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Martial Matters, Issue #005 -- Family self defence
August 25, 2003

Family self defence

Hello people,

Welcome to Augustís edition of Martial Matters.

First of all I would like to remind those of you who haven't been to the EVENTS page lately that there is another Conflict Management course running in early September. To view the details go to our

Events page and if you have any queries fire me an e-mail.

If you recall last month's newsletter regarding the question of black belt status and the length of time it should take, here are some of the replies I recieved on the subject. We'll keep this debate open for a while so if you have any comments, either way, we'll print them whether we agree with them or not.

Here is the first reply from Ben,

"hello i think you should be allowed to award yourself with a blackbelt if you created it shouldn't you be the one who is master at it personally 3 years of study in martial are is enough for most sports"

One problem with this Ben, we could end up with thousands of nutcases running round claiming to be black belts in useless styles and people could end up getting hurt !

Another reply from Jon,

"Mr. Swift.

To be awarded a black belt is a matter of that persons character........What this simple means is this ; What is his attitude toward his peers and the master? Although he or she maybe better than some of the black belts in the club, they still have to repect them.....To me, to be honest it sound like a temper tantrum....But if he or she has ( the gift ) as I like to call it then they deserve the black belt.......It must not stop there, they have to be shaped and molded...... They must know and be told what that black belt stand for and the meaning behind it............As far as creating your own style, I see nothing wrong with that but you HAVE to have an understanding of the martial arts period....You must have an under- standing of WHY, WHAT,and HOW..............Why did the masters create their systems and what were their theroies, philosophies ,and how to enhance there art........... As martial artists we try to make a style better ( to me , you can not do this....Because the style or the art is a good one we can't make it better....We can only enhance it, by adding our ideals to it.....This is how the art lives on,for this is the evolution of karate-do , taekwondo, kung fu, etc.....

Jon "Iron Dragon" Finney, So-Shihan of The Beibukai Zenkoku Bujutsu Kyokai"

Some good points Jon, but shouldn't we be continually striving to improve our arts, particularly from a personal point of view as we are all physiologically different and therefore have different strengths and weaknesses. Shouldn't we be free to adapt our style to fit ouselves and not have to try to change ourselves (Physically) to fit in with the style ?

One more from Irfan,

"Regarding the issues of this Newsletter - If the practitioner is doing a Hard or Soft martial art for the first time, then I think they should serve minimum time of the usual 3-4years before reaching Blackbelt provided they have been training regularly and pass the gradings as their discipline requires. However, those who are already at Blackbelt level in a Hard or Soft martial arts need not be required to serve another 3-4yrs to achieve blackbelt level provided their new instructor/organisation they are worthy of the newly acquired grade after checking their prior learning. This approach is regularly used in the Academic field and is know as "APL - Acquired Prior Learning" In other words - why re-invent the wheel again when you already have the basic knowledge that can be manipulated and used in different situations."

Now this for me makes a lot of sense, but will it be accepted by the old school Martial Arts fraternity who are rather stuck in their ways ?

Let me know your views.

Self Defence (Defense)

I am currently working on a series of self defence projects, one of which is aiming to bring a generic self defence program together in the UK. As you are probably aware almost every martial arts coach has his / her own self defence program which they teach to non martial artists and they all consider their own program to be the best and most effective around (Myself included, before you all fire in some more insulting e-mails).

As an offshoot of this I am currently putting together a self defence e-book entitled Family Self Defence, which will be available from our website within a couple of months.

The criteria for the content is as follows:

*Must be effective for kids as well as adults

*Must be workable on the street

*Must be easy to learn and remember

*Must be an appropriate level of response for the approach made

This won't just be an e-book of techniques, but also tips, advice and general common sense ways of how to avoid situations in the first place.

If anyone wants to send in any tips from their own self defence programs, I would be happy to include them providing they meet the criteria.

One aspect of self defence that we must all be aware of is where we stand in the eyes of the law.

Because of this point and due to numerous requests I have published some of the latest guidelines on our website (These are from Northern Ireland and may not be wholly applicable in other countries) The general message should be pretty similar across most western countries.

You can find this guide at Self Defence Law

One last thing for those of you who have not been to the site for a while, we have teamed up with Google - the worlds biggest search provider to provide you with even more resources to martial arts related sites. To view these click on the link to the website below.

Keep your replies coming in and please let me know how I can be of help in any way.


Paul Swift.

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