Friday, October 16, 2009

Which Martial Art is Best for Me?

I get asked this now and again, and on the heels of the politics-in-the-arts post, a kind of answer.

If you go to the doctor and say, "Doc, I have a pain." chances are unless she is a Doctor Feelgood, she isn't going to say, "No problem." then give you a prescription for a painkiller based on that alone.

Differential diagnosis starts in the leaves, works its way down the small twigs and branches to the larger limbs, to the trunk and then the roots. With each response to a question, the doctor narrows the possibilities until she comes to the one she thinks is most likely the cause of your pain. Then she treats the cause, if that is possible, and not just the symptom. Sometimes she can't because the disease isn't curable, but at least she doesn't make it worse by giving you the wrong meds.

To decide on a martial art, you have to ask yourself questions. I'll frame them for you:

The first and most important question is, why do you want to learn a martial art? Self-defense? Sport? Physical, mental, or spiritual development? Social interaction? Because some arts are better at some things than others, and one size doesn't fit all.

Forty or fifty years ago, your choices were limited to a handful, and you took what you could find and made the best of it. These days, there are myriad roads to choose, and you need a map.

Start with what you want:

If you want to compete in sport, win a gold medal in the Olympics, then that narrows your choices. Judo works, taekwondo, fencing, target shooting ...

If you want self-defense, how much of your time and money and energy do you want to spend to get it? What level of defense do you feel you want or need?

Dealing with the drunk in the neighborhood pub is not the same as kicking in doors in Afghanistan waving an M4.

Martial arts, at least in the context I'm going to speak about, can be roughly broken up into wrestling or boxing; combinations thereof; and assorted weapons not limited to one's own body.

Many arts offer bits and pieces of all these, some specialize. Kyudo lets you shoot arrows; Iaido or Iaijutsu, you get to play with swords. Gun-fu needs boomware. It depends on what you want. Some can be stretched farther than others.

This is not to say that, come the burglar, you couldn't nail the guy down the hall with your longbow. It's just that the modern version of kyudo isn't really designed for that. The emphasis has been put on the spiritual. Would I want to find myself facing a kendo or iaido expert with a sword in his hands? Nope. Man who has spent time swinging long and sharp pointy things probably has the edge over one who hasn't. Especially one who likes the cutting tests.

Some arts are simple, brutal, right to the point; others graceful and beautiful to watch. Krav maga will serve you in a dust-up, and so will the combat versions of tai chi. A boxer can make do. A wrestler can, too. Which is better at the self-defense aspect? Let them argue that out.

Once you decide why you want to roll around or punch things, then you can start winnowing the possibilities. Aikido is a fun art, but if you hate tumbling, don't go there, because you have to learn how to dive and hit the ground, roll like an egg end over end and come up unharmed.

If you don't want to get into a ring in Speedos and go at it hammer and tongs at another guy who is fit, strong, and trying to take your head off, maybe MMA isn't the way to go.

If knives terrify you and you can't bring yourself to touch one outside the kitchen, then maybe you won't like the SE Asian stuff, silat, kali, arnis, etc.

Couldn't see yourself ever shooting somebody? Don't get a gun.

Every art has strengths and drawbacks and no single one can cover every contingency all the time. It's a numbers game, and you have to decide how you want to parse the chances that what you want or need will give you what you want. (And, yes, realize that there are no guarantees in life no matter what you pick ...)

So you ask yourself those journalism questions staring with the why. Then you get into the what, when, where, who, and how aspects. Once you've addressed those, using the filters you bring to the question, then you can make an informed selection.


AF1 said...

The cool thing is that if you can handle yourself going "hammer and tongs at another guy who is fit, strong, and trying to take your head off" then you can probably handle anybody else, too.

Unarmed that is.

Once weapons come into the picture then you would need more than MMA.

Dan Moran said...

Pure general purpose bang for the buck, to use a phrase, nothing beats a gun. Even the possibility of a gun is enough to change the calculus in a lot of situations.

The martial arts as sports, exercise, etc., I got no problem with any of that. As a way to toughen up kids, ditto -- two of my sons are studying Wado Ryu karate right now. But attitude is probably the most important piece....

A few months ago Richard and Connor and I were going out to dinner together -- something we hardly ever get to do, too many other kids in the family. So we went out late, about 9:30, to an upscale joint in Riverside (as upscale as Riverside gets, anyway) ... parked half a block from the restaurant and took a short cut through an alleyway to get to the restaurant.

Dark, hot night, alleyway was a little grimy ... Connor, who's 7, said, "This is sure a scary alley."

"It is," I agreed. "And you know why that is? Because we're in it."

Connor's quoted that line a dozen times since. Clearly it was one of those light bulb moments for him: with a little work and size, you can be the scary thing in the night ....

There are worse lessons.

Steve Perry said...

AF1 --

Or multiple opponents. If you practice against one all the time, two or three present a dilemma. Good MMA guys have a stand-up and a ground game, but multiples tend to make the ground stuff less useful.

Doesn't help if while you are choking out one guy his buddy fetches a barstool to lay into you ...

Steve Perry said...

Yo, Dan --

I'm good with the notion of guns being useful tools, but the limits come down to an either-or choice, and sometimes more than you can justify.

Pulling your piece and waving it might be enough to scare somebody off, but if you pull it, you have to be prepared to use it, right then. If the bad guy keeps coming and you don't pull the trigger, he can take it away from you, and in such a case, you are better off not having it -- that's one less tool he has to use on you.

If you shoot somebody, he might not die, but you have to be prepared for that outcome. And gone or just wounded. that brings up the legal stick: The only way to justify lethal force is self defense of a degree that you -- or the jury -- believe that fire in the hole was the only option.

You don't shoot to kill but to stop, and stop sometimes means dead, on account of where you have to put the bullet to do that.

There aren't many graduations of force with guns. Even if you are an expert shot and you just wing 'em, they can still fall over and croak from a shot to the arm or leg.

It's the first and most important of the gun safety rules: Never point a loaded gun at somebody you aren't willing to see killed.

Sure, you might punch somebody in the nose and when he falls down he whacks his head on the bar stool and goes to his final reward. Always some risk involved in set-to situations. But when guns come out, the odds of somebody going bye-bye into the Big Sleep go up.

The nuclear-or-nothing option is maybe not the best one for every situation.

Oh, and an added postscript: There are a lot of places where you can't carry a gun legally, or in some cases, even own one to keep at home.

AF1 said...

We have this argument on MMA boards a lot. The consensus there seems to be that there is NO art that can make you capable of taking out multiple opponents on a consistent basis while you are unarmed.

Best bet is to run away at that point, or break out the guns and knives.

Dan Gambiera said...

AF1, nothing is certain. But there are people who specialize in it and who have an excellent verifiable record in the real world.

I refer you to Phil Messina's superlative school Modern Warrior as an example. Their training really is that good. And since the majority of his many, many students are serving police officers they have ample opportunity to figure out what works and what doesn't.

Anonymous said...

"The consensus there seems to be that there is NO art that can make you capable of taking out multiple opponents on a consistent basis"

Which is of course BS and an attempt to frame the arguement in favor of MMA guys. Who here is 'taking out' anyone? BIG differance between 'taking someone out' and making the price too high for you to be their victim. Lots of youtube fights where one guy, sometimes looks trained, sometimes just pissed, are able to get multiple people backing up to avoid the punches they're throwing. That's one level of success.

Going to the ground is a MAJOR bad move against multiple guys (as mentioned). Even if you are 'losing' where do you want to lose? Standing up throwing punchs, or on the ground getting stomped? Vould be a big differance in the severity of the 'losers' injuries.

'Consistent basis' who the hell gets into these kind of fights on a 'consistent basis'? You need to seriously examine your life style if that's the case. If I'm throwing down with 2, 3, 4 guys it's probably going to be a once in a lifetime sort of problem. I only need to get up the willpower to win once.

Of course I personaly would be, as you said, breaking out the guns and knives.

AF1 said...

Dan, I will take a look at Phil Messina. Sounds interesting.

Anonymous, keep in mind that Brazilian jiu jitsu is the art that favors being on the ground all the time.

MMA on the other hand is a mix of several arts with BJJ being just one of them. For stand up fighting we make use of Muay Thai and Greco Roman/freestyle wrestling among other things.

So we have more options than just "going to the ground."

I tend to be more open minded than most MMAists, but the majority of them won't take a self defense methodology seriously unless it has a proven history of success.

They would say that getting lucky and surviving once against multiple opponents doesn't necessarily mean that you have methods that are repeatable every time.

Steve Perry said...

Best bet is always to be somewhere else when the chuffing gets heavy, and three guys are going to give you more grief than one. Track shoes and an open door are better options than standing and duking it out.

But the what-if scenario is, suppose you left your track shoes at home and the three are between you and the door? Or you have your wife or granny with you?

A win here doesn't mean necessarily mean all three guys out cold on the floor and you grinning down at them over a fresh beer. But t get to the door and out, you have to dance well enough to clear a path, and groundwork is going to be too slow to give you your best chance.

If you practice three-on-one, then you still might not pull it off, but you have to think your chances are going to be better than if you never considered the notion.

If a bunch of MMA guys on a board have a consensus that you can't beat multiples, well, that might be considered, um, biased. Can't win against three, so no point in worrying about it?

As to proved methodology, at close range, knives beat bare hands. At longer range, guns beat knives.
So since we know that, I am assuming that MMA guys all carry, at least, knives, and some carry guns?

The serious silat folks I know do.

Steve Perry said...

Oh, yeah, while what we do on the ground isn't BJJ, we do spend a lot of time rolling around in the sand pit, and such activity includes locks, breaks, chokes, like that, so we do have some notion of how long those things take to work.

Anonymous said...

All kinds of MMA in wrong scenario antectodes out there, one of my favorites: guy gets into it with a bunch of little asian hoods. Now the only relevance of them being asian is that when I say 'little' it isn't a metaphor. This guy was big, strong, did at least some MMA stuff, he could eat any one of their lunches. But there wasn't just one, there was a whole freaking pack.

Only thing that saved him was his girlfriend got to the car and was going to run at least some of the hoods down if they didn't back off.

AF1 said...

Groundwork is definitely too slow to clear a path through a group of opponents. And I don't think you'll see many mixed martial artists suggesting otherwise.

But good maneuverability in the clinch and some well placed knees or elbows can come in handy for escaping that scenario, no?

As for guns, it's obviously not a focus but people will readily admit this is an area that needs to be addressed for self defense. For stick and knife work the Dog Brothers get recommended a lot....probably because they put their stuff to the test in a way that most can understand and respect.

Just some observations. And no disrespect to silat intended. I enjoy reading this blog and have picked up lots of interesting ideas here that maybe I wouldn't have considered before.

Dojo Rat said...

Well, I guess now that I'm 50 (and feeling it) things have changed.
After wrestling in high school I wanted competition and self-defense. I spent 8 years in Tae Kwon Do full contact fighting. I look back and think time would have been better spent in Kenpo, which had much better self-defense, and I got my 3d Dan in Kenpo. A little Aikido and jujitsu next. But the older I get, the more health-based arts are best for me. Taiji, Bagua, Xingyi. I appreciate the beauty of the art and how it makes me feel. We still train with resisting opponents to keep it real, but for solo practice and appreciation of the art, nothing compares to the internal arts.

Anonymous said...

I think it bores down to three things basically:

1) how do you feel about the Art - does it feel "homy" for a lack of a better word? - In other words, does it feel like a good match to your personality and physique?

2) does the Art have a proven history in being a functional Art in true, violent, combative situations?

3) are you able to find a Good Teacher with whom you feel comfortable with and who is both willing and also able to teach you?

Everything else... is not so important really, or is it?

Steve Perry said...

Here's the thing: We all like what we do, else we wouldn't be doing it. And so we all bring our own axes to grind in any such discussion.

The MMA guys seem -- generally speaking -- to look askance at anything that doesn't get into the ring and demonstrate its efficacy there. The line goes, "Well, if (fill in the blank) is so hot, how come they don't win in the octagon?"

The street art guys will say, "Yeah, well, if MMA is so hot, what do they do when I pull out my knife? Or bring a couple pals with me? and to hell with the rules?"

Sword guy is going to laugh at both of us and say, I have my katana, bring your Speedos or your knives."

Gun guy is gonna laugh at everybody and say, "I have my piece out, you can come at me with anybody you can carry."

It's apples to oranges -- and turtles all the way down ...

We all do this to a degree, and these are variations on the my-art-is-better-than-yours theme.

I got nothing against MMA guys. The best of them are tough, mean, and bad-ass fighters, and I have no doubt that most of the time in most places, they can handle themselves just fine. And that's enough for them, so they are okay with it. But an undercurrent from that side of the table seems to be an unwillingness to allow that somebody other than MMA folks have any such abilities.

The notion that you can't win against more than one guy kind of short-stops the ability to try, doesn't it? I might not be able to take out three, but if I have trained to try, and think I might pull it off? I have to like my chances better, it comes down to that, than the guy says it ain't gonna happen.

I sometimes hear from the MMA folks, "Hey, I can carry a knife, too." Or, "I can fight dirty!" Yes, but unless you train to do those things, you probably won't be as effective with them. I train with knives a lot, and even so, I wouldn't want to get into a carving match with somebody who knew what he was doing. We are both gonna bleed.

One size doesn't fit all, I said that going in. And the first response was, yeah, but except for weapons, it probably does if you are MMA.

I can't get into the cage and roll with a MMA guy who is younger, stronger, faster, and playing his game. It would be foolish to try.

If I can bring my knife? Game goes my way. It would seem easier for me to adjust how I use my knife against him than it would for him to adjust how he uses his bare hands against my blade. Single-leg against a stab to the spine? Not a fair trade.

The Dog Brothers get a lot of respect -- they play hard and hit each other with sticks and practice knives. But it's not the same as naked blades for real, and they'd be the first to say so.

AF1 said...

If the criticism is that their art isn't good against multiple opponents, they will definitely question that and will ask what art is? And can you prove it?

On the plus side you will find that most MMAers are willing to incorporate anything that is effective into their skillset. As long as you can show them that it does indeed work.

Steve Perry said...

"If the criticism is that their art isn't good against multiple opponents, they will definitely question that and will ask what art is? And can you prove it?"

Going back to an earlier post:

"We have this argument on MMA boards a lot. The consensus there seems to be that there is NO art that can make you capable of taking out multiple opponents on a consistent basis while you are unarmed."

So, which is it? MMA is good against multiples, or it isn't, because no art is?

Most of us in the traditional arts can point to somebody for whom the stuff has worked against more than one guy, and if only a few of those stories are true, then it's ipso facto.

If you are looking for evidence, I believe somebody has pointed out that YouTube has examples. What else do you need?

AF1 said...

"So, which is it? MMA is good against multiples, or it isn't, because no art is?"

It isn't because no art is. But it certainly has tools that can give you a fighting chance.

Steve Perry said...

Which brings us full circle, doesn't it? Some arts are better at some things than others. No one size fits all, and we are all apt to believe that whichever art we are in will give us the most tools for the most situations.

That the best art for you is the one that gives you what you want from it ...

Anonymous said...

If it not too personal a question to ask: What were you searching for and what does Silat give you?


Steve Perry said...

When I saw silat demonstrated, it made me realize that what I had was missing some things -- mostly in-fighting, a ground game, and close weapon work. I could use a staff or spear, even a little bit of sword, but knife-work, not much.

Most of what I had studied was stand-up fighting, long range -- lot of kicks, more power than finesse. I was struck by how scientific it seemed to be -- engineering principles based on body mechanics that made sense. (Part of that was the teacher, who had the ability to lay it out in simple terms.)

I quickly realized that the stuff I had didn't measure up -- I'd have gotten creamed against anybody who knew this stuff. Once I got into it and got nose-to-nose and grappling, I found that I wanted to stay with it long enough to get a really good handle on it.

It's not really an entry-level art. Takes too long to get really good at it if you are in a hurry. I wasn't in a hurry -- I took the long view.

It was the art I had postulated for my fictional fighters, The Matadors -- or as close to it as I've ever seen. Bells went off, and there I was.

And have been since.

Anonymous said...

Apples to apples would be mma guy with a knife against you with a knife, right? Now does your art offer an advantage?

And cops seem like a bad standard for civilian SD; cops have batons, tasers, pepper spray, pistols, partners, radio backup, shotguns...

Steve Perry said...

If, Anon, you are talking to me, then since my art is a knife art -- what we do is based on the blade -- then I would certainly offer that I'd expect to have the advantage against somebody who didn't spend much time training with such tools.

Seems pretty obvious to me. You don't get to be a great basketball player if what you spend most of your practice time doing soccer. Both are played with round balls but the rules and mechanics aren't the same.

Doesn't mean we both wouldn't get cut, or that I'd "win," but it's like any other skill -- you don't get to by an Olympic-class swimmer by doing a few laps once a week.

Soldiers aren't cops aren't civilians. Sportfighters aren't necessarily street cop pistoleers. I said going in that one size doesn't fit all, and it depends on what you want. That's still my stance and nobody's offered anything to gainsay it.

What I figured would happen here did happen -- the creeping "my-art-is-the-best" shadow fell over the conversation.

Big surprise.

Stan said...

There seems to be something wrong with enjoying your studies, having a belief in your own training and valuing the history of your ryu.

Why is that? Does belittling "me" make "you" feel better about yourself? Does it help you along your own path to self-mastery, understanding or enlightenment?

My skills, such as they may be, are not for your entertainment, wonder or target practice. Neither am I able to praise or demean your skills.

I realize that "getting along" is not a realistic goal for too many of us in this world. But why does open antagonism seem to be so prevalent?

Steve Perry said...

That human nature stuff again, Stan. I think that folks who find something they love often want to share it with the world. Look, look, this is great! Taste! Really! It's terrific!

Not just martial arts, this covers just about everything, ice cream to politics to religion.

At its best, this is a desire to unselfishly share what you have found.

Drop down a couple of notches, it's a desire to exercise a sneering superiority.

Past that, it turns into racism and burning people at the stake ...

The problem seems to arise when that boundless enthusiasm, born out of real joy, gets codified, and what started out as a wondrous road up the mountain suddenly sprouts sign posts proclaiming it The Only Road Up the Mountain. And the tendency to look at folks walking on a parallel or diverging path as haven taken a wrong turn. No, no, that way is too slow! Full of potholes!

Which often descends into "What kind of fool would go that way when he can go this way?"

Enthusiasm for what you do is laudable. But when somebody offers that their road is the only one? They lose me every time. I've been around long enough to know that no matter how smooth the highway somebody is flacking, there are almost certainly other routes going the same way, and maybe the scenery on one is more appealing than the other.

The best intentions in the world can go into paving a road that goes in a different and unpleasant direction entirely -- I've seen it happen all too often and even done some paving of Route 666 myself.

jks9199 said...

Maybe I'm missing something... but what I read in many of the posts here is the same thing I've been taught from day one of my formal training: There is no one best, most perfect martial art that will fit everyone; each art has its own strengths and weaknesses and each art fits someone. So, since there's no ultimate art -- look around at what's available to you, and decide what you're after, then pick the art that fits the bill best. If you're after a pragmatic self-defense art, then there's several to choose from, like krav maga, kajukenbo, and several others. If you're after something that'll give you a good workout, a chance to compete, and some fun (and maybe daycare for your kids), lots of tae kwon do schools fit the bill. If you want to immerse yourself in ancient Japanese traditions, look at the traditional budo. And so on.

In other words -- treat finding a martial art like you would looking for a car or college. Figure out what you're looking for, see what you can afford, and pick the one that gets the most check marks in the "go for it" column.

That's a far cry from "my art is better than yours..."

Anonymous said...

It all bores down to insecurity. Does it not?

Lets face it - on a way or another most us have chosen to do Martial Arts as an attempt of filling the hole of feeling insecure or inadequate that is inside us.

Thus --whether it it acknowledged or not -- we use the training to equip ourselves not only physically for mayhem, but mentally as well. At least, that is the attempt.

If this is so it becomes of great importance that we have made the "right choice" (superior Art that rules over all other Arts) as not doing so would leave us both physically and mentally naked if things would go nasty with an opponent equipped with superior weaponry, strategy and tactics of a "better Art".

Why do we spend so much time speaking about Arts other than our own? - Because this behavior is driven by the same fear that led us building atom bomb shelters on private homes back in the day and makes us pay high dollar for movies like the Terminators, Aliens and Predators today.

Simply put it is the fear of the unknown, fear of someone somewhere having something superior compared to my stuff. So, we hardwire ourselves with disbelief doing ill-motivated and wrongly focused pseudo research as all it leads to making comparisons that do not serve the purpose of ones own actual training.

The reason for the current trend and huge popularity of the MMA approach lies at this very reason. The rationale is "if I practice all styles together I can cope with them all", which, to a certain degree is true as one would have encountered something similar thrown at them in training. - Or, at least that it the idea of it. Another thing completely is how well that kind of a dispersed training approach will equip you for a true combative situation not bound by rules but here we go again chasing the tail.

I think the best would be to just stick to what you have chosen to do and leave others do and believe in what they have chosen. Making comparisons is pointless and will only make you feel insecure about your chosen venue thus robbing you the very chance of gaining what you ultimately set to achieve.

Is it good to study how a Thai-man kicks in order to find out how to deal with such mayhem? Yes, but there is no point is comparing it to your own Art. Is it good to know how an MMA guy operates to find out how to deal with such tactics? Yes, but there is no point in comparing it to your own Art.

Lucia said...

Your post inspired a LJ poll. Thank you!

Steve Perry said...

I think the hairless apes are lumpers or sorters by nature, and that most of us have never come to terms with the wisdom of insecurity.

Dan Moran said...

The nuclear-or-nothing option is maybe not the best one for every situation.

Agreed, but if you don't want to spend your life training in a given martial art (and I don't) it's a reasonable choice.

Look, concealed carry in Los Angeles is almost equally bad for knives vs. guns. (At least this used to be true; I haven't looked into it in years and it's possible they've changed things up.) The limit to concealed knife size is 3", which is probably a useful sized blade for you, with your silat training, but not so much to me.

If I'm in such danger I think I need a weapon, I'm carrying, and I don't care a whole lot what the law has to say about it. (Or what it has to say about anything else, for that matter, beyond a pragmatic and healthy fear of being in the system.)

But for most people under most circumstances, if you find yourself in a circumstance where you need to carry, you've probably already made a mistake. Earlier in life I went where I pleased when I pleased, and mostly (but not entirely) got away with it. These days I go where I think it's safe. If I think it's unsafe (an individual calculation, of course) ... I don't go there. Even today there are places safe for me that wouldn't be safe for other people; to your average mugger I look like work. But whatever your individual calculus is, avoid the unsafe areas if you possibly can, and take precautions if you can't.

A big guy (even a big 60ish guy) with silat training has one set of concerns, walking the mean streets. An average sized or shorter man or woman has different concerns -- and even someone 5'2" can pull a trigger.

(Of course, there's always the chance you can't pull the trigger -- wouldn't stop me, I'm 99% sure, despite never having actually shot at a person. But if you can't pull the trigger when the time comes ... well, you really shouldn't be in those circumstances, whatever they are.)

All of this is opinion, and mine is less informed than yours. (Which isn't stopping me from typing....)

But I've known a fair number of predators in my life. They don't initiate violence in the first place with people who intimidate them, which means that in real world violent conflicts, the scales are already tilted pretty far in the direction of the predator. And guns are, famously, the great Equalizer ....

Steve Perry said...

Sure. If you are five-foot-even hundred pound woman and you cook a couple rounds into a six-four two-fifty mugger who allows as how he is going to rape you and throw you off an overpass, not a lot of juries will work too hard to find a reason to acquit you.

If you are a two hundred pound guy wearing an eyepatch and you shoot a teenager half your weight and a six inches sorter, even if he has a knife, you are going to be on slipperier ground.

Gun permits are still not given out like Halloween candy in L.A. and if you don't have one, you are going to be in some trouble either way. More if you are you than if you are her.

The old saw is, The knife is for when you run out of ammo, and bare hands are when when your knife breaks.

If you don't want to spend the time in training, then you look for alternatives that give you the best options and for some folks, it will be a gun.

If you get swarmed by a bunch of unarmed teenage boys -- or worse -- girls -- then shooting them is going to give some D.A. a shot at elective office. They might be deadly little bastards, but that's a hard sell to a jury of folks who don't know about such things ...

And yes, better twelve trying you than six carrying you, but better still is you get away and go home and have a beer and nobody knows you were ever there.

Harder to do that if you leave corpses scattered hither and yon ...

Stan said...

You know, Steve, a topic for further exploration...a topic I've often the idea of the mat/dojo/martial art training, being a microcosm of the person's life. In better words, issues you struggle with on the mat are also issues struggled with in the normal / "real" world... and vice versa,

This would seem to be an integral key to the arts/style/form of instruction a person would choose. "Intense therapy" for the faults/flaws/blind spots we feel exist in our life?

Anonymous said...

"What I figured would happen here did happen -- the creeping "my-art-is-the-best" shadow fell over the conversation."

I guess. I haven't even mentioned my practice, though.

In the interest of full disclosure, though: paintball, usually Capture the Flag. Lots of practice running and shooting at people trying hard not get shot, and a good time; fun. Sprinting - 2-3 sprint workouts a week - seems like the best possible civilian SD practice to me, carry coming in second, lifting weights and martial arts fighting it out for third.

Dan Moran said...

If you are five-foot-even hundred pound woman

If you are a two hundred pound guy wearing an eyepatch

Yep. You've actually boiled down really nicely there my personal take on people carrying guns. I haven't actually carried in over fifteen years -- I used to make a run into south central to an animator's house I was working with, to pick up very large files that couldn't be sent across the "internet" thingy ... so I put my gun under the seat and drove down a street no handsome white boy should ever have driven down. So there's my initial mistake -- I should have hired a damned messenger to make that drive, or paid to have the animator to drive them to me --

Grown full-sized men carrying guns have probably screwed up already.

But for weaker (for reasons of gender, age, size, illness, whatever) ... for weaker people, anyone who doesn't consider the use of a gun in keeping him/herself safe, is missing a bet. Possibly the best one. I've known some hell-on-wheels small-sized female martial artists over the years ... and I think most of them, most of the time, couldn't handle the average 6' tall male 20 year old predator. If that's what a lifetime of martial arts training buys women at the very ends of the curve, advising a woman to carry starts to look like a reasonable damned piece of advice ...

jks9199 said...

I take exception with the idea that there's something wrong with you if you choose to carry a gun. I do agree that if you NEED to employ a gun, outside of the line of duty for a cop, you've PROBABLY screwed up somewhere along the way. But not always... Sometimes, shit finds you. And, while I admit that my opinion is colored by my profession, I'd rather be prepared if it does find me despite taking reasonable, sensible precautions... The gun is only part of the range of choices -- but it's definitely one I want to have available, 'cause there's nothing worse than needing one and not having it!

Dan Moran said...

You're taking exception to something I didn't say. Take another look at my post and check for the word "probably." It's there.

jks9199 said...

My apologies; I missed the word. Still stand by my sentiment, though!