Why Most Martial Arts Don't Work

The vast majority of martial arts will not work in self defense.

Many of them were not made for self defense in the first place, most provide no education in or understanding of real violence or how to prevent it, and a very large number of them utilize training methods that do not and cannot lead to real skills. Due to unrealistic training methods, these martial arts use techniques that will not work against a fully resisting, uncooperative opponent. In addition, most styles lack realistic training with and against modern weapons. I'll explain why most martial arts don't work in self defense, and what is required for them to do so.

They're Not Made For Self Defense

A great many martial arts were never made for self defense; some purposefully, some not. Tai chi for example, was not created for self defense. Nothing in the practice remotely resembles an assault or fight. Kendo or kenjutsu trains the use of samurai swords. Tae kwan do is a sport, with very limiting rules. Although some train aikido as a self defense system, does this look like realistic self defense?

Granted, the above is an extreme example, but nevertheless real attackers do not attack like you see above, nor flip through the air at the slightest touch...or even without being touched for that matter.

Some styles that were not created for self defense, purposefully or otherwise, do have techniques that can be made to work. However, everything about these styles aside from those isolated techniques goes against the principles required to attain real self defense skills.

They Ignore Violence, Awareness, & Prevention

It's rare to find a martial art that even mentions why, where, how, and who violence happens to. Whether it's individual self defense, a domestic violence situation, or a war, a practitioner needs to understand what they're up against to effectively learn to defend against it. Prevention strategies can and should account for most self defense. They're nonexistent in most martial art training.

Ineffective Training

Very few traditional martial arts provide comprehensive, quality training methods. In many karate, tae kwan do, and kung fu schools, the primary training method is solo, prearranged forms performed in the air. This method of training alone will prepare a student for a real assault only a little better than ballet classes. Students must spend time striking and wrestling with other humans, getting hit and wrestled, and avoiding these things.

Ineffective Techniques

Largely due to poor training, most martial arts are filled with sub-optimal to horribly dangerous techniques. These include karate and kung fu style punches and blocks that leave practitioners wide open to counter strikes...

...to crazy aikido throws and wing chun complex trapping. Because most traditional martial art training is not realistic, the practitioners never realize the techniques they're learning aren't realistic either; until they actually need them.

No Emphasis On Strategy

Even with good training and techniques, strategy is essential. Most martial art schools do not promote or consider various strategies for self defense.

Lack Of Weapon Use And Defense

These days, an attacker is likely to have a weapon. The vast majority of martial art schools do not train realistic defense against modern weapons, if they train with them at all. And even fewer train practitioners to use modern weapons. Those that do, especially in the Filipino martial arts, tend to be the worst regarding realistic training and ineffective techniques. Quality weapons training must be a part of every self defense system.

Martial Arts Cults And Beyond

In addition to poor techniques, training methods, and strategies, many martial arts go far beyond in regards to guru cults and pure madness.