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Self Defense/Boxing & progress in study.


If modern standard boxing is learnt before other styles, would this create more problems in a beginner's progress than it solves, i.e. you have to relearn and retrain in certain movements, or disband irrelevant habits when you get into the classical or self protection oriented styles, or would it complement your progress with understanding of body mechanics please?

Sorry if this is a bit long but what are the criteria that boxing fits into in self protection and the criteria that boxing fails to meet please?

Deep thanks in advance.

Damnit, I had a long response and I hit the wrong button and it got eaten. Which is a bummer because I was going to use it else where.

Super short version.

Punching is like beer. Ever eaten Asian food and had an outstanding Asian beer? Yet when you got some later and tasted it, it was 'meh?' That's because different beers are brewed to go with certain cuisines. The food and beer compliment each other.

Punching is not generic. There is no 'right' way to punch. Different types of punches are designed to go with different body mechanics. For example, boxing and karate both have punches, but how they do it is totally different.

Changing tracks, something that pisses me off is the Filipino MA claim that a 'stick is an average weapon.' Basically they assert if you know how to use a stick you can use any weapon. Bullshit. The differences are just as important as the similarities AND the weapon dictates the body movement NOT the other way around.  

The importance of this is a lot of people who claim to be trained in multiple styles are actually only doing one set of body mechanics and sticking different handwork on it. Then calling it another system. This creates 'muddy' and ineffective power generation and flawed delivery of power.

A good image can be gained from the original Karate Kid movie where when asked "Are you ready to do karate?" the kid answers 'yeah I guess so." The instructor stops and tells him karate is like walking down the road. This side safe, that side safe. Walk in the middle and you'll get squished like a grape. Karate yes, safe. Karate no, safe. Karate I guess so and squish.

The problem isn't knowing different ways of moving. In fact, any way when done how it's supposed to be done will hit so hard you'll get a speeding ticket in Edinburgh. Doing the right handwork and body mechanics together of either boxing or karate is walking down either side of the road. Trying to combine the handwork and body mechanics of either puts you in the middle of the road (muddy and ineffective)

The problem is that boxing is a sport. It rules in a sport context. Since most martial arts systems have been turned into sports what they are actually teaching is already pre-muddied. So go ahead and learn the boxing mechanics and hand work. But when you change, find an instructor who is actually teaching martial arts body movement and application. If it looks like poorly done boxing
a- it is exactly that
b- it's no good for self-defense

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Marc MacYoung


Street self-defense, crime avoidance and personal safety


I grew up in the streets of Los Angeles in 'situational poverty.' I have dealt with criminals and violent people all my life -- both personally and professionally. I have written 15 books and 6 videos on surviving street violence. I was originally published under the name Marc Animal MacYoung. (Animal was my street name). I've taught police and military both internationally and within the US. I've lectured at universities, academies and done countless TV, radio, newspaper and magazine interviews. I'm a professional speaker on crime avoidance and personal safety. And I am an expert witness recognized by the US court system. My bio is at My abridged CV (Curriculum Vitae) is at

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