The term self-defense includes many practices and techniques that protect an individual from attacks on physical, or mental integrity. According to this definition, these can be manifold. They range from disregard, thoughtless remarks, or taking of a community space, continue through bullying, insults, or physical violence, and can result in the most serious violent crimes. Measures for self-defense therefore usually serve first to strengthen the self-confidence of the attacked, so that the possible intention of an attack is nipped in the bud. Attacks can originate equally from strangers, or from known persons, for example classmates, relatives, spouses, colleagues, superiors.
Measures for self-defense are therefore usually directed primarily at those groups of people who are more susceptible to such attacks or are frequently exposed to them. Among the groups of people that usually come to mind first are women and children. But of course, men can also be victims of bullying, insults, or violent crimes. Also, the measures that the different groups of people need to learn are usually of a different nature. Recognizing and avoiding dangerous situations is an essential part of self-defense. While children usually still need to learn to recognize these, adults can often take the next step and learn to deal with dangerous situations.
In both steps, learning a martial art, such as Jiu Jitsu, can provide essential support, as it teaches the appropriate skills in a safe environment. For children, this can mean working out where to set limits, how to respect them with other children, and how to enforce them in an emergency.
When confronted with the term self-defense, most of us think of impressive armbars and chokeholds that can be used to effectively fend off an attacker. And while this may correctly be one aspect of self-defense, the meaning of this term extends over a much broader subject area. Just as varied as the types of aggression that can be directed at one are the possible measures to ward them off. However, any kind of violence should always be the last resort, and the intention must be to reduce it to a necessary minimum.
However, many conflicts can be avoided before they even occur. For this reason, many measures also relate to the recognition and avoidance of potential conflict situations. For example, it may be advisable to change sides of the street at night if a suspicious person approaches.
Many martial arts were created at times when people often had to defend themselves against attackers. For example, Jiu Jitsu originated in feudal Japan in the 7th to 11th centuries, the so-called Heian period. During this period, which was characterized by civil wars, people often had to defend themselves against attackers.
The term martial arts is to be distinguished from the term martial arts. As the term suggests, martial arts focus on the sporting aspect. In concrete terms, this means that two opponents, preferably of equal strength and weight, meet on a fighting surface and fight out their fight according to a strict set of rules. A rule of thumb is that the techniques that are forbidden in martial arts are usually the most effective in self-defense. Often, for example in boxing, immediate medical attention in the form of a doctor is also available.
All this is naturally not given in the context of self-defense to a large part of the cases. Here the attacker tries to impose his will on a supposedly inferior defender. Whereas in martial arts the focus is still on sporting fairness between two fighters who are as equal as possible, in self-defense the aim is to allow the defender to escape a dangerous situation as unharmed as possible.
For this purpose, the learning of a martial art lends itself. Martial arts such as Jiu Jitsu not only teach the techniques necessary to defend against a physical attack, but also increase the physical capacity necessary to apply these techniques. At the same time, they train the user to recognize and avoid dangerous situations, or to resolve them when it is no longer possible to avoid them. One learns to assess people, how dangerous they are, based on predictability. Are they friendly, aggressive, desperate, rational, drunk, drugged, armed. These are all factors that are important in a conflict situation and make it easier to assess fight or flight. This knowledge, of course, increases the student’s confidence in action and, consequently, self-confidence.
In addition, a martial art such as Jiu Jitsu can be learned at any time. Often people who are basically interested in learning a martial art worry that they are already too old to do so. And although it is right in principle to start training as early as possible, the reverse is true: it is never too late to learn a martial art.
There are numerous martial arts. Perhaps the best known are Karate, Aikido, Wing Chun and of course Jiu Jitsu. Yet none is per sé worse than the other. They mostly balance each other out, the strengths of one are the weaknesses of the other. To say that there is one martial art that is superior to all others would be simply wrong.
The advantage of Jiu Jitsu, however, is that here, even in the aspect of self-defense, differences in weight and size are taken into account. It is not the amount of strength that is decisive for the use of many techniques. Much more one uses here the attack swing of the opponent against him.
Finally, everyone should evaluate according to his own standards which martial art is the right one for him. Possible criteria for this could be one’s own physical ability, local availability and the time one can and wants to spend for this. At the same time, it is advisable to try several different arts and see which one is best for you personally. Thus, many schools and clubs offer trial trainings, which make it easier to find the right martial art for you.
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