Thursday, November 27, 2008

Guns in the Martial Arts - updated

Do you practice REAL self-defense?

[UPDATED: I've added more links to great sites and posts. Scroll to the bottom of the post.]

[UPDATE: Apples to Oranges is a follow-up by James Rummel on this subject.]

"Martial artists who believe they are teaching self-defense are wrong not to cover firearms, but Shooters are wrong not cover unarmed skills" -

Brillianter is responding to an equally brilliant post from Hell in a Handbasket, Easy, Quick, Simple, Effective, which posits a basic truth: martial arts schools and firearms are like oil and water, separated by nature.

"... most self defense dojos carefully avoid teaching their students anything about firearms. All of them claim to teach an effective open hand technique that will allow their students to prevail in a violent encounter, and some of them even incorporate weapons in their lessons such as fighting sticks or knives. And yet, of all the various weapons and self defense techniques offered, firearms are always absent. Why would that be so?"

Many, if not most, martial arts instructors have an aversion to firearms possession, training, and use. It's antithetical to the beliefs of many that any situation can be resolved by awareness, avoidance, training, or technique, all of which involve the "empty hand," or at best, a kubotan or improvised weapon. The sad truth is that most of our training will go for naught if faced with a 12-year old with a gun and a bad attitude. We avoid the knowledge of ranged, non-classical weapons (i.e. firearms) because it destroys the myth of our deadly skills in the eyes of others, or own own. Why spend 20 years learning Dim Mak and body hardening, only to be forced to admit that they are useless against a $50 handgun?

On the other had, both authors take the position that firearms instructors tend to ignore the need to learn and use non-lethal force, in which most of us specialize.

Thankfully, one of the intended aims of the reality-based self-defense movement (fad?) is toward integrating the use of firearms in training, both in their intended use, and in learning tactical and strategic methods to survive armed encounters, not to mention the ubiquitous disarms. I believe that the influx of former law enforcement and military personnel into the breach has helped those in the public who recognize the real need with an alternative to both traditional gun training (gun only), and the old-fashioned training hall.

For more information:

From TDA Training:
Airsoft Pistols for Tactical Training
Air Guns and Self-Defense Training
Knife defense scenario training
Anecdotal Information on Home Invasion - Use of Deadly Force
Weapons first or last?
Bringing a gun to a knife fight?
Is your traditional training going to get you killed?
Unarmed vs the drawn handgun
Rush a gun; Run from a knife

From other sites:
Civilian Gun Self-Defense Blog Civilians using guns in self-defense.

Hell in a Handbasket a professional self defense instructor teaching practical self-defense with firearms

Hock Hochheim for Hand to Hand Combat, Stick Combat, Knife Combat, Gun Combat in All Ranges of Combat: Standing, Kneeling and On the Ground Combat Tactics and Strategies

things worth believing in by Thomas Gace, a police officer who's serving and protecting the both his local, and the online communities

Defend University, a research and development group dedicated to the exploration of leading edge techniques and strategies for self-defense, security and defensive tactics. Look here for info that can be applied to your personal protection, defensive tactics, executive protection, and martial arts programs.

Crime Information Latest Information on Crime Statistics and Self Defense


John W. Zimmer said...

Hi Nathan,

I tend to believe it is not a mutually exclusive argument. In the part of California I live, guns are not in play much and most hand-held weapons are illegal. So fighting will mostly be with my hands (and has been). The one time a couple of guys I had a beef with in the bar were waiting for me with a shotgun - I was alerted to it by scanning my surroundings (I saw heads ducking in a pickup across the street) and called the cops. The cops came and pulled a shotgun from their laps but did not find shells. I lucked out I guess but guns did not normally come into play.

I had more worries from knives, pool sticks and balls. So I naturally fell into karate training. Karate would work well if an attacker with a gun was in my reach but if they were out of reach or had many attackers - my best hope would be to take some of them with me.

Now If I lived in Arizona (where one can have a CWP) and I lived in a rough or rural area - I would have a gun.

I've seen Krav Maga videos that seem to fully incorporate weapons training into some classes in Israel and have thought that makes sense. There are allot of people that may have to fight for their lives in that part of the world so if I was there - I would be doing weapons and hand to hand combat.

Before I saw this post I was thinking about getting some pepper spray for dogs as while I can certainly defend against any one dog - spraying and then bashing the offending hound would be easier (and legal in California).

I cannot legally carry a baseball bat if my intention is for self-defense. Any weapon I carry other than pepper spray or a stun gun has to have a legal reason for carrying it. If I were to carry a budokan and then use it in self-defense, the officer taking the report would be within rights to ask me why I carried it... If I answered that I wanted to smack muggers - he could arrest me for a felony.

I personally have nothing against weapons training but in self-defense one has to consider the likelihood of it being a realistic defense for the area you live or spend your time.


Nathan at TDA Training said...

Hi John, hard to know where to start:
The premise upon which the post was written was that the predominant paradigm of martial arts instructors (traditional, probably), is to teach and train in their traditions, and firearms weren't in wide use in the East, especially when the Asian arts systems and styles were being formed. Those who are attracted to, for example, kendo or judo, would have no thought of learning how to use or defend against a gun in one of those dojo. On the other hand, those who teach firearms use may be overly focused on something that they carry, rather than what they are, for self-protection.

I like to think that, like you, I am a self-reliant enough individual that I can take care of an unarmed attack in many cases, if not most. If I had no training in anything but empty-hand, though, and was confronted with a knife, I'd be out of my element and in great trouble. The problem is that most (again, a generalization) martial artists are attracted to that tradition, or accept what they are taught, and are actually unprepared for what they may actually face (in some areas, weapons are predominant).

I don't disagree with anything you've written at all, but would just add that even you may move or travel (as you mention).

I just believe in trying to be prepared for everything I can. I guess that's the Scout in me!

Thanks for the great comments.

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