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Four key differences between martial arts and self-protection

This video is a follow up to “Five things martial artists get wrong about self-defence”. The message of that video was one that seemed to resonate with many. However, I also noticed a number of those expressing enthusiastic support for the video were making the very mistakes the video highlighted!

It seems many remain confused about what self-protection is. It then inevitably follows that they are also confused about the differences between self-protection and martial arts / fighting. In this video I cover four key differences:

• Different Goals

• Different Enemy

• Different Students

• Different Instructors

I also discuss the need for clarity and nuance in discussions like these. We can then avoid the illogical and pointless tribal arguments that most often take place around these issues.

In this video I have lumped martial arts together with fighting because it is the contrast with self-protection that I specifically want to discuss. If you are interested in the differences I see between martial arts and fighting, this free audio book covers it:

I also prefer the term “self-protection” over “self-defence” because the later has an inbuilt assumption of a response to a physical attack. “Self-protection” better describes the field of study as opposed to funnelling thinking to the physical methods of last resort alone; which, even then, should prioritise pre-emption to facilitate escape over reactive methods. However, “self-defence” is a term widely used in both law and everyday speech. I’ve therefore used the terms interchangeably in the video.

Finally, this video was filmed in a very hot room on a rare sunny day in Northern England. Watch how my head gets shiner and redder as the video progresses!

Thank you for your support of these videos!

All the best,


PS The YouTube link can be found HERE

Four key differences between martial arts and self-protection