T Nation

Self Defense Bull


Any of you guys have a recommendation on a Self D system/book that isn't some over-complicated mallarky and has a name I can pronouce. Seriously, I did a few searches and there's more BS out there than there is in all of India. I've seen TFT on this site, but it looks about as over-hyped as Bruce Lee.


I attended Staley?s Boot Camp and received a DVD of Target Focus Training. I was very impressed. I have ordered an E book it was pretty good. I would like to get some other DVDs .I like the approach, I dislike the expense.


Krav maga! Keep it simple stupid.. :wink:


You're not gonna learn self-defence from a book or dvd, you need to join a martial arts class. The style is not very important, as long as people are training "alive", meaning that training should be as realistic as possible without compromising safety, there should also be plenty of sparring. I would suggest that you visit some martial arts schools in your area, and find out what you like best.


I agree. That's what makes taking a weekend TFT course appealing, although I just don't know if there's something better than it or "SCARS". There are three Krav Maga places sort of close too, although I don't like how they teach different material for officers and citizens (although I can understand why).

Adamsson: Did you go to crash course; or, do you attend some place regularly and if so, is it worthwhile time spent or just the same stuff strung out over and over again to make money?

btw, thanks alot for the replies.


You need to train regularly if you want to be able to defend yourself, you need to be able to execute the techniques without thinking, and that takes much longer than just a weekend.



Oh, and if it is described as a system then it is bullshit.


I have to say I agree with this. I was at a bar in NYC this weekend and saw a brawl. It was something to see and from what little I've seen of TFT and what lot I've seen of Krav Maga that stuff wouldn't have helped the people involved. They were beat up by bigger dudes who knew how to throw punches.
It's boxing, wrestling, BJJ, Thai....competetive sports that help you when things get nuts. 'simulating' a fight isn't going to help you be calm under fire and help your conditioning when things get real. You must compete in sports. Lose your ego, don't let some system tell you after a weekend you're a lethal killer, get beat up a little in the gym, maybe you'll win when it matters. Practice makes perfect.


So true...it is so sad to see people STILL thinking differently.


I've been getting into MMA so I might be of help on this one. The best self defense to learn is Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Pick up a book or DVD and you can learn simple arm bars, chokes, ect. Its a great self defense style and you can easily bring down a guy 4x as strong as you.

*Btw on a side note, for anyone thinking of starting MMA my tip is to stretch! After 4 hard years of lifting and not stretching too much I became really slow with my strikes and realized I needed to work on this before I got my ass handed to me in the ring!


Rex Kwon Do

"Do you think someone wants a roundhouse kick to the face wearing these bad boys....forget about it!"


You can't learn to defend yourself from a book. Period. Things happen way too fast and are way too random. Two lines of arts seem to be the best for S/D:

Combat sports: Judo, BJJ, Sambo, westling, kick-boxing, MMA. They teach you how "fight", although not necessarily self-defense. BJJ, for example, is worse than useless if the other person has a knife. The advantage is that the techniques definitely work against resisting opponents.

Martial arts/defensive tactics systems. I'd go with Systema or "hard" aiki arts (e.g. Daito-ryu), but only because they are the best I've experienced. Avoid karate/TKD and (most) modern chinese arts. If you're comfortable carrying a weapon, learn to shoot or learn knife-fighting (e.g. filipino arts)



Well insofar as competition is "simulating" a fight, actually it does help. But I totally agree with the competing in sports--a competition match, be it judo, bjj, mma, or some boxing/kickboxing type match, is as close to a real fight as you can get. Yes, there are rules, but you're also trying your techniques at full speed, full strength against someone who is both resisting you and trying to kick your ass.

And that is key to getting the skill and comfort level to pull off your techniques when you actually need them. Getting used to the big dump of adrenaline into your system during competitive sport fighting is also really important, as is learning to take that first throw to the ground and get up again, that first punch or kick, or breaking out of that submission. You don't get that through drills alone.


TFT is completely legit- it's creator Tim Larkin is a personal friend. If you think it's hyped, that might be because it's not Tim's hobby, but his profession (and lifetime passion). Can't recommend it highly enough, and this coming from someone with a 20+year martial arts background. I actually think they've got some specials going on now too...


Myself and another Staley coaching group member are going to a TFT course on June 23-25 in San Diego. I will report back with my opinion after the fact.


yeah i should have clarified. The simulated fights that some martial arts do, traditional or modern, where some guy does a lame attack and I kill him with one shot is no good. Sparring/competeing develops the attributes and that kind of practice (not a dance simulation) is definitely good. And that kind of thing can be done safely with sparring partners and have real carryover to a high adrenaline attack IMHO. So long as you both know what you're doing is what it is. There will be no rules in the street but so what.
Martial arts claim that you use this tool against this target. Shin to the balls for the street to use an overused but popular example. Well how do you land the shin to the balls? A guy who's practiced landing kicks on resisting competent opponents will have a much better chance of landing that nut shot even if he's never landed a nut shot before, cause he has the motor skills/attributes to put his foot where he wants to fast. Compare that to a guy who has his student grab him and he shin kicks the guy to the nuts but pulls it and thinks he's bad now. It is an attribute based sport.


I've seen you say this before Charles and I agree that TFT identifies vulnerable targets, gives you options and identifies tools to hit it with and has a decent psycology that a newbie might lack. But that's the easy part I think, No? It has always boggled my mind when a master or anyone tells me a vulnerable target. We all have bodies and we all know where we're vulnerable and that's where other people are vulnerable. However, my issue is with the weekend killer course and comments that MMA guys are 'just sport' and wouldn't do well in the 'street'.

We are talking about using parts of the body to hit targets. Targets which in the real world will be moving and lashing out at your targets. So 2 guys both 'know' TFT? who wins? Well assuming one guy didn't sneak up on the other I would say the one with the better attributes to put his tool in the other guys target the fastest/hardest/most accurately. Those motor skills are not developed in a weekend. I actually saw larkin on the old scars tapes too years ago and the systems look the same to me. I also don't like that they say with absolute certainty that if you hit x spot, with y amount of force the subject will do z.
you cannot always rely on that type of prediction in a fight. That just seems obvious.

To be fair I haven't seen a full TFT course just some seminar stuff from a pack I bought from you and some other clips here and there on the net. A lot of it was talk about how the street isn't a sport fight but again I just think that's obvious. So I think it identifies targets and tools, but you have to make sufficiently hard contact, accurately to those targets under tremendous pressure. That takes attributes and what I saw didn't develop those attributes. The fighting sports like thai, bjj, boxing, wrestling, even football and some other sports to an extent. Take those athletes and teach them tft and they'll be good. But they'd be good without that I believe and I would guess they'd know what body areas are vulnerable in a no rules street fight. How many guys don't know these targets? Now, how many guys have hands as fast as Roy Jones? Or can take people down like George St. Pierre or can submit people like Minotauro? Not many.


I ve taken thai kickboxing before for two years got decent at it sparred a lot. Howeve I must say when if it came to a fight most of it exept punches would go out the window there is no way in hell iam going to be thinking how to knee the guy or how to elbow him in the face in the midst of the moment.

We were also taught some wrestling and jujitsu moves those I found to be a ton more helpfull.

If you want to learn how to defend yourself learn how to punch (boxing) and wrestle/grqappling (jujitsu) and then after a year or so youd feel comfortable doing in a fight. This is all my perspective based on 4 years of martial arts (I took karate for 2 years most worthless piece of crap ever) so you are all welcome to disagree with it.


Okay, again, you can't learn fighting from a book...

That being said, check out "Anatomy of a Street Fight" by Paul Vunak. Vunak created the program that the SEALs used from around the late eighties/early nineties until present day. The DEA and several law enforcement agencies also use it. The Navy Special Warfare Division said that "while other instructors were better known, known were as dangerous as (Vunak)."

He was also just listed as one of the 20 Most Dangerous Men on the Planet (kind of a dumb article title, but gets the point across) by Black Belt Magazine.



If you are looking for a self-defense system that really works, check out Lysak's Sento Method, or iCAT. They will teach you everything from active combat (grappling, striking, street effective tactics), to cerebral self defense, postural self defense, psychological self defense, and modern weaponry.

But, although there are some good books on Sento, I would agree with the other guys who have said that you must get in and put in your time. You really can't learn how to effectively defend yourself from a book (it could make a good supplementary training aid though).


I completely agree with the effectiveness of combative sports for dealing with the "active combat" phase of a fight. But, they don't really address any of the pre-active phases. In other words, fights seldom occur like a sporting event. Most often they begin with a surprise attack, and/or some sort of verbal assault.

Therefore, one must train these "real world" components into their training. Having both fighters acknowledge that they're ready, then come out and touch gloves in a "sporting" gesture, and then step back and assume their fighting stance of choice does not accurately simulate a real combative situation. One must involve the verbal component, postural component, awareness, etc... components into their training if they hope to have the best chances of defending themselves.

Good training,