Is Martial Arts and Self Defense Same

More often than not, people confuse self defense with martial arts. For a practising martial artist, then there is no need to worry in the street right? This is surely a recipe for disaster.

Martial Arts as the word suggests, means fighting arts, which are structured around different ways and traditions human beings have fought against each other over centuries. It is practised for varied reasons, such as mental and spiritual development, health benefits, entertainment and local cultural heritage and for self defense. Only when it’s structured, can it be taught formally and thereafter knowledge is passed around further. It is while structuring, rules take over – how to strike, where to strike, opponents who match in skill, physiology, etc. Thereby one is restrained from going overboard and causing grievous injury to the opponent.

How one wished the streets were like rings with referees, seconds to back and loads of onlookers to applaud. Onlookers there will be, but instead of cheering, they would be witnessing a no holds barred contest where both sides intent to injure, maim or even kill each other. This is where Self Defense comes into play.

By definition, self defense means defending the health and well being of oneself from harm. It comes with the sole objective of firstly, not getting into or avoiding a dangerous situation and if that fails equip one to come out unscathed. Fundamentally it means not following any rule. In fact, there won’t be any rule at all!!

Actually, this is where, martial arts and self defense diverge. Yes, it’s true that most of the martial arts consist of some or the other self defense techniques in their arsenal. However, genuine self defense course is modelled after real life situations or bring the techniques as close at least.

While most of the martial arts have adopted a sportive nature, it would be improper to rule martial arts completely as unsuitable for self defense. It definitely gives a strong foundation based on few techniques and may bring closer to fighting, but it is still not an actual fight. Learning how to fight back and learning martial arts are distinct from each other.

Street fights always offer unconventional ways of fighting and offenders have been known to target and pick victims who are weak and least likely to retaliate. Hence self defense is always practiced under pressure and real life situations with element of surprise thrown in between.


One thought on “Is Martial Arts and Self Defense Same

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