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Self Defense/How many is too much?


I have heard some self defense 'experts' claim that knowing too many martial art moves "freezes" the mind in a street fight scenario. Do you agree that there is relative standard of moves we should know per range (long, medium, close), and if so, what is that number? Thanks.


Sorry it took me a while to answer your question.  I'm not a martial arts expert, but I do know a lot about self-defense, so I hope I can help you.  Most martial arts are sports, with levels, belts, and competitions to move through.  They aren't necessarily wonderful for actual use on the street.  You might  want to look for training that is specifically defense-oriented.  You should be able to learn the basics in a few days or weeks, not the months or years that most martial arts require for expertise.

As to freezing in a situation where you need to defend yourself, it doesn't happen very often, and it happens more often to people who have had no training at all.  One of the things that happens to many people under the incredible stress of a real life-or-death fight is that time seems to slow down.  It might appear that everything is happening in slow motion.  If the motion is extremely slow, you can feel frozen when you aren't.  A police officer was in a gun battle, and said afterward that he froze "for a long time" before he could draw his gun.  "How long?" he was asked,  "At least 10 seconds."  The event was captured on video, so they could determine exactly how long it took him to realize his danger, draw and fire: less than one second.  One second in real time seemed like 10 to him.

So, you are not likely to be frozen, even if you feel frozen.  You can do under stress whatever you have adequately practiced, so learn a few defensive moves thoroughly and practice them whenever you can.  

I hope this helps.  Good luck and stay safe. - Lyn  

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Lyn Bates


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As a founding member and the current Vice President of AWARE (a volunteer, nonprofit organization), I have helped thousands of women learn to protect themselves from crimes ranging from minor harassment to serious assault. I am currently writing a book on safety for stalking victims. I have lectured at annual training meetings of the American Society of Law Enforcement Training, Women in Federal Law Enforcement, the International Women Police Association, the American Society of Criminology, and the American Women's Self-Defense Association. In 1997, the American Tactical Shooting Association gave me their annual Tactical Advocate Award for teaching and writing.

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