Advice for my new book...

Discussion in 'General Martial Arts Discussion' started by kenpoguy, Apr 3, 2006.

  1. kenpoguy

    kenpoguy The Last Dragon

    I'm now in the process of finishing my book on Street Fighting. It was written with the martial artist and everyday citizen in mind. Other books and schools, seldom teach how a "fight" actually happens, and how it can be avoided. I hope to fill this void by going in depth, covering every phase of a self defense situation. From the initial confrontation, to protecting yourself and your family at all cost. I want it to immediatly let the reader understand that sparring on a mat with gloves on, isn't the same as defending yourself on the street. Often times, self defense books have very few words, and only pictures illustrating how to perform a manuever. As a long time student and instructor in the martial arts, it's simply an impossiblity to learn an entire art from any book. :bang: People who try to self-instruct themeself through a means such as this are practicing mckarate at it's best. By providing a directory of complicated "moves" that most people can't do without actual instruction, other books provide a false sense of security. Instructional books should instead be "adapted" to what the student already knows. It should be inspiring to somebody who's always wanted to learn self defense, but never taken the time to. My book discusses the importance of having good instruction, and learning the right way. My question for you guys is this....

    Whether you are new to the Martial arts or not, what is the one thing you'd want to know on the street in order to defend yourself?

    So far I have 7 chapters that cover the following....

    Chapter 1: Taking it to the street (how a fight happens, and how to prevent it)

    Chapter 2: Knowing your Surroundings

    Chapter 3: Striking

    Chapter 4: Weapons

    Chapter 5: Stances

    Chapter 6: Choosing a Style

    Chapter 7: Finding a Teacher

    Finally, I've tried to keep the book short and sweet. Im trying to keep it as short as possible, while still being extremely interesting and informative.
  2. Moosey

    Moosey invariably, a moose Supporter

    How to fight a much more heavily built person. Whether that's a big muscular guy or a big fat guy, what are 'street' methods for defending yourself against someone who weighs more, has larger arms and is stronger than you. Since most of the time, someone will only pick a fight that they think they can win, you won't often find yourself defending against someone skinnier than you.
  3. inthespirit

    inthespirit ignant


    I have read a few books, such as the one you plan on writing, I’m not criticizing you or others, but in my experience the only self defence aspect of such books is to use them as weapons.

    Firstly, have you been in many “str33t” fights yourself?

    The ones I have been in, all went like either A, B or C.

    (A) If you know you’re about to get in a fight, you try and hit the foe first, in painful/vital areas and many times, you are more likely come out of it ok.

    (B1) If you don’t know you’re about to be in a fight, you get hit first. Preferably if the guy is not very clever, you get hit once or twice and somewhere where it does little damage, so you can fight back and maybe even win. (B2)Though, if the foe knows what he’s doing, you’re probably likely to get hit at least a few times, and in places where its gonna impair your retaliation, your likely to end up in a hospital after this, probably waiting for stitches.

    (C)If you think that a situation is escalating to a fight, which is not very likely to happen IMO, the best thing to do is to either leave or learn how to use your mouth better and make some friends.

    In my experience “fights” usually occur spontaneously, the only preparation that one can have is training/fighting,, and that’s not something you can get from reading book. All this stuff you get in books like “if he does this, you should do this” is BS in my opinion, there is no time for that, and is more likely to distract you and get you beaten.

    On top of this, you should also consider that the majority of fights occur with some influence from alcohol. Those that do not, usually involve someone trying to rob you with a weapon, and a book for such scenarios may only be of use as a shield, if its quite thick.
  4. Taff

    Taff The Inevitable Hulk

    LOL? :confused:

    You're devoting an entire chapter to something that is most probably not relevant?
    Replace it with something on grappling or the clinch.
  5. reel deel

    reel deel New Member

    Hi Kenpoguy
    As a writer of Martial arts books myself, I would reccomend that you read Geoff Thompson's 'dead or alive' anything by Marc the animal Macyoung, and Peter Consterdine's book which I think is called street survival, I also reccomend, How to defend yourself from armed assault by Imi Lictenstien.
    These books contain really as much as you need to know.
    The problem with street fights and I have been in many (Due to my work as a Marine doorman, close protection operative, and I was a member of an outlaw biker gang too) is there is no exact methodology, anything that can go wrong will go wrong is the rule, and unless you can adapt to a situation very quickly you are screwed.
    I think your main weapons should be awareness, anticipation and adaption.
    Awareness of the danger, anticipation of the attack and adapting to it.
    These are the three major tools that I use, these can be applied before a situation so that you can avoid trouble in the first place, but also the can applied when the brown stuff hits the fan.
    These abilties have to be by yourself trained until you can do them subconciously, and you can't really learn them in a class because of the very unpredictability of these situations. it's a kind of self-awareness and awareness of your surroundings, I think the Japanese call it Zenshin or Zanshin or something along those lines (Been a long time since I did Kempo and my Japanese is terribly rusty, I'm afraid.)
    there are Psychological and physical signposts which warn you that there is a dangerous situation, your natural instinct can enable you read these signs, these instincts are rooted deep within all of us exposing them to constant stress sharpens them allowing you to virtually read the signs, another skill you tend to pick up through costly trial and error (Scars bumps bruises abrasions bites etc see inthespirits B2) is the ability to read a fight, you learn to spot broken rythms, body postures etc, this is assisted by the tunnel vision that one gets in a fight (In fact this is what nature intended this is for ) the threat always seems nearer than it actually is.
    Different people also have different reactions a fight may last three seconds (Read Geoff Thompsons Chapter of three second fighting) but to the particpants it seems to last a lot longer, or some may experience speeding up or slow motion effects this again is due to tunnel vision and chemical reactions in the brain (Adrenalin).
    In a street fight however the chaos theory applies pretty techniques are smothered, odd stances will get you knocked on your ass, as will high kicks wheel kicks spinning jumping back kicks (you'll never have enough room to perfom them) you have other factors of enviroment people who are your freinds/there freinds jumping in, people who just want to give a kicking to someone because they thinks its fun, doogooders trying to get in the way by stopping the fight, people pushing shoving each other to get a better view chaos theory in full swing.
    Another good rule is to keep your head while everyone else around is loosing thiers
    Always keep to your feet, live with the pain if your injured, keep on fighting until you can escape or the situation is resolved, realistically though theorys while they work on paper are very difficult to put into practice when the situation goes 'live'.
    Inthespirit makes some good points with his A,B,C, theory there are techniques however that many doorman have been using for years, The Fence and Three second fighting I thouroughly reccomend as I have been using these techniques for twenty years I never knew they were called anything and they have served me well (details of these can be found in Geoff Thompson's books) Any way Kenpoguy good luck wit the book. Out of curiosity What style of Kenpo do you do?
  6. inthespirit

    inthespirit ignant

    Just wanted to throw in some more thoughts..

    “The Fence” approach from Geoff Thompson’s book is quite good, works well as a non-threatening and non-escalating guard position, providing your in the right situation to use it. I figure working as a bouncer it must come in handy Reel Deel?

    A lot of books I have read talk about the psychology of threat perception, which is all good for someone with experience, but I think if you unload this on a novice it s a bit much. In other words I think its only relevant to someone with experience, otherwise its like giving car keys to a toddler. My main reason for thinking so, is that in my experience with self defence beginners, is that they are tense and have usually been in a recent confrontation adding to the tension. Once you give them a framework for threat assessment, because of their unease their perception is skewed, they get more tense because of this, and their instincts get impaired too, as a result you get an even more stressed person, consequently an easier target.

    In my opinion, the best “beginners” approach for realistic self defence, psychologically a mix of relaxation techniques for improving reaction and instinctual perception. For the physical side, conditioning natural reaction methods, such as a flinch response, to something more aggressive and practical.
  7. reel deel

    reel deel New Member

    Hi inthespirit
    Yes mate I couldn't agree more freezing due to adrenlin dump in novices and beginners is a big problem, I remember the very first fight I had at school with a bully (his nickname was Igor which will give a pretty good picture of the guy) he decided to pick on me, and even though I knew the techniques with which to beat him I froze couldn't move an inch, this guy thumped me on a regular basis, then one day, he pushed hard against a wall and I cracked my head hard and something happened, the anger at this guy overode the fear and suddenly I was on fire I beat the hell out of this bully up to a point where he was begging me not to hurt him anymore (I even shoulder threw a teacher that tried to restrain me) then I realised something I was becoming like Igor I'd gone from victim to bully in seconds then I stopped, I held out my hand to Igor and helped him get to his feet. He never bullied anyone again, I was never bullied either, but I think that (And this is just speculation on my part from experience, anger can be the switch that stops the freeze but don't get so angry that you can't control yourself, controlled anger is good, uncontrolled bad) I think Mr Thompson's appraoch to pressure testing your arts in his animal days are a good thing, because it's when you encounter aggression the natural human response is to run, it is difficult to overide that response (Even in doormen sometimes, I still get my moments when I think Christ! What am I doing here? but then you bite the bullet or find a new job!) but then when a situation goes live the Adrenalin kicks in and it's like you can go backward or forward, and things usually happen so fast there is no time to dwell on the fear. In the novice however I understand and completely agree with your point, relaxation,visualisation, even meditation which I still do and find it an invaluable help and again I agree with your conditioning for response good practical advice my friend
  8. Topher

    Topher allo!

    I've never read a book regarding self defence which as detailed as Dead or Alive by Geoff Thompson.

    I think a good book regarding self defence should provide information (note: not instruction) to people not training in martial arts, such as that in the book mentioned above.
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2006
  9. Cyrax

    Cyrax Forever Student

    That actually sounds like a good book. Let us all know when you have completed it.
  10. kenpoguy

    kenpoguy The Last Dragon


    Thanks alot for the advice guys :) I'll do my best to respond to each of your reply's soon.

    -As far as my chapter on stances goes, let me sum it up....
    You won't have time to go into stances on the street(unless it drags out for a long period of time)Many fights last under 30 seconds. I do my best to convey that it's not the movies.

    -In fact, lack of undertanding, is one of the main reasons I began writing it. Few seem to understand that most fights begin out of a neutral position, or with a shove. Even fewer acknowledge that the attack isn't going to stop and wait for their attack. The attacker will likely be coming foward with constant pressure throwing power shot after power shot. Some other things I discuss in the chapter are common stances you'll see in the street. I dont mean horse stances or hard bows, but im reffering to "boxers stances" and the like.

    -I do discuss fighting people of different body builds, and have infact included that as part of my preface(or back cover, haven't decided yet :) . I use pressure points for example. Many asian martial arts use them. Why? Among other reasons, they were developed by asians. Generally a petite group of people. In today's world pressure points won't work against people with muscle or people who are fat. I go on to discuss the importance of practicing techniques on multiple people. I, personally know of countless techniques that are great to do, but won't work on everyone. Thats why practice is extrmeley important. On the street, you should have an arsneal ready to use. Most of all you should be prepared.

    -As far as freezing up is concerned, i've included constant reminders throughout the book that there must be NO HESITATION whatsoever. I also do my best to emphaize that you want to keep a cover hand up whenever possible.

    -Most importantly i've tried to outline the fact that inthespirit said. Self defense books are generally useless :p That's why actual instruction is so important. My book is on the mechanics of fighting, what a fight is, and how to end it quickly by using logic and common sense. I do have pictures to demonstrate and help get the point across. I don't have pictures to replace actual instruction.

    -Taff, i have included some information on grappling and clinching. Part of my stances chapter, actually discusses taking it to the ground. In fact, I advise it not to be. Unless the person is a very well trained grappler, most people run into problems here. #1 there is the risk of falling itself. That could end the fight right then and there. If it does get taken to the ground, I write about what can be done, and how to use your body to maniulate getting back up, as well as disabling the attacker.

    -Thanks again for the great advice guys. I'll also be checking out that book ASAP :)
  11. Banpen Fugyo

    Banpen Fugyo 10000 Changes No Surprise

    Kamae is just as important as learning what to do when someone grabs you..
  12. kenpoguy

    kenpoguy The Last Dragon

    "Each attacker will have a different personality and state of lucidity. Some will be only mad, others drunk, and many hyped up on drugs. The ones who are in a “high” or drunk state, will not be bothered by pain nearly as much as somebody who isn‘t. The more “out” of it they are, the higher that their pain tolerance is.
    One of the stranger stories that I’ve heard concerning pain tolerance was a few years ago. A student who belonged to the studio that I attended was working as a bouncer at a local nightclub. One night, a couple of freshly released X-Cons took a trip to the bathroom. Drunk and drugged, they started hitting and literally knocking random people out. These people, whom were in the restroom at the time, were minding their own business, and were wrongfully sucker punched. Sucker punches cannot always be avoided. The best precaution that you can be taken is to always be alert and expect the unexpected. Whenever possible, try being in rooms full of people, and not going off on your own in bad areas. Especially if you’re a woman, and attending some kind of event, always bring at least one friend with you just in case. In today’s new age of technology, also be sure that you have a cell phone with you. To continue the story, the student from my studio ran into the bathroom and kicked one criminal full power in the groin. The con only stood there and stumbled a bit. It wasn’t until later that night(when many more cops arrived) that he visibly felt pain. This is another important reason why it is CRUCIAL to fight like you mean it. Throw hard, and until your opponent can no longer continue. When your tired, hurt, and maybe even bloody, fight through the pain! You must have motivation and a “drive” to want to finish the fight.
    Environment can be another large factor in what determines the outcome of a fight. If it’s a large bar, what you will do will be different than what you’d do if you were in the alley. Likewise, when it’s in a bathroom, such as the scenario above, your limited as to what you can do. In any case, while the conflict is starting, you want to get a good look at the space your in, to see how easy it is to maneuver around. Keep your eyes on your opponent, but use your peripheral vision. Memorize as many little details as possible. Think, “what can I use as a weapon?” or “what can I use to distract this guy?”. Pay attention to lighting. Use the amount of light that you have to your advantage. If there is low light, try to get out of there and escape. If necessary hide in a dark corner, and launch an ambush on your attacker. Take for example the fight in the bathroom. Assuming you had the time, and knew you were going to be attacked, soap up your hands. That way when you hit him and strike his face region, his eyes will become irritated and start to burn. If it’s in the alley, use loose gravel to achieve that same effect. Had the fight, in fact, been inside of a bar you have even more options. There are chairs, lights, bottles, and glasses(among countless other items). If your far enough away douse his feet in a beverage, and immediately follow with a close range attack(causing him to be wary of his footing). Fight smart and use any strategy that you can think of."

    My main concern with this passage is the ending. What im suggesting is if you do have the time, these things can be done. Something i've done is personally analyzed one fight clip after another. On many, when people slip, it causes them to lose. Despite the fact that they were winning up until that point.
  13. Slindsay

    Slindsay All violence is necessary

    I would want a Self Defence book to stress the importance of, well, stress. I think that outlining ways that you can cope with stress are important and outlining techniques that work under pressure are important, maybe try and dispel the martial arts myths and the like.

    I'd also want it to make people understand that fights are messy, that things will not go as you plan and that weird random stuff will infact happen nine times out of ten. Emphasise the importance of knowing a few techniques that will work in the majority of situations and the importance of not learning twenty convoluted ways to get someone to let go of your wrist.
  14. kenpoguy

    kenpoguy The Last Dragon


    What do you guys think about photos? I'm actually starting to think about using few, if any. They're not really nessesary for this type of book. I truly don't want it to be taken for an "instruction" book.
  15. Taff

    Taff The Inevitable Hulk

    I presume kamae is a ninja word for stance? There's no way stances have a place in a book on self defence. At least not as a dedicated chapter, apparently as important as striking. :confused:
  16. Banpen Fugyo

    Banpen Fugyo 10000 Changes No Surprise

    Actually its a japanese word. And if the way you carry yourself and stand isnt important to you, then thats just sad.
  17. Taff

    Taff The Inevitable Hulk

    Hmm, I was thinking "stances" as horse stance etc etc, not "how you carry yourself". You mean walking without making yourself a target? If that comes under stances then maybe the chapter would be worthwhile.
  18. Lord Spooky

    Lord Spooky Banned Banned

    Kamae is more than stance! It can mean attitude too ;)

    I've come to look at Kamae as a way of controlling space, both yours and theirs, you move through Kamae as appropriate. All you do is use it to keep control and keep safe the space you are in at a specific moment in time. You are keeping yourself safe but at the same time getting him to put himself in a position that leaves him vulnerable. Sort of like controlling the terrain in a military engagement.

    You control the distance whilst also lining them up for an attack !

    All I'm saying is Geoff Thompson and the Fence!

    Also as has been mentioned I suppose you can look at it as how you carry yourself. You can be walking down the street "swtiched on" and still be in Kamae. It's something that you keep inside too like I said an attitude.
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2006
  19. Taff

    Taff The Inevitable Hulk

    This is all well and good, but his chapter is on "Stances", not "Kamae"!
  20. Lord Spooky

    Lord Spooky Banned Banned

    Same thing ;)
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2006

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