Do Your Techniques

Have An “Expiration

Date” ?

VERY seriously, a large number of so-called “self-defense” techniques have what can only be described as an “expiration date” or a “shelf life”. These are not necessarily all “bad” or “useless” or “completely impractical” techniques (although many are, for real world self-defense). Rather, they are techniques that depend upon you being . . .

• Reasonably young (say, no older

than perhaps 40 or 45, at the


• In good condition because you are

in regular training and competition

The techniques that we are referring to are, for example, high, spinning, or jump type kicks; clenched fist punching; fancy footwork; advanced throwing techniques; complex holds. Some who are enthusiastic competition fighters are quite good at the application of these skills ––– for the time being. So long as they are in daily, hard training, competing regularly, and being scrupulously attentive to fitness conditioning in addition to their technical practice and competition, they just may be able to apply their fairly elaborate fighting skills outside the arena of competition and in the street, against a real violent attacker.

But the accumulation of injuries from a competitive fighting career, and the onset of middle and then senior age will inevitably make the combat application of these skills (even if they can still do them in training, in the gym) useless to the sport fighter for practical use. The agility, viciousness, strength, speed of movement, street combat experience, and psychopathic meanness that typify the really dangerous violent types that infest our cities will trump competition actions, once the competitor is in his 40’s. (Are there exceptions to this? Probably. But it is foolish, if you are concerned about self-defense, to hope that you will be one of the exceptions. There’s too much riding on such a gamble. And besides . . . there is a body of war-proven close combat and defense doctrine that can be relied upon for a lifetime. So why not go with that, in the first place!)

Real self-defense and close combat art is a weapon. It has nothing to do with sport or with competition of any kind. And to even spend some time on questionable skills (i.e. competition stuff) when you are in your prime ––– if real combat ability is what you’re after ––– is a foolish waste. Would you purchase a handgun when in your 20’s that would lose its effectiveness and reliability when you reach the age of 45 or 50? Of course not! A firearm is a lifetime weapon; and if it came with a shelf life, it would be a worthless piece of junk! Hell  . . .  good firearms are passed on generationally, and if you purchase a quality sidearm your grandson will be able to use it for defense of himself and his family literally 100 years from now.

Combat and self-defense skills must of course be acquired individually by each person who wishes to possess them, so the analogy with firearms is not perfect. But anyone with something higher than a room temperature I.Q. should see the irrefutable logic here. If self-defense and close combat is your purpose when you undertake the study of martial arts, then go with that which is intended for that purpose, right from day one.