Diagram showing two versions of the ikkyō tech...Image via Wikipedia

Pat Parker here from Mokuren Dojo.

Kris has graciously agreed to let me guest post on this fabulous blog and look at the crazy article I sent him! This is the latest in a series of posts on what I'm calling "Psy-ki-do;" A set of psychological (or psychobabble) ideas on the combative arts. You can see the previous posts here on Dojo Rat's blog and here on Marks' Blog.
Today I wanted to start by suggesting it as axiomatic that if your martial art features lots of super-effective, throat-punching, neck-wrenching, arm-mangling, face-smashing techniques as your first-line response to violence, then you might be setting yourself up for some legal issues if you ever have to use your martial art to defend yourself. I've mentioned this idea before in a post about a great lecture that I heard Nimr Hassan give.
Sure, I've heard that old adage, "I'd rather be tried by twelve than carried by six," but I submit to you that if there is anyone in the world that can make you wish you were dead, it's probably a lawyer! Today's Psy-ki-do hint is intended to get you thinking about how you can learn to defend yourself against yourself.
Aikido has an advantage in this realm of self-defense. Though the techniques of aikido have the potential to break and cripple and destroy, that is not their first mode-of-use. The aikido ideal is to avoid the aggression, control the aggressor if you have to, and only injure or destroy only if the aggressor forces the issue through imprudent action. This ideal is often put into practice by evasion and simple pushes - gross motor skills that are generally thought to be easier to learn and remember under stress anyway. See, it is much easier to justify something like this:
"Yeah, this crazy guy jumped at me and I was scared to death so I got out of his way and pushed him off of me. I think he tripped and fell down when I pushed him."
... than this...
"Yeah, the guy swung a roundhouse punch at me, so I slipped it and gave him a swift hook to the ribs, bending him over and setting him up for this great neck crank my instructor showed me! Worked like a charm. Bastard really had it coming!"
And here's the cool Psy-ki-do trick: Not only is evasion and pushing effective and probably easier to defend legally, but if you train yourself to start shouting something like, "Hey! Stop! Don't hurt me! Help! Get off me!" as you start your evasion and pushing techniques, then you are sending a message to any by-standers that you are clearly the defender and not the aggressor. If you are shouting this sort of thing as you are running away and pushing the attacker off of you then it will be very hard for any witnesses to identify what you are doing as a definite martial arts technique designed to cripple or kill - even if the bad guy does happen to fall and break himself when you push him off of you.
So, two take-away points:

• Consider how you can use these two gross motor patterns (walk and push) effectively in all of your self defense techniques.

• Practice shouting for help as a way of preparing any witnesses to testify in your favor.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]


  1. Don't offer explanations.

    "Yeah, this crazy guy jumped at me and I was scared to death so I got out of his way and pushed him off of me. I think he tripped and fell down when I pushed him."

    I can hear it in your trial. "Officer, what did he say about the victim?"
    "He said "He was a crazy guy."
    "What did he do?"
    "He said that he pushed him."
    "What else did he say?"
    "I continued to question him and he admitted that he had four years of martial arts experience."

    I wonder who'll visit you on the weekends...


  2. Good point - I guess I should have added the standard disclaimer, "I'm not a lawyer, I don't play one on TV, and I didn't even sleep at holiday Inn Express last night."

    Patrick Parker

  3. Kris Wilder blogs? Who woulda thunk it? Just added him to the blogroll.

    Hmmmm. A few years ago, I wrote a review of his book on Sanchin. I guess I ought to get 'round to republishing it.

    Man of the West

  4. Here are my list of responses that I teach my students when confronted with a violent altercation.

    1. Avoidance
    2. Escape (run)
    3. Diplomacy (talk your way out of it)
    4. Engage in order to disengage
    5. Engage and neutralize

    When dealing with law enforcement, here are the things I tell my students to do ALWAYS!

    1. Be polite and respectful.
    2. Do not appear threatening to law enforcement in any way.
    3. Other than giving your name, date of birth, and possibly your social security number, KEEP YOUR PIE HOLE SHUT!!!

    NOTE TO STUDENTS: Attorney's are the ones paid to talk, you are not! Always remember your Miranda Rights guaranteed you by the U.S. Supreme Court, "You have the right to remain silent, ANYTHING you say can and WILL BE USED AGAINST YOU in a court of law.

    ADDITIONAL NOTE TO STUDENTS: If you can't understand what I am trying to tell you, remember this; KEEP YOUR F*CKING MOUTH SHUT!!! And let your attorney do all the talking.


  5. Nice addition to the Psykido series!


  6. In the self defense course we teach at my college, we go over the verbal shouts. "Stop" and "Get Back!" are the two we primarily deal with along with speaking with authority. If the person stops and back off great, if not it shows direct intent which can be used for your defense.

    The other thing we talk about is to not be afraid of the police. If something happens, get on the phone as soon as you can because it makes you the complaintant and whatever happened was done to you. The police will tend to side with whoever makes the complaint to begin with, so it helps out your situation more if you're the one doing it.

    Jeff Kelly

  7. Great conversation, all good techniques. But I think first and foremost and I believe very effective is to ensure that the aggressor knows beyond anything else that you are very able and willing to take the confrontation physical. As Clint Eastwood says "Go ahead make my day". I know I'm going to get a bunch of guff for saying so, but it is fair warning and will give the aggressor reason to pause and consider their options. Also, "Bullies" love to confront people that are not willing and usually unable to defend themselves. I have had many confrontations over the last thirty years and have never had to make it physical. Verbal persuasion is powerful!

    Jeff Pyper

  8. I agree with Jeff Pyper. The attacker must be stopped; either he stops knowing he just messed with the wrong guy or I 'stop' him completely.

    Unless we are talking about playground, college fight. When no one tends to seriouly harm/kill the other over a small matter. You can choose the level of your reasonable force.

    If we talking about facing a gangster, drug induced criminal, serial rapist, psyco...remember Predators ONLY hunt for preys weaker, and smaller than them especially. It's really not up to us to decide "oh, i should go easy on him and use aikido to avoid legal issue". Not when you are against someone who sees you as his prey of the night. In this case, I'll stick to 'tried by 12' principle.


Post a Comment