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Jiu-jitsu News Archive: Spring, 2004

Self Defense Made Easy

While training in Brazilian Jiu-jitsu classes, I would often wonder why there were very few women and children enrolled. Realistic Martial Arts like Brazilian Jiu-jitsu were perfect for women's self-defense, but training was both time consuming and physically intense. Learning the realities of combat in systems like these required facing the realities of fighting which often times causes serious injury. It was ironic to me that most students enrolled were healthy and strong before enrolling and that high levels of strength and fitness were required to maintain interest without becoming injured. The chances of these people with healthy appearances being attacked were very low and the people who really needed to be learning it simply couldn't handle the training. In almost ten years of operating a Brazilian Jiu-jitsu academy, I tried every possible form of marketing in order to attract women to my program. The response was always the same: the practice of Brazilian Jiu-jitsu was "too rough"; it was almost a curse that every time a female would watch my class, someone would become injured. It became increasingly frustrating to me that an art designed as the 'Ultimate' form of Self-Defense was being consumed by its sport practice. We would spend large portions of class times doing strenuous exercise which were designed to increase endurance for competition, but had nothing to do with an altercation in real life that typically lasts less than one minute. The term, 'jiu-jitsu' means 'gentle art' implying that no strength is required to employ the techniques of the art; the practice of Brazilian Jiu-jitsu is often contrary to the principle. The pursuit of medals and trophies by people who were hardly in need of Self-Defense training had almost completely overshadowed the original purpose of the art. In fact, due to such a strong emphasis on sport, many high-ranking practitioners of Brazilian Jiu-jitsu do not know how to stop a simple punch. Through years of training, I gained 50 lbs of muscle, but I have never forgotten the reason I started training as a weak 140 lb. person; I began to look for a way to bring all the valuable techniques to those who really needed them. The McDojos had watered down their programs to ineffectiveness in order to capture an audience of women and children and the most effective martial arts were either almost completely sportive in their practice or too rough for the average person to learn; this DVD is my answer to that problem.

Keep it simple, stupid!

Many students looking for an instructional guide are under the impression that the more techniques they learn, the better off they are; adhering to this philosophy will get you nowhere. It is impossible to master all of the moves of a martial art. You will find that most great champions of any martial art do not use more than a few techniques to achieve their victories. It is important to observe this and imitate it in your own practice in order to achieve success, whether it be on the street or in the ring. Adding to this problem in a Self Defense situation are uncertain elements, making reaction time, clear judgment and the ability to call up techniques from memory difficult; this is also true in a mixed martial arts fight where you have the addition of strikes and subtraction of rules, which is not a consideration in a sport Jiu-jitsu match. The slipperiness of your opponent and lack of gi for leverage will also reduce the amount of techniques that you can use effectively. These additional stresses make it extremely important for you to find a smaller number of techniques that will cover a broader range situations, allowing you to be a master of something, instead of becoming a jack of all trades.

The first step in doing this is a process of elimination; I have tried only to include 'High Percentage Moves': these are moves that usually work when performed properly, that require little flexibility and are seen being used most of the time to win fights. If I have seen a certain technique work one hundred times and another only once or twice, I will spend less time working on that move because it is less likely to work when I need it and by concentrating too much time on it (the 'lower percentage move'), I will reduce my ability to use the technique that is more likely to work.

This general philosophy results in a smaller collection of techniques that I promise will work when you need them if practiced and performed properly.
Samples from the DVD Streaming Video

An age-old concept applied to Self-Defense: Less is more.

Self Defense Made Easy teaches one set of moves for all levels of altercation. Some arts call for different moves to be employed to defend against the same attack depending on the severity of each situation, or do not include a technique for a situation that might not require lethal force. There are many 'sport' martial arts that require you to learn one move for a sportive situation and another move to defend against the same attack in a non-sportive situation; this doubles the amount of moves you are required to learn, doubling the length of time it takes to become proficient. On the other hand, there are styles of martial arts that have no sportive outlet. Because these arts have no sportive outlet for practice, they are impossible to learn safely and do not teach techniques that can be used without legal repercussion or in everyday situations for law-abiding citizens; for example: when breaking up a fight between two friends, you would not want to eye gouge them. In Self Defense Made Easy, each situation is designated one move that will be appropriate for any degree of altercation, which will reduce the amount of techniques a student must learn and eliminate the need for time-consuming decision making at times of great stress. Besides learning one set of moves for all situations (sportive, deadly, non-lethal, domestic and workplace) in a 'less is more' methodology, this newly developed 'common denominator method' employs one defensive movement that will work against a larger number of offensive movements. This method reduces the amount of moves a student needs to learn so that a higher level of proficiency can be developed for each move in less time than it takes to learn one defensive move for each offense applied by your opponent. This reduction of unnecessary techniques is a way to get rid of the 'dead-wood' in martial arts that represents an obstacle to the efficient learning of realistic self-defense for the average person. These combined principles will allow each student to learn twenty moves at one hundred percent effectiveness instead of one hundred moves at twenty percent.

Some moves work less of the time due to a few factors:

  • Techniques that require a high level of physical attributes such as size, strength, speed dexterity or flexibility. All of these things take time to develop and/or learn AND are reliant on your opponent's lack of them (the above listed traits).
  • Techniques that are not basic movements - a student must learn a large number of foundation (fundamental) movements before these can be performed.
  • Are designed with sport specific intentions - were developed to work against very specific techniques within a particular style or possibly sportive situation, which will not happen in every day life. Many martial arts are 'sport arts' and focus on techniques that are designed to acquire points in competition and are not relevant in self-defense situations. For example: Judo is a sport art in which punching techniques are not allowed, therefore, many of the techniques of Judo ignore the possibility of being struck. These sport-specific techniques are not included in Self Defense Made Easy, leaving the student with fewer techniques to learn.
  • No gender specific moves such as groin attacks have been included.
  • No moves that may be ineffective due to protective clothing or equipment: your opponent may be wearing a cup, eyeglasses (prevents many attacks to the eyes), steel toe shoes and/or heavy clothing.
  • Techniques that may not work due to an opponent's high pain tolerance due to drugs, alcohol, or 'toughness'.
By eliminating all of these techniques, you are left with fewer moves to learn, allowing you to master the system easily. All techniques in Self Defense Made Easy are easily performed by anyone of any strength and size and must be effective in all situations (medium level to severe) - can be used both in the workplace and for 'street' situations - Instead of having to learn a separate set of techniques for each, which many systems do and as a result, takes more time to learn - reducing the learner's proficiency at each move. Self Defense Made Easy uses only techniques that are scientifically proven to work and based on the principles of leverage and body mechanics, not pain tolerance and athleticism.

Through years of training in several different styles of martial arts, I have managed to gather a set of techniques that are both easy to learn and highly effective. I've used my own academy as a laboratory to test these techniques over the years and this program is the result. I hope that both you and your families can benefit from its proven effectiveness as many of my students have in their everyday lives both on the street as police officers and civilians and in the workplace as professional bouncers and workers alike.

The Physical Application of Philosophy

Here is a very basic example of the common denominator method in action:

This sample from Self Defense Made Easy shows a defense against every lose grab that can be performed on you from behind. Many styles of martial arts will teach a different move depending on the attacker's hold (arm position), which leaves the students with several moves to learn, making it impossible for the average person to memorize without daily practice, making it useless as effective self defense. Other styles will teach simple solutions that don't always work: like grabbing the groin, head-butting, or stomping on the feet what is your opponent is female, much taller than you, or wearing steel-toe boots? Well, anyway instead of concentrating on the negative, let's get the job done and come up with some solutions - here is mine:

My opponent is grabbing me from behind - it could be any grab. The first move I make is to squat down, widening my base and making myself heavier & harder to lift.

*Side note: if your opponent tries to lift you before you can do this, simply 'hook' your foot around the outside of your opponent's leg. Once you squat, pick a side and step out so that you can see one of his legs between yours.

Step Around behind your opponent. You can check the leg with your hand to stop your opponent's movement temporarily, but if you forget, it won't be a problem.
Fall Down. The leg you placed behind your opponent will 'trip' him as your bodyweight pulls him down. This move is effective regardless of size difference. There is no fear of getting hurt by landing on the floor due to the fact that you land on top of your opponent. This move will often 'take the wind' out of your opponent, especially on hard surfaces.
Once you land, you should base your far leg away for balance and control, but it is usually best for defensive purposes to get up and flee (a move discussed on the DVD).

From here, the DVD will teach you how to stand up and flee or finish your opponent on the ground. This move is also used for certain situations on the ground, removing many of the separations between groundwork and stand up fighting.

This is an example of how the previous move is used not only to defend against a large number of attacks from just one position, but how it can be used in an entirely new position, taking the common denominator method to a whole new level and making self defense even easier to learn.

Let's say that while my opponent was behind me, we fell to the ground or he pushed me forward. I am now on all fours on the floor and my opponent is on top of me. The solution is the same: Step out
Step Around
Fall Down - or in this case, roll away, but the movement is practically the same
...and leaves you in the same position as before.

Of course, it isn't my intention to publish an entire book here in the web; this is just a small sample of my philosophy in practice. The DVD contains moves for both Defensive and Restraining techniques, making it perfect for Law Enforcement officers looking for an easy to remember system during times of great stress.

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