Sunday, March 26, 2006

Fear in the Martial arts magazine

Yesteday I posted about a martial arts book. Today, my post is about a magazine.

Brian loaned me the newest edition of Black Belt magazine--dropped it by Saturday before I got back, in fact. He liked this one a lot because of all the self-defense stuff in it. "Stuff you can actually use," he said.

The magazine did seem to have self-defense as a theme this month! There were seven articles mostly concerned with self-defense! Yes, I counted. Of course, they weren't all labeled "self-defense." There were other terms, most notably "reality-based fighting" and "street fighting."

Now I don't know whose "reality" these people are talking about or which streets they're walking (and fighting) on, but I have to say, I haven't had much call to learn "gun grabbing." Or to defend myself against violent prisoners (as the article "Martial Arts Behind Bars addresses). Both those articles seemed mostly addressed at police officers and military folks (OK, it's Brian's reality they're talking about!).

There might be some time in my life (or in the life of someone at our dojang besides Brian) when we might possibly need to know "Ground Survival" (grappling, I think) or how to use head locks to beat "an attacker." But it seems so completely unlikely that it would probably be more useful if we spent that time learning how to talk someone out of driving drunk or how to do the Heimlich maneuver.

But this "reality-based," "personal protection" approach echoes the ads these magazines run, too (I wrote about ads in Black Belt last month).

So here's my question. Do men, young men especially, frequently got into situations where they need to defend themselves, or know how to do street fighting, or prove themselves by beating someone up? Or are the martial arts and this martial arts magazine doing some fearmongering in order to increase participation in classes?

1 comment:

TKD Rocker said...

Its true that a lot of the articles in your magazine seem aimed more towards people who use self-defense in their everyday job. My master also works as a security guard, and he shows us ways to restrain an attacker, but he always stresses the fact that these moves are only really useful if you're a police officer, and that its always better to get away from your attacker as quickly as possible. As for the "gun grabbing" technique, the usefullness varies from person to person. It may not seem realistic to you or me, but my master's girlfriend (also a student) had a gun pulled on her numerous times in her childhood. It still happens to her on occaison (she's a social worker), so the technique is probably very important for her. As for grappling, I believe its useful. If someone attacks you, they're probably not going to be trained in martial arts and will most likely by swinging and grabbing at you. Most of the kicks (with a few exceptions) that TKD uses in sparring would be inneffective in a real situation, just because its so easy to catch someone's leg in midair. At that point, grappling would become effective if there are no other options. But remember, a good kick to the groin never fails! (Except for that one time when I was sparring this guy at camp.... He didn't even flinch! Now that was freaky!) Hope this helps!