kickboxing is a relatively easy to learn fighting form for anyone, any age, and at any skill level.
When I started training in the martial-arts I learned boxing first and combined my boxing skills which consists of hand speed, punch combinations, footwork and lighting speed techniques with my karate arsenal of moves, kicks, take downs, leg sweeps and so on and formed it into my own style of fighting. After about ten years into the martial-arts and what normally happens to the serious martial-artist, you develop your own fighting form.
When I first started out in the martial-arts I was in the military. I would spar with my Grand Master. He was an ex-three time New Hampshire state champion in martial-arts tournaments and was also an fourth degree Dan Black Belt in Jan-Soo Do Karate.
As I closed the gap to come in to hit him with karate punch and kick combinations, he would tear me up with power kicks. I could not get close enough to him just using my kicks and karate punches. I would come in close and get nailed by kicks with the force of a battering ram. I then would change my strategy and implement my boxing skills against him.
The sparring scenario kind of goes like this, as I look for an opening in my opponent`s defenses; my opponent is also looking for a way to penetrate my defenses. We both are trying to beat each other to the punch or strike but we both are very respectful of one another`s skill as to not move in to quick and get tagged by a punch or kick that basically wakes you up and tells you to retreat and retreat fast. As we stand in the center of the ring circling one another like an eagle circling its prey, I see an opening in my opponent. I quickly throw a front-snap kick which makes its mark followed by an overhand right and a left hook. My opponent is knocked off balance for a second but quickly counters with a straight punch and a spinning back kick which makes its mark on my stomach as I quickly flow to the side like a wave off balance and again attack with a lung punch followed by a jumping front-snap kick that hits my opponent in his chin. He is again temporarily knock off balance for a second but he quickly retaliates with a side kick that makes its mark once again on my stomach and picks me up in the air and knocks me back about ten feet as I look like a cat that just fell off the balcony and has landed on its feet.
I quickly regain my breath as the wind is knocked out of me as if I was just slammed in the gut by a baseball bat. I once again get in my fighting stance and we both are in the center of the ring ready to strike at a seconds notice as if we were two pythons fighting for the same prey.
I then throw a feint move " a feint move is a fake move, punch, kick, or whatever to try to distract your opponent while you then hit him with another move since he will be off balance or distracted from your feint move and not be ready for your real move. As I would come in he would again throw kicks at me and as I used my boxing foot speed and bob and weave techniques to move out of the way of his kicks and to get in close enough to pummel him with hand speed and many punches, he was not able to defend against this strategy. By the time he knew what hit him I was already back and out of his range of kicks. Anyone I have ever sparred that does not know boxing has had a hard time to defend against it with me because of the speed of the punches and footwork.
You can see how fun sparring is and what kind of great training it gives you to prepare you for a real-life defensive situation but I can tell you from experience you will get hit and a lot of times you feel like for days you just went ten rounds with Mike Tyson. This is good though because your body becomes used to getting hit and you basically learn how to take a punch and kick just like a professional boxer or kickboxer. When you add in your boxing skills to your other defensive skills you`re fighting form become brutal.
Something a lot of inexperienced fighters fail to realize is in any confrontation you never want to go toe to toe with your attacker. In other words, you hit and fight with everything you have and get out of that fight as fast as you can. If you stay in the fight for any length of time you are going to take a big chance of getting seriously injured or even killed so you inflict as much damage as you can in as short of period of time to stop your attacker and to defend yourself and then you get out of the fight. Kickboxing provides the power and speed to accomplish this and win the fight in a very short period of time.
This is why in my personal opinion that Kickboxing is one if not the best form to use in any self-defense situation. There are many styles of kickboxing. Muay Thai is one of the most destructive forms of kickboxing because it combines power kicks normally round house kicks with elbow and knee strikes. Most practitioners of Muay Thai are taught to use the roundhouse kick as their main kicking technique with knee strike combinations and boxing.
The downfall to Muay Thai in my opinion is you are taught not to turn your back even if throwing a move which requires you to spin around, say a spinning back fist or spinning back kick or whatever. I understand this theory to not spin around and turn your back on your opponent but it also limits your arsenal of moves in a fight. The idea is if your turn your back on your opponent he or she will have the advantage to come in on you. Yes, this may be true but when performing a spinning back fist or spinning back kick, it will only take less than a second to perform the move and be back in your fighting stance in a face to face position with your opponent. I still like the art of Muay Thai though for the knee and elbow strikes.
American Kickboxing is another form that has its own unique techniques that are unique to this style of fighting. American kickboxing was developed in 1970 as a way to combine the western style of boxing with karate kicks. Back in 1970 it was not allowed to fight with full contact in karate tournaments, so the boxing part of this was added into the karate kicks which gave practitioners the advantage now to have a full contact combat sport.
In kickboxing the different techniques used in the various styles come from not only the traditional style of that fighting form but from the rule book of competing in tournaments. In Muay Thai kickboxing you are allowed to use elbow and knee strikes and you are also allowed to kick below the waist.
In American kickboxing you are only allowed to use kicks and strikes above not below the waist and there is no elbow strikes allowed. This is fine if you are fighting in a friendly tournament but not for street fighting, so to perfect your style an tailor it to a street fighting form; you just modify it a little bit.
I have modified my style to include all forms from Muay Thai and American Kickboxing. This incorporates a complete self-defense system that can be used to defend against any situation on the street. Let`s face it, to be effective both physically and mentally in a street fight you have to train the same way you would fight on the street.
Kickboxing is also a good style to learn because of the aerobic advantages it has. If you are moving your body throwing punches kicks, back fists, spinning back kicks, elbow strikes and so on for say a half hour non-stop, you are going to get a great cardiovascular workout along with the benefits of burning calories to lose weight and tone up.
Always remember as I mentioned in my last article on self-defense, yes, you need to become proficient at your techniques to perform them perfectly in a self-defense situation and be in good physical shape for those techniques to have effectiveness when using them on an attacker, but you can lift weights 24/7, throw millions of punches and kicks and all that training will not be worth anything if you are not mentally ready.
I have heard about many Black Belts getting defeated or even killed in a street fight because they were not even close to be mentally ready. You have to be mentally ready to defeat an attacker in a street fight. It may look easy to go up against anyone trying to hurt you on the street, but take it from me when confronted on the street things change very fast.
The only way to get mentally ready is to train, train, train for many years in the martial-arts and fighting forms. Also, when training, you have to use visualization techniques simulating you are being attacked by a thug on the street and picture yourself defending against their attack. This still takes many years to perfect. You also would benefit from sparring training as-well since you will get a good sense of what it is like to get hit as I mentioned above in a fight and to practice your techniques defending against a live sparring partner. Anyone can use a heavy bag to practice techniques on but that heavy bag doesn`t hit you back or attack you.
A good way to do this is to sign up for a martial-art school with trained and skilled instructors. I would first make sure it is the right school you may want to pay your hard earned money to take lessons at and make sure this is the art form you want to learn on a long-term basis.
Even many churches now are offering free classes to its members and those same churches are even offering training in styles used in the MMA or Mixed Martial-Arts. The church I was going to offered free martial-arts classes every Monday training in the discipline of Kenpo Karate.
Once you see yourself growing in your style of self-defense you develop confidence not only in yourself but in life in general. It also gives you an inner self-confidence that most of the time you can just turn your back and walk away from a fight or potential trouble. This is also an advanced technique in the martial-arts.
It is the best solution to just walk away from a fight if you can. If you have an insecure punk wanting to start a fight with you, so what just walk away. Most of the time that punk will just walk away too. They are not worth the skin off your knuckles or to waste your time on.
But if you are faced with a real life threatening situation and cannot walk away you must defend yourself with every being of your inner self and with everything you have. This is where the training and mental training comes in to effectively do this. Also, if you are faced to defend your family you hit that attacker with everything you have both mentally and physically. There is no room for defeat.
The martial-arts and many styles have evolved over the last four decades in this country. American Kickboxing has become a very popular style to learn with the many benefits for everyone at every age group and skill level.
Proficient training gives you the advantage to develop confidence and be ready for whatever life throws at you whether in your personal and professional life or on the street in a defensive situation. Don`t become a statistic, fight back!