By Instructor Ma
What type of martial art can I learn for street effective self-defense?
By Instructor Ma
Answer: Hapkido Teaches Street Effective Self-Defense
Over the years I have studied under Hapkido Masters and Police Instructors. I have personal real-world experience having to defend myself against a few violent attackers. This gives me insight to what is necessary for real world self-protection and survival. Hapkido has been field and battle tested and that is why it is popular with police departments and special military units around the world.
From my training and personal experience here’s what I can tell you:
First. Get a weapon to carry but also get properly trained on how to use it and practice getting it out in a hurry. If you can’t deploy your weapon fast enough it is useless.
Getting a gun, knife, or pepper spray will not solve your problem. Pepper spray is almost useless because it doesn’t incapacitate an attacker. I know this for a fact, because I watched my instructor get sprayed in the face and continue to fight at an event for law enforcement trainers. In videos I have seen that some people simply aren’t affected, others are too drunk or high on drugs, and most will still be able to fight anyway. Guns aren’t the answer either. If the person is already close to you, have a weapon already out, or the fight is on the gun cannot be deployed fast enough to save you. Most violent criminal acts are executed ambush style, which immediately places you in the danger zone if you didn’t see it coming and greatly reduces your chances of surviving. Retention is also an issue. In any given year, of the total number of police officers shot in the line of duty, roughly 60% of the time it is with their own weapon. Having your gun taken and used on you is a strong possibility, even if you are trained. Same goes for a knife (to a slightly lesser extent but can be equally as deadly). Let’s not forget that part of self-defense includes taking actions that can be legally defended. Which will be difficult to do if you use a weapon against an unarmed person.
Second. You may hear that a lot of people say that boxing is a great form of self-defense. Boxing is a sport, and the techniques are taught as such. Yes, you learn some good footwork and how to throw a decent punch, which do help, but boxing is in no way intended to protect you in real life. I can also point out faults with every other sports style suggested; however, each style can contribute to your benefit as well so they cannot be completely disregarded. The important this is finding an instructor who can teach you what works and what is practical and applicable in the real world. That is why I personally suggest traditional Hapkido.
If you really want to protect yourself, find somewhere that ONLY focuses on self-protection and does not treat it as an “on the side.” You will fight how you train and if you only train sparingly for real life, it won’t be there when you need it. Also, and most importantly, wherever you decide to train, make sure they are teaching you AWARENESS. It is a big part of Hapkido training and is an important skill to have. That is lesson number one and goes with every lesson after. Awareness is what really saves your life. Know the current crime trends and the tricks criminals are using. Know how to act in public and what to look for and avoid so that you don’t make yourself a desirable target for a potential attacker. Criminals look for targets they think will be easy. If you learn all this and add some techniques to bail yourself out of a situation, you will be fine. If your awareness is exceptional, chances are you will hopefully never even have to worry about fighting (but it’s good to know how, just in case).
About the author: Xiao Ma is a 3rd Degree Black Belt in the Korean self-defense art of Hapkido and a 2nd Dan in Traditional Taekwondo. She is a professional sports and fitness model and full time Nursing student. She is the Language, Culture and Leadership Development Teacher for the American Dragon Korean Martial Arts Academies and can be reached at www.AmericanDragonKoreanMartialArts.com