Home » Recreation and Sports » Martial Arts

"Kick Me Where It Counts": A Critical Mistake in Martial Arts and Self-Defense Training

Jeffrey Miller
Aug 17, 2007
During my recent visit to Japan for training, there was one overriding thing that I noticed about most of the black belts that I worked with. Now, if they were just having fun and aren't really looking to be able to defend themselves against a determined attacker should they ever face one, then okay. But, if they really are looking to be proficient and have the ability to control a situation, then they probably shouldn't be sending a clear and dangerous message to their attacker.

Before I tell you what debilitating flaw many of my fellow black belts were making, let me just say that, to watch Hatsumi-Sensei or any of the other Shihan "master instructors," one might very easily overlook this problem. They might overlook it because, well, it appears that the Masters are doing it too! And yet...

...they're not!

What many students, both Bujinkan and others, see when they train in Japan, is the teachers moving in such a way as to expose vital targets - targets that could be exploited by an experienced opponent. The attacker punches, kicks, or grabs, and the teacher drifts back with an extended arm as if to block. But, instead of taking up a structurally sound kamae, or position of safety, as depicted in books, videos, and the ancient texts, the teachers are in a posture that is way too square to provide any cover against follow up attacks.

And so, seeing this, students with no actual combat experience...

...copy it.

Now, copying the teacher's technique would not be bad, normally...

...if the student knew what they were looking at.

Instead, students simply watch the teacher move and take stock of the step-by-step pieces, with little-to-no-regard for important details that will determine whether or not that technique will work against an enraged attacker trying to hurt you. They forget that their training partner probably lacks not only the same combat experience they do, but also lacks the intention to actually hurt them if they make a mistake. After all...

...everyone is just there to have fun and earn some rank, right?

What is it that could be so deadly a sin that it would warrant an article? What could be so bad that, if left unchecked, could breed a sense of false security in one's technique and ability that will only be seen when a determined attacker takes advantage of it?

Before I answer that, let me ask you a question. The question might seem to be directed only at the guys but, I assure you, is just as relevant to women. The question is simple and straightforward. There is no trick answer or need to second-guess what I'm asking.


"Would you knowingly and willingly stand close enough to your assailant, and in a convenient position, so as to allow him or her to kick you in the groin?" Or, as many of my friends and students might say, "...to kick you right where it counts?"

I didn't think so. And yet, time after time, I had to remind black belts - people that should know better or have been taught better - to reposition themselves because they were lined-up for me to do just that. And, if I saw that fatal flaw, you can bet that any opponent looking for a quick and easy win, would catch it too.

"But you're supposed to punch me next," was the answer I heard more often than not. "We're working on such-and-such a kata ("form" or "example") and I don't have to worry about that."

To which my reply was, "I don't care what form we're working on." Cold, I know. But the fact that you're working on a particular example, does not mean that you forget all of the essential lessons for staying safe. One kata does not contradict the need for proper positioning, distancing, and angling for safety against your attacker's next move.

"But he (the teacher) did it this way." To which I would have to admit, "kind of."

What the student sees is often only a close approximation of what the teacher is actually doing. That's why it's necessary to go through the class, learn the lesson, and then spend the next several days, weeks, or months, trying to figure it out. And this is no exception.

What the students were seeing was the teacher's body position. What they were missing was...

...the teacher's body position RELATIVE to the attacker. In short, they were missing the all-important element of proper distance.

It's true that the teachers were positioning themselves in, what beginner students are told are "sloppy kamae." But, at their level, they don't need "correct kamae" as taught to beginners, because they know how far to position themselves away from the assailant so that he or she can't easily reach them with their next attack.

So, where my training partners were exposing a vital target, the teachers were well out of range for such an attack. Same body position, vastly different results.

The point here is that, if you're training just to have fun and experience a taste of ancient warriorship, great. But, if you're looking to learn the lessons for survival from ancient warriors - lessons designed to save your life if you ever need them...

...then you MUST be critical in your examination of the lessons themselves.

You must get over your need to be right, or to look cool, or to show off what you've learned and make sure that you are focusing on what matters. Often that means that you find a training partner who wants to help you get better. He or she knows that doing that means not stroking your ego, but instead pointing out when you've left yourself open to an easy follow-up.

Because, if you don't, you just might find that the message you're sending to your attacker is...

"Hey! Kick me right where it counts!"
About the Author
Jeffrey M. Miller is the founder of Warrior Concepts Int'l. He is the author of, KUBOTAN: Self-Defense Keychain and the best selling DVD, Danger Prevention Tactics You can subscribe to his ezine, at http://www.warrior-concepts-online.com/newsletter.html
Please Rate:
(Average: Not rated)
Views: 585
Print Email Share
Article Categories
    • Artists
    • Gambling
    • Humanities
    • Humor
    • Movies
    • Music
    • Photography
    • Tattoos
    • Television
    • Classic Cars
    • Motorcycles
    • Recreational Vehicles
    • SUVs
    • Trucks
    • Vans
    • Branding
    • Business Opportunities
    • Careers and Jobs
    • Corporate
    • Customer Service
    • Direct Mail
    • Entrepreneurship
    • Ethics
    • Financing
    • Franchising
    • Home-Based Business
    • Human Resources
    • Import and Export
    • Leadership
    • Management
    • Market Research
    • Marketing and Advertising
    • Negotiation
    • Network Marketing
    • Networking
    • Organizational
    • Presentation
    • Project Management
    • Public Relations
    • Small Business
    • Strategic Planning
    • Team Building
    • Telemarketing
    • Training
    • Data Recovery
    • Databases
    • Games
    • Hardware
    • Networks
    • Operating Systems
    • Programming
    • Security
    • Software
    • Spyware and Viruses
    • Ask an Expert
    • College and University
    • Home Schooling
    • K-12
    • Languages
    • Online Education
    • Psychology
    • Accounting
    • Credit
    • Currency Trading
    • Debt Consolidation
    • Insurance
    • Investing
    • Leasing
    • Loans
    • Mortgage
    • Mutual Funds
    • Personal Finance
    • Stock Market
    • Structured Settlements
    • Taxes
    • Wealth Building
    • Coffee
    • Cooking
    • Gourmet
    • Recipes
    • Wine and Spirits
    • Acne
    • Aerobics
    • Alternative Medicine
    • Beauty
    • Cancer
    • Cosmetics
    • Depression
    • Diabetes
    • Diseases and Conditions
    • Fitness Equipment
    • Fitness
    • Hair Loss
    • Heart Disease
    • Medicine
    • Men's Health
    • Muscle Building
    • Nutrition
    • Skin Care
    • Supplements and Vitamins
    • Weight Loss
    • Women's Health
    • Yoga
    • Arts and Crafts
    • Babies
    • Collecting
    • Elderly Care
    • Genealogy
    • Hobbies
    • Parenting
    • Pets
    • Pregnancy
    • Woodworking
    • Feng Shui
    • Gardening
    • Home Appliances
    • Home Security
    • Interior Design
    • Landscaping
    • Affiliate Programs
    • Article Marketing
    • Auctions
    • Audio
    • Banner Advertising
    • Blogging
    • Broadband
    • Domain Names
    • E-Books
    • E-Commerce
    • Email Marketing
    • Ezines and Newsletters
    • Forums
    • Internet Marketing
    • Link Popularity
    • Pay-Per-Click
    • Podcasting
    • RSS
    • Search Engine Marketing
    • Search Engine Optimization
    • Security
    • Social Media
    • Spam
    • Video
    • Viral Marketing
    • Web Design
    • Web Development
    • Web Hosting
    • Copyright
    • Cyber Law
    • Intellectual Property
    • National, State, Local
    • Patents
    • Regulatory Compliance
    • Trademarks
    • Buying
    • Selling
    • Dating
    • Divorce
    • Marriage
    • Weddings
    • Astrology
    • Buddhism
    • Christianity
    • Faith
    • Hinduism
    • Islam
    • Judaism
    • Meditation
    • Metaphysical
    • New Age
    • Cable and Satellite TV
    • Cell Phones
    • Communication
    • Gadgets and Gizmos
    • GPS
    • Satellite Radio
    • Video Conferencing
    • VoIP
    • Addictions
    • Coaching
    • Goal Setting
    • Motivational
    • Stress Management
    • Time Management
    • Clothing
    • Electronics
    • Fashion
    • Gifts
    • Jewelry
    • Causes and Organizations
    • Environment
    • History
    • Holidays
    • Men's Issues
    • Nature
    • Philosophy
    • Politics
    • Women's Issues
    • World Affairs
    • Air Travel
    • Camping
    • Cruises
    • Destinations
    • Outdoors
    • Article Writing
    • Book Reviews
    • Copywriting
    • Fiction
    • Non-Fiction
    • Poetry
    • Quotes
    • Screenplay
    • Tools and Resources