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Martial Arts, Combat Sports, Self-Defense Systems - What Do You Practice?

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MTF

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What martial arts, combat sports or self-defense systems do you practice and why?

As a teenager I practiced karate kyokushin for several years. In hindsight, it was bullshit from the perspective of self-defense but well...

A couple of years ago I practiced krav maga one-on-one with a coach. I was attracted to this self-defense system because of its focus on fast, brutal, effective self-defense. I later stopped when my coach stopped being available. I recently restarted it though I practice it rarely as my coach is too busy with his day job and other stuff.

I like krav maga as it mostly focuses on strengthening your instincts instead of using sophisticated techniques. It always assumes at least two attackers and teaches you how to protect yourself against various weapons like bats, bottles, knives and guns (though this is clearly ONLY if you can't run away at all). We worked through different scenarios including fighting in toilets, against a wall, in a crowd, etc.

What I don't like in krav maga is that it doesn't focus that much on proper stand-up fighting, let alone ground fighting. The assumption is that you defend yourself in 10 seconds (the standard MO is a nut kick and attacking the eyes or other sensitive spots) and run away. But things aren't always that simple.

For that reason, an since my krav maga coach isn't that available anymore, I decided to take up MMA (mixed martial arts).

My MMA coach is an ex-pro and makes a living teaching people how to fight, including competitive fighters. I started a couple of weeks ago and I've already improved my technique a lot.

Since it combines all different combat sports, I think it's one of the best options from the self-defense point of view (the best self-defense option is training sprints LOL). For the time being I'm still working on stand-up fighting but soon we'll also start learning how to grapple.

From the health/fitness point of view it's a great mix of conditioning, strength, power, coordination, mobility, etc. Your entire body gets a solid workout.

From the mental perspective it's also excellent as (safe) sparring is essential in this sport. It teaches you to trust your guard and stay in control as you get hit.

So, to repeat the question:

What martial arts, combat sports or self-defense systems do you practice and why?
 
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Very interested in the topic, I'll be following !

I originally started out doing BJJ. It was my first experience with martial arts and Jocko suggested in his book that it was great as a first pick. It indeed was. I love how cerebral it is too, so interesting. A few months ago, I added krav maga (my instructor is a very good boxer) and we do a bit of MMA as well. I think it's a great combination. Actually, any sort of grappling (could be wrestling...) + any sort of striking (could be muay thai, french boxing...) + krav maga sounds like a great combination to me.

With grappling you're able to take your opponent to the ground, where he is much less dangerous, especially once you pass his guard (= his legs) and neutralize him. Striking looks like a natural addition. Grappling + striking basically = MMA. And krav maga brings the vice that comes with what can happen in the street (nuts kicking, eye gouging, weapons...), so it's a great bridge from a sport with rules to real life where there is none.

Of course, whatever your skills, if possible run away first.
 

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Very interested in the topic, I'll be following !

I originally started out doing BJJ. It was my first experience with martial arts and Jocko suggested in his book that it was great as a first pick. It indeed was. I love how cerebral it is too, so interesting. A few months ago, I added krav maga (my instructor is a very good boxer) and we do a bit of MMA as well. I think it's a great combination. Actually, any sort of grappling (could be wrestling...) + any sort of striking (could be muay thai, french boxing...) + krav maga sounds like a great combination to me.

With grappling you're able to take your opponent to the ground, where he is much less dangerous, especially once you pass his guard (= his legs) and neutralize him. Striking looks like a natural addition. Grappling + striking basically = MMA. And krav maga brings the vice that comes with what can happen in the street (nuts kicking, eye gouging, weapons...), so it's a great bridge from a sport with rules to real life where there is none.

Of course, whatever your skills, if possible run away first.

Sounds like you're doing something very similar to me.

I considered BJJ as well but my MMA coach told me he can teach me grappling as his background is more in ground fighting than stand-up fighting.

One more thing that could be useful in the future would be to add some weapons training. My krav maga coach trains some kind of a discipline with bamboo sticks. I want to learn how to shoot and later possibly do some additional (serious) seminars for self-defense against common weapons.
 

Joey Murray

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Recommend MMA 100%

Aside from giving some of the best mixture of striking and grappling the conditioning you get from doing it consistently is phenomenal. And when you're fighting, it doesn't matter if you know every single technique ever taught. If you're gassed you can't do shit.
 
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I did Muay Thai for a few years. I thought about doing a few different ones such as Krav Maga and good ol' fashioned boxing. I settled on Muay Thai as Mike Miles is a Canadian champion and has trained several students who went on to dominate in the sport, and he had a gym in my city. I absolutely loved it! One of the guys who used to instruct, and who moved on to MMA is in the UFC now. Hakeem Dawodu. I used to go to most of his local fights when he was doing Muay Thai, they were epic. Spinning elbow knockouts are unreal to watch.

I was going to get back into it right before the pandemic started and Canada shut everything down, and I haven't gone back yet. I am hoping that the truckers end all the insanity in Canada and I can start doing things like that again. I miss Muay Thai. My wife would probably appreciate me going back as well, that whips you into shape pretty darn fast.
 

c23r

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Filipino Martial Arts, Arnis, Escrima, Kali whatever you may call it. It is the one with the sticks.

I wanted to try some martial arts for a long time, but initially I was too scared. Then I learned about stick fighting and FMA. My thinking was, at least you've got some distance between yourself and your opponent and a stick. So I booked a training and stuck with it.
 

Joey Murray

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Filipino Martial Arts, Arnis, Escrima, Kali whatever you may call it. It is the one with the sticks.

I wanted to try some martial arts for a long time, but initially I was too scared. Then I learned about stick fighting and FMA. My thinking was, at least you've got some distance between yourself and your opponent and a stick. So I booked a training and stuck with it.

I did Kali for a little while a long time ago. I loved it. Great for hand/eye coordination. And you don't "need" kali stick to implement it as the training would basically transfer to just about any kind of stick-like object you'd use in self defense.
 
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Aside from giving some of the best mixture of striking and grappling the conditioning you get from doing it consistently is phenomenal. And when you're fighting, it doesn't matter if you know every single technique ever taught. If you're gassed you can't do shit.

For sure. And most people vastly overestimate how much they would be able to last in a fight. Sometimes 20 seconds of a simple drill can render your arm useless lol.

I did Muay Thai for a few years. I thought about doing a few different ones such as Krav Maga and good ol' fashioned boxing. I settled on Muay Thai as Mike Miles is a Canadian champion and has trained several students who went on to dominate in the sport, and he had a gym in my city. I absolutely loved it! One of the guys who used to instruct, and who moved on to MMA is in the UFC now. Hakeem Dawodu. I used to go to most of his local fights when he was doing Muay Thai, they were epic. Spinning elbow knockouts are unreal to watch.

Yeah I heard good things about muay thai as well. My friend started doing it some time ago (he started with BJJ and wanted to learn some stand-up fighting).

Filipino Martial Arts, Arnis, Escrima, Kali whatever you may call it. It is the one with the sticks.

I wanted to try some martial arts for a long time, but initially I was too scared. Then I learned about stick fighting and FMA. My thinking was, at least you've got some distance between yourself and your opponent and a stick. So I booked a training and stuck with it.

That's probably what my krav maga coach is training. I didn't remember the name but I saw the stick and it was very similar to what I saw when I googled the name.
 

Joey Murray

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For sure. And most people vastly overestimate how much they would be able to last in a fight. Sometimes 20 seconds of a simple drill can render your arm useless lol.

For sure. I'd venture your average person with little to no training would last less than 30 seconds. Even if someone is conditioned for something else most of them I doubt last more than a minute or two.

I tell people all of the time who say they're gonna "get in shape first" to stop wasting their time and just go. Because doing the eliptical and some push ups for an hour isn't gonna prepare you for the first time you do 5 minute "go's". You just kinda gotta jump in.
 

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Muay Thai, BJJ, Wrestling, Judo, so basically MMA.

Would get some Arnis/Kali in there too for weapons training but don't have the time and finding a good teacher/logistics tricky.
 
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hobbsie

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What martial arts, combat sports or self-defense systems do you practice and why?

As a teenager I practiced karate kyokushin for several years. In hindsight, it was bullshit from the perspective of self-defense but well...

A couple of years ago I practiced krav maga one-on-one with a coach. I was attracted to this self-defense system because of its focus on fast, brutal, effective self-defense. I later stopped when my coach stopped being available. I recently restarted it though I practice it rarely as my coach is too busy with his day job and other stuff.

I like krav maga as it mostly focuses on strengthening your instincts instead of using sophisticated techniques. It always assumes at least two attackers and teaches you how to protect yourself against various weapons like bats, bottles, knives and guns (though this is clearly ONLY if you can't run away at all). We worked through different scenarios including fighting in toilets, against a wall, in a crowd, etc.

What I don't like in krav maga is that it doesn't focus that much on proper stand-up fighting, let alone ground fighting. The assumption is that you defend yourself in 10 seconds (the standard MO is a nut kick and attacking the eyes or other sensitive spots) and run away. But things aren't always that simple.

For that reason, an since my krav maga coach isn't that available anymore, I decided to take up MMA (mixed martial arts).

My MMA coach is an ex-pro and makes a living teaching people how to fight, including competitive fighters. I started a couple of weeks ago and I've already improved my technique a lot.

Since it combines all different combat sports, I think it's one of the best options from the self-defense point of view (the best self-defense option is training sprints LOL). For the time being I'm still working on stand-up fighting but soon we'll also start learning how to grapple.

From the health/fitness point of view it's a great mix of conditioning, strength, power, coordination, mobility, etc. Your entire body gets a solid workout.

From the mental perspective it's also excellent as (safe) sparring is essential in this sport. It teaches you to trust your guard and stay in control as you get hit.

So, to repeat the question:

What martial arts, combat sports or self-defense systems do you practice and why?
Never took lessons but grew up in a family of brothers and went to a catholic boys school... so scuffling and brawling was a daily experience. Looking back it seems it might have been part of the curiculum.

It just seemed normal at the time but it definitely stands to you as you get older.
 

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I wrestled for a few years in high school and do kickboxing and jiu-jitsu right now. For self defense I own a handgun which I practice with regularly. Looking into a rifle right now for home defense but I live in a relatively safe area so it's not a pressing concern. Overall I know enough to keep me and my S/O safe, so that's all that matters.
 
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most people vastly overestimate how much they would be able to last in a fight.
I remember from high school that going 2 mins wrestling was the hardest thing I had ever done. Even when cycling 100 miles; you can pace yourself.

I've done kenpo karate since that time, too, with a brief run in Shotakan karate.

Now I do kung fu with a great guy who trained in the Shoalin Temple for 15 years when a kid. If you ever have seen the old show "Kung Fu" with David Carradine, you'll know what I'm talking about. Shifu is so loving, it's not as challenging as karate was for me, but I stick with it. Besides a real Shaolin monk in St Louis... get out of here!
 

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I'll prelude by saying that eye contact, emotional control, and words have gotten me through many things where a fight was not absolutely required. I've come to consider these things as part of martial arts, in that they can end conflict, sometimes even violent conflict.

I spent several years, 6 or 7, practicing Kuntao. It was a particular Indonesian style that has things in common with Muay Thai, Chinese Chin Na, and Baguazhang (among others... and the island arts are their own thing too). We focused on movement, closing, leverage, and controlled full contact fighting. I would say 80%+ of the art is striking, the rest being takedowns and (mostly) small-joint submissions or breaks.

I've dabbled and taken workshops in some other things of interest, mostly related to Kuntao. Shaolin White Crane, 5 animals, Taijiquan, and Liu He Ba Fa... though I should emphasize I have absolutely no accomplishments in these arts. For me they are intellectual curiosity, and fascinating attack and defense strategies. They help me think about why we do things a certain way in one art or another, what the movements ultimately mean, or what they try to accomplish.

I've put in some hours practicing Qigong. Generally of the hard-soft variety (the ones that start with body conditioning). I think it's something that is underestimated, and dominated unfortunately by charlatans and circus shows. But the root of it is valid in its way, and useful.

In terms of "highly leveraged force," I grew up hunting and fishing, so I'm no stranger to guns and blades. As an adult I've done some training with people from military and special forces/ops backgrounds (not a lot, but it is valuable), which I feel improves my intuitions about what to do in uncertain situations, armed or not. I think that's one of the best measures of whether a martial art (or a philosophy and ethic of force) has value... whether you can immediately figure out what to do when surprised by overwhelming force, execute, and live to review the lesson. After all that's what happens, as likely as not. We're ambushed, or caught unprepared, pants around ankles, with limited resources at our disposal, and we're in the worst shape and under the most stress of our recent lives. That's when Hell breaks loose, and it's good that we've taken a few hits in the comfortable times :)

Commenting on the discussion about stamina... at this point I have too little to count. I would love to say I can fight all day. But if I had to box for 10 minutes straight, I would go all-or-nothing just to avoid dropping dead from exhaustion partway through :happy: Fortunately or unfortunately many conflicts, either in or out of a ring end much quicker than that. If either party is serious and armed, even with an everyday object, the conclusion is probably within 30 seconds from the start.
 

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Thanks for the interesting comment, @Rabby.

I'll prelude by saying that eye contact, emotional control, and words have gotten me through many things where a fight was not absolutely required. I've come to consider these things as part of martial arts, in that they can end conflict, sometimes even violent conflict.

Definitely. Jocko Willink says that a lot as well. Despite being a beast his choice is to run away unless grabbed and unable to escape (then I guess the attacker should prepare to die LOL).

View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7XULhEomzU8
 
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I don’t like the ones with gradings. I just did martial arts for fitness. I especially liked punching and kicking pads and bags.

I was doing Sanshou until we started catching kicks and sweeping the opponents standing leg. I didn’t want to kick someone’s standing leg and have them hit the ground. I didn’t want it done to me either.

I didn’t like putting people into locks in Kung Fu. I didn’t want to push so hard my partner winced.

Self defence wise I’m doing a bit of running and used to be a sprinter. : )

I’m happy to back away and descalate. If push comes to shove I know not to square up with hands down and chin out. Instead, my hands will be up in a non-threatening way with my phone in my right hand as a striking weapon (put your thumb on top of it and use it as a hammer), and I know the pain of a roundhouse to the leg or front kick to the gut.

Up close… cover up. Elbows and knees.

If it goes to ground I’ve no idea. Learning by wrestling with grown men on the floor doesn’t appeal.

There were a lot of big doormen at my brother’s funeral. He was only 5’7” but the owner of the company said he was only one of three who he’d trust on a door on his own. Not because he could handle himself (which he could), but because he laughed and joked with everyone.
 

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I don’t like the ones with gradings. I just did martial arts for fitness. I especially liked punching and kicking pads and bags.

I don't like the grade system either. Makes people focus on the grades instead of the practice.

If it goes to ground I’ve no idea. Learning by wrestling with on the floor with grown men doesn’t appeal.

Ground fighting doesn't appeal to me much, either but I feel it's something I need to practice to be more well-rounded. Also, a capable grappler can quickly de-escalate a situation without much damage.

Other than that, I definitely agree that it's better to rely on your smarts whenever you can. Just by not going out at night you're avoiding like 99% of problems lol.
 
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I went to a couple of Krav Maga classes when I was 15. Personally, I think a lot of it is bs.

I have been doing MMA since the start of November and I am enjoying it a lot. Excellent for fitness.

I think fight experience is very important and knowing you can handle yourself in full contact as opposed to some of these martial arts were you just drill with a partner that isnt putting up much resistance won't do much to help you if you're in a serious scenario.

When I leave the UKSSR, I intend on practicing the Art of Concealed Carryate.
 

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I went to a couple of Krav Maga classes when I was 15. Personally, I think a lot of it is bs.

I agree with that. Some scenarios assume opponents that are way too passive.

I have been doing MMA since the start of November and I am enjoying it a lot. Excellent for fitness.

I mostly do it for fitness. If it didn't help my fitness, I don't think I'd do it with so much enthusiasm.

I think fight experience is very important and knowing you can handle yourself in full contact as opposed to some of these martial arts were you just drill with a partner that isnt putting up much resistance won't do much to help you if you're in a serious scenario.

100%.

Reminds me of this video on knife self-defense lies and how a fight with an opponent having a knife really looks like:

View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z7ij2SgIvIs


Ruger LCP II .380

How does this protect you if a thug throws you onto the ground? Or if they sucker punch you and you haven't developed an instinct to raise your hands in time?
 
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Reminds me of this video on knife self-defense lies and how a fight with an opponent having a knife really looks like:
This guy knows what he's talking about. I see his school is in Mexico City...might have to go check it out!

When I was a teenager, I trained a few years of Hung Ga Kung Fu. It was mostly one-on-one with my instructor on a wooden school gym style floor (which he loved throwing me onto). His instructor not only taught him the traditional forms, but kickboxing as well. My instructor had a 75 win 2 loss record in his career. In his time with the Canadian Forces, he was their instructor for advanced hand-to-hand combat. After he had a mastery of Kung Fu, he spent some time learning Ninjutsu of which he showed me a few techniques (my favourite classes). Now I remember he always made me exercise without making too much of a sound on landing to train for moving silently.

The time was split between the forms as well as real life self-defense scenarios, which as others have pointed out the best advice is always run away. You never know who has what weapon or how many buddies they have around the corner. I also went to his personal training class at 530 AM Mon-Fri.

He also taught me a lot about pain. Some of the Chin Na joint locks are excruciatingly painful as I'm sure @Rabby knows. I was almost always the demo body for the techniques and he never went easy on me. Those were great times. I learned a lot from him; about life and philosophy as well.

I moved onto MMA after that at a popular local gym. My boss at work at the time was one of the coaches. We trained 6 days a week twice a day. Now that I look back on it no wonder I got injured lol. The head coach was a prison guard and a former Pride & K1 pro fighter. He took on a fight with Buakaw Banchamek with only a couple WEEKS notice. He didn't win, but man, that takes balls; that man fears nothing.

I trained in the morning classes with all the pros and learned a lot quickly. It was such a cool environment. I remember when Bibiano Fernandes came in to train with us one morning as the head coach was training him for an upcoming fight in Japan for DREAM. One of the amateur guys that was close to his size had to go in the ring with him and was shitting his pants hahahaha. I've NEVER seen someone move that fast. Bibiano was like lightning.

Recently I found a great coach for Muay Thai, but he's been out with a shoulder injury. I'm going to get back with him ASAP. I miss hitting the heavy bag.

As a self-defense philosophy, I'd say the best martial art to practice is one that doesn't just do forms, but also sparring. As others have mentioned, if you're gassed, you're finished. You can't go wrong with kickboxing as I'd say the vast majority of people aren't expecting a kick to come their way, and if you re-adjust someone's knee sideways they won't be chasing after you. It teaches the proper foot movement, keeping your hands up, and Muay Thai throws in the clinch, knees, and elbows as well. At some point I'd like to get back into grappling. However, I feel that's one of the last things you want to do in a street fight. Pretty easy for their thug buddy to come up and stab you if you're rolling around on the ground.

Like @Rabby also said, talk your way out if possible. Exhaust all other options before violence, including running away.

Great thread, brought up some awesome memories. When I have kids they're for sure going into martial arts.
 

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What martial arts, combat sports or self-defense systems do you practice and why?

As a teenager I practiced karate kyokushin for several years. In hindsight, it was bullshit from the perspective of self-defense but well...

A couple of years ago I practiced krav maga one-on-one with a coach. I was attracted to this self-defense system because of its focus on fast, brutal, effective self-defense. I later stopped when my coach stopped being available. I recently restarted it though I practice it rarely as my coach is too busy with his day job and other stuff.

I like krav maga as it mostly focuses on strengthening your instincts instead of using sophisticated techniques. It always assumes at least two attackers and teaches you how to protect yourself against various weapons like bats, bottles, knives and guns (though this is clearly ONLY if you can't run away at all). We worked through different scenarios including fighting in toilets, against a wall, in a crowd, etc.

What I don't like in krav maga is that it doesn't focus that much on proper stand-up fighting, let alone ground fighting. The assumption is that you defend yourself in 10 seconds (the standard MO is a nut kick and attacking the eyes or other sensitive spots) and run away. But things aren't always that simple.

For that reason, an since my krav maga coach isn't that available anymore, I decided to take up MMA (mixed martial arts).

My MMA coach is an ex-pro and makes a living teaching people how to fight, including competitive fighters. I started a couple of weeks ago and I've already improved my technique a lot.

Since it combines all different combat sports, I think it's one of the best options from the self-defense point of view (the best self-defense option is training sprints LOL). For the time being I'm still working on stand-up fighting but soon we'll also start learning how to grapple.

From the health/fitness point of view it's a great mix of conditioning, strength, power, coordination, mobility, etc. Your entire body gets a solid workout.

From the mental perspective it's also excellent as (safe) sparring is essential in this sport. It teaches you to trust your guard and stay in control as you get hit.

So, to repeat the question:

What martial arts, combat sports or self-defense systems do you practice and why?


I practice Brazilian Jiu Jitsu for several reasons:

1. As far as cardiovascular fitness goes, other forms of cardio are extremely boring and I can't be consistent with it. BJJ is very cardio intensive, you have to use your brain, and it is one of the funnest things to ever do, without getting punched in the head and causing brain damage. If you train smart you can do it right past your 60s.

2. It's one of the most effective forms of Martial Arts for self defense.
 

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This guy knows what he's talking about. I see his school is in Mexico City...might have to go check it out!

That's cool. Let us know if you decide to check him out.

I moved onto MMA after that at a popular local gym. My boss at work at the time was one of the coaches. We trained 6 days a week twice a day. Now that I look back on it no wonder I got injured lol.

Damn that's serious intensity. What was the injury and how long did it take to recover from it?

I practice Brazilian Jiu Jitsu for several reasons:

1. As far as cardiovascular fitness goes, other forms of cardio are extremely boring and I can't be consistent with it. BJJ is very cardio intensive, you have to use your brain, and it is one of the funnest things to ever do, without getting punched in the head and causing brain damage. If you train smart you can do it right past your 60s.

2. It's one of the most effective forms of Martial Arts for self defense.

Any reason why specifically BJJ and not another form of grappling?
 

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Interesting video on preventing a street fight through your body language:

View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eKApnjhax_k
That’s what I meant by having your hands up disarmingly. It looks like you’re gesticulating but your hands are ready to block. One foot back and center line not exposed.

You often see people squaring up in each other’s face with hands by their sides. I don’t know what they’re thinking.

Loved that wee video. He kicked his a$$ without throwing a punch.

I also like that he suggested going to a boxing gym. Ha… I tried going to one years ago but they said I was too old for their gym.
 

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I also like that he suggested going to a boxing gym. Ha… I tried going to one years ago but they said I was too old for their gym.

That's so stupid. I guess you wouldn't want to go to such a gym anyway.
 
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Cool_Llama

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BOXING.
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In a real life self-defense scenario, obviously you'll want to evade or avoid situations that put you in there in the first place, like not hanging around bad places or bad people. But if it gets down to it, I really think that boxing is the the best. With martial arts like BJJ, most likely you will end up in the ground, and you don't want to end up in the ground do to the possibility of multiple-attackers, then they'll be stomping the crap out of you. You really want distance and boxing is great at that.
 

Jacques141

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I practice Aikido, but not so much for the self defense side of things. More for the discipline, physical fitness (I also go to the gym for that) and the spiritual side of things. Although people think Aikido is useless in a fight, you can really control the opponent in a way so they wont be able to attack again. It's used by many police departments all around the world to incapacitate and arrest people that resist or attack them.

I really like it because it's highly technical, gives you awesome reflexes and controls your opponent without really hurting them, all the while being graceful and looking cool doing it. ;)
 

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