I stumbled across this video today and thought it was a good illustration of a much talked about topic here. The video discusses duels, with swords, during the time of Waterloo. It makes the point that in these duels the French combatants would chose a weapon that was unfamiliar to their English opponents. The result of this was that the English fought in a “unskilled” but aggressive way, and this often resulted in victory over the more skilled French swordsmen who were anticipating a skilled back and forth.
The video makes the point that we need differing methods for differing types of enemy, and how some of the groups (i.e. the 16th century “London Masters of Defence”) would insist that its members demonstrated competence against various types of opponents; both skilled and unskilled.
I’ve talked before how modern martial artists have a bad habit of assuming that the methods used to beat a skilled practitioner of their own system, in a mutually agreed upon exchange, will be an ideal fit for dealing with “untrained” criminals. It’s not! The arrogance being that, if they are “untrained”, they will be easy to beat. This, of course, ignores the fact that criminals don’t behave like martial artists and in self-protection you are on their turf. A shark is infinitely less dangerous when removed from its habitat and placed on land (think fighting a criminal in a ring), but an apex predator when in their natural environment (not looking for a skilled exchange, but to commit crimes upon you).
I maintain that this failure to “know your enemy” (as Sun Tzu would have it) is the biggest failure that martial artists have when it comes to self-protection. I’ve talked about it lots in the podcasts:
Think Like a Criminal:
Two things criminals know about violence that you should know too:
Context! Context! Context!
This video shows it is certainly not a new issue!
All the best,