What Is THE Best Martial Art For Real World Self Defence

The never ending argument that constantly rages over the internet, what is the best style of martial for self defence. So many videos talk about this with people promoting this or that art. Sometimes you get videos like “the top 5 martial arts for self defence” with cases being made for why one style is better than another, and so it goes on. Listening to people talk about the “best martial art, in the world, ever” . . . . . is a bit like getting a priest, a rabbi, and an Imam together and asking which is the best religion. They are each going to have a different answer, each going to be able to give good reasons why theirs is best and each will be equally convinced that they are right!

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How To Improve A Karate Front Snap Kick (The Devil In The Detail)

Anybody who has followed my blog for any length of time will know that I like looking at the “devil in the detail”.  Those small adjustments to a technique (in other words – adjustment to a principle of movement) can over time as you internalise that adjustment, yield significant improvement to the speed and power of the technique.

One such detail, is the position of the foot as you prepare for a front snap kick (Mae Geri) as is common in Karate, Taekwondo and many styles of Kung Fu.  To many readers this will seem obvious, but there are many teachers who emphasis the lifting of the knee, but don’t always pay so much attention to the position of the foot, which can actually make a significant difference.

As you lift your knee high, you stretch your quadriceps (front thigh muscles).  As I’ve said before, muscles act like elastic bands, the more you stretch them the faster they release when you engage that muscle to create movement.  But if you don’t pay attention to the foot position, then it naturally goes to a relaxed position, dangling down.  However, if you raise the toes/ball of the foot as high as you can at the same time as you raise your knee, then you stretch out the calf muscle (back of lower leg).  So going back to the elastic effect in muscles, when you actually unleash the kick from the knee high position, you are more fully engaging both the quadriceps and the calf muscles.  

It also puts the foot in the right position right from the start.  If you allow the foot to dangle, then there is a risk of damaging the toes on impact.  But with the toes/ball of foot lifted as far as you can right from the beginning, then the foot is in the right position with toes pulled safely back out of harms way.

The video below is short, but demonstrates the points raised above.

If you found this useful, please leave your feedback below.  Also, if you feel that your kicks need improving, then we have the ideal download for you.  It’s called 10 Kicking Tips.  Please  check it out. 

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When Somebody Says, “But That’s Not Really Karate”!

This can apply equally to any traditional martial art, not just Karate.

Have you ever demonstrated a way to protect yourself (or seen somebody else do so), only to have somebody else say, “but that’s not really Karate”, (or whatever martial art you practice).  This can be particularly true when styles that are considered primarily striking arts (like Karate, Taekwondo, Kung Fu, etc) start using grappling applications like throws, locks, restraints, escapes and the likes.  People can be quick to pigeon-hole what they consider to be part of a martial art or not to be part of it.

Are they right to do so?  Does this keep a martial art ‘pure’, so that they don’t all just merge into each other?

I’m sorry to say, but that kind of thinking is really missing the point.  Originally, the martial arts were to protect the practitioners life; so can you imagine somebody back then saying something like, “I’m not using that technique as it’s not from my style”!  Of course they wouldn’t; they’d absorb anything that might save their lives. Read more

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Interview With Ms Louise Reeve, 4th Dan Tae Kwon Do, First Woman FAST Defence Instructor & Author

Ms Lousie Reeve, 4th Degree TaekwondoMs Louise Reeve is a very progressive martial arts teacher.  A 4th Degree at Tae Kwon Do (aiming for her 5th Degree).  Although her early martial arts career saw her enjoy a lot of competition success, she has developed into a more martial path, embracing reality based training.  This includes being one of the first people from the UK (and the first woman in the world) to go to the USA and qualify to the teach the Fear, Adrenaline, Stress Training (FAST) Defence system and introduce it here in the UK.

Having done a FAST Defence course myself with one of her colleagues, I’ll vouch for what a straightforward and effect method it is; which fits hand in glove with any martial arts system.  I’ve passed on the teachings to my own students and out of everything that I’ve taught, the FAST principles have been used much more than anything else.  I’d highly recommend it.

Yet despite embracing this reality training, she still teaches to high technical standards; all things that I consider necessary to a complete and rounded martial artist.

On top of this, she is a great humanitarian who looks into safeguarding children in training, has supported her associations charitable work in Ghana and thrives on teaching children with physical difficulties, (something which many teachers shy away from).  I was therefore delighted when she agreed to do this interview with me and share her insights:- Read more

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Do Traditional Martial Arts Really Work Under Pressure?

This is an old chestnut that keeps going around every now and again; do traditional martial arts really work under pressure in the street?

Many people argue that they don’t, after all, we’ve all heard of a story where a black belt in whatever style ends up getting beaten up by a street fighter.  There are also lots of stories of martial artists, some even quite low grade, who have used their martial arts to successfully defend themselves.  Which story you quote depends on which side of the debate you’re on.

Now when you consider that there are literally millions of people around the world who practice martial arts, just by the law of averages there are bound to be some who are successful in defending themselves and some who are not.  So until somebody can come up with some studies and statistical data (I’m not aware of anybody doing so yet) I think we have to be careful how much we read too much into such stories. Read more

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What Are The Differences Between Karate and Tang Soo Do

As usual with any such comparisons on the differences between styles, we have to accept that all comments are generalisations as there are many styles of Karate and Tang Soo Do, so it’s impossible to make comparisons which hold true for every single style of Karate and every single style of Tang Soo Do.

Also, I have to say that although I have had influences from many different martial arts I am primarily a Karateka and have not Read more

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