I typically like to start the semester with a break from the taekwondo syllabus and focus on practical self defence drills. Lately I've been remiss due to the amount of material we need to cover. However, we got to do a close quarter drill last night involving a head butt, elbow to the face/neck, and knee strike into the nags or thigh. It was well received and the self defence drill flowed smoothly and I was able to expand on challenges and key points for success.
At one point, we talked about the exhalation of breath with the strike and compression of the body. Compression meaning as I exhale, I tighten the abs in order for the top half of my body to be more connected to the bottom half of my body - thus increasing the mass supporting any strike to the opponent. I then asked about the reasoning behind why we breath the way we do. I was extremely proud of the response - yes, in an aggressive encounter fear is going to affect the student practitioner badly, and the forcible breaths out help to keep the body primed for action.
This is exactly why we focus on breathing and always force the breath out with any defensive, offensive, or other tactical movement. Fear causes a surge in adrenaline. This adrenaline dump causes the body to take shallow breaths, narrows your vision, clams up your mouth, gives you the shakes, and basically robs you of our effectiveness to self defence. What does it mean? It means that whatever technique you launch is not going to be a significant show stopper - and your aggressor (who is probably going to be a seasoned and violent crim) will wipe the floor with your butt.
Relying on your basic taekwondo or karate training means first using larger abdominal muscles to force your breath out, re-oxygenating your blood, relaxing your tensed up muscles and allowing you have the wherewithal to perform self defence techniques. This helps you get over the 'hump' -- your own psychological barrier preventing self defence action. Relying on basic training also means bringing your hands up in a 'please don't hurt me stance,' drops your chin, and corrects your centre of gravity.
Most of all, relying and having faith in your basic self defence training means recreating the EXACT conditions of timing, distance, and subterfuge that is practiced in our training hall. The example is that if we practiced an elbow at this very close range if if you try to hit the aggressor at a longer range with this one technique, you're going to fail and mess up your chances to escape. For more on the subterfuge required for self defence, please check out the link at the bottom of the page 'Patrick Parker Brings the Beef'
Lastly, I noted for the headbutt that a successful strike will result in an aggressor being out of commission for maybe a few seconds. So what, I asked then, is the goal of self defence? I stated that an aggressor needs to be shut down for several minutes. This is a way to communicate how much force your entire body needs to generate when hitting an opponent -- and how you have got to hit the opponent more than once if necessary to make your point.
See a follow up to this post No One Wants to be a Victim.
Traditional Taekwondo Self Defence Links
Women Self Defence
Martial Arts and Self Defence
Nat from TDA Training Asked if I am Causing Conflict ...
Martial Arts Against Martial Arts (The Best Blog Post)
Aikido Philosophy, Taekwondo Technique ... Is it possible???
Self Defence: Trained v Untrained
Your Nuts With Taekwondo
Basic Taekwondo Perspective on Self Defence - How to Be Effective when Fear Strikes
Poomse teaches proper mental attitude towards self defense by M Clark
Fantastic Self Defence Vid Posted at Mokuren Dojo
The One TKD Book You Must Get, 15 Jan 2008
Martial Arts Blogs
Relying on What You've Got From Traditional Taekwondo
Won-hyo: The Kihon Kata Koma
Black Belt Coaching Course
Taekwondo Self Defence Against Shoulder Grab from Behind
Article: The Best Defence
I fear for my students
External Self Defence Links
No One Wants to be a Victim
Carpark Safety for Parents
Child Safety at School
Child Playground Safety
TDA Patrick Parker Brings the Beef
Jujitsu Sensei: What you learn from a punch to the face
Women Self Defence and Gut Instinct
Nat from TDA Asked if I am Causing Conflict
Michele from Just a Thought: Where are the Men?
Child Safety means Self Defence Training
It's Okay to Hit Bullies
Women Self Defence Tips