“There Are No Superior Martial Arts,

Only Superior Martial Artists”

I’ve read, heard, repeated and written that phrase so often I can not even remember where it got here from. The rationale I prefer it a lot is since it’s true!

This text isn’t one other effort to debate the merits of 1 self-defense system over one other. Neither is it to argue about which style will or won’t work “on the road.” All martial arts have components inside them which can be powerful fighting techniques. It is important to know which of them they’re!

Self-Defense Systems Differ,

But Self-Defense Principles Don’t

On the surface, martial arts and self-defense systems seem different. Nevertheless, in the event that they are legitimate and effective, the principles underlying them are the identical.

Principles are the foundations concerning the way things are. They’re inarguable, non-negotiable and unchanging. They don’t have anything to do with the best way we expect things are or the best way we wish them to be. Just like the laws of physics, they simply are.

As “Martial Scientists,” our goal is to explore, discover, test and make sure the operative principles that outline and influence the fact of combat. Your ability to provide a desired result, on this case to effectively defend yourself, is a direct results of how well you understand and apply the principles of combat and human performance.

What Do You Know About

Performance Under Pressure?

This text is about how fear and stress affect fighting performance. Whether you think about yourself a seasoned martial artist, a self-defense enthusiast, or a self-taught “ham & egger” who just desires to stay in shape and boost your confidence, this information is essential to know. In case you are training for self-defense, it is advisable to select and develop skills that shall be effective within the chaos of a violent conflict. This text will enable you in that process.


Stress Is Good, But Only If It

Works For And Not Against You

Stress is our response to an actual or perceived threat that we inherited from our ancestors. It was, and is, essential for our survival as a species. That survival mechanism, often called the “Fight or Flight Response,” is thing. If properly managed, it may possibly be a strong force in fighting off (fight) or escaping from (flight) a violent assailant. Nevertheless, if ignored or misunderstood, stress can impair our mental and physical performance and compromise our effectiveness in a fight.

What Is “Self-Defense Stress?”

Stress, because it pertains to violence, is the response to a perceived discrepancy between a threat and your ability to manage it under conditions where the consequence has the potential for death, injury or physical degradation.

The Symptoms Of Stress

Stress causes quite a lot of psychological and physiological changes. Without moving into the specifics of those changes, the affects of intense stress on performance fall into three categories:

1. Perceptual Distortion – lack of peripheral vision and depth perception, hearing could also be impaired, changes in pain sensitivity, etc.

2. Cognitive Impairment – the emotional centers within the brain turn into predominant and inventive or logical considering is impaired.

3. Motor Skill Deterioration – the flexibility to perform certain physical actions is impaired by stress. Nevertheless, other actions can actually be enhanced by stress.

Each of those categories could form an article (or book) of their very own. Nevertheless, for the needs of this text, I’ll confine myself to information pertaining to the choice and performance of physical skills.

THE KYSS! PRINCIPLE (Keep Your System Easy!)

Why Do Black Belts Get Beat Up?

Why is it that so many martial artists get beat up? I’m sorry to burst your bubble should you thought otherwise but the actual fact is that many individuals, even after years of coaching, have been thumped by “unskilled,” intoxicated adversaries. How can that be?

Often people train with a distorted mental map of what it’s wish to be in an actual, knockdown, drag-out, anything-goes street-fight. They confuse sparring with fighting and find themselves hesitant, overwhelmed by fear or attempting techniques that just don’t work.

The more clearly you understand the realities of a “fight” and the affects of being in a single, the higher you’ll be able to prepare yourself for the chaos of non-public combat.

Motor Skills Classification

Motor Skills is a flowery name for physical actions or techniques. They might be divided into three categories:

1. High quality Motor Skills – are actions involving small muscles, dexterity and eye-hand coordination. The power to perform effective motor skills deteriorates at low to moderate levels of stress.

2. Complex Motor Skills – are actions that link three or more components in a sequence that requires timing and coordination. At moderate to high levels of stress, the flexibility to perform these skills can also be impaired. Many martial arts techniques are complex motor skills. This explains why techniques that may match effective in low-stress training fail in a high-stress street-fight.

3. Gross motor skills – are easy, large-muscle group actions like a squats, pushups and push/pull-type movements. This includes basic fighting skills like a straight punch, a hook punch or a Thai boxer’s knee strike for instance. Unlike effective and complicated motor skills, gross motor skills DO NOT deteriorate under stress. In actual fact, they’re enhanced by the affects of fear and stress.

Obviously we wish to rely predominantly on gross motor skills when designing a self-defense response system.

The “Less-Is-Best” Theory

Some self-defense and martial arts instructors imagine within the “More-Is-Higher” philosophy. They think that learning a high variety of techniques will increase the flexibility to reply effectively to a greater variety of situations; that the more elaborate the fighting system the more adaptable it becomes.

In case you hold this philosophy yourself, please forgive my bluntness but…YOU’RE WRONG!!! The More-Is-Higher approach doesn’t withstand scientific scrutiny. Complex or elaborate techniques don’t work in an actual fight. It’s so simple as that.

In contrast, the “Less-Is-Best” approach is more practical, realistic and consistent with what science tells us concerning the way we perform under stress. Listed here are a number of of the advantages of keeping the variety of techniques to a minimum.

Faster Response Time

Way back to the 1800’s, researchers knew that the more responses you’ve gotten to a stimulus, the longer it takes react. In 1952, a researcher named Hicks confirmed that for each response alternative added, the period of time required to react doubles! That is widely often called “Hicks Law,” and has been repeatedly confirmed by subsequent research. In a self-defense situation, the longer you’re taking to answer a threatening motion, the more likely you shall be injured and defeated.

Fast Results With Minimal Training

One other issue that supports the concept of keeping your inventory of techniques to a minimum is the period of time you’ve gotten to practice and the time it takes to construct technique competence. (remember: competence builds confidence which reduces stress!)

Imagine you’re employed on 20 techniques and also you train for an hour per session. Meaning you’ve gotten 3 minutes to take a position on each technique. If nonetheless, you reduce the variety of self-defense techniques to a few (just an arbitrary number), you invest 20 minutes on each technique, conceivably investing 600% more time and repetition on each. What technique would not be improved by six times more training?

The Brass Knuckle Effect (Cognitive Clarity)

Imagine you knew you were about to be attacked by a big, strong, psychopathic assailant. There isn’t a way of avoiding the fight. As an instance your self-defense system consists of 20 different techniques. Within the stressful moments preceding the encounter your mind is reeling; attempting to determine essentially the most appropriate plan of action.

Remember that your cognitive abilities are impaired by stress. Stress-related “brain damage” prevents you from forming a logical or creative solution to your predicament. What’s going to you do?

Seeing your dilemma, friend (if he wasn’t before he’s now!) discretely passes you a set of brass knuckles. What do you suppose has just happened to your thought process?

I’ll hazard a guess that the mental fog begins to lift, your stress decreases and your objective becomes clear. It’s now an easy matter of taking those brass knuckles and slamming them repeatedly into vulnerable parts of your opponent’s anatomy. Seems easy now doesn’t it?

The potential of you winning the encounter has been significantly enhanced. That very same affect might be achieved without the brass knuckles by sticking to a limited, yet adaptable, inventory of dependable fighting skills.


Virtually all completed fighters are known for specific techniques that they excel at. Nevertheless, should you ignore their “bread & butter” techniques, most of them could be considered “average.” Those fighters excel due to their ability to simplify their system and construct on their superior techniques.

Knowing what you now learn about technique selection and stress performance, what do you consider the merits of “specializing” in a core set of fighting skills? Here’s the best way to start.

Explore Your Strengths

Don’t just latch onto a fighting tactic arbitrarily. Evaluate your existing skills and choose a strike, a kick, or a ending hold that looks like a “good fit” for you. What technique to you consistently land or apply when sparring? What’s your best or favorite technique? What technique do you are feeling you’d resort to under pressure? Answering these questions will get you began with the specialization process.


Having as few techniques as possible doesn’t suggest that you just limit your ability to answer a wide selection of situations. The concept is to take that specialty strike, kick, joint lock or choke and train it in as many alternative ways as possible. Learn to use those basic skills at different ranges (striking, clinching or on the bottom), against different partners, against different apparatus and in as many drills as you’ll be able to consider. Learn the best way to set them up and follow them up. Strive to learn quite a bit about a bit, not vice versa.

Train to Momentary Exhaustion

A great method to see how well a method holds up under stress is to coach it to extreme fatigue. You may bring on the physiology of intense stress by exerting yourself. I call this “blitz training” within the heavy bag article: “There’s nothing like a swift kick to the bag.” on my site at:


Blast out a method or combination repeatedly for a specified duration or until you’ll be able to’t do it any more. I can guarantee that gross motor skills shall be the one ones conducive to one of these training.

Remember that you just would not do that training the entire time. You wish time to get better between intense workouts like this.

Obviously you will need to be healthy and in good physical shape to do on this training. Consult with my disclaimer page for precautions before following this recommendation.


Simplicity Is Not Inflexibility

A final note in keeping things easy is that the means of specialization doesn’t suggest that you just stop learning, experimenting or that you just abandon your existing training program in lieu of a “bare-bones” self-defense program.

In case you are pleased with your traditional martial arts system follow it. In case you love to leap up, spin around and kick things, then by all means, go for it! Just don’t confuse techniques that may work in a street fight with people who won’t. Apply the science of stress performance by adding specialty training to the degree that you need to develop practical self-defense skills.


Using The “KYSS! Principle”

To Evaluate A Potential Specialty Technique

Now its time to place these things into practice: Based on the priority you place on “fighting skill.” (there are several other advantages and reasons to coach) Take , hard have a look at the abilities you’ve gotten in your inventory and the period of time you intend to take a position in training.

Choose what quantity of your training you need to dedicate to self-defense. Design your system based on the next “KYSS Criteria.”

=> is the technique a “gross motor skill?”

=> do you’ve gotten confidence in your ability to perform the skill under pressure?

=> What technique is most successful for you in training sparring or competition? (nonetheless don’t confuse those activities with fighting)

=> Is the technique applicable in a wide selection of situations, at different ranges, in several environments, ring clothing that you just were during your day-to-day activities?

=> Are you in a position to construct a wide selection of coaching drills to construct adaptability and adaptability in your chosen techniques?

=> Are there techniques that you’ve got chosen which can be redundant?

=> Do you understand the underlying principles and biomechanics of performing and applying the skill with optimal efficiency?


Stress in a combative situation is a given. Expect it. It should be there. Your performance is the results of how confident and well prepared you’re along with how well designed your self-defense response system is. Attack the issue of stress performance this manner:

=> Simplify your system through specializing in a handful of effective and adaptable techniques.

=> Artificially create stress in your training sessions to inoculate yourself to it to some extent (more on this in future articles) and…

=> Select gross motor skills that shall be efficient under stress.

Knowing what you now learn about stress performance is not it obvious that the “KYSS! (Keep Your System Easy!) Principle” is value incorporating into your training? Scrutinize and evaluate your inventory of fighting skills and choose people who meet the KYSS criteria and you’ll improve your performance in a combative situation dramatically. The underside line of what I need you to remove from this text is that should you are training for self-defense Keep Your System Easy!

Take care, train smart and stay secure,

Randy LaHaie

Protective Strategies

============== Self-Defense Quote =================

“There are not any superior or inferior martial arts, there are only warriors and non-warriors”

“Each martial art relies on doctrine, a set of broad and general beliefs. Individuals who study a single doctrine are likely to shut out ideas from other sources and persuade themselves that their’s is the one true way of fighting. They turn into slaves to the very doctrines they profess.”

Forrest E. Morgan, Maj. USAF

Living The Martial Way

A Manual For The Way A Modern Warrior Should Think


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