2700 B E. Aurora Rd., Twinsburg, Ohio 44087

Self-Defense versus Martial Arts

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Most people use the terms Martial Arts and Self-Defense interchangeably.  But there is a difference between pure martial art training and self-defense training.  Knowing the difference when you’re considering one or the other will insure you find the right class, program, and school for you.


It is true that martial training down through history originally was created to defend oneself in combat.  Virtually every culture has its own system of combat skills that can be considered a martial art.  Through disciplined practice these skills were honed into the art forms we know today as martial arts.  Some of these systems are practiced for the sheer artistry of the movement like T’ai Chi.  Many of these martial arts are often performed in competition.


One can learn self-defense using the skills and techniques of martial arts.  But pure self-defense training need not be done at your local martial art school.  You can learn to shoot a gun for example.  Pure self-defense training is all about learning the physical skills, strategies, and tactics of personal combat against another person or group of people.


Most martial art schools advertise they teach self-defense.  You’ll learn the basic skills of blocking, striking, kicking, and grappling.  You might test your abilities in competition and declare yourself self-defense ready after sparring and winning against a few fellow competitors or after achieving rank.  But there is a distinct difference between fighting in any kind of organized competition and fighting for your life on the street!


In my humble opinion, real self-defense training prepares you for the street.  What’s the difference between competition and street?  All organized fighting competitions have rules.  Rules designed to protect opponents from severe injury.  On the street there are no rules.  Your goal is to injure your attacker enough to escape.  The only rule is to do what you must to insure you escape safely.


Don’t get me wrong.  I have great respect for the full contact competition fighters.  There are some tough guys and gals out there!  But I wonder how they would fair against a savvy street fighter who is not hindered by any rules.


I started my martial art career learning a self-defense system called Minna Jiu-Jitsu.  Our founder and Master Frank F. Kovacs was always very clear about the difference between the art and the self-defense.  His sole goal was to prepare us for the street.  Over the years, as my love for martial arts grew, I branched out into the artform as well.  I truly appreciate the deep knowledge of body, mind, and spirit that decades of immersive training have given me.  But my roots will always be pure self-defense.


Our three Academy of Self-Defense schools in Akron, Twinsburg, and Mayfield Heights keep the tradition of Master Kovacs alive by teaching real street-proven self-defense to our child, teen, and adult students.  Ninety percent of our curriculum presents real, street proven self-defense with fellow students attacking their partners and the partners performing the day’s lesson.  We make the attack scenarios as close to real street conditions as possible.  As you might expect, our child and adult self-defense curriculums are somewhat different.  We don’t teach children techniques that would severely damage another child.  Our adults, on the other hand, are taught how to stop an attack quickly introducing as much and as many damaging blows as is necessary to escape.


Though our schools are self-defense oriented, we do offer our students the opportunity to compete in forms, weapons, sparring, and self-defense techniques.  Our competitors enjoy the interaction with other NE Ohio martial art schools making friends with like-minded students of martial arts.


If you’re shopping for a self-defense class or long-term martial art training the Academy of Self-Defense might be what you’re looking for.  Give us a call to book your first lesson.


Call Master Tim in Twinsburg (330) 237-9594

Call Master “C” in Akron (330) 814-5058

Call Soke Steve or Master Dan in Mayfield Heights (440) 409-6954

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