So, this is a first post that will probably **** everybody off, but its something that I think needs to be said and something that I've been thinking about for quite a while. My idea for a new system of fighting comes from my dissatisfaction with the martial arts i have studied and those on offer to me, and a need to have relevant skills in self defence as i work in law enforcement. I've trained in martial arts, on and off, for most of my life. I did various styles of kung fu and other traditional martial arts growing up. I found that it was very good for your health, but hopeless at teaching you how to fight. Over the last few years and up until very recently I did MMA. I found it was very effective for most situations, but is terrible for your health. Taking the amount of punches in the head that you need to, to train MMA without doubt leads to early onset dementia. When I would spar a lot I could sometimes still feel punch drunk days later. When I tell this to people who do traditional martial arts they say something like "you need to learn to cover up", but they don't know what they are talking about. You can't practice MMA without getting hit hard and this causes brain damage, but it is the live contact aspect of combat sports which makes them effective by allowing you to hone your skills under pressure. But if you are practicing MMA for self defence this is silly. Why intentionally damage your brain so that you can stop other people from damaging your brain? It doesn't make sense. This acquired brain damage is why so many MMA fighters eventually stop doing striking and concentrate solely on their ground game. But in a self defence situation there is only so much you need to know about grappling. Most people are not going to get in a fight with a BJJ black belt (unless you are the problem in which case you deserve a beating) because BJJ black belts don't need to fight people on the street to feel good about themselves. Most self defence scenario's will revolve around one or more unscrupulous characters who want to rob you, rape you, or otherwise humiliate you for their own enjoyment, and this requires a different, but not wholly different set of skills. Since giving up on combat sports I have longed for a new challenge, but everything I look into seems silly to me. At a first glance krav maga looks like a good choice, but when I read up on it I found out that most of the instructors are ex-military guys with no experience with combat sports. Just because someone has been in the military does not mean they can fight. Many military people probably can fight, but this is not by virtue of being in the military. The ones that can fight probably did some form of combat sport. From what I can gather krav maga is a kind of martial arts franchise which boasts about being reality based, but contains little live contact or sparring. I'm sure there are some legit krav maga schools out there, but the ones in my local area appear to simply be money extractors for people with little training in martial arts and huge ego's. When I looked on my local krav maga schools website it said something like "first lesson you learn 1. hammer fist, 2. groin strikes and 3. elbows" IMO none of these techniques are going to be effective in self defence at least not to a beginner and here is why: 1. I have never seen a hammer fist work in a fight situation unless a. you are in a grappling situation and are using the hammer fist to smash your opponents face in or b. you use a spinning hammer fist which is not something that a beginner should practice and is probably too risky to be used in a self defence situation. Granted when fighting multiple attackers spinning techniques tend to be very effective, but I think they are referring to a simple standing hammer fist which is not effective in self defence. 2. Groin strikes and eye gauging is not something that should be a core element of a fighting system. It might be effective if your life depends on it, if your attacker has a weapon, but most self defence scenario's are not that sinester and if you kick a guy in the balls or pock him in the eye you have raised the level of violence such that what at first might have been an attempt at mugging you has now escalated into a fight where ripping organs out of the body is on the table. If this mugger or one of his buddies gets the better of you, you will wish that you had never escalated the situation by using groin strikes or eye gouges. 3. Here is a simple question: why throw elbows? In a mauy thia fight elbows are great because you can split your opponents face open and the referee might stop the fight. But why would you want to split someones face open in a self defence situation and risk contracting hiv or some other blood born virus from your attacker. This is a very important point. Unless you like starting fights, the most likely person for you to get in a fight with will be a violent criminal who is probably a junkie and who may or may not have a number of blood born diseases from years of intravenous drug use. Using an elbow to split this kind of persons face open will not stop them, it will probably just **** them off and put you at risk of contracting any of their diseases. So finally what would make a good self defence system? Below I outline my opinion on the skills most necessary for self defence from most important to least important. 1. Wrestling By this I mean standing wrestling similar if not identical to the greco-roman tradition. There are guys out there with chins of steel and unless you can bang like tyson you won't knock them out. Wrestling is the most important because putting someone on the ground in an uncomfortable position is the quickest way to stop their momentum. Also, most people don't know how to fight from their back so unless your the guy who starts fights with BJJ black belts then once they are on the ground they should be good for a submission, ground and pound or if you work in security or law enforcement like myself, a wrist lock or pain compliance technique. One of the greatest things about wrestling is that it can be practiced full force in a sparring situation without causing major damage (permitting your training partner has the common sense not to spear your head into the ground). 2. Striking You at least need to know enough about striking that you can use your strikes to set up your take downs and cover up (like my friends who do traditional martial arts are so fond of ). Open hand and closed hand techniques should be practiced with pads similarly if not identical to the way muay thia boxers do pads. Open hand techniques (using the palm to strike rather than the knuckles) should be practiced more than closed hand techniques. The reason for this is: Even if you condition your knuckles and know how to punch without gloves on, the likely-hood of you hitting your opponent in the teeth and lacerating your hand increases your risk of blood born infections is too high. Closed hand techniques should only be used if you fear for your life. Remember, by preventing the transmission of blood born diseases like hiv, you are not only preventing you from contracting hiv, you are preventing your whole family from potentially contracting hiv. Sparring is important with striking but carry's with it risks as mentioned above. Imagine the irony of someone who practiced MMA their whole lives so that they could be safe enough at work and in the community to return home to their family, only to have their twilight years taken away from them or worse, to become a burden on their family, constantly having to have their partner or children wipe the drool from their face and MAP is intended to be family friendly. Use a little judgment please. because they are a 55 year old with early onset dementia. In my opinion no amount of glory is worth that. If all you care about in life is being the best fighter you can be then stop reading right now and go to your local MMA gym and train. But some of us are not willing to pay that price. My solution to this could probably be refined with practice, but it is the best I have come up with. My idea is to use focus pads in the place of boxing gloves and to strike with the palm. The larger surface area of the focus pad should cause less impact and allow students to practice their open hand techniques. If there is still too much impact then sparring should be done lightly to prevent brain injury and head gear should also be used. Sparring should not be attempted with closed hand or any kind of boxing glove. Some might believe that this will prevent students from learning how to punch in a combat situation, but consider that most boxers use a 16 ounce glove which radically changes the shape of the fist such that in a street fight situation adjustments need to be made, however boxers have never seemed to have a problem doing this. Here is where many MMA guys will pipe up and say that this will not work for a variety of reasons that I will not go into here, but as far as I can tell this is the most responsible way to practice boxing without resorting to strictly body boxing which is just a joke. Strikes to the body should be done with full force as this will not cause long term damage. Kicks should be used, but I would stay away from head kicks as they cause brain injury and unless you train day in day out (which might be good for professional MMA fighters but for your average joe that just wants to learn to defend him or herself and only trains 2 to 3 times a week) you will probably not be able go from walking down the street like it is any other day to throwing head kicks without tearing your hamstring. For this reason head kicks are not as effective in a street fight as they are in a muay thia boxing match. Elbows should be avoided for reasons spoken about above. Knees to the body should be done with moderate force while knees to the face should be implied, in other words knees should be lifted to the opponents face but not make contact with it which is what is done in most MMA schools anyway. If you are really keen on training head kicks they could also be implied in such a manner. 3. Grappling and Submissions, Locks and Pain Compliance When I studied kung fu we called this kind of grouping of techniques chin na. I don't care what you call it. These techniques are grouped together in this way because they are ways of incapacitating your opponent which are close quarter, but do not resemble wrestling or striking, and should all be trained with a similar frequency. Included in this group are the various chokes, arm bars, triangles and other BJJ submissions, and security style wrist-locks like the transport wrist-lock and pain compliance techniques like (I don't know the technical terms for these) stiking your thumb into the nerves on the side the face just above the jaw or the front of the face just above or below the lips. For women extra training in BJJ may be necessary because it would be very effective in preventing rape as it allows you to fight effectively from your back. 4. Weapons Disarming weapons is important in case you find yourself in a situation where your attacker has a weapon and you cannot escape. Disarming knives, clubs, and stickes should be a priority as they are the most likely weapons for an attacker to have. Depending on where you live and your work firearm disarms should be trained accordingly. I live in australia where the gun laws are strict so the likely-hood of me needing these skills is diminished, however if I worked in the military, police or lived in some states in america this might be different. Training in the use of weapons such as the samuri sword is not really a priority as the ability to swing a sword in a self defence situation is about as useful as having a good golf swing. Its not that it won't help, it's just that it won't help you very much. 5. Dynamic Command You would be surprised how many confrontations can be avoided simply by using an assertive voice. If you work in security and are involved in any kind of use of force then using commands can give the opponent a way to comply instead of them not knowing what else to do but resist. A simple command like "stay still" can prevent a potential injury. Its also useful for self defence because it will get other peoples attention who might help and show your opponent that you will not let them continue with their behaviour whether that be trying to rob you or simply being offensive. And that is my philosophy of martial arts. I like to think of this way of doing martial arts compared to MMA as similar to natural bodybuilding compared with bodybuilding with steroids. If all you care about in life is having the biggest muscles you can, and your willing to damage your health to do that, than thats fine. But not everyone thinks like that. So, what do you guys think?