Stay-at-home dad of two girls, 2.5y, and 7mo.
What style of self-defense/martial arts would you recommend for girls to protect themselves against unwanted touching and things of that nature? And what age would you recommend beginning?
Hey! Fantastic question. Self-defense at a young age can honestly be taught at home. In regards to children, their greatest strengths will never be fancy pins or flying kicks, it'll be their ability to recognize threats, their voices (screaming for help), and primal responses (biting, scratching, kicking, etc.). I believe children are ready to begin absorbing techniques at around age 8-9. Before then, I would definitely still consider martial arts, but for reasons other than self-defense. Such as confidence building, leadership training, and character development.
What do you think of teaching martial arts in public schools? What would the benefits and challenges of making some form of martial arts training mandatory for all students? And if we did what styles/schools would be most appropriate or acceptable to a broad section of the public?
I absolutely support it. I frequent the local public elementary, middle, and high-schools to speak with their students and the many positive teachings within Martial Arts.
Benefits: Students would understand how to deal with bullying. They would be more confidant in themselves to be successful in school, make friends, and become leaders (not followers). It would also encourage them to seek active hobbies. Really, the list just goes on.
Challenges: Unfortunately, a lot of parents have misconceptions about Martial Arts, such as they endorse violence. The UFC is one of the main culprits of this. They believe that since we are teaching kids how to block, strike, restrain, and defend effectively, that they will then go and hurt people as a way to show how skilled they are. The reality is actually the complete opposite; Martial Arts is all about self-discipline. I've never once had a student use their techniques (with bad intentions) on another person.
If we could implement Martial Arts into public schools, I would encourage multiple styles to be taught. I will never hate on a single Martial Art, they all have something to offer... Just depends on what you're trying to accomplish. I'd say any style that focuses on defense would be acceptable to the general public. For example, I would not implement Krav Maga. It's a style that is extremely aggressive and would not benefit school-age children.
my wife is in karate. I contend that a lot of the practice she is getting relies on her opponent cooperating with the moves and throws. I think an uncooperative person, kicking and screaming is just as an effective of a defense as a moderately trained martial artist. Would you be able to comment on this concept/philosophy?
Your wife is most likely doing a lot of Kata work. Kata are set techniques that, like you said, rely on your opponent to dish out a particular attack. This is a necessary part of building your foundation in Martial Arts. Kata help to solidify your basics, but what they don't do are test how you perform under pressure or stress. And this is where a lot of schools fail in teaching true self-defense. You could be the most skilled Martial Artist in the world... but, if you've never experienced the intensity and pressure of a real fight, your techniques aren't likely to hold up,because your body has never trained to use them in that atmosphere.
I always teach my students that self-defense is stupid simple. Stick to the basics. Because, that's what your body will resort to if you're ever caught off guard. Kicking to the groin, yelling for help, clawing at the eyes... THAT is effective. And none of those things rely on your strength. Relying on strength (especially for women) is the worst thing you can do in a fight.
Are you a good boxer and would you have an advantage in a boxing match ?
I definitely would not have an advantage in a boxing match. My forte is groundwork. A boxer's speed is what would kill me.
First off, congratulations on accomplishing something many dream of, but never do. How many years did it take to get to your level? 👍
Thank you very much! Took me about 3 years. I progressed faster than most, simply because I developed an addiction to it and was practicing everyday. But, I still have a long road ahead of me. It's all about constant self-improvement.
Did you travel to learn martial arts? If yes, what was it like? If not, would you like to and where would you want to go?
I travel all over the world. This past August I was in Japan, I had the immense honor of being invited to train alongside the Soke (Grandmaster) of a certain style. Getting to constantly meet and train with new people, who are all practicing to simply become better people, is an amazing feeling.
Similar to how yoga studios offer nude yoga - do you think a nude martial arts class could ever work or happen? Do they happen?
To answer your first question, I think it really depends on a) the art style and b) the culture of the area it is being taught. For example, I am from the US and in my area, even nude yoga is not taught, it's simply not accepted. This leads in to your second question... no, they do not happen. It would be challenging to implement nudity in a martial art that requires contact.
Respectfully: isn't taijutsu the fake Naruto martial art?
Awesome question! This is one of those misconceptions that I hear a lot. So, "taijutsu" literally just means any technique that is unarmed. It's a broad term that covers a bunch of different Japanese art styles. For example, blocking and striking is all taijutsu.