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deltabluesman's picture
The Ultimate Self-Defense Championship

Martial Arts Journey (run by Rokas) recently published a series called "The Ultimate Self-Defense Championship."  Imagine the Ultimate Fighter, except that the contestants are Youtube martial artists and the challenges are supposed to involve self-defense scenarios.  Has anyone else watched this?  Thoughts? 

Overall, I enjoyed it.  It has plenty of flaws, especially in terms of how "self-defense" is portrayed, but I think there's a great deal of potential.  This kind of scenario training has been around a long time, but the episodes are well-produced and narrated, and that may attract a much broader audience.  (Plus, I'm glad to see that Rokas is involved and hope he has success with this.)

Some negatives . . . I was frustrated by the points system and scenario design.  Just to name a few . . .

  • Way too much emphasis on fighting to win vs. escaping and surviving.  (I get that some of this was driven by the need to draw views and generate revenue.) 
  • Not enough recognition of differences in size and strength.  
  • Not enough safety precautions

I could go on.  Despite that, I think even pragmatic martial artists can find some valuable lessons in the series, and I'm looking forward to the next season.

(Can't recall if there's a policy on posting links here, but if you'd like to find the series, just search for Ultimate Self-Defense on the Martial Arts Journey.)

Frazatto's picture

Well...it always comeback to "how can we get realist without bashing everybody involved to pulp?"

As long as the participants know they are safe, it will never be "real" and decisions must be made and everything considered? I think they are doing a interesting job breaking preconceptions and things most martial arts consider given.

The episode about knife attack is very very illustrative, you think you can stop a person full of adrenaline that already decided it wants to hurt you? Yea, good luck with that.....

deltabluesman's picture

It would have been good to see more variety in the knife attack scenarios.  If I remember correctly, one of them involved being locked in a room with a large, strong, athletic attacker who also had a knife.  At some point, the organizer made a comment about the impossibility of winning under those circumstances.  If he wanted to make that point more effectively, he should have included a mixture of scenarios - for example, an attacker who isn't as athletic or strong, or a scenario where it's easier to run away, or a scenario where there are other things in room/environment that can be used.  I'm hopeful that we'll see that in future episodes.

In terms of safety, one example would be the fight on the bridge.  It didn't seem like they took any precautions whatsoever to keep people from going over the railing.  I may have missed it, but I didn't see any kind of netting or barrier.  That's the kind of risk they need to address.